Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Bonjour from France!

Juno Beach
Well, so much for posting regular updates during my vacation. Despite my best intentions and a genuine desire to run and write lots these past few weeks, this is only my second post.

The trouble is the days have been crammed full of all the other stuff associated with traveling abroad.  Days rush by in a blur of activity - catching trains and buses, sightseeing, visiting old friends, eating and drinking - and we fall exhausted into bed each night.

I don't mind not running a lot because we've been walking so much - often up and down hills and stairs, sometimes carrying heavy packs - but I miss writing. It will be good to get home, reflect on all we've seen and experienced these past few weeks and write about it.

Tonight, there are two things on my mind. The first is our visit to Juno Beach yesterday. Juno is where the Canadians landed on D-Day. Today, it's a stunningly beautiful, peaceful place so it's hard to believe such awful things happened there. So many young men killing and killed, so much destruction.  The things we saw and heard during our tour of the beaches and at the Memorial (a museum) in Caen will stay with me forever.

The second is how differently people live in various parts of the world. For example, tonight we're staying in an apartment on the 6th floor of a building in the heart of Montmartre. The apartment was described by previous guests as extremely quiet and I suppose it is - relatively speaking - but I can hear the residents of the apartment across the courtyard washing dishes, the voices of patrons at a restaurant down the block, and motorcycles and buses on the street below. It's a stark contrast to last night when we slept in an ancient stone house on the edge of Caen where we heard nothing but the sound of our own breathing. I suppose people learn to ignore such ambient noises when they live in close proximity to one another but it's hard to imagine how. 

On that note, it's time I signed off, brushed my teeth, inserted ear plugs and toddled off to bed. We have another few days of sightseeing and visiting with friends ahead before we board the plane for home on Sunday so I need to try to get some rest. 

Happy running and writing, friends!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Beautiful Malta!

Not surprisingly, there wasn’t a lot of time to run or write while Husband and I were in Malta last week. We have several friends there and there was lots to see so we filled our days with visiting, eating, talking and touring. Eight days went by in a flash but we certainly made the most of our time there. We visited a variety of historic sites and museums highlighting Malta’s fascinating history as the home of the Knights of St. John’s and its pivotal role in WWII, went on some delightful walks in the countryside, enjoyed several delicious meals with dear friends, sampled nearby restaurants and cafes, and spent time sitting contentedly on various balconies sipping local wines and watching the world go by.

While we were looking forward to arriving here in France, we were sorry to say goodbye to Malta and to all our friends there.

As for running – well, I donned my running shoes only twice in Malta. The first morning we were there, I crawled out of bed early and did a short turn around the neighbourhood to get my bearings. After a 12 hour journey and a short night’s sleep, my body wasn’t terribly happy but it still felt good to work out some of the kinks. I didn’t run again until the day before we left when it suddenly donned on me I wouldn’t get another chance to run along the Promenade.  

Despite high temperatures and humidity, I managed a slow 8kms savouring the sights and sounds of Paceville, St. Julian’s and Sliema and arrived back at the house feeling more myself.  Though we walked miles and miles – often up and down steep hills - in Malta, I still missed running regularly.

Now we’re in Avignon, France, and the weather is even more hot and humid so it’ll be challenging to run this week but I’m determined to get out more often during the remainder of our vacation. This morning (our second in France), Husband and I managed a short slow run around the city wall. I’d feel embarrassed about running such a pathetically short distance except that we followed it up with spending the day biking along the Rhone and around the Isle de la Barthelasse. It was totally idyllic – particularly our lunch at this excellent restaurant perched on the river’s edge.  

If I do nothing else but eat while we’re here, I’ll remember Provence fondly.

Happy running and writing friends!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

We're off!

Enjoying gelato in Montmartre, Paris, 2012
Looking forward to more gelato this trip!
I haven't had time to breathe - let alone blog - in the past week. Once all my spring races were behind me, it was time to focus on catching up on chores and preparing for our upcoming trip to Malta and France. We leave in a few days and my "to do" list has gotten shorter but it still feels as if I'll be making a mad dash to the finish line.

Despite all the activity, I managed to squeeze in several runs over the past 10 days - all relatively short and easy. Good thing. It turns out I'm more physically tired than I realized.  Even running slowly, I feel the fatigue. Clearly, this vacation comes at a good time.

When we arrive home in a few weeks, it will be time to start training for two more big events - Maritime Race Weekend (where I hope to run a 5k on Friday night and a full marathon on Saturday) and Cape to Cabot. Hearing my friend David talk about running Signal Hill in St. John's was sobering. Clearly, if I'm to have any hope of completing "the toughest race in eastern North America", I'll have to train well over the summer. Given that, I'm determined to take things easy while we're away and give my body plenty of time to do necessary repairs and maintenance so that I'm fully recovered before I begin.

On that note, it's time I signed off and got back to work. I don't know how much blogging I'll do while we're away but I'll at least try to post occasional updates. From the photos I've seen of Malta and Provence, I know I'm going to love running there.

Happy running and writing, friends!