Friday, September 30, 2011

paula radcliffe- still a legend

Recently, the powers that be in road racing decided that the current woman's world record in the marathon was no longer valid. They decided that a record set by a women in a "mixed gender" race (so where the women are able to be paced by men) would no longer count. It would be a "best time" but wouldn't count as a world record (check out more of an explanation over at Runner's World).

The "old" record (2:15:25) was run by Paula Radcliffe in 2003. She still "owns" the new record. But that doesn't make it any better of a decision in my opinion. I don't like the rule. And neither does Nike (one of Paula Radcilffe's sponsors):
In my books and in the books of so many of us, history stands. That's a beast of a time Paula Radcliffe! The only way it should change is if a woman comes along and runs 2:15:24 or faster.

What rules do you not agree with? If you could change any rule- what would it be?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

why runners need yoga (or at least why this runner does)

I know this doesn't apply to ALL runners- but in general, I find that we're a bit of a "Type A" bunch. We construct training plans, we have paces to follow, and prescribed workouts to complete. There are a lot of numbers and there's a lot of thinking and planning. Even while running- we're very rarely just running for fun. We're in training, we're setting goals, and we're running with purpose.
running for fun
There's nothing wrong with that...but man it can get exhausting. This is where yoga comes in for me. Not only does it help with my tight muscles (and boy are they tight) but helps with my mind too. I don't set a goal in yoga. I can't compare my last class with the current one. I get on my mat and I breathe. It doesn't matter if my heels don't touch the ground in downward dog or if today my body wants to do cobra instead of upward dog. I just breathe and I flow through the poses.

Not only does it loosen my muscles, but it loosens ME up. As I was in pigeon pose the other day, I could feel myself letting go. Letting go of my day, letting go of my stress, and letting go of any other nagging problem I was hanging on to. That and wow did my hips feel better after hanging out there for awhile. :)

As the class wrapped up and we headed into savasana, the instructor said "and welcome home." On another day, I may have found that statement to be a little weird. But for that class, it resonated. I just lay back on my mat and I breathed. I didn't think, I didn't judge how things went in the class. I just lay there, I breathed and I let myself feel at home...and it was great.

So runners- be thee not afraid! Yoga is different and it can be a little scary at first, but it is well worth the time. You might loosen more than your muscles.

Is there anything that helps you let go?

PS- I think I'm the only one who can end up with that annoying water in the ear sound after a hot yoga class. I keep forgetting NOT to roll onto my side without wiping the sweat off the side of my head first. Yeah- I'm THAT sweaty.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

dancing for cancer?

I love science, I love geeky scientists, and I love watching people dance. So this is right up my alley :)

Link in case the video doesn't work:

Taken from what McGill uploaded:
To highlight some of the critical work being done at the Goodman Cancer Research Centre, we gathered some of our top scientists, students, lab techs and dedicated volunteers, who turned on the music - and danced! 
Thanks to our proud sponsor, Medicom, a donation will be made for each hit to support advances in cancer research at the Goodman Cancer Research Centre.

I hope it makes you smile and be sure to pass it around. We all know people who are depending on the results of cancer research.

one last post- the aftermath of the montreal half marathon

Ok- so now that I've recovered (although I spent all of yesterday thirsty and with a low-grade headache) I am going to write one last post about the half.

First off- Jordan had signs! And they were awesome. The first sign said Step 1: START RUNNING. On the other side? THERE IS NO STEP 2! Besides making me laugh, the best part of the sign was that as he was just holding it at his side (Step 1 side visible), a guy ran by and said "There is no step 2!" It was pretty awesome (and I wasn't even there).

The second sign said "Hurry up- We're HUNGRY" on one side and "I like PIE" on the other. Jordan really does like pie. He's no liar. Unfortunately, the signs ended up with Suz so I couldn't take a picture. But trust me, they were awesome and they made me laugh!

Secondly- Can't say enough about the support from Suz, Sean, and Jordan on the day. As I felt like ass, they made me smile and they made sure I got taken care of and that I took care of myself. And Suz could have run faster...her body was cooperating a little more than mine was. Speaking of support, thank you for all of YOUR kind words. I really appreciate it.

Plus, Jordan got to meet Sam Roberts at the finish line :) I'm totally jealous.

And finally- I'm no longer disappointed. Even though I am no longer running to finish but rather to meet certain goals, I'm over the unfortunate-ness of Sunday. Shit happens, my body hates heat, it is better to be safe than sorry.

I'm also over it because I got an email from a co-worker congratulating me on my race. She has MS and sometimes walking is a challenge for her. In her email to me, she talked about the oppressive humidity and that she was awestruck that I ran let alone finished. It made me thankful to get out and run. Thankful that even though the heat slowed me down, I can run, walk, and run some more.

I kind of wanted to run today. But I didn't :) And hey- third time is a charm right? Next time I'll get you you 1:55 bastard!

So I'll leave you with the most flattering picture ever taken of me:
wiping the salt from my face
Enough about me, me me! Go say something nice to someone and tell me about it. And tell me something that made YOU smile over the last few days!

Monday, September 26, 2011

montreal half-marathon: PR fail

Well, that was unfortunate!

I started the day feeling confident. Despite a minor weather-related freak out on Friday, I knew I was well-trained and I was feeling good. Yeah, slightly run down due to a busy week, but after a day of rest and relaxation on Saturday and a long sleep on Saturday night, I woke up feeling really ready to run and ready to kick ass.

Suz and I lined up at the start and despite wanting to curse them when they told us that next year it would be an earlier start, the race started exactly on time at 10:30 am. It started off ok. The first bit was pretty uphill so we were slightly behind but confident we would be able to make it up on the downhills.
elevation- Montreal half marathon

Unfortunately, that confidence waned as I hit the middle section of the course. I was starting to feel really hot and when I stopped to walk the water station before the 10K point, I was already feeling a little dizzy.

I had some mantras ready for when the going got tough. One in particular was written on my arm:
Cancer is an Asshole (right Kevin and Susan?)
I used that. I thought about how march harder it is to be sick or to be recovering from injuries. I thought about my hard training runs and how I pushed through those. I used the old "HTFU" and even saw someone all decked out in Hoogerland's team kit and used that.

It was hot, it was humid, but I was PREPARED dammit, I was prepared! I was also hot. Really hot. And feeling sick. I used everything in my arsenal...I tried to run faster, I tried to suck it up. I worked hard and I tried hard. I told myself that this too shall pass.

But there comes a point where mind over matter doesn't work anymore. As my eyes got a little cloudy and I told Suz that I needed a walk break (around the 18K mark), she told me it would be ok to walk it in from there if I needed to (I think she was a little worried). But I couldn't do it. I couldn't walk it in. I promised myself that I'd leave it all out out on the course. So I chose a point and said "we're running at that light." And I knew that from that point on, the next time I stopped running, there would be no more running. I had to run it in. I had to.

It wasn't pretty, it wasn't a PR, it wasn't even a sub-2 hour finish (final time was 2:01:58). But if I had left any more of myself on the course, it would have either been the contents of my stomach or it would have been my body splayed out on the course. I got to the finish line standing on my own two feet. Had I pushed any harder (and had Suz not been around) I would have ended my day with a DNF and/or in need of some more serious medical attention. Sadly, a man collapsed and died on the route yesterday. He was in his 30s.

I have never seen so much carnage on the side of the road. Runners out cold before the medical staff could get there, runners tending to other runners, paramedics everywhere...(in fact, we just missed having to stop to let an ambulance through the course- it passed just behind us) and way too many runners looking way too unhealthy both on the side of the course and in the medical tent.

The talk around me was of personal worsts and un-met goals. As I was sitting on the lawn outside the medical tent (after leaving it...yeah, needed some ice to cool down and to make sure I was ok), the group of women sitting next to me was talking about how each of them missed their goal by a minimum of 10 minutes. One lady was training for a 1:45 and ran it in 1:55. Another was training for a 1:55 and ran it in 2:20... two other ladies said that if they had had money, they would have taken the metro to the end. We all decided that today just wasn't a good day.

I look creepy
This post is getting super long, so I'm going to post some reflections and random sights and sounds from the half marathon tomorrow...but for now I'll say thank you to the best support crew there is (thanks Jordan and Sean), to all of you who left me tweets and messages of encouragement, and to the best running friend a person could ask for. All of you made me push harder (and one of you reminded me that leaving in an ambulance is not worth it).

I tried my very best. I pushed as hard as I could. I did not meet my goal. But there are other half marathons on other (cooler) days. As I sit here 7.5 hours later, still feeling too hot- I am disappointed but I know I did all I could. I think I would have finished even slower had I not been as prepared as I was.

So thank you to all y'all for your support!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

race day- montreal half-marathon

After spending the day resting, carbing, and hydrating, it is race day. I'm ready in my bright colours so that Jordan sees me this time and I'm ready to go. Definitely a few jitters but I'm sure they'll all disappear once I start to run.
Ready to Run.
See you at the finish line!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

ready, set, goals (for the montreal half marathon)

Even though I haven't talked about my training in detail on the blog, I've been training for the Montreal half marathon all summer. And I've been training really hard. 10 milers, 12 milers, many 13 milers, plus two 14 mile long runs and I topped out at a 15 mile loooong run. Tempo runs, intervals, hills...lots of preparation has gone into this race.

Although the weather forecast isn't looking ideal (damn you humidity), I'm still excited and ready to run my best tomorrow.  Normally, I don't throw all the goals up on the blog, but I figured why not!

First off: Since Suz and I were running and training together, we both want to PR. Her best time is faster than mine (by almost exactly 2 minutes) so we'd both really like to run under a 1:54.42. That would definitely kill two birds with one stone as it would push me under that 1:55 that I wanted to do in May and did not.

Second: I want to quiet the demons. I've done a pretty good job of ignoring the bad voices in my head these days. But I'm still not 100% sure that those demons have left my head, so I feel like I still need need to keep that as a goal.

Third: Leave it all out there. No matter what, I want to finish knowing I tried my best. If my best is hampered a little by the weather- so be it- but I want to cross the finish line knowing that I couldn't have done better yesterday. Hopefully that also means that I finish with a smile on my face.

So...sub 1:55 or bust (but really sub 1:54:42 or bust)!

Good luck to everyone else racing tomorrow!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

thursday randomness- the busy week and arcade fire edition

Getting up before 5 am to catch a train is not the most fun thing to do when instead of being in bed at a normal hour, I was at the Metropolis with a few thousand people rocking out to Arcade Fire.
Arcade Fire in grainy iPhone photo
This was the second time I've seen them and they did not disappoint.When they came on stage, they seemed genuinely happy to be there (after all, Montreal is home) and they put on a great show. It is pretty hard not to enjoy a band that plays with 2 drum sets, has 2 people who can play the accordion, 2 violin players, has a guy who rocks out really hard while playing the glokenspiel, and plugs a charity basketball game saying "even if you hate basketball, it is a good cause and it will probably involve pulling our pants down."

This year, Arcade fire has won a Juno (like a Canadian Grammy), Brit award, the Polaris Music Prize, and a Grammy. When they won the Grammy for Album of the Year the internet exploded with "Arcade Fire? Who the Fuck is Arcade Fire?" If you haven't heard their Suburbs Album (which was the album of the year), it is definitely worth a listen (as are all of their albums) and their interactive "The Wilderness Downtown" video is pretty awesome. And if that didn't sell you, how about the fact that they sell a "Who the Fuck is Arcade Fire?" shirt at their concerts?

Other tired randomness:
Standing for hours at a concert makes your feet hurt.

I'm hoping to get a run in today in Ottawa. I really hope it happens.

For the first time, I'm really thinking about how to approach this race on Sunday. My usual technique involves the Barney Stinson method of running- Step One: start running. There is no step two. But this time I'm trying to look at the route and figure out where I might feel good and bad and how I'm going to deal with that. I'm open to suggestions- so feel free to share your best race day positive mantras and thoughts with me!

Have I mentioned that my sister is having her baby in a short TWO WEEKS (or so...). That is just crazy talk I tell you. CRAZY TALK.

Ok, I think that is enough with the tired ramblings. So here are some questions for you-
Arcade Fire- yay or nay? 
Race day- what are your best mantras and positive thoughts?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

wordless wednesday- cafe saint henri

coffee and croissants
It doesn't get much better than great coffee, buttery croissants (check out the stain on the side of the bag), and good conversation. They roast, they brew, they serve with a smile. Love my local coffee house Café Saint Henri

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

taper tuesday

Race week has definitely snuck (sneaked?) up on me...even though it has been a 3 month training cycle, it doesn't feel like it should be race week already. My body, however, is very much ready for the rest. I'm tired, I'm sore, and I'm ready for this taper!

My schedule needs the break too. Somehow, this is one of the busiest weeks I've had in quite some time. I've got a concert to go to (hard to pass up Arcade Fire in their home town) and a 2 day work trip to Ottawa. So Saturday? Saturday will be spent sitting on my butt and hopefully having a nap at some point. And I'm guessing my train ride home on Friday may end up being nap time as well.

So this week is all about grabbing all of the rest I can get and becoming a little too intimate with my foam roller (how many weird looks and questions will I get if I bring it with me on the train to Ottawa?). I'm going to try to post when I can, but may end up being a little quieter than usual.

So just in case I can't get a post up tomorrow, please enjoy this picture of me and the Cows Ice Cream cow getting to know each other.
In Newfoundland you kiss the cod. In PEI you kiss the Cow?
Are you a fan of the rest before a the race? Do you freak out or roll with it when race week ends up being busier than you hoped it would be?

Monday, September 19, 2011

scenes from the night run

5K start
On Saturday, a group of us ran the Energizer Night Race at Jean Drapeau Park here in Montreal. Apparently, it is a "worldwide sensation," but it was the first time it was run here.

We dressed in our finest fluorescent colours, put on our headlamps (which were provided as part of the race fee and were mandatory for the race), and went with the expectation of a fun run in the park.

To say that I was with a group of high energy people is a bit of an understatement:
can't even stand still for a  picture
As we waited for it to get dark, we were lead in a warm up, given instructions, and then it was time to head for the start. We, of course, took pictures, sort of warmed up, and tried our best to listen to the instructions.
headlamps: MANDATORY
It was definitely dark as we lined up and perhaps it was the darkness that had the volunteer grab the wrong sign to try to corral people into the right spot. Strangely, he was holding a 35+ minutes sign partway back in the field. We kind of wanted to say "um sir? it is likely that pretty much everyone here will run a 10K in more than 35 minutes."

As we started off, the footing was uneven, it was really dark, there were a lot of people, and our race plan of "warm-up mile then half marathon pace to the end" turned into "stay safe, no face plants, no injuries before next week's race." Even with volunteers VERY well placed letting us know where hazards were and where to go, it was tough to run confidently. That didn't stop us from having fun and singing, laughing, and cheering through the entire race.
we definitely stood out- the majority were in the race shirt
The 5K course was one loop and the 10K two loops with the 10K starting 10-15 minutes after the 5K. For 10Kers, that first loop was definitely more congested- especially near the end when we were catching up to the 5K runners finishing up. We adjusted our pace accordingly. Some others did not, resulting in some unsafe passing. It was kind of scary.

Once the first loop was done, there was far more room to run and we actually ended up running that loop at half marathon pace (resulting in a definitely negative split). Then, before we knew it, we were running up the final hill (yeah- the course we thought was going to be very flat, wasn't) and headed through the finish line.
Fleet Feet in Essex Junction, VT is spreading the Turtle shirt love
One thing I definitely learned from this race- the hill training has been working! Right near the end of each loop there was a gradual uphill that lead into a short, steep uphill. It barely fazed me and we were passing people like crazy on that hill. Definite confidence boost for next week.

Overall, it was a fun time. It was definitely a little nerve wracking and I'm glad I was treating it as a fun run instead of an all out race effort. It was a little too scary to run in the dark and I wouldn't have wanted to be so focused on my goal that I forgot to have fun (or as some people seemed to be- willing to plow through the crowd) or forgot to pay attention to the uneven footing- because I would have ended up flat on my face.
yay fluorescent
Fun times, fun run. And then it was off for a late dinner after. Thanks running friends and we should really run for ramen more often! (and since I haven't asked everyone's permission to put their picture on the blog, I'll leave it off and put it on Facebook- if we're not friends, look me up!)

Did anyone else race this weekend? Any fun things to report from the weekend?

(and for the record, my glow bracelet that I wore Saturday night is STILL glowing on Monday morning)

Friday, September 16, 2011

grating butter- it really works

I was flipping through pictures the other day when I came across a picture I had taken while making cookies. That evening, I decided I wanted to make cookies, but the butter was frozen. Instead of giving up (because you can't whip frozen butter with sugar to make the lovely fluffy consistency you need for cookies), I remembered a tip I had heard about what to do when you don't have enough time to let your butter come to room temperature. You grate it. So I got out the cheese grater and started grating that butter! The product looked like this:
grated butter and the best of bridge
Sure, it looked a little weird and a little like spätzle, but the important part was that it worked! Once I grated the butter and let it sit for a few minutes (while I got out the hand mixer and some of the other ingredients), it was soft enough to cream easily and the cookies were baking in no time. I was rather excited that a random tip actually panned out.

And yes, I do think wine and baking go very well together.

On the books for the weekend I have the Night Race (yaaaay!) and my last longish run before the half marathon on the 25th. My goal for the Night Race (I'm doing the 10K) is not to get too excited and run too fast. I'm going to try to do a warm-up mile and then run most of the rest of the race at half-marathon pace. Hopefully I can stick to that plan! And I'm kind of excited to have a bit of a shorter long run this weekend. I'm ready for the taper!

Any random cooking or baking tips that you've tried and that have actually worked? Anything fun planned for the weekend?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

three things thursday: the other people's posts edition

Well, I thought I'd mix it up this Thursday- I thought I'd plug other people's posts. So here are three blog posts I've read this week that I thought were worth sharing.

Post one is Oh Yes, You Can! (Or why I don't believe your excuses) over at Losing Weight in the City. Theodora has lost an amazing amount of weight while leading a busy life. One by one, she picks apart all the excuses people make about changing their lives for the better.

I absolutely agree with her- so many of our "reasons" are actually excuses. Instead of "I can't" a better way to frame it might be "I'm not willing to make the sacrifice right now" or "I'm not motivated enough to make the change yet." Lets all be more honest with ourselves when it comes to making changes.

Post two is Sorry I'm Not Sorry from Katy Widrick. She talked about feeling guilty for things that she sees other people doing and feels like she should do too. Then she took a closer look and thought "NO- no I'm NOT sorry for that." She loves cheese too much to become a vegan and she doesn't like chia seeds- and she's not sorry for either of those.

Her post prompted me to leave the following un-apologies in her comments section:
I like bacon too much to be a vegetarian. Sorry, I’m not sorry.
I sometimes buy the cheap factory eggs because I need eggs and they are the only ones my grocery store around the corner sells. Sorry, I’m not sorry.
Sometimes I refuel after a fifteen mile run with baguette, double cream brie, and Spanish ham instead of whole grains and lean protein. I wouldn’t even dream of apologizing for that one.
If I had to give up running or beer, I’d rather learn to walk really fast or become a great bike rider than give up beer. Sorry, I’m not sorry.
Post three is to lighten the mood and make you laugh- Steve in a Speedo's post about his horrible race pictures. As someone who generally looks terrible in race pictures, he not only made me laugh but I empathized with him. Thankfully, however, I've never had eyes so crazy it looked like I was "stealing the soul of nearby children." Wow Steve- those are awesome.

Have you read (or written) anything this week that you think I (or others) should read? Anything you're NOT sorry for?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

grands prix cyclistes de montreal 2011

After my run on Sunday, instead of hanging out at home (which is often needed after a long run), we did something a little more fun- we headed to a bike race. The Grands Prix Cyclistes de Montreal is a UCI World Tour event. You know what else is a UCI World Tour event? The Tour de France. So yeah, it was kind of a big deal.
I think the great George Hincapie is giving me the stink eye in this picture.
Being up close to a big bike race was pretty awesome. Watching the peleton go by- pretty exciting. One of the coolest things was seeing the difference in speed between when the group of riders is just going along and not trying to push the pace versus when they are pushing it on the last lap and going really riding like they mean it.

It was also pretty cool to be a little bit of a fangirl and get excited that I was so close to bike riding "royalty". Sure, Cadel Evans wasn't there, but his team was! And some pretty great riders were there. Best climber/Polka Dot jersey winner Samuel Sanchez, 16 time Tour de France rider (and the above pictured) George Hincapie, and countless others. Two of the definite highlights though were Ryder Hesjedal and Johnny Hoogerland.

When Hoogerland rode by at the end of the race, I could actually see the scars on his legs...(from  a pretty insane incident in the Tour de France involving a media car crashing into some riders).
Johnny Hoogerland in the flesh
Now when I need to Hoogerland the F up, I've got a real life image to attach to the thought. (And Laura- feel free to steal this picture. I have another I can send to you if you want :)

I have a feeling Ryder Hesjedal really wanted to win this one. He came in 11th (after the peleton split a LOT during the last lap of the circuit) and we could tell that he was really spent at the finish.
Ryder finishing up in his "ode to Canada" Oakleys
Luckily, he had a Garmin soigneur to give him a bit of a pep talk and get him ready to go collect his top Canadian podium finish.
Soigneur doing her duty. And Sammy Sanchez's butt.
While it would have been awesome to see a Canadian win at one of the Canadian Grand Prix events, I just thought it was pretty cool to be there and to see such a big cycling event in my city. And since a trip to the Tour de France is on my bucket list (hopefully a mountain stage! look for me running up the mountain in some sort of strange hat...) this was pretty awesome to be able to watch.

Have you ever been to a big bike race? Does it interest you or is it something you can take or leave?

*I took some video, but the quality is TERRIBLE when I upload it to the blog. Any suggestions on how to make it better?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

my first fifteen (miles)

On Sunday, I tweeted "I just ran 15 miles for the first time. Yay me. :)" What I really meant was "holy crap that was a long run and now I'm really tired and really hungry. Somebody feed me and find me a compression body suit."

The run went a little something like this:
Miles 1-9: Holy crap. This is going to be a long hard run. How the heck am I going to run 15?
Miles 10-11: Ok, maybe it will work out and I'll get it done.
Mile 12: Hey, feeling better, things are looking up
Mile 13: Ok, getting kind of tired but running strong.
Mile 14: Still not done eh?
Mile 15: Hey, I'm doing it. I'm running 15 miles. Yup- I'm tired, I'm sore, but I'm still running.

With an elevation profile like this- I think I know why the first part was so mentally (and physically) tough:
not sure why part of the graph is cut off- can't seem to fix it. but there were 15 miles and one more downhill!
At some point during that last downhill, I turned to Suz and said "Oh my god...everything hurts." And it was true. That downhill was brutal. The only way I could make it hurt less was to run faster (as strange as it sounds)...the less I had to work to slow myself down, the better it felt.

The best part of the run was feeling tired but strong at the end. Miles 13, 14, and 15 were our fastest (although looking at the elevation are you surprised?).

I finished feeling tired but happy with my first 15 miles. I also finished feeling happy that my half marathon won't be quite as hilly!

How do you usually feel when you've accomplished a new challenge? Does it leave you exhausted or energized?

Monday, September 12, 2011

lululemon salutation nation 2011 montreal

Saturday morning I did some yoga in the park. It was absolutely lovely. The class was a part of the 2011 edition of lululemon's Salutation Nation. In every city with a lululemon, there was a free outdoor yoga class at 9am.

My day started a little rushed with a wake up and a "do I have time or do I not have time to get there" conversation. Ultimately,  I decided I had time if I hurried my butt out the door. So I threw on my yoga stuff, grabbed my mat, my water, and a snack and rushed out the door.
Chocolate Mint- good! (and gotta make sure Aron can keep her new job by eating Clif!)
Due to some road closures and my somewhat late departure, I definitely had to rush to get to the park and was worried I'd be late. But, because of the road closures, the folks at lululemon decided to delay the start of the class to make sure we all got there. So I settled onto my mat and got ready for it to start.
blue skies and sun- perfect for yoga in the park
I was a little worried about how uneven the ground was, but as the class started I quickly forgot about it and just enjoyed the yoga. We did some sun salutations, some flow, some standing poses...all in the bright sunny park.

One of the cool things about this class was that because it was in Montreal, the class was bilingual. The teacher flowed through both French and English throughout the class and it just seemed normal.

As the class came to an end with savasana, I was lying in the park in the sun with 100 or so others and I was truly relaxed and very glad that I convinced myself that I had time to get to the class when I woke up that morning. It also made me wish I lived in a climate where events like this could happen all year long.

Have you ever done an outdoor yoga class? If not, do you think it is something you'd like?

Friday, September 09, 2011

bragging on a friday- getting it done in French

Maybe this seems simple to most, but here is what I did yesterday that I'm proud of:
  • proved I have been living in Quebec for long enough to qualify for resident tuition
  • figured out why the university decided to change my ID code (oh my silly parents for giving me a certain combination of names)
  • rolled with the code change
  • got my new code and unique ID
  • got my student ID card
  • got my student transit pass (well, the temporary one anyway...and the one paid for by my tuition, not the one you have to be younger than 25 for)
  • informed my department of the crazy ID (and name) change
  • got my email set up
  • opted out of the student health and dental plan.
And I did all of that in French. All the paperwork, all of the interactions were en Francais! I was really nervous about getting all of it done in my second language but I did really well. I didn't get flustered and I only "lost my words" once.

It is weird- I know my French is decent, but I feel like it should be better and when I flub up or when I can't think of something I almost feel guilty. Living in Quebec I feel like I should speak French and that I should speak it well. I shouldn't make silly mistakes and everyone should understand me.

Yesterday, I went to the University knowing that I had to get all of this stuff done and that it was OK if I couldn't do it all in perfect French. I had no choice but to figure it all out and get it all done. Once the pressure was off, it was fine! I just relaxed and things went well. I even finished my final interaction with "Wow- and I just did that all in French!" and the person (who knew I was an anglophone and that my program at the university is in English) said "and you did it well!"

So I walked away happy and feeling great. Plus, I walked away with a student ID card that makes me feel very fancy because I forgot which faculty my program is a part of:
Where do I pick up my lab coat and stethoscope?
What did you accomplish this week that you were proud of?

Thursday, September 08, 2011

three things thursday- photos of threes

Today, I thought I'd post three "three things" photos. Because good things come in threes?
3 beers at the Granville Island Brewing Company
3 pretty ladies hiking in Charleston Lake provincial park
3 croquet mallets at The Essex
Do you believe that good things and/or bad things come in threes?

(and in other three things news- three Sundays until my race! EEK)

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

confessions on a wednesday

A few confessions, many of which involve trashy TV:

As I write this post, I'm watching Drop Dead Diva. I first started watching it when we had Netflix and it was something that was I'm addicted and I want to know what happened.

I eat chocolate chips by the hand full. I love them. Especially the Baker's semi-sweet chips. (Though I just found out that Ghirardelli makes bags of chocolate chips- probably best I would have a hard time getting my hands on those)

I've been watching this season of Big Brother. Somehow I just can't look away. One thing I have been liking about this season is that in the exit interviews, for once the cast seems to understand that this is a trashy reality show and no one seems to be taking themselves or the situation too seriously. In the house, however, they're taking it super seriously and I love the train wreck.

Call me a hoarder, but when I saw the St. Ambroise Pumpkin Ale in the store today (for the first time this season), I bought two four-packs and would have bought more had I been able to carry it. I think I also got the people in the beer room thinking because I noticed that they each walked out with a Pumpkin Ale single. Part of me is happy that they will learn the deliciousness of the beer but the other part wanted to snatch it from their hands and keep it for myself.

The worst confession of all: I've actually watched some of this season of the Bachelor Pad. I blame Leana and Heather. They were talking about it on twitter and I had to know what they were talking about. It is truly awful...but I really want to know what happens.

There are some of my confessions today- anything to confess?
(and wish me luck for tomorrow morning. I've got an early morning tempo run planned and early is hard!)

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

the best thing i ever ate with chopsticks?

There's a show on the Food Network called "The Best Thing I Ever Ate." The concept is that they choose a food category (like burgers, cheap eats, dessert) and interview chefs and food people about the best thing they've ever had in that category.

Not so long ago, we watched the episode about chopsticks. Giada De Laurentiis talked about drunken noodles in Las Vegas, Adam Gertler talked about slippery shrimp in Los Angeles, and Duff Goldman talked about crispy beef in Baltimore. But then Alton Brown came on the screen and talked about a dish called "Mock Eel" at A Single Pebble in Burlington, Vermont.

While he admitted that "mock eel" (or mock anything) doesn't exactly sound appealing, this dish was crispy, salty, sticky, and delicious. He said you'd never know it was mock anything and would certainly never guess that it was actually made of mushrooms. As the show implies, he said it was the best thing he had ever eaten...with chopsticks.

Since this restaurant was in Burlington, Vermont, we filed the information away for future use...and this weekend was when we decided to use it. Friday night, we went to A Single Pebble for dinner and one of the dishes we ordered (of course) was the Mock Eel.
mock eel and rice
The verdict? It was crispy, salty, and sticky. But the best thing I ever ate with chopsticks? I'm going to go with no. The first bites were absolutely delicious. But as I continued, it was just too salty. Definitely the kind of dish that if you get one order for a group of 4 or 5, you wish there was a little more per person but that when it is just two of you eating it, too much salt.
mushi with scallion brush for sauce
Obviously, we had a discussion as to what the best thing we ever ate with chopsticks was. While I didn't have a specific answer, I decided that it would most likely be something Japanese. I love Japanese food and I especially love sushi. A good piece of salmon sashimi is a little piece of heaven...
Jordan figured that for him it would be a noodle dish. He loves udon and noodle dishes.

All in all, a good meal at A Single Pebble, I'm glad we ordered the mock eel, and the Bejing Street noodles were delightful. But not the best thing I ever ate with chopsticks.

So that brings me to my question for you: What is the best thing YOU ever ate with chopsticks? Is there a style of food that is traditionally eaten with chopsticks that you love most?

Friday, September 02, 2011

i lovermont and irene was not kind to it

This weekend, we're headed to Vermont for a couple of days of relaxation. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people there who will be doing anything but relaxing- there is a LOT of cleanup that needs to be done. Irene hit on Sunday and it hit Vermont very hard.

Before the weather was supposed to come, I had a message from my aunt. She was telling us all that they were hunkering down and were prepared for whatever Irene brought. I thought that maybe she was over reacting a bit. I knew they were supposed to get a lot of rain, but come on- they aren't on the coast or anything. Then I started to see pictures.

The first were of Woodstock and Quechee (two towns that are part of the Covered Bridges Half Marathon- a race I've run twice). The pictures and videos were shocking to me.

I quickly got in touch with my cousins to make sure their mother was ok. She's an EMT in Woodstock and luckily was fine- but was very busy trying to help.

Then my uncle started to post pictures and video from his neck of the woods (the next three photos are taken from his Facebook page):
Wilmington, VT
Wilmington, VT
Wilmington, VT
Again, he and his family were ok, but he was stuck on one side of the river and his house was on the other.

Thanks to the internet, I knew that despite the flooding, my family was ok. But not everyone was so lucky and Vermont is a mess. They have seen the worst flooding in the last 100 years. Covered bridges have been washed away, neighbourhoods have been cut off, and people are still waiting to see what is under all of that water.

My heart aches for all the people who have lost their homes, their family members, and just for the state in general. It is such a beautiful place full of really nice people (including my family). It is a state that my family lives (and loves), my grandfather loved (and worked so hard to make a better place), and a place that I love and love to visit.

Luckily, Vermonters are darn plucky and are ready to clean up and fix things up. The National Guard has brought help and people are working hard to get Vermont back into shape. But there is a lot of help needed...

So how can we help? As the video "said"- the Red Cross is collecting donations to help with relief. A t-shirt company is selling shirts to help raise money. And another way to help is by helping with our tourist dollars. If you are close enough to visit- go check it out! Once things are cleaned up go "stimulate the economy" (as my aunt likes to call it). Go see all that Vermont has to offer. In the fall the leaves are gorgeous. In the winter there's skiing. All year round there is cross-border shopping, breweries to tour, the Ben and Jerry's ice cream factory, and maple syrup. There's something for everyone.

Once you visit, you'll love Vermont too.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

three things thusday- the yoga, farts, and donkeys edition

Happy Thursday y'all! Tomorrow is the last of my summer Fridays so I'm both excited for an extra long weekend but sad that summer is really over. I'm feeling a little shocked that it is September. But on with the show...

Thing One: I did some Yin Yoga last night. I've done it once before and enjoyed it and last night it didn't disappoint. Especially when nearing the end of a training cycle, it is really nice to go to a class where there is no standing, not balancing, no chaturanga...just slow, deep stretches. As long as you're ok with a slow moving class and you're able to "quiet your mind" a bit, I'd highly recommend it if you need a good stretch.

Thing Two: In said class, there was someone doing a lot of farting. Which was funny...(sorry, farts are funny) but I managed not to laugh. Until I got home and thought of Ashley...and then wondered just what kind of fart it was. Then I allowed myself to giggle. And then laugh out loud. And then laugh even more when I realized I had to do a google search for vagina farts because it wouldn't work properly on her site. Awesome.

Thing Three: My sister posted pictures of her baby room yesterday. I love them. My favourite, of course, is the picture called "Donkey!" because Jordan and I bought the donkey.  We were looking at all the animals and decided the Donkey was the most likely to have tattoos.
(source: heather's blog)
Two funny stories about things in that picture. Number one- what used to be in the frame shown in that picture wasn't nearly as cute as those little was a picture of her friend taking a shot...from my sister's crotch. Love it. Number two- when I brought the donkey to Heather, her husband came home later that day and Heather said "look...look what Kristen brought us." He seemed under-enthusiastic and almost confused. A little while later he suddenly said "ooooh...for the BABY...she brought the donkey for the BABY."

So there you have it- I managed to talk about yoga, farts, and donkeys all in one post. I have a talent for randomness.

Do you like yoga or is it not for you? And tell me- what makes you giggle uncontrollably?