Thursday, January 29, 2009

thank you rona

She may not look scary (ok, maybe a little bit), but her threat of back to work legislation sure scared someone!
I doubt the buses will be back tomorrow, but I'm thinking they'll be back by Monday. Transit strike OVER!

(and let me go on the record to say that this is likely the first and last time i'll thank rona ambrose)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

nine in 09

Instead of a late year in review, I’ve decided to do a late goal setting for 2009. As I mentioned earlier, I don't resolve ('cause i feel like it sets me up for failure), I set goals. Maybe if I make them public, I will hold myself more accountable. I have decided to set 9 goals. Why nine? Why not? (and far easier than coming up with 2009 goals)
  • No more injuries
I’m not exactly sure how to do this effectively. 2008 brought stress fracture number two and I want it to be the last. I wish I had the know-how to make my own or the resources to find someone to design a good plan that could make me faster, make me fitter, but not break me. My tentative plan is to see if I can combine some ready-made training programs to fit the time I have between now and some goal races. Stretch them out so that I repeat weeks? Regardless, I am fine with a bit of pain, but I have no desire to break any more bones.
  • Give myself a break every so often
One of my problems with training and running (and just about everything really) is that I tend to be pretty hard on myself. Often it seems that nothing I do is good enough for my own standards. I reach a goal and then somehow figure I should have done better. Or I don’t reach a goal and then really beat myself up over it. And why? It isn’t like I am going to the Olympics anytime soon (or ever…well unless it is to watch). Setting goals and achieving them is good. Getting all down on myself for not being good enough or smart enough or whatever- not good! No one is going to think I’m a bad person or a wimpy person if I skip a run or if I run a 9 minute mile instead of an 8 minute mile. So my goal is to give myself a break.
  • Read more
I love to read, but I don’t seem to be reading as much as I should. I picked up more books in the 2nd half of 2008 than I did in the first half, so I ended the year well and have actually started the year pretty well too. I don’t have any specific books in mind or any “must slog through the Iliad by the end of the year” type goals. But I like to read and I’d like to do it more this year.
  • Increase the recipe repertoire
I like to eat and I like to eat “with variety”. Unfortunately, it is sometimes hard to fit that into the schedule. I think it would be great to try a few more recipes a little more often. So if you have a favourite, pass it on!
  • Stop worrying about some of the little things.
This is mostly self explanatory. There are many things I cannot control or that just really don’t matter. Who cares if the crazy man at work thinks that the Pussycat dolls dance around in their underwear tastefully whereas the Chili Peppers do not? Clearly he would just rather look at girls pouring on the skank as opposed to a bunch of guys being guys. And that is just fine. No use getting my knickers in a twist about it…
  • Race a 5K (maybe more than one), improve my 10K time, run another half.
Sure that’s three things, but it kind of goes along with my “don’t get injured” goal and my attempt at a new attitude. It isn’t “just” a 5K, or a 10K or a half. They are all fun (although if you heard about my last half, I didn’t have much fun) and they are all good distances. Before my leg broke, I thought that one of my goals for 2009 might be to run a marathon. I guess I’ll save the marathon for 2010 (maybe a 30th birthday present? Maybe a “run a marathon before I turn 30” present? Who knows) and this year I'll focus on distances that I’m pretty sure won’t break me. I like the idea of pushing hard for 10K and really hard for 5K. I think it might be fun to learn how to do some speed work. Then maybe I can throw in a summer or fall half marathon just to run it. Maybe my time will improve and I'll dip under 2 hours, maybe it won’t. I just need to prove to myself that I can do it again. (and can I add that I’d love to do another race with my sister? I don’t know if it will work in 09 but I hope it can…even if it is “just” a 5K ;-)
  • Be greener
Whether it is thinking twice (or three times) before buying something, turning extra lights off, or thinking about which products to buy because they have less packaging, I want to reduce my impact on the environment. I do already think about how the things I do or buy might have an impact on the world (and the poor polar bears from the Plane Earth DVDs), but there is always room to improve.
  • Be more money savvy.
I don’t waste a lot of money, but there are always ways to cut back and to make smarter choices. One of these months I’ll track every penny I spend, take a look at the results and see where the waste and silly choices are.
  • Keep in touch more and show the people I love how much I do care.
Again, pretty self explanatory. I’ve felt like I haven’t been paying enough attention to those around me lately. I’ve missed sending birthday cards and I’ve been neglectful with emails and phone calls. This year will be better.

So there you have it- my nine in oh nine.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

hypothermic half marathon- a spectator's race report

So I’ve been a spectator at quite a few running events, but this one was a little different because it was in January. Standing and watching in the cold is definitely a different experience. I’ll start by saying that they call it the Hypothermic Half for a reason and it did live up to its name. While it wasn’t as cold as it had been earlier in the week, Sunday morning was still in the “double digit minuses” and there was a bit of a wind chill. I’m pretty sure it was in the -20s when you factored the wind in, though luckily the wind wasn’t strong. So for the very first time that I've watched a race, I didn't envy them as much as usual.

Jordan got up before I did to do the usual pre-race routine while I stayed warm and cozy in bed. It felt a little shocking to get out of bed in the dark on a Sunday, but off we went in our rental car. The parking lot was mostly empty when we got there but it filled up pretty quickly. It is kind of funny to sit in a mostly full parking lot with people who are just unwilling to get out until they absolutely have to. No one wanted to be out in the cold any longer than they needed to. Eventually, however, we needed to find the bathrooms (5 minute walk from the car) and the start-line (another 5 minutes or so). I assumed my role as “pack mule” as Jordan took off layers and handed them to me before heading into the pack of runners. As he handed me his jacket, I was a little shocked, but there wasn’t much of a wind and he promised to grab it from me at the turnaround. I have to say, I was pretty jealous of the people right in the middle of the start pack…all those bodies keeping them warm. Since it was a small race, there was just a guy giving a couple of instructions (which I don’t think most people heard) and then a “Go”. Off they went.

Since the race was on the Experimental Farm, there aren’t a tonne of trees, so from the start/turn around/finish line (the race was divided into 4 5K loops and a 550m out and back to the finish) I could see a lot of the progress. Not enough to pick out Jordan or anything, but it was really quite interesting to see the “regular” runners going along and then seeing the fast ones wiz by them going in the other direction. I’ve definitely been on the side of running along and watching the fast people go by, but I haven’t been able to just observe it before. Kind of cool.

The other fun thing was watching the frost accumulate on any part of any person that it would stick to. Eyelashes, regular hair, beards, the little hairs that aren’t noticeable until you run in the winter (that’s right ladies, you too can get a snow-beard). The various states of frostiness were fun to watch. Everyone was as unique as…well, a snowflake. (and as we were discussing on the side-lines: friends tell friends when they have a snow beard)

All was well until about 45-50 minute mark when I started to get pretty darn cold (despite my hand and feet warmers…those little things can only do so much I suppose). But, some people came to my rescue and let me sit in their van for a little bit. I was back outside at the 65 minute mark just in time to see Jordan at the turnaround to start his last loop. At that point I knew I was cold but that I only had to be out there another half hour maximum.

The finish looked like it was a bit of a tease. They had been doing 5K loops so once they were at the end of their last loop, they still had 1.1km to go. This was an out and back right on the other side of the street from the other turn around. It must have been hard to think about "ok, still 1.1K to go" when you kind of feel like you're at the "done" point. But, such is life when you do road races I guess.

The guy that won finished almost 5 minutes ahead of everyone else...pretty impressive. Especially considering he didn't have that runner "look" to him: he almost seemed to run like a rugby player. The second and third place finishers battled it out to the end and finished within a second of eachother- always fun to watch. Especially when you're right there to watch them finish, then introduce themselves to each other and congratulate each other on a great race. The fourth place finisher had the goal of finishing top 10, was in fifth going in to the last out and back, but managed to catch up and pass before the finish. Plus he had the best snow beard of them all. I was pretty excited to see Jordan come in 4th place...not just because I thought it was pretty cool that he finished so far up in the standings (1st in his age group), but because my toes were ready to call it a day and I was getting almost getting to the shivering and teeth chattering point. On any other day, I would have stuck around to do some more cheering, but once he finished, we made a beeline for the car to get warm as quickly as possible.

It was an interesting race to watch. There were walkers (who started at 7am!), volunteers, quicker runners, and slower runners (good on you for braving the cold for 3 are braver than I am). Even though it was a small race, there were all types of runners. I guess I would have been one had the stress fracture not broken up my winter running (ooh, bad choice of words), but maybe this once, I was happy to be on the sidelines.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


I saw this screen shot on a popular blog. It caught my attention because there is just something about Michelle Obama's smile and the look in her eyes. It kind of says "Oh yeah you did".

Monday, January 19, 2009

winter blahs

I'm sorry about the lack of posting. I just feel like if I did post, I'd sound like a whiny baby since I'm going through some winter blahs. It is cold, snowy, and the buses are STILL on strike (weird news story about it at this link: here)

In other news though, tomorrow the president elect becomes the president...that should be interesting.

Plus, Ellen finally managed to score an appearance by George Clooney. I'm pretty sure she's been going on for months about it.

I hope you are all dealing with the lack of sunshine better than I am. Oh wait, a lot of you have been bathed in sunshine and warm temperatures for almost a week now...Instead of telling you off, I will express my gratitude that at least someone is getting some nice weather.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

memories to keep me warm

One of my "must go" places I found before our trip to San Francisco was Dynamo Donut and Coffee. It started with a rumour about bacon donuts and continued when I saw this post on David Lebovitz's food blog. Although I'm usually not one to dive for the donuts, I do recognize that a good donut is a thing of beauty. Light, fluffy, sweet (but not too sweet)...perfect with coffee and just really quite delicious. I needed to try these strange combinations. A fresh donut instead of something that came off a truck...So we made the trek and it was well worth it.
Unfortunately, we were not able to try the Bacon-Apple with Maple Glaze (which apparently only appear on Fridays and Sundays), but the Lemon-Thyme were spectacular. I highly recommend a stop to Dynamo. It is in the Mission district, which is a place you should check out anyway, and just down the street from the alley with all the murals:
(this was one of a few strange coincidental finds. A picture of this mural used to be the wallpaper for my computer. as we walked away from dynamo, i happened to look behind me and out of the corner of my eye, say the mural. i knew it was in san francisco, but hadn't bothered to figure out where. then it shows up in the corner of my eye...weird)

So yes. My message? If you are in San Francisco, go to Dynamo Donut and Coffee (their website is not that informative). Preferably on a day when they are making the bacon donut. Then you can FedEx a few over to me :) Oh and maybe a chipotle chocolate one too. Heck, get me a two of each flavour they have that day and send them as fast as you can.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

the morning fog may chill the air

(i think i may have left my heart in san francisco)
I hear that Monday is the new weekend. I know I promised a post, but I'm not the one that resolved to pay more attention to her blog this year. In fact, I generally don't make resolutions at all. I set goals, but I try not to set myself up for resolution failure.

I wanted to do a year in review but so far haven't really found the time or energy to do it. Hopefully I'll get around to it just in time for everyone to be all "seriously? NOW you do a year in review? that is SO last month." Honestly though, I think I've sunk into a bit of the post-holiday, back to work, dead of winter, still in the midst of a transit strike blues. I feel a bit trapped by the cold and trapped by the fact that I either have to rely on someone's kindness, walk, rent a car, or take a cab to get anywhere. For the most part, we can walk for groceries and pretty much all immediate necessities. But I was sick of not being able to go anywhere on a whim before the transit strike. Now I just want to grab the next car (or plane?) and go anywhere that isn't within walking distance of our apartment. That feeling kind of scares me as we've only been back 4 days. It is going to be a loooong winter.

In happy news however, I have now started running again. Yaaaay! I'll be starting on the treadmill due to the ice and snow and I have to start at 25% of the mileage that caused the stress fracture. So, it will be slow and long, but at least I'm back at it. I also may have found something "easy" I can do to prevent future fractures: switch my asthma medication. Apparently one of the components of the one I'm taking can result in bone issues. Hopefully my doctor will agree that I can be switched to something without bone density side effects.

And, because I loved it so much, here's another picture:

(and after all that, i posted after all...well then, maybe this non-resolution thing really does work)

Friday, January 09, 2009

soon i tell you, soon

I will post this weekend- I promise.
I was busy in Calgary, did some good eating in San Francisco, and now I'm back in O-town to lots of snow, sunny cold weather and the buses are STILL on strike. BAH! Oh well. At least the sun is out.