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Monday, May 31, 2010

Feeling the run

Yes, I definitely feel like I ran 42.2km yesterday. However, I'm up, I'm moving, walking, up & down stairs, sitting, all feels okay!! There's something to be said about training...who knew?! Hips are a little sore and complaining right now, and my calves keep wanting to cramp up, but I'm just doing some quiet, slow stretches and keeping everything happy.
I didn't have an appetite yesterday, which was odd, so after some baked samosas with Epicure Sweet & Spicy mustard (oh, so good!), I just kind of nibbled. I had no desire to go out for food, and nothing here met my fancy, so I kind of noshed. Don't even remember what I settled on for "supper".
Of course, that means I woke up HUNGRY this morning! I had a glass of chocolate moo to satisfy the beast that is my stomach, and then carted the leftover oatmeal/yogurt concoction to work to eat later - I have such trouble eating first thing in the morning, which is also a challenge on race days. Ate that, but was still hungry at 10:00, so I went downstairs for an egg burrito with salsa. That helped settle the hungry beast down. Got up to walk at lunch (seized sitting at my desk) and while at the bank machine decided to get the Chinese I've been craving. And this way was much safer, as it's a lunch counter instead of a full order of everything I wanted. I settled for noodles, ginger beef (wicked good today), veggies and S&P squid, which was also very fresh and delish.
Came home, noshed on some bread and artichoke spinach dip (apparently the beast is still hungry...) and then did the usual drive to Mom's. I did not go to Boot Camp today, but may try tomorrow. We'll see how the day goes. Finally home again, after a lovely crabby visit with Dad...or snarky as Mom described him...and am just finishing up the touches on dinner/lunch for tomorrow. I had a little meatloaf in the freezer that is now cooked, some baby potatoes that I roasted and some mushrooms to add to the Epicure Gravy, to eat on said meatloaf. Yes, it's late, but that's who I am these days...the girl who doesn't have any kind of schedule for anything!
Going to eat (I'll post pictures tomorrow), stretch and settle down for bed.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

The difference a year makes

Vancouver Marathon - May 1, 2009:
time: 6:28:32 - quite literally the last person to cross the finish line.
feeling: triumphant but spent and hobbled for DAYS!

Calgary Marathon - May 30, 2010
time: 5:41:32 (8:06/km) - passed people on my way to the finish line! This works out to a 12% improvement in my time - almost an hour off. If I continue training at this level, and achieve another 12% in Toronto, I will have a sub-5 race! Boo-yah!!
feeling: TRIUMPHANT! Okay, some things hurt, but I basically walked like a normal person to and from the train afterwards, and even made it up the 3 flights of stairs in my building with relative ease.
The day dawned cold (+1C or about 33F) and cloudy and humid (93%). It's usually not that humid in Calgary when it is raining, for crying out loud. And yes, some of my gear was still wet, so I hope my neighbours didn't mind me doing some blow-drying at 5am on a Sunday!! Breakfast was my usual pre-race fare of milk, whole wheat bagel with PB & banana, and some oatmeal (oats, coconut yogurt, sunflower seeds). I walked over to the train, and caught the next one rather quickly...there were an awful lot of people dressed in running gear this morning on the train! Found everyone at the park quickly, checked our bags and queued up for the start. D. (H-woman's friend from Hamilton) found me in the crowd, so we managed to run together for a bit, which was awesome. Hope she did well in her Half! As well, I ran into the VP of HR for my company, also out for the Half. He looked fantastic when we passed on his way back in. Thinking he got a good time out of the day. K. and I looking ready for action, pre-run. And yes, I run without a coat and hat and gloves...I over-heat way too easy.

The pistols went off, and we were under way...K. and I trying our best not to get sucked into the vortex of over-eager runners, and therefore burn out too early. The route wasn't too bad, although it is rather sad that the City won't actually close the roads for a run, just half, so we end up choking on exhaust fumes for most of the race. They did close down one road all the way, and it was lovely to run on, without worrying about getting run over (a city bus got awfully close to me, and I was in "my" lane!) or not breathing due to fumes. We lost D. after about 3km, and then K. and I split up at about the 14k, or the bottom of Shaganappi. I just ran till I felt like I needed a break, and made sure I only walked for a minute before running again. It tried to snow a bit up in Varsity (higher elevation) but the weather thankfully held out till the end, which was nice. Again, I don't mind the cold, I just didn't want to be wet.
After the many, many, many hills of the University/Varsity loop (about 10km in total), we started back down the hill. H-woman and her man S. were there to greet me, and K. caught up, so we could run together to the end, the final 10km. I was doing great, but K. had some serious juice and I had troubles keeping up to her, so I finally let her go on ahead. My hips and ankles were calling me not so nice names by this point, but I only had 5 to go, so push on. It helps knowing the route, because as boring as Memorial Dr is (long and straight), I could tick off my markers...Crowchild, now just to 14th St. 14th St, now just to 10th St, and on and on. There was one last little hill (are you kidding me?!) leading up to the finish line, and then there it was!! Victory!!! The medal is a belt buckle, keeping with the tradition of the Stampede Marathon, from where this started, oh so many years ago. In fact, I'm pretty sure Calgary is the oldest marathon in Canada, despite it's many transformations and changed in dates.

After some stretching, trying to get some food before the eager-beaver crew packed everything up, I met up with B. for a Starbucks (oh, how I needed it). She is very kindly donating to the Underwear Affair next week, and wanted to make sure I got the cheque. And she lives in the area. After that, I made my way to the train (about 2 blocks, and a lot of stairs) and then home from the downtown station (8 block walk and more stairs!). I'm currently enjoying some chocolate milk, and an Oreo before a lay-down with the kids. Haven't decided on supper yet, but dang it, I just burned 3037 calories, so I really don't care!!

I'll let you all know how I'm doing later, and feeling tomorrow! That will be the real test of all this training and Boot Camp stuff I do. How I recover from these distances.

Saturday, May 29, 2010


So the person that beat me to the laundry room by 2 minutes today (at 3pm) is STILL doing laundry!! It's now 9pm!!! Grrrr... I packed up my laundry, grabbed a roll of quarters and headed out into the mist to go to the laundromat, only to discover it is closed. As in OUT OF BUSINESS!!!! WTF?!?! After a brief drive-around, hoping to stumble across another, I came home and decided to hunch over my sink and bath-tub and hand-wash only what I needed for tomorrow. Pray I rinsed them well enough and that they actually dry by morning. The one and only time Calgary has humidity and that's tonight...curses!!!
I ate my supper (sorry, no pics) and had some fresh cantaloupe melon for dessert. I'm drinking some water and am about to put in the Spirit of Marathon...guess Fat Boy will have to wait till after the race. Fingers crossed I don't hit that same wall this year!
I'm all packed up, details are on my bib, my oatmeal/yogurt concoction is mixed and ready in the fridge and the furbabies are getting the bed warm.
I am ready...if I keep telling myself this, perhaps I'll believe it.

13 hours and counting

12 hours and 33 minutes, to be exact. Then the horn sounds and we're off. Been trying to get the laundry machine all afternoon, so I can run in clean clothes, but I appear to have picked the busiest laundry day EVER in the 14 years I have lived in this building! Are you kidding me?! If it's (yes, we only have one machine for our building, as there's "only" 13 units here) still being used an hour from now, I'll drive up the hill to the laundromat and do it there. Costs twice as much, but I need clean running gear. The pitfalls of renting, I suppose.
Got up at my usual early hour and went to Weight Watchers. Same weight as last week, which is fine with me, given the fact that I haven't been the best WW follower of late. Ironically enough, today's topic was "What is standing in the way of you reaching your goal"...I said me. After all, I'm the one making the excuses, I'm the one eating my way through my emotions and I'm the one allowing this all to happen. Not sure if anyone else at the meeting agreed with me (so much easier to blame someone else than to look in the mirror) but I don't care. We then discussed fat (icky) and that was that. Got many wishes of luck for tomorrow and headed out.
After meeting I drove to the closest Starbucks to get a coffee, and picked up a mochachino for Mom (she's never had one) and a slice of the lemon raspberry loaf. Okay, a slice went into me as well! Mom liked the coffee, but said she was too full to eat the loaf. I have no concept of what that means...could explain her 100 pounds vs. my 189!! We then jumped into her car and did some much needed running around. We went to Purdy's and picked up chocolates and brittle for her and Dad. We did try to buy her a new purse at The Bay, but apparently The Bay has made all the money they need to this year, as their new policy appears to be ignore everyone and they'll just go away. So we did! Off to M&M Meats, where we picked up a bunch of little meals, so that Mom could eat. She hates cooking for herself, so I'm trying to help her make it as easy as possible. After that, it was a quick stop at the bank and then Co-op for groceries. I love my Mom's list vs. my own...on mine: bagel, parm cheese, basil, olives, bananas, chocolate milk - all for the run tomorrow. On Mom's: cookies, baked goods, jelly beans, ice cream drumsticks, candy...oh, and a couple bananas, some cheese, yogurt and chicken. My, how times have changed!! Went for a quick visit at the hospital to see Dad, although he wasn't very talkative and Mom appeared to be in some kind of hurry, checking her watch every 5 minutes! I think I threw them both off kilter, being there in the afternoon. Left, helped Mom unpack her food and came home.
Had a lunch of baked fish, orzo pasta and spinach. Then had a wee nap on the couch while watching my favourite movie, Notting Hill. Now I'm just anxiously awaiting the laundry room, and planning what to pack for tomorrow. After much debate, I did decide to take the train down, just because while I can get there easy enough in the morning, I'm not sure how the road closures will affect me leaving. And the walk after the race to and from the train will do me good.
I am ready...let me re-emphasize that...I AM READY!!! There is nothing else for me to do, except eat my dinner, hydrate and get to sleep. The alarm will be going off at 4:30, so that I can get up, eat, get ready and head out, aiming to be at the park around 6am. Everyone else wants to meet at 6, so I guess that's the time to go. I just hate the standing around part, and since the weather dudes are calling for more snow (yes, you read that right...SNOW!!!) overnight, with temperatures below freezing, standing around will be a great idea!! When the Running Room gave up this race, and Strides took over and moved the date from July, I wrote them asking what exactly they were thinking...a marathon in May in Calgary...where we consistently get people...what the freak were you thinking?! Oh, but that's right...the organizers think that having it during Stampede kept all the crowds away (when we usually have a few hundred thousand people suddenly arrive) and therefore there is low turnout and low spectators. So move it to May because we all know everyone loves to stand around in SNOW!!!! Oh, and it's also Lilac Festival (do you see the irony??) tomorrow, so any chance of spectators has just been lured away by beer and food. After all, almost everyone I told about the race said, and I quote: "it starts at WHAT time?!" No, I will not come out and cheer you on...sorry, I'll still be sleeping." Nice try, Strides. However, I will still go out and do my best. After all, I've been training since January just for this day, and I am ready.
Okay, off to make some supper and watch for the laundry room to open up.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Only 2 more sleeps...

Race package in hand, I am now officially ready. Garrath, my marathon instructor was there picking up his package at the same time and he declared that I have a wicked good bib number, 1009. Says it's lucky... I'll take all the help I can get!!!
Only two more sleeps...tomorrow I will do some running around with Mom and then home for an EARLY night! I have Spirit of the Marathon on DVD to inspire me, and Run, Fat Boy Run on the PVR to remind me to laugh at life. Need to pick up a bagel for pre-run breakfast, and I'm planning out my usual Mediterranean Tuna toss for tomorrow's supper. It's always my pre-run go-to meal. Today's lunch was a piece of salmon, loads of zucchini and a green salad. I'm making sure I'm sticking to healthy, good carbs, good proteins, etc.
Dinner was whole wheat pasta with lemony egg sauce. Simple, delicious and FAST. While your pasta is cooking, whisk an egg and lemon juice (to taste) together. I add S&P, chili flakes, parsley...whatever I'm in the mood for. When the pasta is cooked, drain (leave about a tbsp of water in the pot) and put back into hot pot. Turn the burner off, toss in the egg mixture and stir like a mad-woman! Don't stop, or you'll have lemon scrambled eggs on pasta!!! Only takes about a minute, and the egg cooks enough that it becomes almost a creamy sauce. Top with cheese (if you have any...I did not) and eat. Was still a little munchy, so I just had a bowl of Kashi wheat squares and UVAB. That filled the hole!!
Funny...talking about the run earlier with Mom & Dad. Mom asked what I would win on Sunday for running, and I laughed, saying I was far too slow to win anything other than pride. Dad sat there quietly pondering, so I asked him what he was thinking..."why would you do something that you know you're not going to win?". Wow...for a couple of parents that NEVER pressured us to be the best of anything ('do a good job and don't get fired'...that was our life lesson) it was odd to hear that question come from him. I gave him my standard answer...I run because I can. Period. God hasn't taken my legs or my lungs or my spirit, so I will run until I can't. I may never win, but I will.never.quit.
I'm going to run for Dad on something he can't anymore.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Only 212 shopping days left

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas out there, as there are the biggest, fattest snowflakes falling right now in Calgary. Yes, we understand it is May 27th and technically spring...this is just how Calgary does spring. As long as it's gone by Sunday, that's all I ask, and so far (fingers crossed) it looks to stop tomorrow or Saturday. I don't mind that it'll still be cool out, as I tend to overheat running anyway, but dry would be best.
It was so odd not to do anything today, except walk to & from work. However, I was so tired (okay, I "may" have been awake past midnight again last night...stupid TV) that I did indulge in a little nap when I got home.
And what fun that was! It was POURING rain when I walked home. I hate umbrellas (odd, I know) so I just had a pull up hat on my raincoat, but my shoes (wore the birks) and pants were soaked through. The pants are hanging in the bathroom and the birks are in the hall. Good thing they were an older pair, because this may have pushed them over the edge of "wearable"...leather and cork and water are not good friends!
After my wee nap, I sorted and delivered the last Epicure party I had. The hostess lives in the far north end of the city, but it took longer to drive the 6 blocks through downtown than it did to drive the 70 blocks to her house!! I freaking hate traffic, and I don't care if I'm wet and cold, I will walk in a hurricane over driving or public transit. Grrrrr....
Came home and whipped up a quick dinner of brown rice with Epicure 3-onion dip mixed in. All I did was dump in about a tablespoon of the dip mix into my water and rice and boiled till done. Needed a bit of salt, but very tasty. I can't wait to try another blend next time. I also baked up some really nice fish (as in fish 'n chips fish)...this is battered, but it's really nice cod, big pieces and actually flakes like fish, not like some over processed fish mash that you usually end up with. Lunch was a chicken and artichoke salad with a bit of my leftover pasta from last night. Breakfast was oatmeal in Greek yogurt with crushed pineapple, coconut and pumpkin seeds. Speaking of coconut, I just remembered that I still have some of the lighter Liberte coconut crack yogurt in the fridge...mmmmmmmm...I think I'll have that with the oatmeal for breakfast tomorrow. I'm trying to focus on good proteins, good carbs and lots of sleep between now and Sunday morning.
Okay, tonight I am really going to bed now. The TV is off -! And the computer will be as soon as I hit "publish post" here.
Only 3 more sleeps!!!!!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Wicked Wednesday

The title is catchy, no?? Too bad the day was just normal! Sorry!!
I was alone at work again today, and am happy to report that I got everything done. EVERYTHING...and by that, I mean MY job AND my coworkers. And I still shut down early, as I had nothing to start before my day was over. Good thing I'm in meetings most of the day tomorrow. I'm sensing boredom before our usual month-end freak out.
Came home, changed and rushed off to Boot Camp. Trainer Josh put us through our paces, but thankfully there were only 10 of us - last night's class of 30+ was way too big! It Stairs Wednesday, in case you didn't know. Josh announced that when we arrived. Want to guess what that means?!? While the rest went up the BA hill, I went up the back way (still hilly, in it's own right) and met up with the group at the stairs. Up and down and up and down, we went. Then we side-squatted up and then down, reverse sides and up again. Then we hop-squatted legs HATE me right now. I was cursing and wondering why I do this, before one of the guys commented that I am "disappearing"...okay, now I know why!!!
After the squat-a-thon on the stairs, we went back to the mats and a good old circuit of push-ups, full body bike, crab walk, lunge walk, squat presses, bicep curls, dips and step-ups. Repeat...four times!! Then collapse on the mat for even more arm work - narrow grip push-ups (which I did properly for the first time EVER), kick-backs and overhead extensions...repeat 3 times. Then we sat down for some core work...Russian twists, oblique crunches, rooftop sit-ups and negatives. I really pushed myself, as I will not (yes, I said WILL NOT) go to Boot Camp until after Calgary on Sunday. Man, that was hard to accept, but then again, I don't want to do something stupid and totally screw up all the training I've done all year. So, no work out tomorrow or Friday, a slow 3km run on Saturday and then the big enchilada on Sunday! I think I'll be lucky to move on Monday, so am aiming to return to Boot Camp on Tuesday. And Trainer Josh is great, as I can go as many times as I need to get caught up.
After our usual hospital trip, I came home and made Rose Penne pasta (anyone watch the Philly cream cheese commercials?!). I boiled whole wheat penne, then heated the remainder of the tomato sausage sauce I had in the fridge and added a glob (very technical!) of cream cheese till it melted into the sauce. It was lovely, and I even have leftovers for lunch tomorrow.
Okay kids...I sat up till after midnight (got sucked into a really BAD Nick Cage movie) and am walking half asleep today. I'm going to bed right now...yes I am!!! can believe me...

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Breathing update

Today was my annual visit with my pulmonary specialist, who I've been seeing for about 13 years now. When I started seeing him (I've been asthmatic since I was 4 years old), I was trying to volunteer for a new med study. You had to qualify with certain criteria, and one thing was a pulmonary function test. Breathe into a tube, while the computer registers your lung capacity, litres of air, force of exhaling, etc. When I finished the test, the tech asked if I was ok. I was...she asked if I was having a "bad day" breathing wise...I wasn't. She asked if this was "normal" for was. This wasn't boding well... She then explained that I had a breathing capacity of 28%. That is less than one third of ONE lung!!! And I thought it was just another day. Off to see Dr. Field, who took one look, threw out all my old meds and started me on a new regime, including seeing him once every 3 months. As I gradually improved, it dropped to every 6 months, and for the last few years, just once a year. I now breathe in the low 90%, I am proud to say, and he is blown away by my dedication to running and my overall health. Although he didn't say much about my 25 pound weight loss since last year. Oh well, I'll toot my horn about that!
Once armed with a year's worth of prescriptions, I left in search of coffee! Sadly, as part of my PFTs this morning, I had to do the dreaded 4-shots of Ventolin. That's the rescue inhaler, which I have not used for an attack since I don't when. One shot before a run or boot camp, and sometimes another about 10 minutes in, and that's it. Taking 4 shots at once is not a good thing!! Your heart races, your nerves go AWOL and you shake like a junkie looking for a fix. So adding 5 shots of espresso on top of that couldn't do any harm, could it?! Got to work and found out that my boss will be back part-time starting today, which is remarkable, given her face paralysis. She looked good, but said she was exhausted by the time she left.
Lunch was a Thai chicken salad from work, and dinner was the chicken breast I had marinating in the fridge since was delicious and melted like buttah! A side of coleslaw (cabbage, carrots, celery, craisins and pumpkin seeds with a dressing of mayo, sour cream & Epicure Sweet & Spicy mustard) and baked sweet potato fries rounded out the plate.

I went to Boot Camp tonight, since last night I was running 10K, and I think everyone waited to come tonight! There must have been 40 of us there!! Although I have to say I prefer our 5 pm start over the 6 pm...all I wanted to do in between work and boot camp was nap, and that would have been bad!
Trainer Josh worked us all extra hard, and that helped seal the deal that I will be a no-show Friday and Monday, so that I can save my legs for Sunday. That is hard for me to do...I am all "go big or go home" and it's difficult to say "I will just rest"...but I will just rest. Yes, I have time goals for the race, but of course the biggest goal is upright, smiling and injury free. This will go a long ways to insuring the "injury free" part of that goal!
Okay, time for me to shut down. Why do I laze around all night and then find my mojo at 10:30pm?!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Rogue's Run recap

In what other run do you get to dress like a pirate for a good cause?! Garrath, our illustrious marathon instructor came up with the Rogue's Run (a subtle jab at those runners who complete races without registering...) and tonight was it's inaugural race. He decided on a pirate theme, because to quote him "there aren't enough races for pirates". And he's British and weird that way!! He's Captain Jack on the left.
It was a 10km and all the money raised, including a silent auction, went to an orphanage in Haiti, as one of the clinic runner's father was killed there in January, and this was the orphanage he was there helping. Who knows what it will support next year, but I'll be back...this was fun! I especially liked all the faces of the "innocents" out for their evening walks, when all us pirates went running by! Perfect night for a run too, although the wind on the way back was a little harsh...or we were just running that fast!
The gang after the run...the four in black are running an Ultra (50km) on Saturday...crazy people!
He won best costume, and still managed to clock in under 1 hour, despite a wardrobe malfunction along the route.
Jim, in the blue, came in 3rd overall. His medal was a cookie!!
I know it's not pretty, but besides Keira Knightly, what pirates are?! My eye patch was sweating down my face!! And that's my naughty parrot, that rode on my shoulder the whole way...he drops quite a few f-bombs!
So, how'd we do? I thought we did a very respectable 1:12:22, which Garrath is equally impressed with, given the fact that he thought I'd never make it to the start line for the marathon (and it's on Sunday), let alone finish! I have massively improved since starting the clinic in January. Who would have thunk...stick to a training program, and your running improves! Radical!!! So much different than this time last year...I was a good 25 pounds heavier, and since last May I've lost a total of 20" all over. I'm stronger, my cardio is kickin' and I will rock Calgary next weekend!
Okay, must go to bed...I'm going to get up bright and early and try to be the first in the lab tomorrow morning for the annual blood work, and then I have an appointment with my Pulmonary specialist later in the morning. Ready to knock his socks off too!

Sunday, May 23, 2010


This is just be up, run, eat breakfast, have coffee and back home, all before noon!! I almost don't know what to do with myself, although my bed is screaming "nap!"...I may yet succumb.
Yesterday was a good day. After I walked to the grocery store, I marinated some chicken breasts in Epicure's new Montreal Chicken Spice blend (Holy YUMMO!!), and then off for the new do. I must say, I look fabulous!! We settled on a more ashy colour of blond - the first was too yellow (after major stripping of colour with tons o' bleach) and the second attempt too white. Wissam (my hair guru) hired a "Chemical Technician" who's job is just to colour. Mario is a delightfully funny French gay man, and he kept me in stitches all afternoon while he concocted his magic formulas!
After the hair appointment (which went a little long at 2.5 hours - can't rush a masterpiece), J. picked me up and we headed up north to Carefree Resort where his sister T. lives. J. and I yakked the entire way up, as we had a lot to catch up on, and it was an hour plus drive. Once there, we caught up with T., toured the new digs (Carefree is a trailer resort park, where you buy a lot and put everything from an old mobile home to fancy new motorhomes on it - T. used to have this very old 70's trailer on there, and now upgraded to something with actual bedrooms and such) and then enjoyed a BBQ. Sadly it was a little too cold for an outdoor fire, and they are still trying to get everything organized and settled with the new trailer. T. had already baked up potatoes and made a green salad with cucumber, tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower and carrots. J. and I had the chicken, while T. and her man M. had two of the largest steaks I have ever seen in my life! Granted, T. shared hers with her two kids but M. polished off his, T's leftovers, extra potatoes, and the kid's leftovers. Must have a hollow leg, because he's not a big guy!!
Then it was time for birthday cake, as T's youngest will be 3 on Tuesday. Was reminded yet again why I don't have children, as they were both tired (didn't sleep Friday, I guess) and cranky and then add sugar and strangers to the mix, and they were just out of control sobbing by the end of the evening!! Cats are better, trust me! Finished our beer (J. did not) and then hit the highway for the drive home. It is summer in Western Canada, so the sun was still out at 10pm when we left, but it was dark by the time we reached Calgary. Amazing how big the city has become, as you can see the twinkling lights on the horizon from at least 50km away! got home just after 11:30, and had to wind down (the 3 cans of Guinness did help) before I went to bed.
Woke up this morning at 7:30 with the alarm, but wished it was wrong! Got up anyway, ate a quick breakfast of Kashi squares with a banana and some UVAB before heading out for the run. It just seems to wrong to only run 6km, after weeks of 20's and 30's! We did the short zoo loop, which is a nice run, and took us past the starting point of next Sunday's marathon. Ended up doing 6.14km in 49:41, and stuck to our 10:1's, as it was an LSD run. Pace was a very decent 8:06/km. After we all got back to the Running Room, we appeared confused...this is too soon. Too early...why isn't anything open yet??? It just seemed WRONG! We decided on breakfast at Grandma's. It's this great little place in the mall that makes wicked good breakfast wraps (an egg, bacon, cheese, green peppers and sauce (I think mayo) in a wrap) and the Their small bowl in overflowing with the freshest cantaloupe, watermelon, grapes, strawberries, honeydew and Asian apple pear. It is just so good! Topped off with a big cup o' Joe, and I'm now a happy girl.
Oh...kitties and bed are calling my name! Must.fight.temptation! Have to head to Walmart and pick up a few things for Dad, before our Sunday afternoon visit. And I have to decide what to have for supper tonight, although I do have one more chicken breast marinating in the fridge from yesterday. I'll decide that later, although I have been seriously craving some good, greasy Chinese lately. Not sure why that is, but it may end up being my post-marathon treat next week.
I'll finish this post with a picture of my cutie-patootie girl Coco, as she used my trail mix bag as a pillow the other day. Goofy girl with her tongue hanging out! Don't you just want to kiss that face!?!
Hope everyone who ran/is still running Bluenose had a great race! Awesome job to you all for JUST DOING IT!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Pleasant surprise

After the week(s) I've had, and the lack of consistency and good food choices, I left for WW fully expecting another gain. After all, my scale had me up a pound from last Saturday. However, once I got there, I obviously sweat off a few ounces!! I was actually down this week. 0.4 - doesn't seem like much, but right now I'll take anything! That helped boost me up a bit. Funny thing, the digital devils are...last week, my scale showed me down a pound, and I gained 1.2 at WW...this week, I was up a pound at home and lost at WW. I'm confused!
After the meeting, which was about breakfast, which in itself is ironic, because none of us eat before meeting and were all sitting there, starving, I'm sure, I went straight for Starbuck's and got my usual 5-shot, non-fat latte and (last minute) the classic sausage and egg muffin. Right now I don't care how many points...I was hungry and all the breakfast talk made it worse. After that, I stopped into Community Foods and picked up some steel cut oats (want to try them), more Greek yogurt, a lower fat version of the coconut-crack yogurt (still Liberte), some bananas, UVAB and Kashi squares. Wow...all that talk about breakfast must have sunk in!
Stopped into the Chuckles costume store beside, to look for pirate boots. However, I was not prepared to spend $40 for something I'll likely only use once (and only one, because I'm making one leg look like wooden) but I did find a parrot for my shoulder. Granted, this one drops a few f-bombs, but we'll try not to let him squawk around children! Freaked the kitties out though...I'm an evil mommy!!
Off to Safeway to pick up some chicken for tonight. I'm heading north to the lake with a friend, and he said to bring meat. Okay, so I will! Then haircut at 1 and off we go. Full day.
Hope everyone is enjoying their far, no snow in Calgary, but it is a mite brisk out there (only 3C or 38F). The sun is shining though, so hope that means an attempt at a warm-up.

Side note: decided to start taking Omega supplements, to help with my'll want to make sure you get a brand that doesn't have you burping fish for hours...just saying. And I like fish...just not with my morning latte!!!


Friday, May 21, 2010


I am beat...I honestly wonder how I am even putting one foot in front of the other right now. However, severe emotional and physical exhaustion didn't stop me from having one of the best boot camp sessions EVER!!! I did, you don't understand. Me, girl who has never, ever had upper body strength...girl who everyone mocked and laughed at during the stupid fitness tests in school...girl who's rotator cuffs hate doing even side plank and complain bitterly the whole!!!
Got to boot camp, wondering how on earth I was going to manage to do anything, other than use my mat for a nap in the grass, and did the torturous big-assed Edworthy hill. Hiked to the top (faster than walking, but definitely not running!) and than once I got my legs/air back, ran the ridge to the roadway. Didn't go all the way to the end of the park, but made it about 3/4's of the way. Got back to the mats for much shoulder work, before Trainer Josh decided we needed to do chin-ups. Ran over to the other park where the needed equipment was, and separated into two groups. Group one (mine) did count-down decline push-ups - feet on hill, hands below, do 10, run to other side of field, do 9, return, do 8, etc till the end. The other group did chin-ups. Once our push-ups were done, we switched. So, arms are already feeling it (oh, and we've already done shoulder presses before we even got here) when it was our turn. Trainer Josh had me start with bent-over lat pulls (rotator cuff issues) while he helped everyone else do their chin-ups. After about 40 lats, I decided I was ready to try a pull...and ended up doing 6! OMG!!!! I was so impressed with myself. Of course, I can barely move from the boobs up right now, and tomorrow is going to HURT but I like new "jock" me. After this, we moved back to our mats and did a circuit till the end of class.
Went something like this:
- Abs station: 20 full body bike, 15 overhead leg raises, 15 obliques (each side) and 25 Russian twists (weight side to side).
- Legs station: 20 squats, 5 (each leg) 'round the world lunges), 20 sumo squats
- Arms station: 20 bent-over lat pulls, 20 seated rows, 20 bicep curls
- Upper body/core station: 15 wide push-ups, 10 normal push-ups, 5 narrow push-ups, 20 up/down planks (from hands to elbows and back to hands), 10 side plank dips, each side.
Oh, and in between all of these?? That would be the cardio station: run to the cardio area, and do 15 jumping jacks, 15 high knees, 20 mountain climbers and 4 between each of the other stations!!! Almost lost what was left of lunch, but held it together and left class feeling great!
Got Mom and off to the hospital to visit Dad. After last night's Hospice tours (there aren't words to describe...) I phoned the palliative care unit and let them know our top 3 choices (sad that we have to give them 3 places to choose from). I really want Dad to go to Southwood, as it's the closest to Mom, is easy enough that she could drive to it (but most likely won't) and it's newer, bright, clean and the people were lovely. Second choice would be Chinook. Not far from where he is now, it is harder to get to so I will always be driving, it's old and dark and depressing. Really looks like somewhere people go to die. Last choice is Sarcee as it's quite a way away from Mom's, but I didn't go tour it, so I don't know what it looks like.
So now we sit and wait, sadly enough, for someone else to pass on so that Dad can spend his last days in comfort. This really is depressing...I know everyone dies, I know Dad's disease was going to progress to this stage and I know I'm the one holding it all together, but for 5 minutes I just want to be a 5-year-old again so I can crawl under the covers and make the world go away!! Of course, didn't help that as soon as we got to the hospital Dad was asking where he was going and when. Thought it was right away! Explained he was on the list and we were all on stand-by at this point. This is not fun...just saying.
Dropped Mom off, grabbed my latest Epicure order to unpack this weekend, came home and inhaled a bowl of whole wheat bowties with a tomato sausage sauce and am now getting ready for bed. Weigh-in tomorrow (good times) followed by some running around, haircut/colour (OMG it's making me crazy! It's touching my ears!!! Argh!) and then heading up to Glennifer Lake to visit with a couple of friends for the evening. T. used to be my boss, while J. is her brother who I used to work with as well. J. is moving back to Newfoundland next week, so it's one last get-together before he goes. We didn't hang out a lot, but when we did, it was fun as J. is a hoot. Funny how everyone perked up when I said I was going out with J. Trust me, folks...he doesn't like all...period. So just relax already.
Okay, that's it for me. I may ramble tomorrow when I get home from the lake, or it may wait till Sunday after our grueling 6km LSD. Tapering is cool! Only 9 more sleeps!!!! Getting EXCITED!!! May even get to see D. from Hamilton (met her at a few races, including Melissa's last year...friend of H-woman) at the race, although she's running the Half, so will most likely be finishing brunch and on her way to the mountains before I cross the finish line. Oh well...we'll cheer each other on in spirit, I'm sure.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

What day is it?

Seriously...they are all melting together it seems. I think my last post was Sunday, so here's a quick recap.
Monday: work - found out my boss has that virus that paralyzes half your face (NOT a stroke!), so we don't know when she'll be back to work. But we are an awesome team, and have totally figured everything out and picked up the slack. She'd do the same for us. Boot Camp: got our butts kicked again - ran the Douglas Fir (which I'm slowly getting better at) and then did many, many, many squats. After Sunday's 21km, all those squats just felt like more, you hear what I'm sayin'?? Visit with Dad at the hospital, and had a very long and good conversation with the palliative care doctor (on the phone). We will talk some more tomorrow.
Tuesday: work - same old, same old. My coworker is off this week, and I am proud to say I got all of her work done for the week, as well as my own. Crap, it's only what I am going to do?? No run at lunch...I'm so not sleeping well with all that is going on, and I figured if I pushed myself I would just end up getting hurt, and Calgary is only 12 days away. I did go for a little walk around the park though. Got home, found out my younger brother was not picking my mom up, so back to mom's and the hospital again. Dad was totally out of it though, so it was a short visit. The doctor and I talked again today at length, and we're putting him into a hospice. I am sad but this is the reality of the disease.
Today: work - seriously, bored! Okay, so I finally got one report I can play with for a few days, but I'm done everything else. And I mean everything...what does my coworker do all day?! Called a couple of the hospices in town and booked a tour at two for tomorrow afternoon. I have my annual physical at 2, so will be off the rest of the afternoon. No running, but that's okay. Just wish I was one of those people that stopped eating when they were upset! But nooooo...I have to cover the pain with food! Argh! I did thoroughly enjoy boot camp tonight though, as I pushed myself to the edge. Couldn't figure out why I was so exhausted though, until I remembered I donated a pint last night! Oops!!! Oh well, survived the class, and then after a quick stop at Walmart to pick up supplies, I met some of the running group for our usual Wednesday night beer. Down a pint, and I do need to refuel my iron stores, so it was Guinness all the way!! Also picked up the race package for the Rogue's Run on Monday. It's a 10k, but since we'll all be dressed like pirates, it'll be a fun run and not a serious one. I think I've got everything I need for it. Will be sure to post pictures.
That's it for me. It's already 10:49 (when the freak did that happen?!) and I swore I was going to go to bed early. Sigh...

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Such a headache

I think I got a little too much sun this weekend...but hey, it hasn't been around much this spring, so I, like every other Calgarian, ran outside to revel in it!!
- Boot Camp - another butt-kicking session but at least in glorious sunshine. Seriously, Trainer Josh has it in for us. My left wrist was acting up all day (as in it didn't want to bend, lift or anything - my Dr. calls it "travelling tendinitis" - I call it "PAIN"), which made doing the push-ups, dips, incline presses and all the weight work hard, but I do not back down! Booyahh! It's much better today.
- Hospital visit - not sure what's going on there, as Dad thinks he's coming home for a day pass, and we haven't even talked to all the doctors yet. And then he says "oh, my back hurts"...why, Dad? "That's where I fell"...What do you mean, you fell?? "Out of the bed". Did the nurses help you back up? "They don't know I fell"...Oh, they do now!!! Turns out nothing was broken, but they figure Dad twisted or maybe has a hairline fracture on one of his ribs. much more can this man take?!

- weigh-in. Up surprise, as I have not been the most diligent of Weight Watcher members, but we do need to figure out Dad's situation before I find all previous 48 pounds that I've lost!! Meeting was about asking for help...kind of ironic, actually. I wasn't in much of a mood, except for pissy, so I just sat and absorbed.
- drove to Okotoks (only 20 minutes away from meeting) with my summer tires, to have them switched out with the winters. Got to the shop at 10 am and was told the car would be ready at 1. Lovely...3 hours to kill in Okotoks. Awesome. Oh, and the nearest Starbucks was "across town". What does that mean? I walked over to my brothers (he lives a couple of blocks from the tire place), but no one appeared to be home (and I left my cell at home), so I walked down the hill, to the river, along that pathway, up the other side, and kept walking until I finally found a Safeway with a Starbucks inside. Glory be!! Had a 5-shot latte (I had my Greek yogurt/oatmeal/pineapple/sunflower seed concoction at meeting), sat in the sun and read the Runner's issue of Impact Magazine. Lots of interesting stuff. Finally started feeling the sun on my skin, so I went back into Safeway and came out armed with sunscreen. Slathered it on, and walked until I reached the Canadian Tire my sister-in-law works at. Oh, and there's the other Starbucks. Interesting town, Okotoks is...they don't want to be "big city" like Calgary to the north, but they sure go about it wrong. They don't have anything resembling public transit (I saw nothing that resembled a taxi, bus or bus stop for that matter), and the roads were packed with cars, but there were ZERO pedestrians, except myself. Oh, and an old guy on his scooter-thing. What really caught my attention was the plethora of fast-food chains...A&W, McDonalds (2 of them), Pizza Hut, Pizza 73, KFC, Mary Browns, Tim Hortons (2 of them), Wendys...the list goes on. Guess since no one has time to slow down and enjoy life because they're too busy driving to and from the big city, they have to eat out every day. Weird! Caught up with my SIL, who was amazed that I walked all the way from the tire place - again, how else was I getting around?! - and the I planned on WALKING BACK!! else am I getting my car?! Walked back (and got there at 12:45), picked up the baby and home we went, after dropping said winter tires back in M&D's garage.
- Once I got home, I hit the sack, as I was beat and knew I got a little too much sun. No burn (yay) but I did sleep for 3 hours. Got up, had some pasta for supper, had some more pasta (I was HUNGRY!) and then was back in bed at 11, to get ready for today's run.

- up bright and early for our last long, slow distance run before Calgary (14 sleeps!!), a measly 23km. Met up with K. and B., and after waiting to see if L. would show, we headed off. I haven't run an LSD with B. before, as she's normally in the 4:30-4:45 group (a good hour faster than mine), but we all did good. Except for B., who we decided was dehydrated at the end. We just are not used to the sun and heat! Remember, it was snowing last weekend when we were running!! Anyway, average a good pace of 8:24/km, and finished just over 21km (we were okay being shy on the mileage). Next week's run of 6km is just going to feel strange!
- came home, changed and went out to cut the grass. Figured I needed to just do it, otherwise I could come up with a million other excuses and then I'd have to buy a goat to get it under control! While was I getting everything ready, I had a theft though...I took the small gear out to the front of the building, and returned for the lawn mower. In the 2 minutes I was gone, someone (guessing homeless dude hoofing it down the street!) stole my garbage bags and my hedge-clippers!!! The bags, who cares...but the clippers!?!? Dude, what are you going to do with them?!?! Really??? Clippers????? ARGH!!! I love living downtown! Really, I do, but then crap like this happens! Anyway, grabbed more bags and did the best trim job with just the mower that I could do (I think it looks okay), before packing everything away.
- went and got Mom, and that's when the headache started. I am still feeling very warm (windows wide open, heat off, water in) so I know it's because I got too much sun this weekend. Had a good visit with Dad, although he didn't want to go outside (I offered to get a chair and tank and push him over to the lakeside to enjoy some fresh air, but he'd rather sit in his bed...exactly like he is every time we go see him. Sigh...) or even talk that much. Dropped mom off, and came home to a quick dinner of whole wheat pita and some dip. I'm not really hungry. Thought I wanted hot dogs and bought all the fixings, but then it just seemed like work. So they'll be tomorrow's dinner, with salad.

Well, that's all I have to ramble on about. Going to take some Advil, have some more cold water and hit the sack. It's been another long day, and I'm feeling it. I'm also alone all week at work, so that means twice as many questions to answer!! That's okay, I'm tough...I can handle it.

Later everyone,

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Marathon clinic catch-up

Garrath, our illustrious leader, planned a get-together at the local pub last night, so those who ran Vancouver last weekend could regale us all with their tales and triumphs. It was great to see everyone, although it was waaaaayyyyyy fewer than the original 80 who signed up for the clinic! I'd say there were about 30 of us there, and some showed up later after going for their usual Wednesday night run. I did Boot Camp instead, which will be my Wednesday routine (sorry Garrath) until June 16th, just in time for the new marathon clinic to start on June 22nd. Yes, I haven't even run Calgary yet (16 days, 2 hours, 30 minutes and counting) and I'm signing up for another clinic and another marathon (Goodlife Fitness Toronto, October 17th) in 157 days, 11 hours, 28 minutes and counting! It's official...I'm hooked.
We congratulated everyone who has run, most Vancouver, but there was a couple that ran Eugene, Oregon (said it was a beautiful race) and even one lady who returned from Paris!! That one is on my list...Paris, Dublin, Marathon to Athens (come freaking cool would that one be?!) and one day (this I vow!) Boston! I did eat at the pub, since I came straight from Boot Camp (which was killer, as appears to be Trainer Josh's norm these days) but I had a relatively healthy Satay Chicken flatbread "pizza" (satay sauce, chicken, tomatoes, mushrooms and cheese on a 6" naan) with a tossed green salad on the side. All right...there were 3 pints of Guinness consumed, but I'm scheduled to donate blood on Tuesday and need to make sure my iron levels are up!!
Luckily this morning, my head didn't feel like I consumed 3 pints, and it was off to work. I decided to do my Steady run at lunch, so I could have another evening off from everything (and turns out I needed it - again) but I knew I couldn't do the scheduled 10km in the hour (I have a great boss, but even she has her limits) so I did 7.5 (Crowchild loop) instead. Took me 53 steady pace, which is supposed to be 8:37 for a 5:30 finish, clocked in at 7:05. Seven-freaking-o-five!!!! Seriously...where is this coming from?! It was a glorious run today...+15C along the river at lunch, passing geese and their babies, and watching the bald eagle (spotted the tell-tale white head) slowly circling over the river looking for lunch...if it weren't for the sirens, exhaust and millions of other people walking/running/biking/blading/strolling, you wouldn't even know you were in the city!!
The day was going along swimmingly until I received the phone call from another doctor at the hospital, this time a palliative care specialist. We appear to have moved past nursing home right into hospice...that usually means less than 3 months...have I mentioned that I really don't want to be a grown-up??? We will talk more on Monday, as they want to do a more in-depth analysis tomorrow, and then we get to figure out where we're all going from here. Sigh...I was prepared for this, but so not at the same time. And while all I wanted to eat was batter-dipped, deep-fried salty badness, I refrained and had some cheese tortellini with a tomato & sausage sauce (only 2 points for the sauce) for dinner. Although another bag of TimTams somehow followed me home, and are currently sitting here beside the keyboard, taunting me. I do have great support around me though, and many wise souls to turn to for guidance. For that I am truly blessed and thankful.
Finished a glass of milk (there really isn't anything better than a big glass of milk, is there?) and am actually thinking bed would be a good thing. I do have an inkling of a headache, so I think some Advil is in order and then off to try and sleep. One more day of work and then the weekend. What will that bring me, I wonder?
Boot Camp tomorrow night (hopefully I can move my arms by then...can't right now!), hospital afterwards, while Saturday I will be getting the summer tires put back on the car, so Calgary is doomed for one more snowfall...sorry, everyone! I also want to get at the lawn for my building and at least get the flower beds turned out. I also have some summer bulbs to plant. Then I should head to Mom & Dad's and do their beds as well. They have a guy that does the lawn, but no one does the flower beds, unless it's me. It does look like it'll be a glorious weekend though, around 22C. Hoping that holds out for May, as the marathon is on the 30th, and trust me when I say this...we have received many, many, many inches of snow in May before!! I do not want to run 42.2km through snow! Sun, yes...snow, no!
That's all I've got...thank you all for letting me vent. I really do feel better for doing it.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wednesday proper

An hour of hard Boot Camp workout (much sweating!!) followed by a few (oops...3) pints of Guinness. Now that's the proper way to spend a beautiful Wednesday evening in Calgary.
I am very, very, very sleepy now though and must go to bed.
Details tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A night off...

Life is getting to me...I'm sleeping, but I'm not resting and it's beginning to show. More than one person commented at work that I looked tired, but they also know what I'm dealing with (Mom & Dad) and are nothing but supportive. Hugs all around.
Haven't heard from anyone, so I am assuming my younger bro picked Mom up and took her to the hospital to visit Dad. I did try to call him at lunch, but no answer on the cell. Wanted to give him the head's up that with the MRSA, we actually need to be wearing masks now when in the room with Dad. Especially Mom...last thing I need is two sick parents. At least we could get a joint room! What I really needed to tell J. was that Mom hated the mask and will fight having to wear it. I swear I wasn't that much trouble when I was a kid...really, I was super good and did everything I was told! Honest...
I managed to get some laundry was time. My workout clothes walked themselves downstairs! So now I have clean running gear, in time to make it all stinky again tomorrow.
It was a glorious +10C (50F) at lunch today, and I celebrated by running in capris and a t-shirt!!! GLOR-E-US!!! It was Tempo day, and while my pace for a 5:30 finish is 7:48, I thought I'd just run, Forrest Gump style. My legs were still pretty gassed from last night's Puke Camp session (Trainer Josh was really trying to make one of us hurl, I swear), so I was sure that maintaining a 7:48 pace was going to be a struggle. up klick was 7:30 ( actually is supposed to be slower than the noted pace, hence the "warming up" part) and then I sped up for the next 4 km of Tempo, averaging 6:39. This was with "sore, tired" legs. Imagine the butt I am going to kick when I am all rested and ready on race day! Only 18 days left... Finally arrived at the last km, and "slowed" down to a meandering 7:05! Overall, my Tempo pace of 6:50 was pretty much a full minute faster than my training pace. This bodes well...or I'm going to bolt out of the gate and blow all this hard work. Okay, that's the last of the negative talk! There is a number I have been picturing in my head, in big bright yellow on the giant clock, so I am using the power of positive thinking to achieve that number. Whatever happens though, I know I'm going to kick my last years time right out of the park!
Lunch was really interesting today. I ended up buying at the deli (too tired/lazy to make anything) so I got their salad of the day, an apple/bacon salad. On mixed greens & spinach went apple chunks, pear chunks, raisins, bacon (REAL bacon!), red pepper slices, shredded parm and roasted pecan pieces. The dressing was evoo, apple cider vinegar and spices. It was quite delicious, as I love the salty/sweet, crunchy/soft combinations. It was a party in my mouth! Dinner wasn't quite as exciting, as I had a whole wheat tortilla dipped into some artichoke dip I made up last night (with lots of of artichokes), then some leftover Mexican rice, cheese and salsa rolled up into another tortilla. I was basically cleaning out the fridge.
Laundry is done and I'm ready for bed. Excited for Boot Camp tomorrow night (yay - 3 times a week for the next 6!) and then the Marathon clinic group are all getting together to swap stories (those who ran Vancouver) and talk strategy (those about to run Calgary) and whatever in between. It should be fun.

Sunday, May 9, 2010


Last of the big distances before the marathon...only 20 days to go...and because we wanted to see what we were in for, we decided to run a portion of the course today. There was myself, K. (my pace bunny) and L., who couldn't run yesterday with her group, and didn't want to run alone today. The more, the merrier.
Got up bright and early and had a breakfast of Dempster's bagel (only 2 pts), PB & banana. Then I had a small bowl of oatmeal w/yogurt with pineapple and almond flakes. Topped it all off with a glass of chocolate moo. Made up my usual running mix of OJ, water & sea salt, packed up and headed off. Met up with the ladies at Eau Claire running room. Went outside to drizzle/rain/wanted to be snow...dang it. Forecast was for +10C, but it started out at 0 (32F). Looks like we were in for another wet, cool run.
We crossed the island/river and ran west to the base of Shaganappi Hill - this has been worrying most of us, as it looks very intimidating, and then turned north and started up. Now on race day, we will be running on the road - today, we were running on the grassy shoulder, which was not fun. But as far as hills go, it wasn't too bad...long, but not too steep. Once at the top, we turned to the east and ran (more shoulders...apparently no one here pays taxes, and therefore can't have sidewalks) to the University of Calgary, and looped around it (roughly 5km in total). Facing west once again, we ran back towards Market Mall, and looped in behind it, heading roughly northwest now. We looped through the neighbourhoods of Varsity Estates and Varsity, which being on the northwest side of the city, are very hilly. Undulating is how I believe they would be described. We also ran on the road, because these neighbourhoods were one of the first where the garage went on the front of EVERY.FREAKING.HOME and are therefore killers on the knees, with a driveway every 6 feet!!! Finally we were heading back to Shaganappi and down the hill (very carefully, as the shoulders were uneven and rocky - don't want to turn an ankle 20 days before the run!) and back to Eau Claire. It was a good run (the drizzle stopped and the sun even tried to come out), as we maintained a very respectable LSD pace of 8:29/km, including all those hills. Bring on the 'thon!
After a lunch/brunch of egg wrap, fruit salad and more chocolate moo, I came home, jumped in the shower (I was STINKY!) and after picking up Chinese, went and got Mom and off to the hospital we went. My little car just knows where to go...don't even steer her anymore! Dad was very happy to dump his icky hospital dinner for shrimp chow mien, fried rice, chicken & vegetables and spicy Palace shrimp. Mom also enjoyed her Mother's Day gift, and all the leftovers she can munch on for the next few days. She even got a card and chocolates from the furbabies and furgrandbabies, as a group at work were selling little boxes for fundraising, and they were just perfect.
Realized much later that I totally missed having a cup of coffee today, and my head is telling me it is not amused right now! Way too late to have a cup now, so I tried to placate with a cup of instant General Mills (French Vanilla) and some Advil...hopefully I can get to sleep soon.
Back to the grind tomorrow, but at least this is the week where Boot Camp goes three times a week. I need to shake things up again, and am tired of hovering around the weight I'm at again. It's time to kick boo-tay!!
Hope everyone had a lovely Mother's Day, whether you have human, fur or even imaginary children!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Food-apa-looza Update

It has been a stressful week...hell, it's been a stressful month!! My Dad went into the hospital on April 8th and has not come home yet. When my brother was there on Thursday, he said they had moved Dad to a private room...I did not like the sounds of that. Was he being belligerent and bothering his roommate (a young French lady) or the nurses?? Was he being moved into a private "death" room, like his former roommate was??? My stomach did not do so well, and I immediately wanted more junk food. Still had leftover TimTams and ice cream from Wednesday...well, not anymore! Got a hold of Mom in the morning, and gave her hell for not answering her phone last night. "Oh, did you phone?"....yes, Mom, twice. "Oh, guess I didn't hear it". Note to self...add hearing test to medical check-list.
Went over last night (after a lovingly brutal boot camp - I swear Trainer Josh is trying hard to make us all vomit!), and after we found the new room, a nurse came in to give Dad a shot - in full protective gear. Mask, gloves, gown...uh-oh. What is up with all the layers, I ask innocently enough - turns out Dad doesn't just have pneumonia (again) but he also has MRSA which is NOT good for someone with an already weakened immune and pulmonary system. Crap... I asked if we should gear up, and while she suggested masks, she just said to wash up really good before we leave and no touching, if possible. Tried to explain it to Mom, but I don't think she really understood. She was more concerned about how a hospital (the cleanest place on earth, in her mind) could have super bugs. To make it even worse for Dad, now that he has no one to talk to, is the fact that the hospital messed up moving his phone and TV, so he was without both still last night. Wait, he did have channel...the Hospital channel, as a matter of fact. He will be well versed on how to hold a child to feed it, how to properly wash your hands before a meal and I think they were discussing mammograms at one point. Oh my...
As we were visiting, my phone buzzed with a text message. H-woman informed me that she had curry bubbling on the stove, if I was interested! Gotta go, Dad!!! Okay, so we didn't bail that quickly, but it's like H. read my mind...I needed something healthy, already cooked and ready to eat last night...otherwise it was home to chips and salsa!! It was the best curry EVER! Bulgar, curried mixed vegetables and lamb Korma. OMG! H. really is an awesome cooker, and her man S. had better appreciate that!
Came home, didn't even turn the computer on, watched a bit of the news and went to bed. Had very odd dreams all night (uh, imagine that...) and finally got up this morning in time to get dressed and head to WW meeting.
Up .4 this week, which is just fine with me. Told my leader Faye that I at least acknowledged my emotions before I stuffed them down my throat! I am going to sit down this weekend though, and organize my kitchen/life to make sure I have healthy dinners on hand that I can whip up or heat up quickly, when I'm getting home after 8pm each night. The gain did send my skipping (ever so slightly) back under 50 pounds down, but it's not major and I can easily get rid of that. Just have to eliminate the stress in my life right now...bahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!
After WW, I picked up a couple of things at Walmart, including a really smart looking little black dress...for $25!! I also picked up a really cheap pair of running pants, so that I can dress like a Pirate on May 24th. My marathon clinic instructor Garrath is hosting a charity 10K called the Rogue's Run - because there just aren't enough Pirate themed races!! I think I've figured out how to make one leg look like it's wooden, and I stopped into the VV Boutique (Value Village) and found the perfect puffy pirate shirt!! Add a bandanna, sword, big gold earring, belt and fill my treasure chest (also found at VV) with gold chocolate coins, and I am set to go! Should be fun, and that's the whole point. Oh, and helping an orphanage in Haiti...nice guy, our clinic instructor is.
Going to meet up with K. and L. tomorrow morning for our 32km LSD. I've mapped out a section from the Calgary Marathon (which we're all doing) that incorporates the most hills, so we can get an idea of the course and the terrain. Only 21 days, 10 hours, 59 minutes and change in seconds to go. Can't wait to prove to myself that I am better then any marathon course!! I even printed off 3 pace for each of my goal paces. We'll see on race day which one I follow the most.
All right...I've had a coffee and a piece of way too fatty raspberry lemon loaf for breakfast. My body is screaming for real food now. After lunch, I'll go pick up Mom and head over to the hospital, to see how Dad is doing. Then home to a healthy dinner and early night. Those 32km aren't going to run themselves!

Thursday, May 6, 2010


Had a lovely 8km tempo run with K. and L. tonight - funny...the clinic is technically done, yet there was a group of about 8 of us that showed up anyway for a run. Such habit now.
Did a good pace of 7:39/km (L. was new to running with K. & I) and it just felt good to run again. I haven't actually been out since Saturday's Half. Oh, and my official chip time for the Half was 2:42:26.6 - that beats the Policeman's by 5 seconds, people, and is therefore my official personal best!! Boo-yah!!!
After our run, we decided a beer was in order, so wandered over to the Barley Mill for a pint. And I only had one pint (of Guinness, of course), and 2 pints of water. I think the corn chips from yesterday are catching up with me, as I downed 2 of my litre bottles of water at work today (usually only have one there), and another litre at the bar...and I'm still a tad thirsty. Dinner was the chili/sweet potato combo I made last night, which was all right. I'm really not a fan of Stagg Chili, and it's all the store had. I like the Campbell's version much better...not as sweet.
So now here I sit...spoke with my brother J., who took Mom to the hospital tonight for the visit with Dad. He said Dad looked and acted better, but Mom seemed out of sorts. And now I can't get a hold of her on the phone...I'm going to convince myself that it's because she's already asleep (probably can't find a phone set) and will keep trying her in the morning till she answers!!! Worst case, I'm driving down at lunch to find out WTF is going on!!! I may need to go for a run again!!!
That's all I've got.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Blah day...

Maybe it's the fact that it's been gray and gloomy all day... Maybe it's the fact that it's been snowing (yes, SNOWING) all day... Maybe it's the fact that our highest temperature struggled to reach -1C (about 30F)... Maybe it's because I spent the better part of the morning dealing with the realization that my father is most likely never coming home from the hospital... Whatever the combination is/was, I just want to crawl into bed, pull the covers over my head and stay there...period.
I am really out of sorts. I did have the morning off, as we've been trying to work on getting Dad home since Monday. In fact, last Friday, he was chomping at the bit, anxious to finally be out of the hospital (has been in since April 8th) and return to his house and his stuff. Then the weekend hit, and he started to have second thoughts. By Monday, he was not ready to come home and kept having anxiety attacks to prove it. Monday night's visit was short, as he was groggy and anti-social. Tuesday's discharge came and went, and a meeting with the nurses, doctors, social workers, transition team, Mom and Dad was set up. Hence the morning off. Picked up Mom, grabbed a coffee and got to the hospital and Dad's room in time to wait. Everyone else was 'gathering', so the physio and I had a good conversation about Dad (who sat there staring blankly at all of us) and where he was with his physio. There was nothing more she could do for him. Guess I should explain what he has...Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease or COPD. A fancy title for Emphysema. He was a life-time heavy smoker, paying the ultimate price, sadly. Anyway, after the doctors came in the room, it was determined that he once again has pneumonia, and will most likely spend another week in the hospital before they'll think about discharging him. BUT they won't be discharging him to home. Mom's heart is heart is breaking...but we have to do what is best for Dad. Mom is confused (the memory problems don't help at all here!), but I think I got it through to her that she just doesn't have the knowledge or strength to look after Dad anymore. He needs round the clock care, and the hospital needs the bed for other patients. Very sad cycle. The transition nurse kept talking about care facilities where Mom could live as well, but that just sends up another wall of anger, as "she's not leaving her house, E.V.E.R"! Sigh...seriously, I am one person...I can only deal with one crisis at a time!!
After deciding to meet again next week, we left, literature in hand, dropped Mom off and phoned my boss. Told her I needed a mental health day, which she quickly told me to enjoy. Have I mentioned that I work for a phenomenal company/group of people?! I got home, had a bowl of oatmeal (oh, how I wanted to support RMDH and buy about a hundred Egg McMuffins this morning!! And Big Macs!!!!!), and seriously crawled back into bed for a good 2 hour "hide from the world" nap.
I spent the rest of the afternoon doing my very best to NOT inhale everything I could lay my hands on. I wanted pizza, Big Macs, fries, grease in general, ice cream, cookies...gee, emotional eating cues??? I did have some KD, as I was starving, and that helped the cravings...a bit.
Spoke with both my brothers, had another cry, and caved. I went to the corner drug store and came home with chips & salsa, chili (my ode to Cinco de Mayo), chocolate TimTams (Australian biscuits - OMG!) and Hagen Daas Swiss Almond ice cream. I caved BIG!! Had some chips & salsa, had some cookies, had some ice cream, am saving the chili (and some roasted sweet potato chunks) for lunch tomorrow. Acknowledge the emotion and survive it...phew.
Looking forward to a run tomorrow - didn't do the Tempo yesterday (85km winds were a little too daunting) and today was, well, as you can see a total write-off, so I will run tomorrow. My younger brother has already said he'd take Mom over to the hospital, so I can run after work. It will feel good.
That's all I've's been a rather rough week. I do hope the weather improves, as I really, really hate the doom and gloom. At least winters in Calgary, despite the snow and cold, are usually bright and sunny. I don't do well with the colour gray.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

What a day

Finally crawled out of bed, although I feel like I could use another hour or two before I'm totally caught up. It was a long day yesterday.
Started with the Big Run Half, which is recapped here. After coming home, blogging (used to be, how I've changed!), shower and change, H-woman and I went off to our culinary adventure at SAIT (Southern Alberta Institute of Technology).
The Social Club where I work arranged this, and this was the third session (first one was Mexican and the second Asian). After meeting at the Highwood Restaurant (where the Culinary Arts program works out of) we met up with Chef Darryl (??), where he walked us through basic safety and sanitary standards for the kitchen. Reviewing the menu, we discussed all the recipes. On tap was:
Spanikopita with Tzatziki sauce.
Calamari with Spicy Tomato sauce.
Classic Greek salad.
Marinated Roast Rack of Lamb.
Crab-stuffed Potatoes.
Roast Vegetables.
We broke into groups, with each group being responsible for one or two of the menu items, although we were free (and encouraged) to wander around and help out the other groups. The kitchen itself was huge, and I'm already spending my dream lottery winnings on so much of the equipment I saw in there!!! My group got the Baklava, which wasn't as difficult as you would like. Phyllo pastry (already made, and available in the freezer section of your local store), mixed nuts (walnuts, roasted almonds), brown sugar and cinnamon (which the Chef had already prepared for us), and the honey syrup (honey, sugar, cinnamon, cloves, lemon juice) which he called Friendship Syrup, as he's always replenishing it for the next corporate group that comes never is used completely. Here's my group using a wee bit of buttah on our baklava (okay, we went through 2 pounds!! I think all told, we probably had a good 5-6 pounds of buttah in everything, by the time it was all said and done!) - we did traditional diamond layers, and a rolled version.

It was really fun wandering through a professional kitchen (we all got to keep the chef's hats) and we had our aprons with our "dry" and "wet" clothes hanging off the sides. Taught us knife techniques and other fun tidbits, but H-woman and I are known for showing no fear in the kitchen, so we were both right at home! I even had to explain to someone why the melted butter looked "funky" - she thought it had curdled and gone bad. Explained the milk solids, clarifying it, etc. She was ready to throw out an entire pot of buttah!!! Of course, this is the same person that was ready to boil the spinach for the spanikopitas...thank goodness Chef tackled her before the bag went into the pot!
We wandered around, helping out here and there, drying calamari, tasting (he encouraged constant tasting), watching the lamb racks being grilled (OMG, they looked so good!)...Chef taught us to feel the meat to test for doneness - he doesn't trust thermometers - it was all so interesting.
Makes me ponder my life decisions...I believe in fate, and that things happen for a reason. If I didn't work at the bank to the point of mental breakdown, would I have ever ended up where I did and meet the friends I have?! Who knows...back in high school, I was originally planning on being a psychiatrist, until my first Physics class!!! Then I knew I would never make it into, let alone, through med school, and then that idea faded. I took a year off after graduating, and ended up at Mount Royal College (now University) in the Public Relations program. However, I graduated in '84 (yes, I am THAT old!) right when the oil world imploded, and every Calgarian was out of work. I still worked for the bank part-time, so never did find a job in PR, or left the bank for that matter until '97. Took a complete mental breakdown for me to figure out that I really, really, really hated banking!!! Brief foray into a small company for a couple of years, which was a blessing because 18 (holy crap!) years with the bank taught me NOTHING, until my latest company, where I have been for 10 glorious years now. Yes, I am THAT with it.
Anyway, had I known SAIT and the Culinary program existed (I was a south Calgary girl, and SAIT was in the north end of the city, which I had no real knowledge of...weird, I know) I would have chosen that path, I think. I do love to create in the kitchen, and I think I would have done well. Oh's a hobby I adore and will continue to enjoy for many years to come. Back to our regularly scheduled programming...
After getting everything prepped and ready, Chef coordinated the appetizers being done, and sent us all back out to our tables, which the lamb rested and the rest of the entree was cooking.
We started with the Spanikopita (rolled a few of these bad boys myself) with the Tzatziki and a beet Tzatziki (the pink one). The Calamari was tossed with flavoured flour (oregano, paprika, S&P) and deep fried, and served with a lovely spicy tomato sauce (which was blitzed with a massive, hard-core immersion blender...I sooooo need one of those!!). Sorry...I was so hungry I started to eat before I remembered to take a picture!

Greek Salad...I brought home leftovers!

The sauces...tomato in the far metal bowl, beet tzatziki off to the right.

While we all enjoyed our appies, Chef and his team pulled out the potatoes, roasted veggies and lamb, which he then carved for us, while we lined up, buffet style.
OMG...that was the BEST.LAMB.EVER!!!!!!! And I'm not the biggest fan...I don't go out of my way to buy it, although every now and then I get a hankering. The veg were roasted perfectly, and again tossed with various spices - some were just roasted, while the zucchini, eggplant and red peppers were grilled first. Yummo!!! The potato was really rich, and while I didn't get a strong crab flavour from mine, it was still really good. I don't really associate crab with Greek food, but this has so much potential to be changed up.
The lamb was grilled first to sear the outside, and therefore seal in the juices. Then it was roasted in a hot oven for 25 minutes, before sitting to rest. Served medium was perfect!!!

We were all stuffed to the gills, and you can tell because I totally forgot to take a picture of the Baklava!!! To was TO.DIE.FOR...
With the food coma starting, I dropped H-woman off at her man's place, and whipped home to change (again!) for Wissam's SFM Spa grand opening. I arrived to a formal "purple" carpet entrance, doormen in bowler hats, ladies in grand french lace & hoop dresses, ballet dancers in the corners, gorgeous butterflies (not real) hanging everywhere, fod, drink and everyone dressed to the nines...oops, guess I didn't see that part of the invite! Felt a tad under dressed, but no one else seemed to care. He did such a brilliant job on the really is beautiful. Complete with a private Man's Section, with barber chairs, for those too shy to sit in a fru-fu salon. If you live in Calgary, and are looking for a stylist, mine is one of the best. Has won many awards to prove it! What I really like is that he has partnered with the Calgary Women's Emergency Shelter and Kid's up Front to form the Butterfly Project (hence the butterflies hanging everywhere). That was also the focus of last night's shindig, to indtroduce the project to his clients (did I mention, based on the outfits, that were was a lot of money wandering through the salon last night?!).
I had a quick drink (all non-alcoholic, as he is a very devout Muslim), passed on the food (still sooooo full, but it looked lovely) visited with those I knew and was home just after 9. I was falling asleep on my feet! Good thing the salon is a block from my home!
Okay...must finish my coffee and plan the day.
Sorry for the long post, but so much to say!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Going Greek

Cooking class ROCKED!!! And my stylists salon opening was gorgeous and fancy and I felt a tad under-dressed!! But I am home and barely able to keep my eyes open, so you'll all have to wait till morning for some details and photos.
I am succumbing to a food coma!


Not quite a PB but close enough - last week's Half was 2:42.33 - I will not nit-pick over 8 seconds!! And besides, this race was in MY name, not some 45 yr-old guy named Al.
The day dawned beautifully - clear skies, cool temps and no rain/snow/sleet/wind. I got up, gathered everything together, had a glass of OJ and toasted my bagel, schmeared some PB and a banana on it, and headed out. I had to weigh-in (didn't have to, but I hate missing a week), so decided to head up to Dalhousie as they are open before 7. I do not like their scales...according to mine, I lost a little bit this week, and if I weighed in at Fish Creek, I probably would show that. But Dalhousie's had me up a pound...oh well, what do you do at this point, right? Suck it up and move on.
After leaving there, I went to Starbuck's to get a massive coffee to help wake me up a bit. I hate getting in line behind stupid people!! Seriously, it's 7am on a Saturday - do you really need to decide if you want sweet or not or bold or not or what have you??? Make your decision, pay your money and get out of my way!!!! Do you people not understand the seriousness of 5 shots of Espresso!!!!
Got to Bowness Park at about 7:15, which gave me plenty of time to sip some coffee, eat my bagel and get my mind ready for Blood & Guts.
I decided to try something this race, something I have never done before...I ran without a water pack. I decided there were 4 water stations, and after last week and barely drinking any, I figured try it out. See, while I like water, I hate the "sloshing, slopping, crap hanging off of me" stuff. I ran free today!! Not sure how well it worked, as only the last water station (at the 18km mark) had Gatorade, which by that point is way too late. For the marathon I will definitely run with the water/OJ mix, but I think for future Half's and shorter races, free is better.
Felt good going in, and hit the halfway mark (running the first 10km before a wee walk break) at 1:16, which is wicked good time. Then we hit the park with the hills...sigh...I ran them as best I could, and allowed myself to walk (still managed to walk them faster then some people ran them) but I could not get my heart rate back under control. I still ran more than 10:1's, basically running till I just couldn't and walking to get the breathing back to normal. Then there's the big hill down (LOVE THE BIG HILL DOWN!) and the final 3km...passed my marathon instructor (coming the other way) so I hope I looked strong - he didn't yell at me to straighten up or anything, so I think I looked good. Down to the last two km, and now I'm struggling...hit the 20km marker and started to hoof it (I went from 8:23/km to 7:25/km - last 100m were at an blistering 4:45/km!!) and pushed through the pain to cross the finish line. I did it, and I wasn't last. My only credo!!!
Given all the hills, I'm very pleased with the time. This tells me that I should be able to break 2:30 with a flat course.
I'm changed into dry clothes, drank about a litre of OJ, and am going to lay down for a bit, before I jump in the shower and go collect H-woman to go to our Greek cooking class. Details (and possibly pics) about that later. George is wondering why I have the camera out and what I'm doing, and why do I taste so salty?!

Enjoy your day, what ever you are doing in it.
Happy May 1st. Go dance around a Maypole, if that's your thing.

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