Sunday, January 2, 2011

Christmas Down Under

It was a different sort of Christmas for Adam and I this year. Having spent the last 28 Christmases in BC with my family in the cold, damp west coast weather, always with an explosion of presents under the tree, a non-stop buffet of the usual Christmas tasty treats, and permission to act like a five-year-old on Christmas morning for all days leading up to the "big day," this year couldn't be any further from the norm. I guess you could say it was somewhat subdued compared to this usual fanfare.

Adam arrived on the 18th, but with my training still on the go for another week, I wasn't a whole pile of fun, but he quickly meshed in to the athlete life. Don't feel bad for him though, because if you asked him what his ideal holiday would be, he would say running all day, everyday in beautiful places. Thankfully the trails around Canberra met his picky trail running criteria, so while I was out swimming and riding, he was busy in the hills. However, I do have to note that he would frequently start the rides with our group, backpack with run gear over his shoulders, and ditch his bike in the bushes out of town, heading off for a run while we did our session. Holiday for Adam is catch-up time for all the running he missed while in class and studying (aka over-training galore).

The last scheduled training session was over by mid-day on the 23rd and it was time to get into the Christmas spirit, ASAP. I had planned on an epic shopping session at the mall but after about 30 minutes walking through packed shops on tired legs, I was over it. We did go to a craft fair though and buy the most amazing Christmas cake, my favourite holiday treat. That was definitely a highlight! On Christmas Eve we joined our neighbours at the historic church across the street for some carol singing. It was a blast! And, if you need a giggle, just ask Adam to sing "Hark now hear the angels sing!" That guy has got some serious chops! ;-)

Christmas morning began with a run up and around Mt. Ainslie, the trails closest to our house, present-opening, and a pancake breakfast. We then drove up to Sydney and walked around the city for hours on the most beautiful and hot of days, and judging by the size of my feet and ankles that night, I probably walked more than ever before! The streets were packed with others who were also away from home and the holiday energy was infectious. Boxing day began with an ocean swim with with training mate, Dave at Bondi Beach and then a slightly-toned down afternoon of walking. I thought North Americans knew how to shop on Boxing Day, but Aussies take it to a whole new level. Shops opened at 5:30am and the streets were absolutely jammed with happy shoppers from sunrise to sunset. This was the first year in awhile that I haven't had my partner in crime, my sister Amanda, for an epic Boxing Day shop and you can be assured that Adam is not a sufficient substitute in this department. Sadly, there was no "shopping arm" for me this year (that is the medical term, coined by Amanda for the pain from carrying too many bags).

Next stop were the Blue Mountains, about an hour west of Sydney. We stayed at a cozy B & B in Wentworth Falls and spent our 1st wedding anniversary exploring the lush jungles and steep cliffs. If it weren't for the "leech incident", I would have described our hike/run as memorable, but now it definitely goes in to the category of "unforgettable." We had been on the move for quite awhile and were in the thick of the jungle on the valley floor when I felt something on my ankle. I looked down and saw the biggest, slimiest creature clinging to me. I went to flick it off only to realize that it was stuck inside me! I screamed, or rather had a serious panic attack as I had no idea what this was, but I was bleeding and couldn't get this thing off of me. Then I saw there were more, inside my socks, and others on my shoes trying to get their sucker into my skin! It was getting dark at this point and we still had to climb back up the mountain so there wasn't a lot of time to freak out. I pulled myself together the best I could and we ran out of there as quick as possible, doing mandatory "leech checks" every 10 mins. I felt sick to my stomach by the time we got home, but now that days have passed, I can laugh about it... sort of. An unforgettable anniversary no doubt!

We're now back in Canberra and training is back to normal for me. Adam is here just for a few more days and although it has been a fantastic holiday together, it's really hard to think that it will be over 4 months until I see him again. I've got to say, Skype sure makes life a whole lot easier!

I will be posting a race schedule soon. It sure seems like awhile since I've used those words! Bring on 2011, I can't wait.

Happy New Year to all! Here's to a new year full of health and happiness!

Christmas morning at Mt. Ainslie

Mt. Ainslie

Blue Mountains

Decending the valley. Look closely and you can see the stairs.

Some sections required ropes to descend!

Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, just outside Canberra.

A wild emu!

My city wheels


Wendy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wendy said...

Yes, Christmas morning this year just wasn't the same. It was hard for us to "unwrap" the adventure we bought each other but we have the memories. Next year we'll have to make up for it.
love the new Blog main photo. I can't believe how many kangaroos there are.
Looking forward to your race schedule.

Nae said...

some nice pictures, looks like running out there would be amazing.

Mark Creery said...

Best of luck with your training. I moved to Canberra from Victoria 2 years ago and love it. I guess you don't get to swim in a lake though? I know a former Victoria athlete that moved here as well and bumped into him in a restaurant - small world.