Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A run with John - Afton

Goodevening readers!! Well crunch time is here, time to train as hard as we can wilst still resting when we can, Janelle and I have literally 32 days to our run, are we scared?? I know I am. Actually I'm feeling a bit of almost every emotion out there it seems, but I keep being told that I will be fine so I'm doing my best to keep sane! This past Sunday the 26th Jen and I took our run south, to the Glenmore Reservoir. I have never been there before it was beautiful despite the fact it was a tad nippy and the snow decided to migrate into my shoes, which made for a very challenging run. In total that day Jen and I went a whopping 16.5 kilometers in just over 2 hours.
Tonight I arrived a bit late to the Tech Shop only to get there and find everyone had already left... as I walked back outside who do I see standing at the corner... JOHN!! My long lost trainer! I haven't seen John for about 3 weeks, between my extra resting and John's previous engagements, I thought I would end up not seeing him before I left for Prague! So off we went together insearch of our group only to find them and take off our own way anyways. Tonight we ran a sweet 8 kilometers in 52 minutes, WOO that was fast! Well I'm off to domestically engineer my apartment, I'll catch ya next week, same place ;)
Don't forget to keep watching for Janelle's posts from Russia They are a whole eleven hours ahead of us so her days vary from time to time. Now I leave you with a fantastic picture Jen took of me on Sunday.

Monday, February 27, 2012

From Moscow with love - Janelle

What a whirlwind trip of the Russian capital city. I swear, I have never been to more museums or churches in my LIFE! Today I went to the Novodevichy convent, and perhaps I should have steered clear of the lord. A bird attacked me and actually grabbed my scalp. Now, I'm not saying my hair doesn't look like a bird's nest some days, but SERIOUSLY! They look so innocent...  
They look so harmless...but never trust a bird.
Lesson learned - cover the nest!

 As you've heard, a picture if worth a thousand words, so I'm going to let my photos do the talking.
Old communist building
Metro station

St.Basils...which is actually SAINT VASILY! English people always change everything

My bedmate for the weekend - margot
GUM - huge mall with stores WAY out of my price range!
Lovers Bridge
One of Stalin's skyscrapers
You know, in Russia, there are bears in the streets!
Church of our Saviour
A shot in the royal gardens at Pushkin near St.Petersburg
Catherine the Great's summer palace - that's a lot of mirrors!
AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST!! Afton is the proud owner of an authentic Russian fur hat! The picture doesn't do it justice!!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Slow and steady wins the race - Afton

Well wasn't that a slippery night of running!! EEEPP! I'm sure as most of you know we had a wonderful little blizzard with big wet snowflakes to cover our trail, so as the title suggests it went a bit slower then usual. We ran a total of 36 minutes and covered 4.8 kilometers, it was supposed to be more but as we reached the hill we were going to run a few times we quickly realized that was not going to happen today. I have to admit I was secretly jumping for joy, I have been trying to loosen up my legs enough each week just so I can get my long runs in, so if anyone out there has some magical cure or suggestion on how to relieve these shins and calves of this explosive feling send me a comment! Can you believe, in just over four weeks I will HAVE to be ready for the race no ifs ands or buts about it. Jen and I ran 14 kilometers this past Monday from the YMCA in Eau Claire Market, and we plan on heading down to the Glenmore reservoir this Sunday to do a 16 kilometer run. WOO! That will be the farthest I've gone, so wish me luck! See you all next week.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Pancake Weight - Janelle

 - As I mentioned before, Russia celebrates Maslenitsa, or Pankcake Week. It began yesterday, and I have already had more than my fair share of crepes covered in maple syrup (that I brought for the family) and whipped cream! Again tonight, the mom is making another pile of pancakes, which will probably only last one day. As punishment for my extreme consumption, I pushed myself to run longer than an hour today. What I found was, it was actually easy on my system. Being at sea level really does make a difference. I am worried I won't be properly prepared for the half-marathon because there are no hills in Saint Petersburg, however, I had to battle gale force winds and blowing snow which, at times, put me at a snails pace. I found a beautiful park where the famous Bronze Horseman statue is, and I run laps around it. This park runs the length of the very centre of the city, and I run past the Hermitage. Not many people can say that! 
Pancakes, called Bliny (but we would call them crepes)
Me trying to be sly and taking a photo of the fur hat booth at the local outdoor  mall.

St>nicholas Cathedral - crosscountry skiing anyone?
Another angle of St.Nick's
At the Artic/Anarctic Museum...Yep that's CANADA!
Bridge of kisses, lovers put locks on this bridge for good luck
Intense Russian UNO
Tsar Nicholas and his Family's resting place - including Princess Anatasia
Pop colours, courtesy of a fun feature on my camera
 This is a ship, clearly, but what threw me for a loop was what was inside. On the top level, a restraurant - typical. On the bottom level, a GYM! yes treadmills, elipitcals and more. Imagine saying, Oh I'm just headed to the Flying Dutchman for my run...HAHA!
Mariinsky Concert hall right before the longest Opera ever...
And for fun, My pupil made a pancake face!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Couch Surfing - Janelle

If you have never heard of couchsurfing.org you really should. In my time in Russia so far, i have met so many great people through this organization! Most cities have weekly meeting where travellers and locals can come and chat, and you can of course, surf couches as well...which I will be doing in Moscow next weekend. I am very happy to report that there is ANOTHER upside to coming to Russia in February, and that is Maslenitsa. This week-long festival marks the "end" or winter. Russians build a big hay woman and burn her to the ground to symbolize the end of winter. So I am hoping some better weather is en route. But what Maslenitsa is most commonly known for is PANCAKES! Also called pancake week! So you better believe I will have my fill of pancakes for an entire week! YEAH!!
Walking on the Neva - Hermitage in the background
I finally visited the Hermitage, After 4.5 exhausting hours, I still didnt even see the entire art collection. More than the art, however, I was impressed by the architecture of the palace itself. The ceilings were incredibly detailed and different in ever room. It costs money to take photos, so of course I cheaped out, so you'll have to google it for yourself. As a student, I got in for free :)

Spilled blood church - my favorite place in the city

This bird statue is famous, called чижик пыжик. People throw coins onto the ledge for good luck...as you can see some have not landed. So these two bums were digging out the coins from the ice.

Kazansky Cathedral

Last night I went to my pupil's choir concert. It was such a delight to watch and listen to young youngs singing Russian music. Everyone in the audience started to clap, and some of the soloists were very talented.The woman beside me kept bragging about her friend who composed some of the songs. So when my pupil finally got on stage with her group, I said in Russian - that's MY english student. I put her in her place! 
I've gotten a few more donations lately, so thank you to everyone who hasn't forgotten why Afton and I are running in this crazy winter! Our race is approaching quickly - March 31st. Thankfully Afton was able to reach her goal! Congratulations my dear friend! Now, I am at 69% of my goal, so any donations are greatly appreciated. Click here to donate online!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Let the exhaustion set in - Afton

Hello my friends, I must say I almost didn't make it on here to give you guys an update. I AM EXTREMELY EXHAUSTED! Due to the extra hard training I believe I most definitley deserve, and need a day off. Work has bee extra busy due to Valentines Day (P.S happy Valentines Day) and I suppose the new shoes and the 14 kilometer hill run didn't help my poor calves! I didn't think my legs would have ever been the issue over my lungs but hey, I'm alright with that I'll take muscle pain over a lack of breath anyday! How am I combating the pain you ask?? Well let me tell you, after my long run with Jen on Sunday I promtly went home and used my foam roller, after feeling my muscular tissue give in to the tubular torture devise I had a nice warm shower and stretched everything out. That evening I threw some ice on my calves and went to bed.The very next day is when I realized that it was very lucky I had booked a 90 minute massage, I sure did need it! in fact the massage therapist decided to head straight for the business end of me to work on probably 6 trigger points, who woulda thought! After my wonderful massage I retreated to the steam room and then back home where I again stretched myself and threw some ice on them. Needless to say, I am still in a bit of pain today, no worries though, I will be back out there for thursday ;) I'm going to sign out now, while I can still create a sentence that makes sense, I will update the daily mile if I'm able to head out for a run tomorrow or ther e next. Thanks for reading!!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Cheesy Tourist - Janelle

The Neva

Finally, I had enough bravery to venture out in the cold with my camera! I also went for another un...but now my nose is running like a faucet - GREAT! On the plus side, I found a small park where I can run laps safely without slipping. On the bad side: I'm running LAPS! After an hour I think I was getting dizy :s Here are some photos! Enjoy.
St. Isaacs Cathedral
Oh you Bronze Horseman YOU!
I walked on the Neva...can't do THAT in the summer!


Peter and Paul Fortress
Cathedral of spilled blood 

My home; the yard is lovely and locked ;)