Monday, August 30, 2010


*grumble*  Yep, I'm cranky today.  On the cranko-meter, I am definitely hitting a 9, maybe even a 10.  Egads, Hubs might have to watch out or he might lose an eye.  My foot is bugging me and I'm icing it as I sit here, stupid thing.  I got next to no sleep last night - it was one of those nights where I woke up every hour on the hour, and then fiiiinallly fell asleep around 3:30.  I could barely drag myself out of bed this morning when the alarm went off at 5:30am...and once I did get up, I had a stuffed up nose, a scratchy throat and general malaise.  Oh great.  As the morning progressed, I got colder and colder and my nose got runnier and runnier - I have a full on cold now and am sitting here feeling sorry for myself and rather miserable.  Bleh.

My day did have a happy moment though....I, Foodie at the Finish Line, have been given my first bloggie award!!!!!  YAY ME!!!!  I've been awarded the Cherry on Top award by Hunnybee....

Along with great power comes great responsibility, so there are a few things I need to do before I can accept this award:

1. Answer the question:  If you had one chance to go back and change one thing in your life, would you and what would it be?

I would have taken that leap to become independent from my parents when I was 21 (Asian parents are notoriously overprotective of their kids, esp. girls)  and moved to Vancouver to go to school to become a parents felt that because I was a girl, that I didn't need an education...sigh.  In hindsight, that would have been the perfect career for me.

2. Pick 6 people and give them this award. You then have to inform the person that they have been selected for the award.

1.  KEW & A
2.  From French Fries to Flax Seeds
3.  Run Sarah
4.  Confessions of a Health Nut
5.  My Little Big Life
6.  Food and Whine

3. You have to thank the person (people) who gave you the award.

Thanks Hunnybee!  I totally admire how you fit in being healthy, training for a half marathon and balancing it with having a beautiful family - don't know how you do it!  I'd like to also thank my mom and dad for always being there and my Hubs for his undying support and...and....

Sunday, August 29, 2010

32K - Limpy Gimpy

32K on the menu yesterday - I was excited (strangely) and anxious to get at 'er yesterday morning once we got up.  We slept in a bit (man, we needed it) so didn't get out on the road until about 8am.  We decided to do an out and back of sorts so ran 10K out in one direction and back to the car so Hubs could pick up his rollerblades, and then jetted out 6K in the other direction and back.  Poor Hubs, his sciatica started acting up around the 10K point so we had to make quite a few stops so he could stretch out his glutes.

The weather was much, much cooler than it had been so I was feeling pretty awesome throughout the whole run - I was keeping a pretty good pace and while my body felt a bit tired, my head felt good and not tired at all.  I was also testing out taking Advil half way through to see if I'd have an GI issues - it helps just take the edge off the pain and I might need it during the race to get me through to the end.   At around the 25K point, the ball of my right foot started to hurt a bit and while I noticed it, it wasn't super painful - in retrospect now, I wonder if it was the Advil numbing the pain a bit.

Ooooch.  This morning my foot is not super happy.  My arch is pretty sore and walking on it is painful and I'm limping a bit.  NOOOOOOO!!!  Not what I need 6 weeks before the race.   I've been massaging it and stretching it out like crazy, and will stay off it tomorrow and do some stationery bike work instead of bootcamp.   I looked up painful arches on the interweb, and it seems that a lot of it starts with tight calves - guilty!  I'm really bad at stretching and really, I should know better - virtually all of my injuries have been due to my calf muscles.  Next week's long run is 35K, so I'm going to run on a chip trail next week to give my legs and feet a bit of a rest from pounding on asphalt.  My legs are extra tight and sore this week too, I'm sure just due to the overall distance. 

Sooo...while my run itself was great, the aftermath isn't so hot.  I'll stretch it out and give it a rest, and then see how things go.  That was one part of my body that I didn't have a talk to the other day!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Someone Save Me From Myself know how the other day I was saying that I was going to clean up my eating?  That I was all good with it for my run?  That I had set all these goals and was going to start a few days ago, go me, I'm so great, rah rah rah?

Since I got home from work today, all I've done is eat.  Eat, eat, eat.  It's like my body knows that I'm going to be depriving it of all my favourite things, and I'm craving everything.  EVERYTHING!!!  Salty, sweet, creamy, crunchy.  And I have the willpower of a gnat today.  I went grocery shopping after work today, and picked up some of those Quaker's rice cakes - those little snack ones.  As soon as I got home, I ripped that bag open and scarfed down pretty much the whole bag.  Hubs got home, and we had dinner - prime rib/gravy with some veggies.  You'd think I'd be full, right?

Not so, my friends...not so.  Friday night is hockey night for Hubs - and no sooner is he out the door and barely even down the street and I'm in the garage, scrounging around in our Goodie Box.  We have this banker's box packed full of our garbage food like chips, chocolate and cookies, that we only eat once a week as a treat.  We "hide" it in the garage - out of sight, out of mind, right?  I pulled out some chocolates and pour myself a bowl of chips and sneak back to the computer to catch up on some blogs.  Hubs will neeeeevvvver ever know.

Hmm.  Feeling peckish again, so I start scrounging around in the fridge.  Victory!  BBQ pork buns that my mom made for us.  I warm up one of those too, and eat that.  Delish.  OK, you ask - you MUST be full after that?

Nope.  I grab some rice crackers and start spreading smoked salmon cream cheese on them - you know, cream cheese made with cow's milk.....AKA dairy.  Which I'm hugely sensitive to and makes my tummy hurt.  Super.

I'm such a train wreck.  OK - I swear - I will start for sure on Sunday...after I have pizza tomorrow.  Heh.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Day After

This video gave me a really good giggle...I'm quite sure that's what I'm going to be like after the marathon - I could barely walk after the half, so can't even imagine what I'm going to be like after the full!  Hubs and I have taken the week off after the race, so he can piggyback me around the house if need be.  What are husbands for, right?  I'm thinking breakfast in bed and lots of foot rubs...grapes peeled and fed to me.  I LIKE IT!  Would it be wrong if I maybe milked it a wee bit?  Just a teeny tiny bit?? One thing though for sure is that I am NOT cooking Thanksgiving dinner - I did it last year after the half and it wasn't too bad as I had prepped a lot the night before.  However, this year, I'm going to use my "get out of jail free" card and have made it clear that dinner is out this year! 

32K on the schedule for Saturday - is it weird a part of me is kinda looking forward to it? 

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Holy Crap

OMG.  I just counted how many more long runs I have until race day and it's only SIX!!!  SIX!!!  That's hard for me to believe.  The months have gone by really quickly - I started back in May and four months have really flown past.  I'm on the home stretch now and I'm feeling good - I feel like I can do this.  I'm really hoping my body holds up - I might just have to have a talk with it:

Mr. Neck:  If you really wouldn't mind, if you could not go out of place and start hurting our girl.  She's been training really hard and it'd be much appreciated if you could just hang on until October 10th.  Thanks.

Mr. Back:  Hey little buddy!  You've been doing an awesome job of staying knot free and not aching much lately.  We're gonna treat you to some more massages in the next while.  Oh, and if you could keep Mr. Right Second Rib in line, that would be great - he seems to start a lot of the trouble.  He's SUCH an instigator.

Mr. Left Shoulder:  C'mon man...let's hug it out.  You haven't ached since before Hawaii.  You rock.

Mr. Knee:  Dude!!  You've been kicking ass!  A little soreness here and there, but pretty darn good.  Seven more weeks to go until the Big Day.  You can do this.  We're gonna be stretching like nobody's business to keep you happy.  We can't do this without you.

I think all this running is depriving my brain of oxygen - I'm a little nuts I think.  Ha!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Cracking Down

*sigh*  So now that my girl's weekend is over, I will make good on my comment about cleaning up my eating.  Can you hear my heels dragging?  I love food, so cutting out my little indulgences is going to be hard but if it helps me with the marathon, then it's a good thing.  And maybe it will help me lean out a bit more so my running times improve and - vainly - maybe I can fit back into my sexy tight jeans that are just a wee bit snug at the moment and not so sexy.  I bought these awesome jeans two years ago when I was skinny but skinnyfat, if that makes sense...they fit everywhere but are just a smidge too tight through the waist to be uncomfortable.  Gah!  Anyways, these jeans are my barometer as I felt the best at that size but actually want to be healthy and fit at the same time instead of all soft, doughy and completely unfit.

So - here are my goals for the next 8 weeks until the marathon:

1.  Cut out all dairy and eggs
2.  Cut back my cheat day to one cheat meal
3.  No alcohol
4.  Cut out all processed sugars and carbs (good bye chocolate)
5.  Increase vegetable/fruit intake
6.  Increase water intake to 3L/day
7.  Take supplements every day, esp. omega 3s to reduce inflammation
8.  Get at least 7 hours of sleep every night

Yikes, I'm getting scared.  Ha!  It was apparent to me what bad eating, alcohol (and not even that much) and lack of sleep did to me as the 16K I ran this Sunday was really hard and I laboured esp. at the beginning - normally 16K is no problem at all.  So if two days will do that, I'd hate to see the cumulative effect of multiple days on my body and my run - I'm still bloated and feeling crappy.  As they say, there's only one first marathon, so I want to finish it and I want it to be memorable! 

So here goes...starting tomorrow.  My wonderful mom made me prime rib with our favourite WHITE rice dish so I'm thinking that doesn't quite fit in #4 above.  Wish me luck!

Monday, August 23, 2010

An Epic Weekend

Man, I had the absolute best girl's weekend ever!  It was awesome from start to finish ...even the weather cooperated and was pretty much perfect for Friday and Saturday.  So where do I start...

We decided to take the 7am ferry out to Van so we could maximize our time at Ikea - the three of us luuurrve that store (who doesn't?) so got there at the opening and spent four hours there...yes, you read that right...four hours!  Before we went to Ikea we decided to check out our hotel, the River Rock Casino Resort...I give this place a massive thumbs up as it's really beautiful inside and the customer service was probably the best I've ever had, even beating out chi chi places like the Fairmont and Pan Pacific hotels.  And the best thing about the place was that A won $125 on $10 at the casino - not bad!

After our Ikea-fest, we got some nibblies and headed back to the hotel and got down to business:

We'd forgotten a martini shaker but A's water bottle (on the left) did the job rather nicely.  After a few yummy martinis, we headed down to Rogers Arena on the Skytrain which was great - a couple of transfers and we were there in about half an hour.  The opening act was Naturally 7 - I've never seen an opening act get a standing ovation, but these guys did and deserved it.  They use their voices as their instruments, so if you shut your eyes, you'd swear it was a full band up there was crazy!  But we were there to see Michael, my boyfriend...

Hello, Michael!  He put on a fabulous show - I would say the second best concert I've ever seen, after Coldplay (who I loooove, so this is very high praise)...he was funny, entertaining and sounded amazing.  We screamed, we swooned - my boyfriend did me proud. 

The next day we headed to Empire Stadium for the Bryan Adams/Beach Boys concert, who were opening the PNE.  Again...fabulous!  They both played full sets - the Beach Boys were on for about 1.5 hours, and Bryan Adams played a two hour set!  Hubs came over to Van to meet up with us for this concert, and so glad he did as he really enjoyed himself.

It was a weekend packed full of great music, awesome shopping and fun times with great friends...what more could a girl want?

Sooo...the big question is...did I do my 32K run?  Nope...I didn't.  We ended up taking the 9pm ferry so didn't get home until about 11:30pm and not into bed until about there was no way in burnin' hell I was getting up at 6am to run 3/4 of a marathon after two days of eating crappy, drinking, lack of sleep and not enough water!  I did end up deciding to switch weeks so did 16K with my coworker M and will have to do three 30K plus weeks in a row - that 16K was really hard and I could really feel myself labouring so knew I made the right decision.  Oh well - it's all about balance, right?  It's definitely worth it for one of the most fun weekends I've ever had!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Where's My Legwarmers?

Jazzercise.  OK, so what does this word invoke in your mind?  Hokey dance moves, Flashdance style tops, and a lot of colourful spandex, right?  Well, a neighbour of mine that I've become friendly with asked if I wanted to join her for a class or two to check it out, and at the time I had to stuff back a snort of disdain.  I can pound out 30 full pushups in a row...I can run 20K no problem...I can pump out multiple lunges, squats and burpees like nobody's business - what could I possibly get from Jazzercise?!

Anyone got a fork?  Cuz I got me some humble pie to eat.  I busted out a huge sweat as the class was pretty fast paced and I had to call on all the 80's and 90's aerobics moves that I'd ever learned back in the day - I gotta say, the class wasn't that easy and really required some coordination and I had to pay close attention.  There were a ton of people in the class - probably close to sixty, so it's a popular class to go to at my local rec centre.  The strength training portion was fairly light so that would be my only downside...but I can see why people liked it - people were enthusiastically singing along to the music (which was pretty awesome - nothing like exercising to a little Lady Gaga), you got to do some fun dance moves and shake your bootie...and one of the instructors was this cute young buck with tattoos - a little eye candy never hurts, no matter where you are!  But best of all, it was a ton of fun and everyone was hooting and hollering their enthusiasm.  To me, any exercise where you can have fun while breaking a sweat is A-OK with me! 

So lesson learned - never judge something until you try it because you just never know - you might just like it! 

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Buble, Bryan and Booze-ahol

Yes, I have no shame - this is a gratuitous eye candy shot for all you women folk out there who read this blog.  Have I mentioned I'm going to see Michael Buble on Friday?  Heh...I may have a few times already but I'm gonna say it again - I'm going to see Michael Buble!!!  Giddyup!  I'm currently listening to him on my iPod to get familiar with his stuff and I gotta say, I'm really likin' it - happy, upbeat stuff.  And that voice!  And those eyes, and those lips...and those..errrhhh... *cough cough*.  Aaaannnyways,  me and my homies R and A are heading over to Van Friday morning and doing a wee bit of a pit stop at Ikea - one of our favourite places on earth.  I love going to Ikea with these ladies cuz we meander through slowly and really look at everything, whereas when I go with Hubs, we're in and out in 30 minutes flat. Concert is Friday night, and the next day we're going to see Bryan Adams at the PNE - Hubs is coming over and meeting us there for Bryo so should be a great weekend!  I'm so looking forward to our little get away, it's been awhile since our last girl's weekend.

So....I'm sure you're then thinking well...when is she gonna do her long run then?  Isn't Sunday cooking day?  Is she gonna be a jam tart and blow it off?  We're coming back Sat late afternoon so I'm hoping that I won't be misbehaving toooo badly Friday night and that I'll be in OK shape to run 32K (gulp) Sunday morning.  I think I'm going to run the first 16K with Hubs, and then meet up with my coworker M and the Sunday Running Room drop in group for the second 16K.  I just hope I don't hold anyone up as I really dragged my ass last week but the weather is supposed to be much cooler this weekend so I really want to get this one out of the way.  I was half thinking of switching the weeks and doing 15K but that would mean three 30K plus runs in a row.  I'm crazy but not that crazy!!  I'm going to have to a really easy cooking week (no Rebar cookbook this time!) and do some fast dishes so I'm not standing for 6 hours after running for 3 1/2 hours.  Geez, just reread that last line - maybe I am a little crazy. 

Monday, August 16, 2010


Ouchie!  I definitely paid for Saturday's run - I got up out of bed Sunday morning and could barely walk for the first bit until I loosened up a bit.  I'm pretty sore and stiff even after repeated stretching and my feet are really aching...and it looks like my second toenails on both feet are going to give up the ghost soon - they're definitely hurting and turning blacker and blacker each time.  Oh well, at least they grow back! 

I sooo didn't feel like standing yesterday for hours and cooking - first cuz of my achy legs, and second cuz it was smoking hot in the house.  But I had to, otherwise there'd be no food in the house for this week and we'd end up eating chips for dinner or something similar.  I'm still on a Rebar cookbook kick, and made four more dishes from them - the mushroom pecan burgers, the african yam and peanut soup, spinach linguine with artichoke hearts and sundried tomato salsa and the bhangra curry burritos.  So far, I've tasted all four and they all get the Foodie seal of approval!  Deeeelicious.  I'm not going to lie though - the recipes from the Rebar cookbook are a bit of work and require a lot of ingredients, but the results are excellent and packed full of veggies, beans, whole grains and all sorts of good stuff so I'm all good with it.  And Hubs is really liking the food too...I was kind of thinking that maybe this whole Cholesterol Challenge thing was a blessing in disguise because it's really expanded my cooking horizons to try different things - for instance, I never would have tried the mushroom pecan burger but this burger is tastes like so much more than it's parts! 

Mushroom Pecan Burger - from the Rebar Modern Food cookbook

Makes 10 - 12 burgers

2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 red onion, sliced
1 tsp salt
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp thyme leaves
1/2 tsp red chile flakes
6 cups sliced mushrooms
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
1 1/2 cups grated carrot
1 cup pecans, roasted and finely ground
2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
1/2 tsp cracked pepper
1/4 tsp Tabasco sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat and saute onion.  Turn up the heat and add the garlic, mushrooms, salt, thyme and chile flakes.  Stir and saute until the mushrooms have released all their juices and the pan begins to dry out.  Deglaze the pan with balsamic vinegar.  Let the liquid evaporate, turn the mushrooms out into a large bowl and cool.

Add the brown rice and grated carrot to the mushrooms.  In a food processor, pulse the mixture in two or more batches until well combined but still coarse in texture.  Return to the bowl and add all of the remaining ingredients.  Mix thoroughly and season to taste.  Refrigerate for an hour or overnight.  Shape into patties and saute until golden brown on both sides.  Serve with grilled onions, lettuce, sprouts, sliced tomato, pickle, dijon mustard, ketchup or BBQ sauce.

Hint - pack these puppies tight when you form them into patties - two of mine fell apart in the pan, arghh!  And when I was frying them, I painted the top side with a bit of olive oil so both sides got nice and brown.  This burger goes a bit crispy too on the outside.

Afterthought...maybe me discussing losing my toenails followed by a recipe maybe wasn't the most appealing thing.  Whoops...sorry guys!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

30K - Conquered!

Well - OK maybe I didn't exactly conquer 30K (errrh...don't look at how long it took me) but I don't think I've ever been as happy to finish a run as I was today.  We're back in a bit of a heat wave again, so my coworker M and I decided to meet up at 5:45am at the local Running Room.  I got up fairly easily as I had a pretty good sleep, and as I walked out the door the air was already warm - there was definitely no early morning chill in the air.  M is doing a half marathon clinic with the Running Room, so knew of a route that we could take that was going to be approx. 15K.  Off we went - and I gotta say, it was great to have company because as we chatted, the time went by incredibly fast.  We finished 14.5K at around 7:30am and I drove back to our usual little loop in hopes of catching Hubs.  As I was rounding the corner, there he was - perfect timing!

I ran a few loops with him...and after he left I decided to run along the main parkway that runs along our loop - BIG MISTAKE.  There was no cover from the hot, hot sun and I completely wilted.  Up to that point, I was feeling really, really good and super fresh.  I turned around and headed back to do our usual loop but I was already done for.   I was at about 24K and I thought am I going to finish this?

I ended up taking many, many walk breaks and drank all my water (BTW...loooove the Fuel Belt!!) and still felt really depleted.  I finally got to 29K and thought more kilometre to go....dig deep and finish this thing!  I was definitely shuffling along and was never so glad to hear my Garmin beep at the 30K mark.  IT WAS FINALLY OVER!  As I got in my car, the temperature gauge showed 27 degrees at 9:45, it was hot.

Soooo...needless to say I'm pretty exhausted right now.  Had a busy day after so no rest for the wicked - I got home, did a cold water bath, took a shower, went to visit with my besties to figure out our trip to see Michael Buble, car shopping with Hubs (we bought a new car today - Mazda 3 sedan...woot woot!), and dinner with my parents.  I'm having a hard time keeping my eyes open and I'm sure I'll sleep pretty soun....zzzzzzzzzzzzz.....zzzzzzz...zzz.......

Friday, August 13, 2010

Psyching Myself Up

...or out?!

I think I'm ready for my run tomorrow.  I think.  I'm sure it's mind over matter - I's only 2K more than my last really long run, right?   And it's been almost a week and a half since my last long run so my legs should have had plenty of time to recover, right?   And I've been hydrating like crazy today so should be in good shape, right? 

So why do I feel so nervous?  I guess it's like any big milestone - I'm hitting the thirties and there's no turning back now.  I have 58 more days to go until I run this thing!  Because I'm going to be up at the crack of dawn tomorrow, I've laid out all my gear and put out everything I'll need.  I'm going to chill tonight on the deck with a good book and a nice summery limoncello/vodka/soda, hee hee.   

Speaking of cleaning up my diet, for the next few months I'm really going to really clamp down on my eating and clean things up.  Overall it's pretty good but there are the occasional indulgences.  However, this is going to be AFTER my girl's weekend in Vancouver...girl's gotta live a little!!

Update to come tomorrow...stay tuned.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Turning 30 for the Second Time

Oh my.  So I'm hitting a "30" milestone for the second time in my life - I actually didn't mind hitting the big three-oh the first time as I really enjoyed my thirties.  That was the decade where I learned who I really was and who my true friends were, and well...if you don't like it, you can kiss my big fat you-know-what.  Don't think I could have said that in my twenties.  I don't think I'm going to like my second "30" milestone as much however - 30K this Saturday *insert scary music*.  The weather is supposed to be hot again (we've had a bit of a cooler period) so I'm running with a coworker at 5:45am for about 15K, continuing on with Hubs for a bit as he's doing our loop (he doesn't want to get up quite so early) and then finishing off the full run on my own.  I went after work today to buy myself a water belt - I don't mind carrying my small handheld water bottle but I find the big one hard to get used to.  I know a lot of people love them after they get used to them, but I'm not sure if I'm a fan.  I kept debating with myself in the store if I should get a two or four bottle water belt, so decided to go with the four bottle so I had options.  Anyways, excited to try my new belt out as I won't be able to stash water anywhere as I'm not sure what our route is.

It's going to be a toughie and I have a bit of mental block about running 30K (gah!) but I'm staying positive and will hydrate myself to oblivion and get lots of sleep so I'm fresh.  I'm excited to get this out of the way though as afterwards I get to hang with R and A as we plan our girl's trip to Van the following weekend to see Michael Buble and Bryan Adams!!  We're staying at the River Rock Casino and I'm sure we'll fit in lots of laughs, Ikea and perhaps a drink or two or ten, heh.  I'll also be heading out for dins as it's my mom's birthday.  I always thought she wanted to go out for Chinese food but turns out,  not so much...she actually said she was tired of eating Chinese so I suggested Korean food - not Chinese but still in the Asian realm.  There's a little place here in town that has Korean and Japanese food so it'll be cool to expand her culinary horizons.  Excellent!  I'm looking forward to a Saturday...a day filled with eating, family and friends - my three favourite things!

Monday, August 9, 2010

We're Baaaaaaaaa-aack

Ahhh...back from the big city and we had a great time!  Next time though...I have to remember to bring my camera with me to take pics of our eats - since I'm new to blogging, I forget my camera all the time and there were all these photo opps that totally went uncaptured, boo.  We were out at Richmond Auto Mall checking out some cars as we're thinking about buying a new car...and the place is totally overrun by bunnies.  We were heading back to the car after drooling over a few vehicles (I'm a bit of a tirebiter) and there was the cutest little bunny ever! He looked like he had a little mask on his face and he had little white paws (pic above was closest I could find to Bugs)...and was so tame, I was handfeeding him leaves. Super cute.

We definitely crammed as many food type pleasures in as we could...burgers at Vera's Burger Shack, delish sushi at Samurai but unfortunately some meh Chinese food at Cabin 5555.  My in laws really like this place for some reason but we found the food to be not great...but maybe it's because we find it gimmicky because it's done to supposedly look like the cabin on an airplane.  They even serve you the food on trays, and make it look like airplane food.  What is appealing about airplane food?!  And every time they brought out the food, they didn't give it to the right person - just kind of brought it over and slapped it in front of someone and darted off - and the food came at all different times.  Not impressed. 0/5!
Anyways, we gorged and we shopped.  We're back on the good food train for this week and I realized I hadn't reviewed the Anaheim Black Bean Burgers that I'd made the other week.  These are pretty darn good as is, but it needed just a bit of tweaking for my tastes - more garlic, more cumin/chili powder and a bit more salt to bring all the flavours together.  We had these with the regular ketchup/mustard, cheddar cheese (OK, OK, I snuck some dairy!), pickle and red onion on a Thintini - next time I think I might whip up some guacamole or something to really zhuush it up.  Hubs liked them and the texture was quite good.  They're not quite burgers from Vera's Burger Shack, but they're not bad...and no cholesterol!

Anaheim Black Bean Burgers - from Rebar Modern Cookbook

Yields 6 burgers (I got about 8 out of mine)

•2 x 19 fl oz cans black beans
•1/2 cup cooked brown rice
•1-1/2 TBS extra-virgin olive oil
•1 small red onion, diced
•3 garlic cloves, minced
•1 tsp pure chile powder
•1/2 tsp each cumin and coriander seed toasted and ground
•1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
•1 tsp salt
•2 tsp chipotle puree
•1 small can Anaheim chiles, drained; or 4 Anaheim chiles, roasted,
seeded and peeled
•1/4 cup masa harina
•1/4cup toasted pumpkin seeds, finely ground
•3/4 cup fresh bread crumbs


1) Heat oil in a small skillet, add onion and saute until translucent. Add garlic and spices and continue sauteing and stirring for 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.

2) In the bowl of a food processor, add 2 cups beans, rice, Anaheim chiles and the cooled onion/spice mix. Pulse to coarsely grind the mix. Turn into a large bowl and add the masa harina, pumpkin seeds and breadcrumbs. Mix together thoroughly. Add the reserved whole black beans and mix in well. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

3) Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions and form them into patties. Dredge with a light coating of masa harina and fry in a lightly oiled pan until browned on both sides. Serve hot on sourdough buns.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Green Glitter

Jeez...I think I'm still verklempt!

The last few weeks I've written about being meh on the marathon training and losing my inspiration and drive to forge ahead.  I know deep down that I really, really want to do this - the whole finishing a marathon thing means a lot more to me than just putting one foot in front of another and getting a good time, but about achieving goals and making positive changes.  In the clip that I posted previously from the Spirit of the Marathon, Kathrine Switzer was saying the marathon was about triumphing over adversity and that afterwards, there's the feeling that there's nothing that you can't do or triumph over in life.  However, those thoughts tend to dissipate quickly when you're facing a three hour run in hot and muggy conditions!  I've definitely been fighting the blahs and fighting them badly.

Well, fight no more!  This morning I was sitting at my desk, and one of the gals was handing out the mail and slipped me an envelope that looked like a card.  I thought  hmmm...what's this?  I looked at it and it was from one of my close friends A...and I was thinking is it a party invite?  Birthday card - no, she sent me one and my birthday was in April!  Birthday party for her little girl, KEW?  What could it be?  So I opened the envelope and pulled out the card...and a little sprinkle of green glitter fell onto my desk.  At that moment I knew exactly what it was...A is one of my cheering section and said she was doing up signs with green glitter and the card was a prototype of what was to come, to give me some motivation to carry on.

So not sure if this has ever happened to any of you ladies, but I hid behind my computer screen to avoid anyone see me do the dreaded "ugly cry".  Tears were brimming all afternoon!  I was so touched.  This was exactly what I needed to keep me going - being so fortunate to have the support of family and friends really means so much more to me than anything else...I'm sure that every other person attempting something for the first time, be it a walk around the block or a marathon, can attest to this.

I've put the card up in our display shelves in the kitchen - on the same prized shelf as my wedding invitation and favourite wedding picture.  That way I can see it every time I head into the kitchen to eat that banana and nutella 'fore I go out on a run:

Thanks KEW and A - you guys are awesome!

PS.  16K run finished tonight - it was tough as it was hot and I only had two days rest after the 28K run on Monday.  I was just about to call it quits after 10K but Hubs and the card kept me going!  Whew - now on to 100% relaxation and fun times this weekend!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Heading to the Big City!

I'm getting excited - Hubs and I are off to the big city (Vancouver) this weekend for a little R and R.  Well, OK not really R and R, but it'll be a nice break to get away since from now until mid September we'll have houseguests for most of the time...sigh.  We have family coming from Edmonchuk so we're hanging out with them for most of the weekend.  As per usual when Hubs and I go away, we're already sussing out the food situation - where we gonna eat?  Where we gonna go?  Vancouver has the best Chinese food around bar none - apparently because when Hong Kong went back to China, all the top notch chefs came to Vancouver.   I don't think I've ever had a bad Chinese dinner in Vancouver - all the food is authentic and reasonably priced  - not the Westernized stuff.  Not that I don't love a good sweet and sour pork and chow mein binge every now and then, but it's not what I crave when I'm wanting Chinese food.  And the sushi!  We're in heaven when we go because the stuff we get over there is fresh, inexpensive and nice sized portions.  Hubs is super picky about his sushi as he's a trained Japanese cook so pretty much turns his nose up at all the sushi places in Victoria.  Wait a sec...even with all this training, I never seem to get any Japanese food made for me...huh, how about that.  Anyways, Vancouver is absolute foodie heaven and I love going there! 

And the shopping.  Don't get me started!  Whenever we hit Van, I always must worship at the temple of the Banana - Banana Republic that is.  For whatever reason, Banana Republic is not in Victoria - and I find it really, really difficult to find good quality, fashionable work clothes that fit my odd proportions...I'm only 5'2'' and I have what Hubs calls an "athletic build"...which in my interpretation is like being "husky" is for guys.  Ha ha!  Anyways, just cuz I'm short doesn't mean I'm a little old lady.  I do not need an elastic waistband in my pants.  Cutesie poo little details like bows, beads or sequins are bad.  And I actually have regular length arms - don't shorten the sleeves, please!   Anyways, I'm hoping to get a bit of time to dash off to check out some stores as hopefully some of the Fall clothes are filtering their way to the stores now and some good sales on summer stuff might be on.   Better warm up my credit card just in case!

So the big decision then - do we run in Victoria or Vancouver?  We have 15K on the menu - thank god, it'll seem short by comparison!  Hubs and I were contemplating running Friday morning, but if we do we'd have to be on the road at the ungodly hour of 4:30 am.  4:30 am!!!  That's crazy talk.  We could do it Sat morning in Van, but then it would cut into family time.  I think what we're going to do is run Thurs night and get it out of the way. 

Note - next week is my first foray into the thirties - 30K run, on the menu!

Monday, August 2, 2010

28K - Reinspired

Woohoo!  DONE!!

A few days ago I posted that I was losing steam and the training was really sucking me dry for energy.   And - in a weird way - I was starting to resent the training because it takes so much time, even though I honestly do love to run.  It's been a really busy summer with all sorts of things, and all I wanted to do was to chill this weekend with a good book but the spectre of this long run was hanging over my head.

I kept putting off this run - we were supposed to go Saturday, I blew it off and said Sunday.  Sunday rolled around, I blew it off again and said Monday.  So this morning, I had to go - no ifs, ands or buts.  We got up and were out running by about 7:30 this morning and was fully expecting to be out there until at least 10:30.  We ran along one of our local trails, so parked our car in the mid point and ran 7K out and back to the car and then 7K out and back the other direction.  Hubs is having some sciatica pain due to tight muscles in his glutes, so he could only do the first out and back.  To keep me company, Hubs had bought rollerblades a few months ago as he promised to train with me, even if he didn't actually run the full distances (he's such a good guy).  I gotta say - today's run was awesome - I felt great with lots of energy, and even pulled out a 5:38 time on the last kilometre!!  It was perfect running conditions - cool, overcast with no wind...I think the cooler weather really helped as the heat really sapped my energy last week.  And having Hubs with me for company really made a difference as he kept joking around and making me laugh so it wasn't quite as painful.  At the end my stomach was really bothering me though.  Not sure why - I'd done a Saltstick at the start and halfway point, and took a Gu gel at 14K...but I was absolutely starving so maybe that was it.

I think I'm getting used to the cold water soaks - as soon as I got home I got in the water and it felt soooo good.  So far so good, my legs are feeling pretty good as well.

Overall stats - 3:08 hours, 28 kilometres, 1657 calories burned - pizza, anyone?  :)

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Lovin' the Long Weekend

OK - who the heck to do we have to petition to change our work week?  Seriously, I totally think it should be changed to a four day work week - is everyone with me on this?!  I never find that the weekends are long the time that I'm finished all the chores and general house-y type stuff that one has to do to avoid the wrath of our strata, it's like 5pm on Sunday so I get a few hours to sit down before I have to go to bed.   Anyways, I am loving the fact that I still have another day off!

This weekend has been a really busy one so far - yesterday we spent the whole day in the garden, and then I spent a few hours prepping food for the weekly cooking.  I had a ton of cooking to do this week, as we're away next weekend so I had to basically do two week's worth of cooking today...I think I was cooking for almost 6 hours today, in addition to the 2 hours yesterday.  I'm definitely finding that incorporating more vegetarian dishes is adding more time to the cooking as the recipes I've chosen seem to be more labour intensive - I think to add more layers of  flavour so the dishes aren't bland.  Anyways, I'm good with it if it means that Hub's cholesterol numbers get better (Week 3 of Cholesterol Challenge!).

For whatever reason, I'd forgotten that I owned the Rebar cookbook - Rebar Restaurant is this great little place in Victoria where they have great vegetarian food, delish baked goods and amazing smoothies.  If you're ever in these here parts, check it out at  I flipped through it and decided to try the Anaheim Black Bean Burgers, Tuscan White Bean Soup with Rosemary and Kale, and the Shiitake Tofu Potstickers.  I haven't tried the burgers yet so will review once I do, but the soup was a little meh.  It wasn't bad per se, but it tasted a little flat.  The potstickers however...those are another story!

These are FANTASTIC.  A little labour intensive, but the end result is worth it.  They'd be great as an appy for a party with a little soy dip - I improvised and did half soy, half rice vinegar and some pressed garlic.  Hubs couldn't believe how good these were...and said "if this is what going vegetarian tastes like, I'm there!" 

Shiitake Tofu Potstickers with Scallions, Ginger and Cilantro - from Rebar Modern Food Cookbook

1 oz dried shiitake mushrooms
1 block firm tofu, pressed (put tofu between two plates, place can/brick on top for an hour)
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp minced ginger
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 scallions, finely minced
1/4 tsp red chile flakes
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cracked pepper
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp minced cilantro
round wonton wrappers
1 tbsp cornstarch
4 tbsp water

Place mushrooms in a bowl and cover wiht boiling water.  Put a small plate on top to keep mushrooms submerged, and soak for one hour.  Drain, cool, and finely shop.

Drain pressed tofu and crumble.  Heats oils in a skillet and saute the garlic, ginger, chile flakes and scallions until golden.  Add crumbled tofu, mushrooms, pepper and soy sauce and saute until the mixture is dry and heated through.  Stir in cilantro.

Whisk cornstarch and water in a small bowl.  Take a wonton wrapper and place a teaspoonful of filling in the center of the wrapper.  Brush some cornstarch water along the edge of the wonton with your finger.  Press the edges together to form a half moon, making sure the filling remains packaged within and all edges are well sealed. 

To cook, heat oil in a heavy skillet until a drop of water bounces and sizzles.  Working with up to 8 potstickers at a time, place them in the hot oil and fry for several minutes until golden.  Turn over, carefully add a few tablespoons of water to the pan and immediately cover with a lid.  Fry for a few more minutes to heat through and crispen.  Drain on a paper towel and repeat with remaining potstickers.

My adjustments:  I doubled the garlic, used 3 tbsp of soy sauce, and added the sesame oil as a flavouring rather than cooking the tofu in it...I find the sesame flavour stays stronger that way.  I also steamed these on a plate in an extra large frying pan that I have, to save time and calories.

Give these a try - you won't be disappointed!!

PS.  28K on the schedule for tomorrow - woot!