Saturday, October 22, 2011

Birthday Week!

Hugo and I discussing how green it was. He thought it was just fine.
I quit because I couldn't take the stinging nettles anymore.

As Ross wrote last week, I was in Switzerland visiting Sandra and Marc for about 10 days. I joined them on their club junior training camp that Sandra organized. I had a great time running different trainings, setting and picking up controls, and watching the juniors avoid going to bed at night. I started off the week strong, but grew more tired as the camp went on. I cut back a bit on my trainings towards the end, as I also ran the the Swiss Long Distance Championships on Sunday.

Chasing down the juniors at the sprint cup final.
Monika and Baptiste even made numbers for everyone!
During the first trainings I discovered how green the terrain in the area really is. The green is the painful kind of green - thorns, vines and stinging nettles. Yuck.

During the camp there was a sprint cup. Each training day there was a short (800m) sprint race with SI. At the end of the camp there was a chase start to determine the ultimate winner. I missed one of the sprints, so I started the chase start last. Julien tried to start without a map, which explains the amused smile on my face :)

All the juniors at the ANCO camp.

Ma and Sandra pointing to the WOC 2012 terrain.
See you in Lausanne!
During this week I also had the chance to train on some WOC relevant maps. Conveniently, one of the maps is located right behind Sandra and Marc's house! For my birthday Sandra bought us matching WOC t-shirts. We're getting ready to rock next year!

My birthday was also this week, and I'm feeling a bit old. It doesn't help that many of the Linné members are years younger than me. I was able to celebrate my birthday twice. Once with Sandra and Marc (Marc came home for lunch and we made grilled cheese! Yum!) and once with friends from the club. I've met some fantastic people here, and last night we had a special visitor at the door:

It's a donkey!

And the donkey brought me a present!
Mari, the master of all trades, made this donkey suit for the DX Deluxe in 2008. The other Blodsten crew came over for dinner and dessert. They are all fantastic chefs - Mari made cookies, Johan and Elisa made apple pie and Lisa and Sebastian made a cake.

Lisa and Sebastian's cake. As usual, beautifully decorated!
Apple crumble is perfect fall food, my favorite for this time of year. My favorite cookies were the dying sheep.
And, as this was a very special occasion, we even bought wine. Which you can only do in about 5 stores in all of Uppsala.

And, to cap off a great evening, they sang happy birthday in Swedish. It was great, but we all look a little awkward. When they all stood up at the same time I thought it was a mass exodus. And what does one do when everyone is singing happy birthday to them? I apparently wave the cake knife around like I'm conducting. Maybe the awkwardness is just part of the fun :)

It continues to be a beautiful fall. Yesterday morning I went out for a run at 9:30 and it was a balmy 0°C. Still it was beautiful:

Lisa and I went on a long line-o in the woods and we were breaking through a thin layer of ice in the swamps. We were smart (not weak) and avoided some of the swamps that looked extra deep. Somehow wading up to our knees in ice cold water wasn't appealing. This morning, fortunately, it was 10°C and it felt like spring. Winter isn't here yet!

As this is now getting long, so I will end, but I wanted to mention a few other highlights from this week:

1. Boris bought us Ticket to Ride Europe and a new game Agricola. We're played Ticket to Ride for three days in a row and I horribly lost all 3 games. Strangely, I almost always win Ticket to Ride USA.

2. Thursday was intervals this week and I think Kristina and I were the only ones to do all 5 intervals (ok, we did drag Boris and Ross out on the last one after they had finished). That makes us super hardcore. Consequently, all my muscles from my stomach down are sore. No pain, no gain.

3. Mari gave me the best book ever - Swedish Cakes and Cookies. All about baking Swedish desserts and it's written in English.

4. I've discovered that the Minuteman Library network has books you can borrow for your Kindle. I've read a lot of mediocre books lately, but they have all been free!

5. It seems that people are having trouble posting comments to the blog, but I have no idea how to fix that. I'll email Blogspot and see what I can do.


cjross said...

Hehe, I have also been reading a lot of library ebooks that I never would have read otherwise. Happy belated birthday!

Steph said...

Oh! I am currently reading Songs Without Words by Ann Packer via the minuteman library system on kindle... Better than mediocre so far, so I would recommend it. Also if you can get "the particular sadness of lemon cake", that is a strange little book that's very readable. The Paris Wife is really good, but I think there's a long wait for that. ...not that you asked for suggestions.

Samantha said...

No, bring on the suggestions! I find it really hard to search their kindle books. I try to find the books on Amazon and see if Minuteman has them. They usually don't...

Steph said...

Do you have any sort of iDevice that has apps, or did Ross break that? If so, get Overdrive, where you can link to your minuteman account and download library books. They disappear after 2 weeks or so. That's how I read all those books.

Samantha said...

Oh clever. No, Ross hasn't broken my touch yet :) I go online to Minuteman library and check them out. That brings me to the Amazon page and I can download them from there. The only problem I've had is that the wireless isn't great inside the apartment. Therefore I've been downloading the books and saving them on my Kindle, instead of having them wirelessly sent. This is great, except that a few times it didn't work, but Amazon and Minuteman both think that I've checked it out, and so won't let me try again. Otherwise, it's great!