Life, Adventure, and Fitness

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Summer Plans

Now that I know where I’m going to be this summer, I can start really planning things. A couple of things hinge on being able to take some time off work, but I think it will all work out. So, here is a tentative calendar for the summer (there will be other weekend trips and whatnot, but this sums up the races and the one big trip I want to do):

Run the Great Lakes 10km run – June 7?? (date isn’t finalized yet)
Canoe the Missinaibi River (Honeymoon trip!)
8 Hours of Superior Singletrack Mountain Bike Race – July 25
St. Joseph’s Island Olympic Duathlon – August 8 (dependent on amount of road biking I do…this one might get cut)
Logs, Rock, and Steel Championship Course – September 5
CIBC Run For the Cure 5km – October 4
Canoe Trip in Temagami – around Thanksgiving weekend

Aaaand maybe some other 5k races here and there, we shall see.

Bring on summer!!


April 2, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I got the job!!!

So, that uncertainty I mentioned in the last post?


My last contract ended on March 20, IĀ  had another interview last Thursday, and this morning I got the call that I got the job! It’s another contract, but this time it’s for 2 years. Well, one 40 week term plus another 40 week term, assuming I don’t screw up terribly. Which I don’t really plan on doing. So I am basically set for two years. After which I will have accumulated a solid 3 years of work experience, and hopefully the economy will be rockin’ and rollin’ again by then.

And, best of all, this new position is in Sault Ste Marie, so we get to move there! I’m uber excited to be moving to a larger centre, with more people to hang out with, and lots of opportunities for mountain biking and paddling and skiing. My job starts on April 14, and I’m going to visit my parents on Easter weekend, so there is a lot of packing and sorting to do over the next week and a half.

Which is just fine by me!

And now I can really start to plan my summer! Woohoo!


March 31, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Turning the Corner

Now that the Sibley Ski Race is over and Spring is (hopefully) around the corner, my focus is shifting from skiing and winter to running, biking, and paddling. Late Winter/early Spring is always a bit of a challenge fitness-wise. After skiing like a demon all winter, it’s time to turn to other activities. However, while I can easily xcountry ski 5-7 days a week, this is not the case with running. Over the past few months I’ve been doing some short runs, usually totaling 13-19km a week. Increasing this mileage too quickly would definitely lead to injury, and ultimately no running at all. Which would be bad.

So I feel a little stuck because it will be hard to keep getting as much endurance cardio exercise in now that skiing is ending, running is starting, but biking won’t begin for a few weeks. However, paddling is also starting, and rather than mope around I’ve come up with a plan for the next little while, focusing on increasing running mileage and increasing core and upper body strength for paddling. It’s not a super rigid plan, but the essence of it is as follows:

1. Gradually increase running mileage. There are various general rules for increasing mileage. Some say no more than 10% a week, others say you can increase each individual run by 1km. I’ll play around a bit, and see what I can do. This week will be 3 runs, totalling 22-23km. Next week hoping to hit 25km, and will probably split it into 4 shorter runs. And so on and so forth. Eventually I would like to hit 40-50km per week. At which point I will start adding in some speed type workouts, but no need to start planning those yet šŸ™‚

2. Paddle a couple of times a week, as possible. Right now there is still ice on Lake Superior, so all our paddling is on the river (flat water, not whitewater though). It would be nice to get out 2-4x per week, but at this time of year it’s very weather dependent.

3. Work on core and upper body strength 3-4x per week. I have some hand weights, a yoga mat, and an exercise ball, and have put together a little at-home routine that takes about 40min. I’ll probably add a few more exercises so it lasts more like an hour. If I can’t overdose on endurance sports, I may as well use the time to get stronger!

4. Continue xcountry skiing once in awhile, as long as the snow is decent. I’m turning my focus to running and other summer sports now, but this will still be a nice complement here and there.

I’ve also been looking at races and events, and am tentatively coming up with some racing plans for the Spring, Summer, and Fall. However, these plans are somewhat dependent on where I end up working, where we’re living, etc. Soooo things are a little too uncertain right now to commit to anything. Hopefully this will not be the case for long!

March 30, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

First Paddle of 2009!

Okay fine, it was Conor’s second paddle of 2009, but it was MY first. The daytime temperature hit well above zero this week, and we took advantage of it (plus the extra daylight – thank you time change!) to head out for a paddle on Monday evening. The lake is still covered in thick ice, but the river has been open for awhile now.


March 18, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Winter Camping

One of the great things about skiing is the wide variety of forms it can take, and I enjoy pretty much all varieties. I mix it up between skate and classic skiing on groomed trails, mellow backcountry, and more extreme telemark, backcountry mostly and sometimes at a ski hill. With last weekend dedicated to some tough skate ski racing, this weekend we opted for a different experience and settled on some winter camping.

We have a rough goal of trying to get out winter camping once a winter. And only on relatively warm-ish weekends. None of this -30C stuff. Actually, none of that -20C stuff. Or -15C stuff… Nope, we’re pretty much -15C or above type winter campers. Which is darn cold enough, really. This weekend was forecast to be sunny and fairly warm, so it fit our criteria. Last year we only camped for one night on our winter trip, and decided to ante it up a bit this year with two nights out. This schedule had the added bonus of allowing for a good ski on Saturday, without dragging along all our gear.

We left on Friday right after work. We started skiing sometime around 6:15, and skied 6.5km into Mash Lake, where we set up our camp. Managed to have everything set up while we still had some daylight, and then had dinner in the dark.

Our Camp


And of course, the setup included digging The Cooking Trench:



On Saturday morning we took ‘er easy, and set off skiing at about 10:30am. Neither of us were feeling super energetic, but we did a nice tour around Old Woman Lake. On the way to the lake we saw some neat wolf prints:


Skied around the lake, checking out the shorelines and the islands. Last time we were here was in a canoe in the summer, so it was fun to come back in the winter again.


And of course, we did the requisite stop at the creepy, ghetto cabin to sign the guestbook. They should really rip that thing down before it falls down.


After we’d explored the lake we headed back to camp, chilled out in the tent reading for awhile, and then had dinner before settling in for the night.


Sunday was forecast to hit +5C, so we got a move on in the morning and skied out to the car before the snow got too heavy and sticky.

March 16, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

2009 Sibley Loppet = Awesome!

Last weekend Conor and I drove to Thunder Bay, where we met my parents for a weekend of skiing. Specifically, we were skiing the 2009 Sibley Loppet. Conor and I both skied the 50k skate, my Dad skied the 50k classic, and my Mom skied the 20k classic. With a 10k, 20k, 35k, 50k classic, and 50k skate race this event really had something for everyone.

Conor and I got lucky because the conditions were fantastic and fast for skate skiing. The races started in waves. I had planned to start in the second wave, but ended up in the first wave, which was intended for skiers who anticipated finishing in 3h15min or less. I was expecting about 3h55min. Oops. I really my mistake before the start gun went off, but it was too late to back out. Besides, looking around me I was pretty sure that I was not the only one who technically shouldn’t be there. Turns out I was right, and I was actually faster than quite a few people in that wave. Note to race announcers – make sure people can hear you clearly next time!

BUT, as it turned out, I had an amazing race, skied way faster than expected, and finished in 3:10.17! So I was in the right wave after all!!! I won’t bore you with details of the entire race, but basically my plan was to start fast and hopefully not crash and burn mid-way, because the last thing I wanted was to finish with too much gas left in the tank, knowing I could have gone faster. I also had some fun tracking and blasting by a few folks in spandex suits. I drank water or gatorade at about 4 of the aid stations, and munched some chocolate at 2 of them. I didn’t touch the power gels I had brought. I just never felt like taking the time to dig them out of my pocket and eat them. The real pros had the gels stapled to their race numbers or jackets so they could just rip them off and slurp them on the go. Something to experiment with later.

Conor had a great race too, finishing in 2:39.45. My Dad suffered a bit, but that’s what you get for living in Winnipeg and then coming to an area with actual hills for a 50k race! But he pulled through and finished it up. My Mom had an enjoyable 20k ski. Good times all around!

March 15, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment


Why this blog? Some people have blogs dedicated to weight loss. Other people use blogs to track their running, to chat about work, to share their passion for food, even to document hairstyles. Mine will be…not that focused. Rather, it will cover a gamut of topics, depending on what mood I’m in. Nonetheless, you will probably find that many of the posts fit into one of a few general themes.

  • Outdoor adventure: Getting outside and having fun is a huge part of my life. You will probably see a large proportion of writing devoted to skiing, paddling, camping, biking, and running, among other things.
  • Health and Fitness: I’m working hard to get in great shape, which is a combo of physical activity and eating well. So there may be some commentary on physical activity (which will overlap quite a bit with the outdoor adventure theme..) and health topics.
  • School: I’m a grad student. Also working full time. This is a painful part of my life right now, eating up time and energy I would much rather be dedicating to other things. So posts relating to this area may contain a higher than usual volume of whining. Consider yourself warned.
  • Random: Who knows? Could be anything.

Well, let’s see what path this takes!

March 15, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

25 Things

I currently have another, somewhat neglected, blog hosted by blogspot, but I’m tired of it. I don’t really like the appearance of blogspot (too long and skinny), so thought I would give wordpress a try and see if I actually keep it up. I thought I’d start off with the Facebook trend “25 Things.” As kinda a random introduction to me. Here goes.

1. It’s not unusual for me to drink upwards of 7 cups of a tea a day.
2. I hate coffee. I have had it twice. Once following the only true all nighter I ever pulled in my undergrad, and once when I started working in a coffee shop and was too nervous to admit I hated coffee. Both times I dumped out most of it.
3. I have an unnatural fear of asteroids, and blame this on my brother, who used to terrify me with his tales of impending doom when I was about 4.
4. I grew up in Newfoundland, and have since lived in Ottawa, Thunder Bay, and Wawa. I used to think I’d end up on the west coast, but this no longer seems to be the case. And that’s just fine.
5. I’m working towards getting in fantastically awesome shape. Fantastically awesome for me anyways.
6. I hate olives.
7. I could pretty much live off muffins, fruit, and tea. Yum.
8. As a kid I alternated between wanting to be a vet, a marine biologist, a zoologist, an astronaut, a wilderness guide, and a smoke jumper, among other things. Now I’m (temporarily) a “Resource and Protected Areas Planner” and still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.
9. I’ve broken my collarbone 3 times. I don’t recommend it.
10. My favourite sports to do are ski (xcountry and telemark), paddle (kayak and canoe), run, and bike (mountain and road).
11. Sometimes fear of failure stops me from trying things.
12. My two main passions are the outdoors/the environment and health/fitness.
13. I speak English and French, and have taken classes in Spanish and Russian.
14. I’m happiest in the backcountry, and unhappiest writing my thesis.
15. My favourite colours are blue, orange, and brown.
16. I have kayaked in Newfoundland, Ontario, British Columbia, and Alaska. The biggest waves I’ve ever experienced were on Lake Superior, Ontario.
17. I love to read, everything from Chick Lit to non-fiction enviro books. I also spend way too much money on magazines.
18. I have a great relationship with my parents, and I’m happy about that.
19. I’d like to run a half-marathon, but I’m not sure about ever running a full marathon…seems that the training required for that would take too much time away from other fun stuff.
20. I think “green energy” is given too much credit, and not looked at critically nearly enough.
21. I like to race, be it skiing, running, or anything else.
22. I really want a dog.
23. I don’t have a TV, but when I have access the shows I watch include Cribs, Survivorman, the Amazing Race, and So You Think You Can Dance. And the Olympics, of course!
24. One day I would like to be able to do a cartwheel, and a handstand. I never really progressed beyond a somersault.
25. I used to play trumpet and piano, and one day I would like to take piano lessons again, or at least have one to mess around on.

March 12, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment



March 4, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment