Monday, October 31, 2016

Kahshe Barrens Trail

This Saturday I pulled myself out of bed bright and early to make a trip to Gravenhurst, about an hour and 40 minutes north from where I live. I want to say it was with all the best intentions, that I wanted to get outside, go on a hike, be active, and enjoy the weather... all the good things that were actually secondary to my true plan - I wanted to visit my favourite brewery.

I've been dying to make a trip to Sawdust City Brewing for weeks now, ever since I saw their Oktoberfest releases. However, as much as I love their beer and they're my favourite brewery, it's hard to justify a trip. So, on Friday, I started searching trails in the area and settled on the Kahshe Barrens Trail.

Even wearing my Sawdust hat
It was incredibly easy to find. If you're coming from the Toronto area you take Highway 11 North and get off at the Muskoka Tourism Office, between Washago and Gravenhurst. You can't miss the building and there's lots of parking. The trail head, as well as the rest of the trail, is clearly marked.

The trail consists of two loops and I believe it was just under five kilometers in length. With the ground slick with wet leaves from rain the night before I was glad I wore trail shoes instead of my usual running shoes. I also found that because the entire path was covered in leaves I had to be a little more cautious about my footing as there were lots of rocks and roots to trip over.

I brought Cooper with me and it took us about an hour to cover the trail, including stopping for a few pictures. We didn't encounter any wildlife but Cooper picked up on a ton of scents. Even on an overcast, occasionally drizzly day, I thought the Kahshe Barrens Trail was beautiful and it was easy to forget we weren't far from the highway.

If you're driving through Muskoka from Toronto I highly recommend pulling off for a little adventure, even if you only complete the first loop.

Where have you hiked lately?

Friday, October 28, 2016

Busy Being a Big Sister

Long story short, my sister was diagnosed with appendicitis on Sunday and it's been a whirlwind of a week ever since. She went in for surgery on Monday evening and I took some time off of work this week to be with her. Yesterday I spent the bulk of my day with her, wheeling her from the hospital to her nearby apartment, helping her "take walks" up and down the hallway on her floor, heating up food, and brushing through the rat nest she created after three days in a hospital bed. I don't mind taking care of my little sister because as her big sister it's been in my nature to "mother" her (even though she's 23 and our mother is 120% around and nurturing).

Needless to say my mind has been elsewhere. Whenever my "excuses" arise (mental health, physical health, etc) I enjoy being reminded that there are so many things that are more important to me than setting some crazy running PR or losing 10 pounds.

So, here I am, spending a Thursday night with some takeout, snuggling my dog, and enjoying a show on Netflix. Tomorrow is a new opportunity to eat something better, make it to the gym, or choose water over beer.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The Race I Almost Didn't Run

First things first - I'm (almost) all better. I have a very slight cough that's lingering but it's really not affecting me anymore. My breathing is much better and I am sleeping through the night so this week I'm going to be back in the gym - finally!

Yesterday I ran the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Maraton race for the fourth time. The first three years I ran the half-marathon but this year I was doing the Army Race the month before so I made no plans to run STWM... until I saw the medal. I am never someone who runs a race for the medal or the t-shirt, but it was something I had to add to my collection. Instead of doing another 21.1K, my mom, sister, and I decided to run the 5K race.

I guess I've always been wrapped up in the half that I didn't realize how well executed the 5K is. First of all, the start line is actually in a different location from the half and full start lines. I guess I always assumed it somehow was set up like the other two races. The race begins at 8AM so shuttle buses line up along University Ave to take you to the start. If I hadn't stayed at my sister's place downtown I would have taken the GO Train into Exhibition Station, not far from the start line at Ontario Place.

The 5K itself is fairly flat and flat. After not having run for over three weeks due to my chest infection and cough I was definitely out of shape and almost five minutes over my average time, but the course had me feeling pretty good. It was a great alternative to the half I wouldn't have had my heart in.

Other things I like(d) about STWM:
- there were on-going shuttles to the expo from downtown
- great location; the heart of Toronto means incredible race views
- besides the food tent, there was a McCafe truck and a Liberte truck, and Volteran was giving out samples like crazy
- lots of bathrooms
- always the best spectators
- amazing selection of elite runners, Ed Whitlock broke a World Record, and J.P. Bedard is always blowing minds

The Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon is always one of my favourite races and I'm glad I registered for it.

Have you ever run a race for the medal?
What's your favourite distance to run? 

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Some Statistics & A Chest Infection

Statistics are to-date and come from the whiny Courtney Robert Inc.

Days sick: 15
Days spent coughing: 11
Cups of soup: 5
Bottles of cough syrup: 3
Hot tea consumed: Too much
Containers of Vapor Rub: 1
Packages of Halls: 3
Days off of work: 1
Episodes of Grey's Anatomy watched: 26 (all of season 12 and the first two of season 13)
Complaints made to boyfriend, mother, co-workers, random people on the street: 1,000,000
Times exercised: 1 (big mistake)
Time spent in Urgent Care: 1.5 hours.
Diagnosis: Infection in lower, left lung.
Medications: Antibiotics and a puffer.

What started with a flu after the Army Run progressed into a cold I just couldn't shake. I was coughing so hard that I would dry heavy and break out into the clammiest sweat, and it had been a while since I slept through the night. I finally went to Urgent Care and was diagnosed with a chest infection. Today I'm taking my second dose of antibiotics but I already feel so much better. I toyed with the idea of going to the gym today but I think rest is still important. Maybe tomorrow.

Unfortunately, I'm signed up for a 5K in less than two weeks and I really don't think I'm going to be able to run. Even if my cough is gone by then I've lost a lot of endurance the last couple of weeks. I was supposed to run it with my sister, and funny enough it seems like she might also have a chest infection and won't be running either. Something is going around because I haven't seen her in six weeks so I'm fairly certain I didn't infect her.

I have a recap I started writing on the Army Run but I've felt so awful that I can't muster up the energy to go back and edit it..

So hello and goodbye. I'll see you when I'm feeling better.