Friday, October 30, 2009
The next morning I figured I needed to work off my food excesses of the day before which included, in addition to the ice cream, a pastrami sandwich and a black & white cookie. I mapped out a 5K loop starting at my hotel and as soon as it got light out the door I went into - wham! - the unexpected heat and humidity of an unseasonably hot Orlando October morning. Man, it was like August in DC. I was huffing and puffing after about a quarter mile because of the heat, but then I started to acclimate and I completed my loop - up Research Parkway then through the UCF campus, finally returning along Alafaya Trail. I'm sure I was quite a sight as I staggered, dripping with sweat, into the hotel breakfast room and started downing diluted orange juice.
Having made a spectacle of myself in two Florida cities in two days, I returned home. Oh, and along the way I got to see an incredibly cool technology briefing facility and tour a high tech mobile command center.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
It's become a tradition - every year my friend Tall Tom and I do a leaf-peeping kayaking trip on the Occoquan Reservoir, launching out of Fountainhead Regional Park. This year we were joined by my friend David. David and Tom had never met before - they are from different aspects of my life, but they're both paddlers. Valerie always tells me to stay safe while paddling, and in this case I was in good hands, accompanied as I was by a Red Cross safety professional and an attorney.
We all got there early and launched at about 9:45 AM, after bumping into Tom's and my friend Kingsley, who was not there to kayak but just to schmooze with another group of paddlers. As we launched, David commented that he was surprised there wasn't more wind, given that a front had just passed through. This is something you never want to say while kayaking and indeed, as soon as we cleared the shelter of the marina cove, we were justly punished with a significant headwind.
We pushed upriver for about an hour, taking in the gorgeous foliage along with the abundant birdlife (eagles, ospreys, herons, kingfishers, geese, and more). On the way back we stopped to poke into a cove David knew about, which was a really nice little detour. I get so caught up in covering distances that sometimes I forget the pleasures of exploring the little coves and creeks - which is part of what drew me to kayaking in the first place.
Upon landing we chatted with some guys who had some interesting boats - hand-built wooden canoe, and a Folbot folding kayak. Tom and I bumped into another Chesapeake Paddlers Association guy - it was a popular day for foliage, I guess. Then, we were on our way - me back to the family, David to do some work, and Tom to do household chores.
More photos here.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
I have no idea what caused this mini tsunami. It wasn't a boat wake, and the wind was calm. WEll, it was the week before Halloween ... maybe the river was haunted.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Now to see which aches more tonight, my teeth (I started the day at the dentist) or my muscles.
Sunday, October 4, 2009
Sunday morning I got a particularly early start, as I wanted to get a decent paddle in and still spend Sunday afternoon doing some family things. It was just getting light as I headed down the
I got to
In my rush to get out the door I had forgotten my watch, but I knew what time it was when I set out as I could hear church bells chiming 7 AM as I passed under the humpback bridge on my way out of the marina. I headed upriver.
Since I had gotten an early start I decided to go for a longer trip than usual and continued all the way up to Fletcher’s Boathouse, where I took out for a break. I retrieved my ThermosTM from the day hatch and enjoyed a cup of coffee by the riverbank. I had Fletcher’s just about to myself; it was a peaceful moment as I drank in the coffee’s warmth.
Heading back down the river, I really benefited from moving with, rather than against, the wind and current. As I got past
The route I took on my drive home includes a section of road which looks down onto the Pentagon parking lot. Taking my eyes off the road for way too long, I was astounded at the size of the crowd at the race. The huge parking lot was jam-packed with thousand upon thousands of runners. As if that wasn't enough, I spotted a bald eagle circling over the Pentagon. Wow.
Anyway, I hadn’t brought my GPS with me, so when I went home I used the distance measuring tool of Google Maps to estimate the distance I paddled. It came out to almost exactly ten miles. In the midst of a much larger race, I guess I was a 10 Miler of One.