Sunday, November 17, 2019

November Flowers

            The 8th of November was the last day I was able to get some good late fall wild flower photos. We got some snow the next day and a lot more on the 11th. We actually had a record snow on the 11th along with record low temperatures. There have been very few flowers to photograph since then, ie. only Witch Hazel shrubs that are blooming well above the snow. 

            Following are three wild flowers that I found on the Hamilton Waterfront Trail on the 8th of November:

            The Sticky Groundsel, (Senecio viscous), aka Sticky Ragwort or séneçon visqueux in French, grows under the 403 bridge next to the Waterfront Trail.

            I found the Mad Dog Skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora) or scutellaire latériflore in French, by accident as I was trying to photograph a sow thistle. The skullcap flowers are quite small and growing in rocks by the side of the Hamilton Harbour.

            The Thin-leaved Snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus), or symphorine blanche in French, grows in various places along the Waterfront Trail.

Thursday, November 07, 2019

November 3rd Road-2-Hope Half Marathon

        Here is the map of the half marathon course. The start is at the Arcelor-Mittal Dofasco Park where there is a large building with a gym, meeting rooms, etc.
            Kilometres 2 through 6.5 were against the wind this year. From km 6.5 to km 16 the route is mostly downhill on the Hamilton Red Hill Expressway. The last 5 km are along the Waterfront Trail with two way traffic about half that distance. 

            Here I am, dark and early, after being dropped off by Fleur-Ange who has been my official chauffeur for quite a few years now. It makes the race easier as I do not have to be at the end of the course to catch a bus even earlier.

            Even though I was early, there were already quite a few runners in the gym. The first bus had already dropped off the first set of runners. Nevertheless, I got to find a place to sit by the wall so I had support for my back during the wait.

            Most of the runners sat quietly, did some chatting and stretched while waiting for the races to start. Meanwhile, there was one runner who ran, skipped, hopped, and did various twisting steps for at least 40 minutes before the run. I did not see his number so I have no way of knowing if all that pre-exercise helped him in the race.

            The photo shows my long shadow as the sun is just over the horizon and the not so long lines for the porta-potties; not so long unless one really need to get there before the starting gun.

            I always line up near the back of the group of runners. 1. Because I do not like being in crowds and 2. because it feels like it takes energy away from me when I am passed and, conversely, I get a  bit of a charge of energy when I can pass anyone. (That happens less and less these days.)

            Here we are about 4 km into the run running against a 24 km wind. I saw several of the runners just ahead of me for most of the run.

            At this point in the run, we have gone just over 7 km and are starting down the expressway. The thin blue line above the trees at the bottom and before the more distant hills is Lake Ontario.

            The steeper part of the Red Hill Expressway has started by km 8 and the runners are spreading out more and more.

            Here is the reason for the name of the expressway. It looks a lot redder when all the leaves are green.

            Here is one of the "official" Road2Hope photos as I crossed over the bridge that goes over the Queen Elizabeth Way's 6 or 8 lanes of traffic. The noise is dreadful and it is always windy on the bridge so I took off my hat to keep it from flying away into the traffic below. Ian is hiding behind me as he is not an official runner in the race. He has come out two years in a row for this race to help pace me and give me encouragement. (Thanks again Ian!)

            Fleur-Ange took this photo of Ian and I as we ran along the waterfront trail about 2 km from the end of the race.

            Here is another "official" Road2Hope photo just seconds before I crossed the finish line.

            Another photo of me taken by Fleur-Ange while I was still waiting for my 2nd in the age-group metal. For some reason it took about a half hour for the word to get to the metal people that I had finished 2nd. Meanwhile, it was cold and very windy as one can see by the space blanket blowing behind me instead of keeping me warm.

            Here is my finishing metal, my 2nd place 75-79 age group metal and my prize cup for finishing 2nd. Now I am just waiting for the soreness to go away.