Month: July 2018

Half Marathons

One of my under-30 goals was to run a marathon.  As you might know, 30 came and went three years ago, and I still have not run a marathon.

In place of this, I ran my first half-marathon in June of 2017, and my second in August.  Prior to the June race, the furthest I’ve ever run when not training was 4 miles.   To run 3x+ that was an insurmountable task, until I started training.  Also, now that I’ve successfully completed 13.1 miles twice, to run 26.2 sounds insane.  I think I’ll skip it…for now.

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I started running to curb my anxiety, and realized I loved it.  No, not because it helps me stay slim. I’ve not lost any weight; in fact, I’ve got these giant thighs that have been known to tear my jeans.  No, not because I like to win races; I’ve not finished better than top 60% at any race I’ve done.  Instead, I love it because it gives me time to focus on myself – anywhere from 30 to 150 minutes at a time.  Yes, 150.  Two and a half hours.  I’m slow.

I could wax poetic on the benefits of running – or the pains it causes.  But I think the biggest lesson here isn’t that running is great, or it will kill your knees, which it is and it can.  The big lesson here is that if you want to do something, it takes time and dedication.  If you want it bad enough, you will be able to do it.

I don’t think I’ll ever be competitive; I just can’t match the times of those with legs as long as my body.  What I will be, however, is happy and accomplished.  And who knows, maybe I will make a full marathon my under-40 goal.

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86! 12! 11! Hike!

One of the nice things about Victoria is that once you’re outside the city, you are surrounded in forests full of amazing hikes.  Weeble and HMR live in Houston, TX (they’re fine, btw – Hurricane Harvey left them relatively untouched), and they wanted to be outdoors in nice, cool weather rather than sweating their both proverbial and literal balls off in Texas.

Because it was their vacation, they chose the hike – around 7 miles round trip – through the forests.  We set off, and I was the idiot who found a beach area on a trail offshoot that was at a 45° angle over rocks.  The beach was worth it, but that up and down was brutal.   Had I known, I’d have skipped the extra half mile detour to the beach.

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I even made a friend on the beach!  They were everywhere, and this little dude was sadly too slow to escape our clutches.  We did let him go, but not after a key photo op. IMG_4195

HMR and Weeble met playing soccer, so they figured they would be fit enough to hike.  Unfortunately, they were a bit underprepared (I’d use the word “woefully” but that seems mean).  Pro tip:  Bring at least one more bottle of water than you think you’ll need, wear comfy, stretchy clothes that you won’t mind ruining with dirt and sweat, and if you are the type to get hangry, pack more food than you think you’ll need.

Despite HMR’s deliberate heaving, we still managed to make it to the end of the trail.  I know I overuse the word “gorgeous” when describing the vistas on these hikes, but I’m not sure there’s another word that would encompass what they actually are.

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VicTORIA!

My friend Weeble and his new girlfriend High-Maintenance Redhead (HMR) were going on their first vacation, and for some reason, they chose to travel around Victoria, BC.  I had never been there, despite it being a 2.5 hour ferry ride, and it seemed like a good excuse to see people and a new place.

People will tell you that Victoria is like a mini-England, and despite all the signs being in French, I’d say that’s an accurate statement.  There are botanical gardens (didn’t go), a castle (went), a lovely parliament building that lights up at night (went), a butterfly garden (didn’t go), a marina full of tiny houseboats (went), a really fun Chinatown (went), and a thriving food and beer culture (definitely went).

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It’s a cute little city – easily navigable both by car and walking, and there are some truly lovely sights to see.  And if all else fails, there’s always the food.  Fresh seafood, craft beer, incredible Asian food, and inventive cocktails.  And it’s all in dollarettes!

Night Market

When I lived in China, going to the Night Market and haggling with the vendors, eating the food, and people watching was one of my favorite pastimes.  You can’t really replicate that here, but when Lt. Dan  and her boyfriend Granola invited me to the Vancouver Night Market, I jumped at the chance.

It’s not a terribly long drive – just going over the border and then finding a parking place takes a little bit.  We got the multi entry card for $30, which allowed 7 admissions to the market and no lines, and then we wandered around.

Lt. Dan was a little hangry, so we got food first.  There are a hundred different things to choose from, but being an occasional Korean, I opted for jap jae and pajeon.  Fast-food-stand Korean is the best.  It was delicious.  Then I saw the hundred other stands with Vietnamese, dim sum, meat on a stick, Thai, Japanese, Indian…did I choose poorly?  Maybe, but I’ll just have to go back.

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We walked around, and I decided we were in the real-life, overpriced version of ebay China.  Everything you find on ebay that ships from China was at these stalls:  cute USB drives, scarves, printed t-shirts, toys, silly lamps, you name it.  I bought two scarves (I was freezing), but we decided to head back when we failed to find me a panda carnival prize.

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At least now, I know if I don’t want to wait the four-week shipping time, I can just head to the Vancouver night market!