phew

May 11, 2009 at 7:48 pm | Posted in exercise, Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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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.

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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.

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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!

the stars align

March 26, 2009 at 7:09 pm | Posted in exercise, food, plans | Leave a comment
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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!)


clip on, right foot, clip off left foot

March 24, 2009 at 7:45 pm | Posted in food | Leave a comment
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clip on, clip off, breathe in through the nose, out the mouth.

this weekend, i took my bike out for it’s first sunshine spin of 2009. for my birthday (around christmas time), my boyfriend got me a set of clipless pedals + cleats. i’ve been practicing the getting in and out on my trainer all winter, but it doesn’t compare to doing it on the road. it was an extremely humbling experience. i fell off my bike twice, skinned a knee and wound up with a bruise on my hip. i forced myself to get right back on and keep trying because i knew if i gave up then, that would be it. jon was extremely patient with me. after a second day of practice on my own around the baseball diamond near my house (so if i fell, it would just be on soft grass), i’m feeling a lot more comfortable. clipless pedals make me feel so much more pro on the bike! i’m not just a girl with a bike, i’m like a for real cyclist. i have a few actual cycling jerseys too! logistics pending, i am also going to sign up for a bike race that is semi-off road (farm lanes, trails and gravel roads). i have a cyclocross bike, which is pretty ideal for this type of terrain (it’s road bike like, but designed for off roading. but not like mountain bike off roading), so i’m excited! (i’ll only be doing the 35 km ride, while the boy will do the 60 km one. i wish we could do it together but this is an important training race for him and there’s no way i can handle 60 km!)

in other weekend news, we did a major cook once, cook big. jon buys the cans of campbell’s soup. the last time we were at the grocery store because he was out, i saw that they’ve gone up to almost $2 a can, and they are really not at all tasty. he is on a tight grad student budget and he does love soup, so i volunteered to make him some delicious soup, all from scratch, to keep in the freezer. i fell back on my two old favorites, the minestrone and the chicken chowder. the stock came from 3 chickens that i skinned and butchered up myself! he helped me, and together we were the most organized team ever! everything was prepped and ready to go. we had three simultaneous pots on the stove AND we managed to keep the kitchen pretty clean the entire time.
this was the result

20 meals worth of yummy, healthy, low sodium soup for probably less than 50 cents each! i snagged the 3 small portions for lunch this week.

today was my first day of running speed work. i’m not gonna lie, i was a little anxious about it all day. 12 repeats of 400m at a pretty fast pace with 90 seconds in between. it went so well! i felt awesome the whole time (well. i didn’t FEEL awesome but i felt awesome about what i was doing and how fast i was going). i ended up being an average of 8 seconds faster than my plan said, but my 12 times were fairly consistent, and i think that is what is important. i hope this sets the tone for the rest of my interval work! i ran about 4.5 miles in 36 minutes of actual running time, which is insane for me – i’m more of a 9 – 10 minute/mile person. and i burned over 500 calories. woohoo. i know i’ll be in pain tomorrow though. yoga to the rescue! (after our bike ride this weekend, jon did yoga for cyclists with me. i think he really liked it! yay. maybe another convert)

i’ve got another crazy week at work. have a good one. don’t forget to breathe! very important.


training to run

March 17, 2009 at 8:11 pm | Posted in exercise | 4 Comments
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as promised, i have fleshed out the first part of my training plan for this season, which will take me to race #1. the plan i am planning to follow this year is from runners world. it is called the FIRST training program from this book (which i highly recommend if you are into running!). it is a 3plus2 plan, where you run intensely 3 days a week and do 2 “plus two” days of cross training. my cross training will be primarily on the bike (they also recommend swimming).

it seems like a good plan for busy people. each workout has a specific purpose – there aren’t a lot of “junk miles” and you only run every other day or so to allow your body to recover on the days in between. recommended cross training are less joint-intensive impact activites, like swimming and biking. rowing is also an option. i plan to incorporate lots of yoga and i hope to also continue to do some strength training on my cross train days.

i am going for a 2:07 half marathon run on may 23 so this is what i have come up with. the key issue with my season is that i have an 18 week plan but my season is 8 weeks till the 1st race, 16 weeks between the 1st and 2nd, and 4 weeks between the 2nd and 3rd. i’m working on the wiggling. i’ll post the next section when i’ve got it done.

i work in metric units, so i had to do some calculations to switch from miles to km. it’s 1.6 km to the mile.


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!


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.


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