2017 Goodlife Fitness Victoria Marathon

October 8, 2017

The turn on to Exeter Road from Beach Drive is just in front of me. I am 23 km in to this run and 2km beyond the half way point of this course. Until now, I have been mostly making my way north. Exeter is the marathon's turn around point; the part of this out and back route that marks the return south toward the Legislative Building and the finish line.

Throughout the summer, almost all my Sunday long runs have been on this marathon course. If I started a training day from Gonzales Beach, Exeter would be my turn around point and I would get roughly 23 km of running in; If I started from a point on Dallas Road, I would get more. I ran to Exeter enough times this summer to be intimate the texture of its asphalt; on tired feet, I was able to feel the coarseness of Exeter's surface through my running shoes.

I made a friend earlier this morning. For the past two hours, I have been mostly running with a guy who introduced himself to me around the 500m point of this marathon. Our time goals aligned and I took comfort in that this was his fifth marathon. I was banking on his past experience to get me to the finish line. At Exeter, he needed a break and suddenly, I was running without my new buddy.

Running alone, especially on this section of Beach Drive, is very familiar to me. I have been here before. I have been in this very spot, running down this very road. I know what this place feels like when running with fading legs; right now, I can feel energy in my legs. Any uncertainties I have surrounding my first marathon are fading fast. 25 km in, a little more than 17 km to go. I am running alone, I am happy, and I feel like I could fly!

Something New, Something Blue, Part Two

November 12, 2014

Back in March of this year, I had the chance to paddle a P&H Hammer in the tidal flow of Surge Narrows, comparing it side by side with my P&H Delphin 155. In short, I disliked the Hammer. I could not get it to hold a line when paddling up an eddy, the bulbous and boxy hull felt like a chore to roll, the foot plate did not feel right and on and on. I did not understand the boat.

“They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.” — Andy Warhol

Then in June, I attended a kayaking course at Skookumchuck taught by Costain Léonard and Rowan Gloag. It was there that ideas about rough water kayaking were shared, techniques learned and a new foundation applied. The change was on.

Recently at Jordan River, I jumped into my friend’s Hammer and quickly found that a few things I was attempting to do in the Delphin, were now second nature to me in the Hammer. I had a very different experience than back in March.

What does my new Hammer offer me that the Delphin did not?

In reality, not much. Both kayaks come from the same production facility in Cheshire, England. Both carry about the same amount of camping gear for surf expeditions and both are outfitted nearly identically. The Delphin is a bit faster on flat water but I simply prefer the Hammer in steeper, more aggressive surf.

The big difference between the Hammer and the Delphin is me.
I look at a wave differently these days so I made the change.

Dear Brent

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Just a quick letter to say how much I enjoyed this summer paddling with you at Surge Narrows.

I looked forward to Thursday evenings because I knew that you were calling. A quick look at the tide tables meant it was going to be you on the line.

I looked forward to the travel up to Campbell River, this time it being me to dial your number to confirm that I was on my way.

Brent, I enjoyed our mini-tradition of stopping at Cafe Aroma on Quadra; Two Americanos and two Bagels with Smoked Salmon enjoyed out on a warm, sunny patio.

Our drives up to the boat launch let us talk about the intracacies of kayak design. Did we even have the radio on? We sure enjoyed the topic.

I recall one of the trips that you and I made into Surge. There were a lot of kayakers up there; a busy day for sure. You quietly paddled away to the "Quadra Wave". When nobody was paying attention, I followed you. We had that hidden spot all to ourselves. Boy, that was a lot of fun.

I know we never got out to Tofino like we hoped but we did have this summer at Surge. For the times that included Paul or Jonathan and for the times when it was just you and I,
I am forever grateful.

My friend, you will be missed and remembered fondly.

Brent at Surge, April 13, 2014. — Photo Credit: Camillia June