Monday, July 27, 2009


This weekend I took part in my third Montreal International Dragon Boat Race Festival.

It was a tough festival. Elite teams that were away last year at the World Club Crew competition were in Montreal this year and we felt it. My team, Montreal Mix, did well. Not as well as we'd hoped but still. Our objective was to finish in the top 5. We finished in the top 7 (of 125 or so mixed teams). Not bad. But if you take away the out of town teams then we finished in the top 4 Montreal teams. So that makes me feel a little better.

This was our 5th of 8 competitions this summer. As a team we're finding out just how hard 8 competitions, plus training, is on the body. We have about 5 injured on the team now. This weekend we had 3-4 more team members working at the festival so they were exhausted. Another 5 team-mates were paddling on other teams. That left precious few of us who were in top shape and even at that I think it's fair to say we're all in pretty rough shape. We're tired. We're more than tired. I speak for myself and possibly a few others when I say I'm exhausted.

Saturday started off cool and rainy but it dried up by the time we started our first race in the Saturday qualifying heats. By afternoon it was hot and sunny and the Basin was crowded with teams and spectators. It was a real festival atmosphere. One of my favourite moments on Saturday was watching the National Women's Elite team come in second against 5 other MEN's crews! We were disappointed leaving on Saturday because we didn't make the A Final, only B. Our second race was better, a good race, but not good enough.

Sunday was an awful day. It started off rainy and truly didn't stop until sometime after 3pm. It was cold and damp and windy. Our morning race, the 500m final, was when it rained the hardest, naturally. While this is strangely when we paddle our best, we still only managed to come in second place. Still, meant a silver medal and (for me anyway) that is nothing to be upset about. Many hours later, made even later due to several thunder delays (now 90 minutes behind schedule), we raced our last race of the day, the 250m final. Head wind coming from the opposite side of the Basin, bad lane but now we were hungry for that gold. So guess what happened? WE GOT IT!!! We had the most amazing start of the weekend. Even though we were trailing on the start (against 5 other boats) we started pulling ahead after our transition and then killed it on the finish. It was a close race. Think there was something like 0.04 seconds between us and second place. But the race was ours. Nothing made me happier than coming out of the weekend with a gold medal.

I've been trying to convince myself that this will be my last season with the competitive team but after a race like that, I want more. I want to train harder, I want to compete harder at Nationals (which by the way, is something a lot of teams only dream about doing and we're actually going to do next month) and I want to compete in China next year. I'm back and forth between this decision every 5 minutes so don't quote me that.

We're resting this week (thank you, Coach!) and I need it. I screamed myself hoarse in the races and after winning. Honestly, sounds like I have laryngitis or something now, heh. But it was worth it. That gold medal in my hands feels good.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Book Review

As much as I read, it's funny that I have never given any book reviews here before. Huh.

Today that ends. If you follow the side bar on the right (hello, side bar) of this page, you'll be able to keep track of what I'm reading now and which are the last 5 books I've read.

Yesterday I was desperate for something new to read but didn't have time to make it to the library before they closed (6pm?!) so I ran into Indigo and what do you know, one of the books that's been on my wish list for ages now was on sale for 20% off (plus you know me, I got my extra 10% off, plus I had a coupon for another $5 off ... ha, ha, ha!). Will I ever get to the point?

The point - I bought this book. I started reading as soon as I got on the metro and have been hard pressed to put it down since. I didn't even paint the 4th coat on my dining room wall!

A couple of the reviews on the book cover had much to live up to but so far they are completely right. From the San Francisco Chronicle Book Review "...This is a book for firesides or long train rides." I'm telling you - I started reading this and truly and honestly, suddenly wished I was on a long train ride (ok well, plane)! Then from Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, she writes "I can't remember the last time I discovered a novel as smart and as delightful as this one, a world so vivid that I kept forgetting this was a work of fiction populated with characters so utterly wonderful that I kept forgetting they weren't my actual friends and neighbors..." So far this book has made me giggle, snicker, get teary and even laugh out loud (thankfully, in the privacy of my own home).

I hope this book is just as good all the way through.

If you haven't read it - do! Borrow it from the library, a friend (not me because I'm a bit funny about lending books, sorry), buy it, whatever. This isn't existential navel gazing, it's not a brick of a work, burdened with deep thoughts and requiring a thesaurus or dictionary at hand, it's just a pure pleasure to read. Simple as that.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Despite a week or so off work to "relax" (read: paint), I am just as tired after my vacation as I was before. The drunks in the street nearly every night are starting to get to me. Guess people are also on summer vacation and out until all hours every night. Think the earplugs are going to have to be a permanent thing until the fall and I close the windows at night again.

Now you know what to get me for my birthday ;)

Saturday, July 11, 2009

A stove!

At long last, 3 full weeks since the original delivery, I have a stove! I am so happy and excited about cooking again. I'm planning all kinds of elaborate meals in my head already.

First things first though - groceries! Tomorrow I'll be at the grocery store when they open the doors.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Starting Over

Slept on it and decided that the wall is not going to get the best of me. So there.

This morning I was back at the paint counter (4th time) at 8:15am getting more paint and getting a new primer. When I got home with my paint, I sanded the wall, I dusted the wall, I re-taped the wall and finally I re-primed the wall. I will let it dry until tomorrow morning. No matter how tempted I am to start the colour again now.

The waiting game begins.

The re-taped, re-primed wall

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Now what?

This morning I finished up the touch ups of paint that needed to be done in the bedroom, hallway, kitchen and living room. Once I was done with that I figured I'd remove the tape from the red dining room wall and then see exactly what it needed to make it right. I took my exacto-knife and ran the blade along the edges to loosen the paint from the wall and then started lifting the tape off. It didn't go so well. The five damn layers of paint adhered pretty well to the tape. Not so well to the wall.

Here's what happened.

I have no idea what to do now. Should I get the primer out and start over from scratch? Should I get more red paint and try again? Should I use what I have left of the living room colour and just use that? Sigh ... I dunno.

Suggestions? Offers to help? I'm open.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Fitness Test

We had another fitness test tonight. Considering that we've scaled back the weight training quite a lot in the last 2 months, I was surprised to see how well I did. We started back with the weight training only 2 weeks ago and I seem to be on track for gaining even more strength!

Bench press max weight: 105 (same as last time)
Bench press reps: 63 reps (9 less than last time)
Bench row reps: 91 reps; (3 more than last time!)
Back extension: 3:37 (3 seconds less than last time - argh)
Sprinter run reps: 225 (4 less than last time)
Sit ups: 74 (1 more than last time!)
Push ups: 20 (same)
Chin ups: 0. No surprise there.

Feeling good about these results.

Sunday, July 05, 2009


Yesterday we raced at the Shawinigan Dragon Boat Festival. It wasn't a great day to be outside. It was cold, it rained, it was windy and we were in wet clothing for a good part of the day. Even though we changed clothing between races, we still had to put on wet shirts for each race and that is not pleasant.

However, we had a fairly decent result. We finished third overall! So another medal! A bronze one this time - but still. A medal is a medal. And I'd rather have a medal from Division A Sport than any other.

We had 4 races all counted. Three 500m and one 100m. The first race we won but as that was the qualifier for the semi-finals, it was just about getting a good time. We didn't have a good race though. It wasn't in control. The second 500m was amazing. We won that too but this time it felt amazing. We were in complete control, we paddled with really long strokes (serious head wind) and really reached and sat up with each stroke. Immediately after that we raced The Best of Fest, a 100m sprint with nine other boats. That was a free-for-all. It took ages for the starter to line us up and give the "Attention please!" call. The next 20 seconds were a blur. With the head wind coming off the water and boats nearly within reaching distance on each side (2 boats per lane!), it was a wild ride. But we did well. We finished second. Our third and final race was not good. We had a bad race. The pace felt too fast (for me), we weren't in control and our finish was not in sync at all. And so we finished third. Not exactly the result we wanted but we finished in A-final and we got a medal so I'm still happy with that.

Hurting today. My back is in spasms, my legs and arms still a little shaky. Think I may have a rest day. No painting allowed.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Painting, painting and more painting

According to my mother (Hi Mom!), I need to update my blog. So where was I? Last I was telling you was that I was spending the first part of my summer vacation at home. Today is day 3 of that vacation. What have I done so far?

1. Painted the bathroom. It's not blue anymore! This makes me so happy.

2. Painted the bedroom. It's not a poo-ey beige colour anymore. This makes me happy too.

3. Painted the dining room wall. It's my favourite red. Or almost. Have got 4 coats of paint on there now and it's looking good. Do think it'll need a 5th coat though. Thank goodness it's a small wall. I love it, love it, love it!

4. Bought the paint for the living room, hallway and kitchen. That'll be my project next week. As I look around the place, I realise I will probably need every minute next week to get it primed and then get 2 coats of paint up on the walls.

I am taking before and after pictures and will make a set on flickr once I'm done.

Have also started thinking about the new headboard I'm going to make (bigger, better and bolder), the desk I'd like for the office/guest bedroom, and how to improve the area above the fireplace.

More updates soon. Promise!