Panda Girl on the Run

"…if I can't run, I can't eat…"

Browsing Posts tagged Westwood Lake Park

Westwood Lake, revisited.

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I got introduced to Westwood Lake a few months after I first arrived in Canada. Being that it was closer to where I used to live. I made tentative attempts to walk around the lake, all by myself, to no avail. I was just too scared. Until one day, I did managed to go for a run on the trail ( and this was after I went for a walk with my sister and aunt ) and had a great time. I twisted my ankle in the process but I was too happy to be  concerned about it. It was no big deal.

Over the course of five years, I moved around and lived in different places outside of Nanaimo. Westwood Lake was forgotten, except for the occasional news I read on the paper or watched on TV, about it. Mostly I ran on the road. Then a few months ago, I found myself relocated back to Nanaimo. And its just a few minutes drive to the lake. One day, out of the blue, I got a phone call from my aunt. She’s at the lake with my cousins and asked me if I wanted to join them. I gladly said yes. I’m amazed at how beautiful it is. There were lots of people that day. But I didn’t go for a walk  because I worry about getting lost and all.

“In every walk with Nature one receives far more than he seeks.” – John Muir

I have been back to the lake a few times since then. One day, I asked my friend, Rhea, to go with me. We took our time and enjoyed the scenery around us. Later on, she told me that it was the first time she walked around the lake. I was worried  but she assured me that she’s fine and she had a great time. On another occasion, I asked my sister to join me. She agreed but not without a few comments, as we huffed and puffed along the way. She told me that she’d rather walk around the mall than be on the trail. I looked at her and smiled, while I wiped off the sweat on my forehead and mumbled “Yeah, right.”

I went back a couple of times, alone. I thought about asking my two willing companions but decided against it. I’d like to run most part of the trail and it would be unfair to them to tag along because I know they’d rather  walk. I think its rude to ask them to join me and then ditch them when we get to the trail. Anyway, I did alright.  I was scared half of the time, especially when I saw the sign posted on the start of the trail about  a cougar sighted in the vicinity. The thing is I kind of love the feeling of being scared. Adds more to the excitement of being out and about on the trail.

Signs like this one, scares me. Sort of. :-)

I haven’t been running for the past two years. The oft chance that I get to go for a run was sporadic. And its not so much because for lack of time or anything, I just fall off the wagon. Running seemed to lost its appeal  until that day I went back to the lake. ( I’m sure my sister would roll her eyes over this statement. ) I like the feeling that I’m  in my own world when I’m out there, with only the sound of my breathing, for company. Sometimes, there’s the occasional sound of rustling leaves or something snapping that never fail to stop me on my tracks, to briefly look behind me.

I hope this would be a good start for me to rekindle my love for running. I’ll keep my fingers crossed. :-)

…first taste of trail…

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I’m not the type who have the penchant for getting down and dirty, not that I’m averse to it or something. I guess I’m just not up to it. Anyway, I mentioned in my previous post that I lived, within walking distance, from a park, surrounding a lake. I even went as far as going there, one chilly morning and snapped pictures of the surrounding area. I tried to walked around the lake but did not push through when I heard something snapped behind me  and I was the only one  at that time. I backtracked and went home. The second time I went there was with my sister and we got lost. Then last Wednesday, out of the blue, Mama came by and told me, we’re going to the lake–for a walk. I was ecstatic, now is my chance. We covered  a distance of 6.1 K around the lake. As per my GF’s reading, it took me more than an hour to complete it but it only registered a distance of 3.1 miles since I pressed the STOP button when I stopped for a while and wait for Mama.

I’ve been meaning to run on that particular trail but keep putting it off, with the lame excuse—my fear of getting lost. There’s a map and trail and distance markers but I can’t rely on it since I’m a klutz when it comes to reading directions. So anyway, after that stint in the trail, I already had it in mind to go back and this time I’d run. And I did. Yesterday, after I got off from work, I hurried into my running clothes and runners. I even declined my sister’s invitation to go out because—I’m going out for a run on Westwood Lake. :D She understood my being a “running addict” and even reminded me to bring along my cellphone, just in case. I wasn’t even thinking of bringing it.

After I popped one Centrum and chased it down with Gatorade, I stepped outside and walked toward the direction of the park and lake. I did not even did some stretches. I was so pumped up to get my “feet wet” on the trails, so to speak.

When I got there, I noticed that there were a number of cars on the parking lot. This is good, I said to myself, at least there would be a lot of people I will met on the trail. I did a couple of leg stretches then started running. A few minutes later, I was already out of breath. Damn, this trail is sure is something. I tried to keep my balance and stay on my feet. The feel of the dirt with small peebles is something new to me. ( I’m used to the paved roads.)

I tried not to think of all the trees surrounding the trail. ;)

If not for running, I would not have ventured into places like this, no matter how beautiful.

Early on, I had sidestitch on my right side. I stopped to walk and pressed my hand on my side. I was breathing hard. In my excitement and all, my breathing was out of whack. I tried to walk slowly then run again. Then I noticed that I haven’t seen anyone yet, either from behind me or coming toward me. I was a bit alarmed. I continued to alternate running and walking. The trails could take a lot of getting used to.

I think my Mizunos did not fare well with the trails but running along this part felt like my feet had springs and I just bounced off. :D

I was careful not to trip when  I “sort of” run along the downhill.

I wasn’t bringing some hydration and halfway through it, my mouth was already parched with thirst. When I passed this way, I came too close to coming down on all fours, and satiate myself. ( like what the dogs do, yeah right )

Entering this part of the trail always made me extra cautious ( I guess this is what I get from watching too much “Criminal Minds” ) ;)

I had fun with my run yesterday. I am proud of myself for sticking it out ( I know to some this is no big deal ). But to a scaredy cat like me, this is way big of a deal.

After completing the route, I was happy. I walked home, smiling to myself. One of the toe in my right foot was painful. By the time, I took off my shoes, it was throbbing. :D

Now, running again on the trails is something I will look forward to.

Wobble on Panda. :)

It was obvious that we were not on the right track. My sister and I plodded on and just laugh about our predicament. We teased each other, about something scary appearing before us. ;) We alternated walking and jogging, but then, I could not keep at it for too long.

We came upon this fallen tree, smack right in the middle. I haven’t climb on anything in my life, but at this time, I had no choice.

I made it on top, finally. :D

After we passed by that tree, we still were not able to find our way. We kept backtracking to no avail. Thirty minutes into our walking, my aunt called us, thinking we already made it around the lake. My sister told her we’re lost and could not find our way.

We heard the rustling of the leaves above us. Tiny droplets of rain started to fell down. We were worried because if it will rain hard, we would be soaking wet and lost. Fortunately, it did not rain. After almost an hour, we decided on going back and reached the parking lot.

My aunt kept calling and asked where we were. My sister and I agreed walking again, but we started from the opposite end and would just met our aunt halfway. We were able to walked a good two kilometers before we saw our aunt. We told her what happened and again, we just laughed about it. This time, we did not ventured away anymore, though we still walked ahead of them.

Instead of going around the lake, we came upon this spot. :D

All in all, it was great to be out that day, unplanned it may be. Walking on the park, surrounded by trees, was unheard of me. I mean, I only get to see it on movies and I never expected to be doing it one day. Yet, there I was.

chilling out after the “walk”

I realized that getting up close with nature is cool. Getting lost along the way makes it more exciting. Need I say more? ;)

Wobble on Panda. :)

Easter Sunday is just any other day for me, except going to church in the morning. Since living here for almost a month now, there were some changes in my routines. Sundays are always spend outside, not in the malls though.

Last Sunday, after attending a church service, while inside the car, my aunt said to no one in particular, what shall we do. We agreed on going out for a walk. We went home first to have some lunch, then get some extra jacket ( it might get too cold outside). We brought along some food and bottles of water. And Taco. :)

Since I’m still barely a month in the place, they are eager to show me cool new sights. I am all for it, of course.

We went to this place, they just called “100 steps”. I’m not sure why,probably because of the the steps. :D Below is a beach. Going down was a breeze. Going back up was the struggle. I could feel my legs started to get heavy. And I finally feel what’s its like to breathe cold air. It seemed to pierced through my chest. I huffed and puffed until I reached the top. For the first time, the feel of perspiration on my back is heaven. :)

view from below, I’m not halfway yet

part of the steps

posing for the camera ( and rest on the side ) ;)

Taco checked out the tree.

After we went back up, we stayed for awhile then drove off. We decided to go to Westwood Lake Park. My sister insisted that we went home first because she wanted to change into her running shoes. I have my Mizuno’s on so I was ready to get going.

Minutes later, we were headed to the lake. There were many vehicles parked on the parking area. My aunt said that there’s a lot of people who come to the park during Sundays, especially if the weather is good. She was right. We decided to walk around the lake. In our excitement, my sister and I walked ahead, briskly. We chatted about walking there for the first time. I told her that we could not have done it back home. We met other people on the way. Most of them were walking with their dogs.

my sister and I were not good at following signs

We veered off from the trail, going around the lake. We realized this when we started going uphill. Still, we continued on our way and just laughed….

( more to come)

Wobble on Panda. :)

…I miss running…


It seemed like forever since I last ran. I’m pretty sure that when I start running again, I will begin at the bottom of the hierarchy, if there is such a thing. Living in a different country entailed a lot of adjustments, the climate for one. Way back home, even if I just came from an early morning shower, I would be perspiring at once. Here, I could not, for the life of me, brave to take a cold shower lest I freeze to death.

I’ve been inactive for the past few weeks, since I arrived here. And by “inactive”, I mean I haven’t been running. The sun is seldom out and even if it’s out there, it’s still bitingly cold.

worth to brave the cold outside ;)

I woke up this morning at around 6 AM and it was still dark outside. By 7 AM, I peeped through the blinds and saw outside, washed with  sunlight. I decided to head out for a walk. I did not plan on this but then sometimes, being spontaneous is cool. :) I took a shower at once. Lukewarm shower. I dressed in a hurry while I keep glancing at my watch. I put on my shoes then grabbed my jacket.

The moment I stepped outside, the cold seemed to pass right through me. Add to the that, my hair was still wet. What I am thinking…I brought along my camera and Garmin. :D

The walk toward the lake was downhill so it felt like I’m being pushed to hurry up. After I turned a bend, the uphill climb begin. I started to breathed heavily. Cloud of smoke came out of  my mouth every time I exhaled. So this is how it feels to be out of the loop, I thought to myself. The only sound around me came from the cawing of crows, the occasional car that passed by and the beep of my Garmin.

After more than ten minutes of walking from the house, I arrived at the lake. I stopped to look around at the beautiful scene before me and took some pictures. A few cars were parked on the parking area.

along the trail

I started walking on the trail and took pictures along the way. This is the first time that I’ve been here. The place reminded me of movies, especially Twilight. :D Lots of trees on the area. I reached a point where two trails intersected. I started following the one, straight ahead, then stopped when I heard something snapped behind me. I turned to look if there’s someone or something. None. Right there and then, I decided to head back. I got scared. I worried about getting lost on the trail. I walked back to the area which I had started.

Anyway, I think there’s no better way to start prepping for running again than to walk at first. At this point I’m a beginner. :)

Wobble on Panda. :)