Normally my wife attends the speed skating practices on Saturday and Sunday morning. I offered to show up today and let her sleep in. Partly because she had a long work week. But also because the parent who does first aid is off sick this week, so I volunteered to be rink side just in case.
It was a beautiful morning as the sun rose up. The kids arrived thirty minutes early to do a warm up outside prior to entering the arena for skating. Even before the coach got there, they all knew that they should do a few laps around the facility to get their muscles activated.
Standing rink side, I enjoyed how smooth the kids were on the ice. Each of them had good form and listened to the coach’s advice as they lapped around. Today’s practice wasn’t about speed, but rather technique. It works the kids towards muscle memory for when competitions come around.
Being supportive of our kids for these last twelve years has made a difference in the commitment level that they are putting in. Theory is getting stronger and we are hoping he starts to get into bigger competitions as he gets older. Our other two have taken away the ability to coach future skaters and our middle child continues doing it every Sunday.
So a big high five to all the parents out there that make the sacrifices to be up early and pushing their kids at various sports! I see you. Keep it up.
Theory’s newest speed skating club is very active. They push the skaters harder than I have seen. So far it seems the skaters are up for the challenge and not complaining. The group still has ice time at an older rink, so they are utilizing it.
Every Tuesday that I am working night shift means I will be dropping our son off at Planet Ice. This was the club’s original home ice. If I’m working day shift- I’ll likely be picking him up on the way home. It is probably one of the coldest rinks I have stepped foot into. This is good for the skaters. But chilly for the parents and spectators.
At least the group is getting some intense workouts. It is much needed for every skater. I can’t wait to see the results over this next season.
Yesterday morning my wife and I went for a walk. We headed just up the road from us to a park called Tynehead Park.
Last time I was here with her was In October. I’m glad we did the walk yesterday when the sun was hiding away. It made the walk through the trails nice and comfortable. Mostly…
We could have walked more of the park. However, any time we paused to enjoy the moment- mosquitos! The last bit of our walk pushed us to get done and make it to the car. We still got our heart rate up a tad as we hustled at a bit more than a jaunt.
It was a nice time with my wife, even if I was still kicking slugs off the path. Such gross bugs.
Last year, my wife and I neglected going kayaking. We had to move, get into a new home, learn about the neighborhood, and most of all- enjoy the swimming pool. We didn’t make time to go out and enjoy nature. No kayaking or camping.
This afternoon, I said screw it. My wife has been missing kayaking. As I was getting the gear on the top of my suv, it began to rain. Too bad. I was set on going out and if I put it on the back burner again, we may not go anytime soon.
The rain wasn’t so bad in the end. It kept the air cool. However, the path down to the water was muddy and slick. But even that didn’t stop us from getting on the water.
It was a good couple of hours of paddling and talking. We saw ducks and a crane. The sounds of the birds and the rain on the water was soothing and calm. It makes me want to go out more often this summer.
Our son is still actively training even though the regular speed skating practice season is over. Now he is onto Spring Session with his future club. And they push hard.
He is enjoying it. He’s looking fit. He’s strengthening his muscles, and getting a chance to meet other athletes with similar goals. Our last club was great and the family was there since 2010. But because our son wanted to continue with competitions- he needed to move to a club that really pushes the skaters.
Last weekend our son also went to participate in a special training at a University campus. This was put on by RBC to allow up and coming athletes from various sports to showcase their skills. It was mainly for sports that aren’t as mainstream as some. So no hockey or baseball were being represented. Once the evaluations are completed from the one day event, those kids selected will be given a grant to help pay for their dreams to compete.
I do hope the best outcome for him with that brief moment to showcase his strengths. But since it is Canada wide, he knows that he can’t be disappointed if it just doesn’t happen for him. However, we are still making sure that he practices and trains as much as possible in order to keep his muscles strong. There are a few summer programs and still a couple competitions that he will attend prior to autumn.
Training and a regimented schedule will help to keep him focused. I know he wants it bad enough, so my wife and I will help him on his journey as best we can. Mostly my wife mind you. She is really devoted in seeing what competitions are coming up and his times at each event. Being a supportive parent is the best thing we can do for him.
Do you train for something you enjoy? Let me know!
Today is not as bad as it has been in the past. Mostly my lower back causing me grief. I think it is partly due to sitting for extended lengths of time while at work in front of a computer. I have been doing my best not to cross my legs while sitting, as well as getting up to walk around more. I do have to drive quite a bit for work, so I’m also sitting for ages heading out to different locations.
I do enjoy walking when the pain isn’t around. My wife knows that I have struggled occasionally to keep up with her- I feel elderly some days even though she has five years on me! At work, the ground isn’t exactly an even surface to walk on (railroads are like that). Sometimes I’m naturally tense as I walk the rail yard talking to crews.
Slouching is also a bad habit I have. But being 6’8” means I have to lean over naturally while standing. Slouching while sitting is a habit I need to break; and I should have broken years ago. Back stretches help. I hate to say it, but last week when building the roof on the gazebo was really good for my muscles. I felt great after the physical work.
What I’m saying is, the back pain is back. Or it never really left in the end.
Theory is attending a Speed Skating meet this weekend in Richmond. He has been to this rink numerous times before. As the years go on, I find it amazing at how much better he has gotten at skating. He gets a feel for the ice, he interacts with other skaters to do stretches between races, he also works on mental strategy before and during his races.
I’m always looking back at our kids’ progress. Yesterday was one of those Facebook Memories that is relevant once more. Theory’s first competition ever had him falling repeatedly, but the crowd cheered for him each time he got back up. Almost every meet since then, he has had friends and competitors in the audience continue to cheer for him.
This weekend will push Theory in his age group more than it has in the past. He is skating against someone in a 1500m race that is almost 20 seconds faster than he is. Chasing that skater is today’s goal for his personal improvement.
I’m always proud of how Theory skates. He never holds back and always does his best. Seeing how he had fallen and gotten up during his first ever meet proved that he wants to succeed. I’m looking forward to seeing his results this weekend.
While our youngest is out in Fort St. John for a speed skating competition, Darwin has been actively coaching the home town skaters.
On Friday night, we were in Langley and I watched as Darwin taught the younger of the two groups. Most of it was the basics of speed skating and a lot of drills.
Today is the last day in North Surrey for the season. Our club is in charge of this Sunday skate, so it’s a bunch of Langley skaters who want an extra day of practice. After some basic drills, Darwin plans on making it a bit more fun and games as the last day.
Next year is up in the air if Darwin will coach. Post secondary will take up the majority of their time. This upcoming Friday is the last skate of the year at our club. I know Darwin will be there and hopefully it won’t be emotional for all of them. The kids love Darwin.
Next weekend, Theory has one more competition in Richmond. Darwin has put in a request to be in the coaches box for that one. I think it’s amazing. How Darwin wants to help Theory and any other Langley skaters one last time.
This summer we have been having a great experience in the water. In fact, I’d say 90% of our summer days were spent in the water. However, that water has been just our swimming pool.
I’m not complaining. I love our backyard. All the relaxation, the floating, the serenity- it’s exactly what I needed in my life. However, my wife wished we hit the water elsewhere at least once this summer. Our kayaks have been neglected since moving into our new home.
I have three weeks left of summer to try and get out with our little boats just to say we did kayak this summer. My hope is that the weather holds up for the days off that my wife and I have together. Or perhaps a later afternoon/ early evening paddle will occur after work.
If all else fails, I’ll toss the kayak in the pool and make the best of both worlds and just go back and forth. That’s the same, right?
I know I was complaining yesterday about my joints and pains. Today I realized I have hit another stage of growing older. And it wasn’t my hearing like I thought it was going to be because of the loud music and my work environment. Nope, it’s my eyesight.
I was unable to read the writing on the yellow part of this label. My wife gave me her reading glasses, and voila- clear as crystal. It’s odd because I could read the part above with a bit of strain, but accurately without hesitation.
Naturally, I went on my phone to search up signs of aging and stuff like that. Here’s what I found:
Your Heart Works Harder.
Your Skin Feels Different.
You Find It Harder to See and Hear.
Your Teeth and Gums Change.
Your Bones Become More Brittle.
Going to the Bathroom.
It’s Harder Getting Around or Staying Strong.
I stopped consuming alcohol last August because I could feel my heart working harder than ever. By October I felt normal. But the last month or so I have noticed my heartbeats being erratic once more. And with the aches creeping in more, and today’s realization that my eyesight is going to diminish, I’m feeling a bit down.
I always knew that I’d grow old. That’s just what happens. I’ve already been enjoying trimming nose and ear hairs as I watch my hairline recede. Getting a scratch or bruise? Might as well watch it heal at a snails pace. On normal days where I don’t work nights? Bedtime is before nine pm.
So yeah, my body is getting decrepit. Since the day I was born, it was a downhill slope leading to eventual destruction. Just like everyone else. What to do about it? Besides complaining (which I kind of enjoy) or comparing it to other people’s ailments- I think it’s best to IGNORE it.
I meant, work out. Exercise. Read more. Eat healthier. Look after myself. I kind of like my life and friends and family. It’d be nice to see them for a while longer. Or I can hope that technology catches up soon and I can be part robotic.
Anyhow, maybe next time I get my eyesight checked I’ll look at the possibility of getting reading glasses. Until then- I’ll use the technology available to me now. My iPhone can zoom in on the directions for me. Who needs glasses?
Yesterday my wife and I enjoyed a midday kayak on the Sumas Canal that leads to the Vedder River. Last year we went at the end of June when the water levels were much higher. That allowed for more exploration along the calm water’s edge. Read about last year’s adventure here: Vedder Made Today Better.
Yesterday was just a brief stint in the water. The levels were much lower and we really weren’t as prepared as we thought we were. Even though we packed some snacks and put to use our new PFDs, we just weren’t as ready as we thought. The water wasn’t difficult to paddle- the problem was the sun. We forgot sunscreen. Our water bottles can only keep us cool and hydrated for so long.
We are definitely fond of the calm clear water which we paddled on passing the tall grasses. We have also become bird watchers while on these journeys. Yesterday we saw numerous cranes, geese, mallards, hawks, and bald eagles. As well as a few fish and frogs hiding out.
Even though our adventure was short, we still enjoyed the brief paddle. Getting a bit of a workout in the sun was nice. I enjoy the car ride as well, that allows for my wife and I to talk about life.
All-in-all a good mental and physical health moment in the middle of the day.
My wife and I took a break from packing our house in order to enjoy the summer-like weather. We got up early the past two mornings and headed out to Fort Langley to enjoy some tranquility and exercise.
Yesterday we went to Salmon River and paddled alongside of the farm land. The water levels were so low that we were able to get through a small tunnel and explore more than we had in the past.
Today we went to the Bedford Channel and pushed further than we have before. Whenever we kayak here, we go against the current first in order to float back. The current wasn’t as strong as in the past, which was nice. I was also impressed by the courtesy of other paddlers and boaters considering how busy the boat launch area was getting.
The feel of the sun on our faces really brightened our moods. We also stopped on both days to buy lunch from local businesses. Not that the Fort Langley community isn’t bustling as it is! But my wife and I have a couple favorite spots that we love to support.
I enjoyed my early dates with my wife. We needed some of this time together in order to rejuvenate.
My wife and I dropped off our son at the skating rink for his Saturday practice and laps. Due to restrictions, we are unable to stay and watch. Instead of driving home, my wife and I decided to go for a walk.
We wandered around a park and neighborhood that we don’t normally go to. I enjoy walks like this. We get to see how other people decorate and care for their properties. I love to see well manicured gardens. It gives me inspiration for our home.
As soon as the spring blossoms arrive- it all disappears into summer greenery. The life cycle of beauty keeps me smiling. Walking around and getting fresh air is also helping with the sanity these days. Much like last year, I plan on trying to enjoy the outdoors as much as possible this year.
Alrighty then. Since starting the other day with a Fitbit once more- (check out Avoiding 2021) I have been watching how active I am. My daily steps are still a couple thousand shy of the 10,000 that the app recommends. I even get a buzz on my wrist every hour telling me to walk.
That makes me feel a tad bit guilty.
Is that what Fitbit is meant to do? Bring out guilty feelings?
But the app also shows my sleeping habits. Which is Totally Something I Can Get Behind! Honestly- just search up the keywords “Sleep” or “Nap” in my blog and you will find tons of musings about the subject. Now that I have a reason to look at the app, it makes me happy.
I don’t like have a piece of tech telling me I’m not doing something. It pushes my emotions into a downward trend, which I don’t appreciate. It doesn’t motivate me to do more. Quite the opposite. It reminds me why I stopped wearing a Fitbit the first time around.
How do you feel wearing a Fitbit or smart watch that tracks your movement? Perhaps your experience is a positive one. Please share how that works for you.
Yesterday we took advantage of the overcast weather and headed on a hike around Weaver Lake. It was a good thing that it wasn’t sunny.
My friend was adamant that it was a 12km hike. My wife was saying that people do the hike in three hours. Neither sounded appealing to me. Especially since each of us were breaking a sweat within the first kilometer.
The trail was overgrown in some parts, and difficult to maneuver in other parts. I was glad that there were orange markers set up in trees along the path. There was also milepost markers every 500 meters telling us the distance traveled.
As we hit the 6 km marker we were at 2 hours and 45 minutes. We rounded the corner and we were at the base of the campgrounds. Turns out the trail was roughly 6 kilometers. I was overjoyed the it was over.
Honestly, it was a more challenging hike than I expected. Lots of rough terrain and constantly up and down the hillsides. Well worth it for the views. I’m glad it was shorter (distance wise) than we expected. The kids were happy as well.
Today my wife and I went out kayaking again. We drove towards our children’s school, and sauntered down the Salmon River in Fort Langley.
We parked along Glover Road and walked down a path and put the kayaks into the water. My wife and I slowly followed along the water for around and hour and a half. It was a nice leisurely paddle. But we also knew that we’d have to paddle back.
It was another calm, zen like experience. Since we were in Fort Langley, we decided that we would stop at The Trading Post for a snack and a beer. It was a great experience, we even made friends with an older couple who were out on a motorcycle cruise.
If the weather holds up into tomorrow, we hope to kayak once more locally. I’ll be sure to share that experience here on my blog.
Today I went out for a kayak with our daughter in Fort Langley. This is the first one of the season. I was a little rusty getting the kayaks onto the roof of the Rogue. I had to unstrap them a couple of times to get it just right.
We made it out to the boat launch in Fort Langley and confirmed that the swiftness of the current wasn’t to difficult for our adventure. As we were about to launch, a fellow walked by and struck up a conversation. He noticed our CN Rail hats and told me he worked at CN for 42 years before retiring. Sounded like he was working in marketing at the am time I began my career there. It was a good talk as he shared some stories and told him of the changes going on. Seems I cannot get away from the railroad even on my days off.
Eventually my daughter and I were in the water and began to paddle. It was tougher than I imagined. My arms were not used to the movements and after about twenty minutes, it felt like we hardly got anywhere. We stopped along the shoreline at a log and chugged back a bottle of water each. She took out her phone and snapped a bunch of photos for a class project. I captured a few of us.
We floated back to the boat launch rather quickly. Good thing we did the hard paddle against the current first! Once on shore, we packed up the kayaks with a greater ease and my daughter asked if she could stop by a friend’s house. So we did. Social distancing of course while there. It was a nice afternoon.
Now I’m sore, but energized- if that makes sense. I look forward to more kayaking this summer. It’s all my wife’s fault for making me want to go out and do it! Pretty sure the next kayak adventure will be with her.
On Friday, the family and I went off to hike another local trail. This one was much busier than Aldergrove Regional Park. But everyone on the trails were respecting the idea of Physical Distancing. Way to go people! The 3.3 km hike around Houston Trail took us around 45 minutes.
We stopped a few time to really admire nature and it’s wonders. The natural way the cohesive balance of life intertwines still amazes me. My family and I somehow got on the topic of “The Matrix” and how the corona virus is almost like a reset of humanity . Giving us pause to reflect on the simple things in life that we take for granted. Such as these walks that we can saunter through without feeling rushed to get to the next big event.
I’m glad the BC has kept the parks open for people to wander. The fresh air and natural beauty helps to clear the mind. Even if we were plugged into the Matrix, the computers are doing a decent job at randomizing life.
Today my wife asked if we could go for a walk together. She has been going around the neighborhood daily for a few years now. Yes, years. And since the weather was fairly decent today, she wanted to go elsewhere. We ended up going to the Aldergrove Regional Park.
We took a lovely stroll along a horse trail. We saw four horses (no, not the Four Horsemen of the apocalypse) stride past us with a quick hello to the riders. But that was about it. The park was quiet. I think people forget that we have such beautiful locations that we can still enjoy during these crazy times. Even I forget.
The walk was serene and peaceful. The fresh air and lack of worries really cleared the mind. I think I need to do this type of activity more often, even though it feels forced by my wife. That’s only because when she’s ready for the walk, it means we are both to be ready. That brings up some conflict which usually has me lounging at home and her enjoying a walk.
What I’m saying is that she was right. Enjoying nature has it’s mental healing properties. And I’m glad I went.
The sun was shining once more today. I took a lazy day of nothingness. I woke up late and even procured a nap. Afterwards I decided to get active. Last year I set up an Axe Throwing pitch. It was time to get chucking once more.
My first throw of the year wasn’t too bad. Heck, I even dressed the part of a lumberjack with my beard and plaid jacket. I must’ve thrown for about thirty minutes as I listened to some Beastie Boys on my iPhone.
Afterwards, my daughter joined me, as did my son. They took turns throwing axes at the target. It took them a bit to get the technique down once more. But they started hitting the target more often than not.
We are getting some good exercise in on a beautiful day. Plus it’ll prepare us in the event of an apocalypse!
I was trying to think of something clever to call today’s blog post. I thought of doing a Charlie Sheen “Schwinning” Or a Wayne’s World type: “Sch-Winn” I even thought of a cheesy rhyme “Schwinn for the Win” In the end I just went with what I went with- Schwinn.
It may be obvious, but I’m writing about a bike. A stationary bike at that- the Schwinn AD6 Airdyne. The reason behind our purchase was so that our son (and the rest of us) will get a full cardio workout. Cycling helps with his legs promoting muscle growth for his speed skating. This bike also helps with arm strengthening as well- thus pushing the cardio aspect.
The bike arrived early this morning. All 117lbs of it. The delivery driver was kind enough to get it in the door at least. He was also amused by the fact that I was playing a record in the house, considering it was a lot of trumpets playing. I signed off on the delivery and attempted to move the box. Nope. I wasn’t going to injure myself moving this thing.
Instead of me dragging the box into our living room, I pulled the pieces out one at a time. I lay them out neatly and double checked that everything was there and nothing damaged or missing. I then set to work assembling the bike.
Assembly was pretty easy. Once it was done, I tested it out for about five minutes. I could already feel my lungs and heart working harder. I’ve never been one to actively workout. But I do enjoy swimming and using stationary bikes when traveling at various hotels.
When I was younger we had an inground swimming pool that I used regularly. We also had a cheap stationary bike that allowed you to adjust the tension on a cord to make it a tougher workout. That bike stayed in our unfinished basement and was used mainly by us kids to fool around on.
The bike that I just set up in our home is going to be in the main living space. It’s fairly quiet and we can watch movies or play video games while one of us can use the bike. I’m hoping that it gets a lot of good usage in its location. I’m also going to use it and get buff!
British Columbia is beautiful in many aspects. This week, my wife and I did a couple excursions with our new kayaks in Northern BC.
The other day we went to Charlie Lake which was 15 minutes north of Fort St. John. On Thursday my wife and I headed 15 minutes south towards the town of Taylor, BC.
We wanted to hit the Peace River for some kayaking. However, we knew the current would be strong because of the information we read about when we went to the Site C Dam lookout. After some research on Google and using the Google maps satellite view- I found a small alcove near a boat launch on the south side of the Peace River. So we went exploring.
This had to be the most peaceful kayaking we’ve done yet. The waters were calm and the views were spectacular. It was so leisurely that we spent almost two hours floating around without having to put much effort in.
It was a pleasant excursion and made me glad we toted the kayaks almost 1200 kms just to experience this. Perhaps one day our upper body strength will be better and we could try tackling a stronger current.
But until then, I’m content to put my feet up and relax.
About 15 minutes outside of Fort St. John is Charlie Lake. Yesterday my wife and I decided to go and check it out with our kayaks.
The boat launch that is there is in disrepair, so you can only bring kayaks, canoes and small boats in the lake. This meant that yesterday- we had the lake to ourselves.
This is a small lake only 3 km wide and 13 km long. There are a few homes situated along the shore, but none if you paddled north. Near the shoreline was heavy in algae which gave it a green tinge and made it tough to paddle through.
Once we ventured out about 500 meters, the water was pristine. Our mid day paddle last a good couple of hours and we paused at one point for a lunch break as we bobbed up and down on the slight waves.
This was yet another easy kayaking adventure. No challenge to it. But because of the amount of time we spent on the water- we can feel the burn today in our muscles. It feels great.
Lately I’ve been enjoying walking. Years ago, I used to walk everywhere. Most of my jobs in the past had me on my feet where I walked a lot.
When I was a projectionist looking after 19 auditoriums- I was spending eight hours a day going back and forth between them.
Working at Home Depot was a bit rougher on my feet since it was a concrete floor. But when it was slow, I wandered around to learn as much DIY as I could.
Chuck E Cheese also had me on my feet keeping track of customers and running food. Plus the occasional dance routine…
Then came CN. Where I would walk miles and miles outdoors every shift. This was by far the best exercise I ever received. Until I started working in the office. Then I became stagnant. That has been the past few years now.
I’ve been missing walking. So my wife is encouraging me daily to get back at it. It has started with walks around the block or parking at the far end of a mall parking lot. Now we are trying to wander through trails and enjoy nature instead of asphalt. I’m starting to enjoy meeting birds on my walks as well.
I woke up this morning with aches and pains. My arm muscles feel tight from hours of axe throwing and archery yesterday afternoon. My lower back is throbbing from bending over to rip out weeds and building our target. My legs have periodic cramps from the excessive walking I’ve put them through suddenly.
All of it feels good. I feel alive and ready to do some more. The sun is shining and the heat is rising. Later this afternoon I am planning on going for a hike with the family and take full advantage of the Spring Weather. I’m going to work through the aches and get my body back to where it should be.
It’s amazing how when I was a child none of these pains existed. I’d ride my bike, climb trees, walk to the store, or swim in our pool. As a teen the pains still didn’t happen. There was lots of walking, hiking, biking and running to be done.
Even a few years ago I used to walk constantly. Many of my jobs/ careers have had me on my feet and walking around. Including when I first started at the railroad. But over the past few years I’ve gotten lazy-ish. More office work and sitting at a desk now. And probably will be for another fifteen years or so. I best do something to keep me active.
When the weather is good, I enjoy being outside. I love walking when I have a destination in mind. Especially when on vacationing to places like Disneyland. We walk constantly. Same with last year in Tokyo. My body and mind cleared up during these trips.
During my days off, I need to be less sedentary and push myself. Get over the aches and pains and let my body remember how to be active. Like a photograph reminding me of my youth- my muscles will remember how to be used.