It’s Time for the Olympics!

How much do I love the Olympics? The answer is very, very much. I watched the opening ceremonies last night with a friend and really enjoyed them. Frankly, I don’t remember much of the heavily praised opening ceremonies from Beijing, but the reason for that is because I was a little busy in the summer of 2008–while the Beijing games were going on I was in the process of moving from New York to Arizona, so there was a lot going on in my life at the time. I remember watching some of the games from a hotel room in New Mexico… but that’s about it.

This time, I’ve got my calendar marked for a few choice events. The times here are listed in U.S. Mountain Time, but check your local listings to see where these will be broadcast where you are.

  • Swimming: Swimming events will be broadcast on NBC in primetime from tonight (7/28) until 8/4. There’s no particular event that I want to see, though I just learned that there’s such a thing as the swimming marathon (which is really a 10K). The women’s swim marathon will be broadcast August 9 at 11:45AM and the men’s is August 10 at 12:15.
  • Triathlon: Unfortunately, the triathlon is on the NBC Sports channel, which I don’t get, so I will try to watch it online. Triathlon events will be broadcast at 4:00AM (!) on 8/4 for the women, 8/7 at 6:30AM for the men.
  • Kayak: You know I love to kayak, and kayaking finals will be broadcast 7/31 at 10:00AM, 8/1 at 2:30PM, 8/2 at 10:15AM, and 8/3 at 12:35AM on NBC.
  • RunningI mean, duh, you know I wouldn’t miss this. Track and field competition starts on 8/3 but here are a few marquee events:
    • Women’s 100m: 8/4 8:00PM (NBC)
    • Men’s 100m: 8/5 7:00PM (NBC)
    • Women’s 800m, expected to feature Caster Semenya: 8/8 1:15PM (NBC–I think, the web site says this is the qualifying heats but doesn’t note when the finals will air)
    • Men’s 400m, expected to feature Oscar Pistorius: 8/9 12:00PM (NBC)
    • Women’s Marathon: 8/5 9:00AM (Telemundo, practice your Spanish!)
    • Men’s Marathon: 8/12 6:00AM (NBC)

These are what I’m most looking forward to… but who am I kidding? You’ll probably find me parked in front of my TV for several hours a day between now and August 12. Feel free to let me know any events that you’re excited about or anything I’m missing!

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Cross Training by Kayak

Yesterday I decided to give myself a pass on my usual Friday run. I’ve still been feeling the strain of last week’s PR, and I thought that a day off might help my hamstrings and ankle recover. Instead, I went with some friends on a kayak trip. The excursion was run through Bay Creek Paddling Center in Webster, NY and was a very affordable $16 (including boat rental!) thanks to a discounted offering through the Adirondack Mountain Club-Genesee Valley Chapter.

This was my first time in a kayak in probably four years, but I used to love kayaking before I moved to Arizona. I’ve spent time on the water in the Finger Lakes, Lake Ontario, and even took a memorable kayak trip on San Francisco Bay. If you’re new to kayaking or are thinking about trying it for the first time, here are some things to know:

  • On flat water, unless you’re doing something seriously wrong, your odds of capsizing are almost nil. Today’s kayaks are very stable, and the loaners that you will rent at most places are easy to maneuver. The trickiest part is getting in and out.
  • The bigger the body of water, the tougher the paddling. Beginners may want to stick to creeks, canals, and streams (which are plentiful in Upstate New York) and then build to more ambitious trips.
  • Paddling on flat water can be as hard or as easy as you make it. I enjoy a leisurely pace to explore the scenery and watch for birds and animals. Some of my friends last night seemed to think it was the Indy 500. But, you know, whatever works for you.

Not my picture; courtesy of Wikipedia

Our trip lasted about 2.25 hours and we covered 4.5 miles of back streams between Irondequoit Bay and the Ellison Park/Browncroft Blvd. area outside of Rochester. Along the way I saw one snake, a family of swans with signets, a family of Canada geese, some ducks, and a handful of herons (my personal favorite members of the avian family). Others on the trip saw an otter. I heard the splash, but was sorry to miss it. Otters are very cute.

I regrettably didn’t get to take pictures, since I left my camera phone lodged in my breast pocket and would have had to remove my life jacket to get to it. (No, I wouldn’t have died… but I would have gotten yelled at by our guides.) I do hope to go out on the water again before my time here is out, though. My shoulders and wrists are feeling the burn today, but I’d forgotten how much fun it is to get out and do something that isn’t running or a gym workout. Maybe I do need to branch out a little! I leave you with this, my post-paddle reward, a delicious meat-free version of MacGregor’s Mexican Pizza. Yum!