back to reality

July 25, 2009 at 8:13 am | Posted in food, hobbies | 3 Comments

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!


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.


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.



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!)


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!

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.


happy spring!

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!


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).


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


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!

back in the saddle

March 16, 2009 at 6:42 pm | Posted in exercise, hobbies, plans | 2 Comments
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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!

weekend project time

January 16, 2009 at 8:17 pm | Posted in food, hobbies, plans | Leave a comment

the weekend is my prime project accomplishing time. on tap for tomorrow (besides the usual chores: dishwasher, laundry, dusting, floors, etc) are lasagna (i’m making this one) and bread with a preferment! my first – the oats n’seeds bread i mentioned earlier. hopefully i’ll have tasty pictures of the final products and some words of wisdom (an adventure or a misadventure? i hope for the former but the latter may provide entertainment for all).

in other news, the weather is supposed to warm up a bit. the low for saturday/sunday is just -9, which is pretty high compared to the lows of -25 that we have seen this week. incidentally, tomorrow’s high is also -9. hmmm. on sunday we are heading about an hour east for some crown land snowshoeing. there will be pictures of that as well! while conservation authorities charge anywhere from 5-10$ per person for use of their trails, crown land trails are great because they are free. this particular chunk of land is conveniently located a 5 minute drive from jon’s absolutely adorable grandparents, so we’ll get to visit them on the same trip! although gas prices are slightly more affordable than they were a couple months ago, we still have to make an effort to cut down on excessive driving. and one of my new year’s resolutions was to make more of an effort to spend time with the grandparents (even though they are not *my* grandparents), this adventure will be extra good.

so that’s all i’ve got right now. it was not such a fun week – exam, a painful trip to the dentist, extremely cold weather, etc but there is lots of good, exciting stuff coming up!

there is a little macbook shaped hole in my life

January 11, 2009 at 7:56 am | Posted in food, hobbies, organization, plans | Leave a comment

i had to drop off my beloved laptop at the apple store yesterday for a minor repair. they said it would take about two days, which i guess in the grand scheme of things isn’t THAT bad compared to a lot of such services, but i am still very sad without it. working on a windows desktop eats away at my soul (faster than usual, since i am forced to do this at work on a regular basis)
the fun part of my weekend has ended. the boy packed up the car and headed back to waterloo for snowshoeing (he’s borrowing mine because his haven’t arrived yet) and school work. i am hoping to use the time to rest and get myself organized for the week again because that worked SO WELL last sunday. i’ll make a bunch of oatmeal and get together lunches for at least monday and tuesday.
yesterday i cooked up a big pot of butternut squash soup, which is a staple in this household. it’s about the easiest soup i know how to make:
1 butternut squash, peeled and chopped into chunks.
2-3 apples – same as above
1L of chicken stock
extra water to cover veggies (if you’ve got apple cider, you can substitute that for the water and it will be extra tasty)
sprinkling of dried sage, salt and pepper.
cover pot and let boil for 25-30 minutes.
puree with immersion blender.
EAT, preferably with some nice crusty bread. i had made a batch of the barefoot contessa’s honey white, as seen on seven spoons this week. i made 1 big loaf and 5 big rolls, which we made into turkey and cranberry sandwiches to enjoy with our soup. it was a good, filling winter lunch.

i love making bread and i am trying to get back into it this year. my next project in the works is a little more complex but hopefully super tasty and worth the trouble. oat’s n’ seeds bread from katheats. there’s a new planet organic not too far away from here, and although i’m not a big fan of most of what they carry (almost none of which is local or even certified by any organic board and is also ridiculously expensive), they do have a great bulk section with lots of different flours, grains, seeds, etc.  i’ll be going back for all that stuff, but not for the organic hair care,  fruits and veg, or any of their other supplies. i am not sold on the organic craze.

my current food philosophy is to buy my food as close to the source as possible. this means shopping at the farmer’s market, going to a upick operation for big quantities to preserve, getting what i can from my boyfriend’s parents’ farm and cutting out as many packaged/processed food products as possible and making what i need myself, using whole food ingredients. this year was my first serious foodie year, so the amount of freezing/canning/drying that i did was just an estimate. i’m making notes and i’ll be better prepared next summer when i know exactly how much tomato sauce i consume over the winter. eating local year round is tough in canada. right now the only available local produce are roots and gourds, basically. the salad greens and asparagus are still a few months out. i am enjoying lots of local raspberries and strawberries that have been waiting for me in the freezer.

last night for dessert, i whipped up a quick batch of david lebovitz‘s vanilla frozen yogurt to have after supper with berries. yum! it might be today’s breakfast as well! yogurt’s a breakfasty thing, right?

what’s your food philosophy?

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