Wednesday, December 31, 2014

My Marcothon moved from Loch Ness to Edinburgh and then back to Vancouver

After leaving the Inverness area we spent a few more days in Edinburgh. We started each day with a run. Neil and Graeme did an early morning speed run. I chose a later start on my own and a more leisurely pace. The weather was very nice, cold and clear.
We returned back to Vancouver last night. I had my final Marcothon run this morning in Golden Ears Park. Wow - it was a quick 10 day trip. Now the challenge will be to try and stay awake until midnight tonight to bring in the New Year. The 8 hour time difference and 9 hour flight from London always makes the first few days at home tough. The Champagne is chilling, Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

My Marcothon moved from Edinburgh to Loch Ness

Before leaving Edinburgh to spend Christmas at Loch Ness, we enjoyed another run on the Salisbury Crags in the morning.
On December 24th, Christmas Eve we headed out to go up Meallfuarvonie.  This round top hill is the highest peak around the shores of Loch Ness at 2283feet. It is a classic feature when viewing the loch from all directions.  Neil has always had his eye on hiking this hill and Christmas Eve was the day we set out to do this. We bundled up well and Neil carried a pack with extra gear.  One thing I didn't bring with me from home was proper foot wear for this type of outing. Note my light trainers!
As we climbed the temperature dropped and the wind picked up. It was snowy and icy underfoot although if you broke through, it was wet and boggy. I was starting to whine about my feet being frozen and of course it landed on deaf ears. No sympathy from the Ambrose brothers!
The conditions soon turned|arctic like and we were really facing the challenges of mother nature.  Neil reckons the winds at the summit were 120km/hr plus.  It was a white out blizzard and so the obligator stone was added to the cairn and a hasty retreat was hastened to lower ground.   
Things calmed down for the return journey and we were treated to nice views of Loch Ness. We were all happy to reach the car and quickly change out of our wet clothes. It was a memorable Scottish outing!
Christmas morning we woke to a beautiful sunny crisp day. We decided to go up Mealldonne a
 short drive from Graeme and Fiona's house.
Mealldonne the goal for today.
Frost underfoot - nice views!
That's snow covered Meallfuarvonie rising above the clouds where we were yesterday.

The top had a bit of snow and ice but nothing like yesterday's outing.
Happy Christmas to All!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

My Marcothon moves from Vancouver to Edinburgh

It was a very good start for the journey from Vancouver to Edinburgh with an upgrade to First Class on British Airways!
Enjoying a coffee at Starbucks on the Royal Mile to get kick started and over the jet lag.
More Starbucks for me too!
My Marcothon today took place by running down the Royal Mile in Edinburgh with an out and back at the bottom of the Salisbury Crags and then back up the Royal Mile to St. Giles Street. Dinner with family was calling!
I ran past the Scottish Parliament.
Back to our accommodation. It gets dark here early at this time of year. Good thing I brought my head lamp! Happy Christmas!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Why We Do the Things We Do!

Today was a good exercise day! The Friday morning spin class was led by my favourite instructor and Neil and I had a run together on my favourite trail at Hayward Lake. I've been running the midweek Marcothon runs on my own so it was nice to have Neil join me today.

My friend Marla sent me a poem she wrote after completing an ultra event. I think it illustrates very nicely why we do what we do!

The Worst Yet Best Sleep
Trying to sleep after an ultra trail race!
My head hit the pillow; I've been waiting for this moment.
I told myself - this is what I look forward to the most after a long race.
I toss, I turn, I tumble and I torment.
My shoulders are stiff from carrying my pack.
My butt is sore from climbing.
My quads are sore from down hills.
My calves are sore from grinding up to viewpoints.
My feet are sore from carrying my body over roots and rocks.
My stomach cries for calories.
Why do I look forward to this the most - this sleepless night?
I smile as I lay trying to anticipate the next sleeping position.
I know why I look forward to this the most - this sleepless night.
I have shoulders to carry my pack.
I have power to climb up.
I have able legs to go down.
I have calves that take me to views.
I have eyes to these views.
I have feet that can carry me many miles and not give up.
I have food to eat.
I'm alive and fortunate to enjoy a long trail race.
My Sleepless night reminds me of this.
That's why I look forward to this moment the most - this sleepless night.
I'm alive.
By Marla
At this time of year it is nice to reflect on the year gone past and to set goals for the upcoming year. I hope you find this poem inspirational as we celebrate the year 2014 and dream big for 2015! ;-)
Merry Christmas!


Sunday, December 14, 2014

Marcothon from Vancouver


Seawall - Coal Harbour, Vancouver.
How is your Marcothon going? Wow it was tough last week with very high winds and heavy rain here in Vancouver. Neil has been very busy with his work so those mid week runs I have been on my own. Thankfully we have a long driveway at the farm that allows for loops! This weekend we ran on the seawall in Vancouver. Today, Fergus and I ran through Stanley Park over to English Bay and then back to Coal Harbour. Fergus (dog) is now passed out on the couch. Here's hoping the weather is better this week...I will be dodging a few Christmas parties this week. I'm sure they won't mind if I show up in my running gear!?

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Santa Shuffle

This Saturday, Neil and I participated in the Vancouver Santa Shuffle. It is a 5km Fun Run that raises money for the local Salvation Army. It started in Stanley Park on the Seawall, close to the condo. Our plan was to walk/run to the start but at the last minute we realized it started on the other side of the park at Lumberman's Arch so we jumped in the car so we would make the race start. Once we arrived at the start area the parking lot was full and we ended up having to rush to make it to the start line. Then I noticed fellow runners all had race bibs on and we didn't! It had been a busy week and we had forgotten to pick up race packages! Fortunately their was package pick up at the start line 
This lovely Santa hat was inside...what a nice surprise! The crowd was off and Neil and I joined in.  Then I noticed that everyone else's number were red and ours were green ;-) We were in the wrong event?!?  Oh well, carry on and have some fun! Seemed like we were all running the same way so that was a good sign! It all worked out in the end and we had fun while raising money for a very worthwhile charity.    
When we finished we were rewarded with this lovely Santa Claus medal. I think it's the most intricate design I've seen on a race medal. Despite the stressful race start, and perhaps participating in the wrong event by starting at the wrong time, it was a delightful Fun Run. 
Here's Fergus enjoying the fire! Hope your Marcothon is going well!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Eastern Canada Trip

This past October, Neil and I met Graeme and Fiona in Halifax Nova Scotia where we began a wonderful trip to Cape Breton, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia. We had really good weather and the fall colours were at their prime. Here are a few photos:
Hiking off the Cabot Trail, Cape Breton
Sunrise on a morning run, Cape Breton
Views from a hike looking out to where we stayed in Cape Breton
 Graeme and I, nice colours on this hike!
Colour everywhere!
Keltic Lodge where we stayed in Cape Breton
Beautiful beaches, Prince Edward Island
Bike ride on the Confederation Trail, Prince Edward Island
The Great George Hotel, Charlottetown, PEI
Sunset at Annapolis Royale, Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia
Winery in the Annapolis Valley
More colours!
And now, jump forward to today in Vancouver.........
Last night the temperatures dropped across British Columbia. -6 C at our place this morning. Lots of ice, a couple inches of snow.
 Today's snowfall in Vancouver
Cold run on the dykes this morning. Tomorrow we are running on the Vancouver Seawall in a local event. Looks like it could be very cold and icy!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Mount Seymour on a Spectacular Fall Day.

It was a wet week in Vancouver - probably our worst weather week since the Spring. But the weather cleared for Saturday and Sunday and wow what spectacular fall days! Saturday we spent time on the seawall in Vancouver, and Sunday we climbed Mount Seymour with Kirsty and Glyn. Mount Seymour is one of the North Shore Vancouver ski mountains in Winter and a popular hiking area in Summer. Hard to believe that we will probably be snowshoeing here in a matter of weeks.  We started just after 9 am (I had to negotiate the late start!) but we still managed to beat the crowds who were heading up on our descent. Mount Seymour towers over Vancouver at 4,754 feet. It is a massive mountain with 2 sub peaks, 1st pump and second pump. The peak is named 3rd pump. That's Glyn at the top of this rock section. Thankfully the rock was dry!

My turn!
The top of 2nd pump - snack break!
The top of Mount Seymour! Fantastic panoramic views.
The view from the top of Mount Seymour is truly spectacular on a clear day like today. You can see Vancouver to the south, part of Indian Arm to the east, Grouse Mountain to the west, and an enormous section of the Coastal Mountain Range to the north. That is Cathedral Mountain in the background of this picture. Neil, Dave and I were there almost a year ago to the day as part of the Bagger Challenge.

 Kirsty's panoramic view.

Both Saturday and Sunday evening I took my bike down to the Pitt Meadows dykes to enjoy the evening before the sun set. The views were truly spectacular with nice reflections on the calm water. Last night I came upon photographers capturing the perfect light - tonight I saw a painter all set up with her easel trying to replicate the beauty.


Oh so peaceful...the calm before the autumn storms. Happy Autumn!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Sea to Sky Gondola and the Skyline Ridge Trail

This past spring a new Gondola opened in Squamish. It takes people up to 2,905 feet into some spectacular scenery and formerly inaccessible terrain. With it being the last official summer weekend with outstanding weather - it was our Sunday destination.
After cruising at a good pace along dirt roads the trail started to climb and the path narrowed. We followed the Skyline Ridge Trail which took us quite high into the alpine.
That's the town of Squamish below. We were getting really up there.
The views were amazing. We stood directly across from this rocky beast. Mount Habrich which is at 5,879 feet.
That's Kirsty, myself and Rachel. Neil was out numbered 3:1 on this outing. ;-)
Sky Pilot (6,663 feet) and Co Pilot (6,171 feet) appeared after some significant climbing. The trails were freshly cut in sections making it very pleasant to travel on.
One of Kirsty's Panoramic Views!
A little closer to Sky Pilot and Co Pilot.
The trail travels by several very peaceful alpine lakes.
Along the journey we saw some large bear scat and fresh paw prints in the soil. It was bear country!
We turned around after about 3 hours of climbing. Our purpose for the day was to check out the area that the new gondola has opened up. Another photo opportunity of the views before descending.
What a great day out! 5 hours 15 minutes total return trip back to the Gondola.The weather was so warm for being late in September. Fall officially begins tonight so that may have been one of the last outings of the summer. This area will be so great for winter activities such as snow shoeing. We are going to purchase winter passes for the Gondola so we can enjoy the back country this winter. There is a whole new playground that is now accessible  ;-)