running book review

February 25, 2009 at 9:13 pm | Posted in food | Leave a comment
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i’ve been on the search for a good running book for a long time. after reading my boyfriend’s cycling books (joe friel is pretty awesome if you’re looking for that), i was disappointed again and again with the crap that was written for runners.

someone recommended road racing for serious runners to me and i promptly ordered it from amazon. after it arrived, i kind of flipped through it and set it down. there was nothing in it to draw me in and it seemed like a lot of the book was dedicated to different race lengths. because i was only interested in maybe two, most of the book was wasted on me. the useful sections on nutrition and training principles were not written in a way that grabbed me and made me want to read on.

after doing a quick search for running training books at the library, i came across a couple put out by runner’s world, a magazine i subscribe to, mostly for entertainment but partially for the good information they sometimes have. run less run faster was the first of my holds to arrive, and i devoured it. this is a great book for anyone looking to become faster and stronger. the principles and science behind the training program (based on 3 days of running + 2 days of cross training. totally reasonable for busy people!) are clearly laid out and interesting to read about. i read it cover to cover, rather than flipping around like i might with another reference book. i give this one two thumbs up! there is even a section on how to qualify for boston.

although i’ve been doing base (and strength) training since november, my real season starts once i can hit the roads. my first race is in just 12 weeks! because the half marathon program in the book is 18 weeks and i will have maybe 8-9 from the time i can officiallly start running to my first race, 16 weeks between the first and the second race, and 5 weeks between the second and the third, i will be modifying the workouts a bit, but i do plan to stick closely to their program to work on cutting those 16 minutes off my time.

what are you working towards?


training camp chez moi

February 25, 2009 at 8:56 pm | Posted in food | Leave a comment
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so a lot of serious (but not pro) canadian cyclists go south in february or march for a week or two of base training in a location where road rides are feasible to get a lot of hours and miles on the bike. in the theme of “this recession can bite me” (awesome phrase borrowed from ejshea), we decided to have a poor-man’s training camp in my basement this weekend (and last, but one man on a trainer does not a camp make).
this is what my basement looked like for the weekend:

i only did one ride with the boys (my bike is in the middle but it’s hard to tell) but it was fun! they put about 8-10 hours over 3 days, watching star wars and old cyclocross championship races. at training camp, you basically ride, eat, and sleep, so that’s what we did (with a little hike for cross training and getting out of the house). i had fun feeding the two almost bottomless pits.


a weekend in the kitchen

February 22, 2009 at 6:51 pm | Posted in food | 1 Comment
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the first tray of homemade tortellini (double cheese/basil)

my homemade spaghetti sauce that i canned in the fall, recipe from the book which inspires my life.

sauce in the pan, waiting for tortellinnis

tada! they were delicious, if a tiny bit time consuming (just under 2 hours to make 120 pieces)

martha stewart’s dark chocolate sour cherry cookie dough. i dried the cherries myself.

1/4 cup of batter per cookie, as instructed!

silpat vs parchment. i got the silpat for christmas and i’m still not sure i’m totally sold on it yet.

the weekend was fun. aside from my usual weekend perma-guest, we entertained a friend who came over for a weekend of cycling and food. i have another post coming up – apparently i need to make more frequent posts because i have lots of material to post about, i just don’t get around to actually putting it up!


love was made for me and you

February 15, 2009 at 11:02 am | Posted in food | 1 Comment

yesterday was definitely one of the nicest valentine’s days i’ve ever had. last year i got roses and chocolates, but jon knows me so much better than that.

clockwise from top right: sharkies, in two new (to me) flavours, a sugoi technical fabric neck warmer to wear instead of a scarf on runs and snowshoes, awesome smart wool trail running socks that are gloriously soft and padded (they are a very socially conscious gift)

and the best: two aluminum cups that he made himself in the lab (i’ve been asking for them for at least a year now!) and a third fancy one just for fun. i like to wear it as a hat.
after the awesome dinner i made, which i sadly took no pictures of, but which featured: a roasted pork roast with a sour cherry glaze + accompanying sauce, sweet potato gnocchi and dark chocolate molten cakes with white chocolate raspberry swirl ice cream minus the ginger and compote, for dessert) we watched passchendaele together. it is definitely one of the *best* canadian english films i’ve seen yet! although it is a war movie it has lots of love. i highly recommend it!

today is another beautifully sunshiney day. i’m enjoying a cup of coffee with a new musical discovery that i made from that awesome youtube baby video:


Coeur de Pirate is infectiously bouncy and fills my love for all things french. check it out!

i’m making minestrone for lunch. we’ll have leftovers for supper.


my random act of kindness

February 12, 2009 at 9:22 pm | Posted in food | Leave a comment
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well. i don’t know how much of an “act” it was, but it was kind, i guess and it made me feel good. almost good enough to do this more often! (i’m kidding. i really would like to do this stuff more often, but most of the time, i don’t think about it or i think i have no time. there are loads of excuses. if you have cool ideas, please share)

i found an abandoned bus pass on the floor of the bus on tuesday afternoon. no one was in the area and it had no name or email address on it (another story is how i lost my bus pass at the toronto airport years ago and the guy who found it mailed it back to me! write your name and some contact info on your expensive things!). anyway, if i gave it to the bus driver or put it in the lost and found, no real good would have become of it so i decided to keep it (not for myself, as i already have my own pass) and find someone who needed it, could use it in this difficult economic time, or at least just appreciate a good deed. today i found that person in the form of a middle aged man wearing a tweed jacket. i’ll probably never see him again but i’ll always remember how he smiled and said thanks. i felt warm and fuzzy the whole ride home.

pay it forward didn’t make it big as a movie, but i really liked the concept. someone i sort of know is involved in creating the world’s first social reality game, akoha, where you play it forward. it looks intriguing. you get little good deed missions (like giving someone your favorite book or making someone smile) when you register your deck and play with other people around the world. i haven’t ordered my deck yet, but i’m thinking about it.
would you want to play it forward?

(doing good things results in shiny happy people)

p.s. angela is having another contest! go check it out.


more valentine prep

February 8, 2009 at 8:03 pm | Posted in food | 1 Comment

angela of oh she glows is hosting a healthy valentine’s food contest.

i just sent in my entry – cross your fingers!
here’s a sneak peek. you might see the whole thing again next weekend.


on being nice

February 7, 2009 at 11:44 am | Posted in food | 2 Comments
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february is one of my favorite months. it’s all pink and red, sparkly and gives me the excuse to do special things for the special people in my life. apparently, this coming week is not just the week before valentine’s day, it is also random acts of kindness week. i’m trying to think up a list of little things i can do for the people around me. any ideas? my first thoughts take me to the kitchen with baked treats (two valentine’s days ago, i pulled off a spectacular project making edible valentines for everyone i worked with – about 25 – 30 people. it was a huge amount of work, making the fudge, the truffles, the two types of biscotti, and the sandwich heart shaped sugar cookies, but it was so rewarding and everyone loved it. i don’t know if i have the time or energy for something with as big a scope, but i should be able to swing a few small things)

what are your plans for the week?


training for more than just life

February 3, 2009 at 10:44 pm | Posted in food | 2 Comments
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so as i may have mentioned, i’m a runner. i’ve been running since at least 1998 when I was on my high school cross country team, seriously since 2003, when i started training for my first 10km. i’ve come a long way since those 4km cross country races that seemed so long!
although my training over the last two years became markedly more serious (with real goals rather than just running for fun), i feel like this is the first time i am putting more than just my whole heart into it.

i’m not much of a winter person. it gets pretty cold here in toronto – temperatures in january average around -10 – -15°C with tons of snow and ice. these aren’t great running conditions! in the past, i’ve taken winter as a “vegging out” season. not this year. as you’ve seen from my pictures, i’ve not only been keeping active outside, through snowshoes, hikes and skating, but i have also been biking on my trainer at least 3-4 days a week for an hour combined with 10 minutes of strength training per session.

knowing that i’m staying in shape and getting stronger is awesome and fuels my desire to do more, positive feedback loop style. i can already see nice definition in my calves and have noticed that my quads are much more toned. i’ve been working extra hard on my core strength because that helps you run faster! i strongly believe that this exercise, combined with my healthy eating and other good living habits have contributed to my not getting sick during the height of cold/flu season.

one of my latest and greatest discoveries has been yoga. although i have been to a few classes in the past, i have never enjoyed yoga. i always found it too slow and too painful. until now. i found that if i download 20 minute audio classes from yogadownload that I can do at my level and convenience, it is far more enjoyable! i hook my computer up to the tv, put the pose guide on the screen and run the audio through the tv sound system so I can follow along. I’m still at a fairly beginner level (i tried a level 3 class yesterday and it was really challenging!), but I am loving it. I highly recommend checking out yogadownload, even if you think you’re not into that. you might surprise yourself!

i mentioned in my new year’s resolution post that one of my goals for this year was to run a half marathon in under 2 hours. i’m still formulating a training plan and scheduling the 3 races I will run this summer/fall. I’ll share it when it’s finished along with some other training tools i’m using. I found a really excellent book at the library for this called: Runner’s World Run Less, Run Faster that i am using as a guide. if you are a runner and you need a plan, check this method out! it’s a lot more reasonable than many other training plans (only 3 days per week of running, plus 2 days of cross training) which makes it easier to stick to. Quality over quantity. Every workout has a purpose and because you never run on back to back days, you can put the effort into getting faster (through tempo runs, intervals, and long runs done at close to goal pace).

Running isn’t just exercise. it’s me time, something i don’t get too much of these busy days. i look forward to the early morning summer runs, when it’s just me, my music and the trees. the view of the lake isn’t half bad either.


and another weekend rolls over into another monday

February 1, 2009 at 9:42 pm | Posted in exercise, food | 1 Comment

i can’t believe tomorrow begins another work week! these weekends go by way too quickly, if you ask me. at least this one was satisfying and full.

saturday snowshoeing was a ton of fun, although it was REALLY cold. we hit some new trails we didn’t know about before (the rouge river valley) near the toronto zoo. there were a lot more ups and downs than where we usually go, so my gluteus maximus got a great workout! the more i do it, the more i love snowshoeing. i tried xc skiing last year, and while it was pretty fun, it isn’t really something i want to do all the time. but i could snowshoe multiple times a week, given the opportunity. it feels like a good runners workout, especially when i pick up the pace and snowshoe run. the february edition of runner’s world even had a section on snowshoe races! i don’t know how fun that would be (you’d probably end up on a fairly packed trail if you weren’t in the lead) but it’s pretty neat all the same. here are some highlights:

dsc00113pink cheeks and funky hat

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workin’ those glutes

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what is under thin ice

saturday also included lots of errands! sams club for groceries (mainly for ingredients for a trail mix you’ll see soon), loblaws (blood oranges are on sale. i’m addicted), canadian tire (butane, for my torch) and kitchen stuff plus (ramekins for the brulee). the morning was a bit of a crazy rush, since we had to be ready for our winter adventure by 1. luckily lunch was quick and ready from the fridge: chicken chowder!

there aren’t pictures of the crème brûlée yet because i haven’t quite perfected the art of the baked custard yet, but i promise they will come. the torch is pretty awesome. we used it today to make our cheese/pita sandwiches nuked in the microwave nice and crispy!

i did absolutely nothing football related today, besides watch last week’s top chef which was kind of football-ey. after 5 loads of laundry, i’m ready to chill out in bed with my new book, a hot water bottle and delightful clean sheets. 5:05 am is right around the bend.

still in the pipes are our belated lunar new year celebration through food, a discussion of my current and future training and some more interesting eats (expect at least one or two more soups this week!) and some words on my general food philosophy. this week is going to be super busy at work, but i am going to try to stay on top of the rest of my life! take good care.


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