It's 2010 now, and that's a good thing. Practically speaking, it's really all just a continuum anyway and arbitrary human designations describe any given date. That is, of course, unless you subscribe to the theory of relativity in which timespace is not at all linear. But I digress. For my intents and purposes, a new year means a new triathlon season and I have every reason to be stoked about it all.
To begin with, I just like the sound of 2010. Twenty ten. Two thousand and ten. Two thousand and nine never really jived with me. I like this twenty ten thing much better. Secondly, I got to begin the new year with an outdoor ride, as the city of Spokane seems to have been spared the barrages of winter that crippled us for the past two years (and seem to be blanketing the rest of the country in cold and snow). Two thousand and nine presented what was for me the first unwhite Christmas in recent memory. Another good reason to be done with the blasted year. And now, a week and a half into this twentyten, I have an armchair pulled close to the fire, three adorable cats and a computer competing for prime lap space (mine), and really, life is good. Yet I can't help but wonder when this dog lover became a cat lady?
Of course, I can't complain about how 2009 panned out. I ended the season on a mildly disappointing note, with a sub-par performance at Kona tricking me into thinking that the whole season was a bust. In hindsight, however, I know that I made my typically slow, steady gains throughout the season, and I really made my season into what I wanted it to be. I raced in 3 Ironmans, 6 half Iron-distance races, and I additionally did a super-fun smattering of sprints, Olympics and Xterras. I raced in my favorite local events that I was sad to have missed in 2008, I experienced some new, top-quality events (Ironman Canada, Hulaman), I got married, I got hit by a car, and I got humbled by Madam Pele once again. Life is fun to learn.
After returning from Kona, Aaron and I decided to embark on what was meant to be the first of a year long series of honeymoons. With our vacation budget substantially reduced due to his bursitis episode (and that was with health insurance and an HSA), we decided to keep it on the continent for this go-round and when torn between Nova Scotia and Copper Canyon, Mexico, the hurricane forecast sent us North and East. To the homeland of Coach Dan. Our plan was to explore the Cape Breton Highlands and to then ferry over to Newfoundland to see what there was to see, but the distances proved vast, and we relied mostly on our own feet for exploration. So it turned into a week and a half of trail running/hiking/slogging. We covered about 15-25 miles each day, and though the pace was never fast, we experienced a lot . We especially experienced a lot of wet, as is the nature of trails in deciduous forests in late October, we learned. It sure was a pretty wet though.
Day 1: Still dry
Pretty birch trees in fall
A solitary blue heron
the first time we realized that wet feet were inevitable
. . . and cold . .
but it was worth it because it was beautiful
and occasionally there were bridges
and insanely cute sciurids
and dramatic light effects
along with short autumn days
our first taste of snow
moose blocking the trail
and my favorite wildlife find - an Eastern toad! Cool, eh?
After tooling around the Cape Breton Highlands we drove to Baxter State Park in Maine to climb Mt Kathadin, the highest point in Maine and the northern terminus of the Appalachian trail. We considered just running up it like we had everything in Nova Scotia, but ultimately decided it would be better to pack lunches and warm clothes and that turned out to be the right decision. The peaks in the West are a lot higher, but East Coast trails are decidedly harder. They don't bother with switchbacks and instead take the most direct route to the summit. I had some similar experiences hiking in Vermont, but I have to say, it was even tougher than I remember. The mountain didn't look terribly intimidating, but there was a lot of ice to contend with on the trail, and it was STUPID cold at the top.
Despite our wanting to find him a friend, Jeremy was relatively unimpressed with our new additions and spent a lot of time defending his territory.
Conversely, children and kittens are cute. Especially when the child is a dimpled one.
Otherwise, life continues in the Cooper-Scott house. I finally feel like I'm really back in the training groove and I've even been able to eek in some skate skiing. My favorite time to go is just before sunset. It's such a peaceful way to bid farewell to the day and the sunsets and shades of gray are so much more spectacular on the mountain. Of course, they're shades of gray that my camera does a miserable job of capturing. Just trust me, it's amazing.
The gloaming. My favorite time to ski.