MyFitnessPal - Free Weight Loss Tools

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

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. 


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 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 dogs are beat!

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


Wednesday, November 23, 2011


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'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 mix to taste) and schmear (yes, that is a technical cooking term) on a nice, thick piece of salmon.  Sprinkle top with panko 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. 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!


Tuesday, November 22, 2011


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  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?


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.


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!


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 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,


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 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.


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 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.


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.  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?!
Your Faithful, Patient Fan

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 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,'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?", to perform!  I 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...


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!


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.