Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Last Day


Yep, last full day here and I'm definitely sad to leave.  The week has been great -- lots of relaxing, reading, sleeping and plain old vegging out -- exactly what the doctor ordered.  We fly out tomorrow and get home in Vic at midnight so we'll have a few more days at home as a buffer.  What makes us a bit sadder this go around is that we're going to have to skip our annual trip to Maui next year as we're going to Hong Kong next Jan...and while I'm SUPER excited to go to Hong Kong, we really love "coming home" every year to Hale Napili.  R. and I were talking about this and she said that Hawaii is where you're really you and I so totally agree.

Maui, I'll miss you - but we'll see you in 2012.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Goal 3 for 2010:

Wear a bikini in Hawaii  - DONE!!  WOOT!!!

This morning Hubs and I got up and went for our usual early morning run to Kapalua - it was a clear morning, so it was already hot hot hot...but off we went anyways like the crazy people we are.  It must be a fairly common route as there's always tons of people running and going for their morning walks.  As we were heading back to our condo, these four gorgeous colt-ish twentysomethings with long sinewy legs blew past, singsonging their good mornings to us and smiling with white teeth and beautiful unlined faces.  Hmph!  I stared after them a little enviously, admiring their youth and the fact that everything was still where it should be and not down around their waists.  As we continued to run towards home, I noticed the girls were slowing and as we approached the last big hill, I triumphantly blew past them - ha, in yo' face!  I might be old but I still got it! *waving finger, cocking head from side to side*  Chalk one up for the oldies.

After our run, we were boiling hot so we thought a little water time would be nice to cool us off.  OK, so maybe I wasn't exactly BOLD and didn't strut my stuff all over the place, but I sat on the beach in said bikini while Hubs went out for a swim.  I can't swim at all -- and I do mean at all -- so I walked along the beach and let the water come up to my knees.  So nice!  The undertow on Napili Bay is fairly strong so I didn't really want to go any further. The water was relatively warm and people were all starting to come out and stake their spots so we were glad to get a prized spot under the kukui nut tree on the beach.   As we were heading back in after enough beach time, the skies absolutely opened on us and we were drenched within minutes!  Even the rain here is amazing.

Sooo my post bikini baring thoughts....exposing my middle aged body wasn't that bad and it wasn't like everyone on the beach spun around in horror, like I envisioned, ha ha.  It was all good - and even better, another goal knocked off my 2010 list!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Howdy from Hawaii

Ahhhhh.....finally, some R & R!!

After five days of going great guns to get stuff done around the house and various appointments, we flew out bright and early Thursday at 6am to catch a flight to Seattle and arrived in Maui around noon.  We were pretty much comatose the first night here as we were up at 3am and neither of us fell asleep until about 1am or we pretty much got to our condo and sacked out for the rest of the evening.  We didn't even go out to the beach, we were so exhausted!  We always stay up in Napili at this little beachfront condo complex which is amazing - every time we arrive, we get big hugs and they always welcome us home - it's like a little family here.  The last few years we've stayed in a unit that is beachfront on the second level, so we thought this time we'd try a garden view unit on the ground level - the only complaint we ever had was that the top floor gets really hot as the sun shines right in, and the sound of the pounding ocean kept us up.  What whiners, eh?  Anyways, while we don't have the ocean view, we are loving the unit we're in now as it's cooler, quiet and very private so think the next time we come, we're going to do the garden view units.

So in our rush to leave, I totally forgot the USB wire I need to download pics....arrrgh!!  I've been diligently taking pictures of all our eats (we had THE best dinner I've ever had in my life the other night - seriously delicious) so will post the pics when I get back home - Maui is a foodie's paradise, with all the fresh fish and tropical fruits - amazing!

Hubs and I haven't been able to run until this morning and I've been feeling antsy - so up we got and ran to the next town, Kapalua.  We always try to get up early as it gets so hot here that trying to run after 7am is pretty unbearable.  It's about a half hour run and on the way to Kapalua is almost all uphill so it was pretty tough  -  but man, what a run!  For most of it, you look over these deluxe villas at the ocean, with the smell of plumeria and pikake swirling around your head the whole time.  What an amazing way to start the morning! 

I never want to leave.

PS.  A big shout out to Vic, who kicked some serious ass and ran the Scotia half in Van in 1:51, even with an injury - woot!  Nice work!!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

20K - Holy Fack

Seriously, this is how I felt when I finished the run.  Maybe a little worse, if that's possible.

We got up at 6am to get our butts out on the trail by 6:30 as I had a dentist appointment at 9:45 today.  This run was to make up for the one I blew off on Saturday - which of course, three days ago when we were blowing it off, it was a fantastic idea to move it to today.  Today...not so much. 

I'm feeling a ton better after lots of sleep and pumping everything under the sun that I could take - vitamin C/D, multivitamins, Greens Plus, Cold FX, echinacea, naturopath immune booster, crown and ginger...heh, OK, that last item made me feel better, not sure how much it fought off germies though.  We started out at 6:30am on one of our local trails - and I gotta say - if anyone is ever running Elk/Beaver Lake here in Victoria - clockwise is WAY easier than counterclockwise.  We always do it counterclockwise, and it always felt so freaking hard because now I realize I was running on a slight uphill through a lot of it!!  We just thought we'd mix it up a bit so glad we discovered this little secret.

The first 5K felt pretty good - and then it was all downhill from there.  I had a pre-run banana and planned for Gu Chomps at 7K and a Gu Gel at 14K to bring me home.  At about the 12K point, poor Hubs was really slowing down - one of his legs was really bugging him so he stopped and went back to the car while I carried on.  I was OK until about the 16K point when I really got tired and had to take some walk breaks to get myself through it and tried to concentrate on my music (I gotta say - I luuuuurve that O.M.G. song by Will.I.Am and Usher - total earworm).  My stinkin' Garmin kept losing the signal in the trees so I don't have an accurate pace per km but I finished in 2:10 - which made me think how the hell did I do a half in 2:01 last year?!  At that pace, I'll hopefully hit my B goal of 4:30 for the marathon but really, I just want to finish the darn thing still standing at the end so I'm not too terribly fussed about time.

My poor dental soon as I got in the chair, I shut my eyes and barely said two words - I'm sure he was thinking what the heck is up with her?!  Normally I'm fairly chatty - today...not so much!  I came home, ate a little something and now I feel like a million bucks - probably mostly because in two days I'll be flying out to Maui - yeeehaww!  So much to do before we go, but man I'm looking forward to some banana macadamia nut pancakes - it's our little tradition that we always have them at the little breakfast place around the corner on the first morning we're there.  I wonder if they'll serve me a mai tai that early?  ;-)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Guilty As Charged...

Sooo....I'm feeling totally guilt ridden that I haven't worked out since Wed.  And....I blew off my 20K yesterday, as I didn't feel great when I woke up.  I've been keeping up my regimen of special herbs and spices to ward off this flu or cold or whatever the heck it is...and knock on wood...but I think it's working.  I woke up again this morning not feeling fantastic, but right now I'm not doing too bad so I think I might attempt bootcamp class tomorrow morning - and we're going to target 20K for Tuesday morning, bright and early.  I'm also getting a massage tomorrow morning (I can't wait) as my back has really been acting up again and I want to get some knots worked out before I sashay down the beaches of Maui. I'm typing this, I started thinking about my guilty feelings about not working out.  Like in my head I know that it's the best thing to do, and that a little rest now will be much better than working out and really running myself down.  But it was a real inner struggle with myself as to what to do - part of me was freaking out that I'd lose all my cardio that I'd built up while the other (smarter) part was saying look, you're tired, run down and getting sick!  Chillax, man!  It's four freaking days - your body needs it.  Sigh...I must remember - it's all about balance.

Monday, June 14, 2010

HIIT Me With Your Best Shot

Oh yeah...bringing some old school into this blog! I dating myself?

I had an insanely busy weekend - I HAD to get my garden in this week so spent hours on Saturday shopping for plants after our long run.  I was silly and didn't bring any water with me, which I should have as I started getting dehydrated and ended up with a raging headache.  I generally try to drink around 2L of water each day, and find that when I get less I really, really notice it.

Sunday morning was another early day - up around 6am to do the weekly cooking marathon, then out in the garden by 9am.  Nine hours later, I finally finished prepping the bed, edging it, and then getting all the plants in...I have to say - it looks pretty effing awesome!  The plants are still tiny but in three years or so, it should all fill in.  I'm just praying that Bambi and friends don't nibble too much of our plants.  After I was done, I was totally exhausted but hadn't actually "worked out" so did 20 mins HIIT (high intensity interval training) on our stationery bike. 

I slept pretty well but definitely not long enough - and 5am came a bit too early this morning.  I blew off bootcamp - yes, you heard me right!!  I was too tired after all the weekend activities to get up.  The guilt wore on me all day, as my fave instructor Fiona was teaching and I heart her - she is one kickass instructor.  Even Fiona couldn't get me up, that's how tired I was.  I was guilt wracked all day so came home and did another 20 minute HIIT session - I'm starting to really like it these short but super intense sessions.

For those of you who don't know that much about HIIT, it's continous bouts of high and low intensity exercise done for a set period of time, and for no longer than 20 minutes - it's a core principle in Body for Life, which I really like and mentioned before that I used when I was getting ready for my wedding.  Benefits of HIIT include:

1.  Maximum cardio benefit in a short period of time
2.  Turns your body into a fat burning furnace - some studies show it improves fat burning
3.  Improves endurance and stamina
4.  Helps with cardio boredom

I really liked the treadmill HIIT - I was drenched in sweat and if I can get the benefits in a shorter period of time, I like it.  I'd kind of forgotten about HIIT as I'm doing a lot of slow but long distance running.  And any excuse to put some 80's into my blog, I'm there!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

14K - Gin is NOT the Secret


OK - so I've confirmed that gin is not the secret to a great run.  Last night I was out on the town with some friends that I hadn't seen in awhile - we all used to work together and formed this sort of secret management drinking group to blow off some steam. I still have fond memories of the first night we hung out - it started at our usual downtown watering hole, we met up with a bunch of people we worked with and somehow ended up chasing cute auditors all over town until 3am.  Good times!  Anyways I know that I would have probably gone postal if I hadn't had these guys around - so it was awesome to see them.  It'd been awhile, so we were definitely indulging in good food and drink and I was feeling pretty glow-y by the end of the night.  Downtown was rocking last night - Canada is celebrating its 100 anniversary of its navy, so there were 8000 navy boys from Japan, Australia, the US....boooyah!

I got home around 10-ish and made sure I hydrated to avoid any hangover type situation.  We had to be running by 7am to fit our run in so I had a bit of a headache but overall felt not bad.  My run was not great today though - not bad, but not great..I was really tired by the end and had to really push to keep going.  So tired I forgot to turn off my Garmin so my results are all messed up, boo hoo.  However, what WAS great about the run was the spectacular day we're having - gorgeous blue skies!  We ran by the water, and ended up running on the breakwater to get a better look at the ships that were in - totally cool.  Victoria is really such a gorgeous city - I'm soooooo thankful to live here.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Two Things Tuesday

1. Saltstick - Check

I don't think I've ever been so excited about salt! I've been reading a lot about SaltStick electrolyte capsules recently ( so took the plunge and ordered some online today. These capsules are formulated to most closely resemble the electrolytes lost during exercise like sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium and should prevent cramping...these little guys are vegetarian friendly too and don't contain any nasty ingredients or fillers. Excellent! I hope I get them soon as I'd like to test them out on some of my longer runs to make sure I don't get an upset stomach or something horrible like that. As they always say, never try something new on race day - I've heard too many stories of people throwing up, feeling sick or worse - yes, you know what I mean. That. 'Nuff said.

2. Bikini - Check Check

Yay, bikini has been purchased! Time was running out for me so I stopped by the local mall on a whim to check out one of the swimsuit stores. I walked in feeling completely intimidated...but there was a bubbly, helpful salesgirl who I actually think helped me the last time I bought a bathing suit from that store (a tankini - baby steps, right?). She recommended a few styles for my body shape - she thought halter or bandeau style so off I went to go try them on.

Uhhhh, no to both. Horrifying, actually. The halters didn't provide any support or enough coverage, and the bandeaus were like a big bandage across my chest. Blech! I must have tried on about a dozen swimsuits and was panicking as the store was closing. I was a hot mess and completely discouraged, but the salegirl brought me one last style that I kinda liked:

The girls were totally locked and loaded - no wardrobe malfunctions in my future. The bottoms are actually higher than the picture with some give in the waistband so they don't create a side spillage/muffin top situation. It's a colour too - I was drawn to black (of course) but I like the pattern. And the best thing yet - the style is called Luau! How perfect is that for wearing to Maui - it's like it was meant to be. SOLD! As I left I thanked the salesgirl profusely and ran out of the store excitedly...I might just be ready!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Fabulous Falafel

Holy, two posts in one day! What the heck. I'm hanging out at home with Hubs, watching a movie after a crazy busy Saturday and I'm in a blogging kinda mood. Yesterday after we did our run, we were out for a couple of hours pulling broom with our neighbourhood and then spent 4 hours shovelling 5 1/2 yards of dirt - yes, we're insane. We had a retaining wall built in our backyard and we needed to fill it with dirt so I could get some plants in before it gets too late in the season. Man...that was some backbreaking work! I did the shovelling, and Hubs wheelbarrowed it to the back of the house. Afterwards, we guzzled down a couple of beer and inhaled some pizza and damn, did it taste good. We were so exhausted we actually went to bed at 8:30 - it wasn't even dark out. Surprisingly, I feel pretty good today and I'm not too sore either. Glad we got 'er done as it's been pouring rain all day here.

Anyways, I was inspired to posting again today because I tried this new falafel recipe that was amaaazing - Hubs was impressed and said "it tastes pretty good for being vegetarian." High praise out of the mouth of a diehard carnivore. I got this recipe off Epicurious as it came highly reviewed:

My Favourite Falafel

1 cup dried chickpeas
1/2 large onion, roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon salt
1/2-1 teaspoon dried hot red pepper
4 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon baking powder
4-6 tablespoons flour
Soybean or vegetable oil for frying

1. Put the chickpeas in a large bowl and add enough cold water to cover them by at least 2 inches. Let soak overnight, then drain. Or use canned chickpeas, drained.

2. Place the drained, uncooked chickpeas and the onions in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the parsley, cilantro, salt, hot pepper, garlic, and cumin. Process until blended but not pureed.

3. Sprinkle in the baking powder and 4 tablespoons of the flour, and pulse. You want to add enough bulgur or flour so that the dough forms a small ball and no longer sticks to your hands. Turn into a bowl and refrigerate, covered, for several hours.

4. Form the chickpea mixture into balls about the size of walnuts, or use a falafel scoop, available in Middle-Eastern markets.

5. Heat 3 inches of oil to 375 degrees in a deep pot or wok and fry 1 ball to test. If it falls apart, add a little flour. Then fry about 6 balls at once for a few minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.

My mods - I used one 19 oz can of chickpeas, doubled the amount of cilantro and parsley, used a bit more flour (due to using the canned chickpeas) and I didn't deep fry these babies, I panfried them with a little olive oil in a non-stick pan. The texture is moister than a regular falafel because I used the canned chickpeas - I didn't mind the moist texture but next time I'll try the dried chickpeas for a more authentic, drier texture. Warning though, these puppies are pretty garlicky so make sure you get any kissing out of the way first before you eat these.

For those of you who are waffle iron owners - apparently, falafel made in a waffle iron is awesome - much more crispy surface area than the regular balls. I almost want to get a waffle iron just to try it - a fala-waffle. Hee hee.

14K - 1/4 of the Way There!

Wow - just realized that I'm 25% done the training for the marathon. Kewl! Hubs and I headed out for a few loops around our neighbourhood at around 8am yesterday morning - an absolutely gorgeous, warm day in Victoria. I started off feeling a little sluggish and slow but once my body warmed up and I shook off the excesses of the prior evening, I was all good. One of my oldest friends had her wedding shower Friday night and it was a great get together complete with tons of food...delicious, rich foods packed full of fat, calories and dairy. AWESOME!! Anyways, the run ended off strong - overall pace was 6:15, 780 calories burned, 1:30:28 to complete. Pre-race fuel was a banana and I didn't bother taking any gels as I usualy take them for runs of 18K or longer. Earlier in the week I'd done a bootcamp where there was a ton of beach running and my knee was bugging me. It was acting up and feeling sort of twingy but felt fine yesterday. Yipppee!

When I got home, I had a protein shake to help recovery and rebuild muscle. I threw together a shake in my Magic Bullet with one scoop soy protein powder, 1 tsp cocoa powder, 1/2 banana, some strawberries, ice, light soy milk and a squirt of agave. Sometimes I'll put a tiny bit of xantham gum to thicken it up so it's almost like a pudding. Yum! Prior to discovering that I was dairy intolerant, our post recovery drink of choice was chocolate milk - apparently it has the perfect balance of carbs and protein and it doesn't hurt that it's sooooo tasty. I've read a lot of stuff that says that you have about half an hour after exercise to get your protein in for the best effect, so I try to have some sort of recovery drink within that timeframe if I can.

I've also found the perfect mantra to keep me going when I run the marathon, courtesy of A., who posted it on her Facebook status:

"Believe that you can keep going, long after you think you can't"

Now how perfect is that!? I'm going to have to write real small on my hand, but I loved it as soon as I read it. They say the last 10K is all mental so whatever I can do to keep my head in it is great - tks A!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Free For All Friday

This is not running, health or food related - but it brought a big fat smile to my face (and a few tears...happy ones though!) so I had to share.

Happy Friday, all!

Thursday, June 3, 2010


Tonight is yoga night - yippee! I started taking yoga classes back in February to help with my back problems. A few years ago, I was in the shower and lifted up my arms and felt a pop in my neck...and it's been an ongoing struggle ever since with my back. I'm hypermobile in all my joints (minds out of gutters, people) so my ribs, neck and vertebrae pull out of place really easily - super duper not fun. I was seeing a naturopath late last year and mentioned this to her as a recurring issue and she suggested yoga as a way to increase flexibility and train the body to move back into place when stretched rather than coming out. At that point I was desperate to try anything as I'd be popping out of place every few weeks or so.

I was hesitant to sign up as I'd taken a class about 15 years ago and the instructor was this total yoga nazi. He'd come along and make corrections which I'm OK with - but he'd kind of snap at you and it'd be so intimidating. Definitely not my cup of tea.

I decided to sign up for a class at my local rec centre and I gotta say - I loved it from the get go. My running workouts are hard on the body - no question about that - so it's nice to do a form of exercise that is more fluid and gentle. My back (knock on wood) has been doing a million times better and it's not aching as much. I've increased my flexibility and hopefully will prevent future injuries. But the best thing I've gotten out of it that I didn't really expect is the stress relief and connecting the mind and body.

For the 60 minutes or so that I'm in there, I'm able to let go of the shite of the day and be 100% present. And there's a whole spiritual side that I didn't even know about - seriously, almost every instructor (except for yoga nazi guy) I've had has this happy, warm glow about them that draws you in. They're so chill. One instructor had us try this technique where you envision your heart as a bright white crystal, and all the bad crappy stuff that you need to let go of is a coloured filter. So when you're having a bad day, you'd envision your heart changing from the coloured filter (I chose red) going back to a shiny white crystal and it's supposed to help you let go. Sounds nuts, right?

Well, unfortunately there's been a few instances recently where I've been completely raging at someone and wanting to beat them to a fine pulp *delicate cough* so decided to try this...and I have to say, it worked. I felt better - I no longer wanted to go medieval on this person anymore. I was a bit surprised - for those of you who don't know me personally, I'm the most non-hippy-granola person ever. I'm an accountant for cryin' out don't get anymore practical and uptight than me! But I thought hmmm...those yogis are onto something - who am I to argue with thousands of years worth of practice? I started off doing yoga purely for the physical benefits but now I'm thinking I might explore the spiritual side too. AFTER the marathon though - one thing at a time!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

It's June - Right?

Brrrr. It's June on the Wet Coast and it's a cold, windy, rainy evening. I suppose I shouldn't be all that surprised as our summers are usually slow to kick off. I'm actually kind of glad because I haven't got any of my gardening started yet but I want to plant a new bed this year. I don't have much time before it really starts to heat up and then I've lost my opportunity for the year so I gotta get my butt in gear. In addition to my running and food addiction, I also LOVE to garden. I'm hoping to get a veggie garden in next year cuz I just didn't get around to planning it this year - this marathon training gig is keepin' me busy!

I was doing our menu planning for next week and wanted to share a recipe for a brown rice and black bean salad that we really like. It's quick and super easy to make, keeps well and it's pretty versatile - we eat it as is for a fast meal, have it as a side or put it into wraps with some chicken, hummus or feta cheese/veggies - yum. I discovered it in Tosca Reno's Eat Clean Diet Cookbook and it makes our rotation quite often.

Black Bean and Rice Salad

3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp olive oil
pinch red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste

1.5 cups corn (frozen or canned works fine)
1.5 cups black beans, rinsed and drained
2 ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 medium zucchini, chopped
1/2 cup chopped green onions
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
pinch red pepper flakes
3 cups cooked brown rice
salt and pepper to taste

In a small bowl, combine first four ingredients. In a large bowl, combine remaining ingredients and toss with dressing.

Makes 8 servings. 193 calories, 5g protein, 34g carbs, 4g fibre, 4g fat.

Now how easy is that, eh? Give this one a try, you won't be sorry.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Foodie and the Fink

As you guys know, I'm a total foodie - love eating food, love cooking food, love reading about food...anyways, you guys get the picture - I heart food. I love to experiment with different recipes but I don't really cook a lot of fish. I have three or four fish dishes that are in my usual repertoire but wanted to expand my horizons so I went to a Fish and Seafood 101 cooking class with a coworker J. tonight. The class was put on by a local chef named Heidi Fink (her website is who used to be the executive chef at a very well known local restaurant called Rebar.

I gotta say - the class absolutely rocked. She gives you the recipes, demonstrates them and then you get a taste. I seriously had some of the best fish I've had in awhile and stuff that I'm pretty sure I could replicate at home. And I was stuffed by the end of it! It was a three hour class which went by quite quickly as Heidi is pretty engaging and the recipes moved along quickly. If any of the Victoria readers has a chance, try her classes - I definitely plan on taking some more. Two foodie thumbs up!