Friday, August 12, 2016

Vacation report: Week #1 - Beaches and more beaches

Week #1 of our vacation is over and I have to say it's been good so far. There's been plenty of good food and wine, a reasonable amount of exercise, lots of reading and relaxing and even a bit of painting. The best part has been hanging out on the beach of course. The weather's been nothing short of perfect almost every day.

Of course, I'm happy to be on a beach, whatever the weather. Frankly, people who only like beaches when the weather's warm and sunny aren't serious beach people in my books. Sure, beaches are nice in the sunshine but that's something truly magical about them when the weather's less than ideal and you have them mostly to yourself.

We definitely didn't have them to ourselves this week. The weather's been stunning. We spent the first couple of days at Risser's (have I mentioned lately that it's my favourite place in the world?)...

Then sauntered half an hour down the other side of the Lahave River to spend a day on Hirtle's Beach...

Before making a somewhat longer trek to Summerville Beach just outside Liverpool...

And returned to Risser's for several hours today - until a thunderstorm chased us home.

All three are fabulous for different reasons. Hirtle's has the most spectacular waves...

... and is located near the entrance of a terrific hiking trail that circles Gaff Point. In fact, it was the opportunity to go for a hike that drew us to Hirtle's this week. We were feeling the need for more exercise after a couple of days lounging at Risser's.

Summerville has welcomed American tourists for generations - and for good reason. It's over a mile long with soft, white sand that sparkles in the sunshine. Seriously. It sparkles! Plus, it has a decent restaurant at one end. Husband and I really enjoyed sitting outside on the deck listening to waves crash against the rocks below as we sipped local beer and wine.

Clouds arrived later in the afternoon but that was fine too since we needed a break from all the sunshine and they offered some interesting photo opportunities.

Risser's is...well...Risser's. It's an excellent beach with good waves and lovely walks behind the dunes and across the marsh, as well as down the beach...

But it's true appeal is hard to articulate. I just love being there! And, apparently, I'm not alone in that.

For those who may be wondering how marathon training's gone this week - well, pretty well, all things considered. The fall I took last Sunday exacted a bigger toll than I realized at first. I was quite sore all over for three or four days and my arms are still feeling cranky. Nevertheless, I completed a couple of decent training sessions this week (including hill and interval training), as well as an energetic hike around Gaff Point, some "swimming" (aka playing in the waves) and a couple of good yoga sessions.

Truth be told, I may have overdone the yoga a bit yesterday. In my defence, it was hard not to. My yoga spot on the back deck is lovely - shaded by the house with a ideal view of the garden and bird feeder. It was wonderfully mellow watching the birds come and go while I did my thing. Honestly, I was tempted to stay there all day! My body felt terrific when I'd finished, but a little less so when I woke up this morning. It turns out all the downward dogs made my calves and hamstrings grumpy. I'll have to be a tad more sensible tomorrow.

The workout I enjoyed the most this week was the one I did this morning. I read about it in a NY Times blog a year ago but forgot about it until it popped up in my Facebook newsfeed yesterday. Like many people, I find it hard to do speed work consistently. In theory, the workout described in the blog - called "10-20-30" - minimizes the duration of the pain while improving overall running performance. The idea is to run 30 seconds at an easy pace, 20 seconds at a moderate pace and 10 seconds all out repeatedly for a total of 12-18 minutes. The good thing is that it's fun and the hard bits don't last long. The bad thing is that it's quite a bit tougher than I expected so I can't honestly say I'm looking forward to doing it again - though it's certainly less daunting than a 6k tempo run in 30C temperatures!

That's it for week #1 of our vacation. Looking forward to an easy run tomorrow morning and a long run on Sunday before we head over the mountain for a visit with friends in the Annapolis Valley. Next week, we plan to spend more time at the beach and visit with a few more friends and family - though we're determined to keep our program light so we get plenty of rest too. Of course, I'll be continuing to train as well.

Hope you're enjoying these last weeks of summer as much as we are!

Happy running!!

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