Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Wearing Out !

When you travel a lot, whether by plane or by car, certain things can wear out quickly. The magazines sure run dry quickly. I use to relish those times on the road when a new Runner’s World or Trailrunner Magazine would show up in the mailbox. I never really read them at home. I have no time to read when I’m at home. I try to do more then my fair share of parenting because I’m never home so there is little time left to read my favorite magazines. There is time in the morning if I didn’t run but then what’s the point of reading a magazine about running when you could actually be doing it.

When you travel you read these, scratch that, you savor these articles and images of your favorite pastime like you savor putting on your Montrails for a morning run. So the fewer times you travel you savor the magazine more because the next issue may be a week away. The amount I’ve been traveling I’ve gone though these rags twice sometimes even three times. Of course you never throw them away in spite of the fact you could probably recite the page index and the picture credits for some of the better issues. So there is a catch!

Leading a traveling lifestyle although may sound exciting really isn’t. It’s probably more boring than anything. Sure you see things you don’t in your neighborhood but I like seeing my neighborhood. Right now I’m sitting in the Edmonton Airport flying to Calgary for a 2 ½ hour layover before my flight home. How exciting does that sound? I perused every magazine out there and nothing looked remotely interesting except the Outside Magazine with Lance on the cover. I would have bought it except I read it cover to cover on the flight home from Anaheim.

So this leaves books. I really get into books but the time commitment of getting into a novel is just so intense especially when you get a good one. I just don’t have that kind of time except for today. I think I just spent an hour maybe more ogling the books only to come up dry. I talked myself out of several because I knew I would never finish what I started at least not within the next couple of weeks.

Well at least there is blogging

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Things I learned from Disneyland

Back at it. Well I’m back from Disneyland. In fact I’ve been back for a week I just haven’t had time to blog. I didn’t run the whole time I was there but I sure did a whole lot of walking. We got the 5 day park hopper which toward the end seemed like the March of Death, I was so tired. It’s pretty hard to believe that a guy who wants to do an Ultra can complain about five days at Disneyland but it is wearisome (Is that a word).

10 Things I learned traveling to Disneyland
10. Keep an eye on all your children’s belongings. Jackets, hats, glasses, stuffed animals have a habit of staying where they were put down. I’ve got a story for each of them.

9. Bring water because water is expensive in the Magic Kingdom. I picked up this sweet Camelbak (a M.U.L.E.) from Big 5 Sport Store which is 2 miles from Disneyland.

8. Shop for as many groceries as you are going to need as far away from The Magic Kingdom as you can afford to go. We took the whole family south on the #46? It goes down Harbor Blvd and passes by a Target (Which is right next to Big 5 Sports). We picked up milk, juice, raincoats, umbrellas, cereal, and all sorts of stuff.

7. If you’ve got kids under 7 or 8 pick up an umbrella stroller at Target if you go. They are less than $10 you can put a everything in it or hang your backpack and all your shopping from Downtown Disney on it. Plus when one of the kids gets tired which they will you can give them a ride. I had this hang u about a 7 year old looking ridiculous but look around. A stroller from Disney is $8 per day which for a 5 Day Hopper pass would have been $40. I figured I saved $30 plus I left it behind so I didn’t have to pack it on the plane.

6. Bring a Camera. If you bring a digital camera make sure the card or Memory Stick is in it. ‘Nuff said. That goes along with if you advance buy a 5 Day Park Hopper Pass and get it mailed to you weeks in advance. Make sure you bring that too. ‘Nuff said.

5. Go to the pool. Everyone need down time and the pool is excellent cross training to stretch out the back and legs.

4. Dish out the dough for a good hotel. I’m not going to name names but we’ve gone to Disneyland twice now and most hotels gear themselves as flop houses for weary Disney travelers. In my current job I spend a lot of time in hotels and the standard of these $150 to $200 /night hotels is about the same as a $90 hotel in Williams Lake, with a few more towels. Next time we’ve already decided to go big and stay at one of the Disney Hotels.

3. Pack an empty Duffle Bag. We packed a 60 liter duffle bag. It gave un a place to throw all the dirty laundry and surprisingly it and all the other suitcases were jammed packed full on the way home.

2. Fast pass as much as you can. They are great but plan ahead because you can only get one fast pass at a time and if the pass says come back in 2 hours you’ve got 2 hours to fill and get on the top rides without waiting in a line up.

1. Have Fun. It’s the happiest place on Earth. Forget about the money, the job everything but the kids. You’ve already spent the inheritance getting there a few more bucks is not going to break you. I had a great time.

Wednesday, June 7, 2006

Gutbuster #4 Race Course

Westwood Lake is a nice little lake on the edge of Nanaimo. It has a nice flat trail that goes around the lake by the waters edge. It’s also the home of the Gutbuster #4, the fourth race in the Gutbuster series. Today I wanted to try the route.

Whenever I’m in a strange place I always look for running routes. I start with the hotel directory that you would find in the bedside table of most hotels. This usually has parks or walking routes that are close to the hotel. If that runs dry I go online and look for running races for that city. If you find a race that got a website then that’s a bonus. If the website has a map then you are stylin’. Today I hit the jackpot!

Gutbuster #4 starts in the parking lot of Westwood Lake goes east to the eastern most edge of the lake where you find another trail that somehow gets up to Westwood Ridge trail. I say somehow because at this point I took a wrong turn and followed the Lake Trail eventually getting the Ridge Trails. I’m not sure but I took a steep incline to get to the Ridge and followed it along.

Many a time was I slowed by the thought running through my head, “This can’t be it!” and many a time I was answered by coming across landmarks from the trail map. I never actually took a copy of the trail map. I memorized it. (Read as: Mistake #1- Always bring a map when you’re new to the area). But I hit the sign for Kilpatrick Trail in 23 minutes and later came across the Cabin in 31 minutes both were landmarks. Most of the way on the Ridge I was following the occasional paint marks on the tree, two baby blue hash marks. After I topped out there was a fork, one went south toward the lake and the other went north. Because I was at about 45 minutes, I thought I’d better turn towards the lake even though the blue hash marks were the north. I vaguely remember the map showing this fork and the blue route was for a half marathon.

The route south was pretty kick ass steep downhill. But I got back to the Lake Loop none the worse for wear. My time for the route was 61 minutes. According to the Short course map this was suppose to be 8 km or 5 miles. The route around the lake is 5.7 km

The race for the Gutbuster #4 is August 4th. I understand they get quite a turnout which would make this a very busy trail the day of the race. This would be advantageous in navigation but does nothing for the serenity factor.

Someday I hope to get back to this trail and start the Ridge where I was supposed to. I may even take a map!

Monday, June 5, 2006

Fire or Run? Run or Fire?

It was so weird. Sunday morning my dog jumps on me as if to say "time for my walk!". It’s 4:55 and the alarm goes off at 5:00. How did she know? I give in and get up instead of getting those 5 minutes back.

Down the stairs I go, Ruthie and Koda in tow. I feed both on the deck as I put on my running gear and assemble my Camelbak. After Ruthie has done her thing she wants to go back to bed. Ruthie is a six month old Miniature Schnauzer and she has had enough of the cold morning air. Up the stairs and down the hall, I open the bedroom door to put her back to bed, Jenny is holding my pager with a foul look on her face.

“Structure Fire on Johnson Road “ It is in this far off corner of Steelhead (a remote part of Mission). Should I go? I hear Sandy’s truck roar down the street. Guilt gets the better of me. I put Koda away and off I go.

I end up making Rescue 16 (third truck out). We were fourth truck on scene behind Engine 21, 25, and 15. There was enough manpower on hand that we didn’t even get out of the truck and ended up returning to station. Not before waiting around for an hour.

By 6:30 I’m back at station and on my way home where I decide to do a short long run with Koda. At 6:45 you’ve got about an hour before the kids wake up and need attention. So I run for what turns out to be 46:43 up and around the Hood. It was enough! I was back a 7:30. Isaiah got up at 8:00 and Ethan and Owen got up at 9. I probably could have run for another hour. Oh well!

Late Nite in Mission
Fully prepared to get an early start for the ferry the next day I went to bed at 10. Beep, beep, beep . . .” Structure Fire on Tunbridge”. I rolled myself out of bed and into the first truck on scene about 11. I was in a deep sleep. Single story, pitched roof older looking house probably about 50 years old was fully involved. The house had been vacant for awhile. This was arson.

Damn we’ve had quite a rash of arsons in the past month, probably 4. There was the one on 5th & Alder, Mission Central, the dumpsters, and this one. Luckily only 2 of them were fully involved structure fires.

I was tired. I’m not quite sure how this worked out when we had 4 trucks on scene but I had 3 bottle changes which is about hour and a bit on air. Some guys never even put a back on. 4 crews works out to 22 firefighters, 4 of them operators for the truck, one command, one resource sector. That leaves 16 firefighters on two lines. 3 hours to knock down and overhaul.

Famous firsts . . . First time ventilating a roof with a chainsaw. Way to cool! So cool I did it again.

I got home about 2:40 went to bed and was on the road to the ferry by 4 am. Firefighting by the way is a great core workout. My abs are on fire. Too bad its irregular

Saturday, June 3, 2006

Countdown to Disney

It's Saturday night! This time next week we'll be in Disneyland. We leave early early thursday morning. We have a 7 am flight which means we'll leave the house around 3 am and our kids still don't know. I'm pretty stoked about going. I really need the time off.

It's been a full week and surprisingly I've actually been home for most of it.

Sunday -my folks came over for the first time ever we've lived in this house since July. Although this is probably the first time we've ever invited them. I ran for 42 minutes and change in and around Mission. It wasn't much of a long run per se but I've been feeling really horrible about running lately and when I do I scrap everything and I start from scratch.

Monday- I ran again for 36 minutes and change. I'm guessing my pace is around 10 minute miles. Koda my faithful running partner was happy to comply with my slower than normal pace.

Tuesday- No run today. Slept in. Whenever I get a page in the middle of the night waking up at 5 am is tough if you don't have too. Koda my running partner was pissed. What was the page you ask? Three dumpster fires at the same time. Kids! Where are there parents at 11:30 at night.

Wednesday- Wicked Wednesday. Intervals. I was always concerned about Koda running off while I ran around the track but he stayed around went for a swim, did a few laps, basically had a ball. As for me I did 4 x 800s in 3:30 with 2 minute rests. I thought they were pretty good. I didn't have my Heart Rate Monitor so I can only gauge perceived effort which was sub-maximal. Either the rests were too long or the pace was too easy. I'll do it again next week at 3:20 same rest.

Thursday- Easy jog around the neighbourhood south of 7th Ave. Waved to a few people just getting into their morning. I saw Dean Milan driving to work and Nancy Olund picking up her morning paper and Dean Heriot into his morning drive. Just as I was finishing my run another page. "Smoke inside Mission Central" it turned out to be an attempted arson. A page later that morning came in for the duty crew, I went. It turns out somebody had taken a flammable liquid and poured a substantial amount of it all along the back of the school and lit it. The walls were all scorched. They cancelled school at Central for the day. We found the 2 gallon gas can in the bushes.

Friday- Retirement Party. After a long anticipated wait my mother-in-law is retiring from school teaching after many many years. My day started off with a quick trip to Kamloops and back. The party was held at the school first with an Open House. A lot of fanfare and speeches and some crying. It was fairly emotional but I kept it together unlike Jenny. Wow I've gained a lot of respect for teachers over the years I don't think I could do the job for a day let alone 30+ years.

Congratulations Pat . . . you rock!
The rest of the evening was spent at the local golf course. Dinner and some more speeches. I wrote a speech for which I'm quite proud of but I never got the nerve to say. Maybe I'll post it another time.

Saturday is today. I was planning a run this morning. I got the Camelbak filled and refrigerated, the clothes laid out the night before. And then at 2:30 in the freakin' morning . . .beep, beep, beep . . "Structure fire on 12th Avenue" Unfortunately or fortunately the structure was a bush. Someone had seen it from a distance and later confirm it as a hedge not a house. Good for an adrenaline rush. Bad for a good nights sleep. Needless to say I slept in and Koda was once again pissed. Oh well tomorrow is another chance at a run.