hey kids. so i’ve relocated! you can find me at: www.trainingtolive.com hope you’ll join me there.
it’s a bad idea to watch episodes of Lost right before you’re going on a plane trip.
i went for a tempo/longish run the other day, because i have a 10km race coming up (aug 29) and i really need to get in gear, since i took a few weeks off. anyway, i had my hrm on and it was giving me really weird readouts. i could not get it to go above 100 even though i was running really hard! i was getting readouts between 60 and 80. first i thought maybe it was broken. then maybe there was a digit that was just not showing up. finally, about 5 miles in, i realized i had accidentally changed the setting to % of max instead of hr. silly!
i’m super super looking forward to boston. when registration opened up back in june, i didn’t allow myself to get to excited up because there was a pretty high chance that i wouldn’t get to go. even after i managed to get an entry ticket, plane tickets were still kind of ridiculous, so it wasn’t looking too likely. it wasn’t until air canada sent me an email with a seat sale that it really became a reality. then i made my hotel bookings and things seemed much more concrete. now that the day is almost here, it seems kind of crazy to be going on a weekend plane trip, by myself, to hang out with 120+ “strangers” but i can’t wait! i love exploring new cities, and even though boston isn’t new to me, i’ve never been there on my own. i’m almost all packed. still have a load of last minute (well. not that last minute i guess! i’m not leaving till early friday morning) laundry. all my lists are made. i even have a tentative itinerary for activities to do pre and post summit. you can follow me on twitter for all the excitement. i promise loads of pictures and potentially many silly stories. if you’re going to be at the summit, well, i’ll see you there!!
so i’m back! but more on that later. first things first.
jam. in my profile, i mentioned that last year, i started experimenting with jams and preserves. i went a little wild (my cold store had a ginormous shelf, covered with half pint jars, lined up like colourful, fruity soldiers) but it was a success. everyone got a jar at christmas and now my friends and family keep asking for more! i knew i had to do it again. besides, the fruit at the market is too hard to resist. (shhhh…. i did spend $30 on cherries one week!)
i documented bits and pieces of my process of a few different batches so here goes:
the boring parts are jar sterilization and the boiling of the jars after. i did not photograph this. everything else is beautiful, vibrant and positively delicious.
first cut up the fruit into chunks. you only have to do this if you have big fruit, like these apricots. raspberries can remain whole. cherries should be partially cut (you have to leave at least 25% whole so people can see all your hard work pitting!)
in a pot, with the sugar (about 40-50% of the total). did you notice that i switched to plum?
and boil and boil
wrinkle test. put a white plate in the freezer right as you start your jam. when it seems like it might be done, spoon a dollop onto the plate and put it back in the freezer for a few minutes. if you can push it with your finger and see wrinkles, as above, your jam is done. stop boiling and proceed. if it’s still too liquidy, carry on.
take a sterilized jar out of the dishwasher or boiling water bath. the funnel is invaluable. you have got to keep the rim of the jar clean for a proper seal.
spoon your jam carefully into the jar, leaving about 1/2 inch headspace at the top.
grab a lid out of the boiling water bath (for sterilization) with your magnetic wand. place it on the jar and tighten your ring.
then put the jars in boiling water, covered by at least 1 inch of water and the lid of the pot and boil for 5-10 minutes, as directed.
plum and apricot soldiers
so i’m going to the healthy living summit in boston this coming weekend. i am beyond excited! i love boston and it has been a handful of years since my last visit. plus the conference sounds super fun and i’m really looking forward to meeting all the people behind my favorite blogs and making loads of new friends. caitlin sent out an email to attendees the other week, asking for donations for a silent auction “bake sale” to raise money for her Team in Training for the Disney Marathon at the summit. i thought of all the things i could bake that would transport well by plane AND be different from what everyone else would be bringing. all the usual suspects came to mind: trail mix, granola, bars, cookies, blah blah blah. but then JAM! caitlin thought it would be a great idea, so i picked a selection from my so far hoard to package up for bidding. if you are a lucky summit attendee, this is what you can get your hands on:
the labels aren’t super clear from this photo, but from top left, going clockwise: apricot-thyme preserves, plum and vanilla preserves, apple butter (i made this in the fall), and strawberry-basil-lemon preserves. all fruit is locally source from small family growers. herbs were picked from my backyard. yum! all for the highest bidder
i’ll be blogging at the summit and i have a few awesome(ly funny) posts lined up. i’m going to try and have much less time between posts. life keeps getting in the way.
holiday until tuesday! jon and i are making an escape to the cottage and his parents’ farm for a few delightful days of relaxation and deliciousness and playing with horses and kitties (plus hiking, biking, canoeing, etc). there’s no internet there, but you’ll hear from me soon after!
so last weekend, i went camping. seems the last time jon and i actually camped was in 2007, when we rented a tandem and biked from waterloo to the elora gorge, which was a pretty crazy adventure in itself. this outing was much less hardcore.
1) we had the enormous tent (it is crazy easy to set up, but doesn’t exactly fit in a bob trailer on the back of a bike
2) we had not one but two stoves to make supper on. a real backpacking stove and a table top coleman.
we boiled the pasta water on the dragonfly and cooked the sausages on the coleman. someone (probably me) forgot to pack salt for our pasta water, so instead we had the brilliant idea to dump in the contents of a few hammer endurolytes, which are basically salt tabs. well. that didn’t work out so well. in fact, it was kind of gross.
endurolytes don’t dissolve all that well.
we went to bed early so we could wake up and get to the bike race early. well. there was a pretty steady pitter patter of raindrops on our tent in the morning and that slowed things down a bunch. additionally, the triathlon whose T1 was in the middle of the road we were on made us even later. we hustled and jon started his race with only a short warmup.
he had a good race and podiumed for the second time this season (third if you count the team effort at the 24 hour race). goooo singlespeed!
(next time i’ll remember to pack a clean, dry jersey to wear for awards after, just in case!) check out the cutie with the truck on the right.
after the race, i hung out at the feedzone to give bottles to our other racing friend and we checked out some neat stuff at the race site.
check that baby out. it’s like a unicycle with a giant wheel, plus some help with balance. no drivetrain. looks like it’d be fun to ride, but maybe also a little scary!
back to work this week. 3 more days and i have a mini five day holiday when we plan to spend some time at the cottage and on the farm. it’ll be a good getaway.
on thursday, i scored 10lbs of sweet and sour cherries (5 of each) which i pitted all of for future projects. 1/2 a cup of the sweet ones have gone into a loaf of chocolate zucchini bread (which was only a minor success. i wouldn’t say it was really that delicious). the rest are in the fridge, waiting for me. what will their fate be? probably a bunch of dehydrating, since dried cherries are awesome in everything. maybe some more jam? (i promise an upcoming jam post some time) maybe a slab pie even.
life really is like a bowl of cherries. mostly sweet, some sour, generally delicious!
camping today! stories to come. it’s supposed to rain a little bit where we’re going, but hopefully things don’t get too muddy! the sunshine is out now.
i do have bill bryson’s a walk in the woods to keep me occupied while the boys preride tomorrow’s race course. seemed appropriate.
so. it’s july!! who knew? june flew by in a blur of crazy. but i’m back, baby.
quick summary: colorado trip (what a beautiful state!), an out of town wedding, parents visiting, strawberry picking, jammin’ v. 2009 (so far i’ve got strhubarberry vanilla, strawberry balsamic black pepper preserves, strawberry lemon basil jam, and black raspbarberry). i got a ticket to the healthy living summit, which i am super excited about. i haven’t been to boston in ages!
my running hasn’t been totally solid (mostly due to silly weather and also busy-ness) but i’m getting back in the game. i did a speed workout today which was combined with a bike ride, brick style. i may have been roped into a 10km race in august. i generally hate 10km races but we’ll see how it goes. it’s supposedly downhill.
Tags: exercise, race, vacation
blogging has been pretty poor lately (no post in over two weeks? WEAK! i should have my license taken away) but i’ve been busy. quick photo recap, more stories to come.
a week and a half ago, i ran the first half marathon of the season, in ottawa. it was ok. the first 2/3 were awesome and i was fast! and then the sun started to make me wilt and i couldn’t drink enough fluids. the last 5km were brutal and i didn’t make my goal or even beat my last year’s time. i am fine with that – this wasn’t an important race for me, it was more of just a “get things started” kind of day and a test to see where i’m at and what i need to work on more. that would be: running in heat, drinking and eating more while i run (somehow when i get to the last few miles, the thought of anything other than cold water is repulsive to me. this is not healthy) and hills. i was a lot better prepared for the hills after last year’s battle on this course. the race is marketed as “flat and fast” but since the majority of the run is along a canal with a big set of locks, there is quite a bit of steady incline as well as a few steeper hills sprinkled around. i ran through everything, which i am happy about, and i beat my last year first split time by over 3 minutes. my whole race was 3-4 minutes slower, which gives you an idea of how much slower my second half was! 14 weeks till my next race. you can bet there will be a lot of speedwork and a lot of hills between now and then!
after a quick week of work, jon and i got on a plane to colorado. the mountains are breath-taking. so far we have hiked, gone white water rafting (!), and explored golden. i have also gotten to visit several nearby former mining towns, gone on 3 glorious runs, had a fabulous lunch at a super upscale hotel in denver and played tourist.
at the top of our hike on table mountain. behind us is the town of golden, home to Coors.
the raging creek we rafted in. class V rapids = scary and fun! i didn’t get thrown off the raft, luckily. i did have to pull a big guy that did go overboard back in.
some of the beautiful colorado flowers. i have seed packets to take home, hopefully i am not hassled at the airport
off to shop for a few souvenirs before our big day in denver!
Tags: biking, exercise, race, weekend
whoa. that’s all i can say!!! too bad this is taper week for me because that looks like some awesome running weather. oh well. race day (sunday) looks fab, so i’m keeping my fingers crossed that nothing big changes. i’m not a big fan of downpours.
this past weekend was adventure weekend #5 in a series of 9 and boy was it crazy. the boy had a 24 hour bike race up at a mountain biking park/outdoor ed centre place, where we’d been for a normal mtb race, not too many weekends ago. the life$tyle$ of the rich and famou$ race is a unique 24 hour race where cabin accommodations, shower/bathroom facilities and food is all provided. (ordinarily at these events, you have to camp, bring your own food and have your own volunteer helpers to support you while you ride). we did it last year and it was a ton of fun. last year the boys came in #4, so this year, the determination to podium was like a fire on their rear wheels. they had 3 new team members (on a team of 5), including a girl, who threw them into the “mixed” team category, increasing their winning chances manyfold, as she has the speed faster than most other girls around.
we arrived on friday evening so everyone could preride the course and we could get ourselves set up for the race. the weather didn’t look great (cold and rainy with lots of mosquitos), but that didn’t stop us from drinking beer and rocking out to some tunes in the big bike tent we set up.
saturday morning after bowls of oatmeal and a general meeting to go over rules (no cheating, time penalty details, only one rider on the course at a time, etc), we headed back to our cabin to strategize riding order. jon was picked to be anchor, since his performance at last year’s le mans start (where the riders are all behind a line and their helmets and bikes are about 100 metres away. it is insanity) was awesome. this year, the organizers decided to go for a regular race start, with everyone on their bikes at the line. jon pulled out in 4th or 5th place out of the 135 riders, but after the first lap, he was in 1st. it was really exciting. 2/5 of the team were on single speed bikes and although people had a lot of doubts of team doppler effect’s awesomeness at the beginning, after the first few cycles through, everyone was talking about those fast university of waterloo guys on their single speeds. by nightfall, it was clear that there was no real competition and they were a shoo in to win, so team DE decided to see just how badly they could beat the next team, busting out hot lap after hot lap. their slowest times were faster than the next team’s fastest.
i had a great time as team support again. last year, i stayed up and outside for the entire 24 hours, but this year i decided that sleep would be good. i had the bunk above jon’s and i went to bed right after his first set of night laps and woke up just as he was getting ready for the break of dawn round. i headed out to the fire pit to hang out with some riders to see him come in before i went off on my long run, without music or any way to measure distance. i ran for an hour and a half so i could be back in time for breakfast. by 9:30, 4 laps ahead of the team behind them (our laps were about 40 minutes long), nearing the end of a rider cycle, we discovered that the 36 lap goal the team had set before the start was within reach. although we were 2 riders down, we did some calculations and figured out cutoff time points to see if sending a rider out for one final lap before the finish gun at 12:00. the second to last two guys each shaved an extra minute or two off of the times we estimated for them, which gave us a little bit of extra buffer for the 37 final minutes allotted for that last lap. at 11:21, jon was off! the countdown was exciting! we waited at the finish line with celebratory beers as we cheered for the final riders coming in. jon reached the finish with 5 minutes to spare!!
36 laps over 24 hours = lots of fun and lots of super tired/sore muscles! i showed everyone some good yoga for cyclists poses (like half pigeon, downward dog with one leg to the sky) while they cleaned up for the awards ceremony. doppler effect came in 1st in the mixed category with 36 laps, the team behind them having 31 laps. even if they had been in the men’s category, they still would have been in 3rd place (winners had 38, 2nd had 37). the winning solo man pumped out 27 laps (can you imagine? 24 hours of almost straight riding only stopping to use the washroom and quickly eat?) and the solo woman had 23 or 24. both were on single speeds!
how many 11 year olds do you know who could handle a 24 hour solo race? this kid is TEH CUTEST EVAR. he rode with his mom and they did 5 laps, which is just as many as each of the women on the 3rd place women’s team did. did i mention he’s only 11?
you have to dismount, run to your next teammate and touch them before they get on their bike and start the next lap
team doppler effect: from the left, 4 people in strting with shawn, jon, jasmin, jeff and nick. champions! they’ll be getting leader’s jerseys in the mail. awesome job guys! i hope we get to come back next year.
yesterday was victoria day, and like proper canadians, jon and i did a bunch of yard work (after we did a lot of sleeping). we mowed the front and the back and got my vegetable patch ready for next week, when i’ll be bringing back my plants from the farm. back to work today (though i am working from home, waiting on mr fedex) and another super busy week! my race is on sunday, so we’ll be heading out to the odot on friday or saturday. i’m excited and a little nervous. my training got a tiny bit derailed in the last two weeks and i never got in a really really long run in, but i’m confident that i’ll be able to finish the 21.1km without a problem, and hopefully smoke my old PR. i’m hoping to shave off at least 7 minutes this time. we’ll see!
Tags: biking, exercise, race, running, weekend, work
i was almost relieved that monday came after crazy weekend #3. i need a weekend from my weekends and although work is as far from relaxing as possible, it was a welcome change.
the boy and our houseguest arrived really late on friday night after going to see a fellow cyclists’ band play (i sadly had to miss this because i was in the wrong city). i woke up early for my weekly long run. 16km was the plan. the forecast said it wouldn’t start raining until “late morning.” i left the house at 7:30 and figured i’d be safe. i briefly considered taking my cellphone and decided against it.
8km in, at the halfway point, the sky opened up! i did my turn around and RAN. like the wind. i was seriously flying. and getting seriously wet. there’s nothing like thunder and lightening to kick your ass and make you faster. at the 13km mark, 3km away from home, i saw a familiar car pull over and stop for me. even though i didn’t really tell him where i was going to be, jon came and found me. i felt warm and fuzzy inside, even though i was cold and wet on the outside. it was a really good run anyway though. i’m almost sad i didn’t get the last 3km in (but not sad enough to not take my shining armour rescue). my ipod wasn’t as happy, though. i thought that after her first encounter with the h2o last fall (after an accidental trip through the washer that she miraculously survived) that maybe skye (or robin) liked being wet! i hoped for another miracle, but…no deal. i did manage somehow to get my run synced to the nike+ website though, which i am quite pleased at. replacement nano is in the mail, currently on a whirlwind vacation (started off the morning in lantau island, going to disney and checking out the pink dolphins and is currently in anchorage alaska, probably doing some dog sledding. i’m not sure what will be next!) we should be reunited by friday. apparently i manage to epically kill my ipods (first one went through the washer and dryer, then died. second one went swimming in the rain. i should take bets on how this next one will meet its end)
sunday morning was another early one, as we had to leave the house before 7 for jon’s 9:30 am race. someone miscalculated driving distances or maybe just forgot to account for the fact that 7am traffic on sunday morning does not exist, but we got to the conservation park at 7:40. it was chilly! by 10ish, it started to warm up and i enjoyed hanging out in the feedzone in my camping chair, giving jon fresh bottles and cheering him on. even though the course was pretty wet and muddy, he still managed to do awesomely in the single speed category, coming in 2nd out of 21.
that’s my boy! i was sad he took off his sweet jersey before the award ceremony. hopefully he’ll get some more podium action later this summer.
jon and i spent the rest of the morning/early afternoon chilling out in the sunshine, watching our friend race (and feeding him) and playing with our other friends’ adorable new puppy. we came home and bbqed, drank beer and ate some homemade ice cream. that’s what good days are made of. i did send my mother an email, but besides that we didn’t really do anything special for mother’s day, since both of our moms were far away. (i have gifts for my mom when she’s here next month). i cut myself a nice bouquet of tulips and other wild flowers from the garden because even though i’m not a mom, i do a lot of mom-like things and i like flowers.
just when i thought work couldn’t get any busier, BAM! insane doesn’t even begin to describe it! plus one of my coworkers is going on his early honeymoon for the next week and a half and my supervisor has been ordered by her doctor to only work from home (she has kind of a high risk pregnancy and the next few weeks are supposedly critical). i have a bunch of new responsibilities and the opportunity to shine. keep your fingers crossed that things don’t go the other way.