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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Volunteering, part II

Loooooonnnnnnnnggggggg day.  Granted, I didn't have to be up and at lakeside at 6am like a lot of the athletes, but I still got to North Glenmore park (T2, and the finish line) at 9am (after grabbing a 6-shot latte and turkey bacon egg sandwich at Starbucks) and didn't walk back in my door until 6pm. 

There is so much behind the scenes stuff at these races...I am humbled by the volunteers that work tirelessly to set up and then tear it all back down again in a matter of hours.  I did end up with a few spots of sunburn (I always seem to forget or miss somewhere - today the back of my knees), and I am still very warm to the touch (it hit +29C today, without a cloud in the sky!), and my hands are swollen from all the clapping, but the athletes totally deserved it!  They are all hardcore from the winners to the woman that ran in on her own, a good half hour after they closed the finish line, and to the cheers and clapping from everyone still on the sidelines, including the people that won!!

Top Male...under 4 hours!  A-MAZING!

 Top female coming in...roughly 20-30 minutes after the guys.  She looks good here, but as soon as she stopped moving, she had to be carried off to medical, as did the 2nd and 3rd place women...they took it hard today!

See those fences and signage...that's all me, baby!!!  I put those bad-boys up and have the bruise to prove it (dropped a section on my hand, but it's all good today...just pretty colours!).

My friend M.F. just a few hundred meters from the finish line.  Said he had a hard run (it was stinking hot) but I think he looks great.

My reward for hanging out and helping tear things down and pack things up.  It's just not fair that everyone bails and leaves a crew of 4-5 to do it all.  My mama raised me better then that!  I also came home with a case of Ironman Power-Bar juice stuff!

As I was driving home and coming to the realization that I was hungry (breakfast at 9 and the egg salad sandwich at 2 was long gone by now), I determined that I didn't want anything hot at all, or anything that I had to cook.  Usually that would mean a visit to a drive-through, but I stopped at a local grocery store (Sobeys) and picked up some mixed veggies meant to grill (orange and yellow pepper strips, carrot coins, zucchini rounds and pea pods), which I ate raw out of the package, and some grilled chicken salad (chicken was chopped with celery, onion, red pepper and mayo) and some whole wheat tortillas to wrap it in.  Oh, and a small chocolate milk!  I am satisfied and so ready for bed!  If only I could cool down a bit...I am generating heat right now, and it's not at all pleasant. 

Only plans for tomorrow (holiday Monday here in Alberta) will be to cut the grass, haul the recycling, drop in on Mom and boot camp.  Maybe I'll even sleep in a little.  And it's supposed to be cooler...yay!  I don't do heat very well.


Saturday, July 30, 2011

Volunteering, part I

After a lovely coffee and gab sessions with C. and E., both of whom I haven't seen in ages, I took off for North Glenmore Park, to help with setting up the Finish line for tomorrow's Ironman 70.3.  I am in awe of anyone who completes a triathlon, regardless of distance, as I am so very afraid of water past my knees, it is one event that I don't think I could ever do.  Unless there is ever a triathlon that takes place in shallow water, but then again, that wouldn't be swimming, would it?!

Sadly, it was hard to get volunteers this year (guess because this fell on the long weekend, and the Death Race), so there were essentially 4 of us hauling tons of fencing around, setting it up, hanging the sponsor flags on it, arranging the gating from bike transition to the foot race, ensuring areas were secured, picking up after ourselves and on.  I got to the park just before noon and left right before 5 pm.  Only one "injury" of sorts, as a fencing piece was dropped when I wasn't expecting it and I caught it with my wrist.  I can move it, and the thumb area is only a touch swollen.  I think I'm going to have a lovely bruise though, which is fine.  You can't tell war tales without some battle scars, right???

I'll be back in the am, between 8-9, and waiting for our first athlete to cross around 10am.  The swim starts for them at 6am, out at Ghost Lake, then the long bike from Cochrane into Calgary, before a nice run around the park.  It's amazing that someone will have swam, biked and ran 70.3 miles, all before 10 am.  I'll be lucky if I can get a cup of coffee down by then!!  I also had a giggle with I was reading Caitlin's blog about the wetsuit debate for her upcoming triathlon, since the water temperature may "only be about 70F".  Considering Ghost Lake is frozen over for half the year, it's safe to say it'll be a tad chilly.  I believe wetsuits are mandatory for this race!  But I wouldn't volunteer as a "stripper", as the arthritis in my hand makes it kind of weak, and I couldn't handle the guilt of holding anyone up as they competed.  Could you imagine???  "Okay, it'll just be a minute...I know you've been swimming for quite some time now, but if you could just help me a little here, we'll be sure to get this thing off you!  Did you consider oiling yourself up before you put it on this morning?!"  It would not be pretty!!!  So I am safely at the finish line, either holding the ribbon for the runners to "break" through, handing out water, medals and finisher's shirts, "catching" (yes, it's a job) the runners as they cross, to see if they need medical or just a hand to a soft patch of grass and keeping the spectators out of the athlete areas.  I also said I would stay and help tear down...all in all, I could be at the park for about 10 hours tomorrow.  Long day.  Needless to say, no LSD run for me tomorrow.  I will attempt to go out Monday morning and see what I can get done.

It's after 10pm and it's still 21C outside.  That means, even with two fans running, my apartment is about 31C!  I am really tired though, and am finding the little bits where I missed with the sunscreen earlier (oh, yeah, it's also supposed to be sunny and +29C's a good thing I'm not running), so I'm going to head for bed and try to get some sleep.  After taking some ibuprofen for the wrist/sunburn and trying out my new after-sun stick from Rocky Mountain Soap Company.  I'll let you know how/if it works.


Friday, July 29, 2011

Big time Booter

Mainly because I only went to boot camp once last week (and what was THAT all about?!) I ended up going 4 times this week, and if it weren't for dinner plans on Tuesday, it may have even been 5.  My body is most definitely feeling it today!

Wednesday:  The day we played in the rain.  After a short run (really felt my shins running the asphalt paths, but corrected my stride), we set up quite the circuit. 
  Everything times 10 reps:
  •      station 1: dips, incline push-ups
  •      station 2: full body bike (10 each leg), toe touches and drop legs
  •      station 3: shoulder press, bent over rows, bent over flies
  •      station 4: squats (or squat jumps), jumping jacks
  •      station 5: (with bands) curls, seated row, lat pulls
Return through stations, completing each task.  Once back at the start, increase reps to 15 and repeat all the way through and back.  Increase reps to 20 and repeat!  I am very proud to say that a) I stuck it out despite the rain coming down - kind of enjoyed it, actually.  And b) I was only 1 move away (20 drop legs) from completing the whole thing before Trainer Josh called time.  ONE!  That is HUGE for me, especially having a sucky night on Monday.  Because of the rain, we huddled under the shack and did a 4 minute squat tabata, waiting out the rain.  Twenty seconds of squats followed by 10 second rests - and by rests, Josh means squat holds - for 4 minutes.  OUCH!  We ended the class with core/ab work (it had stopped raining) and then crawled back to the cars.

Last night was at North Glenmore Park, and after a brief game of "figure out where I've taken the group, Carol", I found them at the base of the staircase, and went for a quick run to warm up.  After kidding that I "found them, darn it" by Josh, we broke into teams and then went to work.  Push-ups (15 reps) and squat press (more squats - oh no), before sprinting up the stairs and down 4 times.  The other group did seated rows (with bands, and counted down by Josh), lat pulls, curls and kick-backs.  Swap off when the first two managed 4 laps of the stairs.  Round two started the same (push ups and squats - thought for certain that I was going to drop a weight on my head!), we then sprinted up the side hill (I'll have to take photos next time) a couple of times, before swapping off to do shoulder press (bands again), front curls, reverse flies and extensions.  Lastly, we had to run the hill and come down the stairs.  Finally some core/ab work and then call it a night.  We were all a hot, sweaty mess by the time the next class showed up.  Good times.

Tonight there were 4 of us that showed up.  It is the Friday of a long weekend, but still.  We actually ran the big hill/west stairs tonight - it's been too wet lately to do that - before Tabata Friday.  Basically we repeated everything we've done all week, just in 2.5 minute loops.  And added in a lap of the bitchy trail to boot.  I am in some serious pain right now, but it's a good pain, right???  I just felt great for hanging in there and sticking to it for all four classes.  When we left at 6, there was one person waiting for class.  I would HATE to be the only one who shows up for boot camp, because Trainer Josh puts them through the wringer!

Volunteering for Calgary Ironman 70.3 this weekend.  Should be loads of fun, but hard work too.  Tomorrow I'll be helping with the Finish Line set-up - lots of hauling and setting up fences and the likes.  I'll be getting my 5th boot camp work out in, I think.  Then Sunday I will be at the finish line at 8am, and waiting for the runners to come in - I can be handing out medals, catching the runners as they cross (this intrigues me), holding the finish ribbon for the runners to "break", directing people, acting as security (athlete only sections)...the possibilities are endless and I am expecting to have a ton of fun with whatever I end up doing. belly is full - went with fast and easy, with mini-burgers stuffed into a pita with some cheese sauce...lame dinner that is now sitting like a lump in my gut.  And I can't seem to drink enough water, so am feeling the salty effects of Pho at lunch.  LOVED it, but still very thirsty right now.

Enjoy your weekend, long or not.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Catching up

These days it feels like if you blink, you'll miss it.  The day that is.  Again, I posted Sunday and here it is Tuesday already.  But I was very good and was in bed, lights out and I'm certain asleep by 10:10 last night.  That has to be a first.  I am heading there shortly.

Boot camp last night was hard.  And want to know why??  Because I ended up only going ONCE last week.  ONCE!!!!  What was that all about?!  I am determined to go 4 times this week, to make up, but I would have been happy to go 5.  But tonight I had plans.  Back to hard....I was huffing and puffing, and still felt the effects of my chips-a-thon of the weekend.  I most definitely will hold onto that feeling for a long time, so the next time I feel the urge to indulge, I won't!    We ran Douglas Fir (I didn't even make it to the top), and did a few laps of the bitch trail, many, many squats and pivot lunges (which I hate even more than regular lunges, if you can imagine) and all over hard work.  After class, Trainer Josh and I had another heart-to-heart, as I've signed up for their nutrition program in addition to the next 6-week session.  The online one I signed up for through Groupon totally sucks the big one, as the "support" entails a weekly email about some stupid health tip, like (and so far, my favourite) "trim the visible fat off of your steak to make it leaner"...REALLY?!?!?!  For this, I paid $49?!?!?!?  Oh, wait, I also received a weekly menu...that would be ONE weekly menu for a 12-week program, and a sheet of exercises to do, all of which I do 3 times a week in boot camp (when I go 3 times, of course!).  Can you say RIPPED OFF??  Anyway, I'm throwing myself at Josh's feet, begging for guidance.  I need a firm hand to smack me hard when I make a stupid decision, like I did on the weekend.

Tonight I met up with a distant cousin (3 times removed??) who's wife is a resident here at the Alberta Children's Hospital, while he finishes school and starts a contract job back in Toronto.  We didn't see a lot of each other growing up...I think he was here with his mother once, when he was 18 mo old, and then again when he entered his twenties.  He's growing into being a nice young man, and I'm looking forward to showing them both my town.  In fact, she seemed excited by the prospect of going hiking with me one weekend that she doesn't have to work, since she's new to the mountains.  Should be fun, and if one us falls, we have a doctor to look after us!  Score!! is time to hit the hay.


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Another great day spent in the mountains.  This time, due to a last minute change in plans, we ended up hiking the Burstall Pass.  It was a nice hike, with some challenges to get through a very wet meadow (we rocked the logs, jumps and big steps to get through it all relatively dry), up an okay trail (not too challenging) to the pass.  We went up a bit further to catch a few of the lake (another 4km away), sat and had lunch, before returning to the parking lot.  It was a bit cooler this week, as you can see by the low clouds, and there was a rather persistent north wind.  No desire to slide in snow today, but that didn't stop us from checking out some possibilities.  

 Avalanche zone...

Got home around 7ish, and after resisting the strong urge to drive to Peter's for burger and fries, I ended up with chips and salsa (which may have been worse!) and in bed by 10:30.  I was beat.

Got up this morning and met up with the ladies again for a nice long, slow run.  MS and I ran together, as the other ladies are a bit faster...okay, we totally lost sight of them after a bit!  But a run with us two just isn't a run unless there is adventure!  A lot of the paths are closed due to construction (so frustrating) but we plowed ahead, running through mud and tire tracks to find the path again.  A wayward coyote watched us from a save distance, then it was a scramble over a downed chain-link fence (partially...MS was sort of launched off, but landed safely and daintily into the tall grass) before regrouping.  Sadly, the fence was much bigger further down the path, forcing us to turn around.  Once we got back to Eau Claire, I was hot and tired, so finished at 15.6km in just over 2 hours.  I was happy and feel pretty good.  However, yesterday I did forget my orthotics, so hiked on without, and am paying for it today!  Feet are a bit on the achy side.

After coffee with the gang, lunch of egg wrap and fruit salad, I went to Mom's, puttered around with her, before returning for home.  Dinner was sort of Greek.  A watermelon/feta salad (watermelon, feta, fresh mint, fresh basil and evoo), and Greek chicken burgers (ground chicken, S&P, Epicure Greek Seasonings) with tzatiki.  Yes, that's a paper plate...I felt like a picnic!
All right...time to start winding down.  My goal this week is to be in bed, lights out by 10pm.  I think I need more sleep and that will reflect positively on the weight loss.  Fingers crossed!


Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Totally skipped boot camp last night.  I had all intentions of going, especially since I missed Monday due to an Epicure party being booked, but when I got home from work, I needed a wee nap.  Which turned into a full fledged sleep!  I was bagged.  So I stayed home and luckily missed being caught out in the rain and hail.  Calgary got hit HARD last night...40mm of rain in like an hour.  It was coming down in sheets...there were rivers rushing past on the sidewalks.  Not much damage here...I have one plant that lost all it's little flowers, but it'll grow again.  Don't think the hail damaged James, and I haven't heard of water/flood issues from any of the other tenants, so all is good.  And the best news is the rain didn't wash away or destroy any of the musical instruments of the very bad house bad across the street!!  They continue to practice even now...I really wish they would just learn one song from start to finish and FINISH IT!  They truly suck eggs.

I did make out to boot camp tonight.  Because of the all rain yesterday, we did not even attempt Douglas Fir or the hill/stairs.  We did a quick run out and back on the path, before grabbing our weights to set up at the base of the bitch hill.  Rows, raises and kick-backs followed by a sprint up and down the bitch.  Repeat two more times.  Grabbed our weights and set up back at the field, starting with 5 bicycles on our mats.  Jump up to first station and do 6 squat presses.  Return to mats...repeat, adding 7 squat swings.  Return to mats...repeat.  Do you see where this is going??  By the time everything was said and done, we had completed 40 bicycles (each leg), 48 squat presses, 49 squat swings, 48 leg drives (each leg), 45 push ups, 40 lunges (each leg), 33 dips and 36 curls with bands.  This includes the round that we just moved from one to the other, without having to start over, but doubling everything.  A little ab work at the end and class was over.  It was a good one.

Met the gang for beer, after picking up week 2 of the veggie baskets H-woman and I are sharing.  This week we got red lettuce, kale, beet greens, garlic snape, dill, fresh peas and a bunch of flowers.  Thankfully the store where we pick up were sold out of bread.  Last week it was a sourdough Gouda concoction, and this week promised to be an apple cider rye.  My hips thank them!!!! 

Home now, and the apartment is cooler, thanks to the cold front blowing through Calgary.  I may actually sleep tonight!  Fingers crossed.


Monday, July 18, 2011

Sentinal Pass hike or BEST.DAY.EVER!

This is where, what is for now MY.BEST.HIKE.EVER, began.  Beautiful Moraine Lake in Banff National Park.  Depending on the time of the day or angle, the lake colour changes, but is usually a gorgeous teal.  We started hiking, heading up to the Larch Valley and on to Sentinel Pass. 
Yes...wwwwwaaaaaaaaayyyyyyy up there!!!  If you look closely enough, you can almost see the "trail" we hiked upon, after having to traverse some snowy patches.  Yes, SNOW!

But worth the view, no?!  Isn't this the back of the $10 bill???

MS's foot looking down!  I was too chicken, and not to shy to admit it!  We sat at the top and had lunch (PB & strawberry sandwich for me), listened to and watched some distant avalanches - they sounded like thunder rumbling...very cool, but I was too slow for a photo op, as I was when we spotted what we think was a weasel or ferret.
Had to be sure to leave my mark for future travellers.

Oh...but what goes up, must come down, right??  We decided at lunch that the fastest way down would be... SLIDE!!!!  OMG....this was the BEST.THING.I.HAVE.EVER.DONE!!  And the craziest!  S. is preparing to show me how it's done. 
No photos of me, which is probably for the best.  I did win for best freestyle, as I ended up on one side, than my back and finally head first!!  That was a tad frightening (you could see rocks poking through, but I just kept happy thoughts in my head!) and I did end up having a "yard sale" as my poles were yanked out and abandoned about a third of the way up!
S. being an awesome friend/hiking buddy as she scurried back up to grab them.  I was busy trying to get the feeling to return to my hands (so cold!) and legs (so jelly like!).
MS showing us all how it should look.  And yes, by the way, we were all wearing shorts...snow ended up in places where snow just should not go!  But I'd do it again in a heartbeat!  We hung around to cheer on others...the kid (okay, 20-something, but that to me is a kid) from Brazil who had never even seen snow before today, let alone slide down it, the couples and the family with the dog, who looked like he had more fun coming down than we did!
We hiked back down through the Larch Valley, and were trying to find Edith Lake, another short hike away.  Along the route we were warned about a family of bears spotted by other hikers (we had bells and bangers, if need be) but continued on after we were assured that they had moved down into the valley.  What we weren't warned about was the vicious, killer attack Marmots that waited at the pass we needed to cross.
Hard to believe that this little guy charged at us, and had three grown women scurrying down a trail quite quickly, running and squealing like little girls!!  Okay, maybe the others didn't squeal, but I certainly did!!  And then laughed and laughed and laughed some more.

Once back down at Moraine Lake, we packed up the truck and prepared to head back to Calgary, satisfied with our eventful 6-hour hike, covering 16km in total.  Mr. Garmin died on me at about the 13km mark...guessing searching for satellites in the mountains was a bit draining.  We walked down the road to our car (Moraine Lake is extremely popular, so parking was at a premium), and while driving through the round-about lot to head for home, we noticed some commotion above us.
The aforementioned family of bears!!  Mama Grizzly and two young cubs.  Just so you all know, I have zoom on my camera.  I very much respect the bears, and know that they were just trying to have lunch and didn't really need all of us freaking out, trying to take photos. 
This one was actually taken from beside the truck (or was it by S., on the truck?).  We stood by and watched the tourists mainly, to make sure no one did anything stupid (I'm on Team Bear, by the way) before Mama decided they had enough and took the kids off into the forest.

It was a long day, and it ROCKED!!!!  I slid down a massive hill (about 100 meters), I hiked across snow trails (kind of scary), met people from all over this world, all in awe of what I call home, was chased by a mammal smaller than my cats, saw bears and spent the day with a couple of great ladies who make me smile and laugh, and test my fears!

I did manage to go for a run yesterday, but my legs were so tired, so I decided to bail listen carefully to my body, and walked back from Elbow Drive to Eau Claire.  Ended up running just over 10km and walking just over 4km. 

Discovered a battle wound on my hip as well...not sure if it happened from the snow or from my fuel belt, but I bear it with pride!  I earned this sliding down a mountain!!!

Coffee with the gang, visit with Mom, cut the grass, a brief nap and then the final show of WICKED rounding out the day.  A very fine weekend ever will I top it next week?!


Thursday, July 14, 2011

New park, same Josh

Because I went to the rodeo yesterday (Calgary Stampede is in town, folks...howdy...), I missed my usual Wednesday night boot camp.  However, Trainer Josh also trains out of North Glenmore Park on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so off I went.  Holy killer!!!  We started with a quick warm-up of jogging, high-knees, butt-kicks and then it was off down the barfy trail.  Now, we used to follow one in Edworthy, but we haven't run it in ages.  I knew we were in trouble when I. (who goes to boot camp like 10 times a week!) said "oh no, here we go"...uh-oh!  We picked up our weights and off we ran - the park is criss-crossed with bike trails, running trails, picnic sites, and big fields all surrounding our reservoir - stopping along the way to do squats, shoulder presses, dips, push-ups, jumping jacks with shoulder presses (oh, you haven't lived if you haven't done these!) all before heading to the stairs.  An official, real staircase!!  Since we were at the top, we ran down and up, and while the others took off up a near-by hill, Josh had me stick to the stairs.  After everyone was together again, we grabbed our weights and made our way back to the mats.  I was one hot, sweaty mess, and there was still 30 minutes left in class.  Rounded out the class with a whole lot of working, between push-ups, more squats, pendulum lunges, flies, rows, curls, sprints, etc.  I am already feeling it in my back, and I'm seriously concerned that I won't be able to pick up my coffee cup tomorrow!!

The downside of the Calgary Stampede...alcohol.  Now, I partake.  I enjoy my pint of Guinness once a week on Wednesdays, but for many Calgarians, Stampede equals 10 days of non-stop drinking.  Then I, as a downtown dweller who lives all of 10 blocks from the grounds, get to listen to the fights, things being thrown around, the screaming matches, tires squealing, cars racing up and down the road, and then every evening around 11, the fireworks.  There's a big fireworks show every night to end the evening performance, and while it usually sounds like thunder, some nights it's just loud and annoying.  But not nearly as bad as the drunks...can't wait to see what most have left lying around on my lawn.  Yuck...

Happy that tomorrow is Friday.  Boot camp in the works (hoping for a Douglas Fir visit) and then a good hike in the mountains on Saturday, but in serious bear country.  I admit to being a touch nervous, but I did go and get some bells and spray, and I'm sure we'll be just fine, as the path should be busy.  The bears are smart...I think they know when it's the weekend and they high-tail it for higher ground.  Or they all head to the city for a little shopping while we all rush out to the mountains.  Funny, no?!


Monday, July 11, 2011


That's how many push-ups I did at boot camp tonight...followed by 104 squats...followed by 104 shoulder presses. All interspersed with sprints and walking lunges. And followed up with 90 drop leg overheads/v-sit ups (alternate), 90 lunges (each leg) and 90 bent-over rows/lat flies (alternate). Sprinting in between. It was a heart-pumping, muscle thumping kind of day!!! Didn't even feel or notice the rain that was falling on us, as I was already drenched with sweat. Funniest part was when we were lining up for plank on elbows and mine decided to do the splits on my wet mat...face plant! I thought it was funny...

Met up with H-woman to close her Epicure party, at our favourite noodle house, Vietnam Fortune. Had my usual of shrimp salad rolls followed by chicken pho with extra vegetables. Mmmmm...happy, full belly.

Home now, and my apartment is actually cool...I'm afraid to say it out loud but the internal temp has dropped to +26C! Wow...I may freeze to death...

That's it for me.


Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Race that wasn't

When getting ready for a race, us crazy runners tend to do the same things. Especially living by the mantra of "change nothing for race day". I usually eat the same thing, or something close, the day before and most definitely on race morning. I tend to wear the same running outfit. I carry the same fuel of water, OJ & sea salt. I try to get at least 8 hours of sleep the night before. I drink loads of water. I am a creature of habit. That being said...I did not run the Stampede Half today.

Here's why...I am an idiot. Plain and simple. I had gathered everything for the race, after leaving H-woman's nice and early to make sure I was well rested, and finally shut the lights off at 10:30 and got ready to crawl into bed. The alarm was set for 6, and I was ready. And then it hit me...


OMG! No chip, no shirt, no bib... AND I had 3 days to pick it up...THREE!!! I completely wiped it from my mind. What a freaking dolt. Thursday could have worked, but I went to a contact fitting appointment (so annoying, since I've been wearing contacts for 20+ years with nary a problem, but whatever), and then straight home. I could have picked it up Friday after boot camp, but instead stopped to pick up stuff for the Epicure party at Walmart and Safeway and then straight home. Yesterday was a bit trickier, as I was trapped in the morning waiting for a fridge for a suite to be delivered (came just before 1pm) and then my hair appointment and finally off to H's for the party. But still, it would have taken a half hour of my time to swing into Marda Loop to get the package, and I didn't. I did check the website but race day pick-up was only for out-of-town runners, and I refuse to be one of those people who show up and say "but can you make an exception for me?!". And I would most definitely not rogue or ghost run it. Part of the problem is the race sponsor is a running shop that I don't frequent at all. Unlike Running Room races, where pick up is two blocks from my office, or Tech Shop races, where pick-up is a few blocks from my house, Strides is in a neighbourhood that I have to drive to. Sucks. I hung my head in utter shame, text and emailed those who were expecting to see me today, reset the alarm for 7 and went to bed and sulked.

Got up this morning, and after some minor glitches (tire that needed air, trying to get organized, etc) I finally made it down to Eau Claire at 8:40. I missed the running groups, but had an idea of what direction and route they may be running (16km), so I took off for a solo run. Headed west to Crowchild, and then up Quarry Road Trail to the top of Wildwood, west to the top of Edworthy Park, down the nice long road, back across the river and east to home. Total run ended up at 16.36, but at 2:22, I was not feeling it this morning. Maybe I was still pouting about the race, but my legs felt like lead, and what was up with my shoes?! I think running in the minimalist shoes may be to my detriment, as my runners each felt like they weighed a hundred pounds!! However, I don't think I'm totally ready for "barefoot" yet. The day started nicely, meaning the race would have been great, but then the clouds cleared and it got hot again. I don't do heat.

Met up with the gang, and had a nice breakfast (although I forgot I ordered an egg sandwich, and only remembered after they threw it away - granted, they also forgot who ordered it, so we were both at fault)...maybe it's the heat. It's been a sweltering +30 INSIDE my apartment all week...yes, my heat is shut off, my blinds are down, and I've alternated to keeping windows open for airflow and closing to shut out the heat. Neither option as worked. It's supposed to cool down this week, so I am hopeful that I will finally get some sleep and therefore my memory back!

In the meantime, all future package pick-ups will be hand-written on home and work calendars, entered into both Outlooks and on my cell phone. That should work,right...right?!?


Saturday, July 9, 2011

One hot mama

Sadly, it's the warm kind of hot and not the fierce kind! While it has cooled down outside to +15C (I was actually shivering at H-woman's as we sat on her awesome patio) it is still a sweltering +28C in my apartment! The other night is was night!!! I cannot sleep in heat. And now that I have entered my late 40's, nature seems determined for me to become my own heat source. Nothing like finally falling asleep, only to wake up feeling the heat starting in my hands and moving rapidly throughout my body. I am soaked to the skin most nights...I do not need the added heat from summer. Today at my hair-dressers, I asked for short, if for nothing else than to beat the heat. I got short!!! I love it...feel like I dropped 5 pounds from all the hair. Not that it was long, but it was touching my ears!

Had a great Epicure party at H-woman's earlier. Actually, I didn't really go to sell Epicure, but to visit with people and eat great food. And if we made sales along the way, that was fine too! But I had to cut the evening short, as I do have a race at 7:30 in the am. So this really will be a quick post as I get ready to hit the hay. Getting up to the alarm at 6am on a Sunday is just wrong...

Details of the race to follow.


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Focus group

Tonight, after boot camp, I was invited to be part of a focus group discussing...The Calgary Marathon! Yippee!! Finally, I get to vent all my frustrations about the course and the race, and they have to listen! They may not change anything, but they do have to listen.

But first, boot It was +31C (88F) when I pulled up into Edworthy, and I never thought I'd say this, but how I prayed we'd be running Douglas Fir. It may be trail, but at least it's in the trees and shade. Sadly, no...we went up BA (which has been baking in the sun all day long) and around to the "stairs". Run down, side shuffle up, run down, side shuffle the other way, run down to the bridge and back to the top. That about killed us all, so we retreated for the safety of our mats in the shade and completed the rest of the hellish workout there! Push-ups, toe-touches, squats, lunges, band work, wall sits against the trees, more never ended. Oh, wait, but it did with toe touches to banana to scissors, then side planks, obliques and the ever present negatives to round out the day. I'm pretty sure I just lay on my mat for a good 5 minutes, waiting to solidify again. Too hot.

I whipped into Safeway on my way home, because the focus group started at 7:30. I grabbed a light Caesar salad kit and some pre-cooked shrimp, but by the time I got home, I wasn't hungry anymore - too hot to eat. So I had a bowl of cheerios and UVAB before changing and heading out the door.

The focus group did have sandwiches, waters, juices, baked goods (a lemon square "may" have gone missing, last seen near the vicinity of my mouth!), and although it was a small group (7 of us), we all had something to say, including the positive stuff. I walked away feeling great that they took the time to listen, rather than the unanimous online survey that you are never sure anyone even looks at.

Did not meet up with the gang tonight though, as the focus group went on till just after 9. I am home, still not hungry (I did have a small chicken sandwich as well) and thinking I should just go to bed...but so hot!! Where's the cold, crisp mountain air everyone bitches about in Calgary right now?!?! Certainly not in my hot, hot, hot apartment. Dang.


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A quickie

Tuesday already?!?! Wow..

No run on Sunday, but I did cut the grass, tackled trimming back a very large, and out of control tree, then walked to Eau Claire to meet up with everyone that did run. Enjoyed an iced latte, wandered downtown to pick up a few things before heading into MEC and coming out with my very own set of hiking poles. Bring on da mountains!!

Yesterday, return to work, day 1 of month end. Not too crazy, which is nice. Walked to my drugstore at lunch (4-5km) and then boot camp after work. Holy Mother all I have to say. Trainer Josh had new moves for us...I did not like them...not one little bit...jumping jacks with shoulder presses, is all I have to say.

Tonight I met up with some ladies from my past. Let's see how I do with this without revealing too much. C., who knew a friend of mine, needed someone to cat/apartment sit for her the summer of 1992. I moved into her place in May, and when she returned in September, and I returned in November from Australia, we became roommates. She worked with MC, and formally with L. L. lived out of province, but moved to Calgary for work, and joined up in our circle. M. was a childhood friend of MC, who also ended up hanging out with us, as did another childhood friend J. C. got a job at a new company, where she met JS, who also joined our group. Everyone is married (I've been to most of the weddings, and stood up for C.), except J and myself, and most have kids now, but we like to get together for dinner once every so often, although we let it go a whole year this time. Yikes! Much to catch up on. We went to Tango Bistro, which specializes in tapas. Everything was fabulous...we shared frites (french fries tossed with Parmesan and served with garlic aioli), scallops in a mushroom sauce, prawns, wild boar bacon wrapped tenderloin (OMG!), olives, hummus, tapenade, flatbreads...I enjoyed a plate of scallop and prawn cerviche (no one else would even taste it...guessing sushi is out of the question with this group) and key lime pie, served in a shooter glass. It was perfection. I am not full nor bloated, and I stuck with a nice summery drink of vodka & soda. A great evening... Although the ladies (you will note the married w/children ones) wanted to continue to par-tay, I begged off, as work at 7am is way too early and I'm getting too old for such foolishness. Take note, youngens...the hangover starts BEFORE you finish drinking when you get "old" like me!

Tomorrow is supposed to be a scorcher, so boot camp could be interesting. And then I'm on the focus group for the Calgary Marathon committee. Can't wait to hear what they have to say, and if they're ready for what I have to say!!


Saturday, July 2, 2011

Lesson learned

Today I learned that I am not a trail runner. It's not that I don't like running in nature...I do. I just don't like running where I don't know what I'm planting my feet on, when I can't see my feet for the grass and when I'm rolling ankles over rocks and such.

I got up nice and early and met some of the ladies from yesterday for a trail run this morning through Nose Hill park. Nose Hill is an amazing used to be this grassland hill off to the north of the city. Now the city wraps around it, because some very wise people decided it was too precious to destroy. There are pathways through it, everything from paved, crushed rock, hard dirt and spots where a deer or some sort of animal delicately pressed the grass to one side. That is what we ran on today! Okay, not quite that bad, but felt like in spots. The city has done it's best to keep this as pristine as possible. There are benches but no garbage bins (carry it in, carry it out) and no picnic tables/areas that I saw. Use it to bike, hike, walk or run, but don't abuse it.

We all met up in one of the many parking areas on the east side of the park and took off. Rule of trail running (which I love) is to walk up hills and run flat and down. As soon as we stepped into the park, every single mosquito and fly in the city limits descended upon us! You would never know that we all hosed down in bug spray! These critters didn't care. Today's run was hard though...maybe because I had asked a lot of my legs yesterday with the mountain hike, or maybe because I'm pretty sure I was down a pint within five minutes of the skeeters attacking, but I just could not make myself enjoy this run. After a quick potty break, we are off again, this time making it almost over to the west side of the park, up and over hills, through little valleys and grass as tall as my hips. Meeting up with the other ladies, I decided that I did not enjoy trail running. They all understood (it's not for everyone) and we made our way back to the cars. Granted, I was out for just over 2 hours and managed to cover over 11km, so I still got my workout on. The other ladies refilled their waters and took off to finish their run. Tomorrow they plan on a 25km long, slow. I plan on sleeping in!!!

Came home and literally crashed on the couch! After munching on some nameless/faceless food, I finally got my butt in gear and unpacked and sorted my latest Epicure order, then dropped it off. That's when I stopped in for some milk and desperately needed caffeine! Can't believe I let it go till after 3pm!!!!! Yikes!

Home, where I made Lobster rolls for supper...very Canadian, I think! I boiled up two lobster tails with one egg, and after they were cooked and cooled, chopped them all up with capers, celery, green onion, mayo, lemon zest and juice. Added a final touch of parsley, served on toasted whole wheat buns with romaine and dinner was served. Very tasty.

I did let my caffeine intake go a little to long today, as I still have said headache. And I noticed, despite face cream, that I got a little too much sun this morning (the one thing Nose Hill doesn't have a lot of is is the prairies, after all) so that my be contributing to the headache as well. I'm going to listen to my body, and when it says it's ready for bed (read: when watching TV with eyes closed) I'm going, and I'm not waking up till it wants to. Tomorrow will be spent cutting grass, prepping flower beds, visiting mom, and getting ready for the work week to start again. Man, that was one fast long weekend!!!


Friday, July 1, 2011

Happy Canada Day

Can't believe I haven't blogged since Monday. Obviously it's been nothing but excitement and chaos around here...or just the opposite. Let's, couldn't sleep, crabby., couldn't sleep, crabby. Hopeful 2 pints of Guinness would help...they did not. Boot camp HARD as we sprinted...yes, SPRINTED up the big-assed hill in Edworthy. Did I say SPRINTED!?!?! I was exhausted after class. Didn't even turn my computer on at home that night. Thursday...didn't do much of anything, except to get ready for today.

That comes to today...HAPPY CANADA DAY!

The group of ladies training for the 100km Lost Souls in September thought it would be a good idea to spend today in the mountains, hiking. Since I didn't make it out to the trails at all last summer, I was all over that idea. Granted, we were hiking what I've hiked before, but that's okay. Different group, different day, different direction! We met up at 8am for the car pool drive out to Barrier Lake.

We got out there and geared up, ready to hike just before 10am. The plan was to do the Jewell Pass to the Barrier Lake Lookout and then back down Prairie View trail to the cars. Anywhere from 15-20km, depending on our final route.

The day was sunny but a bit windy, which coming off the glacier-fed lake was downright COLD. Once we were in the trees, it was perfect hiking weather. Only had to stop once as the "BEAR" cry echoed through the trails, but the two youngens had moved off, more intent on a drink at the creek than on these pesky humans tromping through their backyard. Didn't even see them myself. Our group of 9 spread out pretty quickly, with the two hubbies leading the pack, followed by the core group and then myself and B. bringing up the rear.

You know...I like to think I'm in good shape. Not killer, but not a slug either. I run, I do boot camp, I do zumba, I walk to work, I walk at lunch...definitely no slouch! I thought I was going to die a few times today!!! Okay, it was in the mountains, but it was HARD. Just check out the elevation profile!! Jewell Pass is on the right, Prairie View on the left.


We reached the first summit, took some photos, and then finished the last, rather difficult section that led to the summit, where the lookout house was. Actually it's where the Warden lives, all by himself, to watch the weather, wildlife, makes sure hikers are okay, etc. Stunning views.

After a little break for lunch (carrots, celery, hummus, trail mix with M&M's and a strawberry/PB bunwich - not jam, just whole fresh try it), and to enjoy the weather (the wind up top was cold - good reminder that we were in the mountains), we had to make our way down. The top section was just as hard going down, as it's rocky, full of tree roots, steep and covered with loose shale rock. Thank goodness M's hubs lent me his hiking poles. I have never hiked with them before, and will be heading over to Mountain Equipment Coop tomorrow to get my own pair! They helped so much with both the up and down climbs. After the very technical top, we reached the Prairie View trail and easily made our way to the bottom and back to the cars. Good timing too, as suddenly the place was PACKED. Hikers, bikers, picnicers, kayaks and the likes. We were happy to high-tail it out of there.

Back in the city, and I've been doing my best to stay awake ever since. Nothing like a 4 hour hike and a ton of fresh air to make you nice and sleepy. Just have to decide if I want to run tomorrow morning and sleep in Sunday or vice versa. Tomorrow is a trail run through Nose Hill park, which I have never done. It intrigues me...

Hope you had a great day, whatever you were doing.