Sunday, December 24, 2006
There was a nice little group out this morning at Thetis. The gang consisted of Nanc and Kev as well as Boob, Don-Don, Matty and Pan-Pan….and not just any old Pan-Pan, but Pan-Pan wearing a pair of Super Tights for the first time ever in the presence of all his Victoria friends! It was a brave and bold move…but was it wise? Not really. In fact, it was the worse thing he could have done, short of showing up in a tutu for Gawd’s sake! What was he thinking? I mean, he witnessed and joined in on a solid two years of jabs directed at Squintch AN D he even bragged at how he would never be seen in Super Tights…ever! Yet there he stood, in all his spandexed glory with no Chastity Shorts in site. The taunting words flew out of my mouth effortlessly, naturally and with no hesitation. It was a beautiful. The only thing missing was some razzing from Squintch who couldn’t be there for today’s run. That was remedied within hours. Word somehow spread quickly to New Liskeard Ontario and Pan got a good razzing from Squintch over the phone on Christmas morning. Perfect!
The run was a lot of fun this morning. I got to catch up with Nanc who I hadn’t seen in a while and got to push Matty in a few puddles. Don-Don gave me a purple pinch as we finished up which he is going to regret in the next few days.
Giusey isn’t fond of the uneven trails at Thetis so he did his own run at the lakes. He got home shortly after me and began preparations for our Feed the Strays Christmas dinner we were having that night. I took off for an hour and did some real last minute shopping and then came back and did one of my neurotic cleaning sessions.
Patty, Matty and Don-Don came over for dinner while Pan and Lin popped in on their way to church. Giusey made halibut with a fantastic tapenade type sauce and tiramisu cheesecake for dessert. Was it ever yummy! We spent the evening basically laughing ourselves to tears. Giuse got on a roll and I was a goner. Patty had some pretty funny moments too. It was a wonderful way to spend Christmas Eve.
Saturday, December 23, 2006
Despite being slightly hung-over from last night’s IRR bash at Helena’s, I managed to get my sorry butt out of bed, change into some running gear, eat some toast followed by a good dose of coffee and got myself out the door. Matty and I met Deby at the lakes as was the plan. We ran at a fairly easy pace, chatting the whole time. I hadn’t seen Deby since the RVM so we had some catching up to do. It was so wonderful to be running in the daylight and at the lakes again. I am already yearning for summer.
When we hit 40 minutes, Matty and I did a 10 minute pick-up at a fairly brisk pace passing the fountain where we started in just under 43 minutes. I thought I was going to collapse a lung in the last 3 mins of the pick-up going up and over the hill near the 1km marker.
I got most of my shopping done later in the afternoon. I was surprised how easy it was.
Matty came over after supper with a couple of running DVDs, one featuring Craig Mottram and the other on Anthony Famiglietti. The films were very inspiring.
Friday, December 22, 2006
I was allowed to leave work today at noon so off I went to start my Christmas shopping. It was a bit of a zoo both at Mayfair and downtown but I scouted out some gifts and feel a lot more relaxed.
Giuse and I picked up San and Matty. We visited Lola briefly and got her all excited. I really am in love with her! Apparently she and Clooney have met and Clooney is in love with Lola too!
Everyone had such a great time at the IRR party. Helena and Blair have a beautiful home and there was a lovely Christmas ambiance. Thanks you guys!!
I was very proud of myself. I drank one cooler and two glasses of wine! Most of that was on an empty stomach so as soon as the food came out I chowed down since I was feeling quite the buzz. The best part of the evening was the gift exchange. There were some good gift sand some not so good gifts. Shan for instance got an Elton John book. I managed to pick the worst gift possible under the tree….and I mean THE worst. Seriously, I have never seen such a display of ticky-tacky-ness. I got a life-size rooster complete with real feathers that nodded its head every time you squeezed it. I was just getting attached to the thing and was about to name it (I was a bit smashed at that point) and wouldn’t you know it, Shan chose to take it instead of picking a new gift and there were a couple of people who actually fought over it after that! Patty got it in the end and somehow we ended up taking it home with us because he was on his bike. He is coming for dinner on Christmas Eve and I don’t care if he has to strap the sucker to his back, it is going home with him!
On the drive home Shan was trying to convince us that she wasn’t hammered…nice try there Hodgie!
Thursday, December 21, 2006
I called Rol today and booked a weight training session with him in the New Year. He’s going to tweak my current program a bit and will add some more stuff to my routine. Can’t wait!
Joey and I met the IRR gang at the “Y” tonight. There was a pretty small group so Boob said we would do a fun and easy Christmas lights run and bail on doing hills which was fine by me! We ran through the Fairfield and Rockland areas and saw some pretty elaborate decorations…wow, some people really go whacko with the lights. Joey wasn’t too thrilled with a couple of the hills we had to go over but otherwise, he enjoyed himself. I wish he would stop teasing my boyfriend Alan though! Ha!
Matty and I did the last 10-15 minutes at a brisk pace. It was brutal. My legs right now do not respond to my commands to move quickly. I whined a bit about it when we got back to the Y but then realized I was not going to get any sympathy from Mr. Matty. “You’ll be fine in a week or so.” I know…I know… We got the bungee chords out again and did some drills just as the wind picked up and it started to rain.
Joey and I went home, got cleaned up and met LeRoo and John at the Irish Times for a bite to eat. I was so happy to see her. We are going to WO together as much as we can this year which I am so excited about! We make a great team!
Tomorrow is a day off with a run and drills at the lakes (in the daylight!!) on Saturday morning followed by a good session of drills.
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
I haven’t done any Christmas shopping…and I mean not one item. So guess who’s going to be running around like a maniac this weekend. Way to go, stupid-head! Oh well, I don’t have to buy loads of things and hopefully we will granted freedom at noon tomorrow so I can head straight downtown and start my manic shopping spree before the IRR Christmas party.
My run tonight was a bit of a slog. My body is now starting to protest…”What….what is this? Now wait a minute, sister, I thought you were all finished with this silly training business” As slothful as I felt, I tried to keep my body lengthened, feet light with a quick cadence. I wasn't very successful. I felt awkward and sluggish and I caught myself looking at my watch after just twenty minutes of easy running. Matty assured me that this was normal and that it will take me a couple of weeks to feel like a runner again. Was it only a few short weeks ago I felt invincible and sleek…almost like I couldn’t run a slower pace if I tried...or was that a dream? Now I am stiff and dragging my butt on an easy run. Splendid. Thankfully I remember feeling like this last year after my training break so I am not bummed one bit...Did that sound like a lie?
So for now, I will ease into things when I resume training which should be next week and just focus on my form for now and not worry too much about speed, otherwise I'll fall apart. Matty said we may do a couple of short speed sessions just to get the turn-over going again but certainly that won’t be the focus of my training for a while yet. I gave him a list of races I would like to do this year, which ones I really wnat to peak for as well as listing aspects of my running I want to work on. We're going to go over it together and set up a training schedule. I have a few specific goals and race times that I would like to achieve this year but can't seem to bring myself to posting them up here yet. I'll wait until I am feeling fit again and more confident.
Joey, Squintch, Matty and I went to Brasserie L’école for dinner tonight. There’s nothing like their steak & frites. Squintch brought his digital camera to show us pictures of his latest trips. I haven’t seen him in about a month so it was great to catch up!
I haven't read the novel Once a Runner yet by John L. Parker Jr. but heard it's excellent. Has anyone read it?
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
I saw Elisha this morning before work for an acupuncture treatment. She said I was twisted again, did a few adjustments and then stuck some needles in my back. It was a bit more painful today. My back was pretty tight in a few spots so she really had to do some twisting to get those suckers in there.
My desk had a gi-normous pile of stuff on it when I arrived this morning at work. Dozens of applications had poured in while I was away…Merry Christmas.
Matty still has me doing some easy running for now so although we met the IRR gang at the track but didn’t do the WO. Instead we just ran around the UVic area and finished off with a good 30 minutes of Poser drills. We used the bungee chords this time. You attach the chords to your ankles and do the drills on the spot while someone creates a resistance by pulling on the chords from behind. You have to resist letting your foot go backwards every time you pull it off the ground. Instead, your foot needs to pull up in-line, under your body. After a few repeats you quickly take the chords off and do a stride (and boy, do you fly!). It’s a great hip strengthening exercise and the constant resistance backwards helps emphasize the feeling of the forward direction you want your feet, knees and hips to have. It also strengthens your muscles and tendons used for balancing. I was pretty wobbly when my right ankle was attached to the chord. My left was much more stable so I am going to work to try and balance my crooked self out.
Shan brought her new puppy Lola to the track so we could all meet her. She is the SWEETEST thing! Her face is delicate and pretty and she is incredibly friendly. I cannot believe that TWO friends of mine now own puppies. I’ll admit it. If it were moral and legal I would have snatched up little Lola and run off never to be seen again…so tempting.
Monday, December 18, 2006
Well, it’s great to be home again! I just love the now very familiar ocean smell when you step off of the plane on to the tarmac. Nothing like it! Joey was there to meet me which was the best part of the whole trip! Awwww!!
The rest of the stay in LA was really fun. The concerts went well for the most part. The choir never quite settled into the performances but considering the difficulty of the program and how little rehearsal time we had, we did a great job. We had the most problems with the motet. There were some tuning issues right up until the sound-check leaving us feeling a bit insecure at times as a group during the concerts. Our last two performances were a bit tense for us sopranos especially in the motet where the soprano section splits into two. Two members of the soprano-one section were losing their voices leaving me, Shan and two new members singing the super-exposed top soprano line. Of course these had to be the concerts being recorded for National Public Radio. When we walked on stage, I found myself positioned where on of the mics was literally inches away from my head. I walked off-stage from both of those performances with a stream of sweat running down my back, having spent the entire 20 minutes clutching my music praying I wouldn’t make a mistake. Ha! Shan said she had the same experience and she is a pretty seasoned soloist so I didn’t feel so badly! The show will be made available on the NPR web site sometime in the next few days so I will post up the web site when it’s up and running in case anyone wants to hear some Bach featuring some shaky-kneed sopranos.
As soon as I got home, I unpacked and then headed out the door for a very short, easy run with Matty around the Cedar Hill golf course. I was wondering how I’d feel after very little activity these past couple of weeks (along with days of lazing in bed watching movies and eating pizza) but I didn’t feel too horrible. We’ll see how the rest of the week goes. There won’t be any training for me for at least another week…just some easy running to get used to moving around again.
A little side-note here to say the concert that was caneled a few weeks ago has been rescheduled for Saturday, January, 13th.
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
So far, Los Angeles has been a blast! The weather is superb and we are having lot's of laughs and making great music! Mary-Beth is just cracking me up to no end. I have missed her sense of humour. When Shan M joins in I am a gonner. I spent ALL of yesterday laughing at their antics...my stomach now hurts! Ha!
Our hotel is right downtown and just one block from the concert hall. I am going to see an opera tonight "L'Incoronazione di Poppea" by Monteverdi which is right next to the Walt Disnaey Hall ( http://wdch.laphil.com ) so I am meeting some others for dinner and then we are going to head up the street. It is starring some of the world's hottest opera stars including the legendary Frederika von Stade...I can hardly wait!!
Rehearsals are going really well. We had our first sound-check/rehearsal with the full orchestra this morning and again this afternoon. The LA Phil isn't accustomed to playing in the Baroque style (like using very little vibrato) but they are sounding great. Bernard has such a charming way with them and I think they are learning alot. I am having the best time singing this repertoire now that we are all comfortable with it. A couple of the movements are beyond words and make my heart weep. Bach is brilliant...freekin' hard to sing but just brilliant all the same.
No running to report. I did some weights up in the weight room yesterday. I am now officially a lazy slob! I am itching to get running again. I've been doing alot of walking and stretching so at least I am doing something.
We have 4 concerts in all and then I fly back home on Monday. I have already planned to do my first run later that evening... I am sick...SICK, I tell you!
Sunday, December 10, 2006
I'm in Montreal at the moment and don't have a lot of time to write about the week. I got here on Thursday night after a pretty funny flight. I was sitting beside these two older ladies from Quebec who only spoke french. They were about 6 inches shorter than me and they kept calling me "La p'tite crut (sp?)", which is an endearing nick-name translated to mean The little turd. I had a fench-Canadian voice teacher at McGill years ago that called me that....too funny.
Rehearsals got off on a shaky start on Friday but things are sounding quite nice now.
I haven't run since the race last Saturday. The rest will do me good but I am dying to get out there.
I had another session with Mike Coey at the beginning of last week and he said he has seen a big differnce since my acupuncture treatments with Elisha so we are going to continue with that route and see what happens. I have to say I felt fine after the race despite the crazy conditions. I wasn't running smoothly that day but my groin was completely fine. I really want to get this problem looked after before heading into another season of stressful training.
We have two rehearsals today, 2-5pm and 7-10pm which is what we did yesterday...grueling on the voice. I seem to be holding up fine so far. I feel pretty sleepy right now. I am suffering from jetlag this time more than ever...can't seem to fall asleep before 2am....arg! I miss my sweetie and my bed!
I had an Alexander lesson with Mal on Friday. We yakked about the race and upcoming plans. He was so great to talk to. We met again this morning and did a small run and then he and Pammy had me over for breakfast. Little Milo and I had great fun playing with his stuffed toys....he's such a sweet kid.
Well I am off to meet my old vocal coach Michael and his wife Eileen for lunch and then it's off to rehearsal. We leave for Los Angeles tomorrow morning at 6am!!!! Gawd help me.
Sunday, December 3, 2006
I had a good sleep in this morning…oh ya!! It felt a bit strange not heading out the door to go for my run. I wasn’t sore from yesterday and I was just itching to get outside. Instead, I poured myself a second cup of coffee watched a bit of Coronation Street and got caught up on some emails and phone calls. Joey had a rehearsal and concert today so he had already left even before I got up!
Shan came over and we went back to her place so I could see some of the renos she had done on her new place…it’s looking so nice! She had some crock-pot curry stew all ready to go so we heated that up and ate before making our way over to see Jennie….and Clooney!! Good Gawd he is unbelievable. He is the softest thing I have ever felt and I love him already. His hands are huge and he has the sweetest looking face. He got many kisses. I used up all the film in my disposable camera within ten minutes. Joey was so sad he missed out. The three of us sat in Jennie’s kitchen having coffee and getting caught up. It was torture when we had to leave. Jennie was in the door holding Clooney like a baby with his arms dangling every which way.
The second I got home I started plunking the notes out for the next concert. The more I look at it the more I realize how much there is and how screwed I am. Good thing I am on a break from running so I’ll have time after work to focus on it. I really should have started this last week.
Saturday, December 2, 2006
Giusey, Matty and I caught the 5pm ferry to Vancouver after work on Friday. I brought along the music I have to learn for the next VdeR gig along with my walkman and CDs. I finally had time to have a proper look at the music, none of which I have sung before. Let’s just say ….holy crap, I have a lot of stuff to learn before our first rehearsal this coming Thursday!!
After a very frustrating drive in heavy traffic as we approached Vancouver, we quickly made a pit stop at the meet hotel to pick up my gear and race number. Matty and I met a couple of the organizers and coaches for the BC team, grabbed my stuff and scooted back to the car where Joey was waiting for us. We had dinner at Earl’s near our hotel and then checked ourselves into the Ramada on Granville St. The room was fine but we found out that there was a bar directly below our window (we were on the 6th floor) that let out at about 3am and that there was a police dispatch right next store. I at least, had earplugs so although I woke up several times in the night due to the noise, I still got a few hours sleep. Joey and Matty however said they were up all night long….ouch!
When we got to the race we walked along the course to check out the conditions. Matty and I agreed that I would do my warm-up on the streets since slipping and sliding around on the course before I actually had to, would just tire me out more than anything. I also did a few strides in the p-lot before heading to the start-line. I changed into my spikes, did a few more strides and then off we went.
Unfortunately, the strategy that I used at BCs to start out conservatively and then pick it up as I went along did not work so well for me today. The course was covered in snow with one single lane that had been worn-down close to the ground from the day’s previous races. That lane was very narrow but a bit easier to get traction on. The course was otherwise covered in mulched up snow that was very slippery making it nearly impossible to get any speed or turn-over when you tried to pass. A better plan may have been to go out super hard and hold on to a position as much as possible. Instead, I got caught right at the start too far back from the front finding myself behind a long line of runners that I had to try and pass by continually moving off the path. I did manage to do some passing in the first 2km loop by making my moves on the downhill sections where the snow wasn’t as much of a factor but it was just so frustrating and energy consuming to pass on any of the flatter sections. The stronger girls perhaps had an easier time weaving on and off the path but I guess I am not quite there yet. Half-way along, I got caught behind someone that I just couldn’t seem to pass and lost my connection with the next lead pack and was stuck there until the final steep hill. I finally passed her and booted it home in the last 800 meters which was just too little too late. I knew as soon as I finished I hadn’t run the race the way I wanted but I did make a huge jump from last year’s standings from 39th to 14th. I am pleased with that. The race was a great learning experience and a nice way to end the season. I am already looking forward to next year’s cross-country season where I’ll hopefully be a bit wiser and faster and more aggressive! ARRRRR!!! Ha! The best moment of the race was going into the second lap and hearing a voice call out, “Go Mar-lumps!!” I glanced over and there was my brother Al, smiling away! I was so thrilled he came down to watch! Thanks Matty for looking out for me and to Joey for coming out for additional support….I know…I am spoiled! I am itching now to get back on the roads but that will have to wait until well after the New Year. I am now on a break for a couple of weeks. It’s time rest and recharge.
We had a very pleasant time with Cheryl and Jenny who grabbed a ride home with us. We saw Cliffy on the ferry too and got caught up with him.
I took a nice, long, hot shower when as soon as I got in the door and tended to my wounds on the inside of my calves compliments of my sharp spikes…ouchy!