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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Fly by post

Holy crap, where has the last week gone?  Oh yeah, buried under a pile of turkey, cookies, stuffing, gravy, wrapping paper, more cookies, chocolate, wine, wine, some more wine and jammies.  Today I had enough, and was ever so happy to be back at work, and therefore ROUTINE.

Met up with the peeps and pounded out a decent 7.79km in 54 minutes (6:54 pace...I am a machine), which included the SPEC-TAC-U-LAR wipe-out performed by none other than sweet old me.  It was epic.  One moment, running along side rather cute dude (God, tell me I was flirting nicely), next moment flat on my face and sliding!  Jumped up, a tad embarrassed but not much worse for wear (dude was amazed I wasn't even dirty from the fall...Mama raised a lady) and continued on the run after a brief walk.  Sad part is, this was my second fall today.  Walking home from work, day-dreaming and took a header over a lip on the sidewalk.  SPLAT!  I think my bruises tomorrow should be very interesting.

After the fooda-pa-looza that was my last 4 days,  I will be back out for a run tomorrow night.  May be too little, too late, but what happens tomorrow at weigh-in happens.  I am accountable only to myself, and therefore have no one or no reason to be upset. 

To help alleviate the "I'm bored with no boot camp in the evenings, so hey, let's eat" thing I noticed happening recently, I signed up to be the 5km clinic instructor at my Running Room.  So far, there appears to be 6 souls signed up.  Gulp.  Actually, I think this will be fun and will push me out of my comfort zone.  Not that I have any problem with public speaking (the only class in college that I earned an A+ in) but the thought I know enough about running to pass on the wisdom.  Daunting.

All right...time for bed.  I know I'm not getting enough zzz's, so I'm working on it.

Hope all of you had a very merry Christmas, and found all you wished for under your tree.  If not, it's on sale this week.

Final race (and #22) of 2011 on Saturday night, so watch for a full recap on the weekend.  I'm even going to try and figure out the money spent...or maybe I just don't want to know!

Later,

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Keeping up with boys

Put the call out to whomever wanted to run, as I was feeling the need for speed.  Okay, it was either run or sit at home and eat.  I am detecting a direct correlation between not working out at boot camp (therefore no endorphins flying through system) and feeling the need to fill the empty void with sugary treats.  I may not be the brightest bulb, but I do make a connection every now and then.

I almost missed out on the run too, as I got home, changed and then was sucked into the vortex of my latest People magazine!  Realized the time and raced out the door, arriving just past 6.  Both D's were waiting patiently (let's go with patiently) for me to show up, and after confirming there wouldn't be anyone else joining us, we took off.  I admit to being a little concerned about pace, as DO was the 4:30 pacer for the last marathon clinic (I was the 5:00 pacer) and DC just qualified for Boston in Seattle in November.  Uh-oh...this could hurt.

Both were gentlemen, and made sure they stayed with me (it was dark, after all), but still set a pace that was demanding.  We ran west first, so we'd have the wind to our backs for the return, and crossed over at Crowchild.  Chatted about this and that, got out of the way of cyclists and enjoyed another lovely evening in Calgary.  Weather has been downright perfect for running these days.  Fingers crossed our good luck holds out. 

There was even a Christmas miracle on the route, as the section around 10th Street and Memorial Drive has finally opened up to runners again.  They (the City) have been working on this section for what feels like FOREVER (okay, over a year at least), so as a runner, we always had to detour and wait for lights to change, run a super skinny section fighting for space with other runners, walkers, bikes, etc, all the while wondering if we'd ever get to run by the river again.  Tonight we ran by the river!  The path under the 10th St bridge has reopened, and they even did some work around a rather tight, dangerous patch that totally opens it up for two way traffic.  Now, if they could just finish the Peace Bridge and get the south side of the path open again, all will be right in the world.  After crossing under 10th St, we ran to Prince's Island, where I told the boys to continue if they wanted, but I was heading in.  We all went across, and finished at 7:78km in 53:37, or a 6:54/km pace.  I keep this up, and I'll be qualifying for Boston soon enough!!!

After some stretching, we decided that we were parched and managed to find seats in our usual haunt, the Barley Mill.  In fact, the place was almost...empty.  Sadly, our luck will not hold out for tomorrow night (usual BM night) as they confirmed they are already booked solid.  Tonight I had the turkey, brie and strawberry sandwich on a very dark brown bread.  With side salad, it was tasty and filling.  However, they were out of Guinness (WTF?!?) so I had to settle for a Kilkenny.  So not the same...  J.came down and joined us, which was awesome as we may not be able to get together again before she heads home for Christmas, and had a really nice visit.

I am ever so grateful for my running peeps.  They keep me going, even when I don't want to.  They encourage, challenge, amaze and inspire me.  They make me laugh, out loud, just like Snoopy!
Case in point:

Yeah, that be me in the background, enjoying yet another silly race-day moment.

Joining a running group was the best decision I ever made in my life.  If you haven't, do it now.  Right now!  You won't regret it.

Later,

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Run Santa Run

Race #21 on the books.  Calgary's Third Academy's Run Santa Run.  This wasn't a timed race, and you could choose either a 5km or 10km distance (of course, I chose 10), but instead of a t-shirt or bling, you got a full on Santa Suit to wear!

Me on the right, with Santa D. in the middle and Mrs. Claus W., who may have regretted the full on velvet outfit, considering the temps hit +10C yesterday!  As you can see by the sweat stains, this is AFTER the race.

Here's a good before shot!  Santa G. came in 2nd for the 5km: even though it wasn't timed, he still got a medal!

A sea of Santa's getting ready for the gun!!

Myself and Santa J. running in.  We maintained a perfectly wonderful 6:38 pace, coming in at 1:03:32.  Considering my 10km PB is 1:03 and was done in October without snow and ice, I'm really pleased with my pace yesterday.  I may have held Santa J. back, as she is a much faster runner, but we chatted the whole way, and I didn't feel like I was struggling to keep up.  I may just master this running thing yet!  What I'd really like to know is how Santa J's outfit still looks pristine, and I look like I fell in the river?! 

Despite all the snow in the pictures, it was a perfect day for a run!

After some visiting and a coffee, I changed and met up with another friend A. for brunch.  We went to the Barley Mill, which was empty, where I had the ham, cheese and mushroom omelet with wheat toast.  It tasted so good, I basically had the same thing today, only it became a pepper scramble (red, orange and yellow peppers, celery, Egg Beaters, Epicure Roasted Red Pepper dip mix and Epicure 3-Onion dip mix, shredded cheese) at the last minute.  Still quite yummy, filling and only 7 PP for the whole thing!

It snowed a bit overnight, although God has kindly removed most from my sidewalks for me.  Just have to scoot out and clean up a bit out front.  Then down to Mom's, get some groceries, and then back home.  Did laundry this morning, so if I get home early enough, I'll head out for a quick run to get my sweat on.  And figure out what to have for supper.  Only one more week till Christmas, but not freaking out.  I'm going to resist baking right till next Saturday (no cookies in house = no temptation!) and then will make a small batch of chocolate pecan tarts (buttertarts sans raisins) to take to the Christmas Eve open house at a friend's.  And maybe a cheese ball. 

Can't believe it's after 2pm already...guess the day gets away from a person when they sit up far too late and sleep in.  Who knew?!

Later,

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Double Duty

Boot camp this am involved legs...lots of legs.  Squats interspersed with squat holds, hack squats followed by single leg dead-lifts, followed by regular dead-lift raises.  It was a leg-a-thon and I am now starting to feel it.  Could be partially due to last night's run through the loose snow, which also does a number on the butt and hammies.  But why let that stop me from lacing up the runners and heading back out tonight.

The clinics running right now were doing hill training, but while I enjoyed that, it does get monotonous running up and down the same hill over and over again.  Since we did the 10k last night that included a long hill, we decided to stick to the flats tonight and ran long zoo instead.

It was another perfect evening in Calgary, just cold enough to remind you it's December, but not bitter.  I think -4C is perfectly reasonable weather to run in.  Didn't stop me from looking like I stuck my head under a tap along the way.  MS's daughter, home from Uni, joined us tonight, which is good because we needed someone speedy to keep up with DS.  As it was, I ended up with a 7/km pace overall, even faster than last week's "fast" time.  Who am I?!

km 1 - 7:16
km 2 - 7:05
km 3 - 7:02
km 4 - 7:13
km 5 - 6:50
km 6 - 6:44
km 7 - 6:58
last 440 m - 6:32

Well, that looks like a negative split to me, Bob.  Boo-yah!

After changing (okay, I strip off my wet shirt and put on a dry one, in the parkade by my car...not shy!), and trying to figure out where to eat, we ended up at the Garage again.  Actually, it's not bad.  They don't sheep-dip their vegetables in butter (Joey Eau Claire, side vegetable for entree, 21g of fat!  There's no sauce, there's barely any vegetable...so choked) and they serve Guinness on draught, rather than in the can.  And the grilled salmon club is actually quite good.  Nice salmon fillet, grilled (not battered and fried), whole wheat ciabatta, green salad on the side.  Nom, nom, nom, slurp (still had Guinness, after all).

Okay, home now, DailyMile updated, FatSecret journal updated, eyes at half-mast...time for sleeps.

Later,

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

No excuses

That's what I was told when the email about a Tuesday night meet-up for a run went around this afternoon.  "Carol, you have no valid excuses, so we'll see you at 6"...or something along that line.  And they were right, I had nothing! 

So, I walked home from work, arriving at 5:30 (starting late is throwing me off!), changed and left my house, arriving right on time.  Met up with J., MS, DC and DS.  Other than meeting at Eau Claire, we didn't have a plan.  So DS suggested heading west to Crowchild, cross the river, back to 10th St, up the hill and into Crescent Heights, back to Centre St and home.  After setting Mr. Garmin, we were off.

DS and J took off, both being much faster runners.  And DC, ever the gentleman, stayed with MS and myself, although we told him to take off if he wanted (he's a REALLY fast runner, qualifying for Boston on his last marathon PB) but he treated tonight as a recovery run and stuck with us.  It really was a perfect night for run...cool, around -2C - 0C (high 20's F) with little to no wind.  The paths were clear with some icy patches, but no one fell (DC did scare the crap out of me, as I thought he was going down at one point, but he caught himself quite nicely, resulting in 9.5 from the Russian judge!)...Kept our pace going nicely too, until we hit the hill of 10th St.  It isn't so much steep as it is long, and with the walkway not really cleaned off, it was like running up a loose sandy beach hill.  A long, loose, sandy beach hill!  I did walk for about 15-20 seconds, and finally made it to the top.  After letting my heart rate drop back down below 130 (which happens quite quickly now...fitness rocks!), we took off, running past some prettily decorated homes, and the lights of downtown Calgary.  Down Centre St, and back to Eau Claire.  All in all, 10.75km in 1 hour and 19 minutes.

Met up with the Speedy McRunners, and figured out who was running where next, before we all scattered to the wind.  I didn't have anything at home quick and easy to cook for supper (wasn't planning a run when I was planning dinner) so I grabbed the salmon club ciabatta from the Garage, that I had last week.  While everything else in the food court is closed, the Garage kitchen is "outside" the establishment, so you can get the food items to go.  Sadly, not the beer though!  Drat. 

Ate that, watched Glee twice (on the PVR and then live), and got caught up on my DailyMile, FatSecret journal, reading blogs and this post.  I really should be going to bed, but I just can't get my brain to accept that the alarm will still be going off at 5am!!  But here I go anyway...  No more excuses.

Later,

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas Card

You're hogging my shot, woman!  Get out of the frame and give the people what they want...



Meow-y Christmas and a Scrappy New Year...
Mmmmmmwwwwaaaaaahhhhhh!


Purrfectly yours,
Giorgio Armani Whyte

Sunday

Sat up way too late last night watching of movies - finally saw the Hangover...m-eh.  Not rushing off to catch the HO2, that's for sure.  Then watched the last bit of Reds (I heart Bruce Willis!) and finally trotted off to bed at 1:30, having decided around midnight that I did not feel like leaping out of bed in the morning for a run.  In hindsight, that may be been a good idea, as the snow started sometime last evening and is really piled up out there.  Shovelling = cardio.

As I was crawling into bed, I saw I had a voicemail, and once I opened up who called, I felt like such a heel!  I was supposed to go to a house party last night!!  Can't believe I totally forgot about it!  What an idiot.  I don't even have a good defense.  Yesterday morning was spent at the Epicure Selections 2012 product launch, and then brunch at Milestones with some of the ladies that I sell with.  I had the Signature Breakfast Wrap, which would have been worth the 93g of fat, had they actually put some of the avocado salsa on it!  I think I found 1 teeny, tiny little cube to enjoy, and the rest of the breakfast was just...not even worth a m-eh.  Bland is a good word to describe it, which is odd when you are promised salsa. 

After brunch, I decided since I had fought so hard for mall parking (the restaurant is at a local shopping mall), I do start some Christmas shopping!  Picked up stuff for Mom and my great nephew and niece, as well as purchased all the calendars I need for 2012.  I like calendars...I currently have 4 5 in my house alone.  My house is not that big!  But pick the right one, and they actually become art.  So for 2012 I have a small cat one from the Meow foundation (supports the cause), my beloved Rocky Mountains, Paris in B&W and a Martha Stewart cookies one for the kitchen (comes with recipes).  Then I'll pick up my 16mo at a glance from Scotiabank, which I'll also have at work.  Despite my smart phone, I also picked up a 24-mo book for the purse, and a small hanging one for work which wisely states "why limit happy to only an hour?"...so true.

I got home just before 5, and ate leftover Chinese for supper (had a hankering on the way home from work Friday night, so Shanghai noodles, mixed vegetables and S&P squid followed me home!).  I peeled the now soggy coating off the squid, picked the disgustingly fatty pork from the noodles (so nasty) and tossed everything together in a pan to heat through.  It was very good and should appear on their menu...Shanghai noodles with vegetables and squid.  Sold!

Just finishing another cup of coffee before I go tackle the walks, although it is still snowing.  It does look like the neighbour to the east did my one section for me though.  How nice!  Maybe because last weekend we were both out at the same time, and were sharing caretaker horror stories.  I will have to remember to pay it forward next time, if I beat him outside to shovel.  Should it stop snowing any time soon, I will gear up and head out for a run.  I do need to set up some sort of schedule for training for both the Ultra in February (52km!!!  WTF was I thinking?!?!) and the Vancouver marathon in May.  I'm pretty confident in my base already being in place (2011: 2 5k's, 1 8k, 7 10k's, 9 Halfs and 3 Fulls! - yes, 22 races in total, and there's two more I didn't count because I didn't run them - once cancelled till further notice and the other I forgot to pick up my race package)...just need to keep the energy up for the 6+ hours I'll be out.

Okay...maybe just one more cup of coffee, and then I'll head outside to clean the walks.  And figure out what I want for supper.

Later,

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Three for Thursday

1.  So tired this morning...alarm went off at 5am.  I shut it off, set alarm on phone for 6 and went back to sleep.  Alarm went off at 6, reset it for 7 and went back to sleep.  Alarm went off at 7, hit snooze till 7:30.  Just get out of bed already!

2.  Found a pesky pound at weigh-in today, despite my home digital devil being the same as it was last week.  Really need to introduce those two and have them get along with each other!  Received the new PointsPlus 2012 information, which I still need to read through, but at least there aren't many changes this time around.  Took me almost a full year to dump old Weight Watchers from this brain for the new stuff.

3.  Tried Kale chips, after being tempted by Jaime.  I put too much salt on mine, but not bad for a first try.  I went with Salt & Vinegar (evoo, red wine vinegar and Epicure Chili Garlic Sea Salt) and while they got nice and crispy, a few were almost too crispy (could barely pick them up) and some other pieces still mushy.  So, lessons learned were...spread out more evenly, lower the heat on my convection oven and way less salt.

Later,

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Discombobulated

Truth be told, if it weren't for Trainer Josh, I would not be at 6am boot camp.  I do not like 6am at the best of times, even when I have to be up at that time to get to work for 7am.  Not much of a fan of that time either, but I do love the leaving work part at 3:30pm.  Especially this time of year, when the sun drops out of the sky at what seems to be mid-afternoon!

This little experiment started Monday morning, but I did drive into work afterwards, as I had some large items to take in with me.  The drive itself wasn't too bad, considering 7am is rush hour, but I really do hate paying $20 to park my truck for the day, and we're not even "downtown core".  The facility that he uses for the morning class is all right...it's a community hall, but it's two levels and hardwood floors, so it's nice to run around on, and we've got stairs to add to our cardio.  Monday's class was about 12-14 of us, and today there were 8.  We still get our sweat on, but again, if it weren't for Josh, I so wouldn't be there!

What's really throwing me off is Tuesday working normal, and then coming home to do....nothing.  No boot camp to run off to.  Now what the heck do I do?!  I napped...that's the same, right?!  I will need to get this figured out for the next few weeks, as I really did miss the sweat-a-thon I normally have on these nights.  Today was hard too, as by the time I got home, cleaned up, changed and walked into work, it was 8:30.  That means working till 5.  I haven't worked till 5 for almost 3 years now...it was very odd to me to keep sitting there and especially hard when I had to walk home in the dark.  Didn't like it one little bit...but again, it's for Trainer Josh, and I'll figure out a new plan for January & 2012.  Just no idea what that will be yet.

Decided since I was such a slack-a** yesterday (hehehe) that I should go for a run with the gang tonight.  After all, what else would I do with my evenings, now that they are void of boot camp (going to drag this out for while, people...get used to it!)?  Although, I barely had time to get home from work, change and race out the door again, making it to Eau Claire just at 6pm.  Everyone waited, which was nice.  We were doing a tempo run (at least, I think we were doing a tempo run) but no idea of the course, distance or even pace we were attempting.  It had snowed earlier today, so the paths were dusty and icy in spots.  And it's dark now at 6pm, so that meant headlamps for everyone.  I bundled up (currently -11C, which is oddly enough 11F) with long pants, a long sleeved tech shirt, with a tech T over top and my construction orange resolution jacket.  Which I've decided is so way too big for me now!  Can't believe it used to be tight across the chest and belly!  Yay me!  Add to that gloves and my Runner Girl toque and I was ready for anything.

We took off to the east, running past Fort Calgary, to St. George's bridge, back to the Zoo, over to Memorial Drive and west to home.  Good pace, with DO keeping me company for the first half, and then J. and MS taking over for the last half (everyone tonight is a much faster runner than I, so the company was most welcome).  No walk breaks, and a good pace had us finishing just under 7.5km in 53 minutes.  Some of the group continued on for another klick or two, but I was done when we reached the Prince's Island bridge.  I'll tackle the longer distances on the weekends.

With the Christmas season upon us, all the area pubs and restaurants were packed tonight, so instead of our usual Barley Mill meal, we ended up at the Garage.  Service left a bit to be desired (felt like we were bothering the waitress, what with wanting food AND drinks...) but the food was all right.  I had a salmon (shocker, I know) sandwich on ciabatta, with a side green salad and a pint of Guinness.  I am nothing if not predictable! 

Okay...must head off to bed.  I've been up for far too long, and am fading fast.  Happy Hump Day.

Later,

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Lazy, lazy Sunday

So happy I did all the running around I needed to yesterday, before all the snow blew into town.  The forecast called for "flurries"...we have got to teach our weather people the definition of that word!  it started coming down about 5pm last night, while Mom and I were enjoying dinner, and it didn't stop till sometime this morning. 

Yesterday's 5km race was also completed well before the snow, and good thing.  It was a charity run, the Santa Shuffle, to raise money for the Salvation Army Christmas campaign.  There were hundreds of people out to enjoy either a 5km run/walk or a 1km walk, and it turned out to be a perfect day for a run.  Although this race wasn't officially timed, Mr. Garmin showed yet another PB for me, clocking in at 31:51.  Again, getting oh, so close to breaking that 30 minute 5km.  Soon.  After grabbing a latte, and a late breakfast with the peeps, I headed home to finish sorting the latest Epicure order and dropped it off in the far south east end of town.  Then over to Mom's to drop off Purdy's and cat food.  Then it was off to the grocery store for milk and treats for Mom (no point buying regular food...Meals on Wheels takes care of that), and then heading into the Bull & Finch Pub for dinner.  Mom wanted something different, and I didn't want fast food.  While she worked on a burger bigger than her head, I had a philly cheese steak sandwich (only ate half the bun) with fries.  Yes, I had some fries...they were fabulous! 

Got Mom home, unpacked her groceries, and slowly made my way home on snowy roads.  Traffic was a bitch for 6pm on a Saturday night...WTF?!  Finally got home after 7 (I did stop into Home Depot for building supplies) and decided to take advantage of a break in the snow to shovel the walks.  Happy I did, because this morning the snow was wet, heavy and plentiful.

After a lovely lie-in this morning, I had some coffee and caught up on blogs and facebook, as well as tracked my many friends running the Sacramento Marathon this morning.  Especially Garrath, who finished in 3:26, more than enough time to catch his flight to Vegas, pick up his bib and start the marathon there at 4pm.  Last I checked, his half split in Vegas was identical to his half split in California.  The man is a machine!  I also did a couple of loads of laundry, had a major workout shoveling the walks (yes, strange lady, when I drop a load of snow right where I just shoveled and I get mad, I drop f-bombs.  Out loud.  Deal with it!), had a nap and made a chicken curry for supper.  It was all right, but not picture worthy.  Was rather grey instead of curry yellow.  Not sure why, 'cept maybe too much Garam Masala and not enough Madras Curry.  Still tasted fine.

Now I have to get caught up on the Amazing Race, and get to bed nice and early.  The alarm at 5am is going to come way too early!  Only 9 more Trainer Josh sessions...insert sad face here.  As a side note, me and girls took Trainer Josh out for supper on Friday, after class, and had a nice evening of laughs.  The ladies were prepared and brought extra tissues, but I held it together!!  I even "taught" the class at the beginning, as Josh was caught in traffic and running late.  So I had everyone running laps (gym and down the stairs, up again), once they realized I was serious, and then doing side shuffles / high knees.  Good thing Josh showed up when he did...despite going 5 times a week, I totally blanked on what we should do next!  Even forgot it was Tabata Friday!

Later,

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Three for Thursday

Seems like a good title, no?

1) It was shoulderiffic day at boot camp tonight.  Presses, squat presses, presses with bands, push-ups, wide hand push-ups, weird hand push-ups (one hand is close to shoulder, the other is wider out by head...try it...you'll like it), lat raises, bent over rows, dead lifts with row...throw in some running around, full body bikes, toe touches, lunges, ab work and curls, and you have our night.  I sweat up a real storm.

2) Despite setting a goal of 0 pounds lost/gained this week at Weight Watchers, and having FUN at my company Christmas party, I managed to lose 1.2 pounds today at weigh-in.  I really feel like all my hard work is starting to come together.  I still indulge every now and then, but it's controlled and not all the time, like before.  Finally my internal motor (read: metabolism) is up and running smoothly, after years of abuse and neglect.  Just needed a good kick in the can!  Also had Trainer Josh measure me for one last time (sniff, sniff), and while I don't have the actual numbers yet, we're both pretty sure I managed to trim off yet another 1-2 inches.  Boo-yah!

3) I "may" have done something a little crazy today.  Certifiable, actually.  My defense, should I need one, is that all the cool kids are doing it, and my running peeps make it sound like so much fun.  Yes, I am now part of a team that will be racing the Sinister 7 in July 2012.  The team portion of this race sold out in just over an hour today, so I'll be part of 1050 (?) other teams made up of other crazy people.  Should be fun.  And while I was in a "oh, sure, sounds like a plan" moment, I also signed up for (gulp) my very first Ultra.  Only this one is in February...in Calgary...that's in Canada...in FEBRUARY!  It's called the Frozen Ass 50 for a reason, and it's actually 52km.  What the heck have I done?!  In case anyone is counting, that's a Half, an Ultra, a marathon and a relay trail run so far for 2012.  And here I said I wouldn't do as many races next year!  Someone save me from myself.

But if you think I'm crazy, look who I learned it from.  I come by it honestly, as this guy was my marathon clinic instructor for two seasons.  Run, Gorrest, Run.

Later,

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Burpees, how I loathe thee

I think Trainer Josh is trying to squeeze as many burpees in before class ends that he possibly can.  His new favourite combination?  Five burpees followed by ten fast/power jacks (where you jump in the air) followed by 15 squats/jump squats.  We did this combo a few times tonight, in between other circuits.  Ouch.  Class was small, with only 7 of us there.  But that just meant more room for us to run around in.

I was reminded today how far I've come again.  I was getting the sales pitch to order a running photo for my Christmas cards (really?!) but looking at the picture from a race in March, I really saw how much I've slimmed down.  I know I can look at the numbers, but the visual is so...real.  I saw it in my thighs especially...cool.

After class I popped into the liquor store to pick up some wine.  We're having a wine pool at work, which we do every Christmas.  It's fun, and can turn into quite a haul.  You join a team of 6.  Each of you has to pay a twonie and a bottle of wine.  Then, when all the teams are set, names go into the bucket and so many names are pulled each day until the final date.  Last teams/names standing win the wine.  One year we had over 300 bottles, so the winning team took home a dozen each!  We also have 2nd and 3rd place, along with best team name, first eliminated, etc.  All the money goes to our Christmas fundraising campaign.  Most years, the finance department manages to raise more than all of the building combined.  We're pretty focused, and try to come up with different ideas.  This year is the wine pool, our weekly 50/50 draws and a silent auction of way cool goodies (hockey tickets, a Wii, a Koobe (??), food baskets, gift certificates...awesome stuff.  I've done some bidding, but won't know till tomorrow if I won anything. 

Dinner was simple but tasty.  Turkey meatloaf, al a Safeway (it's quite tasty, and low fat) and cauliflower al a Roger Mooking.  Toss cauliflower (and I added butternut squash cubes) with a mix of canola oil, cumin and garlic.  Sprinkle on some panko crumbs and roast in a hot oven till things start to get toasty and browned.  It was very good!

Heading back to the warehouse tomorrow, as the inventory count isn't done yet.  We are assured it'll only be for a few hours, so I hope to make my boot camp after work like normal.  Will be very cranky if I miss it!

Time for sleeping. 

Later,

Monday, November 28, 2011

Oh, what a night / oh, what a day

All my hours at boot camp and running paid off. 
The company Year End Celebration (read: Christmas) Party was Saturday night, and in anticipation of much alcohol and food, I went for a 17km run with the peeps earlier in the day.  It was a great day for a run, if a bit cold along the route in a few spots.  But still happy I went out (yes, even while cursing under my breath up the hills...at least I hope it was under my breath!).

Our company knows how to throw a good party!  At the Hyatt, in the Grand Ballroom, we have a signature drink upon entering (this year is was blue (company colours), made with Citrus vodka and Gatorade...yes, Gatorade.  Wasn't bad, actually), and then once you are seated (arranged seating), appetizers of salmon nigiri, California rolls, bruschetta, and other bits and bites.  Wine at the table was a lovely Malbec, and then after celebrating long service awards (3 at 30 years and 1 at 35 years!) and watching the annual video (always about something in the year, slamming our competition in a fun way, and just overall fun and funny), we were taken out table by table for the main course.  Greek, Caesar, regular and quinoa salads, grilled asparagus (white & green) and artichokes, amazing smashed potatoes, baked cheese ravioli, roasted turkey and prime rib.  Back at the tables, dessert platters and fresh fruit were laid out for our choosing.

These were small but AH-MAZING!!!  Seriously needed a smoke after this little bite of heaven!  I ate 3 of them!!!!  The live band started after dessert wrapped up, and there was dancing, and laughing and visiting and more drinks than I care to count...let's see...2 glasses of wine with dinner and 5-6 vodka sodas?!  Good thing I had already planned on leaving James in the parkade overnight, so there was never a thought of driving home.  Left the party feeling not so bad, and home and in bed by 1:30.
This is my hang-over face...or my "oh, thank goodness, there's a Starbucks open downtown!".  I was on my way to Eau Claire for the Chase the Elves run.  Yes, I knew at the party that I had a run in the morning, but since I was an elf and not a runner per say, I knew I would be fine.
In all my Elfie glory!!!  We were carrying prize tickets (so that the runners chase and "catch" us for them), so we get about a 5 minute head start on the runners.  I had fun hiding behind poles, trees, moon walking, running in slo-mo, dancing and whatever else I could think of to entertain the runners and Sunday walkers on the pathway.  I had the Monkeys song stuck in my head for most of the morning, for whatever reason, so that helped.  Luckily for the race, the wicked hurricane winds didn't pick up till after the race was over, although it was a bit breezy at times.

After lunch with some of the runners I know, I walked over to the parkade (the wind was really picking up now) and rescued James, heading off to another friend's house, where she was having an open house for Silpada jewellery that she sells.  It's fun walking through downtown Calgary in full elf outfit, and acting like it's my usual Sunday attire.  Got a few funny looks!  Once at C's, I changed (she wanted me to stay in it all afternoon, but I was getting tired) and had another glass of wine and some munchies, while visiting with people I haven't seen in a while.  Finally, around 4pm, I think my weekend caught up to me!  I suddenly wanted my couch, and badly!  However, as I was driving home from the suburbs where she lives, all the news was about downtown Calgary being shut down.  Yes, they closed all the incoming streets into the core, as windows were being blown out of buildings and it was raining glass all over the city.  Winds of over 149km/hour were clocked at one point, so now I just really wanted to get home, if for nothing else than to make sure everything was where it was supposed to be!

I got home okay, and the trees here are still standing, although the fence we share on one side is leaning over more than I'd like.  I'll have to get that fixed this week, before it crashes down and into my building.

Boot camp was at 6am this morning, as I was off to the warehouse for inventory all day.  Gave both Trainer Josh and myself a taste of what December is going to be like!  We'll both adjust, I'm sure.  The good news is I didn't have to be to the warehouse till later than usual, so I came home from boot camp and crawled back into bed for an hour! 

Got home, noshed on some food (not really hungry, as we went for Vietnamese at lunch today), had a wee nap on the couch.  My feet and legs are not liking me right now, after standing in girly shoes all Saturday night, running around with elf booties over my runners on already swollen feet yesterday and then standing on concrete all day today...my dogs are beat!

Now heading to bed for real.  Hope everyone had a great weekend.

Later,

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

What?!

Yesterday I got my flu shot.  Yesterday, I felt fine.  Today...not so much!  Now, I know for a fact that you do not get the flu from the flu shot.  I've been getting the shot every single year for the past 16+ years, and except for the odd year when the doctors truly have no idea what the germs have in store for us, have been just fine.

Today was an exception.  I am achy, my head hurts, sneezing, throat is a little on the scratchy side and I've already had two accidental naps on the couch since coming from from work.  In other words, I am not well.  I even...wait for it...it's shocking...stayed home from boot camp and Wednesday night beer/dinner with the peeps!  That must mean I'm sick!

I did my best to recreate my latest Wednesday dinner of horseradish salmon, asparagus and salad, but sans Guinness.  Sadly, I do not have a keg to tap at home, and Guinness is best in draft.  Can or bottle...blech.  The salmon is super easy, and oh, so tasty.  Mix together equal parts mayonnaise and horseradish (I like it to have a bit of a kick...to mix to taste) and schmear (yes, that is a technical cooking term) on a nice, thick piece of salmon.  Sprinkle top with panko crumbs...you don't need a lot, like a tablespoon or so.  Bake in a hot oven (I cooked mine at 400F) until the salmon is just done and panko starts to brown.  Meanwhile, grill or pan fry asparagus till tender crisp, and mix up a salad of greens, tomato and cucumber slices.  Top with Balsamic dressing.  Enjoy.

Today is day 3 of my FatSecret challenge of not eating after 8pm.  Not that I really did, but man, the minute you say you can't, it's all you want to do.  I have to say not feeling 100% tonight has helped quell the urges.

Okay...off to heavily medicate and go to bed.  Hoping a good, solid night's sleep will help me kick whatever this is to the curb.  After all, it's my Christmas party on the weekend and I plan on having FUN!  After running 16-20km that day, of course.  Yay...more booze food dancing!

Later,

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Ch-ch-changes

Simple truth about me...I am not a fan of change.  Especially when the change seems to happen out of my control.

I have been sitting on something for a few weeks now, and quite frankly, have been miserable.  Tears (many, many) have been shed, mostly out of true sadness but a lot due to frustration.  But now that it's sort of "official", I can get this off my chest.  There may be more tears shed tonight (oops...already were).  But that's just par for the course.

So what is causing all my angst and despair?  I am losing my Trainer Josh.  Wow...can barely type that out without my eyes welling up again, and throat tightening.  Anyway, due to the glut of boot camps, zumba and other fitness classes, combined with the reality of the economy, the boot camp I have lovingly followed (yes, even while dropping f-bombs, I loved it) for almost 3 years is, well, closing.  I am heartbroken, to say the least.  And at a complete loss as to what I will do after this session ends.  I do know that there will be another 3 week session to get us to Christmas, but it'll only be 3 times a week, and if I want to stick with Trainer Josh (which I do, no question there) will have to be at 6am.  Yes, that said A.M.  You know how I feel about mornings!  But after that, who is going to yell at me to focus, or to get my butt lower??  It's not going to be the same...and I don't like that.  Not one little bit.  I really do love boot camp, and Trainer Josh has a lot to do with that, as he makes it fun.  Not everyone does, and that just causes flashbacks to high school gym and how much I.hated.high.school.gym.  HATED IT.  I fully acknowledge that I do all the hard work, but the payoff was huge, not just in weight and lost inches, but in blowing running PR's out of the water!  And learning things about myself...that I can keep up with "kids" half my age (even passing some of them) and that I still suck at (and strongly dislike) burpees and roll-backs!  I'm not ready to give that up so easily.  I've got four weeks to formulate a plan for 2012.  I know how to do all the exercises, and yes, I can set up some sort of boot camp at home, but it is so not going to be the same.  I just want things to stay the same.  Forever...

Did I mention I hate change?

Later,

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Where have I been?

I've been doing my usual running around.  Work, boot camp, home, work, boot camp, home, repeat as necessary.

Weigh-in on Thursday went well, considering my re-introduction to that womanly TOM thing.  I'm a former BC user, who upon entering the wonderful, magical world of menopause (yes, I have the test results to prove it!) ceased to take the magical little pill in May.  My body finally clued in that it was still indeed female, and hit me with full force on Monday.  Wow... a period.  How quaint.  So while I did my best to not eat everything in sight, and maintained my exercise levels, I could tell the digital devils were going to gang up on me just by the way I felt.  However, I managed to lose .4.  I am happy with that.

The weekend rolled around, and it was a cold one in Calgary.  First big blast of winter, and I have to drive to the far southeast corner for an Epicure party.  Happens every time this hostess has a party, so I shouldn't be surprised.  Spent Saturday getting ready for it, mixing up cheese balls and other sample treats, loading up the car (getting much better...only two bags and a cooler) and driving south.  Return trip was over 60km!  It was a very low-key party, as the hostess is technically my boss (they manage the building I'm the caretaker of), and it was mainly family.  Busy time of year, so not many others showed up, which is expected but still rude.  So we all sat, ate, discussed Epicure, drank some wine and I made some money the whole time.  Bonus!

I set the alarm with the intention of running this morning, but I know I didn't eat enough (or properly) yesterday and got to bed a little later than I wanted to, so woke up with a killer headache.  Hmmmm...fight the pain and run 12km in -21C temps before the windchill, or shut off the alarm and go back to sleep.  Wanna guess which one won?!  Yeah, I slept.  Finally crawled out about 10, did some laundry (which counts as exercise, as it's up and down 3 flights of stairs for each load), ate some breakfast (steel cut oats with the leftover fruit cheese ball dip mixed in...apples & cinnamon.  Yum!), shoveled the walks (finally!) and then walked to the Core (downtown mall) to look for a party dress for next weekend.

I was feeling pretty cocky about my weight loss and inches melted from my body...that is until I started trying on dresses.  Wow!!!  And we wonder why women have eating disorders...what passes as a "large" is embarrassing.  I did finally settle on what I think is a nice dress.  The necklace is actually my Mom's, from either the late 50's or early 60's.  Looking around showed me the style is back in fashion, and I think it looks amazing against the blue of the dress.
Home, where I finished off a supper of leftovers...leftover savory cheesecake from last night's party, some of the Thai soup I made earlier this week, bits and bites like that.  I was hungry, but I wasn't. 

Back to the weekly grind tomorrow.  I really want to get a lot accomplished at work...I feel like I've been spinning my wheels for quite some time, and it appears I'll be wearing the two hats of my old and new job for a while longer, while we try to hire someone.  The more I can get ahead of the game, the better I'll feel.

With that, hope everyone had a lovely weekend.

Later,

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Four minutes

It's surprising what you can fit into 4 minutes.  Like step-ups, leg drivers and 1-legged squats, over and over and over again!  Or jumping rope, jumping jacks and burpees...dreaded burpees!  How about some floor mopping (seriously don't know what else to call this...lay a cloth of some type on the floor, place hands on said cloth, and then "run" across gym...try it.  Your quads will immediately, and quite loudly, thank you), lunges and hops.  Maybe you can drill off some push-ups, v-sit shoulder presses and drop-leg flies.  There's always the trilogy of dips, incline presses and kick-backs.  And then for run, there's some people pulls.  Again, no idea what to call this, but you "rope" your partner, who then runs while you hold them back.  Swap off and repeat till close to vomiting.  Yes, your legs will thank you in the long run.

That was boot camp tonight, and despite being challenging, it sure makes the hour go by quickly.  We finished up with a 6-minute drill of pyramid shoulder presses, lat raises and hold plank.  10-10-plank till minute is up.  9-9-plank till minute is up.  And down we count...remember, plank hold gets longer and the weights just get heavier.  Yes, my shoulders will thank me later!

I really felt this class tonight, as it was eerily similar to last night's festival of happy, good times!  Throw in some sprints up and down the stairs, and you have a virtual repeat.  I'm a little scared about tomorrow!

After dropping off my mother's Purdy's fix (she has a "wee" addiction to chocolate!), I came home and reheated my leftovers from yesterday.  Baked eggplant slices with fire-roasted tomatoes, green beans and chicken breast.  Nom, nom, nom.

Watched some Glee, caught up on some blogs, and am now getting ready for bed.  It's been a long week, and it's Tuesday!

Later,

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Last Chance

Today was officially (till I find something else) my last race of the year.  It's called the Last Chance Half, and since it's in November, in western Canada, it can really be the last chance any of us have to run without wearing mukluks and the like.

However, today's weather was perfection, albeit a tad gusty.  It's Calgary...we get wind.  A lot.  On Friday, there was a winter weather warning, and dire predictions of wind and blowing snow and white out conditions.  Still hasn't snowed.  Maybe we got so much last year, God is smiling upon this year.  A girl can dream, can't she?

Anyway, after a healthy, slightly abstract dinner of salmon, pickled asparagus, artichoke hearts and red pepper strips, I hydrated and hit the sack nice and early at 10:30.  Not sure why so early, since the race didn't start till 10am, but I wanted a certain time today, and I thought the proper amount of sleep should help.  Up at 8am, and after eating a breakfast of steel cut oats, a banana and the last of yesterday's latte (I kept it in the fridge, so it was an "iced" latte this morning), I analysed the weather and decided on an outfit of capris, long-sleeved tech shirt and short-sleeved over top.  Doesn't sound like a lot, but trust me, I was fine.

Met up with my peeps and after some last minute chatter and plans, we queued up outside to start the race.  There were many of us aiming for PB's today, given the fact that this was the last Half in the area till February, so we lined up with our respective pacers.  M, MS, E & J stuck with me, while S ran ahead with D and DC, DO, EdC and many others I knew today all paced themselves.

We were off at 10am exactly, and after running west a bit, we crossed the river at 10th St, and then ran east until we reached the zoo and St. Patrick's island.  Crossed the river once again, and continued east until we ran past the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary.  I was feeling really good and strong, although I will admit I was scared I would let my pacers down if I felt I couldn't keep up.  MS was awesome with the pace, knowing to pull me back a bit if she saw me dragging faster behind someone else, and more or less keeping our pace consistent.  We knew we'd have a heck of wind to run into on the way back, so she wanted to give us a bit of a "head start" on the time, to meet my 2:30 goal.

I fueled when I needed it (Honey Zinger chews every 40 minutes or so) and had my usual OJ/water/sea salt mix in the water bottle.  I felt strong and nothing hurt.  Amazing!

We turned back, and this is where I really like runs where I know the route well.  I can already see the markers in my head, and know it's just to that bridge, or to that street, and I know roughly how long it takes me.  We were returning the same way we came out, but knew we'd turn back sooner at Prince's Island, as the turnaround was past the 12km mark.  Overall, I still felt strong on the course, but the wind was doing a bit of a number on my breathing.  I get gaspy when the wind "sucks the air" out of my mouth (there is no nasal breathing in my world!) so MS and M tried to draft me, and provide a bit of a wind break.  Sadly, my head is about a head above them both, but God love em, they tried.  We hit the 19km mark, and knew this was time to push.  MS apologized for any bitching that may drop out of her mouth (I hope I did too...ladies?!) and we pushed on.  DC (1st in his age group, BTW) came back out to run the last km in with us, and we took off.  I knew we were really booking it, and then with a couple of hundred meters left, the ladies dropped back and screamed at me to go, and go I did.  Head up, chest out, shoulders back, I booked it to that finish line, and made it across in...

wait for it....

I'm pretty damn proud...

almost there...

Can you believe it?!  AND official race time, and Mr. Garmin are almost dead on this time.  That almost never happens.
404 2:25:31.27  1726 Carol WHYTE                50/60   226/266  F4049  Calgary AB         2:24:47.78  6:54
Holy moly, Guacamole!!!!!  A personal best of 2:24:47!  Considering my last Half in Canmore was 2:45 and my previous personal best was 2:42, this was HUGE!!!!

 My Running crew...hugs and huge thanks to them all for keeping me going right to the finish line...now to convince them all to run Vancouver in May next year!  I'd love a sub-5 marathon under my belt!

It has been a long year of races (some great, some okay and some just downright nasty!) and boot camp, but it has finally started to come together.  I have never felt this outstanding after a race, and I know I've got many more "fast" ones in me.

Thanks again ladies,

Later,

Friday, November 11, 2011

Week in review

It's been crazy since I returned from Banff, and while I haven't had to work a lot of overtime, I haven't left at 3:30 all week, most times getting home in just enough time to change and dash off to boot camp.  At least I haven't missed that.

It's been a sweat-filled week of burpees (every day! seriously?!), wal-marts (roll-backs, which I openly HATE!  And can't do to save my life...), running, hopping, squatting, lunging, curling, pressing, pushing, pulling, dipping, extending fun.  While I had fun in Banff, I was very conscious of my food intake, and it showed on the scale this week, with another loss of 1.8 lbs.  Although my scale was more favourable (it showed a 3 lb loss)...I need to get these darn digital devils to communicate with one another and reach a consensus.  While I am thrilled with the loss, the bigger one would have put me over the moon!!  But most I've been down in well over a year, so I'll take it anyway I can get it.

Since today is a day off work for me, I went to the 9:30am class, but man, I had some serious problems hauling my butt out of bed this morning.  Set the alarm for 8, snoozed to 8:45.  Finally crawled out, rammed a PB & Banana roll-up and a glass of milk down my throat and made it to North Glenmore park by 9:27.  Phew...two minutes to spare!!

It was a treat having an outdoor class, after the last few weeks of all indoors, and while the sun wasn't shining, it was Chinooking, so the temps are reasonable at +8C.  We ran down Weaslehead and back up, then it was a good old fashioned Tabata Friday.  Lots of people there this morning (20 of us??), so Trainer Josh had us all spread out, although I think some people thought we were some sort of race group.  They cheered us on as we ran by, or while we were in the midst of squats.  Funny.

After class, I left the gang at Weaslehead (some were going for a long run afterwards) and rushed home to change into dry clothes so I could go down to the laying of the wreathes at the Cenotaph and Eternal Flame.  I am blessed to live 2 blocks from Central Memorial Park where the Cenotaph is located, but only started going to the service last year.  I know...bad Canadian!  It's heartwarming to see all the younger people there...not just kids with their parents, but people in their late teens and early twenties, all there to show their respect.  Maybe society isn't lost at all.  Although found out today that our little "Occupy Calgary" group squatting in Olympic Plaza have been hanging the Canadian Flag upside down all week, including today.  Those people need a serious dose of reality thrust upon them...today of all days.  Disgusting.

Home and ate a lunch of chicken, roasted rep peppers and Havarti in a multigrain wrap.  These Flatouts are good (and only 3 PPs) but they have an odd texture that I just can't put my finger (or should that be tongue) on...not sure what it is, but I notice it every time I have one.

Not sure what to do the rest of the afternoon...there may be another boot camp at 5:30, and again, outside, but since it's dark by 5pm, nowadays, I don't know if I want to risk it.  Guess I'll contact Trainer Josh and see if he's got enough going (he wants a minimum of 8 to make it worth his time...I think a lot showed up this morning instead).  And maybe a nap...most definitely a nap.

I have been nominated by Cowgirl Warrior for a Versatile Blogger award, which I'll do up later today or tomorrow.  Thanks.

Later,

Today I Remember

Today I remember a Grandfather I never met...

Today I remember a Grandpa that returned with the physical scars of war...

Today I remember an Uncle that returned with the mental scars...

Today I remember friends that have served in our armed forces and police departments, all with pride...

Today I remember strangers who made the ultimate sacrifice so that I may live a life of freedom...

Today I remember that this is not a "holiday" but a day of solemn, quiet reflection...

Today I remember, and shed a tear (or two)...

Today I remember...

Monday, November 7, 2011

Back to reality

So sad to be back in Calgary...don't get me wrong.  I'm a 3rd generation born and bred Calgarian, but I just feel so at peace in the mountains.  Once day I will live there forever...one day.

Still trying to learn my new job at work, all the while keeping up with the old responsibilities.  This did not go well today, with me missing a meeting that was set weeks ago (not sitting at my desk to get the reminder).  It turned out okay, since the guest of honour was a no show, although it turns out she got confused and thought the meeting was at 3:30, not the 1:30 we had set.  Maybe she was still on eastern time.  Whatever...I'm gone at 3:30, so I can make it home for boot camp.

It was another good class...still feeling pretty cocky about my 4 minute time shave at Winterstart, and for not going all crazy on the weekend (yes, beer was consumed, but it didn't turn into a foodapalooza!), I entered the class ready to keep up with the cool kids.  Despite both trainers being there, it was the Josh show from the get go.  Michelle was there to cheer us on, and correct form when needed.  After running around and around and around the gym (why I hate indoor training) and doing dreaded burpees and other hellish warm-up moves, we moved on to the circuit, and the reason why I love boot camp.

Count of 10:
1) - squat press
     - wall sit with curls, shoulder press, control down the front.
2) - jump rope to 50
    - power or regular lunges
3) - shoulder press with bands
4) - seated rows with bands
5) - push-ups
    - full body bike
6) - 1-legged squats
repeat, adding curls to seated rows.
repeat, adding drop-leg overheads to push-ups/bike
repeat, adding dips to 1-legged squats
repeat, adding lat pulls to seated rows/curls.

This was a good, long circuit that kept us all moving along, till abs time.  Then Trainer Michelle took over.  Crunches, full sit-ups, supermans, side plank with dips (why can I do full plank fine, but when I'm on my elbows my shoulders want to dislocate and leave my body?!), Russian twists, v-sit, and assorted other forms of torture core fitness.  Finished with some stretching with Trainer Josh, and the first hour of the week was done.  In the blink of a sweaty eye!

Dinner was a grilled chicken breast with oven roasted veggie stuff: eggplant, zucchini, roasted red peppers, and fennel, tossed with balsamic vinaigrette and spices, topped with little goat cheese buttons.  Holy moly, guacamole, that was GOOD!

All right...tis time for me to sleep.  Trying to be really good about 7-8 hours of zzz's a night, and I'm actually getting tired.

Later, 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Winterstart Weekend 2011


After solving my stolen licence plate issue (6 voicemail messages, a business card, phone call with an office from the major crimes unit and a call first thing Friday morning to the original officer responsible for my "case" later, the bad guy was caught, but my plate is now evidence - trip to AMA solved the problem, as I now have a new plate) and getting caught up (a bit) at work, I left at 4pm, intent on having a fabulous weekend!

So happy to go to boot camp.  It was only one class that I missed, but it irks me that I had to miss it in the first place.  Irks.me...  Anyway, it was Tabata Friday, and we really worked out.  HARD!  Left feeling great, although I did have to swing by the house to pick up Mr. Garmin before heading out to my favourite place in the world.  The WORLD!  Banff, Alberta, Canada or Heaven.

It had snowed on Friday and yet, shockingly (insert sarcastic tone here), everyone in the city of Calgary appeared to forget completely that is a normal occurrence for November in CANADA, and freaked out with over 350 accidents!  There were even rumours that the highway to Banff was closed (NOOOOOOOO!!!!) but it was dry and fine when I drove on it at 7pm, albeit one section that was a little wet and slick, but all us wise drivers slowed down accordingly.  No mayhem...odd that.

It didn't even really look like winter, as the actual "storm" was quite light (an inch of snow??) and it wasn't even that cold.  Well, not for a hardy Canadian like myself.   In the 20F range, but to me, as long as the sun was shining, and the mountains looked like postcard cut-outs, it was perfection.

Dear Lottery Gods:
I want to live here.  Forever.  See what you can do about, 'kay?!
Always,
Your Faithful, Patient Fan
XX OO

After arriving and checking in, I met up with another running buddy Friday night at the Banff Avenue Brewing Company, I had a dinner of stout (their version of Guinness...not bad.  Best "copy" I've ever had, actually) and a salmon/veggie sandwich (only ate part of the bread) and green salad.  Then another friend showed up (she is staying the week...so jealous), and we enjoyed a couple of pints and some laughs.  Walked back to our hotels (Banff is very walking friendly) but loved mine, as it's a block from "downtown".  C's was at the far end, and quite a walk after a pint (or two).  I know...I've stayed at practically every hotel in Banff at some point, and have walked the walk many, many times!  Drunk, sober, winter, summer...it's all good.

Woke up Saturday, after shutting the alarm off at 8 (I am on "vacation" after all), and dozing off again at 9m, just after 10am.  Met up with C. and wandered over to Melissa's for a late breakfast.  Eggs, toast, shredded hash browns (it's before 3pm), bacon (small strip) and pancakes.  Trust me...this was lunch too!  Then we wandered about town, before meeting up with the rest of the gang who arrived that day for the race as well.  I'm pretty sure I knew at least 20-30 people running this 5-miler.  Such a great group of people to hang with!

Did nosh on a Guinness (the real stuff!) and some tuna "nachos"...basically sashimi tuna, with avocado and stuff on wonton "nacho" chips.  The good news is they were an appi, and it was a very small portion.  The bad news...wonton nachos!  aka deep fried.

After more laughter and frivolity, we split up to get ready for the race.  Seems our group was spread out over 5-6 different hotels in town! 

It was cool, with a bit of a breeze, but I was more worried about the walk back to my hotel after the race (I'll be wet from sweat then) than during the race.  I went with:
long pants
technical long-sleeved, tech T over top.  Lighter jacket over top that and a windbreaker shell over that.  Toque and gloves (which came off about 5 minutes into the race).  And tons of glow sticks.  It's not Winterstart 5-Miler without glow sticks!!

Pretty walk to the race start (about a km or so from my hotel).

It was very crowded, as there were 1,500 people registered to do this run (it sells out every year, but I think more so for what happens AFTER the race!).  Queuing up at the back, with M., S, MS and J., we shuffled our way to the start mat (it is chipped) and we were off!  Down the main road out of Banff (it is 7pm, and dark) for a mile and a half.  The lights end about halfway, and then all you see are blobs of glow sticks in various colours and reflective stripes dancing in the air in front of you.  So cool!  After the 1.5 mile mark, you hang a right, and then you get to run up hill.  For ONE MILE!  Deep breath in, and here we go.  I was really, really, really proud of myself, as I managed to get about halfway up before I walked (to the fast count of sixty) before running again.  After one more walk "break", I reached the turn-around point and connected with the gang (they were waiting to cheer me onwards and upwards...MS is a MACHINE on hills!), and then it's time to run DOWN.  I love, love, love running downhill.  Even in the dark, in the mountains, after a snow storm and on icy patches!  Smoked down that part.  Back onto the flat main drag, and the last 1.5 miles to go.  I was doing a good pace, although I did fall behind the ladies.  To which, echoing down the line came "Carol??"..."right behind you"...every 5 minutes or so.  J. decided to emulate Trainer Josh with a "Carol, Move IT!!"  The strangers running beside me said "are you Carol?", yes...wow...pressure to perform!  I know...it was all in the best of spirits, as I know my crew has my back!  Back into the lights of Banff, and then a sudden right turn for the finish line.  My time was 54:38, which is a good 4 minutes faster than last year.  Felt AWESOME!

Cheered some more across the finish line, waiting for the rest of our peeps to complete, before we head down for the best part of this race.  The beer party in the parking lot!!

Yes, all the runners end up downstairs, crowded into what is normally a hotel parking garage, where we get the usual post-race grub (oranges, bagels, water) and the not so normal BEER and cookies!  The beer was most delicious.  Much craziness abounds!!!

After much silliness, we made plans to meet up later, and took off to our respective hotels to clean up and head out.  Because I was about a km away at this point, and I was soaked to the skin, I ran back to mine!  Literally!  One couple yelled jokingly " you look great", to which I answered "have you seen the finish line?!"  It's a runner thing...I thought it was funny!!!

After a hot shower and changing into dry clothes, we were back at the Rose & Crown for more beer and some food, and then dancing.  Sadly the band was a heavy metal wannabe, but by the end of the evening, we didn't care.  I'm not much of a fan, but danced away or did my best "young street punk mosh pit attendee".

I know...too happy looking!

After shutting down the bar, and being ever so grateful for the daylight savings fall back, we all wandered back to our hotels to sleep.  Much needed, most glorious sleep!

Woke up with a bit of a headache (shocking) but nothing a gallon of coffee and some food wouldn't cure.  Then a bit more wandering in the beautiful, crisp fall mountain air, before returning to reality.   Boo...

Later,

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Win or Fail (or Die Trying)

Seriously got my sweat on at boot camp both Tuesday and Wednesday - WIN

Missed boot camp tonight because had to work late (not my fault, either) - FAIL

Lost 1.8 pounds at weigh-in - WIN

Did not bad on my week 2 goal and target activity (get more sleep) - WI/AIL

Found out that police are out looking for my licence plates on some a-hole's stolen vehicle, doing nasty things - HUGE FAIL

Hoping I can get replacement plates tomorrow, as I'm heading to the mountains for another weekend of racing  & fun - WIN??

Still beaming about my Sue Sylvester picture and how awesome I look (well, how awesome I think I look) - HUGE WIN

Okay...must head to bed, so that I can try and contact the constable at start of shift.  Tonight I spoke with a constable with the major crimes unit, who told me they were out looking for said a-hole (was it wrong that I wished him "happy hunting"??) but assured me that I shouldn't have any troubles getting new plates.  And then he told me to have fun in the mountains.  Nice guy...

I'll be taking the notebook to Banff, so will blog once I'm there.  I've heard the snow has started there, so it could make the Winterstart 5 Miler a bit of a challenge...nothing a beer party in the parking garage afterwards can't fix!

Later,

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween 2011

Maybe because Glee is on Global (Shaw Media) or maybe because I really sold it (all else fails, act like you own it) but I actually won Best Individual Costume at our work Halloween event yesterday.

Makes up for the year I lost wearing this!
Our department theme was Christmas Morning...yes, I was a doll in a box.  And I lost to some chick with snacks in her hair!!!  But not bitter...

Just way more comfortable in a track suit, yelling at people for being happy! 

And this is the first time I've looked at a picture of myself and realized that I really am losing weight.  Cool.

Later,

Sunday, October 30, 2011

C level Cirque Hike

Oooo...two posts for the price of one!  I know it's Sunday night and I should be heading for bed, but thought I'd load some pictures from today's hike.

Love it!  It's October 30th, and we're still out hiking in the mountains, on a beautiful, albeit windy, fall day.  I HEART my home.  We settled on an easier hike (many of us are coming off recent marathons and runs, or have crushed toes) and made our usual Sunday arrangements to meet up at Canada Olympic Park to carpool out.  Today, we were heading into Banff National Park to hike the C Level Cirque up by Lake Minnewanka. 

It was an easy hike, on a well marked, laid out trail.  Some incline, but nothing too technical to scramble up and over, and going through the forest to an old mining camp.

 The mine shafts were fenced in for everyone's safety.

 Nature fighting through the snow.

 It was snowing a bit at the top...we got to the lookout point, and went a bit further to the edge of the former glacier/rock slide area.  A bit of a climb up here, but again, nothing we can't handle!

 We went to the edge of this forest.

 Mama Nature does work good!

 Us enjoying our lunch and the views...on very cold rocks!  Just the four of us today (J, MM & MS) but we laughed as much as usual.    Also came across many other hikers along the trail...must be very popular in the summer months.

This was our only nature encounter...a little woodpecker with ADHD!  He would not sit still long enough for me to get a good shot!!!  With the wind blowing, we did listen to creepy tree sounds (fitting for October 30th), and wondered a few times if one was going to come down on our heads, but we all survived quite nicely.

Got home very early for us, and that left me wondering what on earth to do.  So I napped!  It was quite unintentional, as I had planned on doing some laundry, but I unpacked, put stuff away, and cuddled with George.  That may have been my downfall!  Woke up almost 3 hours later!  Oops...

Had a repeat dinner of last night's feast (so good) but with goat cheese instead of feta, and watched (sort of) the Amazing Race.  Which is getting Amazingly the "same old, same old".  I used to love this show, but now I find it so hard to sit and watch.  Maybe because I'm off dong my own amazing things all weekend long!

Back to work tomorrow...boo everyone!  I am dressing up, and hope to scare a few people...especially those who like to sing!  I'll take pictures.

Later,

Thar be Pirates!

Just in time for Halloween, I participated in the 2nd Annual Rogue's Run in Calgary.  Started last year, by our former marathon clinic instructor Garrath as a way raise money for causes near and dear to him (this year Kid's Sports), he decided that there just weren't enough races for Pirates and he should do something about that!  In runner's terms, a Rogue runner is someone who has entered into a race without the benefit of purchasing a bib.  Kind of ironic I suppose that we all purchased bibs to run in a race that celebrates running without purchasing bibs...wait, is that right?!  My head hurts!




 Me and me parrot are ready to run (luckily I could see through the patch!)

 And we're off!  Some people really got into the spirit of the race!

 Even the wee ones had a 1km Runt's Race.

 S. and I "walking holding the plank".  Fooled Garrath (in the background) as we are both boot campers extraordinaire!!  Haha!!  I think my toe gave out before the rest of me, and S. won the jacket - we both already have one, but it is a nice coat to run in.  In hunting season!

Umm.....I have no words...none.

All in all another great day spent outside and having fun.  Didn't push it too hard, and finished the 10km in 71 minutes.  Not bad, considering running in a costume and with a very, very, very sore toe!  Luckily it went numb at about the 2k mark, and didn't really hurt till I put some pressure on it (the planking didn't help).  I had two nurses look at it (okay, my friends, and by "look" I mean glance down and say ouch) who both confirmed that there is nothing to be done with it, except to watch the nail turn black and fall off.  Trust me...won't be my first.  Or my last!

After the run and a nice lunch/gab session, I took Mom for a much-needed hair cut, to stock up on her Purdy's supply and to get food for her fur-children.  Then it was home, putter around, make a nice dinner of roast chicken strips, roasted eggplant with tomatoes, rosemary and feta cheese and some roasted butternut squash.  Packed up lunch for another hike in the mountains, and then hit the sack around 11pm.  I heart my weekends.

Later,

Friday, October 28, 2011

Physics 101

f = m x a

Or, force = mass x acceleration.  A lesson I would have done well to remember last night.  That and the silly one about gravity, inclines and round objects. 
Now, I know it's hard to tell from my "regular" ugly runner's toes, but the purplish red one is the direct result of a 10 lb weight dropping from a height of roughly 2' and ricocheting off my foot!!  I so badly wanted to drop many, many f-bombs, but I was standing beside a nice new boot camper, who I didn't know at all (and didn't want to scare!), so I was a lady.  I may have muttered "oo, that smarted", and insisted "no, no, I'm fine" as I chased said weight as it rolled across the parking lot (mocking me the whole way - see above gravity mention), and then hopped every so lightly into the truck, so that I could cry in peace on the way home!!!  What a way to ruin a perfectly good boot camp session.  Although I am happy I was wearing my more substantial Asics, rather than my minimallists (hard cement floors in this hall), otherwise it could have been far uglier!

This morning's walk into work was a little on the slow side, as the swelling really blossomed under the pressure of walking.  I wore my 'birks (of course...there's no snow on the ground...yet) so that helped, as did the Advil and trying to keep the foot elevated during the day.  It was fun watching the colour change throughout...kind of like those space rocks we used to get and put in water to watch them "grow".  Wait...is that only me that remembers those?! 

I haven't decided if I'm running the 10km in the morning, getting as far as I can and walking it, or swabbing the poop deck for Captain Garrath - yes, of former marathon clinic instructor fame - he who hates boot camp to begin with...why do I feel like I've just handed him a pack of matches to throw on the gasoline that is my busted foot?!  It is a race for us inner Pirates, and I have my costume all laid out and ready to roll.  Would hate to waste it standing on the sidelines.  No worries...there be pictures and stories to tell, that'd be sure.

Boot camp tonight was a bit slower as well, as my toe was certain to tell me what it didn't like...running around the gym, going down the stairs (up wasn't bad), lunges off that leg, jumping rope...oh, and getting into plank on the exercise ball.  Once in plank, we were fine, it was just any time that I put direct pressure on it.  Told Josh it happened subconsciously as a way to punish myself for yesterday's weight gain.  Could be true.

Getting frustrated again, as I've lost 13" so far, but the pounds have stalled, yet again.  Or, I'm just being a dunderhead and not wanting to pay attention to my food intake.  Either way, I want to make some serious headway on the poundage, as it doesn't matter how lean I am, hauling almost 200 lbs around a marathon is still going to slow me down.  It's on, stomach o' mine...it is most definitely ON!

Later,

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