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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Century Ride

I did it!! I actually crossed off a fitness/adventure goal that I had made for myself. I seem to rarely follow through with my plans, so when I am able to actually achieve what I dreamed I might one day do.... well I feel great!

Yesterday my buddy Salman and I set out to Point Pelee (approx 70km away) at 05:00.

We decided that since I had to be back at 4pm we should leave before our originally scheduled time (7am) to give us an extra couple of hours for breaks, sight-seeing, emergencies, etc. It was dark and COLD when we set off, and we made a lot of wrong turns trying to find the Chrysler Greenway. Once we finally, FINALLY found it, it was too dark to risk biking along a pitch black route that we were unfamiliar with. We found a place to grab breakfast and I had some coffee and toast. The coffee definitely helped warm up the hands and freezing noses.

Once it got brighter outside, we set out to find the trail again. It was easy, and it was right there. And once we were on it, we realised how lucky we were, because it was a beautiful 40km straight trail that was shielded from cars, horns, pollution, and noise and would take us over half the way there without us even thinking about directions. We had no problems at this point, and we were merrily counting bunnies and pedestrians that we spotted on our way.

We knew we were getting closer as we'd hit the important bends in the Greenway and certain landmarks on the map. I was getting antsy, and each time my buddy would check the GPS I'd update facebook, in case we were lost or in trouble. Finally it was time to turn off the Greenway and onto the streets of Leamington, following the signs heading to the national park!

We could feel ourselves getting closer and closer, and it was awesome to think that we'd finally made it, and we were half-way home! We passed a lot of restaurants advertising fresh fish that were closed, because it was only around 11am at this point. We paid the $7.50 and toured the National Park a little until it was lunch time. We were able to get right to the top of Pelee Point, which is the South-most part of Canada.

We'd lucked out with a perfectly blue sky, cool temps and few clouds. There were stars when we set out, and we caught the moon rising on our way back. I love that I've managed perfect weather for my 3 longer rides:)

The way back had us take little breaks every half hour. We'd stop to drink some water, hunt around in our backpacks for stray food, and stretch/lie down to relax. It was tough because we knew how far we had until we got back, but we also knew we HAD TO KEEP GOING or we wouldn't get home to more food, water, hot showers, naps :D

We made a final last stop at a Tim's to grab bagels and cookies and then we set off on the last 40 minutes of our ride through town to get to our area. We were exhausted and got into some fights with a couple of drivers, as one almost hit my buddy (turning right on a red-light, failed to even LOOK to his right). We hit our area before my Garmin said 100, so we toured our block a few times (too many times...) to push the mileage to this beautiful number:

And we were done! I grabbed some pizza, soaked in a hot tub and went to bed at around 10pm. I slept like a log and awoke to surprisingly find that I could walk with almost no limp, and my legs weren't as sore as I thought they'd be. I'm so proud of myself, I can't stop bragging and reading about centuries online.
I have another (easier?) goal coming up next weekend, 100km. It'll be an organised ride, my first, so I'm still excited! I need to remember a few things from this ride to help improve my next one, and I'll be set for a great time :)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

New Apt

My new apartment is not what I had imagined it to be... but it's a lot better in a lot of ways.
We don't have internet until Wednesday, so I've been hiking the 10 minutes to school everyday to check my email, watch some TV, send out resumes and talk to people.

I've had to learn to compromise on what seems like EVERYTHING. I can't be a slob at my new place - my boyfriend seems to get anxious if things aren't in their rightful place, and he won't sit down to relax unless all teh dishes are washed and everything is clean. Our new place is quite spotless and organised, but it takes a lot of effort.

I've had to move all of my things to make room for his, but we seem to have found a lovely balance so far. He has claimed the spare bedroom as his office/laboratory and the bedroom is decorated with my posters, holds most of my clothes in the closet, and we're using  my sheets & pillows on his (larger) bed.

I have lots of plans for the next month, mainly to BECOME EMPLOYED already!
We've been getting into a lovely routine of evening walks to the park, and I've been experimenting running up the one massive hill. It's insanely tall - I finally ran all the way up and almost puked. My aim for the end of this month is to do repeats of it - ALL the way up. We'll see how it goes.

I'll update again with pics (maybe) and more frequency once we have internet! :)

Monday, August 20, 2012

Apartment Decorating

It's 11pm and after a bath and some tea, I should be drifting off...
But I'm too excited! (and too nervous about the Rise & Shine circuit tomorrow at 0645!)
I keep thinking about my new apartment, how I'll get the new keys this week and how it's going to look, feel and become as we move into it.
I think I've found a pretty neat room-mate, second to only my sister. I hope it will be a tidy, quiet, love-filled apartment.

As I couldn't sleep, I decided to look through some decoration, home & living blogs... you know, fuel for my dreams? Anyway, I wanted to share a few more thoughts I wanted for my new places, as well as some cool pictures I came across. I'll put the URL of the place I found the pictures as the caption.

  • Candles EVERYWHERE!
  • Fairy lights.... in the doorways? (I currently have two sets merged together, in my bedroom.)
  • Bright colours... nice furniture? False! We'll probably just have whatever things people decide to donate to us. I'm currently hoping we have a full set of everything we need, but secretly dreaming of matching furniture and curtains :)
  • A clean closet. I try and make it a habit to recycle my clothes (and I always buy second-hand) every now and then, mostly when the seasons change. I've been lazy lately and kept all the stuff for donation out in bags/suitcases in the hallway. They're supposed to be in my way to remind me, but I just remember how I'll need a car, helping hands, multiple trips, a desire to do it...  However, in a real attempt to get it all sorted, my boyfriend let me know that they'll be used to sound-proof my current roomie's place, as he'll be a metal drummer in a house of girls, so I already know how annoying that can be.
  • Organised bookshelves! Yes, plural! I had an old balance-challenged bookshelf that I shared with a previous room-mate. Its days were spent holding up lots and lots of hard-back, extremely huge business and psychology textbooks, so it has lower-, higher-, and general back pain ;) Calvin brought me a brand new, magestic-looking one, so I hope to keep both of them in full use, side-by-side.
  • Excellent food, everywhere! My grocery bill is currently just for me - I buy my own soy/almond/coconut milk, I rarely buy eggs, and most of my weekly budget goes to fruits & veggies. I borrow some staples (bananas, ketchup, onions, garlic, spices) but buy my own pasta and rice whenever I decide I want it. It'll be nice to split up the weekly grocery bill and tweak both our diets a little bit. With a shift for more home-cooked common foods, and less candy, sweets, chips, packaged foods, and processed cheese.
  • I need to find a new place for my composting worms... they are currently happy and relaxed in a cupboard in the living room, in a quiet, dark, cool place. Having them a couple years, I have been able to keep them alive! expand them to three plastic containers vs. the yogurt cup they first came in. I need to find a place that won't be disturbed often, but isn't so hidden that I'll forget about them.
  • A wall of plants. Not really - but Calvin has been really excited to mush together a bunch of flower containers into a compressed, space-saving way. I'll try figure out how it's going to work once we move everything in and see how much space we have. Maybe the bookshelf might have space for some pots?
    1. Hanging plant 'pots'.
    2. Candles made from wine bottles!
    3. Storage within a lamp stem. 
    4. Storage for the bathroom.


      Heading to the gym in two minutes... hoping to get a good sweat going. I'm also avoiding strangers coming in to see our house, ha!

      Excited for the rowing machine, some miles on the treadmill and a neat bike ride under clouds. Not necessarily in that order.

      How's your Monday going?
      Anybody else have a sweat-proof sports bra? :)
      Edit: ran 2.85 miles before my right ankle felt a bit weird (I was aiming for 4mi). I bought a new pair of rollerblades a couple of days ago. It's been loads of fun to glide down the riverside trail! It's definitely been a huge adjustment, however, as my 22 year-old self isn't as balanced, fast-moving or confident one on blade as my 10 year-old self was.

      I then did 2km on the rowing machine, in 9.20mins. It's loads of fun, but I'm worried my technique isn't perfect - something I've read about that can injure one in time. I might ask a personal trainer to watch me and offer tips? I still have a free hour session that's due to expire August 31st!

      And the highlight of my Monday? 15 minutes in the sauna - it was lovely :) I can't wait for cooler, fall weather when the sauna will be what I look forward to while on the treadmill :D

      Saturday, August 11, 2012

      New Gym

      Two weeks of August have almost flown by! I've been a member at my new gym for 11 days now, and I haven't been able to honour my challenge and go everyday.
      I had planned to go spinning yesterday morning. I had planned to attend yoga this morning. I missed out yesterday because it was waaaay too early (6:30) and I went to bed late, and I didn't go this morning... well because I decided to shuffle my schedule around and go before work.

      I woke up at around 8:30 this morning, cleaned some dishes, make some soup, emailed some people and read some things. I also watched some TV.

      I decided I had a neat little window between 2pm and work at 4 to hit the gym for a treadmill run. I miscalculated and ended up having time for 2miles and a .5mile cool-down.

      9:27, 8:48, 6:07

      I was a puddle of sweat by the time I finished, but I'm pleased to say that I didn't stop until mile 2 :) I took my first shower at the gym and noticed a few things:

      • the showers are super tall. I haven't seen showers THIS TALL/high in Canada since I arrived. I usually have to squat a little to wash my hair, and I'm short! It wasn't a very pleasant surprise as I hadn't taken out my contacts and they got a bit splashed.
      • the gym has soap! Really nice smelling soap. So I don't ever have to bring mine, which is awesome, because I hate having to put a slippery soap bar in a baggy and take it home... such a mess.
      • the water fountain is a bit silly. There isn't a very high stream, so it doesn't allow me to fill up my whole bottle in one go, but that's pretty much the standard, I think.
      Once I had toweled and changed, I grabbed my deodorant from my bag and started spraying myself... only to find out that it was sun-block! At least I smell like a tanned person vs. a  sweaty smelly person, so it's okay, but I have many things to learn until I achieve the perfect gym-shower-work experience.

      I did, however, manage to grab a decent picture of my soaked shirt, so I'll post that once I get home and can upload the photo. It's such a silly tradition, isn't it? :)

      Friday, August 10, 2012

      Belle River Bike

      My last big cycling post had my longest bike being 36 miles (58km) in almost 3 hours.
      I'd like to update that number to 38miles (61km)  in 3h15.
      I had a few free hours yesterday and the weather was cloudy, cool, and perfect for a long ride. I gathered up some snacks, packed spare clothes and headed out, telling my room-mates I'd be back in 4 hours.
      While it did take 4 hours total, I only rode for 3 of those hours. I meant to bike from Windsor - Belle River (19mi/30km according to Google) but made it to about 6km away before I decided I couldn't make it. I was stuck at a left-hand turn for about 10 minutes, waiting for a break in traffic. I never found one, and looking at the highway, I couldn't even see a safe space to cycle on. So I turned back to a restaurant I'd seen on my way there, and had a huge lovely salad for dinner.
      The ride was great, and I managed to pick up some cherries and blueberries at a place off the side of the road to enjoy as a reward for making it back. It did rain the whole first half of the ride, and changing into dry clothes at the restaurant felt great. Everyone there was suitably impressed that I'd biked all the way from Windsor, which was obviously awesome :)

      My bum hurts a bit today, but my legs feel great! This is the previous list I had made up of my cycling goals:

      • Bike from Windsor-Point Pelee-Windsor, ~150km roundtrip, but I'd like to camp for a night there.
      • (Metric) Century Ride, September 29th, 2012.
      • Bike from Windsor-London (suburbs), 198km (~10hours)
      It looks like I'll be on track to do the Pelee ride soon. I bought a 'back roads' map of Ontario and I'm hoping to have the time and energy! to map out a longer ride soon. The very best thing is that 38ish miles burns close to 2000 calories (according to dailymile), and I can't stop thinking of the awesome snacks I could bring on a ride! And all the awesome things I'll see! I'll leave you with a couple of pictures from my ride yesterday - I managed to find two really gorgeous places.

      This is where I had my granola-bar lunch

      Those houses must have THE BEST views ever

      My bike's view while riding :)

      Wednesday, August 8, 2012


      I gave in my deposit on the new apartment and had a chance to check it out a bit today.
      I'm super excited because I'll get to have a quiet, clean place to set my own schedule in, find running routes from, and learn new things in.

      As we've been approaching move-in day, we've been talking about things we're going to do once we move in. I've been keeping a mental list, but I thought it might be time to write it down.
      Some of the things might be weird, so bear with me.

      • bake bread
      • make jam
      • pancakes every weekend? (a tradition my mother started!)
      • start a piggy bank for our (3 year-dating) anniversary
      • start a separate piggy bank to save up for things
      • have a weekend guest over, most likely MF.
      • home-made pizza
      • purchase a lovely rug.