Thursday, April 28, 2011

Three Things Thursday

1.  Gratithursday

Zoiks, I missed Gratituesday again this week!  I was too caught up with the Canucks/Chicago Game 7 hoopla and kinda forgot.  So before I get into what I'm grateful for this week, I was reflecting on the whole Gratituesday thing and I find it's really made a difference in my perspective.  You know how when you buy a certain type of car, and then next thing you know you're driving down the street and you see your model of car all over the place?  That's kind of how it's been for I keep seeing things to be grateful for everywhere and it's really shown me the power of thinking positively.  Now don't get me wrong...I'm by no means perfect in this and I still have my moments when I kvetch or need to rant, but now I'm really trying to be mindful of what comes out of my mouth because lately I've come to realize just how draining I find negative people are.  Like completely energy zapping.  And I don't want to be one of those people who other people avoid or hate to be around, so I'm going to really try to curb the negativity.  Anyways...on to what I'm thankful for this week:

 - I'm grateful for the Canucks winning Game 7!
 - I'm grateful for long weekends
 - I'm grateful for gorgeous sunny spring days like we had today
 - I'm grateful for cool neighbours who want to hang with me at 3am
 - I'm grateful for my health
 - I'm grateful for my friends and family
 - I'm grateful for My Best Day Ever

2.  Tapering

Taper time!  Last week was our last longer run, so on the schedule this Saturday is a nice 13K run.  Hubs is back on the Saturday rotation, so we'll be up and it 'er early to get our run in before he has to head to work.  I don't think we'll taper a ton so we stay sharp for the half, but definitely will rest up the last week before. 

3.  Royal Wedding

So is anyone else kinda caught up in the royal wedding gig?  I wasn't that excited about it but last week there were a gazillion shows about William and Kate, and I kinda started watching and now I'm all sucked in.  A neighbour of ours is having some of the girls in the hood over for a proper English breakfast complete with scones, devonshire cream and other assorted goodies!  Can't wait...I'll have to be up at 3am, but you only see the future King of England get married once in your life, right?  Hmmm...better head to bed soon...

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Go Canucks!

WOOOHOOOO!!!!  As a hockey-loving Canadian girl, I was on pins and needles all night...Hubs and I were so anxious we couldn't kept the TV off but would check in every so often.  You should have heard us scream and jump up and down when they scored in overtime!  And tomorrow...because I said if they win tonight I would do this...I'm going to get myself a Canucks jersey and wear it every game until they WIN the Stanley cup.

Bring on Nashville!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Best Day Ever

Awesome...I finally figured out how to download pics off my iPhone so I'll now have tons of pics for the blog...eggsellent!  Ha ha, couldn't resist a little Easter humour.  Yesterday I had one of the best days ever - it was the end of my birthday long weekend...I hit good old 42 on Wednesday (my god, how did that happen?!) so figured I may as well drag it out until the weekend.  Why not, right?  We all deserve a little spoiling!

Because we got our long run done on Friday, we decided to take a total rest day on Saturday and sleep in.  We didn't really sleep in much though - darn internal clocks!  Hubs and I have been mourning the fact that we're not getting our aloha this year and going to Maui, so decided to have some Hawaii-like foods to help bridge the gap until next year when we head back to our favourite place on earth.  On the menu was homemade banana buttermilk pancakes with coconut soon as we put the fork in our mouths we were transported back to paradise.  After getting a hearty breakfast in, we were off for our day - Hubs wanted to check out some bikes as he wants to ride along with me when I do my marathon training this year as he worries about me when I'm out on my own.  Such a caring boy!  The day was absolutely gorgeous...beautiful, warm...which of course brought out the hordes thinking the same thing that we were.  The bike stores were all humming!  It was crazy.  Anyways, looks like Hubs has his eye on a few bikes so we'll see what happens.  Marathon training doesn't start until June-ish, so still some time.

After a day of vigorous bike shopping, I was thirsty so stopped at a little corner store and picked up some of this stuff:

I've heard a lot about kombucha, so thought I'd give it a try.  It supposedly has all sorts of cancer fighting properties, and is kind of like a fermented tea.  It has a really interesting taste...kind of tart and vinegary almost, and sort of fizzy.  I didn't mind the taste at all but maybe not for everyone. 

Next stop?  My favourite place on earth, Lululemon!  I've been wanting a pair of their Wunder Under crops, and have been coveting their Savasana wrap:

I've tried it on a few times but I was always swimming in it so decided to try a way smaller size than I normally wear in Lulu stuff.  Bingo!  I LOVE this jacket.  I normally can't do this type of style as I tend to look like I'm pregnant, but the cut of this jacket is perfect.  SOLD!  Even Hubs liked it and he's meh about Lululemon stuff.

After our retail therapy session at Lulu, Hubs and I had a date for dinner to a cool new restaurant called Ulla that's been the talk about town recently.  It recently got an honourable mention in Vancouver Magazine for best restaurant in Victoria, so when Hubs asked where I wanted to go for my birthday, this place was at the top of my list.  A good sign when we first sat down - a shelf full of fabulous cookbooks - Keller, Larousse, David Chang...I felt a frisson of excitement. 

Our appetizer - grilled octopus with potato, lemon, mint, yoghourt and pickled cucumber.

I couldn't believe how tender the octopus was the texture of chicken, slightly smoky and so good.  The accompanying veggies were a nice touch...I wouldn't have thought to have pickled cucumber and potatoes, but it was a great combo with all the different textures...really fresh and different.

Here was our mains:

Mine - lamb sirloin with spinach and ricotta gnocci, roasted peppers and olives with a red wine/garlic au jus:

Hubs' dinner - crispy chicken with israeli couscous:

Our dinners were outstanding...I  haven't felt this way about a restaurant in Victoria in ages.  The lamb was fantastic, hardly gamey at all and the perfect level of doneness (and I'm super picky about how my meat is done).  Hubs' chicken was the most moist chicken I've ever had in a restaurant and the meat was perfectly seasoned all the way through. 

We also had these drinks:

A yummy pomegranate fizz for the boy and mine was a ginger soda made with real ginger syrup - both were so good and refreshing.  A wildly enthusiastic two thumbs up from us for Ulla!

Hubs had noticed that a Cold Stone Creamery had opened up in town.  Our first experience with Cold Stone Creamery was in Maui - so we had to finish off the evening with some ice cream from there:

I had the Peanut Butter Cup Perfection (choco ice cream, peanut butter, peanut butter cup, fudge) as I'm obsessed with peanut butter - I can't get enough of the stuff.  Hubs had the Coffee Lovers Cup (coffee ice cream, almonds, toffee bits and caramel).  And of course, a waffle cup.  Yum!

So overall, the best day ever - sleeping in, beautiful weather, my favourite guy, ample retail therapy and great food.  What more could a girl ask for a birthday weekend, right? 

Half Marathon Week 10 - Now You're Talking

Alright!  Lovin' the long weekend so far.  Hubs and I decided that instead of doing our usual Saturday long run, that we were going to get up early and hit the trail by 6:30...none of this sleeping in business!  Saturday was a gorgeous day, and it felt really good to be out nice and early before the trails got too busy...there was maybe three other people there when we first arrived.  We decided to do Elk Lake, which is this awesome 10K loop around the lake and decided to go counterclockwise first as its just slightly uphill for most of the run. 

Off we went...the first 7K felt a bit tough but overall not bad.  I started getting my speed up between 8 - 15K, and felt pretty good up until about 18K when I got pretty tired...the last 2K felt harder but overall I was pretty happy with how I felt.  And it was SO much better than last week, I can't even tell you!

Overall stats for this run - 5:57/km pace, 1:59:18.  Tomorrow, Hubs and I are going to do a short 6K run around the hood so I'm going to do a tempo run at race pace.  Woohoo - two and a half more weeks until the Oak Bay Half! 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Thoughts on Boston

Whew.  OK, I'm totally glad it's not just me...I was reading Jessica's blog and so glad that I'm not the only one who gets all emotional reading, hearing and watching all the goings on as related to the Boston Marathon.  Yesterday morning I turned on the TV, which happened to be on the marathon and I caught the first half hour of the womens' race, and the start of the mens'.  Almost immediately I could feel my eyes start to well up as I thought about all the runners in Boston, fulfilling what I can probably say for most of them is a dream. 

For the non-runners out there...what's the big deal about Boston, you ask?  It's one of those pinnacle races...almost all runners have heard of it, and I can say that the majority (not all though, I'm sure) of runners have dreamt or thought about qualifying for Boston (or BQ, as we like to call it).  I gotta say the qualifying times are pretty fast - for my age group, I'd have to run a 3:45 marathon (and I'm no spring chicken!) to even have the hopes of getting in...and now that they've changed the registration process, it'll be even harder to qualify.  I'd hazard I'd have to be in the 3:30-ish range to even dream of getting in.  This race is most definitely for the fastest of the fast.

As the day went on and I read more and more race reports and blog posts about fellow runners who were at Boston this year, I kept getting more and more verklempt.  As I heard about the first place finishers - Geoffry Mutai in an absolutely blazing, course record setting 2:03:02 and Caroline Kilel in a smoking 2:22:36 - I was in total awe.  I started thinking about why I was getting so darn emotional about Boston this year...and I think it's because I feel like part of the running community.  I can (in a very, very small sense mind you - I'm most definitely not an elite or even close - I haven't even finished my first marathon!) identify with how tough it is to train for the marathon.  I could imagine how absolutely amazing it must feel to be there with all those runners, and how incredible it must feel to cross that finish line.  So maybe it's a bit of a feeling of kinship with everyone who was there yesterday even though I'm a kajillion miles away.

To everyone who was there in Beantown - congrats and can't wait to read all about your races!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Food for the Soul

After yesterday's long run debacle, I decided to take a total rest day to try and recharge my weights, no running, no walking, no nuthin'!  I'm not gonna lie...I'm getting antsy and I really want to get some exercise in, but I'm going to listen to my body and take cues from how I was feeling this week during my workouts...which was pretty crappy.  I decided to take some "me" time today...I've been reading Jillian Michael's new book Unlimited, and I love it.  Loooooooove it.  It's all about trying to find the best life for yourself, whether it's getting healthy, finding love or getting that whiz-bang job that you've always wanted...whatever 'best life' means to you.  At the end of each chapter, you have to do some work and answer questions that she poses, which help you work through things and hopefully makes you have some a-ha type moments.  Some parts are difficult...I had to put it down a few times because sometimes her questions dredge up thoughts, feelings or memories that maybe aren't so much fun, but necessary if you're to move ahead.  I know there's a lot of self help books out there, but I really like this one because it's not all airy fairy, it's not all "oh, poor you" reads like she speaks and there's been quite a few moments where I've thought wow...that totally makes sense!  I highly recommend this book...I'm about halfway through and have already had a few a-ha type moments. one part she talked about when you're feeling stressed or tired, to remember to take the time to do things that feed the soul...for her it's getting on her horse or her I thought dammit, Imma gonna go and do something that feeds my soul!  I know this probably sounds lame, but it's a gorgeous day (or it was, before the rain and hail started...what is up with the weather?!) so I went to the garden store.  Gardening is right up there with cooking and running in the "things I love in life" category, so off I went.  I wandered around the store, browsing through all the new plants and just soaking it all in...the colours, the scents, the beautiful sunshine.  Totally awesome.  I bought a bunch of herbs for pots on our deck and a gorgeous orchid for our bedroom, and happily toodled home with my purchases.  Now...well, I have to buckle down and work on my Finance homework (blech) and a few other things (double blech) but feel much better about having to do that stuff since I gave myself some chill time today. 

Ahhh, that wise.  Plus I want her body.  Heh.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Half Marathon Week 9 - 15K - Meh  That run was probably one of the hardest and worst runs I've ever had in my life!  Hubs and I lazed around this morning and didn't get out there until about 11-ish which is crazy late for us to start running, so we're not sure if that was a factor.  I've been feeling really pretty tired this week at bootcamp, and really gassed during the workouts which weren't any harder than normal - at one point I had a hard time catching my breath and another time I started to see stars.  Anyways, poor Hubs struggled from the get go - he played hockey last night, so likely used up a lot of his energy then.   I started off poorly as well - I had a terrible stitch that didn't go away until about 7K - I felt OK up until we hit about 10K and then it was all downhill from there.  If this was what hitting the wall is like...I ain't never want to revisit it again!   I kept having to stop and walk, and couldn't even get half a kilometre without taking a walking break.  Not good.  We even ran on a new trail (Lochside) which was gorgeous and relatively flat, but it still didn't help.

So...I won't shame myself and post my stats.  Afterwards, Hubs and I talked about how interesting it is that some runs are so awesome, and some so crappy.  I always wonder what it is that makes the difference - is it the food?  Did we eat too much carb?  Too little?  Too early?  Too late?  I think what we have discovered is that the earlier the better for our runs so while it felt nice to sleep in...we'll have to try to get out there by 9am at the very latest.

Next week - 20K run on the race course.  Then taper time!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Power of Words

Whoa...don't know what's wrong with my eyes right now...must be allergies or an eyelash or something *cough, cough*.  OK, OK!  You caught me...I was a little verklempt after watching this video:

Wow.  I love this!  There's so many different ways that people can interpret what it means, and apply it to their own lives.  I know for me, words carry a lot of significance and can change how I react to a situation.  Cool.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Yay, it's Gratituesday today!  I always like Gratituesday because I enjoy reflecting on the good things in my life - it's so easy to get caught up in the minutae and shite of the day to day that can drag you down. are the things I'm grateful for today:

  1. Yoga.  I went to that free session at the place by my house I was mentioning last week, and I feel great.  Better than great, incredible.  My back and upper neck were feeling so sore and tight, but after this session they feel so nice and loose.   I feel soooooo good right now.  Thank you, yogis of the world, for spreading the word about yoga.
  2. I'm so grateful for my friends and family.  I know, I say it all the time but I can't say enough how important they are to me, so I'm sayin' it again.
  3. I'm grateful to the makers of Holy Crap for...well, creating Holy Crap!  I'm hooked on this stuff and so happy that it's so good for me too.  I've been doing a raw muesli type mix of 1cup Silk organic soy milk, 2 tbsp of Holy Crap and 1 package of Nature's Path organic hemp oatmeal the last few days and I can't get enough of it.  I put it all in a bowl, let it sit for about five minutes to thicken up and then chow it down.  So.freaking.good.  Stats for this vegan brekkie is 340 calories, 30g carbs, 11g fat (good fats!), 15g protein.  Excellent.
  4. Blogging and the whole blogging community.  I've learned so much from blogs, met some cool bloggers online and have found a creative outlet that I absolutely love.  I only wish I had more time to blog and read blogs as I'm totally addicted.  Darn day job, such a nuisance.  Kidding!! 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Shoe Slut

I admit it...I'm a shoe slut.  What can I say, I have fickle feet!  For the past three years since I've been running regularly, I've worn three different brands of runners each year.  Does anyone else move around from brand to brand, or is it just me?  I've tried to be loyal, but I guess as I run more, I'm learning more about what feels good on my foot and sometimes companies make changes that I just don't like.  When I first got into running, I wasn't running really far distances so I didn't really dish out for really expensive runners.  My first runners were these Asics 1130s...

These weren't bad, but I know now that they're a little wide for my foot, and totally the wrong type of shoe...I don't supinate or pronate, so needed a neutral cushioning shoe.  I liked Asics and how cushiony they were, so moved up to the Asics Cumulus:

I actually didn't like the Cumulus at all, and they ended up becoming my street shoes almost immediately.  I found they were too heavy and I felt like I was clumping the toe box was too wide and my foot was slipping around.  Sigh, what an expensive mistake!

The search for the perfect shoe was on...and I found them...these babies were it:

Mizuno Wave Riders.  I loved these shoes!  They were light, and they came in a narrow width.  The fit on these were great and I went through three pairs last year when I was marathon training.  I also loved the look of these too...they just look fast.  And sexy.  Rawwwrr.

I was silly though.  I should have bought as many pairs as I could find, but I didn't think about it.  Of course, every year shoemakers slightly revamp styles, and I have to say the new version of the Wave Rider...not a fan.  The shoe itself looks OK (one complaint though...just because we're women doesn't mean we have to have cutesy poo pink runners!) and the shoe feels mostly the same except the part around the ankle.  It's like they added an extra half inch or something, so it rubs up high on your heel.  I'd read some reviews on the current Wave Rider, and a ton of people complained.  I can see why, becaues I've got a pretty skinny heel area and it was tight for me.  Bah!

My current Wave Riders are getting old, so I had to buy a new pair but I really didn't like the feel of the new Wave Riders.   As much as I wanted to stay loyal to Mizuno...dishing out $150 for a pair of runners that I didn't like wasn't something that I wanted to do, esp. after my Cumulus error.  After making the girl at my local Frontrunners pull out a zillion shoes (she was truly wonderful), I finally settled on these Saucony ProGrid Ride 3s:

These felt the most like the Mizunos in fit, but are realllllllyyyy cushiony.  I tested them out on the treadmill today, and they felt really springy...almost like I had pillows on my feet.  So far I really like them!  They're heavier than the Mizunos, but I think I'll get used to them pretty quickly.  If all goes well, I'm going to pick up a few more pairs (egads, thank god Hubs doesn't read this blog!!) to get me through marathon training.  Better go warm up the credit card!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Half Marathon Week 8 - 15K

So, so sleepy!  There's nothing like the nice, cozy feeling you get after a long hot shower after a hard run.  At this moment, I can barely keep my eyes open!  Run this morning was so-so...definitely not the stellar feeling run that I had last week, that's for sure.  We decided to do the downtown Victoria/Dallas Rd route as Hubs had to be downtown at 9am, so we got up far too early on the weekend at 5:45am to get ourselves dressed, downtown and running by 6:45am.  Yes, we are crazy!

While I started off feeling pretty good, for the majority of the run we were running straight into really strong headwinds.  I really had to put my head down to fight through them, and had to pump my arms hard to grind it out.  Bleh.  Pretty much no stretch of the run felt easy, except when we were running along the breakwater...on the way out it felt like I was running with a parachute strapped on my back, but on the way back the wind was pushing us so I felt like a champion!  I just hope that on the day of the Oak Bay Half that if there's any wind, it's pushing me along.  Weather gods, are you listening?  Ha!

The other boneheaded thing that I did was that at one point I had to turn my garmin off (I stop the time when I have to cross streets) and forgot to turn it back on.  Gah!  So in total we ran 15K, but my stats are only showing for 14K - 1:22:10, 5:52/km pace. 

The other thing that I think may have affected my run (besides the fact that I didn't have a cupcake the day before my long run, like I did last week...hee hee!) was that I had a few glasses of wine with my buddy B on Friday night.  I wasn't drunk or anything, but I really felt the after-effects such as the dehydration and tiredness last night, I couldn't stop drinking water all night and woke up totally parched this morning.  My plan for the Oak Bay Half is to cut out all boozahol at least three weeks before the race and hydrate heavily the week before. 

Hmmm.  Maybe I'm onto something with the cupcake/running thing...

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Holy Crap!

Has anyone out there tried this stuff yet?  The makers of these guys were on Dragon's Den (I luuuuuurrrve that show!!) and they got a deal from Jim Treliving, the owner of Boston Pizza.  It's a raw cereal that's wheat, gluten and lactose free and is made up of hemp hearts, chia seeds, buckwheat, cinnamon and dried apples, cranberries and raisins....I love that I know what all the ingredients are and can actually see it in the mix.  I bought some on recommendation of my friend A - and I like it!  You don't need much - 2 tablespoons mixed with 4 tablespoons of almond milk or whatever type of milk you like, and then let it sit for 3 - 4 minutes.  The chia seeds plump up and thicken it up, and it's pretty darn tasty!  It has 4grams of protein and packed with omegas...if you're OK with dairy, I was reading that people were mixing it in with their Greek yoghourt, which would be super tasty!  A great protein punch with lots of omegas.  Here's the link  to Holy Crap for those who're interested.  Two thumbs up from this foodie!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


Alrighty, I'm gettin' into this gratitude gig! 

  1. I am grateful for fireplaces on a cold, rainy night.
  2. I am grateful for fluffy, warm socks.
  3. I am grateful for long johns.
  4. I am grateful for earl grey tea. 
  5. I am grateful for hot showers after a hard workout.
Can you tell I'm cold?  Ha!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Training Plans

So, like remember how I said how much I loved yoga?   Well...I've been a bit remiss and haven't done it since oh...maybe about October-ish.  I signed up for a session around then and it got cancelled due to low enrollment, so I never did end up signing back up again.  Then came the Ten Pound Challenge and Christmas, and then after that Hong Kong...anyways, I think I'm going to start up again.  My coworker M was mentioning today that she was interested in doing some classes, so we're going to do this intro class together at a studio really close to my place and if I like it, then I'm going to sign up.  I've been wanting to try this studio but didn't really want to go by myself, so it's awesome I've got someone else to go with!  I have to get back into legs are feeling really tight, and I think it'll be good especially once I start marathon training.  And not to mention how much I looooooved it when I did it. 

Speaking of marathon training plans...I've officially marked down all my long runs in my daytimer and am thinking hard about the training plan.  I want to keep up with bootcamps and yoga, while still making sure I put in enough time on my feet for the marathon but incorporating rest days.  Gah!   I think my plan is going to be something like this:

Sunday:  rest day/yoga
Monday:  bootcamp
Tuesday:  medium run (40 - 60 minutes)/yoga
Wednesday:  bootcamp
Thursday:  medium run
Friday:  rest day
Saturday:  long run

I normally do bootcamp on Fridays, but find that it made my legs tired for those really long runs so I think I'll try taking rest days the day before and after.  The tough part of this schedule...the Tuesday and Thursday runs are going to have to be done in the morning as I get cramps if I run after it means getting up at 5am four days in a row.  Yikes.

Anyways, this is the tentative schedule for now and I may rejig once I get into the groove. Getting excited now!

PS.  I'm feeling better and only slightly funky.  Don't know if it was the booze from Saturday night (I may have overindulged a bit...and isn't alcohol a depressant?) but glad to be pulling out of the funk!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Funked Out

Sigh.  You know how sometimes you wake up, and you're in a funky mood?  That's me today.  I got up this morning and feel kinda meh and vaguely sad.  There's a few things that crop up every so often and get under my skin...normally they come up at different times so it's not so bad but they've hit me all in  short succession...bambambam.  Anyways, sorry I'm no ray of sunshine today, but it makes me feel better to just even write it out. 

Anyways, I did a short hard workout on the bike today to sweat some of it out and felt a bit better, and felt much better after Hubs got home as he did his usual goofy-antics-to-make-melaugh routine.  Tomorrow's another day, so things are gonna look up, right?  Gotta stay positive.

Half Marathon Week 7 - 18K...Must Have Been the Cupcakes

Yip yip yipppeeee!  18K done and out of the way.  Hubs has started back at ice hockey on Friday nights, so we slept in a bit again and headed out to our usual trail at around 9:30.  Weather was perfect...a little overcast, cool and no wind.  I wanted to slow my pace down a bit and run around 30 - 45 seconds slower than my goal race pace for the half. 

Normally when I do anything shorter than 15K, I tend to not pack water with me...but today I did the full meal deal and packed my fuel belt and a Gu gel for the road.  It was actually nice to run a slower pace and I felt great throughout the whole run.  Fantastic even.  I was trying to think of what the difference was today - and I think I've narrowed it down.  Fabulous Boss bought us cupcakes as a treat yesterday and I indulged...sugary icing and all!  That puppy slid down my throat like nobody's business.  It's all about the carbo-loading, I say.

Overall stats for this run, 1:51:08, average 6:17/km pace.  I was feeling so awesome that I decided to bust it out at 16K and pull some faster splits and managed to pump out a 4:58 and 5:23!  Hubs was also feeling pretty good as this was the longest he's run since his broken bum problem...he had a tiny bit of pain in his piriformis, but pretty good overall.  My foot was a little tender, but feels good right now.  After our run, we stopped by a local bakery that's not too far from our place called Royal Bay Bakery.  They use all organic flour there, and the stuff is to die for...the best sausage rolls and pastries I've ever had, actually...and I'm quite the sausage roll afficianado!   Stopping by this place has become a bit of an after run ritual...nothing like replenishing protein and carbs after a tough run, right?