June 08, 2010

Awesome Okanagan

Last night we came back from a superb four-day weekend in the Okanagan. I absolutely love the area, particularly Naramata. Tim and I have been working incredibly hard since September last year and we were both looking forward to this mini-holiday.

Our trips tend to be planned around races and since we usually have a performance goal for them it's never quite as lazy a trip as we, somehow, always expect it to be. This weekend's main goal was Tim racing the Oliver half Ironman on Sunday and qualifying for Ironman Canada.

As you do, I had found a 10km running race on Saturday evening in Summerland, about 15km from Penticton where we had booked pet-friendly accommodation for the three nights at the Breeze Inn. We both brought our laptops because we each had deadlines to meet on the weekend with some stories.

I also brought my Little Martin travel guitar so I could practice, had taken two books of poetry to enjoy and study (Self/Pity by Susan Hahn and The Best American Poetry 2005, with guest editor Paul Muldoon and series editor David Lehman).

Our apartment in Penticton also had a small collection of books. Danielle Steel's Bungalow 2 caught my eye because of its cover and it being right at the front of the row of books -- and then because it said she has sold more than 570 million books.

Admittedly I had not heard of her. I haven't read any romance novels since my first year in high school when my best friend then had drawers full of them (she told me that the ones with a red-haired woman featured on the cover were the best ones.) Steel's 78th bestselling novel was published in February this year, so I spent some time this weekend speed-reading Bungalow 2, alongside poetry.

We had left Squamish on Friday morning shortly before 8am. We were in Summerland at about 1:30pm and got my 10km race package, then drove to Oliver where we picked up Tim's race package and checked out the bike course by car. Oliver bills itself as the Wine Capital of Canada and is home to Inniskillin, Jackson-Triggs and Tinhorn Creek among many others.

It was 4:30pm by the time we arrived at our Penticton accommodation.

After unloading the car, we took Luka for a walk along the Kettle Valley Railway trail. It's a spectacular section that heads from Penticton to Naramata with views across Okanagan Lake and the surrounding mountains.

Here too vineyards are everywhere.

On Saturday Tim prepared his bike for the race in the morning, while I took Luka for a walk along the KVR trail again. We relaxed for a bit and then took Luka to Three Mile Beach in between Penticton and Naramata, where he had a great swim, before driving to Oliver where Tim checked in his bike and did a short swim in Tuc-El-Nuit lake. To Luka's dismay no dogs were allowed. 

We got back in Penticton at about 4pm so I had an hour before I needed to leave to Summerland for my 10km race which started at 6pm. Tim and Luka decided to stay in the apartment to prepare for the half Ironman the following day.

The 10km is part of Summerland's Action Fest, which also has a 5.4km run and triathlon races for adults and kids. After a warm-up I positioned myself near the front of the start line. I wasn't sure about the course and for some reason I had expected it to be reasonably flat. It wasn't. I was the lead female immediately, with about five guys ahead of me.

It was a warm night and we were running along a scenic route though I didn't pay too much attention to that.

It was my first race since I did the Rotterdam Marathon in early April and my first 10km in 10 months. I have done little speed work in the past two months so I was hoping to stay under 42 minutes, which is what I just managed to do on this hilly course. I crossed the line as first female.

The next morning the alarm went off at 5am and we left Penticton 35 minutes later. The race started at 7.30am, though Tim's wave didn't start until 7.55am. Tim crossed the finish line 4hrs and 53mins later, during which Luka and I must have walked close to 15km to different parts of the course to cheer him on.

Tim had a solid race, placing top 10 in his age group and securing his coveted Ironman spot. It was a great but long day, as we then had to wait for the awards ceremony, which started at 4:30pm and after which the Ironman Canada slots were given. We hung out with friends and had a great time catching up.

The next morning I took Luka for a 90-minute run along the KVR trail, while Tim did some work before we packed up the car. We drove to the tourist information centre for suggestions about accommodation for Ironman in August. Then we went to the Penticton Public Library where I wanted to show the librarian my books but she was out for lunch. 

So we drove to Naramata to check out accommodation options and found one that is spectacular but somewhat pricey. We toured the beautiful house that is right on the water and jammed with antiques, including a library. It has two rooms and is pet-friendly. The owner is a painter. It's a great option for Ironman.

At 2pm I was back at the library where I met with the librarian, showed her my books and described the contents. She loved them and agreed to acquire them on the spot. What a superb weekend.

We stopped at a dog-friendly beach just before Summerland which made Luka very happy. He just loves swimming and we tired him out as much as we could while we had our lunch on the beach. 

An hour later we were on our way back to Squamish after a weekend that was a lot less lazy than we, foolishly, expected but relaxing nonetheless.

Incidentally, Tim and I had funny race numbers in two entirely different events:

No comments: