Friday, December 27, 2013

Gonna Be A Long Winter!

This year winter has come early - we even had significant snowfall before it was officially winter on December 21st! I have shovelled so much that I have developed some inflammation in my left shoulder. The snow just kept falling and I kept shovelling.

I'm cool (no pun intended) with the cold weather but it does make for some challenges. Running is challenging due to slippery footing and the cold affecting your mobility because it takes so damn long for muscles to warm up. You can have 2 layers plus wind proof jacket on yet remove them post-run and it looks like you have a sunburnt chest.

This pic was no joke recently with the ice storm that went through. We had power out for 6 hours, some around Toronto for several days. A lot of trees were affected with branches breaking off. We got through it though and the last couple of days have been almost balmy at -3C and sunny.

There are some benefits though - my garage keeps my beer cold!

Windchill is always a problem. Living close to Lake Ontario makes for a damp cold - the kind of cold that has no let up.

The rescue, however, is on the way. 2014 has the Winter Olympics and that always gets the heart jumping with national pride. Hopefully our Canadian team can repeat the success of 2010 - I'd love to see a repeat of the girls having a beer and cigar in celebration! Keep warm, my friends!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Ahh Florida Again - Must Be Tough!!

Last week I went to the American Hospital Pharmacists Conference in Orlando. Many of my Ontario Pharmacists attend and I go there to entertain and get some face-to-face time with them - something I'm not able to get at home. Some of the fun events included a trip down the highway to Tampa for the Buccaneers vs Buffalo Bills game. It was a lot of fun and was a great place to people watch!

As you can see we were pretty high up. It was also HOT! It was unseasonably warm for this time of year. The entire trip it hovered around 88F - whoa always me! Other events included dinner at a Brazilian steak house, dinner in Downtown Disney.

On Tuesday I had nothing scheduled during the day so I drove to the Atlantic coast to Cocoa Beach for some sand and surf. I spent a couple hours there watching the surfers and playing in the waves. It was fun.

Cocoa Beach also had a huge Ron Jon Surf Shop so I picked Logan up some much-needed board shorts and beach shirts. I wish I lived in a place where I could surf - I'd be all over it!!

Finally, no avoiding it - it was back to reality and the cold and snow of Canada to hibernate for the next 4 months. The approach into Toronto was rough as the winter winds have picked up. Not the most comfortable experience but that's flying into Toronto is generally choppy. When's the next trip?!!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Sunday, December 1, 2013

What An Off-Season!

It's been a month since Ironman Florida and I must say I`ve thoroughly enjoyed the downtime. I took the first two weeks to eat some bad food, overeat some bad food, have some beverages and pack on a few pounds. The third week saw Sara and I enjoying 5 days in the Mayan Riviera for my reward trip from work that is given to high performers in the company. This year there were 21 people awarded out of 1400 so I feel very fortunate, especially given Sara could come along.

We stayed at the Fairmont Mayakoba and everything was included. The property is spectacular! When we arrived on the Sunday there was a PGA tournament finishing up. We had to stop on the cart ride to our room as the pros were putting on the green near our room. I saw Mike Weir, Davis Love and a few others - pretty cool. One of the sponsors was BMW. The resort, being so extensive, had 24 golf carts to transport guests around plus BMW mountain bikes and Bmx bikes available for guests to use. That`s right I said BMW bikes - they were also full carbon! Above I`m clowning around on a Bmx bike - my first ride since Florida.

3 of the reward winners got an upgraded suite and I was one of them. Our suite was ridiculous!! Some of the features included: 2 x 50``TVs, 2 balconies, 2 glass showers including one outdoors, 1 jacuuzi tub, walk in closets, separate vanity area, etc. We were floored by the luxury.

The resort is built on a lagoon with mangroves. They were already setting up for Christmas.

Included in the trip were many excursions. One of them included an ATV tour with caves, cenotes, and snorkeling. It was awesome! There was NO speed limits on these bad boys and we went through mud, water, sand - very cool.

This was the beach where we snorkeled - lots of beautiful coral, fish, even a resident moray eel. There was cool spot in the water with an entrance to a cenote. A cenote has amazing clear and clean water, mostly fresh but sometimes with some salt water mixed in. The cenotes make up an massive underground river system in the area. The entrance at this beach was indicated by the constant bubbling of fresh water on the surface. As you went near the water was cold and looking in there was a perfect circular entrance to the cave.

Here`s our group exploring a cave complete with bats, stalactites and stalactmites.

We all had our own ATVs but Sara and I got a pic together before we got dirty.

Swimming in a cenote. There was an entrance underwater to a cave but it was too dark to explore. The water is the clearest I`ve ever swam in.

Back to the resort for some R n R. We were `fun``busy the entire time but we tried to relax at the beach as much as possible with margaritas and mojitos of course.

The food was amazing! We ordered lunch on the beach. Check out the massive shrimp (no, I`m not in the picture!)

Our lunch setup.

Our last night the company sent us out on a boat ride throughout the lagoon system to a private dinner on the beach.

It was beautiful. Nothing like chillin on a warm night with the ocean breeze.

They had live music for us. My company has a mascot-like beaver hat that has been taken to many places, the Mayan being no exception. Here I am `sitting in` with the singer with the beaver hat on - what a dork!

From there they whisked us off to Playa Del Carmen for a pub crawl. The first stop was a bar-restaurant that was built into a massive cave. It was amazing. We were blessed in the Mayan way and a traditional Mayan dance was performed. It was incredibly humid in there.

Sara and I in the restaurant under the stalactites.

From there it was to the aqua bar. For some reason I didn`t take pics of the pools but there were 2 that were 2 feet deep that you could stand in while having a few beverages - which we did. They also had lots of lounge areas to chill - I took advantage! Following this we strolled Playa Del Carmen and ended our night a rocker bar (now we`re talkin!).

Our final morning we did room service and had it on the balcony.

One last chill on the beach. Looks like rain but it was in the distance over Cozumel. Some last minute body surfing was in order. We had pre-packed the night before to maximize beach time before returning to winter at home.

Goodbye heat, sand and salt water - hope to see you soon! Now the fun of winter that end I am focusing on run consistency with getting 5-6 runs per week of at least 30 minutes. I did this in 2011 and had a great season of racing. No speed at this point - just getting the body used to running lots. Time to bundle up and get out there!