super week!

April 29, 2009 at 8:40 pm | Posted in exercise, food, plans | 3 Comments
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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.

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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!

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little blessings

April 28, 2009 at 8:23 am | Posted in exercise | 2 Comments
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it’s tuesday morning and i’m still at home! it’s awesome because i didn’t get that much of a weekend. we had to wake up early (5am ish) both days AND i was outside in the rain for a good chunk of sunday. all day i was wishing wishing that i didn’t have to go in to work on sunday.

someone was listening! i got a call from my manager on sunday evening saying that the crazy storm that blew through here on saturday did some damage to our office building and that it would be closed for a few days- wahoo!!

i’ve been taking full advantage of these totally free days. yesterday morning i got my speedwork run out of the way before it got *too* warm. (it was 28°C/~86°F yesterday afternoon!) this week was 3X 1 mile at 8min/mile. i was strong and consistent. then i had a funday monday. made a summer salad lunch to watch with lost, went shopping and picked up a few cute shirts + a new immersion blender (i killed my old ones trying to make rice crackers. bad call) and had a nailpolish party (cute fingers and toes!). a bit of cleaning, some laundry and email catch up – bonus PLUS a walk in the neighbourhood with my camera, capturing spring flowers and trees. it was a pocket full of joy. i came home to a fresh bowl of homemade raspberry fro-yo. it doesn’t get any better.

backtrack:

the weekend was super hectic. we had a houseguest AND a super early morning race to drive to, an hour and a half away. a lot of my time was spent preparing food and getting things organized. for the first time ever, though we had a start time 4 hours earlier than normal, that everything went REALLY smoothly. there was no yelling, no short tempers, no frustration. breakfast was ready to go, lunches and snacks were prepacked in the fridge, bottles were made + chilling, gear was set out and ready to go and bikes were cleaned and on the car rack. i hope we can keep this up for the rest of the summer!

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jon got a new bike last year after his old racing bike fell off the car rack and got run over by the woman behind us (it was tragic). this one is single speed! i need all the gears i can get on my bike, so he amazes me extra these days. anyway, he did awesomely in his new category (against all the other guys on SS bikes) – came in 4th out of 30, missing the podium by only 40 seconds. i did a great job of waiting for him in the feed zone, handing off fresh bottles and cheering him on (he does this for me at my races too!). i’m looking forward to the rest of the summer. hopefully the other races are not as wet.

stg 2 a

April 20, 2009 at 7:18 pm | Posted in exercise, hobbies | 2 Comments
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my first bike race ever and i survived! let’s start from the beginning of the craziness.

before

on saturday, we had to drive about an hour west to ancaster, the finish line of the race, to pick up our packets (timing chip, sample eload which is gross, and an eload gel) and drop off our friend’s car. then we drove another hour back to waterloo to the boy’s apartment to spend the night there because it is closer to our starting points. the boy requested some yoga for cyclists (!) and we went on an easy hour long ride (when we accidentally ended up at DQ and accidentally got some cones). the evening was hectic because we had to scramble around and get everything ready to go. i really had no idea what to expect and was probably being more difficult that jon needed to have to deal with at the time, but he was super awesome and patient anyway. he cleaned my bike for me and gave me some last minute pointers.

super bright and early sunday morning, we packed up the car, picked up our friend and headed to st. george. although my race from st george didn’t start till 11:45, the other two boys needed to be in paris by 9, so i had about 3 hours to kill outside the south dumfries community centre in teeny tiny little st george. i had very little on me (because everything i brought would have to go on the bike with me the whole race!) but i did have my ipod, the second breakfast jon packed for me and a camera (that i didn’t use enough!). i did some more yoga for cyclists on the grass (i took yoga anywhere! i’m sure people thought i was a little crazy but my muscles were way better stretched than theirs’ come the start!), watched some sex and the city on my nano and rode around, checking out the competition and their bikes. it was relaxing and nice to not feel rushed.

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during

11:45 came pretty quickly and all of a sudden, there were 400 people at the starting line, waiting for the go gun. the start was one of the scarier moments for me. once we got out, we had a few kilometres of paved road, which was awesome. i got behind a bigger guy (bigger than me anyway) and drafted off of him until we hit the dirt roads. the rest of the race was insane! i managed to stick with some of the same few people throughout. most inspiring were the little kids – some riding their own bikes and some on those ride-along fake tandem things with their parents. seriously awesome.

we rode on rail trail, through some organic farms (that smelled like poo but had the best spectators), dirt roads, hiking paths, single track (jon says it is really double track but i have no idea) and paved road.

there were two gigantic mud pits, that ~1500 riders had gone through before me. it was soooooo sloppy and gross. obviously i couldn’t ride down or through, so i had to pull my bike. this resulted in a bit of a pileup/traffic jam. the amount of wet mud that collected at the tops of my wheels was ridiculous and there were times when even just walking was hard because my feet were sinking in the mud. sllllurp, i had to pull up hard. there was a significant amount of climbing which made my quads burn. i had to walk a couple times up some hills because i just couldn’t do it anymore. the singletrack was the most terrifying for me because i don’t ever mountainbike and i have very little in the way of good handling/technical riding skills. my arms and hands were really tense for a lot of the race because i was afraid i was going to crash.

i didn’t though! the headwind was MAD. i tried to stay close to people so i wouldn’t get knocked off my bike but that was quite difficult. i’m certain my time could have been at least 15 minutes faster without it. also, i unfortunately left my bike computer at home, so i had a very poor concept of distance. the event staff that kept telling us “you’re almost done! just over that hill and you’re there!” (all lies) didn’t help. i think this resulted in me not pacing myself very well. still, i managed to finish and gave it my all. i didn’t feel sick like i often do at the end of running races – the thought of eating was actually very appealing, and i was able to drink a 24 oz bottle of hammer heed. my camelbak was amazing because during most of the race, i couldn’t take my hands off the handlebars to pull out one of my bottles to drink from. i didn’t hydrate enough (my face was so salty at the end!) but it wasn’t terrible. my new tropical fruit flavoured hammer gel (i’ve been using espresso but decided it was time for a change) was awesome! so much better than espresso (i think because it doesn’t clash with the citrus flavoured heed). i didn’t manage to eat my shot bloks or sharkies while riding, but i did get at least a serving and a half of gel (stored in my devil bottles) which gave me good boosts of carbs + caffeine.

although my time was a bit slower than i wanted, i think i did really well (especially given the wind). i think my expectations were unreasonable anyway, given that this was not only my first race but my first time riding on single track, on soft wet grass, through mud pits, and in a pack as well. i finished in the middle of my category. i was in awe of all the people that did the 60km race because i thought my half was incredi-hard. a lot of them finished in the same time as i did 😉 (jon was actually 12 minutes faster than me and he was riding on a single speed bike – no gears!)

after

i’m experiencing some soreness today but it’s nothing too bad. nothing a little yoga with dawnelle can’t fix right up. i feel great about my accomplishment. if i’m around this area next year, i’ll definitely do it again! there’s only one way to go and that is up. i’ll be more prepared for the climbs and will know what to expect. this was kind of the perfect race for me because although it needed some handling skills, it wasn’t overly technical. it was long enough to be long (took me 2:30 to finish) but not crazy long like a 200km race. plus it wasn’t as scary as a road race (where people crash into each other left and right) or like an mtb race (where there are big rocks and trees in the way).

for once the rain didn’t make me sad. a) it’s turning all the grass etc green and b) it makes me feel less guilty that i am not riding my bike to work. thursday should be sunny. i left my cute helmet in jon’s car, but luckily i have a spare somewhere in the basement. i’ll have to suck it up and not be stylish, for the sake of my brain, i *guess*.

last week my running kind of took a back seat to time on the bike, so i’m hoping that this week i can get in at least 2 of my 3 scheduled runs plus a swim. we’ll see!

ready to roll!

April 18, 2009 at 7:12 am | Posted in plans | 4 Comments
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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!

point of no return

April 12, 2009 at 7:03 pm | Posted in exercise, food, hobbies | 2 Comments
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i registered for next weekend’s 35km bike race (my first ever!) so now there’s no going back! well, i guess there is, but it’ll cost me $45. it’s a pretty unique race in that it’s not a mountain bike race and it’s not really a road race either. it’s 11km of gravel and dirt roads, 8km of rail trail, 6km of singletrack (1-3km sections) and 10km of paved road. i have no idea what to expect on the rail trail and i’m a little worried about the single track, but i think i’ll be okay.

today we practiced drafting again. it’s hard! at least i’m fairly comfortable with the shoes/pedals and being clipped in now. it’s amazing what a difference that makes with my speed and climbs especially. we also practiced changing tubes, in the event that i flat in the race. it will cost me a whole lot of time, since i’m pretty slow, but i’m just doing this for fun so it’s no big deal. i’ll try it a few more times tomorrow to make sure i’m completely comfortable with all the steps and using my CO2 inflator.

easter weekend was pretty lovely and continues tomorrow! thumbs up for 4 day weekends. i plan to do my long run in the morning, go grocery shopping (since the stores were closed today) and then spend the rest of the time chilling at home (watching tv and making turkey stock). my almost-last-minute easter dinner was a huge success. luckily i had a turkey in the freezer that i pulled out and most of the ingredients for the awesome stuffing recipe (with dried cherries, maple syrup, pecans and sausage) i’ve been dreaming about for a while. we had mashed sweet potatoes on the side. dessert was some homemade butterscotch pecan ice cream. i’m pretty sure i’ll be eating leftovers all week, though i did send half of everything home with the boy.

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happy spring!

a few eats from the week

April 10, 2009 at 7:58 pm | Posted in food | 2 Comments
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to start, the world’s most unhealthy incarnation of white cheddar mac & cheese. it was incredibly delicious.DSC00430.JPG  

i started by frying up a few slices of bacon in a pan, while i cooked the mac in the ‘wave. when the bacon was done, i extracted the slices from the pan and reserved the tasty bacon juice. when the macaroni was done, i poured the bacon fat over the noodles, added the package of powdered cheese and a big scoop of homemade apple butter and stirred vigorously. when i was satisfied with the mixedness of my supper, i added the bits of bacon that i had shopped up. this is illegal in at least two states and several countries. it was that good. i take no responsibility for your high cholesterol.

i made my cocotropiveginugraice (coconut, tropical {pineapple} vegetable{edamame+peppers} grain {quinoa} + rice- what a mouthful!) again because i had new dehydrated pineapple to use and jon brought home my old stash of coconut milk. this time i used 2/3 cup white rice, 1/3 of a cup of white quinoa (i do not like the red stuff), a few rings of dried pineapple, chopped up, a handful of frozen red pepper, a big handful of frozen shelled edamame and 1 can of coconut milk.

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i put everything into the rice cooker, pressed start and went grocery shopping. when i came home, it was ready to be served into a bowl of creamy, sweet, protein and vitamin packed goodness:

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i really liked the extra bit of texture that the quinoa gave it.

and last week’s coconut sorbet had some smoothie action:

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frozen strawberries (that i picked last summer!), a banana, a scoop of the coconut sorbet, a few lychees from a can + some of the light syrup they came in.

it was a good tropical contrast to the winter wonderland outside.
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the cranapple leather seems to have worked out. it’s a pretty colour. i think next time i will spread things out less thinly. will post more after it has been reviewed by my discerning taster. i definitely want to add some pureed banana to the next lot.

a good friday

April 10, 2009 at 7:46 am | Posted in exercise, food, hobbies | 1 Comment
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what a crazy week! i am certainly glad for a glorious 4 day weekend. hurray for easter!

recap

the week started with snow. i rationally know that it almost always snows in april, but this was enough to throw me off! i went from wearing shorts on my run last thursday to having a pair of long johns under my pants on tuesday. what what?? not cool. it also made my tuesday speedwork run impossible (the sidewalks were covered by a few inches of slushy white that wasn’t getting cleared like it would have in february).

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then there was this work deadline, that we had exactly 3 days to meet. my group was handicapped by 1/3 (passover holiday) and by the fact that i’m still new to this stuff. my coworker and i put in a lot of long hours and overtime days, but in the end, we did it! we were not the last group across the country to be done AND we had the most stuff to get through. given that it was just the two of us, i’d say we did pretty awesomely. the long weekend is extremely well deserved.

the weather totally turned around by friday thursday morning. spring showed its face again! i pulled out my bike and the cute new swimsuit i bought to leave at work (for on-a-whim lunch time swims) and did a backwards tri brick workout (biking 8 miles, then swimming 600m). the 10 minutes of stretching in the therapy pool felt amazing! i’d like to start more of my days with a swim. the bike ride home was a bit challenging because of some wind, but i zoomed here as fast as i could. i’m a little sore today and holding off on my tempo run (scheduled for yesterday but after my other workouts, i just didn’t have it in me). we’re still not sure what we are doing for easter because jon has a paper to finish and a bunch of exams to mark, but whatever we do, even if we can’t make it to the farm or to the grandparents’ for turkey, i plan to relax and enjoy the sunshine.

a new experiment: dry me up

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we saw dried kiwi at the grocery store the other day and it looked intriguing. it was super sugary and expensive though, so we passed, but i had to try it for myself! i think i left these in a touch too long – they turned out slightly crunchier than i’d like on the outside, but the inside is still chewy and the seeds give a really interesting texture. i’ve got a pint of cranapple sauce i made in the fall in the dehydrator now, potentially to become fruit leather. i’ll let you know how that goes!

happy easter!

R&R

April 4, 2009 at 12:34 pm | Posted in exercise, food | 6 Comments
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for an only 4 day week, this one was intense! just when i thought it was at the peak of insanity, work got just a little crazier. i cry a little* when i think of all i have to do in the next month or so.
i did get an awesome voicemail message on my phone. it went something like this “hi. we need our report from you. we’ve got our contractor and are ready to go. thanks. bye”. it was golden! she didn’t leave her name, her number or give any indication of the title of the project she was referring to. as far as i know, it could be one of at least 10-15 different reports.

in addition to all the work crazy, my week was also pretty exercise-heavy:
monday – 13km long run
tuesday – pyramid speedwork
wednesday – 45 minutes of biking on my new pedals
thursday – bike 16 miles + 8km tempo run
friday – 30 minutes of swimming
saturdays are supposed to be the day for my long run, but i’m giving my muscles a rest. besides, it is COLD. and also very windy. i’ll wait till tomorrow to bang out the next 15km.

swimming was fantastic. i discovered an olympic size swimming pool a 5 minute walk away from work. admission ranges from 2.50-3.00$ which is a whole lot cheaper than for me to pay $52 a month for the gym membership of which i was only interested in the pool (since i loathe working out at the gym on machines. i just can’t make myself do it) which turned out to be silly small (18 metres??) and not that nice. a 50 metre pool is far more awesome AND there is a lovely big hot tub/jacuzzi thing and a sauna (which i didn’t have time to check out). it melted all of the friday morning stress right away. i plan to go at least once a week from now on. this will be good for cross training and also for any potential triathlons i decide on a whim to do.

i am finally happy and safe with the clipless pedals. if you bike a lot, you should really give these serious consideration. it seems scary at first (and you’ll fall off a couple times, like i did) but once you get it, you’ll have twice as much power! thumbs up.

the boy requested coconut sorbet and roasted pineapple for dessert tonight, so that’s what i’m working on, in addition to the weekly batch of cookies (martha oatmeal/chocolate chip/skor bit) and some granola. we got a bunch of not-so-jumbo pineapples on sale for $2 this week, so i’ve got the dehydrator stacked, and the rest in the fridge waiting for roasting time. i piña coladaed-up the sorbet recipe with a little malibu rum.

the recipe made approximately 1 quart

even though we’re going back into negative celsius territory this week, we’ll be able to pretend we’re in the tropics. coconut sorbet is so freaking easy. 3 ingredients! no ice cream maker required (though i will obviously use mine). i have made it no less than 10 times to varying degrees of fancyness/whimsy (like here). when coconut milk was 57 cents a can, it was by far the cheapest, creamiest treat we could have. cans are up to $1, but for at least 5 servings of delicious sorbet, that’s still pretty good.

my grocery challenge is not going so well. it seems like every time i go to the store, things are more expensive than they were the last time. sticking to $30 has been hard! i am keeping it close to 40 though, which i think is not too bad.

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they turned out a little thin this week. maybe i’ll up the flour and dial back on the butter as per these instructions

dried pineapple rings waiting to be used in homemade meusli, coconut rice, more muffins, or just eaten plain!

*it’s not because i don’t love my job, it’s just that there’s only so much one girl can handle. you know?


what’s the story, morning glory?

April 1, 2009 at 7:49 pm | Posted in food | 2 Comments
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it’s my favorite oasis album AND a really yummy muffin. ever since i saw them on kerf a couple weeks ago, i’ve been wanting a really good morning glory. i’ve never made them myself and i’ve only actually had them on a few occasions so i didn’t have much to work with besides kath’s brief list of ingredients and vague memories. i only consulted one recipe before setting to the kitchen. as i am very loyal to local eats, foodland ontario is a good source of everything for me, so this is what i turned to.
i suspect i had approximately double the amount of shredded carrot and diced apple required, though i followed their instructions for 2 of each. i skipped the cinnamon/sugar topping and made a few other substitutions (skipped the raisins and threw in dried cranberries instead, no pecans, and added diced dried pineapple). the batter was extremely thick. fruit/veg only thinly bound together by the wet flour mixture. i wasn’t banking on success.

as it happened, the muffins turned out extremely delicious and probably super healthy, given all that fibre and fruit/veg. next time i’ll cut back on the oil because i doubt it’s necessary (apple sauce sounds great). they are extremely moist and super flavourful and have been the perfect wake up second breakfast for when i arrive at work. (yes, i did use ontario apples and carrots, as specified). i only ended up making 10 large muffins and i had to cook mine for a lot longer than the 22 minutes suggested, but still. thumbs up, foodland. you win!


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