Wednesday, August 16, 2006

I'm back! Run Vegan Run part 3

I wonder if you noticed my absence. I did go on vacation. I did run a 1/2 marathon in my hometown and I did it all with a cold. Oh well, at least I was on vacation.

We left on Sunday, picked up my mom in Montreal and drove on, across the border and stopped in Bangor, Maine ("Vacationland" as it says on the license plates. Did I see that correctly?). In the early morning hours I rose and D. drove me 8 km away from our hotel and I ran back. Part of the route went through the older part of Bangor which is really lovely with big old Victorian style homes and brownstones. It's also fairly hilly but we managed to map out a route that saved me from too much strain on the running muscles. We were staying near the Bangor mall so I had a smooth run past there and back to the hotel up the hill. (We stayed near the mall because I had ordered running shoes from JC Penny and had them delivered to that store avoiding the shipping charges and paying almost half price for my shoes! Bonus).

Back at the hotel I was really looking forward to the continental breakfast included since I figured I could at least eat toast and there would be margarine, peanut butter and jam, right? Wrong! Coffee? I shuddered when I tasted it. The orange juice was served in those small Dixie cups on a tray that looked like medication was being doled out from the service window. The juice tasted funny. Cereal, jam, bread, etc etc all contained "high fructose". This is an ingredient I've never encountered becaue I don't typically buy grocery store cereals. The raisin bran was the least offensive in terms of nutritional value and sugars. It still wasn't great though. I had rice dream with me to put on the cereal. D. seemed to think they might have soy milk, but it was clear that wasn't ever going to occur in this place. I could eat the bagels, but the margarine was country time or something that contained whey. Peanut butter? Doesn't exist. I forgot about the peanut allergy problem. Jam, okay, jam was happening. More high fructose. Oh well. I need to better prepare in the future.

I did notice that I was feeling a little achey and had a bit of a scratchy throat. D. went out to get zinc lozenges while I was on my run because the Rite Aid opens at some early morning hour. It was too late though by the next morning I was sick.

We did make good time from Bangor to Saint John. My brother was ready to go to the camp when we arrived and we were at his place and out the door within an hour. We dropped our rental car in Fredericton Junction at his girlfriend's house and packed their two 4 x 4 trucks and headed to the camp. You really need a 4 x 4 because some of the road you wouldn't believe. The main road is just dirt logging road and then you turn off onto a pretty good stretch. Then you hang a left and begin the bumpy ride to my brother's camp. Much of it you wouldn't drive down if you didn't know where it went. You have to drive through a swamp and a brook. Then there's the boulders all over the road that you can only drive up on because the passage is so narrow there's no way around them. I love the drive. The first time he drove us out there I was a little freaked out by the roads, but now it's like coming home.

By five we had pitched our tent and settled in for our week at the camp. We had a quick dinner and I turned in early since I wasn't feeling well. That night we had a huge thunderous storm that kept swirling around us and I swear it made a point of stopping directly above the tent to send out the loudest crashes of thunder.

As usual out there, the morning was clear, sunny and gorgeous. We spent our days going to the lake (we're the only people out there) and swimming, taking the boat around for a tour (mom tried to show us how to row but it was a sad attempt by my brother and I as she tried to direct us from the shore. She rowed easily around the lake by herself), and going for long walks along the roads, through the woods and along the chop line looking for deer, mooose etc. (the chop line is the property behind my brother's camp that he cleared to open up the space. The moose and deer use it alot. One morning my brother walked out around 8 am and saw two bucks just standing about 10 feet from him. They didn't move or anything. He came back to our tent to get us but the deer were gone. On one night I was woken by loud crunching in the brush and I think I even heard chewing like brush tops being torn away. For certain it was a moose. It was so loud it had to be a moose by the time I put my extra layer of clothes on (chilly nights), got up the courage to go out and unzipped the tent, the moose had moved too far from sight, even with the near full moon. When D. and I got back in the tent we could hear it moving again but further away. The next morning we checked out the tracks and sure enough a moose had paid us a visit. I think the same moose used the main trail to the lake since we saw more fresh tracks there that day. I think that was also the night the coyotes came quite close. It was the loudest I had heard them ever. They made the loons on the lake freak out and they went into a big tizzy over something. I also heard a big splash in the lake that night. It may have been our moose.

We did finally see a deer and a couple of bunnies. At dusk we go out at least once and putt along the logging road in the truck. One person drives while the others stand up in the back looking over the roof for a better view. I drove since I was feeling too sick to risk being cold in the back and it gave my brother a chance to ride in the back and enjoy (he'd also had a few beers so it worked out best for all). I was pretty nervous driving through the brook and along some of that road, but I am proud to say we made out fine. We drove all over the place and it wasn't until we were on our way back to camp that we spotted the deer on the main road and a few feet from the deer was a bunny. The deer darted into the woods of course and the bunny froze on the road (of course). My brother's chihuahua barked and flipped at the sight of the bunny, suituably scaring the bunny into the bushes.

I was feeling pretty low with very little appetite. I was in bed early, missing all the starry nights. I did go in the lake every day because I just couldn't say no to that. It's too wonderful to plunge into the lake and then float on the surface. My cold was running its course and this did concern me since I had no energy to do the running I needed to do before the race. By Friday I went for a 20 minute run anyway and I felt okay. D. ran with me (he hates running so god bless him for that) since I'd rather not run the logging roads alone. Silly fear really, but you never know. My appetite did start to come back and I tried to eat as much as I could. I felt ill prepared for Sunday's run.

Saturday we packed and went back to Saint John. I rested as much as possible and had a good pasta dinner courtesy of, you guessed it, D. We got up at 5:45 and were out the door by 6:45. I was at the Aquatic center and changed by 7:15. I really had no idea how I would do and my only plan was to run to finish and do my best even if it meant I would have to walk the final kilometers. The first 20 minutes of the run were my toughest ever. My breath wasn't as it should be and I was still coughing. I kept going trying to keep my pace. By the half way mark I knew I could do it and that gave me more inspiration to keep going. I drank water and kept moving. I had some really tough moments, but my family was there, meeting me along the way and encouraging me. It was awesome. I love that about the marathon by the sea. The route is so accesible for people to follow along. Just past the half way I saw my friend T. who ran the race last year. She was with a group from Hampton at the water station handing out gatorade and water. The best part was she was dressed as the Cat in the Hat. It was brilliant. I hugged her and said hello and that's all we had time for. I at least took my time to say hi to her. I always wish we had more time to see each other, little time...

My brother slowed the truck along the way and told me about some guy ahead that he wanted me to pass. This motivated me and when I saw the man he described up ahead I went for it and passed him. I couldn't catch the pace bunny, but I finished. The last stretch up the harbour bridge (a long sloping incline) just about did me in but I crossed the finish line in 2:03. Phew! I am so proud to have completed you have no idea. Next run? I'm not sure. The full marathon beckons, but I don't know if I have the time to train for that distance. Do I? I'll think about it.

Post race, i stopped at the food tent and had an orange and bulked up on a plate of food for my family to enjoy. I had a massage and we headed to my brother's house to pack before getting back on the road. I was so sad to leave. I really have a great time with him. I wish it was longer. Maybe next year when I go back for the run. Maybe the full marathon? Also, next year I'll run first and then go to the camp. Why didn't I think of that sooner?

I'll post a few photos soon.


red jane said...

That sounds so amazing! What an incredible trip, to combine so many perfect elements in one vacation. And look at you, with a cold and all, still clocking in with a great time! Hooray! CAn't wait to see the photos. Weren't you at all scared by the moose and coyotes though? I'd be sleeping with one eye open, they're so, well, BIG.

sp said...

I wasn't too scared. I've gotten a lot better over time. My first couple of times in a tent I didn't get a lot of sleep, but now I can sleep through the night as long as a moose doesn't wake me! I actually love listening to the sounds in the night now (coyotes, loons, owls etc) and know the rustling is just a mouse or chipmunk. True, they are big animals, but moose are quite skittish when it's not mating time (two years ago we woke up to a moose outside our tent and gingerly stepped outside to watch it, but as soon as we stepped on a twig it bolted) and moose are also vegetarian so no worries there. Coyotes I've never seen. They tend to travel solo and are much more afraid of us. Bears are really the only thing that worries me (probably because I know so little about encountering them) so there's absolutely no food of any kind in the tent or anywhere near the tent. We've never seen a bear out there. It's also rare to spot them.
I also gauge my reaction off of D. (it's like watching a flight attendant during turbulance to gauge the seriousness of it) and nothing phases him.