Sunday, May 20, 2012

Overcoming obstacles to arrive in France in under 23 hours

It seems like we just got back from vacation not too long ago but here we are taking off again. This trip was more stressful than exciting. At least that is how it all started.

What a journey it was! When they changed our flight to 2 hours later, we started to freak out about missing our train connection in Paris. The next train, if there was room, would be over 6 hours later. The thought of waiting 6 hours after a 12 hour flight and being on the road for 16 hours was pretty much unthinkable. No way Jose. I would have preferred us to stay the night at a hotel at the airport and then take the next train in the morning. The problem was that it was a long weekend and there weren't many trains left to take. Unless of course you don't mind taking a train for 10 hours or so to get to the south of France. All the options were bad if we missed our train.

Half way through our flight, a guy collapsed to the ground one or two rows behind us. He wasn't moving at all but someone checked and I heard "he's breathing." At that moment, Jean-Louis and I were thinking the same thing. We're so screwed. There goes any chance of our connection. I mean we felt sorry for the guy but we knew he would have to leave with the paramedics first and there would be more delay. An announcement was made to see if there was any doctor on board. It was like one of those scenes straight from a movie. Of course, Tristan kept fighting me to see the man lying in the aisle. His curiosity went wild.

When we arrived, we had to take a bus to the terminal, then line up to go through immigration. Like always the airport was so disorganized and probably under staffed. The lineup was out the door and there were only three tills open. Typical. Then we had to wait for our checked-in bags. After about 40 minutes, the bags have still not arrived. It's as though they only had one guy bringing in all the luggage. If I could, I would have given him a hand myself! All the previous delays did not matter anymore when we still had to wait for our luggage. Ridiculous. It's as ridiculous as it was over 10 years ago when I first came to France. Nothing has changed.

When our luggage finally came, we grabbed them and we just ran. Jean-Louis' aunt was meeting us at the terminal and she knew the exact route we had to take to catch the train so that was helpful. We ran with all our lugguage: 3 check-ins, and 2 carry-ons each, Tristan's included. We had a push cart but when we had to cross the road, Jean-Louis dropped his luggage and lagged behind us. I swear we dropped luggage at the same place last time! I warned Jean- Louis about that as well. Then when we arrived at the elevator, we couldn't take the push carts anymore and we had to carry everything by hand. Oh god. We totally hogged the elevator and then we pressed the wrong button and didn't move for the longest time. Oh god. We made sure to avoid elevators after that. They took too long anyway. Then came more running and lugging luggage while pulling Tristan up and down escalators. It was so painful and dangerous and we were all sweating up a storm. Oh god. I almost had to drop all the luggage altogether. We finally got to the train and climbed in the first open door. It wasn't where our seats were but we just wanted to get on that train. The train controllers on the platform were asking us where we were going and where we were sitting. We told him and then he said that we were in the wrong section of the train and had to move. We asked if there was time and he said yes so we grabbed our stuff again and ran. Then he blew his whistle for the train to leave. What the hell!? So we just hopped into the closest train again with our massive load of luggage. There was obviously no time. The guy was probably just mean. We were all soaked in sweat and huffing and puffing. Five seconds later, the train took off.

We were on the train but it didn't end there. At the next stop we had to get off and move everything into the part of the train where our seats were. The train doesn't stop for long and we had to walk all our belongings about 80 meters. The TGV train is super long. It was our last run with luggage and once again we made it just in time. Omg. I was dripping in sweat and my shirt was soaked through. Our hearts were all pounding but it was finally over. We made it and we felt like champions. Oh yeah, did I mention that Tristan and I were recovering from the stomach flu from just few days ago and I didn't sleep at all on the plane? Champions.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Monday, May 7, 2012

My first solo race: a half-marathon

Yesterday, I ran the Vancouver half-marathon. It was the first time I have ever raced without Jean-Louis beside me. When I registered myself, I figured he didn't need the extra training since he bikes and runs much more than me on a regular basis. Somewhat lucky for him though, when I woke up at 5AM on race day, he still got to sleep :)

Jean-Louis and Tristan came out to cheer me on around the 21KM mark. Yes, near the end! It was great to see them and to see Tristan holding the "Go Mommy Go" sign.

So how was the run? Beautiful, well organized, and was a bit of a wake up call for me. Here are my results:

Chip Pace Category Place Gender Place
1:50:23 5:14 102/747 586/5242

I am in a new age category this time! Yes, I'm getting old. I ran three minutes faster back in October but then I was probably around 10 pounds lighter. This time around I was also recovering from a cold and sprained ankle. They didn't really get in the way of the run but maybe it would have made a difference overall. I ran my hardest and it felt very difficult at times. It's almost like I didn't train enough but maybe it's because I was still under the weather. I don't know. At one time, my legs felt like iron and I ran up a small hill super slow. Aw, I hate when that happens! The hill just before the 14KM mark was the worst.

I'm impressed with the new race courses. We ran from Queen Elizabeth Park, down to Chinatown, into Yaletown, then English Bay, then Stanley Park, and finished downtown. It was a beautiful sunny day and the route was very scenic. The race was also well organized because there were water stations every few kilometers and also cheering and music stations. Nothing was forgotten! My last Vancouver half-marathon was very different. We came by water stations that had no one there and no water. I was sweating up a storm during this race and I drank water at every station. It helped me run just a bit faster each time. At the end of the race, we all received a medal and then a paper bag lunch. I really like the paper bag lunch idea. In the past, I noticed people were taking more than their share of food and then stuffing them in their backpacks to take home. Horrible.

Although I'm a bit disappointed in my results, I'm glad to have just made it as well. I actually spent most of last week on Cold-FX:( Also, I feel so fat these days. Some times I wonder how I can even run with all this load on my body. Lol. Jean-Louis took a picture of me running by him and it was one of the most unflattering shots of me. I'm so embarrassed:( It was somewhat of a wake up call for me. I seriously need to take off at least 5 pounds before the next race. I think if I do, I will automatically improve my time by a few minutes, even without any extra training. Extra baggage is not a good thing runners! Gah.

Well, the half-marathon is now behind me. Time to look ahead and find improvement. Next up? Victoria FULL marathon this October. All 42KM of it. Yikes. (Deep swallow). We're registered so there is no turning back now!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Photographs taken by a 3 year old

In action!

Tristan's feet - oops.

Even when it's done, he's still taking pictures.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

I played an artist this weekend

If you don't visit my swoonforfood blog, you wouldn't know that I painted cookies this past weekend. It was my first attempt at painting so I was quite pleased with the results. Below are just a few of the photographs we took, along with its painted cookies for comparison. Although I don't blog about food as much here anymore, I thought I would share these comparison images since I recently blogged about our Portland trip. I used Photoshop to help me visualize the watercolor equivalent of the photo.

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