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.
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.
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: exercise, food, plan, work
it’s only wednesday and so far my week has been filled with at least 14 days worth of awesome.
1) two days totally off from work, and at least one but maybe two (or three) more days of nice, quiet empty office, perfect for me to get tons done.
2) booked vacation tickets to colorado and have a hotel room in a place that looks like a castle and also has excellent reviews on the interwebs. i plan to pretend to be a princess and be rescued from a dragon at least once.
3) extra extra good news at work. will discuss more later.
4) FUN package from marianne for winning the coconut BSI. not only did i get two lovely big bags of the absolutely amazing coconut mango lime biscotti (they will be gone before i know it – guess i’ll have to learn to make them myself), she also threw in an awesome bar of fair trade + organic chocolate (pineapple, coconut, banana & lime. how appropriate!) and a super cute card. thanks marianne! i have decided that the world definitely needs more mailed baked goods.
my tempo run this evening was good. i’m down to only being 2 seconds per km slower than my target pace which is completely negligible. i am happy about that. feels like i’m getting back on track, after the bike race. tomorrow morning, i’ll do a swim workout to give my knees a break before the weekend’s 11 mile run.
and before i hit the pillows, i will make note of a few more awesome things i found this week:
- yoga is yummy! *love* yogadownloads has a new rival in my life.
- live simple – bobbi’s challenge after my own heart for you to greenify yourself
and finally, the craziest bag that i absolutely *must* get for the biker in my life. i see it making our race mornings smooth and easy.
take good care!
this is the first weekend of a series of 7, each with something big scheduled. this terrifies me a little because my favorite weekends are those wide open ones where we can just chill and enjoy the beautiful weather. i feel like there’s a giant metal ball tumbling down the hill and there’s nothing i can do to get out of it’s way. luckily it’s mostly fun stuff:
- this weekend – bike race!! (we have to leave soon to pick up race packets, sign wavers and do a car shuffle, so we’ll have one vehicle at the start town and one at the end)
- next weekend – another bike race! though i’ll just be playing feed zone/water girl and spectating/taking pictures for that one. we will also have a houseguest that weekend.
- may 2 – trail building with the bike club in waterloo
- may 10 – bike race! see above. tentative guests, i suppose.
- may 16-17 – 24 hour bike race of awesomeness (there is no camping out involved since we get a cabin and meals. it’s a ton of fun but somewhat exhausting. luckily, thanks to queen victoria, i have a long weekend to recover)
- may 24 – half marathon #1! still have to figure out the logistics for this one, since it’s it ottawa. hopefully this will include a stop at the farm to pick up plants for my garden.
- tentative – may 29 – june 3 – trip to colorado! (alternately may 31 – bike race, may 31 – june 4 or 5 – trip to colorado!)
- june 7 – bike race in london
- june 20 – out of town wedding
are you tired yet? i am! need to just breathe and roll with it. at least i have it all laid out.
getting a little antsy for the race tomorrow. i spent some time looking at times for people in my category from previous years to get an idea of what to expect and how long i’ll be out for. last year the winner in my cat finished in 2:11 but the year before that, the top time was 1:24. yikes! i was hoping to be done in under 2 hours but i guess that may or may not happen. i’ve got my camelbak ready, clean jersey and shorts, emergency stuff etc. i still have to put the cyclocross tires back on my bike (i’m currently running commuter slicks). hopefully i’ll have at least some good pictures and stories to tell tomorrow. wish me luck!
Tags: biking, food, running, work
even though it’s the last full week of the fiscal year and there is all kinds of crazy nonsense going on at work and we didn’t have the most lovely weather, i am still having a great week!
lots of good:
- fun package in the mail
- a great job interview
- a weekend road trip to look forward to
- a sad but very inspiring retirement party at work (we are losing a legend)
- a few quality runs. the training plan is hard, in fact, i’m not quite fast enough yet but i’m working on it! today’s tempo run wasn’t as good as the intervals but i’m still happy
- some new (to me) awesome tunes (discovered through working on the below project. who knew punk would be so fun to dance around to?) the album is indestructible by rancid
- i have a batch of potentially delicious tuffies, waiting to be enjoyed with some tea
- i finished the fun bike video that i’ve been working on. enjoy!
(blerg! wordpress does not embed vimeo and youtube is obnoxious. so. i’m just leaving the link here. i encourage you to check it out because it’s fun fun fun!)
Tags: biking, clothes, gear, running, spring, weekend
after a glorious weekend filled with fun, it’s back to work for me! luckily i came home to a nice big box on my doorstep full of the running and biking wear i ordered from mountain equipment coop. i was able to score a ton of stuff on sale (including some arm warmers and seamless undies!). all but one shirt are made in canada and everything is either mostly or completely made from organic and recycled fibres! awesome. you’ll be seeing them on me in the near future. i think that looking cute makes me faster
i went for my first (and second!) outdoor runs this weekend. i cannot tell you how fabulous it felt getting back out on the road after a winter of riding my bike indoors. the bike has definitely made me stronger because even though i haven’t run in 4 months, i still felt really strong. i don’t officially start my training (next post) until next week – 9 weeks before my first race – so this week is a gradual easing back in to running. the weather looks like it is going to cooperate, and i have a ton of awesome stuff to wear! (today i was out in capri tights and a long-sleeved freeride jersey. no layers or gloves, headband, neckwarmer or anything. how fantastic) last year i was down on spring but right now i am lovin’ it!
the weekend was full of fun. i went to the bike show, like i mentioned. getting there was an adventure in itself. i don’t take ttc enough, it seems. i got on the wrong streetcar trying to get to exhibition place and somehow ended up on the streetcar heading uptown. it was a lovely ride through the city – kensington and china town, and i was afforded lots of interesting people watching.
the bike show itself was great. i scored some excellent new louis garneau bike shorts, the chamois of which is super padded! i also picked up a half priced camelbak because i’ve been wanting one for ages but didn’t want to pay $60 for it. i can’t wait to take it out on a long bike ride or hike. i also got a pair of fingerless riding gloves for cheap, so i can protect my hands and have better grip without overheating.
i took some excellent video at the bmx stunt course and the 4 cross races, and my first ever video is in the works. i’ll be sure to post it here for your enjoyment when i’m done! imovie rocks.
medieval times was quite underwhelming, though i had no expectations. the highlight was when i caught one of the horses pooping in the arena. this plus eating dinner without any utensils doesn’t really make for a great dining experience.
i’ll leave you with a picture of me, rocking our friend’s new downhill helmet. those things are super padded on the inside!