Thursday, 27 October 2011

Happy Halloween - a bit early

So tonight was the group Halloween run at Grand River Running.  I'm not sure what it is about running, but it has brought out some pretty weird stuff in me.... anxiety I never knew existed, an inner warrior that feels the need to race EVERYBODY (even when they don't know I'm racing them) and dressing up.

Since joining the running group I have dressed up as a man - well a combination of three, a beauty pageant contestant - First Runner Up, a Hawaiian girl, a wicked witch and now this....

May I present... a Greek goddess!  I picked this costume to get myself geared up for Athens.  No I will not be running the marathon in this outfit.  The thought did enter my mind, but that wig got hot after a while despite that fact that it was 2 degrees during my run.

Not many people in the group dressed up sadly.  In fact when I walked in the room I was the only person wearing a costume and I was hoping nobody would recognize me with my blond wig.  (FYI - It didn't work).  Thankfully a few more people came dressed up including a Greek god - AKA Bob Reidy.  I did not get a picture of him unfortunately but we made a great couple for the run.  Anyway, my Halloween dress up time is over and its the kids turn. 

It will be a weekend of Halloween fun in our house with a few costume changes. Thankfully we have a house full of dress up clothes so the girls can change their minds at the last minute.  Witch to tooth fairy - no problem. Gee - I wonder who my kids get there urge to dress up from?

We will be bundling up and heading out to the Twilight Zoo this weekend.  If the pictures turn out, I'll post some. Have an awesome weekend!

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Could a backbend fix the world... or maybe make it a little happier?

This was me reliving my yoga class from last night

I was having one of those days yesterday.  I wasn't overly grumpy, but I wasn't feeling like myself.  I hadn't ran it two days; so I went out at lunch and ran a super fast 7k.  I felt a bit better, but not quite back to normal. 

I can think of a few sources for the extra tension I'm feeling.  Work has been busier than usual and I've been trying to wrap things up before I leave for Greece.  I have a bit of guilt for going away for so long without my children.  And I keep thinking am I crazy for taking an 8 hour flight the day after I run a half marathon?  But really everything I'm worried about just needs to be put in perspective.... like looking at it upside down.

After a particularly crazy feeling day and evening, I went to my yoga class (which I had thought about skipping).  My instructor decided we were going to "play" instead of a formal class.  We went through a series of challenging poses but mostly ones I love when I'm able to sink into like crane pose and pigeon pose.  And the one shown above.  I really like doing back bends - we even did them walking ourselves down a wall.  I think its getting past that feeling of - "Holy crap I'm going to smash my head off the floor".  To "Hey I'm actually not going to smash my head and holy crap I'm holding myself off the ground with my arms". 

After this class I felt back to normal.  In yoga I've often heard instructors say that upside down poses such as a back bend and shoulder stand reverse the flow of blood and are "cleansing".  I'm not sure about the cleansing part, but I certainly did enjoy the "play" in my yoga class.  Maybe I'll try to do a few back bends whenever I feel out of sorts. That won't be weird at work will it?

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Crazy Sunday Cooking

I am wrapping up one of the best weekends I have had in a long time.  It was one of those great weekends that starts off with a bunch of really junky bad for your food that is in the "sometimes" category from your kids introductory health class - aka the perfect chocolate milk shake.  Thank you Dan for reading my mind.  The bad for you meal was followed up with a shopping trip where the entire family got their Halloween costumes (myself included - pictures will follow this week).

The awesomeness (yes - I just made up that word) continued with a killer 16k run on Saturday morning that I did not wimp out on.  I did this run pretty much at my race pace - maybe a touch slower.  I know conventional runner wisdom says to have bursts of your race pace mixed in with a slower pace during your long runs in order to recover properly but... that don't make no sense to me.  I cannot get my head around the fact that if I can't maintain a certain pace during a training run that something will change on race day.  Maybe I'm missing some big picture but if I can't run a set pace in training; it won't miraculously be there on race day.  All that being said, I am happy with how I ran on Saturday.

To finish off the weekend - first of all it was sunny today - we saw the sun for the first time in 5 days!  I finished off all of my yard work for the year.  The flower beds are cleaned up, the garage is tidy and the shed has been locked up for the winter.  Then I went a little crazy in the kitchen....

I love cooking.  Its where I can express myself creatively.  I know that sounds weird, when I think of creativity I think painting, writing or dancing.  But sometimes with food magic can happen in my kitchen. 

So first I made these..

These are quiona cakes that I found the recipe for on this blog 101 cookbooks

I also made green tomato gratin, baked squash, carrot apple bread, chicken Parmesan for Dan and the girls.... and these....

Buttery Garlic Knots


1 &1/2 cups warm water
1 & 1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
4 cups flour (I used 2 cups whole wheat spelt and 2 cups white)
1 & 1/2 tsp yeast

Garlic Butter

2 cloves garlic minced
2 tbsp butter

Put all ingredients in your bread maker on the dough setting.  Once done, let dough sit for  10-15 minutes.  On floured surface, divide dough into 18 equal pieces.  Roll into about 10 inch "rope".  Tie in a knot and place on parchment lined cookie sheet.  Cover and let rise for 30 minutes. 


Melt butter and saute garlic.  Brush knots with garlic butter.  Bake in 350 oven for 20-25 minutes or until the bread sounds hollow when tapped.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Eating Right... I hope

As my half marathon training winds down, I am finding myself happy to be approaching my taper.  The training program I am currently doing is a huge shift from the past half marathon training programs as the focus has been on speed, not distance.  Nonetheless I'm feeling tired.  I have to keep reminding myself that this is they way I should be feeling right now.  I have been working hard to increase my speed and distance and my body is tired.  Hopefully if I time this right and am smart about it, my hard work will pay off during the Road2Hope.

Typically when I feel tired and sluggish I want coffee, coffee and more coffee.  I've gotten into habits where I have been drinking up to six cups a day, just to function.  What ends up happening is I get major highs and lows throughout the day as the caffeine rushes through my system and gradually I become immune to its effectiveness.

I worked pretty hard  with a naturopath this summer to find the right blend of supplements and dietary changes to help me feel better and handle distance running into my life without turning into a monster.  So this week when I've felt like reaching for an extra coffee or can of coke, I've made a peppermint tea and thought about how much better I will feel in the long run by not falling into the multi-coffee habit.  That's not to say I don't indulge in sweets or "forbidden" foods.  I just remind myself not to make them a habit.

So that being said I have a few quick go to recipes/foods I reach for when I need to feel better.  One is a smoothie.  I don't include any dairy in this smoothie, its entire fruit and vegetable based with some chia seeds.  My kids love this too, but if you want to add something extra feel free to throw it in.

Basic Smoothie

Into a blender add:

2 cups of loosely packed baby spinach (you won't taste it - promise)
2 cups of frozen mixed berries
1 apple cored and chopped
1 tablespoon chia seeds or 1/2 tablespoon ground flax
pure juice (I usually use unsweetened cranberry-blueberry)
Start blender adding juice as needed to blend the mixture smoothly.  I make sure none of the spinach is visible.

Pour into a glass/jar and enjoy. 


Sunday, 16 October 2011

Its Easy Like Sunday Morning

Well maybe not easy, but it certainly was more enjoyable than going out on my own.  Today I did my last long, long training run for my marathon scenic 42.2k tour training in Greece. 

 Here's da proof...

Could this watch be any bigger?  But it does the job consistently.  Anyway, this morning Rick and Tracey picked my up from my warm cozy house before the sun was up to head out for a 30k+ run in Kitchener/Waterloo.  It was perfect weather for running, cool not too windy and the rain that was falling didn't feel that bad.

Tracey did an awesome job - this was her longest run to date and she was smiling after.

She did not run in her crocs
Rick was good company and of course he was smiling he had just spent over 3 hours with two awesome women.

Yes - that $20 is his payment to me for running with him.

All in all I feel pretty good right now - a little tired and that creepy cold feeling you get sometimes when you run in cooler weather, but nothing is too sore or achy - yet.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Guelph Thanksgiving Day Races 2011

Hot enough for ya?  Who would have thought we'd be racing in 25 degree temperatures on Thanksgiving Monday?  Last weekend it felt like it might snow and I wore gloves during my race.  This weekend I was sweating before the race started.  Not that I'm complaining about the weather by any means.  But... I usually avoid racing in the summer because of these temperatures - I'm delicate - I wilt.  Its not my ideal weather for racing, but ideal weather for laying on my zero gravity chair and reading which is what I'm going to do after this post.
Back to the race.  It was hot - whah - but this is a well ran race and it was fun.  I looked at this race like a training run.  My goal was to finish under 25 minutes.  I did, my watch said 24:35, but I was far back in the start so I'm not sure about the chip time.  There were a lot of people in the race and I'm not sure how I placed, but that really wasn't that important for me today.

My girls also raced the 1k kids run.  They both did well.  I love watching them run.

Now some shots from the paparazzi -

Mid - run

Finishing strong with my oldest daughter

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Saturday moring run summery and throw a Pie on the Barbie?

We are enjoying a spectacular Thanksgiving weekend in southern Ontario.  The temperatures have been in the low 20's with clear blue skies.  I have been savouring one last blast of summer weather in the fall as much as possible despite having a cold - thank you back to school germs.

I had a pretty tough run yesterday.  My training group was running 20k a flat out and back on a trail that I had ran dozens of times.  I started off feeling fine, but just over half way back I felt dizzy and chilled.  I alternated between running and walking trying my best to keep up with the group.  I couldn't figure out why I was feeling so off, I had done everything the same prerun that I usually do.  Same amount of water, 1/2 of a cup of coffee, ate half an English muffin and peanut butter and taken a decongestant for my cold.  Then it hit me - the Advil Cold and Sinus was to blame.  I'm not sure if anyone who has taken these has the same experience I do, but you take one and can drink tons of water and don't seem to have to pee the same proportion.  Maybe a little tmi there, but I'm pretty sure the decongestant dehydrated me and caused a more challenging run.

I still finished the run in 1:55 and once I drank 3 bottles of water and had a smoothie I felt much better.  I've also stopped taking anymore pills and have upped my water consumption significantly.  I am having a bit of dilemma though because I signed the girls and myself up for the Thanksgiving Day race in Guelph tomorrow.  I think I might do it just for the race experience, but given the fact that I'm still fairly congested and I'm running on tired legs I won't expect a pb. I'll let you know how it goes.

Now on to the recipe.  The weather has been so great this weekend, I decided to turn my BBQ into an oven and bake a pie.  You certainly don't have to do that as it would be much easier to bake this recipe in the oven, but it was fun to experiment.

Rustic Peach and Raspberry Pie (BBQ optional)


1& 1/2 cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp white sugar
1/3 cup melted butter
1/3 cup milk
1 egg

Whisk flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a bowl.  Whisk melted butter, milk and egg in a separate bowl.  Mix wet ingredients into dry.  Knead on a floured surface until smooth, about 2 minutes.  Wrap and let chill for about 1/2 an hour.


6-7 peaches
1 cup of raspberries
1/2 cup white sugar
2 tbsp corn starch dissolved in 2 tbsp water
1 tsp cinnamon

Peel and slice peaches.  Toss in a bowl with raspberries, sugar, cornstarch and cinnamon.

Putting it all together...

1 tbsp melted butter
cinnamon sugar

Roll dough on a floured surface until about 1/2 thick, approximately 12x12 inches or larger.  Pile fruit mixture in the middle.  Quickly fold one section of the crust toward the middle, working in a circular direction until the pie is folded to contain the filling.  Carefully and this is the tricky part, slide the pie onto a parchment lined cookie sheet.  (Alternately you could roll the dough onto the parchment paper and avoid this step altogether.  Brush pie with melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

Have your BBQ or oven preheated to 350 degrees.  If using your BBQ place cookie sheet on the upper rack.  Watch BBQ carefully to maintain temperature.  Cook for 35-40 minutes or until crust is golden and fruit mixture is bubbling.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Race Number 9 - I Can't Remember the Name

Back to race recap - After I ran my half marathon, I felt more confident about running a better 10k.  I signed up for a race in Waterloo that for the life of me I cannot remember the name of.  It doesn't matter because to sum this race up.... Worst. Organized.Race.EVER.  I've had a hard time writing this post because for some reason I felt sorry for the volunteers.  But since I don't actually remember the name of the race, I'm not really hacking on anyone that can be identified.

This race simply taught me that even though there may be the big inflated Running Room thing to run under at the start and finish.... if there is no clock, your time does not matter.  I can't say my time that I finished in.  I think I was the second female overall - not that it matters.  The two guys who came in first and second cheated and my husband won a Salute Saint Marie airport hat on my behalf.

But there is always a positive, the best thing to come from this race.... one of my favourite running pictures of myself.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Laurier Loop 2011

So yesterday I raced the Laurier Loop 10k.  It was cold and windy, but thankfully not wet.  The race is a 2.5k loop as a mentioned earlier that runs along the same course as one of the worst races I have ever ran in.  I was a little leery about racing on a course that you had to run four times, but was willing to give it a shot.  

The race itself was very well organized.  The volunteers encouraged the runners and despite the weather seemed quite positive.  I'm not sure if its because I have been doing speed workouts that repeat themselves 4 times (4x800's, 4+ hills, etc.) but the repetition didn't bother me at all.  It could have been because my husband was mid course and two of my friends - Katherine and Gina were at the start/finish line and I saw all of them four times.

I only have one complaint about this race and I'm sure I'm not alone in this.  Laurier's football team walked in the race.  Now I have no issue with walkers in a race, I have walked in a race more than I would like to admit.  However, when you have 50 huge guys walking 5 wide, shoulder to shoulder not moving for anyone who might be passing them - say like a runner who is actually running in the race their actions seemed obnoxious.  These kids clearly did not want to be thereKudos to Katherine on behalf of all of the runners who had to run on wet grass to get around them for yelling at them from the stands what we were all thinking "MOVE TO THE RIGHT!" 

So how did I do?  Quite well actually.  I set a 10k pb by 3 seconds (chip time)  52:09 and finished first place in my age group - yippee!  The way I ran the race wasn't the biggest success for me though.  It was how I felt before.  I worked on not freaking out before the race and dealing with the pre-race anxiety I usually feel.  The result - I was actually excited about this race.  Weird?  But I really did enjoy running it and pushing myself through the course.  Do I think I could have done better - of course.  But then that's the beauty of running races... there is always another one.

 I do want to thank  Katherine, Gina and Dan for all standing in the cold for most of the day to cheer me on.  You guys rock! 

Here is the shirt from the race... not bad.

 And in case you ever doubted it...

Saturday, 1 October 2011

My Next Race - The Laurier Loop

As part of my half marathon training schedule my next race is this one... I have ran one race in the Waterloo series before.  They are inexpensive and well run races.  This race is a loop, hence the name.  A 2.5k loop, which means I'll be running around the same course 4 times - not exactly my favourite way to run 10k, but at least I'll know the course quite well by my fourth and last time around.

Over all I'm not feeling as nervous or anxious - yet.  My friend Katherine gave me some techniques to deal with my nerves before the start of the race which I'm going to try out.  Hopefully, all of the training I have been doing will pay off and I'll see an improvement from my last race.

I'll keep you posted....

I also have a ton of new recipes and a protein powder review to post soon too.