Thursday, July 29, 2010


Yeeehaw!  Long weekend is almost upon us.  Can't wait to chill for three whole days.  Well...we're not exactly chilling but at least we're not working and that's always a good thing, no?  We've heard a ton of good stuff about the movie Inception so we're checking that out Friday night - made by the same guy who directed the Dark Knight, which is on my list of all time favourite movies.  And the movie has Leo D, how can you go wrong (yes, Leo...stare deeply into my eyes)?  We've got some house-y stuff to do this weekend (mulching garden, hopefully painting Hubs bathroom) and then *insert scary music*....a 28K run.

Not really looking forward to it, I'll admit.  I think I'm going to have to keep myself inspired because today for the first time, I had thoughts of "eff me, what the hell did I get myself into?!".  I have at least a half dozen more really long runs, four of which are 30+ kilometres and honestly....I'm really getting tired physically and mentally.  When they say that training for a marathon is a huge time commitment, they are NOT kidding.  I think if I was doing a clinic, I may feel differently because essentially I'm training for this solo, and sometimes a little camraderie is a nice thing...people who totally understand what you're going through.  I think I'm going to watch Spirit of the Marathon again to re-inspire myself.  Yeah, that's the ticket!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

My Girl Jillian

I looooove Jillian Michaels.  LOVE.HER.  Yes, I know...she screams at the contestants.  Bob is the "nice" one, who doesn't yell.  Jillian pushes them so hard she makes them puke.  Bob uses more of an understanding approach.  She's like a pitbull that won't give up.  He hands out lots of hugs.  Now don't get me wrong...I like Bob and he's as cute as a button...but Jillian kicks some serious butt and that's exactly why I love her.  She opens up a huge can of whup ass on my secret favourite show, The Biggest Loser...and she gets results.  On the show, Jillian digs down deep into the heart of why the contestants overeat, which seems to be the key to getting them to make life changes.  Huh.  I think I might have a little bit of a girl crush on Jillian - I just think she rocks.  OK, and I want her body...girl is cut!

This past weekend, I picked up her latest book "Master Your Metabolism" and I find it all completely fascinating.  I'm maybe about a quarter of the way through and it's all about how hormones affect your metabolism - and how if you get your hormones in check, your body will much better be able to regulate itself.  She tells the story of how she would have to be meticulous in what she ate and if she strayed at all even with a rigorous work out schedule, she'd pack on 15 pounds instantly.  One day she went to see an endocrinologist and he said that her metabolism was shot due to the "frankenfoods" she'd eat, the chemicals she'd put into her body i.e. artificial sweeteners, the crazy starvation diets she'd been on in her life and all the environmental factors that influence hormones i.e. bisphenol A, meat hormones, pesticides.  I thought ding ding ding, that's me!   I have to really watch what I eat as I gain weight extraordinarily easily, and I'm sure all the stupid starvation diets I've been on and all the crap I've put in and done to my body is playing havoc with my metabolism.  Man, do I ever regret how stupid I was.

Off to read more!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Seven Years and Counting

It's our anniversary today!  Seven years of wedded bliss, hee hee.  It's funny, the weather on the day we got married was pretty much exactly like it was today - warm, with a slight breeze...not too hot, not too cold with beautiful blue skies.  I got home early today so I did a quick 30 minute run on the treadmill and kept Hubs company while he did his workout.  As I was sitting there reading my new Jillian Michaels book (will post on that later!), I remembered that I had a Rubbermaid tote full of wedding stuff.  So what did I do?  I busted that puppy out and started rifling through it...and what did I find on top, but my wedding veil!  It was wrinkled and all mashed up to hell, but I slapped that thing on my head and walked over to where Hubs was working out.  Ha ha!  He got a good chuckle out of it as I pretended that I was walking down the aisle, holding my non-existent bouquet. 

I'd kept a lot of mementoes of the day - R. had given me a beautiful black and blue satin round hat box that I kept all the really important bits in.  It was definitely like walking down memory lane as I hadn't opened that box in seven years!  I had all the cards from friends, some seating cards, favours (7 year old Purdy's hedgehogs...mmm mmm!), a plastic flower from the car, a wedding DVD that my brother made for us, our red cloth (in Chinese weddings, all guests write their good luck wishes on a red embroidered silk cloth) and our wedding programmes.  It'd been so long that I'd seen them that it was like opening gifts on Christmas morning!  I'll admit, I did get a little verklempt reading the programme and thinking back to our wedding day - I really can't believe it was seven years ago.  I honestly have nothing but wonderful memories of planning the wedding and the actual day itself - luckily, we didn't have any hiccups.  OK, there was one person who I could have lived without and she's unfortunately in our wedding pictures (Photoshop, anyone?) but ahh well...makes for interesting stories!

Happy anniversary, Hubs!  XO

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Gettin' Easier

Week two of the Cholesterol Challenge!  So far so good in watching our food and this week's menu came to me a bit easier than last week.   I found this recipe through one of my favourite food blogs Smitten Kitchen - I loooove this site as the food always looks amazing but the recipes aren't overly complicated.  There's more baking than cooking, but when I saw this little gem I had to try it.

Hint - get the smoked paprika, regular paprika just doesn't have the same rich smokiness that you need - it's what makes this recipe so yummy.

Spinach and Chickpeas from the

1/2 pound (230 grams) dried chickpeas, cooked until soft and tender* or two 15-ounce cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed (important, rinse the chickpeas, otherwise it gets too mushy)

6 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound (450 grams) spinach, washed
A hefty 1-inch slice from a country loaf or about 2 slices from sandwich loaf bread (2.5 ounces or 75 grams), crusts removed and cut inset small cubes
1/2 cup (4 ounces) tomato sauce
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika**
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Lemon juice, to taste

Place a large saucepan over medium heat and add half the olive oil. When it is hot, add the spinach with a pinch of salt (in batches, if necessary) and stir well. Remove when the leaves are just tender, drain in a colander and set aside.

Heat 2 more tablespoons olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Fry the bread for about 5 minutes or until golden brown all over, then the remaining tablespoon of oil and the garlic, cumin and pepper. Cook for 1 minute more or until the garlic is nutty brown.

Transfer to a food processor, blender or mortar and pestle along with the vinegar, and mash to a paste. Return the mixture to the pan and add the drained chickpeas and tomato sauce. Stir until the chickpeas have absorbed the flavors and are hot. Season with salt and pepper.

If the consistency is a little thick, add some water. Add the spinach and cook until it is hot. Check for seasoning and serve with paprika on top, or on fried bread toasts (as the Spanish do).

My adjustments - I maybe used 2 tbsp of olive oil - 6 seemed a wee bit excessive but I'm sure delicious.  Because I reduced the oil, I had to use a bit more vinegar to mash the bread into a paste.  For the paprika, I added it in with the cumin so the yummy smokiness went throughout the whole dish plus I added in more spinach, more like 2 pounds (or two bunches)...1 pound just wasn't enough.  This recipe is pretty flexible so you can add more or less ingredients depending on your taste.

Mmmm.  Going to get some of this stuff to munch on now!


Saturday, July 24, 2010

26K - Fini!

OMG, that was hard.  Hubs had to get out of the house by 8am this morning, which meant another early early morning run.  When the alarm went off for us to get up, I just looked at him and said that I was gonna have to catch up because I was just sooo insanely tired.  Hubs, being the good natured fella he is, just told me to rest up and that he'd get a 10K run in and for me to take my time.  Ahhhh, he's a good, good man.

I ended up getting up around 6:15 and by the time I got myself organized, I was running by about 6:45.  I packed a ton of water with me and didn't want to wear my fuel belt so...hee hee...I drove down the hill from our house and parked my car on the side of the road.  OK, confession here...I didn't really feel like walking up the monster hill to our house after running for three hours either.  For those of you who have not seen the big hill by my house, it's pretty steep, long and workout in itself - like I almost have to pack a lunch if I need to climb it.  Anyways, I'm not ashamed!

So the first 6 times around the loop were pretty good - but the last two loops...holy fack were they ever hard.  My knees held up OK but at that point I was just sooo tired, hot and my stomach was bugging me. I was experimenting with the Saltsticks as the bottle says to take one every 30 - 60 mins so I thought I'd take one each hour.  Pill #1 and #2 went well, but #3 really didn't agree with me and I felt queasy a few times.  I plowed through it and took some extra walk breaks.  It took me just over 3 hours to run it and I just kept thinking my god, I'm so tired at 26K - how am I ever going to do another 16K!!  Argh.   And how did I ever pull out a 2:01 half marathon?!  As soon as I got home I got in a cold bath to soak my legs and slapped on my recovery socks as my feet really feel tired today. 

Woot - farthest ever run!  Next week - 28K on the schedule.  Off to take a much needed nap....zzzzzzzzzzz.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Poor Hubs

My poor husband.  Sometimes I don't know why he puts up with me!  I'm hoping it's because 99% of the time I'm a lovely wife and that I'm understanding, kind and not a bad cook.  Sooo...let's talk about that other 1%.  Ha!  When I got home today I was in THE foulest mood of all time.  I walked in the door with a little black cloud over my head and practically tore him a new one for no reason.  OK...I'm a little tired today - lots on the go this week and I haven't gotten enough sleep, that's a definite yes.  There were a few incidents today at work that irritated the hell out of me.  My back is still killing me - I took some muscle relaxants (Robax Platinum = good stuff) but they're wearing off.  I went grocery shopping after work today and you know how you round the corner and someone else is coming the other you sort of stand there and smile and indicate somehow for them to go ahead.  This mofo stops so I kind of wave at him to go ahead and he snaps loudly "GO!"  Cretin.  And when I walked in the door, the house was so not how I left it this morning.  For those who don't know me, I'm an insane Monica-from-Friends type neat freak.  So most of these things, not my Hubs fault, right?  He just took it all in patiently as he knows me so well.  Within 20 minutes after my tirade, I went over and apologized for being beeyotch - to which he pretended to rip off his shirt a la the Incredible Hulk.  Ahhh, my Hubs - he always knows how to make me laugh!

Well, off to take a bath and do some yoga to soothe this savage beast.  A dirty martini or two might help as well.  :)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Happy Friday Eve

Man, this week seems like it's taken absolutely forever to get here!  What the heck.  Oh, and I still haven't learned my lesson - even after complaining that I felt sick after eating dairy the other day, I went to a work function last night and they served apple pie a la mode.  I'd had a few drinks so maybe my judgement was a wee bit impaired (I love me a good dirty martini), but when they slapped that pie down in front of me I scarfed it down without a second thought.  I got home last night and my stomach started to rebel - it felt like I had a rock in my tummy and it's been bugging me all day.  Must.Resist.Dairy.

Some great news - I'm going to have a little cheering section on the day of the marathon!  I was reading some blogs and a lot of people said that having friends/family there really made a difference for them.  My good friends R, A and K are going to cheer me on at the 32K mark as I'm thinking that's when it's going to be the toughest and I'm going to need to see some friendly faces.  They're also going to dash to the end to snap some pics of me crossing (or should I say crawling across?) the finish line.  Hubs is going to meet me at the 40K mark and run me in (he's doing the half) so wasn't going to be able to take any pics of me at the end - so this works perfectly!  I'm super happy and thankful that I'll have support on the big day, and my father in law will be there too as he's running the marathon too.  This year's run will be a family affair!

I'm all getting geared up for this Saturday's run - strangely, kinda looking forward to it.  I think I'm going to do the 3.3K loop around our house eight times - totally boring but I can stash lots of water and it's safe (important to Hubs) and flat (important for me).  I'm hydrating lots and will make sure I take my Saltstick pills this time.  I've also adjusted my work out schedule so I take the day off before and after the long runs.  The distances are starting to get pretty long so I'm cutting back to three cardio/bootcamp workouts, a long run and one day of yoga.  I normally like to get five cardios in but I think it'll be worth it to keep myself healthy and not get too run down.  Hard to scale back though!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

When Will I Learn?


As I've mentioned before, I went to my naturopath in the Fall to check out my food sensitivities and I'm not good with dairy (off the scale sensitive), eggs, almonds and grapes (ack, no port!!).  I can do the latter three maaaayyybe once a week per my NP, but I'm supposed to 100% avoid dairy.  Well, today I couldn't resist a wee bit of cheddar that we had in the fridge and holy shizen am I suffering now.  My stomach is in knots and I have that vaguely barfy feeling.  I really should know better - I've pretty much cut dairy out completely whereas before I'd have it every day, multiple times a day...cottage cheese for breakfast, yoghourt at lunch.  No wonder I always felt so tired and crappy all the time.  Anyways, seems that the more I cut it out, the stronger I react when I do nip a bite here and there.  I feel craptastic.

My back is really bugging me too.  I'm just a bundle of complaints today, aren't I?  I haven't gone to get my X-rays done yet, but have the referral from my GP so just have to get my butt down there.  I'm really looking forward to yoga as I always feel so much better after, and have a massage scheduled for next week...soooo looking forward to it.

OK, I can't end a post on such a downer!  I've been checking out yoga mats and I think I'm going to order a Manduka Black Mat Pro - supposed to be the cadillac of yoga mats, and should last forever.  I really want to make yoga a part of my exercise routine so don't mind spending a bit more to get a quality mat esp. if I use it all the time. If you're interested, check out their site at   - I'm super excited!!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Meatless Mondays

This is the first week of the Cholesterol Challenge and I'm taking no prisoners.  I'm not going to lie - it's hard figuring out what to make when you have to balance low cholesterol, high fibre, low fat and low carb all the while keeping the flavour up....and something relatively filling as Hubs gets hungry so quickly.  Plus it also has to be non-egg and non-dairy for me, and have sufficient protein for all the training I'm doing.  Sigh.  Not easy - but I thought wait a sec...this can become a cooking challenge for me - kinda like a healthy Iron Chef.  I wonder if Chairman Kaga is looking for someone?  Har. 

In my bloggie travels, I'd noticed that a lot of people were doing Meatless Mondays, so thought hey...great way to incorporate some veggie eating into our lifestyle, and maybe cut down on our food costs.  I fully admit - I do kinda turn my nose up at a lot of vegetarian cooking as I tend to find that it lacks a roundness in flavour or that it all kind of tastes like the same.  I am a foodie after all - stuff HAS to taste good...nothing makes me sadder than insipid, bland food.  The majority of veggie recipes I've tried haven't been fantastic, but again - even more of a cooking challenge for me and I think I'll look into taking some courses.  I can't blame the recipes solely as maybe it's partially my technique.  I'm all about the challenges - bring it, as Tony Horton would say.

I was flipping through all my cookbooks for ideas so remembered I had Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Eating for Everyone, a classic cookbook in the veggie world. The recipes looked good, but a lot of them had eggs or dairy - no dice.  I'd bought Vij's cookbook a few weeks ago and while the veggie recipes were amazing, they did have a lot of butter or cream.  Hmmm.  I went through all my Best of Bridge cookbooks and again was thwarted.  Argh!  I thumbed through some of my Moosewood cookbooks, but nothing was calling out to me.  Back to the drawing board.

Then I remembered that I'd seen this recipe off the blog Eat Live Run (  - awesome blog too, BTW ) for a vegan lentil loaf that was getting some rave reviews.  I was intrigued - my bestie R. mentioned that she makes a meatless meat loaf that her husband Stinky (don't know why I call him this, tee hee) really liked so I thought heck, I'm gonna give this a whirl. 

OMG, as Usher would say.  This was really, really, really good.  It has a really nice full flavour...Hubs even emailed me after lunch to tell me that it was tasty.  And with the walnuts, we're getting some Omega 3s in.  Success!  This recipe fits the bill for everything we need.  We've also got falafel on the menu this week too, so we're well on our way...Cindy - 1, Cholesterol - 0.

Vegan Lentil Walnut Loaf - from Eat Live Run blog by Jenna (thank you!)

makes 1 loaf

1 cup lentils
3 cups vegetable stock or broth
1 large yellow onion
1 large carrot
1 stalk celery
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp minced garlic
1 cup breadcrumbs
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
3 tbsp ground flax mixed with 1/2 cup water
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
2 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp pure maple syrup
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

In a small bowl, combine the ground flax and 1/2 cup water. Set aside.

Simmer together the lentils, broth and a pinch of salt for about 25 minutes or until the lentils are tender and have absorbed all the broth.

Meanwhile, prepare your veggies. Chop the onion, grate the carrot and dice the celery. Saute the onion and celery in the olive oil over medium high heat for six minutes, or until tender, not caramelized. Add the garlic and carrot and cook for about another four minutes.

Toast the walnuts in the oven for six to seven minutes. Add them to the onion/carrot/garlic mixture on the stove and stir well.

Add the oregano, salt and pepper as well and then take the mixture off the stove and transfer to a large bowl.

Add the breadcrumbs, flax/water and cooked lentils and toss well. Press mixture into a greased loaf pan and set aside while you make the topping.

In another small bowl combine the ketchup, maple syrup and vinegar. Spread on top of loaf. Bake for 40 minutes and then out on a plate.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

15K - Halfway to the Marathon!

Wheee!  I just checked out my training schedule and I'm pretty much halfway to the marathon.  It's going to be here before I know it.  I'm looking forward to getting back our Saturdays as the long runs really take up a lot of time (and energy) - I'm getting up into the ranges where most of them will take me 3 plus hours to complete.  I keep wondering if I'll get bitten by the marathon bug or if I'll be satisfied to finish one and be good with that.  We'll see!

So today's long run was relatively uneventful.  We started running about 9:30 because we did end up sleeping in until about 8:30 (it was glorious!!!) so it was starting to get hot.  I ran out of the house without taking my Saltsticks and didn't think I needed to carry my 10oz handheld water bottle with me.  BIG MISTAKE.  I could feel myself dying for water about halfway through and had a bit of headache when I finished, I'm sure from dehydration.  The other thing that bugged me was I decided to wear a running skirt that I bought last year (heh - I'd kinda forgotten I had it - oops) which was just a titch too small - I really shouldn't have bought it as it's an extra small and I should really know better - but it was on sale and I couldn't resist!!!  So of course as I was running it was riding up and cutting into my stomach and generally being a pain in the ass.  If anyone wants it, let me know cuz I'm pretty sure I won't be wearing it again!

Overall, I felt pretty good - we did an out and back and on the way out I was feeling really tired but realized that it's a slight uphill for a good chunk of it.  Of course, on the way back was a breeze!  So I'd say today was a good run for sure.  I'm still trying to decide where to run next week when I do 26K - Hubs doesn't want to run the whole thing but doesn't want me to run by myself either for safety reasons.  Hmmm...what to do, what to do.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Baby Let Me Love You Down

I can't WAIT for the weekend! Now what am I doing that I'm so excited about, you ask? Sleeping in. Seriously...we don't get much of a chance to sleep in on Saturdays as we've always got something on the go so have to get up at the crack of dawn to get our butts out on the road for our long runs. Plus we're doing summer hours at work so I've been getting up earlier, and that combined with bootcamp means I'm up at 5 - 5:30 every day and I'm definitely not going to bed early enough! This Saturday we've got nothing scheduled, so we're going to sleep in as our long run is only 15K. Yay! I couldn't stop yawning at work all day long. Boy, I must really be boring when I get so excited about sleeping in that I actually write a blog post about it.

Hah...I'm laughing as I read that last sentence, "only 15K". I remember last March when we were training for our first 10K race, so decided to run 10K one day to see how far it and Hubs almost died! We were exhausted and could barely 10K is our minimum distance and we can run it easily. It's cool to see how your body adapts as your distances increase. Next week's run is a scary 26K....the farthest distance I've done to date so we'll see how that goes with the old knee. I've been trying to be really good in doing my exercises and am back at yoga after a brief hiatus so here's hoping that it holds up. It's been feeling a bit cranky as we've been doing a lot of lunges and other knee blasting type stuff at bootcamp so I've been babying it to keep it happy. My legs felt really good this week after the last 24K so I'm going to try the cold water bath again - they were definitely not as stiff or achy after and my legs felt relatively fresh at bootcamp this week.

So to kick us off for an awesome weekend, I thought I'd leave you with the vocal stylings of Usher - looooove this song, and he's not bad to look at either. Just sayin'.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Cholesterol Challenge

The gloves are off - it's me against cholesterol!

Back about five years ago, Hubs had some bloodwork done and discovered that his cholesterol wasn't super great - his HDL was low, his LDL was too high and his triglycerides were too high.  We were definitely not healthy back then - no regular exercise, lots of refined carbohydrates, not enough protein and definitely not enough fresh fruits and veggies.  So as you know, I've been on a healthy eating kick over the last few years so we've completely revamped the way we've been eating.  Hubs went a few weeks ago to get some more bloodwork done to make sure things were moving in the right direction...and it's still not good!  WTF!?  How can this be?! 

I'm going to do some research and see what we can do with food as the doctor was recommending he take meds for it.  I'm totally against that and only want to do it as a last resort!  I hate the thought of him being on medication for the rest of his life to control his cholesterol so if we have to be even stricter with our food, then so be it.  I'd rather do that and have him be healthy and around as long as possible.  I suppose that's a part of the reason why being healthy is so important to me - I want to be around so I can enjoy my friends and family as long as possible.

Watch out cholesterol - your ass is mine.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

24K - Hot Damn!

Holy man - I don't think I've ever perspired that much in my whole life!  Things have cooled down a bit here in Victoria, but it was still pretty warm when we woke up.  We headed out at around 6:45am and man alive - I'm really glad I had the Saltstick capsules.  I took one at the beginning, and one about halfway and I felt pretty good today...lots of energy, even with the heat so I think that's an endorsement!  I took extra water with me and hid it along the loop we were running to help keep myself hydrated.  When I was done, I was absolutely dripping with sweat and my skin was starting to turn white from the salt drying on me.  Kewl!  Ha ha.

After the run, I did some stretching (I am really trying to be good) and went to take my first ice bath - except I'd used up all our ice in our crown and gingers *delicate cough* so settled for a cold water bath.  I'm  not going to lie to you - I didn't love how it felt going in - but once I got used to it, my legs did feel better after and not as tired.  After the cold bath, I slipped on my hot pink recovery socks...

These are essentially compression stockings so keep the blood flowing through my lower legs and helps with recovery.  I've used them for quite awhile and really like them.  And, it helps that I loooove the colour....they also come in a lime green which I almost bought.  Sexy, n'est ce pas? 

PS.  my knee held up today!  It was a tiny bit twingy, but not bad overall.  yay!!

Maui Mo' Bettah

Hurray!  I've finally had a chance to download our pics so thought I'd share shots of some of the yummy things we ate while we were in Maui -- I must remember this blog is FOODIE at the Finish Line so some of you non-runners are probably thinking OK, enough with the running...let's hear about the FOOD!

Last year when we went, we ate out a ton...which if you've ever been to Hawaii, you know that food is insanely expensive - I almost had a heart attack when I saw our Visa bill!  This time, we thought we'd try to mix it up and eat home a bit more often or eat out at less expensive places. 

Breakfast on our first day - we have a little "welcome home" ritual where we always go to a little place at the hotel next door to us called the Gazebo, where they have an awesome breakfast. They don't open until 7:30, but there's always a line up so you have to get your butt out there by 6:45 - 7am to make sure you get a seat. I had eggs benny, Hubs had a big kahuna omelette (bacon, cheese, chorizo - so deelish) and we shared a short stack of banana mac pancakes.  Ahhh, we're home.

That night, we went out for the THE.BEST.DINNER.EVER.  We'd heard a lot about Merriman's but never we don't know why we didn't go sooner.  They use all local ingredients, and only the freshest stuff.  We shared this salad which was local greens, carmelized Maui onions, blue cheese, house smoked bacon and the most delicious tomatoes I've ever had...all topped with a smooth avocado dressing.  Hubs was asking me the other day about the best thing I've ever eaten and I had to say this was probably the best in recent memory.  I savoured every single bite of this. So simple, so good.

Also, note the beverage in the upper left hand corner of the picture.  This was the strongest mai tai I've ever had - I had three sips and I was starting to feel all glow-y and squinty!  We were only five minutes away from home so I could just stumble home. 

My main course - medium rare ono, served on celeriac/potato mash with a wine reduction - amazing.

Here is Hubs main course - grilled wild boar, served on gnocchi with garlic chips and sauteed local kale - even better than my ono.  We were very unclassy and switched plates at the half way point but we didn't care! 

While we at dinner, this was the view from where we were sitting...does it get any better than this??!

Every Saturday in Kahului, there is a swap meet on the grounds at Maui Community College.  Hubs and I went last year, so dropped by for a quick visit and found this stall, selling the most beautiful tomatoes I've ever seen - no chemicals and locally grown.  

Look at these beauties!  They were as delicious as the ones we had at Merriman's, if not better.  They weren't watery at all and tasted like tomatoes - seriously incredible.  We had these sliced for dinner with some Annie's goddess dressing.  Yum!

Later on that day, we went to this little hole in the wall restaurant in Wailuku called Sam Satos.  Hubs had read that this place had the best saimin on the island - they make their own  noodles apparently.  Hubs had the saimin soup while I had the dry saimin, which was kind of like chow mein.  Hubs was meh about his (it needed a bit more oomph) but I really liked mine.  They also had baked goods so we picked up some blueberry and apple turnovers which I neglected to take photos of, but they were pretty good.

Ahhhh.  Ruth Chris.  This is our fifth trip to Maui and we always go there for dinner.  They have the best steak and prime rib, and they serve it on a 500 degree plate to keep it hot...the meat is still sizzling on the plate!  It's their 45th anniversary so they had a special menu which both Hubs and I chose.  Our starters - Hubs had the house salad with a lemon basil dressing (very good) and I had the Louisiana gumbo.  OMG, this was good!  It was a teeeeeeny bit salty, but I'm a self confessed salt hound so I really liked it.  I'm going to try and dig up a recipe for gumbo and take a stab at it, I enjoyed this so much.

Here is our dinner - Hubs had  a 16 oz rib eye (huge) with mashed potatoes, while I had the steak with creole shrimp and mushrooms - had to get some veggies into my dinner!  If you look closely at my steak, you can see the bubbles from where it's still sizzling.

And the piece de resistance - dessert!  Raspberry and mango sorbet, which was fabulous. 

After dinner, Hubs wanted to take some pictures with his fancy pants camera, so we stopped by the Malaa Ramp where I took this pic just as the sun was setting. There's nothing like sunsets in Hawaii!

Fast forward to our last night in Maui - we went to a new place called Star Noodle as Hubs had also seen some advertising for this (ahhh, so wonderful to have a husband who is a total foodie like me!).  We almost didn't make it in as they're supposed to open at 5pm but the kitchen wasn't ready so we couldn't get in until 5:30.  They kept brushing us off!  Finally they let us in but if they'd done it one more time I would have walked. 

Our starter, which was dried squid, local fiddleheads and Maui onion with a sesame dressing.  Interesting, but good.

I picked the local saimin (I have a love affair with noodles), which had chicken broth, kamaboko, green onions and spam.  Hawaiians loooove spam and I have to say, I kinda liked it.  Super salty though and it's terrible for you, but it was yummy in my tummy *said in secret whisper voice*

Hubs had the Star ramen - pork broth, roast pork and an egg.  He thought it was OK, but wished they had given him a knife as the piece of pork was huge.

Pictures on our last night...

To negate all this delicious food, we tried to fit in some runs, so I thought I'd show you our route.  These are actually last year's pictures, which we took after we came back from a hike but they give you the gist. 

This is the view of the big hill as you're leaving the Ritz Carlton in Kapalua.  Yes, this is the same hill where I whupped those youngun's asses!  And yes, that is Hubs in his straw hat (so cute!).

Halfway up the hill....keep going...mind over matter...

Yay!  We're at the top...and you're rewarded with this incredible view...

...and swirling all around you, the air is perfumed with plumeria...

...and pikake.

Maui No Ka 'Oi ..."Maui is the best!"

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Oooooooweeee It's Hot!

Yowza!  The temps have really amped up in the last week or so - we're at 31 degrees here in little old Victoria today and it's AWESOME.  Strange's a different kind of hot as today the air is pretty still so I actually feel hot and sticky but don't really in Maui as there's always this breeze that keeps you cool.  Anyways, whatever....summer is here and apparently it's gonna stick around for awhile!!  The only bad thing about the heat is that the office where I work gets smoooookin' hot - I work in an old heritage building so the air conditioning is not so great.  Today at work it was 87 degrees F so we were all sweltering but our fabulous boss let us go home early.  He rocks so we loooove him.

With all this hot weather, it's the perfect time to experiment with my Saltstick capsules!!  I got them while I was in Maui, so I'm excited to see how they are.  The bottle says they help with heat stress so perfect...I think I'll take one at the start and maybe another half way through - we're going to start running at 6am to avoid the heat.  I'll be running mostly in non-shady conditions so I'll have to make sure I really hydrate - will let you know if I make it or not!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Ice Ice Baby

Ahhh...Vanilla hit wonder.  OK, is it just me, or is he actually not a bad looking guy?  I mean, minus the blue steel gaze and goofy hair - he's actually kind of handsome.  Annnnyway....

Hurray!!  Summer is finally here on the West Coast - 24 degrees today, and temps up in the high 20s for the rest of the week.  Thank goodness...I still haven't acclimatized from Maui yet, so was wearing sweats and fleece pants up to yesterday.  Love the warm weather - bring on the shorts and flip flops!!

So we're scheduled to run 24K this weekend - I'm a little concerned about the heat, so we're going to be up bright and early to get our butts out there before things really heat up.  Since my mileage is starting to get in really long run ranges, I'm going to test out doing an ice bath this Sat - I thought it would work well since I'll probably be pretty darn hot when I'm done and I plan on running around the neighbourhood so can just zip home quickly.  My FIL does ice baths after his long runs, and it helps with recovery as it reduces swelling and inflammation in the legs.  I'm sure it'll be a bit of a shock to the system the first time, but apparently you really start to crave the cold water so I'm gonna test it out to see if it helps with any residual soreness. 

Word to yo' mutha.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Love Me Some Lulu

Whooooweee...OK, now that was some cooking marathon.  We had absolutely zippo food in the house so the last few days have consisted of a lot of toast and carbo overload.  Overall we ate fairly well in Maui but we definitely lacked in the vegetable portion of the program, so will be glad to get my beloved veggies back in the diet.

After viewing the horrific photos of myself at the 10K race in April, I'd vowed to find myself a good running skirt and methinks I've found the holy grail of running skirts.  I am an absolute lululemon junkie - I fully admit I have a total addiction to their clothes.  The first time I'd heard of lulu was some TV show that Bif Naked was on, and she waxed poetic about their stuff -- how comfortable the stuff was, the quality.  At that time I admit I was intimidated by their stores - all these cute young things, hawking yoga wear and at that time, yoga wasn't that mainstream yet.  I kept hearing about their stuff so one day I finally bit the bullet and tried on a pair of their yoga pants.  As I turned around to view myself in their mirrors (they have ones situated so you can see yourself from all angles), I swear I may have heard angels sing.  I, victim of the dreaded FAGAS (Flat Asian Girl Ass Syndrome), had a bootie.  It wasn't a Beyonce-type bubble and Sir Mix A Lot wasn't going to sing about it any time soon, but it was there sure as can be.  From then on, I regularly live in their stuff because the fit and quality is excellent if you take care of it properly.  Those yoga pants still look great after three years of constant wear.  Yes, yes all you can get five pairs at Costco for what you can spend on one pair at lululemon - but if it gives this pancake princess a butt, it's money well spent IMHO.

The running skirt I've fallen in love with is the Run: Energy Skirt:

The waist is actually a bit higher than the picture shows, so it doesn't roll down as you run (I also bought the Run:  Speed Short but it's a low rise, which I wasn't a 100% fan of as it tends to roll under my stomach pooch and then I can feel it jiggle when I'm running - not nice).  The waistband is super comfy, the underwear underneath has a slight grippy material so stays in place, it has a little pocket in the back to hold your keys and the skirt stays really cool on a hot run.  I of course, bought the black - but am thinking of picking up another one as I like it that much.

Two thumbs up on this gem. 

Saturday, July 3, 2010

22K - Not Bad, Not Bad at All

When I was in Maui, we stopped in at a Barnes and Noble to pick up a book to read on the flight home, as I wasn't into the book I was reading - the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - anyone? Anyone got an opinion for me on it?   I'm about 1/3 through and it's not keeping my attention well at all...a lot of people loved it but I'm meh so far.  Anyways, I picked up a book called "Marathon - the Ultimate Guide" by Hal Higdon, who's a contributing editor of Runner's World and have pretty much read the whole thing (yeehaw, book #7 for this year - only five more books to go and another 2010 goal knocked off!).  Since I'm not doing any clinics this year, I've been doing a lot of reading on my own.  This book is great for beginners and experienced runners, and I've gleaned some useful insights, the most important being that for the first marathon, a time goal shouldn't be the main goal but basically finishing the marathon while enjoying myself.  OK, I know you non-runners are thinking "how the heck can you enjoy yourself running for four plus hours?!"  Well, it might not be a picnic, but being able to take in the beautiful scenery, the spectators cheering, the great volunteers and crossing the finish line with a smile on my face should be the focus for my first and time goals (I still want Boston!) can always come later.  So I've changed my frame of mind from having a specific time in mind to finishing with a smile on my face.

OK, so on with our run today - we decided to rest out a new route and ran the Galloping Goose Trail in Vic and ran 5.5K out one direction and back and then the other direction and back to the car.  It was a really nice trail I gotta say - secluded in some parts but relatively flat with only a few hills.  I ran the same pace as Hubs as Hal was saying that the long slow runs should be just that...long and significantly slower than race pace which I wasn't doing....6:15 - 6:30 is what I'm targetting for race pace, but I was running my LSDs at that pace and burning out by the end.  Not good!  I think for this run, we were running around 6:45 to 7:00 for most of the distance, and it made a huge difference in how I felt at the end.  I was definitely tired, but not drop dead exhausted.  It took us almost 2 1/2 hours to finish because we were running so slow but I had something left in the tank at the end.  Also, my stinking knee was bugging me again - started to ache around 17K so I had to do some walk breaks to get through it.  I admit I've been bad at doing my exercises, but am going to buckle down.  So overall - a pretty good run today - I'll take it!

PS.  Argh, I think my back/neck is out again - chiro, here I come.  :(

Friday, July 2, 2010

Happy Canada Day Long Weekend!

Happy 143rd, Canada!  I have to say - while I love love love Maui, there's just something about coming home that just feels right.  We got onto Canadian soil around midnight last night so we managed to get home for the last few moments of Canada Day...and it was weird because I felt really bad missing Canada Day this year.  Normally we don't go out or do anything, but it felt like I'd missed a close friend's birthday or something.   I suppose after the 2010 Olympics, it awakened this patriotic giant in so many of us, including myself -- I proudly wore my red Canada t-shirt all over Maui and even got a few comments -- all positive of course.  And not sure if it's me, but I seem to see a lot more Canada flags out this year - awesome.

Well, I guess now that I'm back, the marathon training must resume.  We were pretty good and ran Sun to Wed, so fit four runs in while we were away...not bad!  They weren't long by any stretch but just enough to keep our fitness level and I gotta admit, the runs were hard - lots of big hills and the heat/humidity really made it hard.  I'm hoping tomorrow's long run is a good one - 22K - look out here I come.