Thursday, November 30, 2006
I had my second acupuncture appointment today. My groin has been feeling sore these past few days…no wonder with the crappy running conditions we’ve been dealing with….yes Mal, I have become a wimp! Anyway, she did an amazing job. I felt better immediately.
There was definitely more pavement showing tonight on the roads than last night. IRR's WO was cancelled again so we decided to just head out again from UVic. Matty and I did an out and back at an easy pace this time heading down Sinclair to Cadboro Bay Road, along Beach Dr., looping around Cattle Point and turning around at Bowker St. I was so thankful to finally be running on a flat, predictable surface! Ahhhh!!! We did a short 10 minute pick-up at the very end and then some drills and strides. My legs and groin feel good (thanks Elisha!) so the race on Saturday should be a lot of fun. The conditions are going to be tougher than last year. The ground will likely be wet…maybe even slushy depending on if the temperature goes up enough to melt it all….and there will be mud everywhere! It should be a mess and a true cross-country course!
Matty, Joey and I have reserved the 5:00 ferry for tomorrow. I look forward to the big steak I will have after the race! MMMMM!!
Wednesday, November 29th, 2006
I started looking at different music this week. I need to take a break from the concert stuff so it doesn’t go stale. I have my last lesson next week with Selena before I go away again (and she heads off down south) so I am sure we’ll talk about repertoire. I’m feeling the urge to start auditioning for some people. This is a good sign.
Matty met me after work. Everyone in the office went home early and thought I was a nut-case for staying let alone going for a run. Believe me, I told them, I have run countless times in this weather. This is not a big deal to me.
As a warm-up, we ran along Lansdowne and then cut through the field near the golf course. The snow was shin deep but a lot of fun to run in. We were hoping to find a quiet street on the other side to do a small WO but there was so much slush and the surface was so uneven we decided to get back on to Lansdowne and head toward Beach Drive. I figured they would have plowed the ritzy areas first. We did 8 x 2 mins with 2 mins rest. It was a bit aggravating since there was more traffic tonight on Beach Dr. for some reason so we ended up running a lot on the sidewalks which by now were really greasy and uneven. I was trying to keep my feet from sticking on the landing as much as possible but the footing was frustrating making it difficult to keep my form going through the whole interval. Still, it was a good practice at staying focused. We managed to run for an hour without getting hit by a car!
Tuesday, November 29th, 2006
Boob cancelled the IRR track session for obvious reasons. I took a peek at the track on my way to work and it was completely covered with a foot of snow. That’s going to be a mess when it all starts to melt.
Matty met me at work tonight for our run. We ran off-campus via Henderson Road, made our way through the uplands along Beach Dr, then around to Sinclair and back up to campus at an easy pace. Just as we were looping around the far end of the track, I pretended that I had rolled my ankle, yelping in pain prompting Matty to skid to a halt in front of me. He spun around, nearly wiping out with a look of panic on his face. This had me buckled over and howling with laughter which was abruptly cut short when Matty realized I had duped him…. the chase began. This is how our pick-ups started. Once my well-deserved punishment was executed (I got a nice face-wash) we did a few more pick-ups along the pathways that had been cleared on campus. That was the only area we could find where the footing was even. I did some drills and strides as well to finish off.
As Joey drove into the p-lot, he was shaking his head at Matty who was dressed in shorts. I gave up trying to convince him that this was not a good idea…
Joey made a homemade stew in the crock-pot for us for dinner which hit the spot!
Monday, November 27, 2006
I woke up this morning so excited about tonight's concert. My heart sank however as soon as I looked out the window. There was a pile more of the white stuff on the streets and it was still coming down hard. I knew right away that the concert would end up getting cancelled. Three hours later and after about a dozen phone calls to and from orchestra members it was confirmed. Everyone is pretty disappointed but the good news is we will be able to reschedule for January. Thanks to everyone for your emails! I will let you know when the new concert date is soon.
UVic was locked up for the day so I didn't have to go to work. That was a treat. The sun broke out at about noon so I called up Matty who was working from home and said I would be picking him up for a run along Dallas Road. He didn’t sound too excited about it, but I assured him it couldn’t be worse than yesterday’s run. Driving downtown was great! There were hardly any cars! I parked close to Dallas on Douglas and off we went. We started on the road but then moved on to the path that runs along the edge of the bluff. A hardened path had been trampled down so although it was narrow and a bit icy, it was dry and safe from cars. We ran down and around Clover Point, continued past the cemetery, went another 5-10 minutes to King George Terrace (did not do the hill) and then turned around and retraced our route back. It was extremely windy for large sections of the run but sunny and bright. We ran on mostly the hard, snow-packed trails beside Dallas Road which meant you have to be quick and light on your feet so you didn’t slip. I loved it!! We ended off with a snow-ball fight (I started it of course… making my stealth attack from behind with no warning…I have no shame!) The fight ended when Matty threw a piece of hard-packed snow he cut out from a snow-bank the size of a watermelon at me…sheesh, I thought my brothers were brutes! Ha! Kids were having a blast sliding down the big hill at Beacon Hill Park. If I had a crazy carpet, I would have gone night sledding. I need to buy one for the next time!
Sunday, November 26, 2006
Matty and I didn’t set up a time to run this morning. I wanted to sleep in (so did he!) so we said we would call each other when we woke up and head out for a run at whatever time we wanted. I woke up at 7am but lounged in bed for another hour. I called Matty at about 8:30 just as it was starting to snow. We decided we would run at the lakes at about 10:30 and that we would drive there in our car since it handles better in the snow. When Matty arrived at our place, Joey opened the door wearing his running gear. Matty said that when he asked Joey if he was coming with us, Joey had this look on his face like he was dreading just the thought of it! Ha! Too funny. Well, Joey had good reason to have that look on his face. It was miserable out by the time we got to the parking lot at Beaver Lake. The wind had picked up and it was snowing sideways….and it as that fat, wet kind of snow. I wiped out as we were heading down to the trail nearly spraining my wrist and soaking my gloves. We were covered head to toe with slushy snow within minutes. Matty and I ran ahead of Joey all the time worrying about branches falling on his head. We kept hearing large cracking sounds in the woods right next to the trail as branches were being ripped away from weight of the snow and the gusting winds. The trail was an obstacle course riddled with hidden puddles and downed tree limbs as well as low-hanging, snow-laden branches. It was brutal but oddly enough, we laughed a lot especially if one of us slipped in a Keystone Cop sort of way or got nailed with a clump of snow from overhead. Some of the more sheltered parts of the trail where it was still was absolutely beautiful. I just wanted to stop and take it all in…but we were too cold to get all sentimental! When we got back to the fountain we turned around to get Joey. I was sure he was freaking out hearing the branches falling around him. We met him coming around towards the 10km marker scooting along completely oblivious since he had his ipod on and couldn’t hear a thing…whew! Matty and I did a ten minute out and back while Joey warmed up the car. With my graceful fall at the start of the run, I forgot to start my watch but we think we did about 70-75 mins of running, ducking, hopping, hurdling, slipping, (laughing) and sliding.
I happen to have a Smile ‘n’ Snap camera in my backpack since I was taking pictures at the rehearsal the day before so I took a couple of shots of our pathetic selves, soggy and shivering.
We made a big brunch as it continued to snow outside. Our living room and kitchen had that brightness that can only happen after a good, snowfall. Very cheery!
Saturday, November 25, 2006
When I got home last night I was hungry so I had a couple of pieces of toast slathered in almond butter and honey. Eating carbs just before bed is sooo not a good idea. I was wide awake for a couple of hours after we went to bed….arg! I woke up feeling tired and my voice felt like it was sitting two octaves lower than usual…nothing a good cup of java can’t fix…it did for the most part…Thank gawd for coffee!!! I warmed up slowly and carefully and everything seemed ok so I turned off the worry switch and headed over to the church. The church thankfully has really nice acoustics. There’s nothing worse than singing in a carpeted hall or church. This space has grand, high ceilings and wood everywhere! The orchestra sounds just excellent and the choir, when they are confident and sing out, sound wonderful too. Way to go Joey! The oboist for the second aria I do in the Bach is a lovely player…a real joy to sing with! Can I also just say, that singing with Joey conducting is such a blast! Selena showed up and got to hear the Mozart. She was really thrilled which nearly made me cry. We took her out for lunch after the rehearsal. I wanted to let her know how thankful I am to have her as a teacher. She has really made a difference in every way. Anyway, enough with that obsession. My other life-obsession didn’t feel quite so hot today. I met Matty at 3:30 at Beacon Hill to do 5 x 3 mins with 2 min breaks. I had a feeling I might feel a bit droopy after today’s rehearsal and sure enough, the legs weren’t in the mood to spin today. There was just not enough energy left in the bank. That’s ok. I got in two solid WOs this week so that was enough anyway. I just went with the flow and got the intervals in. It was nasty down along Dallas Rd. It was extremely windy and then the rain started just as we were finishing off. Thanks Matty for running with me. That would have been a bugger on my own.
What a great day though! How fortunate I was to do things I love to do all in one day with people I love to be with and work with!
Tonight will be a quiet one. Joey’s making a roast and we plan on just staying in where it warm…maybe make a fire and watch a movie!
Friday, November 24, 2006
I scooted over to the music faculty after work to do a run-through of all the solo and ensemble music with Maestro Joey and piano accompaniment. We worked in Benj’s voice studio…a really nice room actually with a full grand piano and continuo…must be nice to be head of the department! Er and I squealed in delight when we saw each other and Benj just kept shaking his head saying how surreal it was that we were all singing together after all these years…it’s been at least 16 years since we were last sang together at McGill. We went through all the music and it went very smoothly. Our quartet sounds really good…a nice blend and everyone knew their music very well so we didn’t have to stop and start much. I was really happy with how it went.
We picked up some sushi and headed over to Er and Pete’s hotel in James Bay. We got to visit with their two little girls. Olivia and I had the greatest time! She’s only three but is taking ballet lessons and can already imitate some moves and the very serious ballet face. I tucked her sloppily her under my arm at one point and headed to the door saying I was going to take her home with me. She giggled and laughed…Again! Do it again! This was a mistake as she wanted me to do this ALL NIGHT! Anyway, we had a nice visit with Er and Pete but have made arrangements to have dinner with them sans enfants on Sunday night.
Thursday, November 23, 2006
Today’s lesson went much better, thankfully. I was just a bit wiped yesterday. That was the last one before the concert. I have a piano rehearsal tomorrow after work, the dress rehearsal at the church with the orchestra the next morning and then that’s it…we do the concert on Monday night. It’s not much rehearsal. Normally there are two rehearsals with orchestra but there just wasn’t enough money in the budget.
I swung home to pick up Joey on my way from work to the “Y”. It was quite windy and nipply out but at least it wasn’t raining…we knew that could change in a blink of an eye but we didn’t say it out loud. I opted to just do 10 minutes of extra running tonight before the WO so I wouldn’t poop myself out and was heading along Cook St. when I saw flashes of white calves up ahead that could only belong to Shan. I picked up the pace and caught up to her and we ran back to the “Y” together to meet up with the IRR gang. We were at Gonzales St. again to do hill repeats. This time, Boob had us mix it up a bit. We alternated between short (5 x) and long hills (4 x) and did the strides in between. The repeats felt a lot stronger this week so I was able to concentrate better on form. I practiced keeping my cadence quick and light all the way up the hill while using my arms without slowing down the rhythm. The quick-turn-over in the strides between each rep helped remind my legs of that quick-fire feeling. Brilliant. I finished feeling like I could have done a couple more…a good place to be. Shan and Joey were leading the rest of the IRR group up the hills and were looking strong. Alan did a few less reps as he, Joan and Brent are off to Seattle this weekend for the half there…Good luck you guys! Just as we finished our last hill, the wind picked up and it began to rain. It lasted just long enough to soak everyone from head to toe. Nasty. Patty and I did a bit of extra running but stayed close to the “Y” keeping it short. My back/groin are feeling really good…is the acupuncture working already?!
I did my core stuff and a few upper body weights when I got home…nothing too strenuous, just maintenance work these past couple of weeks.
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Joey woke up this morning at 5am with a coughing fit thanks to a cold he had while away last week. I woke up too even though I had earplugs in and couldn’t get back to sleep. I was pretty tired today at work. My voice lesson was far from brilliant but I am blaming it on the lack of sleep. It weighed on my mind all day today though….not a good thing. Quick, someone call a wahhhh-bulance!!!
I met Boob, Mark and Joey at the usual Wednesday spot. We did a very easy run around Broadmead area. Boob managed to find yet another different route. I have no idea where we went of course, because I am a complete disaster at orienting myself, especially in the dark. Boob joined me in some strides in the p-lot when we got back. They felt pretty fluid.
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
I had my first acupuncture session this morning. She was so great at explaining what she would be doing to me and why. After a bit of manipulation (my pelvis is still off-balance) she started in on the poking session. Some of the spots in my lower back were a bit “tight” so she had to work a bit more at getting the needle in which caused a dull ache but otherwise it was pretty painless. She said I might be a bit sleepy for a few hours once I got to work and boy, she wasn’t kidding! I was pretty groggy and useless the rest of the day. Funny...no one noticed.
Weather-wise, we sure have been lucky at the track these past couple of weeks. It was raining pretty steadily right up until we started the warm-up and then suddenly, right at 5:00, the rain just stopped. Patrick was kind enough to do the WO Matty gave me so I wouldn’t be running all alone. Thanks Patty!! He sure is getting fast. I can hardly wait until he is in race shape…watch out! The WO for me tonight was 5 x 5 mins with 2 mins rest. We ran around Ring Road for the first three and then moved on to track as Boob suggested for the last two. The first couple felt very comfortable, breathing was relaxed, legs were in spin mode. I tried to hold back and keep the pace close to 10km race pace. Once we moved on to the track, the pace picked up a bit. Oops. Boob did the last interval with us and it was a bit clippie, but only in the last couple of minutes. We built into it slowly so it was doable. We did one loop of the ring as the cool-down, I was tempted to do two but decided not to overdo it. No reason to kill myself at this point. The plan is to take it down a notch at the hill WO on Thursday (either in intensity or the number of repeats...will check with Matty) and then do a solid WO with quick, shorter intervals on Saturday.
Monday, November 20, 2006
There is a park across the street from our place that is always very busy with boot campers, kids, and dog-walkers. We noticed a while back a dog owner who walks his dog several times a day. The dog is black with the exception of notable white markings on all four of his legs. The white hair starts at his feet and runs half-way up his legs, like he was dipped in white paint (including the tip of his tail). Unbeknownst to the owner, we have adopted his dog (from afar) and have named him ‘Boots’. It is really quite pathetic when I think about it. In the morning if I see ‘Boots’ walking in the park, I’ll call out to Joey to come look out the window. He’ll do the same for me and we often find ourselves standing there gawking like the pitiful voyeurs we are, commenting on what ‘Boots’ is doing. Oh look! He’s sniffing the bench! Now he’s trotting right behind his master! He’s peeing! Isn’t he cute! We really need help…or a dog.
I hooked up with Jarhead tonight for an easy run along the Songhees route. It’s been a while since I have run with him there so it was like old times! We blabbed the whole way about all kinds of stuff. It was a very enjoyable run! I wanted to do a 10 minute pick-up just to finish off with a bit of turn-over so Jarhead agreed to hold on as long as he could. We moved into a 4 min/km pace and he had no trouble whatsoever, even after having done a 10km run that morning AND after having run that ball-busting 10km race course yesterday. That course was not torturous enough for Jarhead though. He added to the fun by packing two telephone books into his backpack that he lugged from the start to the finish. Wow. I finished off with some Pose drills and strides. The perkiness factor was definitely there tonight!
When I got home, I took a quick shower and then went out to dinner with Giuse at the Cactus Club and had the best steak EVER! Seriously, this place has a really great filet mignon…I know it’s a bit pricey for that cut, but it is seriously worth it!! I had it with their ultimate mushroom sauce…drool….drool…
Sunday, November 19th 2006.
I met up with Cheryl, Katie-Kate and Meghan at Thetis this morning for a run. The famous Ulla was there too which was very cool. I often hear her name mentioned with regards to her great running talent and achievements. She spoke a bit about the training she did...I was all ears! We thought it was going to be chilly out since the wind was gusting but it was really quite warm out there this morning. We went leisurely out towards Francis King Park, did the little boardwalk route and then re-traced our route back to the main beach. The girls had to split after 75 mins but I was still feeling frisky and wanted to get in 80 mins so I did a little out and back before heading home.
After a quick shower I went over to Mattick’s Farm where I met Jennie, Lise and Shan for brunch. The breakfast menu was over but they still served Eggs Benedict. I wanted eggs so that was just fine by me. Unfortunately that’s all that came out on the plate with the exception of a few small pieces of fruit. Sheesh! What the heck was that?! I was still hungry after I ate that little pittance of a meal so I ordered a date and cranberry scone with cream and jam…wowee was that ever decadent!
We all yakked our heads of like a bunch of old hens and did a lot of eating and laughing (usually prompted by Shan’s dry and witty sense of humor). We plan to meet again soon to meet George! I can hardly wait.
As soon as I got home, I took a little hour-long nap and then dragged myself to the piano and sang for a good hour.
Giuse’s flight was two hours late from Vancouver today. Luckily I checked the flight status on-line before heading out. Unfortunately the status changed again while on my way to the airport so I ended up waiting there an hour. I spent the time flipping through trashy magazines...what a day of indulgences! Joey finally made it only to have to rush off to a rehearsal which he had just enough time to get to.
Saturday, November 18, 2006
Matty and I met at Beacon Hill Park this morning for a WO that he had planned for me. There were a lot of other runners out there, Cheryl, the UVic Vikes and Steve O to name a few. It was a perfect morning for running. After a warm-up, drills and strides we did a 4 km route that ended at the top of the lookout overlooking Dallas. I started out a bit quicker today than at BCs just to see what I could do. The last km was the toughest especially with the climb right at the end but I was happy with the effort especially after just having done a WO with a lot of time on my feet on Thursday. Matty forgot to steal my watch away from me (heh…heh..) so I was able to clock my time (13:50). We rested for 5 minutes and then finished off with 6 x 1 minute at a clippie pace. These felt good and strong too. I am relieved to know I didn’t lose much fitness, if any, while I was on tour. My back/groin felt good today too.
Later, Matty came over for brunch. Yes, that’s right…I made brunch. Ok, so I realized we had some pancake mix (Coyote brand) that Joey bought the first week I was away so although they weren’t Joey’s gourmet pancakes they were still pretty good!
After making a couple of calls to friends and family out east I went to Mayfair Mall and bought a couple of tops…I seem to be on a spending frenzy these days….Make me stop!
I’m meeting Shan, Lise and Jennie tomorrow for brunch after a long run. I am looking forward to catching up with them! Jennie wants us to meet George Clooney! He is just adorable…such a big head and noble face…and those big brown eyes! I Love heeeem!
I’m talking about their new Bernese mountain dog puppy!
Joey gets home tomorrow afternoon (YAY!) I can’t wait to see him! He said the concert tonight went well. Congrats Giuse!
Friday, November 17, 2006
I took my usual Friday off from running. I did some weights instead and some core stuff. It’s amazing how much you can get done after work when you don’t have a run to go to. I did a big grocery shop, picked up some stuff at Planet Organic, went home, called Judy back, cooked dinner, cleaned dishes and was still able to get in my PJs by eight!
I got a copy of the latest version of Malcolm Balk’s book Master the Art of Running. I learned the Pose Method from Malcolm and studied the Alexander Technique with him when I lived in Montreal. Malcolm was the one who really sparked my interest in running a few years ago. I met him at a summer music workshop at CAMMAC and after going on a couple of early morning runs together we decided that once we got back to Montreal, we would meet a few times a week during our lunch breaks to run. Malcolm became a certified Pose Method coach not long after we met and used me as a guinea pig to see if he could actually teach someone who had no formal running training (i.e. no track or racing background) how to run efficiently with the Pose Method (while also incorporating some Alexander concepts that he was already teaching in his running workshops). I was a heel runner with a heavy landing and a slow cadence so he had a lot of work to do. However, beacuse I am a singer, my brain is accustomed to working in a kinesthetic way so I was able to "get my brain down to my feet" as Mal would often say. Nonetheless, it took us at least three months of just doing drills and short bits of running until I was able to hold on to some sort of proper form. The commitment and work paid off. All the aches and pains disappeared and running became fun instead of a slog. I owe that gift to Malcolm…. so I am going to take this opportunity to plug Mr. Balk’s book. The re-issue is beautifully done. I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in improving their form, running more efficiently (and therefore faster) and preventing injuries. Malcolm gives very clear explanations of how to run in a balanced, “poised” way, free of undue tension using concepts from the Alexander Technique and the Pose Method. This is a great reference for runners at every level. Check it out!
Thursday, November 16th, 2006
I had another lesson with Selena this afternoon. We are scheduling two per week until the concert and before she leaves for the States again. I think she may be gone a while this time so we thought we’d cram in a few lessons before she leaves. It was a wonderful lesson…the best yet. Something just clicked today and my voice was just pouring out effortlessly. Halleluiah! May the Singing Gods remain with me for at least another two weeks!
Tonight was my first 7-hill WO since last spring. I got to the “Y” early to do some extra running beforehand. Patty showed up too so we ran around Beacon Hill getting in a good 20 minutes before meeting the group. It was another great turn-out. Boob had us doing hill repeats on Gonzales. We did 5 long hills with strides-outs between each repeat on the flat side-street half-way down the hill. Then we did 3 short “bounding” hills on the upper quarter of Gonzales also with the strides in between. Matty gave me instructions to concentrate on a strong, explosive feeling while keeping my form going up on the long repeats. I think I slowed down a bit in the last ¼ of the hill. It’s been a while since I’ve done such long hills but the first ¾ of each repeat was very strong. Boob was nice enough to pace me up each one. I was careful not to overdo the bounding…I just love that type of thing…Boing! Boing!
Patty and I got back to the "Y" and decided to run the loop around Beacon Hill. It was a perfect night to run along Dallas Rd. No wind or rain!
Wednesday, November 15th, 2006
I saw Mike Coey for another great session this morning and he is now suggesting acupuncture to see if that helps.
I had my first lesson since I’ve been back today. It went fine considering all the singing I did these past couple of weeks. Singing up to six hours a day isn’t exactly the healthiest thing for your voice. That’s when you really have to rely on a solid technique. I didn’t get as tired on this tour compared to the last couple of gigs and I know I owe it to Selena.
I met the Wednesday gang after work today. It was pouring on the way to Boob’s office but miraculously the clouds cleared away and the rain stopped completely just in time. Boob took us through the Broadmead area at a very easy pace. We jumped on to some trails here and there even though it was pitch-black and eventually made our way to the Lochside trail. Boob insisted on “showing” Matty the hell-hill that we ran a few times last year despite my protests. As Boob passed me half-way up the hill I think I may have said that I hated him out loud….sorry Boob, it was in the heat of the moment! Ha!
We made our way back down and headed back towards the office Boob, Matty and I picked it up to a very clippie pace in the last 10-15 minutes. I felt very perky from last night’s WO. We finished off with the usual 5-6 strides which also felt very fluid.
I saw Chris for a massage after the run. Matty suggested I book with him before I left on tour knowing I’d be stiff from all the traveling. Boy was that a good idea!
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
The pile of stuff waiting for me at work today was horrendous. I hunkered down and put a dent in my emails and even got a project I started before I left finished.
After work I met Boob, Matty and Johanna at the track for a warm-up. Mike showed up just as we were leaving so he came along too. We were expecting terrible weather but it was actually a beautiful evening. There were nearly 30 people out tonight. A lot of new folk showed up while I was gone so the group is really expanding. Tonight’s WO was 2 x 600, 2 x 500, 2 x 400, 2 x 300 all with 200m rests. Matty gave me some ranges in times to try and aim for. 600s in 2:03-2:05, 500s in 1:38-1:40, 400s in 76-78 and 300s in 56-57. I did my 600s in 2:01, 2:05, 500s in 1:40, 1:38, 400s in 75, 74, 300s in 57, 52 and then we had a full rest and I did 3 x 200 in 31.68, 32.50, 33.01 all with good 4 min rests in between. Those 200s were something. The last 50 meters were hilarious! I was in slow-motion in each set. It felt like my legs were no longer connected to my brain. I felt very good tonight much to my relief!
Monday November 13, 2006
I dropped Giuse off at the airport this morning. He is off to London Ont to conduct a program with Orchestra London. I was not happy he was leaving ): I managed to sing for about 45 minutes even though I was feeling exhausted. I didn’t get a chance to work on the music for the concert that we’re doing in a couple of weeks so I was anxious to get going on it again. It went quite well considering I felt so pooped. Matty and I ran at the lakes and did a few drills and strides. I wasn’t feeling too hot so when I got home I spent the rest of the afternoon on the couch relaxing. I think I am going to feel a bit lousy for the next couple of days until I get back on a proper sleeping schedule. These tours are always exhausting. You're not sleeping properly, your diet is not the same and the concerts take a lot out of you not to mention the travelling. Thank goodness the people are fun and the concerts are uplifting!
I am so glad to be back home! It was looong week, most of which was fun with some great music-making and many laughs with friends in the choir and orchestra but I was getting home-sick towards the end and a bit tired from straying from my usual routine.
Last Monday I did a very easy run with Pammy (Malcolm’s wife). We had a lovely time chatting and did some strides together on the grass at the end. I went over to Joey’s Mom’s place for dinner. I was very happy to see everyone again. His sisters were there along with a few nephews and a niece. I miss them all!
Tuesday was a WO day. Claude agreed to meet me at Mont Royale. After a good 20 minute warm-up we did 4 x 5 minutes with 2 min breaks on a small 400m circuit that the McGill X-country team apparently uses on the small trails near the base of the mountain. There was a group of intoxicated teenagers hanging out near a bench that we kept passing by. Cat-calls en fraçaise accompanied the first few loops then a couple of laps with some fake tripping was followed by the grand finale of being mooned. Charming. They soon lost interest and even moved on to calling out encouraging words when they saw we were still going at it after 15 minutes. A 5 min rest was followed by 4 x a healthy 100m hill. I made sure to spin right up and over the top and continue for 40 meters and jogged right back to the start keeping the breaks short.
We had a concert that night in Montreal at St. Jean Baptiste church. The concert was filmed as part of a documentary on our group that will eventually be aired on ARTV.
Wednesday was a travel day to Costa Mesa, California. We got in fairly early (due to the 3-hour time difference) so I wrangled up a couple of people to go for a run. It was supposed to be a day off but the weather was just too gorgeous not to go. I jogged very easily for about 50 minutes with Bri and Marie-Annick. We stumbled upon a small park (the only one for miles, I am certain) and ran around it for a bit just to get off of the pavement. No matter where we went there were 6 lanes of traffic going in both directions.
That night we went to a brew pub for dinner. There were about 25 of us so we ate out on the patio where they had set up a long table. I ordered a beer shandy before dinner (beer and ginger-ale) and got asked for ID! It was the highlight of my trip!
Thursday was another gorgeous day so Bri and Nadina and I ran to the park. I showed them some Pose drills which got my brain back on the basics…always a good thing! When we got back we spent an hour by the pool, then did some shopping at a fancy mall across from the hotel. The shops were too expensive for us so we basically window-shopped. We sang our second last concert in a brand-new hall right across the street from our hotel. It was a gorgeous hall with the some of the best acoustics I have ever heard. Brilliant!
Friday was another travel day. I had a big breakfast in the hotel after doing some weights in the morning and core exercises with Nadina. We faced a 9-hour bus ride that day to Napa so we wanted to move a little bit beforehand. The ride was boring but we managed to kill time by chatting, reading and sleeping. The scenery was pretty stark heading towards San Francisco. We arrived in Napa at about 8:30 at night and found ourselves staying in quite a swanky inn with and incredible restaurant that had an impressive wine list. I had a big ol’ steak and even had a glass of vino for dinner that night!
There was a short system of trails not far from the hotel so the next morning Bri and Nadina and I went exploring. I ran 53 mins in total at a moderate pace. I felt pretty sluggish but was not surprisied after yesterday’s bus ride.
The concert in Napa that night was a strange one. The hall was really small and the acoustics were horrible. It was our last concert though so the vibe was good and we gave it our all.
We left the hotel at 7:30am to catch our flight from San Francisco to Calgary. I had about four hours sleep so I was mighty groggy. Car found out there was one business-class seat on our flight so she very kindly offered me the spot since I had to go on to Victoria. She and Casey were finishing off their trip in Calgary. Thanks Car!! It was lovely!
We had a very bumpy landing due to the high winds in Victoria. Matty picked me up as we made plans to run in Sidney. Holy was it ever blustery! At one point, the bugger took me along the Bazan Bay route next to the ocean. It was just ridiculous! The wind was blowing us sideways. We were just soaked from head to toe and frozen but managed to run for almost an hour. When I got home Joey was there with dinner ready….SWEETIE!!
It's been a wild week! We left shortly after rehearsal on Monday for Texas so I took the day off from running. Indeed, our hotel was adjacent to some wonderful running trails so I slipped on my shorts and shoes and met about six others down in the lobby for a 9:00am run! Yep! That's right! I managed to convince some fellow singers (and a tour manager) to join me in a run!! I wasn't sure how many would actually turn up since we got in late the night before so I was thrilled to see so many keeners! We all left together but soon broke up in separate groups. I did an easy 58 minutes followed by some drills and strong strides. Everyone got back in one piece and really seemed happy they went. I got asked a hundred questions about training and how to start up with running etc. I am so happy people are interested in getting fit!!
The next morning I woke up with a dry, scratchy throat. I could feel it coming on during the concert the night before and I thought....oh dear, I better not be getting sick. I had a WO planned so I decided I would see how I felt in the warm-up. I was a bit sluggish but well enough to give the WO a go. 3 x 7 minutes with 2 min (3 min break) then 3 x 1 min with 1 min. The 7 minutes felt ok but I could feel my energy was low so I listened to my body and took it down a notch. The 3 minute segments were totally fine....short and sweet. I got a total running time of 1:08:41. We took a bus from Houston to College Station and then sang a concert that evening. My throat was a lot better so I figured I was in the clear but then something a lot worse hit me. At about 2:30 in the morning I woke up feeling nauseous. A couple of hours later I was either sitting or hugging the toilet...whichever end called needed attention first. It was brutal. I almost fainted a couple of times, had the sweats, shakes, chills. After about 2 hours of this my roomate woke up and called one of the tour managers to say I couldn't possibly make the 2 hour bus-ride to the airport and the two flights back to Montreal in the condition I was in. I wanted to be left to die in Texas...I really did. Somehow, about an hour later, I sucked it up and got dressed . My friends Richard and Nadina packed my bags for me while I continued to try and empty out whatever was left in my gut. I dragged myself on to the bus, through security, on and off two flights and through customs. 13 hours later I was back in a hotel room in Montreal....still green but feeling better. It may have been food poisening. Two others on the tour also had simular symptoms and we all ate at the same place the night before. Then again, the next morning I was almost back to normal and food poisening usually lasts several days so it may have been a flu-bug. Regardless....I am so happy it's over!!!
I met Malcolm, believe it or not the next day (yesterday) for an easy run and a refresher Pose lesson. He is off out east to teach so I only had yetsreday and today to meet with him. We talked about x-country and Pose, training in general as we ran and then when we got back to his place he video-taped me running. We watched it in slow-motion afterwards and I wasn't too far off. He made some suggestions but basically he said it looked good. We met up again today along with our old running buddy Claude. We ran over Mont Royal and then up to Westmount to spot where there is a measured 2.5km loop. We did 2 loops at just under 4:00/km pace. It felt very easy and relaxed and then ran back home. We picked it up in the last 20 minutes. I dropped Malcolm and then Claude in the last km or so. It was such a blast to finally kick THEIR butts!!! Ha! The run took us 1:16:20 and despite having just been sick, I felt great! My foster Mom, Barb came into town to visit! We had a lovely time catching up and hanging out together. I miss her and David so much! She stayed overnight and left early this afternoon.
I hooked up with six friends for dinner tonight. We don't rehearse again until Tuesday so I can catch up with friends and Joey's family too while I am here. I am desparately missing my Joey, my bed, my running friends and Victoria!! Still, the concerts have been a lot of fun and it's nice to see everyone again!