Monday, 31 August 2009

Nova Scotia revisited...

Every morning before 6 am, Susan was up and out the door at 6:30am to teach some of her students that had to head off to work that day. (the photo's of Jane and Emily are from the 2009 Blainville Dressage Show in July).

I'd rustle myself up out of bed and grab a mug of Gram's coffee (best coffee in the world) and a piece of toast with natural honey before I headed down to the ring to say good morning. I'd watch a little bit of the lesson and then head off for my run.

How amazing to be able to watch riders with such passion for the sport and their horses and be able to go for a run along some of the most scenic vista's Nova Scotia has to offer.

Jane had taken the week off from work while I was there and she was the chauffeur extraordinaire. We spent all of Wednesday busy at the barn and finally after all the lessons and barn chores were done, Susan, Jane and Emily and I went out to dinner at the Port Pub Bistro. I can't believe how stupid I was ordering a pasta dish when I was surrounded by fresh seafood, gah, what was I thinking?

Thursday was another barn day but Susan had asked a fisherman friend if he caught any lobster that day we would love to buy some. Well doesn't he arrive in the afternoon with a cooler of lobster's!!! Needless to say, we had an incredible snack of steamed lobster's and an amazing salad for dinner, of course there were adult BEvERages with the meal, all the while we were looking out over the Bay of Fundy. Wow!

Susan and her student's were heading off to Truro for a horse show on the weekend and we were going to meet up with them on Saturday afternoon. Friday was going to be my **last morning at the farm and it was our tourist day and we would spend the night in Halifax, so I could get to see the sights of the city. Once I got back from my run, Jane finished what she had to do with her horse, I packed up my bags said goodbye to the gang, the horses and the farm and Jane and I headed off across the province to spend the afternoon in Chester at Mahone Bay.

Could a holiday get any better?

Well, yes it could...

What I haven't mentioned is before I left home, I had sent an email to a fellow blogger, saying that I was going to be in the maritimes and wouldn't it be fun to get together if we both could fit it into our schedules. (I'm forward like that!).

We had been in contact by email and then by phone and then upon my arrival he called saying he was from the Provincial Tourism Board wanting to do a survey of my trip so far...I'd just landed....I knew this was going to be fun, but we just couldn't get a set time to meet up. Since the girls had me busy most days and into the evenings and my blogger friend works full time, our hopes of meeting and going for a cycle were going by the wayside. Something had to be after much to-ing and fro-ing we met in Chester at the Rope Loft.

Yes, I was going to meet Bluenoser, aka 50K Loop, aka Thom!! How great is that? We had a blast!! It was a short visit, way too short a time together, but I'll be back. You can take that as a threat or a promise!!! LOL...

Thom is just as I imagined him to be, full of fun, stories, maritime humour, wit and wisdom. He had just become a grandpa the night before and was still celebrating the birth of his granddaughter. We just didn't have enough time to really settle into any one conversation, but it was great nonetheless and I'll be back to cycle the loop...

jeezzz, this is just turning into a long story, too bad the vacation wasn't as long....

**more to come.....

Life's fun if you don't weaken,


Saturday, 29 August 2009

What's that old saying...?

...Friendships come and go, but true friendships always last?

Well, that has been the case for me, it's hard to believe, but it has been a month since this very thing came to fruition.

Let's start at the very beginning, it's a very good place to start, (hey, why do I feel like I should burst into song and start singing "climb every mountain"). Oh for you younger generation that is a song from ???, yes, The Sound of Music).

Last winter I put myself on a very popular social networking website and lo and behold friend requests started coming in. One friend lead to another and then another. There were a few of us who had worked together so very long ago and far away, it was wonderful to catch up. Then I received a friend request from someone who I vaguely remembered, so I said turned out to be Jane the sister of a gal I had worked with in my past life with horses.

Sue and I worked together in the late 60's and early 70's (yes, I'm that old) at a very prestigious show stable by the name of Sam Son Farms in Oakville, Ontario, owned by the late Ernie Samuel.

Susan was a far better rider and horsewoman than me (still is), but we struck up a friendship. We had so many laughs, situations, parties and adventures, one of which included me driving with her to her home province of Nova Scotia when she needed to ship a horse down to her father's farm. Me being the tumble weed I have always been said "sure, I'll go"....

We drove and drove and finally made it their home farm late the next day in the afternoon, early evening. Susan's sister Jane and brother Scott, along with her Father, Lorne and Mother Shirley were waiting for our arrival. They were the family you'd always want to meet, upbeat, positive and very loving, caring and welcoming. Lorne's first words to me were "welcome to the Maritmes you Upper Canadian, now here is an initiation to the maritimes", with that he handed me a raw oyster with Tabasco sauce and said, "chuck it back". Well, I'm almost positive it chucked right back up within moments, but that memory is a little foggy.

Susan and I stayed for at least a week and toured around, it was great to see the maritimes with a native Nova Scotian, but like real life we had to get back to work. Susan was preparing Jim Day's horses for the Olympics and I was preparing horses for sale.

Life changes and I ended up leaving Sam Son Farms and travelled across Canada and the U.S showing horses and operating a show stable with a fellow who I thought would be a life partner and Susan and I lost touch....until this past winter.

Jane had found me on Facebook and we did an awful lot of catching up. At some point in time I mentioned that I had vacation coming up in July and early August and wouldn't it be fun if I threw my bike in the car and drove down for a visit. Well, one thing lead to another and I got an email saying "Pack your bags baby".

I was headed to Nova Scotia!!!

It turned out that I didn't have time to drive, but I found a cheap flight to Halifax on Porter Airlines, (which I would highly recommend) and off I went. It never occurred to me to be nervous, or worry about just throwing it out there, I had no qualms what so ever, how weird is that? I didn't even know if I'd remember what everyone looked like....but I did! Jane picked me up at the airport and off we went to Canning.

Susan operates an amazingly wonderful dressage show stable under the name of Fraser Equestrian Centre , just outside of Wolfville in Canning. What a gorgeous setting, right along New Minus, Bay of Fundy. Susan was teaching a lesson when we arrived, so it gave me a chance to throw my bags into my room and head down to the outdoor riding ring to watch some horse magic.

Our evening was planned out (as was most of my holiday), we were headed off to Ross Creek to the outdoor theatre to watch the musical adaptation of a 1928 book by Frank Parker Day, Rockbound.

It was a fabulous production, what an unbelievable location for outdoor theatre and if you have the desire, read the book, it is a little hard to get through due to the dialect, but none the less worth reading.

The next day after my run, I was in the barn or watching riding lessons or even brushing or patting a horse! No, that is not me, that is Jane brushing her dressage horse Kenny.

The weather was fantastic the whole time I was there, warm, hazy and with a breeze....

Have you ever been having such a great time that you just didn't take enough pictures? Everywhere we went, I had my camera with me, but just didn't take enough photo's.

I did take my camera out on one of my runs in the early morning hours, here is a shot of one of the farms I was privy to along the way.

It is hard to see but the Bay of Fundy is in the background of crops and cornfields.

A view from the front door of the farm. Nice huh? The sun is shining off the Bay of Fundy and reflecting off the car hoods.

There is so much more to write about so this little adventure will be continued...

Life's fun if you don't weaken,


Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Wrightsock it to me....SLR

I didn't think it would be polite to combine the Wooo Hooo Du prattle with a Wrightsock review, so I'll just include a quick post about the Wrightsock SLR seam free, cushioned sock.

The reason for deciding to try the SLR yesterday was because the sleeve containing the socks referenced "cushioned" and they were fairly light weight, I knew I was going to be wearing them for a long period of time and it was a hot day.

During the first 2.5K, the socks felt okay, but in all honesty, I wasn't as overjoyed with them as I was the Wrightsock SLT. They didn't have the same feel, which is okay, different sock, different style. Although deemed "cushioned", I didn't feel the cushioning under my metatarsal area which would prove to be a problem later on.

During the 10K bike, the socks moved in my shoe and tended to bunch a little under the toe area, but I figured that I just didn't have the shoes adjusted properly (we were not really focused on making sure everything "felt right" before we headed off), I'm not too sure about you, but I am a major fusspot about how my running shoes are tied and whether there is too much tension across the toe box.

When I dismounted from the bike, I considered removing my shoes or even adjusting the laces before the next run portion of the du, but I figured in a real competition I wouldn't want to have socks on that needed adjusting, (but seeing this WAS the first time trying this particular style, I went ahead without adjusting them and please note, I would never try new socks the day of a competition).

The last 2.5K, again in all honesty (sorry Pam), I did not feel any cushioning on the ball of my foot and my foot was just not that comfortable. When I got back from the run the sock had bunched up and I had to get my shoes off asap.

Now, this sock bunching situation could have possibly been caused by:

a) improper lace tension, with too much tension across the toe box,

b) not being as meticulous as I normally am when putting shoes and socks on before an event,

c) or they just are not my style of sock.

I certainly do not want to slag a product, so I will totally leave it up to you, the individual to try a pair and come to your own conclusion. The socks will certainly be tested again under different circumstances and I will certainly give them another review just to be fair.

Let me know what you think of them if you have tried them....

Life's fun if you don't weaken,


Monday, 24 August 2009

2nd Annual Wooo Hooo Du

Yesterday way our 2nd annual "du". We had been reading the weather forecast all week and keeping our fingers crossed that the weatherman was going to be wrong in his prediction of overcast and rain. I did the Wooo Hooo Du dance to the "weather gods" all week and luckily they were pleased and shone a sunny face with light winds down our way!

There were eight of us this year, a record number! (missing from the picture is Brenda, our photog). Everyone arrived to my cottage type house with their car's loaded with bikes, running gear, bathing suits and of course the mandatory copious amount of food and BEvERages.

After unloading the vehicles and piling everything into the house and donning our personalised race bibs, have a cocktail or two, we were ready to go on our 2.5K trot. Off we went to much laughter, chatting and catching up with one another. Trust me when I say this in not a competition, we all just go out to have a great time and a lot of laughs. There are rules however and there is a start line and bike mount line (hey, there have to be some parameters).

Once back from the run we were ready to roll. The bike mount area was in front of the porcelain bowl ~ hey, you can't get much classier than that!! (yes, my neighbour is doing renovations to their home and they just dump everything and kick it out to the curb). So, with our own personal port-a-pottie as our marker, off we went, for a 10K spin around the peninsula where I live. It was a great ride with a lot to see, there were a ton of people enjoying the beach, there was a fishing derby going on and another function at our Legion. I tell you, it's a happening spot!

Jen was trying out her new Devinci that she picked up on Saturday, it is a really nice bike and you did a great job Jen.

We had a couple of practices clipping in and out and shifting gears, and then Jen and I headed off to catch up with the others.

We all made it back safe and sound with waves and smiles.

We still had the next run portion to do and then it was officially deemed complete with the ringing of the cowbell.....

After another beverage, most everyone headed down to the river for a refreshing swim and to enjoy the sunshine. Brenda and I stayed back and got the food prepped for their return. When they came back and changed into their civvies, we were going to sit outside in the backyard as I had scrubbed and cleaned my patio furniture, however, there were so many wasps and stinging things out there, the Wooo Hooo's came barreling back indoors (with wasps following them) and that is exactly where we stayed for the remainder of the event. Swag bags were opened and photo's were taken, it was a real hoot.

Never, ever is there an event where we lack food or beverage, I'm just so sorry I didn't get a chance to take a photo of the desert table!

It was getting dark when we started cleaning up and putting things away, the gals loaded up their bikes and headed home...the last of the Wooo Hooo's left around 9:30 p.m.

It was a great day of friendship, fun and laughter and that is what the Wooo Hooo's are all about. We leave our troubles and attitudes at the door and just have a great time appreciating life!

after all;

Life's fun if you don't weaken,


Thursday, 20 August 2009

The Wrightsock it to me....

***photo courtesy of outright theft from Merry Mishaps blog. sorry & thanks!!

Tardy be thy name, for it has been about a month now since I was asked to be a part of the Wrightsock Challenge from my friends over at the Runners' Lounge.

So I'll apologise right now to Tom and Amy from the the Runners' Lounge and to the kind folks (but mostly Pam McCarthy) from Wrightsock, who has been patiently tapping her Wrightsocked wearing toes while waiting for me to catch up. If you think I'm slow getting my reviews done Pam, you should wait for me sometime at a finish line. It is almost painful!!! Just kidding.

I do have a plausible excuse though, I was vacationing the first part of month spending time at the Lake Placid Ironman and visiting with friends in Nova Scotia whom I haven't seen in over 35 *cough* years...well, let's make that 30 years. That report is coming too!

Anyway, this morning I got my lazy arse out the door at 5:45a.m. to get back into running mode, after all I have a half marathon in one month's time. Due to the extremes in heat these past few days, I chose to put on the Wrightsock SLT, they are very lightweight and I can honestly say I was skeptically nervous because they don't have a "cushioned" sole.

As soon as I put them on though, they felt great, so off for a 2.5K trot I went. Well, I was delighted to discover that they were so comfortable and didn't bunch, shift nor slid around in my shoe. You know how some socks do that? Well these babies staid in place with no rubbing at the heel, bunching under the toes and no chaffing!!! I love them!

Since it was such a short jaunt, I can honestly say I don't know what they would be like on one of my longer runs, but this morning they felt just fine and I would definitely recommend them, especially for hot weather running.

Stay tuned as I try out the other Wrightones throughout my speedy training for the Canada Army Run Half Marathon on September 20, 2009. (am I nuts? you don't need to answer that)

Life's fun if you don't weaken,


Saturday, 15 August 2009

IMLP (part three)...the end

After that emotional scene at Mirror Lake we headed down to the bike transition area to see if we could find Anne, but we were too late. She was already out rolling. As we were walking towards the bike area I heard my name being called out...can you imagine in all those crowds someone actually saw me?

It was Emily from Each Step is One in the Right Direction (formerly I run for Life), I can't believe she spotted me, what a great surprise. We hadn't seen each other since last September when we met up at the Toronto Waterfront race!

As we continued along the skies opened up again, it was just pouring, we were all wondering if this was going to be the weather pattern for the rest of the day, fortunately no, it ended up being a beautiful day.

While standing at T1 another friend of mine, Kara, shouted out that all of our Ottawa group had made their swim times and were out on their bikes.

Since we had totally lost Anne and there was no way we were ever going to find Dean, we called him at the hotel and made plans to meet up later in the day. It was only around 8 a.m. but we'd been up since 3 o'clock and we were hungry, so we went for breakfast at Charlies before we headed back outside to watch the cyclist's.

I had brought my little bell that I always bring to races, but ended up buying an Ironman cowbell from the sports expo.


Some people just have to supersize!!


Isn't this just a scream???

We watched the cyclists coming down the hill just in front of the large Olympic Stadium for quite some time. We were lucky enough to catch a quick glimpse of Kona Shelley, man that girl is fearless.

We were also able to see a couple of the other's but still no Anne. Just as we were changing our location we caught sight of her, but she was so focused she didn't even hear us.

I have to admit, if I were to do this event again (as a volunteer), I would make a point of finding the vantage points along the route. We missed so much by not knowing our terrain, locations for waterstations, special needs bags truly we missed out on a lot of the excitement.

We were literally locked into Lake Placid as well. State Trooper's had manned road blocks in place and there was no way you were going to be let out of town!

There is also a corner on route called Ottawa Corner which we didn't know about until later in the day, so we missed a lot of the inside scoop as to where everyone was in the event!!

Later in the afternoon, just by sheer luck I caught sight of Anne again on her bike, she was coming up the last hill of her second loop by Mirror Lake and was heading towards T2. I was screaming her name and ringing my little cowbell, she looked right at me. I gave her a huge wave and a thumbs up to which she responded with a big smile and thumbs up and continued on her way to start her run. Afterwards I asked her if it had given her a boost to get the thumbs up....she didn't even remember seeing me!!

We ran towards the transition zone to see if we could see her coming out of the bike area to start her marathon!! Yes, we saw her and we waved, cheered, rang the cowbell, everyone started yelling her name. She finally saw us and gave us another great big smile and blew us kisses and she was gone....

Again, we watched and wandered around until we were able to drive out of town, it was after 7pm. We headed back to the motel for a shower and a little rest, yes we are woosies, the Ironman competitor's were still going.

By the time we headed back into town to watch the finisher's the State Trooper's had blocked off access into Lake Placid, so we were detoured around to the other side of Mirror Lake. We had to park the car way on the other end of town. Finding a restaurant that wasn't chalker block full was another story. It was now 10pm and we were just able to sit down for dinner.

Again, not knowing where Anne was in her run it was really hard to determine where we'd find her. (Little did I realise until way too late, I could have signed up to have her whereabout's sent to my cell phone, duh). The sheer magnitude of people there was overwhelming. We never got close to the finish line.

I have to admit, we didn't see her finish, but from what she tells me, she never even found Dean either until she was back at the hotel. She crossed the finish line in 15:32, she felt great but spent. She loaded up her bags onto her bike and walked back to the hotel alone.

To me it seemed an anti-climatic end to the day but Anne was okay with it, she just needed her space, her time alone to reflect on the huge accomplishment she had just achieved.

We are meeting later today, to *debrief so to speak. If I were to volunteer there again I would do it differently, but for the very first time, I have to say it was incredible!!!

Life's fun if you don't weaken,


* we are going to be swimming, eating, having adult BEvERages and I am going to collect Anne's version of her amazing day, as she will be my guest blogger in a day or so...stay tuned.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

IMLP (part two)

Being the true athlete that I am, I'm sitting out on my deck with a glass of red wine in fantabulous 80+ degree heat, (bring it on baby) when it dawned on me I haven't even begun to tell the race day happenings!!!

Race day, Sunday started at 3am. Luckily Karen had set the hotel alarm clock because I am such a dork that when I set my cell phone alarm clock I didn't realise it defaulted to PM....YIKES!

We were up and was dark and sort of misty and it was a very eerie drive into Placid, luckily for us we were able to follow other vehicles into town. Those in the cars a head were obviously competing due to all the bags and bikes in and on the vehicles.

Luckily we found a place to park (which was to be cordoned off until after 6pm that night) and we headed off to meet up with the other body markers.

Unfortunately I do not have photo's of the bodymarking experience, but we took over the street right in front of the bike transition area. The athletes came to the zone so quickly it would have been impossible to take photo's, body mark, have the opportunity to chat with them and of course you guys know me....give them a hug and wish them GOOD LUCK, HAVE FUN!

Some were relaxed, some were joking, some were competing with their mother, some were uptight, some were having their birthday (they got an extra BIG hug), some were older (73) some were young (21) and one was experiencing an Ironman after a life altering accident....Please see and read Matt Long's story.

There were so many bodymarker's, so many athlete's and so many of their entourage it was mind blowing. I thought I would never get to see Anne nor Dean, but I heard my name being called out and there they were! Karen had already marked Anne, but she came to me to have my signature "smiley face" put on her was awesome to get to see her before she started her incredible journey to Iron. We gave each other a HUGE HUG and I told her to "get lost" because I was going to cry.....

Once they announced the elite were having to line up, the numbers dwindled down in the marking zone because everyone wanted to see them start. I chatted for a little while with a photographer that was there, he had asked permission to take my photo, while we chatted I asked him for his business card, can you believe he was from Canada and lived not very far from where I work!!

The world just keeps getting smaller.

We headed over to Mirror Lake where everyone was or had already suited up and were getting into position. Just as they were finished with the Anthem and prayer, the skies opened to a deluge of rain (luckily no lighting), the cannon went off and it had begun!!

Lake Placid Ironman was on its way to cheers, cowbell's, clapping, laughter and tears of excitement (that of course would be me).

We totally lost track of Anne in the mayhem of swimmers, however, we did stay to watch the very last swimmer come out of the water. He was a gentleman who had suffered a stroke last year and vowed to make himself fit enough to compete in IMLP.

He swam courageously right to the shore, just missing the cut off time which would have allowed him to continue on. He was stoic, he only has the use of one arm!!! The number of people who staid to watch him emerge from the lake was staggering. Everyone was cheering and chanting his name. He came out of the water as if he was still going to continue, he looked strong and he was so emotional, the wetsuit remover guys were waiting for him, they proceeded to help him out of his wetsuit and they lifted him up onto their shoulder's....they walked up to where his wife and daughter were waiting for him. People were still cheering and ringing their cowbells.

He took his wife and daughter's hands and walked up the long slope to the bike transition area.....he to me IS AN IRONMAN!

to be continued......

Life's fun if you don't weaken,


Friday, 7 August 2009

It was amazing energy...IMLP (part one)

There is so much to say, beginning with I can't believe it has been two weeks since the Lake Placid Ironman. Two weeks today since we trekked off the meet and support our friend Anne and a few others from our local Kanata Running Room who were participating in this same prestigious event.

I have to apologise right now because I have so many photo's, so many memories (none of which compare to the participants, trust me)and so little patience posting to blogger, this will be posted in at least two posts.

After driving through Lake Placid and being swept up in the energy of the weekend. We found our way to our hotel in Willmington, it was cute, clean and had everything we needed for our short stay. It was close to many attractions in the area and close to Whiteface Mountain and The North Pole.

This shot is for you Marcy!!

Saturday morning dawned with warm temperatures and hazy sunshine, after coming from rain soaked Ottawa, any warmth and sunshine was a welcome relief.

Karen and I ate a quick breakfast of yogurt and fresh berries and got ready to go for a run.

We headed of towards "the North Pole", straight up!! It ended up being more of a walk / run instead of the other way around, I was not use to the altitude, heat nor hills. I could only think of what the Iron participants were going to face, miles and miles of hills, yikes!! When we finished our run we got ready to head into town. Having been to many competitions with Anne I just knew that we may not get the chance to meet up with her and her husband Dean on Saturday. Anne needs her prep time and she also needs time to get "into her head", so the fact that we never really saw her most of the weekend was no real surprise.

Let me begin with, the American's really do put on an amazing show. You could feel the energy building as you entered into downtown Lake Placid. Every shop, every restaurant and every building sported Ironman logo's, banner's or pennant's. The streets were lined with Ironman paraphernalia and the sheer number of people was totally overwhelming, each of the 2,300 would be Ironman had between 4 - 10 people in their entourage wearing matching T-shirts with some inspirational saying emblazoned upon it. It was amazing!

Saturday was spent wandering around the sports expo which rimmed the Olympic oval supporting the bike transition area. There were sooo many people of all ages, shapes and sizes, all there to support a friend, son, daughter, mother or father, they were there to support a loved one.

The athletes had to rack their bikes starting at 3pm. It was so amazing to watch...we spent a few hours just wandering back and forth, checking out the sights. While we sauntered over to Mirror Lake it just showed us how far the swim finish was from the bike transition, is was a really long run up a hill and then down the hill to the Oval.

Once we saw pretty much most of the Expo and the swim to bike areas it was time to do what any athlete in training would do....find a spot to eat and have an adult BEvERage.

We ended up several times throughout the weekend at the Great Adirondack Steak & Seafood Restaurant and Brewing Company on Main Street. They have a wonderful menu and a fine micro brewery set up right on location. For a nominal price you can get beer and a beer glass which sports different "quotes", I choose " I drink to make other people interesting." - George Jean Nathan.

The weather was perfect to sit outside on the patio and people watch. What a great way to start a long overdue vacation!

After we wandered around some more we headed back to our hotel for an early night since we had to be back downtown for 4:45am to body mark the soon to be Ironmen and women!!!

More on the actual Iron Day to come!!!

Life's fun if you don't weaken,


Sunday, 2 August 2009

I'm back from ....

Lake Placid...


Nova Scotia

More to come when I have a chance to unpack and get my thoughts together, but I can tell you this...


Life's fun if you don't weaken,