Monday, April 18, 2016

Sun Run 2016

Well I'm sorry, I've gone and done something that irks me when other people do it.  You know how when someone is talking about something on their blog, and there is an important event of some sort that happens on a particular date, and that date comes and goes and no update appears on the blog.  Ya know, some of us just want to know instantly how that event went!  And I am one of those, and here I am finally talking about my 'important' event, and I am late.

So for all of you that have been waiting with bated breath (FarSide!), here's my update. First I have to backtrack a little bit though. You know me, I have to give you too much information (it's the Why? part of me).  My knee was improving slightly and slowly, although I couldn't fully straighten it, but then on Thursday evening I got a text from Meredith to say that she wasn't feeling well at all.  She was having a hard time taking a deep breath, hot, and feeling tight across her chest. It had been coming on all day. So Friday I said to Larry, maybe it would be him and me going to the Sun Run, and walking it.  Thankfully on Friday evening Meredith said she felt slightly improved, so she was going to head into Vancouver on Saturday to pick up our race packages.  Saturday I was at the Farmers Market in Abbotsford in the morning, and volunteering a dog agility match in the afternoon.

Meredith came over here on Sunday for her pre-race breakfast, and just after 7:30 we headed off. .  Larry dropped us off just a block away from where we needed to be in the race lineup ,and we walked up one street where there was a line of portapotties, and an even longer lineup of people waiting to use them.  That two cups of water at 6:30 am, and then another cup at 7:30, were pressuring me to line up. (I had already made a pit stop at McDonalds on the way in)  We decided to head around the block to the next street, where the line up for the portapotties there was shorter.  The lineup wasn't very obvious though, it was sort of lost in the crowd, and people walking up the street didn't see the line up, and thought they could just march right into a portapotty, and boy did they get put straight in a hurry.  When my turn came a guy tried to sneak in before me and I had to tell him there was a lineup as I pushed my way past him.  

So you spend a lot of time standing around.  You can imagine, hanging out with over 40,000+ of your closest friends, that it takes a while for everyone to get to the start line.  Even though the race started at 9am, we didn't actually cross the start line until 9:45.  Runners start in waves, with a bit of a gap between each wave.  You are able to be running as you cross the start line, and on the back of your number is a sensor thing that starts and stops your time as you cross the start and finish line.  

Waiting, waiting, waiting. If you want to make yourself easy to pick out in a crowd, you do not wear the official Sun Run shirt. I need to wear shorts and a tank top. See number 31387?  Long sleeves and long pants? I'd be dropping from heat stroke at the first kilometer.

On the way in I had asked Meredith if I had to walk, would she go on without me.  She said she didn't know, because she wasn't sure at that point how well she would do when it came to running.  She said if on Friday, she felt 100% sick,  then on Sunday she felt 30% sick. She had only done one run in the last 10 days, and I had only run about 50 ft.  So we started off at a pretty slow pace.  The first part is downhill, and I think that was harder on my knee, but it did okay.  I was concentrating on the road in front of me, as I wanted to make darn sure I put my right foot down in a safe spot, and I didn't catch my foot on the reflectors that were sticking up from the road about an inch.  I didn't want a repeat of what happened outside the lab.  We were able to chat as we ran and I felt great, and my knee felt great.  There is one really steep uphill before the Burrard Street bridge, and we got up that okay, and up and over the bridge.  Before I knew it we were at 6 km and past half way, and I felt really good.  The sun was shining, but I didn't get too hot, and we were now on the long straight stretch of 6th Ave.  You sort of get into your comfortable pace, and I seemed to ease just a bit ahead of Meredith.  I kept glancing back and it was easy to pick her out in her fuchia coloured top.  As we rounded the bend to the climb up the Cambie Street bridge, I realized that there was another person in a fuchsia coloured top, and what on earth had she done with Meredith?:)  Turns out the Meredith had to slow down to grab some water from the water station to drink and splash on her face and neck, because she was feeling really hot and like she was going to throw up.  So I ran slowly and half sideways, and finally Meredith appeared.  I offered to take her hand and help her up the hill, but she said afterwards that it felt good at first but then she just wanted my sweaty hand off her sweaty hand and to just leave her to it.  At the top of the bridge she told me to just go, so for the last half a kilometer I picked up the pace fractionally.  On the off ramp of the bridge there was a noise from behind, like someone falling.  I glanced back and I'm sure others did too, and people started yelling, don't stop, don't stop. I can only imagine the pile up that would have happened if a bunch of people had stopped on that narrow ramp.  Meredith said she didn't see anyone on the ground when she came down a few seconds later. There is a short stretch on the flat, and then we were over the finish line. 

 We walked around for a bit and did our stretches.  I couldn't stretch my right leg properly, but I did the best I could.  The knee held up just fine, which really made me happy.  I still limp slightly when I walk because I can't fully straighten it, but today (Monday) I think I can get it almost there.  My right calf was a bit stiff this morning and left quad.  I can feel both quads this evening.

Our official times were 1:06:09 and 1:06:26. So about 11 minute miles for my American friends.  It was our second fastest time doing a Sun Run.
My original goal with this race was to beat my niece Kathleen.  (She ran just a bit faster than me at the last one I was in). I guess I met that goal, because Kathleen, as a much younger mother of three little ones, and a working nurse, just wasn't able to make the time to train, so she didn't run on Sunday.  The real goal for both of Meredith and I was to do the 10k in under an hour.  When we got near the end of our training, and were finding it really hard to increase our speed, our goal was to just go for a personal best.  And then it seemed to get even harder, so the goal was just to complete the run.  A couple of days before the run, the goal was to just get to the start line.  

We were both really thrilled with how well we did, all things considered. We were really glad that it wasn't either of us that was on that stretcher that was being loaded into the First Aid Jeep on 6th Ave.  I was over the moon with how my knee handled it, because I had just about worried myself sick the evening before, as to whether I was being stupid even trying to run, what if I made things so much worse, etc, well I'm sure you can imagine all the things going through my head.  We both thought that it seemed easier this time, despite our handicaps.  We are looking for other runs to do, maybe:)

I ran with one of my mother's knee supports on my knee.  My mum, back in the day, was very big on physical exercise and being outside.  I hope she was proud of us too.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Why? Rhymes with Cry

Ugh, I've struggled with this post.  Made a few attempts at it, and now will change it yet again.  These pictures were taken a week ago, so things have changed a bit now.  The petals are falling on the cherry tree, pink snow, and the leaves are unfurling.
We have finished our second stretch of summer like weather.  The temperature was 26 C or 78 F last Thursday, and almost as warm Friday.  The trees have gone wild.  Cherry trees, both ornamental and not, apple trees and pear trees and plum trees all in full bloom, or are finished.

A while back, son David started a fairly involved application for a work term for his university course.  He Googled all sorts of things related to interviews at this particular company, questions asked, waiting time to hear back after the interview etc.  After his application was received, he was asked to complete two online, timed tests.  One was reading comprehension, and the other was math related.  He obviously did well on those, as he received a phone call to set up an interview.  Because of the distance involved between the place of work and here, it was a phone interview.  That interview led to a second phone interview, and eventually he was offered a job.  Now one of the questions he came across that is sometimes asked at interviews, was to describe yourself with one word.  He doubted he would get asked that, but thought that 'just in case', he should come up with something.  His word was 'genuine'.  And lo and behold if he wasn't asked that question at his interview.  He had to give examples to support his 'word'.  

When we were all talking about this later, other family members tried to come up with a word of our own.  I can't remember what the others said, but my word was 'why'.  As in 'why do you have to do it that way',  'why are you telling me to take this road, when that road looks like the better option?, why, why, why?'  Now I don't recall ever being told that I was one of those little kids that was always asking 'why, Daddy?', but I certainly am one now.  Don't tell me not to do something, if you aren't willing to tell me why.

As most of you know, Meredith and I were training for the 10 Km Sun Run, to be held this Sunday.  
Last Friday I was walking down the driveway, normally.  I didn't step in a hole or on a rock, but suddenly my knee felt like it had exploded.  Extreme pain and it felt like it was going to just give out.  I cancelled that day's training run, and limped around.  If I stepped slightly wrong I screamed and swore, and felt like I was going to fall.  I was sure I must have torn ligaments.  I was sure my Sun Run was only going to be a spectator event.  Why oh why had it happened.  So close, and now so far.  
I felt like I wanted to cry.

I made it through the weekend, and on Monday afternoon I went to see the doctor.  The knee was definitely improving, but I still had those 'gasping, swearing, I'm sure I'm going to fall' moments. and I wanted to find out what was going on, and the best way to deal with it.  Of course when I am in the examining room, no matter how he moved it or put pressure on it, the doctor wasn't able to make me gasp once.  Based on what I told him, he figured that it was just a rough piece of cartilage that was causing the pain.  The good news was that he said cartilage heals fast, and there still was hope for me to do the Sun Run.  Meredith was pretty happy when I told her, since we have trained as a team and planned to race together.  The doctor told me not to run on it until the race, but that cycling would be a good alternative. He sent me for an xray, and I went there right after leaving his office.  Well wouldn't you know it, there was something just outside the door of the lab that I caught my foot on, and I jarred the whole leg and the knee went back to feeling how it did when it first happened.  
I couldn't believe it, once again I wanted to cry. Mostly because it hurt like H E double hockey sticks.

I couldn't straighten the knee out properly on the xray table.  I had asked about putting ice on it, but the doctor said there didn't seem to be a lot swelling, and he didn't know where exactly I should ice it.  Well after I got home I thought there was some swelling, so I did put ice on it. It seemed to help a bit.  Yesterday I got on my bike and rode 10 km, and the knee didn't bother me at all, while riding.  I still couldn't totally flatten the knee while walking or standing.  The cringing moments were definitely less though.  Today I rode the bike again, almost another 10 km.  The knee feels a bit better, and I looked up some acupressure points and that seemed to help too.

My xray came back just showing some minor signs of the start of osteoarthritis. Usual for my age.  That was good news I guess.  A very small part of me was almost disappointed that there wasn`t something more dramatic to explain the pain of the first few days.

The plan is to go to Vancouver for the run on Sunday.  Hopefully if I continue to improve I`ll be able to run, or at least start the race.  Larry has offered to drive us in.  That is nice, as otherwise we would have driven part way and then taken the skytrain with a few thousand other people.  That way if my knee decides to tell me that I am a stupid fool for trying to run on it, it will be nice to have a car and driver to get me home.

Our third round of summer weather is starting on Sunday.  I`m not a warm weather runner, or hobbler, or whatever....I`d much prefer a cool day, with no sun, or sun and a cold breeze.

Oh yeah, back to David.  He has been offered, and accepted, a thirteen month internship in the Wood Shop Planning and Bespoke Division of Rolls Royce on the Goodwood Estate in England.  A dream job combining his education in wood and his passion for cars.
This may be your `you learn something every day from reading blogs` moment.  Yes, I had to look up the meaning of `bespoke`.  Rolls Royce and bespoke go hand in hand.

Hope Spring at least, has arrived where you live.

I hear that you think my breath stinks and my back teeth look bad, and I have to go to the VET! next week.
Sorry Nelson!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Calli Climbs a 'Mountain'

(You may want to skip this first paragraph, it's just me, wanting to make everything clear (as mud) as usual).

On our way to Oliver, we took what I refer to as the back way.  When we get to Keremeos, which is 45 minutes from Oliver, we have a choice of going north towards Kaleden, or south to Osoyoos. Neither route is direct. There is another route, a rough road that goes over the mountain out of the back of Cawston, which is just south of Keremeos, but while probably the most direct route, it takes just as long because you have to go slower. I guess that would be the back, back way. We've only taken that once. In case anyone is interested, you can zoom in on the map below for a better view.  I'm often surprised how many BC people don't know exactly where Oliver is. I think it is because it is between two main routes. Those would be north from Keremeos to Penticton and Kelowna, the two main Okanagan resort towns, or south to Osoyoos and points east. As you can see, Oliver is not very far east of Keremeos, if you are a crow. Anyway, the back way for us is heading north towards Kaleden, and then turning off at the Twin Lakes junction and heading towards White Lake and Willowbrook. (if you zoom in you will see it).

We have often passed this sign, seen the trails on the hill, and thought that some day we should take a walk there.  Usually we are arriving at Oliver around dark. This time there were a few hours of daylight left, so we made a snap decision that it would be a good place, a new place, to take the dogs for a walk, and then we wouldn't have to walk them later.

There was another sign talking about it being a conservation area, dogs having been found down at the lake, and harassing cattle, and there was a possibility of dogs being banned from the area, so please keep them on leash, and we did.

As you can see it was a very grey day, not really cold, but the wind sure made it seem that way.  As soon as we set off down the laneway, Calli was just marching right along, out in front.  When we got closer to the lake and the corrals, the trail headed uphill. It was quite damp in that area, with running water (which was really quite a surprise to see, in such a dry area), so we kind of had to pick our way across the slope to avoid getting our feet too wet.

We made it up the first hill.  You can see the lane we started out on running at an angle below. I had to literally pull Calli up, she was game to try but it was steep enough that she would slip back each time she lifted up a front foot if I didn't keep pressure on the leash.  The leash is attached to her cart.

After that hill there was a gentler one, and she was out in front again. More running surface water.

At the top there was a lake, mostly fenced to keep the cattle out, so the birds were undisturbed.

But one end was open, and old tired dogs needed a drink.  

We were interested in continuing on, but the trail continued uphill, and we had come quite a way already.  Time to turn back.  We didn't need to overdo it with a 16 year dog who only has two good legs.

When we got to this spot, I said 'oh lets try take a photo all of us'.  So I managed to prop the camera on a rock, set the timer and then ran down the hill to join the group, which got Jake and Luna all bouncing around in excitement.  All I got was a lot of blurry shots of me trying to control the dogs and Larry making a weird squinting face, trying to see if the camera was actually taking any pictures.

Colourful lichens

Tiny wildflowers blooming.

Younger dogs waiting for the old dogs;-)
There was something about the light that made Jake look extra red.
And the wind was still howling. 

Almost done.

And as usual we pulled into Oliver right around dark.

Friday, April 1, 2016

A Trip

On Tuesday night we got home from a trip to Oliver.  A nice relaxing time.  Oh I take things with me to work on. Fabric to do some sewing, and there is fruit there in the freezer if I feel like making jam.  Guess I didn't feel like either, as no sewing or jam was done.  Oh well, too many good books to read. Too many walks and runs to do, and mountains to climb.  I had a book by Joanna Trollope that I took with me to finish off.  We got there the Wednesday evening before Easter.  Both the library and the thrift store were closing for all four days of the Easter weekend, so we had to get to both of them on Thursday.  I found another Trollope book at the library, and then realized that I had one already in our bookcase there.  Got both of those finished, and fully enjoyed them.  I also read this book. 
 A pretty quick read.  To summarize it quickly, a person goes through all of their possessions, in a specific order, starting with clothes.  You handle each one of them, and only keep the ones that give you a feeling of pleasure as you handle them.  Something I will attempt to do with certain things.  One thing I did take out of it was to fold clothes so that they are not stacked, but stand vertically.  Easy to see everything at one glance when you open a drawer, and you don't have to rummage through stacks to find what you want.

I did chuckle at the irony of bringing that book home, because I had just come back from the thrift store, and they were having a bag sale. I swear that just about everytime I go to the Oliver thrift store, they are having a bag sale. So of course I came home with a $5 bag. Some clothes, including a pair of Tilley pants, a Denver Hayes skort, and a flowery skirt.  A nice china mug, a November one with asters on it, my birth month. A couple of English china plates. A burbury plaid scarf for Larry, and one of those rice bag things you heat, he needs it for his neck.  A few little stuffies for dog toys. Just what we need, more 'stuff'. 

As usual, the day we left home was spent madly rushing around to get things done.  Surprising what it forces you to do when you know you aren't going to be there for a while.  And then the same when we were leaving Oliver.  The gardening that should have been done days before instead of reading all those books!  I did manage to get some potatoes planted, the grape vines trimmed, fertilizer tossed around and grass seeds spread on some bald spots in the front lawn.  And of course we have to give the dogs a walk in the morning.

We went to one of our favourite walks, the dyke at the Number 9 Road bridge.

It's always been a pretty stretch, with a relatively smooth couple of wheel tracks down the middle.  Well since the last time we were there, they have graded the whole top of the dyke and it's kind of ugly now, like a two lane road, dyke style.  We are worried that they are going to dump a layer of gravel on the top, which will make it totally unsuitable for Calli, unless it is packed hard.

Sometimes along the dyke we see the weirdest things.  This was a big mess of what sort of looked like sheep's wool, or maybe llama wool?  Why and how did it get there?

There are a few good dog swimming spots along there, and on the way back Jake and Luna ran ahead and sat to wait.  They wanted to swim but the water really was too cold.  They both went in once, half heartedly, but after that if they couldn't reach the stick by wading, they just watched it float downstream.

Larry took Calli down for a drink, and then I had to help him haul her back up the very steep little hill.

Just before we got back to the truck, we passed this tree.  I'm not sure what kind it is, maybe a maple of some sort, I'll have to remember to check it out next time we go, when the leaves are out.  It was just covered with these tassels, and the bees were all over them.  Can you see the yellow pollen sac on the bee's leg?

We left Oliver just before 4pm, and were home four hours later.  This is what greeted us at home.
So nice that the evenings are lighter longer.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

A Singalong

A little entertainment until I get something more meaty posted.
We were surprised and entertained last night to discover that Jake has some musical talent. He has never done anything like this before!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Thrifty Thursday

Thought I would show you some of my thrifty bargains from last weeks storewide half price sale at my favourite thrift store.

Avia long sleeved top with half zip $2.25 and Eddie Bauer goose down vest $2.50

Saucony running jacket, $2.50 and Gap running leggings $2.  Running type hat, $1.25

On a different day I got these leather Keds for 50 cents.

Jake got a new protective cover for his chair for $1.50

Looks like I had better continue on with the running through the Fall and Winter season. No excuses that I have nothing to wear!

Monday, March 21, 2016


Meredith and I have been meeting three times a week to run.  We are running in the 10k Sun Run on April 17th.  I have run it twice before, and Meredith has run it three times.  Our best time was just under 63 minutes.  So this year the goal is to run it under 60 minutes.  Seems like an easy goal, or at least it did at the start of our training.  We started following one training plan, and then switched over a couple of weeks ago, because the original one wasn't increasing the minutes of running per week enough.  So now we have 30 training runs under our belt, and 11 more to go before the big day.  Because Meredith works a regular daytime job, we would have to meet after she was off work for two of the days, so many of the runs were done or at least finished in the dark, and it seemed like more often than not it was raining as well.  It has been a wet winter.  We do one weekend daytime run.  We try to vary locations, and prefer not to run alongside busy roads.  Our training sessions start out with 5 minutes of walking, then an intervals of running with one minute of walking in between, and then a cool down walk at the end.
Usually I take Luna.  She is attached by leash to a belt around my waist, and she runs out in front of me, or maybe slightly off to the left.  Generally it works well, with one exception.  Two weeks ago we ran in my neighbourhood.  We were just about finished, it was a matter of a second or two before the timer went for our  five minute cool down walk.  I glanced at Meredith, and Luna chose that instant to cross right in front of me, and down I went.  The heels of my hands sort of took my weight (and I'm thankful I didn't break a wrist), and then I collapsed onto Luna and tried to embed my right elbow and knee into the pavement. We were close to home which was kind of nice since there was a bit of blood dripping.  It seems to have healed up okay, the scabs are just about ready to start falling off.  My right shoulder took a hit too, and I didn't need that, because I have a few falls that have already been hard on that shoulder. Sometimes it's hard to lay on that side in bed.

Here's a few pictures from some of our runs.  I kind of suck at taking decent pictures with my phone while running.  There were lots of ducks and geese on this section.  The gander that is just about to take flight here was stood in the middle of the trail honking and challenging us as we were running up.  Thankfully he 'chickened' out as we got closer.  They can be quite aggressive when you get close to their nests, but they probably aren't nesting quite yet.

Doing our stretches at the end of the run.  Sometimes it is so wet that we just hop in our cars and say we will do our stretches at home, and promptly forget.  This was at the start/end of the Discovery Trail and there was a gazebo thing that kept the rain off us. Klutzy Luna walked further along this wall to where a post came out of it, and promptly fell off.

On Wednesday of this week we had a long run, 55 minutes running time, broken into 10/15/20/10 minute segments.  Our first one that we could take advantage of DST, and an actual sunny day! We parked at the dyke along the Fraser River and then ran uphill to Douglas Taylor Park, and back. It worked out well that the 20 minute segment was mostly downhill.  The sun was just setting as we were finishing off. Looking to the southwest at the last of the sun on Mt. Baker in Washington state.  That was a tough run.

On Friday (Meredith had taken that day off, it was a slow week at work due to Spring Break) we ran the 'easy' run of the week.  It was 6 intervals of 5 minute runs.  I said since it is our last 'easy' run for a few weeks, lets add a little spice to it and do some trail running in Downes Bowl. There was a nice cool breeze blowing that day, and it was sunny!, but down in the Bowl, which is quite protected, the air was still, and very soon we were quite HOT. The hills were hard work, and halfway through we said enough of that and headed out and up onto the flatter ground where there was a breeze.

In the bottom in a swampy area. A nice boardwalk to run on.

The end of the boardwalk 

And back up the hill we go, we went up and down a few times.

The next couple of weeks we do some long runs, and the easiest one is 4 intervals of 10 minutes running.  The hardest is an hour with just a one minute break in the middle. You'd think by this point that a run of 5 minute intervals would seem so easy, but really it doesn't. I'm waiting for that feeling of having wings on my feet.  
I think I will be waiting a long time.