Vacation Walk

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Well, even though I posted my last post a little late…I have to admit, that up until my vacation, I was getting bored. I mean, seriously, there’s only so much housework that one can do, right? I was off for over two weeks on sick leave, due to this tendinitis in my left ankle, but now I’m on vacation, and actually away from home and visiting family in the US of A!!

It feels good to travel and take a break, not just from work, but from the routine of the household and life in general. We are staying with family just an hour west of Boston and we are getting spoiled. I haven’t cooked a thing since arriving and the food is amazing!!! We don’t ever starve while we are here. As for the ankle, it was still bothering me before we left on our roadtrip to Massachusetts, but since being here, it hasn’t flared up too badly. I’ve been taking anti-inflammatories only on an as-needed basis, which hasn’t been often. I’ve also been stretching it, going for walks, swimming and of course, doing what vacations are known for: putting the feet up!!! Felt good to finally arrive here at our destination after a full day of traveling in the car, cooped up, unable to fully stretch until a rest-stop or a food/coffee stop.

Our first day here we took it easy, as we had arrived late the evening before and ended up chatting until the wee hours of the morning with our hosts, simultaneously unwinding from the drive. We did do a small amount of shopping for supplies, seeing as we were going to make steak on the BBQ with twice-baked potatoes for supper….YUM!! The following day, Sunday, was one of concern as we were facing a day of much walking and stifling humidity, deep in the heart of downtown Boston. We went to the beginning of the T-train’s Red Line, parked the car, hopped the train and headed for downtown, where we disembarked at Park Street. After the air conditioned atmosphere of the train, the sweltering downtown humidity hit us like a wall the minute the train doors opened.

We walked from there, through the Boston Commons, past the State House, to quickly walk through the “Set Bar” of the TV sitcom from the 80’s, CHEERS! We were sweating already and we had just gotten started. We walked all the way back towards Park St. T-train entrance, jumped on the Green Line and headed for the Prudential building stop, right next to the Cheesecake Factory’s entrance. After a light appetizer, we hit the waiter up for what we came for, and what the restaurant is famous for: CHEESECAKE!!!! Don’t get me wrong, their food is amazingly delicious, but the portions are huge, so an appy it was, in order to be able to fit in that slab of Dulce de Leche cheesecake. I highly recommend that one!!!! Soooooo gooooood!!!

After a wheelbarrow ride out of the restaurant (lol…just kidding, but I could have used one), we walked some more, through the shops at Prudential (wish we would’ve had time to shop that evening) and on to the next T-train stop, at Copley Street. This one we took to Kenmore Street, the closest stop to none other than Fenway Park, home of the Red Sox. We couldn’t shop earlier because we had to make our way to the ball field…we had tix for the Yankees vs Sox!!! Exciting for us as it was Debbie’s first game ever!! It was my second time at Fenway, but third Major League ball game in total. I’ve seen one at the Skydome in Toronto, ON where the Jays faced the Orioles (back in 2007), then I saw one in 2008 at Fenway where we watched the Blue Jays beat the Sox, and of course, the one on Sunday where we watched painfully as the Yankees downed the Sox. It was hot and sticky in the ball field and after being soaked with sweat from all the walking, we were praying for a breeze….anything would’ve been lovely. For most of the game, the air remained still, barely a whisper of wind passed over us every once in a while, so by the end of the night, we were sticky, overheated and tired….but we still had fun.

My ankle was snug inside my ankle brace I was sure to bring with me and wear if we were to have a busy day of walking, which on Sunday, we did. I could feel the burning sensation ever so slightly climbing up the inside of my left ankle, resulting in a pinching feeling behind the leg, under my calf muscle. I was sure to take an anti-inflammatory before we set out that afternoon as well as another once I arrived home (well, my vacation home…lol). I stretched it out before going to bed and to be honest, it hasn’t really bothered me too much since. Finally, it is starting to heal and feel better…I am so happy about that because I am missing running soooo much. Until walking causes zero discomfort though, I must take it slow….patience with healing an injury is something I have a hard time with, but I’m working on it. It’s just nice that I can walk now without too much of an issue. Sunday was just a long day of walking in the heat so that was rough…lots of grinding in that ankle by the end of the night, all the stairs in the subway didn’t help. It’s okay though…I’m on vacation!!! Taking it easy is what I’m doing and enjoying every minute of it.

Stay tuned for the next post…I promise, I will get that retro playlist done one of these days.

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Cracking up…or chilling out?

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Originally written to post for June 25, 2012:

Alright, I won’t lie…I’m bored already! I know, I know, it’s summertime, get out and enjoy! That would be great, if it wasn’t for all the rain we got in the past few days (though today was a lovely day for a change). Being off of work is one thing when you have a trip planned for vacation, but too much downtime becomes a whole different ballgame when it’s unplanned and an appendage is ailing (failing?) you. This has happened before, with a tweaked back (6 mths off almost 5 yrs ago now), and last year with a torn TFCC (I had to look it up…triangular fibrocartilage complex) in right wrist (was off for 4.5 mths), both of which were injuries sustained at work. As you know, my job is very physical, so any appendage issue (regardless if it happened at work or not) becomes an issue of whether we are able to carry on with our duties, or if we have to take the appropriate leave, ie: sick leave or compensatory leave (with an injury sustained on the job). This latest issue, left ankle tendinitis, is a cumulative thing and as such, I’m off on sick leave until further notice.

So here I sit, hopped up on a day’s worth of caffeine, bug-eyed, staring at the screens of both TV and PC (what can I say? I multi-task), trying to come up with an interesting and entertaining blog post. Today was a bit more productive than the last couple of days in that I managed to get some housework done, before finally having to rest my fiery ankle. I spent part of the day just wondering what else to start on, laundry, dishes, more dusting, before finally declaring (to no one in particular) that I was jumping in the pool to cool off, despite the chilly reading of 72F on the thermometer! My very own “polar dip” allowing me to thoroughly chill out before I cracked up from boredom.

Since I won’t be running anytime soon (at least not until this tendinitis leaves my ankle), I’ve been thinking seriously about revamping some of my playlists on my iPhone. I have several, some were made by using the Genius option on iTunes, others were thrown together by yours truly, some for the gym workouts I have yet to get back to, others strictly for running (all the upbeat, boom boom boom stuff). My playlists also reflect the mood I’m in when 1) I first put them together or 2) what I feel like working out/running to on a particular day. I’ve been chuckling to myself, thinking I’d like to gather up songs from my childhood (comprised mostly of the one-hit-wonders of the 80’s and those techno-beats of the 90’s…lol) and put together what I would call my RETRO TUNES playlist. I can’t help but smile at how a simple melody from those eras immediately takes me back to when I remember hearing it for the first time. Imagine the looks I’d get from people as they watch me jog by, a dopey grin plastered on my sweaty face, grinning at some long lost memory the latest tune on my retro list conjured up. Surely they’d think, “She’s losing it…must be the heat and the effort…she’s cracking up!” LOL! Relax, peeps! I’m just chilling it…retro style!

Now, when I share my retro list, please don’t judge me…you don’t have to love the one-hit-wonder eighties like I do. That’s what made the eighties so loveable and full of musical charm, to me anyway. I loved them then, still love them now, their variety is what spiced life up back then. My favorite Sirius/XM radio channel is the 80’s…love the trip down my childhood memory lane it takes me on. The good ol’ days…life was so simple then…we were kids, worried about nothing in particular, skipping merrily along life’s road.

Finally I will post this blog update…I had meant to post it originally on June 25, but got busy with making an ’80s playlist, as well as planning my trip to Massachusetts & New Hampshire (which I’m currently enjoying). So here is my update from a couple of weeks or so ago….I am no longer going crazy being bored, as a matter of fact, I’m chillaxin’ on vacation!!

Enjoy the read and stay tuned for a vacation update. I’ll eventually get around to posting that list of my favorite retro tunes!!

Tendinitis Stinks!

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Remember two posts ago when I was facing my unexpected leave from running? Well, today marks three weeks since my last big run of 5K, the one after which I decided I should rest my ankle. Not really knowing why it was causing me so much discomfort, I had continued to walk and run on it until I could no longer. Work didn’t feel too bad, though as of late, my ankle was flaring up more on busier days.

I should’ve been working today, but had initially hoped to obtain the day off to take a trip up to a city approximately one and a half hours north of here to partake in an event called the Miramichi Rock N’ Run. One of my friends had invited me to attend and I was excited to begin training for it, even though I only had about a month and a half to do so. I was already capable of running the majority of a 5K and this was to be a 10K. Well, needless to say, when I began having difficulty with my left ankle, I didn’t bother to apply for a vacation day to attend today’s event, knowing I would have great difficulty in completing the run. I certainly hope it went well for my friend and all the other participants and look forward to hearing about it from her. I did end up having today off from work, though not in the way I had hoped.

It all started probably more than a month ago when I really sit and think about it. Although, like I’ve said before and will reiterate, healthcare providers are renowned for “ignoring” signs and symptoms, passing them off as “part of the job” or “I must’ve done too much yesterday.” You know, the usual excuses we make for aches and pains we encounter in our lives. Up until just a few days ago, my ankle pain was tolerable, I could still weight-bear and do my job as a medic, so I thought nothing more of it. That is, until Thursday evening, when I decided, after my brain pleaded with me for several days, it was time to attempt a run.

Heading out for that run, I knew full-well that my body would “forget” the level at which I had been jogging. The same goes for when you haven’t lifted weights in a long while and you go back to the gym, thinking you can lift as heavy as you used to, only to realize this isn’t the case (at least it’s how it is for me, being as out of shape as I am). I tried using the C25K app on my iPhone, knowing it would have a light run/walk program for me to ease back into things, hoping it would be gentle on my ankle. Well, let’s just say that trying to run was more what it looked like. I walked for most of the 31 minutes I was out there, feeling more and more discouraged with each step I took. More than once I thought of calling home to have Paul come pick me up with the truck, but would just as quickly dash the idea, thinking, “this is ludicrous!” and “I’m not that far from home, I’ll keep going.” It was very difficult, but I managed to get home, stretched out my ankles and legs, iced the affected ankle and wrapped it, hoping it would feel better the next day. That wasn’t the case.

Sleep was not forthcoming that night, my ankle throbbed and burned. “What was wrong with it?” I kept thinking. I got my answer later the next day, after hobbling around trying to do housework, get groceries and cook supper. After calling the “after-hours clinic” in hopes of getting an appointment, I was advised by the kind receptionist that my best bet was the ER, seeing as I couldn’t weight-bear on it and they would want an X-ray, I knew it was the thing I had to do. I was trying to avoid the ER, not due to the waiting times, but due to the fact that I felt (as most of us in healthcare feel) it didn’t warrant a trip to the hospital. Alas, I went in and after 2 hrs, was back out, having been assessed, X-rayed, given a note for work, a prescription of NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, ie: Naproxen), some good advice and an ACE wrap. No stress fractures, thank goodness for that. Ice, heat, gentle stretching, rest and slowly ramping up my walking was advised. Looks like I’m going to become great friends with the frozen water bottle and my heated Accuball in the next few weeks. “You have severe tendinitis.” Not what I had wanted to hear, but could be my body’s way of saying “SLOW DOWN” because I was trying to do too much too fast. I realize that now, a little too late, however, the lesson has been learned.

So, it looks like I’ll be trying to find some interesting posts to blog about in the meantime, until I can get back out for a pave-pounding run. My goal of running the Legs for Literacy 10K or even the half in October, here in Moncton, will have to be put off until next year. The priority now is getting my severe tendinitis healed up. I am listening to the protests from that cranky tendon on the medial aspect of my ankle, screaming loud and clear, making “its” voice heard: REST ME, OR ELSE!!! Discouraging as it may be, I will just have to focus my determination on proper stretching techniques, applying thermal treatments (ice and heat) and strengthening my ankle for the next time I run with the wind. I’m grinning and bearing it all, even though it’s a severe pain in my ass ankle!

Hiking with Mom

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A week ago today, I drove the 3.5 hrs up to the northern part of this province, New Brunswick, to my family’s hometown of Campbellton, which rests on the border of Quebec. The coastal vistas are amazing, especially when enjoyed at a higher than normal viewpoint, and while the mountains are not nearly as high as the Rockies of the Canadian and American West, they are beautiful in their own way.

I hadn’t been to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain (not to be confused with Sugarloaf USA, though we do have a ski hill in the vicinity) in years, so I told my mom that I wanted to climb it before heading back home on Wednesday. My cousin had joined me in the drive up to our hometown, but she had some sort of sinus/chest infection, rendering her lungs unable to take on the task of the hard breathing a hike like that would entail. My mom was up for the task but rather than climb in the afternoon on Sunday or Monday, we waited until early Tuesday morning so it wouldn’t be as hot and humid.

Just a little about our Sugarloaf Mountain…it is part of the northern Appalachian Mountains, stands approximately 1,001 feet (305 meters) within the borders of Sugarloaf Provincial Park and is a late Devonian Age volcano! Circling its base is the Terry Fox Trail, where every year, shortly after the school season begins, children and adults of all ages partake in the run honoring none other than the trail’s namesake. For those of you unfamiliar with Mr. Fox’s heartwrenching, courageous story, you may find it here.

Tuesday morning rolls around, bright and sunny with a cool breeze, the likes of which we’d appreciate later during our hike. We both agreed that the hike would not be a race to the top, but rather something to savor, enjoying it for the quality time together that it was. We set out with our small backpacks, our water bottles (I had left my hydration pack back home in Moncton) filled with ice cold water we both knew would not remain that way for long, and of course, digital cameras with plenty of battery power and space on their respective memory cards.

The nice thing about a small town the size of Campbellton is the fact that even if you have a vehicle, you really don’t need it as everything is within walking distance. We left my truck at Mom’s and walked about 5 minutes or so before going under an overpass with the highway above it, reaching the trail at approximately 10:05, the summit about an hour later (we took our time, taking a multitude of rest breaks on our almost vertical journey). The worst part of the trail is not the base of the mountain, but rather the part that seemingly rises straight up into the air, an almost vertical climb, steep and rough, making my legs burn with lactic acid buildup and my calves scream for mercy.

Now, this isn’t the only trail to go up to the top, where an observation deck awaits those brave enough to step out onto it’s “metal-grate like” surface. There is another trail for those who wish to “rough it” a little more, made of a narrow, packed-mud surface, a scattering of pine needles and leaves carpeting parts of it, and gnarled tree roots reaching up to trip you with each step you take. I have used this trail in the past but that wasn’t the plan for my most recent climb (still too out of shape for that one at the moment…lol).

After what seemed like endless stops and starts, we came across the two sets of “rock stairs” rising up from the trail, with a thick cable and railings (put in place many years ago) that facilitate the remainder of the hike to the summit. Next came a ladder of sorts, metal in nature with railings on either side and a metal mesh bottom that eased the walk across and up it. The ladder begins at an almost horizontal position, ascending vertically at an angle to assist in making it past what used to be a very rocky hike. Words of advice: don’t look behind you as it might make you dizzy if afraid of heights. You can look down, because you won’t see much through the ladder’s mesh floor except the rock that you’re bypassing instead of attempting to scale.

This next photo depicts the sense of humor I tend to have at times, as well as my love of taking “funny moment” pics. My attempt at looking scared of the height of the ladder. LOL!

Then came what we worked so hard to achieve: the breathtaking views of Campbellton and the beginning of the Gaspe Peninsula on the Quebec side, their rugged coastlines and scenic vistas standing out against the deep blue of the Restigouche River and Baie des Chaleurs (Bay of Heat, directly translated from French). This scenic panorama always gives me a slight pang of homesickness as I do miss home, but it’s quickly replaced with such an overwhelming sense of pride in all the beauty that Campbellton has to offer. Home…a little gem of a town with a jewel of a river running by.

While we basked in the scenery surrounding us, Mom and I were treated to another amazing sight: a flock of 7 hawks were circling nearby (I’ve never seen anything like it during any of my previous climbs). We watched them for a while, ducking in and out of the lush greenery around us, flying to the backside of the mountain, then appearing before us once again. Many scenic pictures later (it was hard to catch the hawks in a good picture), Mom and I decided it was time to head back down to face the rest of our day and think about the lovely supper we were going to enjoy at 7pm that evening. Supper guests included some cousins, my aunt and a friend, with the gathering point to be at our local Pizza Delight restaurant. It was delicious and Mom and I felt we had certainly earned it! After our meal, I was so sleepy from eating all that food, but also from that wonderfully fresh, fragrant air and the warmth of the sun we soaked up that morning. I certainly slept well that night, feeling refreshed the next morning upon waking. The only protestations were from my glutes and quads, the rest of my body felt fine.

Enjoy the read and pics; thanks for checking in!

Speedbumps Along the Way

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Tomorrow marks 14 days since I was out for a run, an unplanned 2-week hiatus! It started the weekend following the dragon boat festival, when I did 10K before noon!

Now, before you start congratulating me on reaching a milestone in my running progress, let me explain to you what the 10K entailed. The first part of this total mileage was a 5K Weight Watchers Walk-It Challenge, free to register, open to those who wanted a means to jumpstart their summer activity. A few of us from work had signed up online back in March or April, but before we knew it, the day was upon us. The date was June 3, a Sunday, and was to be my first of four days off for that block of my scheduled shifts. About a week or so before the walk date, I found out (via Facebook) that a friend and fellow paramedic had registered to participate in a fundraising run for a local family whose little boy (their oldest at only 4 yrs of age), Kendric, was going through a difficult diagnosis and course of treatment, some of which took the family almost 3 hours away in the neighboring province of Nova Scotia. This fundraiser, aptly named “Kilometers for Kendric” captured my attention right away, as I had recently found out from a high school friend that this little boy’s dad had been a fellow classmate. Seeing as I enjoy running and this is a wonderful fundraising idea, I jumped at the chance to do my small part in helping out. I registered on Running Room‘s webpage and immediately updated my Facebook status to let everyone know that I was doing this, hoping it would urge others to do the same.

I didn’t even give it a second thought that I was doing both the 5K walk and the 5K fundraising run on the same day, thinking, “I should be fine” and “I’ve got this.” After updating my status, I then joined the “Kilometers for Kendric” page on Facebook, clicking on the “Going” button at the top of the page. It felt good to be able to help and enjoy a run at the same time. There were other options to choose during registration, such as a 2K walk/run and a 5K walk along with the 5K run.

Morning of the event rolls around and I’m not feeling the greatest. I’m tired and nauseous, my stomach in knots. Not sure why I was nervous for the run, seeing as it was a “fun run” to raise money for such a great cause. Perhaps it was my subconscious asking me if I really could do this with little preparation and practice. I had been running, but hadn’t focused on completing a distance while running the entire time (without slowing or walking).

The 5K Walk-It Challenge went well and all participants received a free treat bag, containing a loaf of Weight Watchers Cinnamon Raisin bread, a little box of Almond Milk, cereal and 3 Crystal Light flavor packs, great for when you feel like dressing up a glass of water. After briefly stretching out our legs, my friend dropped me off across the river, where the run would take place (start time was only a half hour after finishing the walk) and I proceeded to stretch some more, knowing I was in for a “treat” from my muscles later.

I met up with a couple more fellow paramedics who had just registered that morning, so it was great to see them out for such a wonderful cause. The best thing was seeing the communities (we have a Tri-Community area consisting of the cities of Moncton, Riverview and Dieppe) rallying around this family, the outpouring of support overwhelming everyone present there that day, myself included.

The group began with stretches and more stretches, some of which I didn’t dare do as my legs were still feeling the aftermath of our speedwalking earlier. One such exercise I omitted was the lunge…oh how I loathe thee, dear lunge. Probably one of the best stretching exercises for the legs, it has quickly become an enemy of my knees, thighs and every other part of my lower limbs. LOL!

Thankfully, the morning was overcast and breezy, so when I began overheating soon after commencing the run, it was a wonderful sensation to have that brisk wind whip past me. As I figured, my fellow medic friends passed me and I was still heading eastward after they all hit the turning point and were on their way westward, back to the starting line. They were a great bunch of motivators however, cheering me on as they passed me the first time and high-fiving me on the way by in the opposite direction.

I was gassed…the walk had drained me, and even though forgoing it would’ve enabled me to have a better pace, with no slowing down, it was my third year in a row and I didn’t want to let my friends down by not going. As for my overall performance during the run, I had to tell my competitive side (for now I’m only competing with myself…lol…the mind games we play when trying to tackle goals) that “pace doesn’t matter today, this is for a great cause” and I just went along with it. Being there, doing my part and participating in group exercise was exhilarating!

The rest of the afternoon and evening was spent downing a few liters of water to ward off an impending headache from the exertion (and dehydration), especially since I didn’t drink much prior to both events (I know, I know, that’s not good…LOL). Icing my left ankle came next as it started to throb during the run, seemingly around the medial (inner) aspect of the foot, which brings me to the title of today’s blog and the reason behind my almost two-week hiatus. My speedbump has been this ankle pain, which in itself is intermittent, and although it has not been affecting my walking or my ability to weight-bear on that foot, it is upsetting me, because I really want to get out there and hit the trails again!

As any healthcare worker out there can attest, we are our own worst enemies. We try to self-diagnose or pass things off as being minor, saying “oh, it will go away if I rest it for a few days” and not wishing to “bother” anyone with our aches and pains. And I realize that, as a paramedic, I should “know better” and not wait to get things checked, but that’s just something that’s hardwired into the fiber of our being. I am thinking very hard about going to an after-hours clinic to get it looked at so that I may be able to run sooner, rather than later. As I said, it isn’t affecting daily work and life, but if I so much as jog lightly, it throbs almost immediately.

For now, I’ll have to lay low until my work week is done and I’m back on days off, then I will consider having it assessed for underlying injury to tissue or bone. And until that time, I’ll find something worth blogging about…lol! This is just another speedbump along the way to my goal of running a 10K without slowing to a walking pace. I’ll keep you posted on my checkup.

Keep on running!

Dragon Boat Festival

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Boy, have I ever missed blogging! I haven’t put up a post since May 23rd, and even that one was reblogged from a fellow runner/blogger. I’ve been pretty busy with work, yard work, cleaning the pool and prepping the garden. A couple of weekends ago, I had a visit from my mom and her sisters, and although I didn’t log any runs during that four-day block of time off, I managed a few long walks, thanks in part to my dog, Thor. Even though he is medium energy, he sure loves being outdoors and going for walks (and runs)! When the work week rolled around again, I managed to log 2 runs, one being a 3.77K done after my first shift, the other being after my third day on (I work four 12hr shifts, with four days off in between) and the distance logged was 5.08K. I was trying not to burn myself out too much as I had been asked to join a team of rowers, only a week or so before the race day of May 26th, to take part in my city’s annual Dragon Boat Festival. I jumped at the opportunity, since I always wanted to put in a team. It’s for a great cause, too! The races take place on the same lake I run around, Jones Lake. Here is a pic from one of the evenings I logged a run in, several days before the races.

Then I thought, what did I get myself into? Me? Row? I’ve been boating before, sure, but those vessels all had something called an outboard motor attached to it..LOL! I’ve never had to rely on my upper body to have the strength and stamina to propel me to my destination, be that a finish line, a dock or the beach. My subconscious questioned me tauntingly, “It can’t be that hard, can it?” Well, I soon found out how wrong my subconscious was!! The hardest part was staying “in-sync” with everyone else, especially as luck (work) would have it, I missed the practice night on May 23rd. My shift only ended at 8pm and practice started at 6pm, so I hoped I could focus on the other rowers ahead of me and follow their lead when race day rolled around. Whatever the outcome, FUN was our main goal.

The team consisted of paramedics, flight nurses, in-hospital nurses, firefighters, air ambulance mechanics and their family/friends, with registration sponsored by the company I work for, Ambulance NB. We even had one of our teammates put on the company’s mascot suit: a Saint Bernard named Siren. We had a great team dynamic and were there to have fun! We were slated to race three times on May 26th, beginning at 9am. I got there as early as I could, and seeing as it was only a few blocks from my house, that didn’t take me long. We raced on the very same lake that I run around, just at the bottom of my street, only our starting point was off of another street that had access to a small docking area. I felt a flutter of nerves in the pit of my belly as we made our way towards the dock for race #1. We were all talking excitedly, last minute pointers being given to those of us who missed practice. Focus and determination is what kept us in-sync for the better part of the race, only falling apart near the finish line, due to fatigue and loss of concentration on the rowers ahead. We still finished second in our first two races, coming in 11th overall, out of 26 teams (this after 2 of the 3 races we were to compete in). This wasn’t too shabby at all, considering it was our first year together as a team, and half of us (myself included) missed practice night.

Third race of the day rolls around just after lunch, after many of us stuffed ourselves with hotdogs, sausages, hamburgers, veggies, macaroni salad, chips, popcorn and whatever else that seemed to be occupying space on our tables. There was plenty of water available too. I felt even more nervous, knowing this one was our last race, fearing we would sink, we were all so full! We had to make some last minute additions to our team for the second and third races, calling in a fellow paramedic and his better half, a school teacher, to jump in and row for us, as one of our nurses was working that afternoon and had to leave before the third race.

We paddled out, as we had done during our previous two races, only this time, we seemed to be leaning precariously to the right. We were advised to shift closer to the gunnel on our respective sides, meaning I had to jam my right hip against the boat and my seatmate did the same with her left. I must admit, when I first laid eyes on our boat, immediately before climbing aboard for race #1, my thoughts were running wild. I just couldn’t imagine getting in this vessel and not capsizing! They are built very narrow and the gunnel does not rise up very high. Not really sure what I was expecting, but let’s just say, I was surprised, albeit pleasantly, when I realized that the boats balanced quite nicely. Except, of course, during race 3 when we seemed to be right-side heavy. After a few practice rows, as was the norm in the first two races, we lined up at the start and awaited the horn blast to signal our first five “digs” to get us moving. Our boat cut through the rippling waves in the lake, water splashing up the sides, each paddle dipping and exiting, perfectly in-sync with the rowers ahead, once in a while spooning water into the boat and soaking the person behind. The water felt refreshingly good, mixed with beads of sweat, as we rowed, our hardest and best (it seemed at the time), finishing FIRST!! When we got our time, it turned out to be our slowest of the three races, but we won that heat! I didn’t get our overall finish after the third race, but I’m guessing we didn’t move far from our 11th place of earlier. Either way, FUN was had by all involved, and the afternoon finished on a high note.

I can’t wait for next year now!