Tuesday, July 18, 2017

More vacation memories

I've had some pretty bad luck when it comes to vacation weather. Five years ago, Husband and I went to Belize in what we thought was the "dry season" and had six straight days of heavy rain. When we went to Tuscany a few years before that, we had a week of cold, rainy weather in June! So imagine how thrilled I was when we had 6 days of beautiful, sunny weather when I was on vacation the week before last! It was perfect for someone who likes going to the beach as much as I do.

In my last post, I shared photos from our time at Broad Cove and Cherry Hill Beach. This one includes photos of Risser's Beach (my favourite place in the world) and Hirtle's Beach.

I actually made it to Risser's Beach a few times. The first day, Husband, Jackie and I were there all day but I wasn't able to take photos because I'd forgotten the memory card for my camera. I headed back on my own a few days later, which is when I took these pics.

No, she's not talking on the phone - just tucking her hair behind her ear. 

Low tide was super low. I've rarely seen so much of the foundation of the old wharf that used to occupy the far end of the beach.

It was a windy, coolish day - cool enough that the lifeguards were wearing their long jackets.

Fortunately, the air temperature didn't bother the young folk who wanted to swim.

We spent our last full beach day at Hirtle's. Though it was overcast, the day was mild and we thoroughly enjoyed having the beach mostly to ourselves.

Many of the people who were on the beach had dogs with them so Jackie was in her element - begging to play with every pooch within barking distance. 

The old gal in the stroller was traveling in style. Her owners explained that she'd been hit by a car a few years before so wasn't able to walk much. Fortunately, they love her enough to push her up and down the beach.

We had the pleasure of watching these two play on the beach for a good part of the afternoon. The dog's a cross between a golden Lab and a Irish setter - and does he ever like to chase balls!

By the time we packed up and headed for home, I felt happier and more relaxed than I have in some time. There's nothing like being on a beach to take my mind off work.

On the Sunday before I headed back to the office, we made one last foray to Risser's Beach - this time settling in for a few hours on Little Risser's. It was too cold and windy to swim but there were marvelous waves that drew everyone to the water. I enjoyed watching the little guy in the red hat practice karate by the shoreline.

Years ago, a friend asked me why I like going to the beach so much. Of course, I enjoy the sun and the sand but, for me, the magic is in the sound of the waves - which is why I love south shore beaches so much. You can nearly always count on them for significant wave action. For example, here's a video I recorded while we were sitting on Little Risser's last Sunday. 

On the home, Husband stopped the car so I could grab a few pics of sailboats on the LaHave River. It was at least 15C warmer here than on the beach just a few kms away. 

After supper the same evening, we took Jackie for a walk along the Centennial Trail. I'd spotted a family of osprey on my run that morning and wanted to see if I could grab a few photos of them. Unfortunately, I didn't have my tripod and they were too far away to get a clear shot.

To top off the week, I was treated to wonderful views of a super moon as I drove back to the city that evening. Though I was anxious to get home and prep for work the next day, I couldn't resist stopping to take a few photos.

In addition to all the great beach time, my week off was filled with fabulous food, mellow runs along the river, birdwatching from the back deck, jazz on the riverbank, and a heaps of reading and playing with Jackie so it was a most excellent vacation altogether.

Hope you're enjoying summer wherever you are! Happy running and writing!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

On vacation and in love

It's a bit embarrassing but the truth is both Husband and I are completely in love with Jackie, which means our days are a good deal less productive than they used to be. Training and caring for her eats up huge chunks of the time we used to spend reading, writing, doing chores, etc. On the upside, taking her for walks, playing with her, snuggling her, and laughing at her antics give us heaps of joy.

The proof is in the grin on my face in the photo at the top of this post, which Husband took when we visited Cherry Hill Beach a couple of days ago. Also in the fact that I don't mind being woken by her at 6:30 am - even when I'm on vacation, which I am this week. Her excitement and happiness upon rediscovering her people each morning makes it totally worth it.

Of course, it helps that she's stupidly photogenic.

It's been a good vacation so far - with plenty of glorious weather, running, time at the beach and delicious food. Since Monday, we've spent time at Broad Cove, Risser's Beach and Cherry Hill Beach. I'm headed back to Risser's on my own this afternoon because Jackie and Husband need a break from the sun but we plan to go walking at Hirtle's Beach tomorrow to round out the week.

Here are a few pics from our meanderings this week. I haven't gotten as many shots as I hoped - you know, because puppy - but hopefully they'll give you some sense of how beautiful it is in our little corner of the world.

Fortunately, I have managed to do a fair bit of running this week - not to mention heaps of walking with Jackie. On Sunday, I ran an easy 12k up the river and back, which felt mostly fine, despite warm temperatures and plenty of humidity. Tuesday and today, I ran a shorter 8.5k route to the pedestrian bridge and back, stopping occasionally to take phone pics and chat with folks I met en route. Both outings felt comfy, despite the warm weather - which should mean my fitness level's improving.

My current plan is to increase the length of my weekend runs by no more than a km or two a week and gradually add hills to my Thursday runs in preparation for tackling a half marathon at the end of August. However, much depends on how busy things are at work and at home as the summer progresses, and whether training feels like a chore rather than something I want to do. If all goes well, perhaps I'll go for the gusto and register for a full marathon later in the fall as well.

This week, a couple of things made me feel more positive about training. The first was this article about four things neuroscience suggests have a tendency to make us happy. It was a great reminder of the importance of gratitude and the ability to make choices.

The second was news that an old friend is to undergo a bone marrow transplant next week to treat the blood cancer he's been fighting for several years. He wouldn't like me saying he's "fighting" cancer. You see, he's a scientist and, in his view, it's the treatments that fight the cancer, not him, but I can't say I agree. Yes, the treatments are necessary to deal with the cancer - courage and determination on their aren't enough - but without his ongoing efforts to remain positive and persevere, the treatments wouldn't possible. Though he rarely complains, it's clear the many rounds of chemo he's had since his diagnosis have taken a heavy physical and emotional toll, and next week's treatments will be just as tough.  I admire him tremendously for dealing with it all as he has and, knowing what he's up against, makes me even more grateful I can run.

With that, it's time to get moving. I want to squeeze in a little time by the ocean this afternoon before we head out for dinner and jazz by the river this evening. Happy running! I'll try to be back with further running updates and more beach and puppy photos soon.