Sunday, September 18, 2011

Late for the Start!

Saturday morning we set out for the Frosty Mtn 27km event in Manning Park. This event offers 3 distances 50km, 27km and 13km. You can do "day of" registration so we planned to do this keeping our options open.

Initially we planned to do the 50km event. Neil had spent the week in Alberta and didn't arrive home until late Friday night. We made the decision to do the 27km event. We left home at 7:15 and arrived as planned at the start line at the Lightning Lakes Day area at 9:30am. I wondered why everyone was ready to go at the start line when we had 30 minutes to go. Craig greeted us and informed us "it's time!" I didn't really understand what he meant because in my head we still had 30 minutes to register. I went to the toilet and while in there I heard Gottfried RD say "go". Neil had registered us, I signed the waiver and threw on my pack and we headed out.

We caught the sweep and she told us to go ahead. It wasn't long and we started to see more people. This event starts out on some beautiful trails. Once the trail starts to climb it is quite a steep climb until the summit of Mt. Frosty 7,800 feet. Once up to the summit the descent starts with lots of scree and loose rocks. I was glad to get through this section and then it was primarily a long run down back to the day area of Lightning Lakes. Once we finished we saw a few of the runners coming in including Andy who had ran the 50km event.

Starting out on the nice lower trails before the climb up Mt. Frosty. We're late!

Heading down!

Steep Down!

Craig heading up...almost there!

Liza coming up Mt. Frosty.

Almost there...Lightning Lakes day area ahead.

The Finish!

Fun with friends at Dave and Helen's camp fire...Nice and Relaxing!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Hyde Park to Hayward Lake

We started our final day in London with a run in Hyde Park. The weather from the room looked showery and cool. We headed out completely over dressed. I had my light jacket off before I started running and should have worn short sleeves. Wow did we both find it sweaty! It was a great final loop around the park and we enjoyed listening to the sound checks as they prepared for the final night of the BBC Proms in the Park.

A quick bite to eat at the hotel before the taxi arrived to take us to Heathrow. The flight went well and I enjoyed watching some comedy on board. The flights never seem long enough these days to enjoy some quiet time!

It was a beautiful evening as we arrived in Vancouver just prior to sunset. We managed to stay up until 10:30pm but I was restless at 2:30 am (not good!) Neil reminded me he was hoping we could make it to 5am. I tossed and turned and made it to 5am. It was dark when we had our breakfast and we watched live the 10th year memorial of 9/11. Once light and the temperature rose we set out for a run at Hayward Lake for aprox 1 hr 15 min. The rest of the day consisted of unpacking, washing clothes, grocery shopping and finished with a bike ride on the Pitt Meadows dykes. It was a warm, clear, beautiful evening.

Back to work tomorrow after a memorable two weeks. Here's to the next VaCa!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Olympic Marathon Route and Wicked!

Today we set out to experience the proposed 2012 London Olympic Marathon Route. We started out slowly as we happened to come upon the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace and took the time to watch this spectacle. Big crowds - lots of officiation to the ceremony and it seemed more than just your regular "changing of the guard" to us! Once completed, we carried on to the start of the marathon route on the Mall.

The planned route consists of one 2.2 mile loop around St. James Park and Westminster and then three 8 mile loops out to the Tower of London and back, taking in the business and finacial heart of London in and around St. Pauls Cathedral on route. It is a wonderful route that will show off the city and all its sights in spectacular fashion to the world but.......if you are one of the athletes you may want to practice your tight cornering at speed! Hopefully, the pack will thin out fast because there is not much room on some of the small lanes and side streets! I really enjoyed the route and I look forward to watching the action of the Olympic Marathon next summer knowing that Neil and I have tread where the truly great athletes of the world will do so! We ran about 25km of the marathon route. It was tricky with traffic, crowds of people and construction crews seemingly everywhere to stick to the course consistently without making some diversions but a very nice course.

We stopped for a snack/coffee at Starbucks in this area. It was really tiny and Neil was laughing at me how I managed to hit almost everyone in the store with my running pack! One of the staff actually asked about my pack - funny thing lots of looks at us with our packs out there on the streets of London. Many runners but not carrying a hydration pack! But it did come in handy so I could take my jacket on and off, add my hat when required and to have a pouch for the map. The concierage at the hotel printed off the map in colour so we had an updated copy.

Tonight we went to the Apollo Theater and saw "Wicked" - awesome! Close to our hotel so we could walk there in 10 minutes.

Tomorrow is our final day and plan to do a little shopping before heading home.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Roma was great - now back to London!

We had a fantastic time in Rome. Weather was hot 30 plus degrees, and we coped well. Plenty of sunscreen, light clothing, water and frequent stops. We had a great time with Kendall and Chris and managed to keep going with viewing the sites, shopping, and eating until late at night. One of the interesting moments was the general strike that took place while we were there. We really noticed the police appearance especially around the government buildings. The strike impacted the tourists spots such as the Colosseum and the Imperial Fora which were both closed. Our hotel posted signs saying reduced service for the day (we were out and didn't notice) On our return to London today the security personnnel at the Rome airport was also reduced which created horrendous hot line ups. Other than the strike - it was a great few days. Now back in London where we appreciated no longer sweating and wearing our sweaters out for Thai food tonight. Tomorrow we plan to run the 2012 Olympic Marathon route. Occasional showers are predicted so we will plan for all weather with our packs. Hoping for some coffee and food breaks along the way! Theater tickets for Wicked tomorrow night.

Sunday, September 4, 2011


Today we travelled by train from Florence to Rome. That was the easy part of the journey!

We drove from San Felice to the center of Florence to drop the car off. The GPS was helpful but it was still a bit stressful driving and negotiating the traffic. We had the classic experience of wheeling our luggage from the car rental drop off to the train station when the wheel on my suitcase jammed and no longer turned. It was a drag of the luggage through the streets of Florence, not a stroll!

The train journey was pleasant and by chance a family of 4 from Vancouver were sitting next to us. Once we arrived in Rome we took a taxi to the hotel and think we were completely ripped off but we were delivered close by. Kendall texted "are you here?" We were excited to meet up with our niece Kendall and Chris on their honeymoon. We met them for a cold drink and then continued on to Piazza Navona where we all had dinner together. It had started to rain by now and wow did it ever rain (and still is)! We were not prepared at all and ended up buying umbrellas on the street and then taking a taxi back to our hotels. Kendall and Chris have tours booked for the AM to the Vatican Museums. We have been on the tours before so will just wander around on our own and soak up the atmosphere and experience of Roma!
Great to be here! Can't upload photos for some reason tonight.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Cortona and Montepulciano

Today was hot! 35 degrees plus. Amazing how you can sweat so much doing nothing! We visited Cortona and Montepulciano today. Visually stunning and very interesting hill top towns that were all about the food and wine - at least that is what we thought!

In Cortona, we had lunch at a lovely restaurant above the main piazza and had the pleasure of seeing a bride and groom having wedding photos taken in the piazza. Nice! Lunch was interesting too - we shared a selection of Tuscan starters which were very good and enjoyed a glass of the local white wine. We then carried on to Montepulciano.

The road was well sign posted so we were able to turn the drive you crazy Garmin GPS off! Once there we remembered it well! Long hill walk up to the Grande Piazza but unfortunately we arrived when much of the city was closed. We enjoyed walking around but it was really hot and we were desperate for a light cooling refreshment at one of the countless cafe's or bars. Finally, a place was open just before we arrived back at the car. Amazing how much Frizzante water a person can drink!

Once back at our hotel we enjoyed our final run out on the road to Bossi and back. We are quite proud of the fact that despite the heat and being on vacation we ran every day while here in Tuscany. The distances may have been short but at least we kept the "wheels turning" as Neil says! Dinner was as previous, under the clear night sky on the patio, for tomorrow we leave for Rome where will meet up with our neice Kendall and her husband Chris. They were recently married in Vancouver and are travelling on their honeymoon - we will be sure to give them lots of personal space :)!

Friday, September 2, 2011

San Gimignano

Today we went for a day trip to San Gimignano - this pedestrianized hilltop town boasts 14 towers in it's skyline. In it's day, it was a mass of stone towers as local affluent people built towers as a display of wealth and power, all vying for the tallest tower.

It was a hot day, 35 degrees and moderately busy. The drive from San Felice was a bit twisty and at one point we stopped so I could get some fresh although hot air! We enjoyed walking the streets and the shops of San Gimignano, stopping occassionally for a refreshing Gelato from the "World Champion Gelato Maker" shop in town or a cold drink in one of the beautiful Piazza's.

On the return journey back to our hotel we tried the GPS that came with the car, not sure how we got back but we did although not the route we would have chosen on the map! Had a nice run once back along the road to Bossi, very quiet and almost met darkness on our return. Glad it was quiet as I was wearing black with no reflection!

Dinner on the patio tonight with the Canadian waitress as of last night. She commented in a roundabout way how nice and polite the Canadian guests always are compared to some of the more onerous nations around the world! Tomorrow we have a tour of the winery where we are staying and plan to go on to the town of Cortona.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Chianti Country

We started the day with a run - it was hard going with the sun beating down on us but a great way to pick up some colour! With the Hotel package there was a trip to the spa included. Neil gracefully declined, ;-) but I gave it a go! Lots of "wine therapy" the most beneficial I think was the actual glass of wine I received! We headed out by car to explore Chianti Country. First stop Gaiole in Chianti where it was really warm as we walked around. Most of the shops were closed with the heat of the day. Next stop Badia A Coltibuono, a winery. Some of their wines are available in Canada so we were somewhat familiar with them. They have a nice gift shop where we picked up a few items. Next stop Radda in Chianti which was bustling with tourists. Awesome views and some great gift shops. We stopped for some Bruscetta and Coffee before heading on to Castellina in Chianti. I found the leather shop that 10 years ago I bought a hand bag at and sure enough on this trip, there was a pair of shoes which I desperately needed! We stopped for a cold drink before driving back to our hotel. The evening was so peaceful and with the temperatures dropping to 25 degrees this evening, we went for a run down the hill and back up with the sun setting on the Tuscan hills...nice! Tonight we enjoyed dinner on the outdoor patio, our waitress was from Quebec City, Canada so we had a good chat...concluding that Canada was a good place to live! Tomorrow we are off to San Gimignano one of the most famous and picturesque towns in Tuscany.