Thursday, March 29, 2012

weird food?

I was reading something recently where people were confessing their weird food combination loves. Things they used to (or still do) eat together that they think are delicious (and potentially didn't know were weird until someone pointed it out to them). It reminded me of a segment on a morning show I once watched where the host confessed to eating crackers with peanut butter and jalapeƱo peppers. It also got me thinking about my weird food "habits." I can think of a few things that I eat that may not be considered normal to everyone.

  • For the longest time, if I was going to eat a grilled cheese sandwich, it needed to have either apple or crabapple jelly on it. Cheese and jelly - actually a great combination. Now I don't need the jelly, but I will almost always put either salsa or Frank's Red Hot on my grilled cheese sandwiches.
  • Even though I normally hated my food to touch, whenever we had pork chops and apple sauce, once I was done my meat, I would mix my corn and rice (which is what we usually had with pork chops) in with the rest of my, now slightly salty, apple sauce and eat it all together.
  • I put yogurt on my pancakes, then top with maple syrup. And I don't mean "pancake syrup." Only the pure stuff will do. (obviously the syrup thing isn't weird...)
  • My favourite way to top a salad is with salsa and hummus instead of salad dressing.
  • Instead of a sandwich, I sometimes used to bring sliced turkey meat wrapped around a pickle for my school lunches.
And something else that might not be normal about my eating? I don't like ketchup. If it is already on a burger and is all mixed in with the mustard, pickle, and other flavours, I don't mind it, but the thought of putting ketchup on anything (like fries, or eggs, or macaroni and cheese, or whatever else people put ketchup on) actually grosses me out a bit.

Any weird combinations for you? Do certain "normal" foods gross you out?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

world whisky day

Never did I think I'd be the person with multiple bottles of bourbon in the cupboard, but all of a sudden, here I am, a bourbon drinker. A bourbon drinker who likes to try different things. So in celebration of World Whisky Day, I'll be celebrating with one of these:
sweet, sweet bourbon
Happy Whisky Day everyone - drink whichever type of whisky suits your fancy and enjoy it!

Monday, March 26, 2012

recovery week does not mean easy week

This Sunday brought a very welcome "short long run." After a few weeks of building (and having to do last week's 13 mile run on Monday after work), it was time to scale back a bit to give my body a bit of a rest. This made me quite happy, but got me thinking about the difference between "short," "recovery," and "easy."

While yesterday's run was shorter than last week's long run, it wasn't exactly short, and it wasn't exactly easy. While 8 miles isn't super long, framing it in your mind as "short" only seems to set you up for being tired by the 20 minute mark. As we finished the first 3 of 5 miles going uphill (yes, that's right, 5 miles up, 3 miles down), Suz and I discussed how we think about runs like this. She had thought of it as a short run and as already feeling like it should be over (whereas if we had been running 13, she would have felt just fine). I had decided that 8 miles wasn't short. While I wasn't necessarily looking forward to climbing for another 2 miles, I wasn't feeling too bad at that point. Same route, same run, different thoughts.

That being said - it was still a hard run. It isn't easy to climb for 5 miles and then go down the steep way on tired legs. The start of the recovery week, but not necessarily an easy run. I was tired by the end and ready to be done. My legs definitely felt the hills.

But - yes but - today I actually feel good! Often the last thing I want to do on a Monday is run (which is why I generally don't run on Mondays) - my legs usually feel heavy and I just want a break. But today? Yes, I'm tired and feel like I should go to bed early every day this week, but I also feel like I could run. Even after the last couple of weeks of some higher mileage (and some pretty successful tempo runs), although tight, my legs feel pretty good.

While I don't plan on running today, it is nice to feel like the recovery week is actually going to do its job. The real question though - do I feel great because of the shorter run or because of my new shoes?
yes, i added a bit of brightness - but they're almost that bright
How do you usually frame shorter runs? Do you look forward to scaling back a little?

Friday, March 23, 2012

the smells of spring

Here's the thing - even though spring is a great time of year with warmer temperatures, flowers, and green things growing -  it definitely has a down side: IT STINKS. The smell of spring is not the smell of roses or laundry or all things is the smell of rotten vegetation, garbage, and all sorts of nastiness.
the flowers don't stink, but everything else does
Last night while running, the first smell was garbage. Sure, the garbage was neatly and tightly bound into cubes that were waiting to be picked up and shipped off, but and entire LOT of garbage smells like garbage. And it is disgusting. 

Worse though? Poop. Yes. Poop. The overwhelming smell of poop filled the air. At first I thought it might be the train. Maybe the animals in the passing train were that stinky? But we passed the smell and the train was still there, so it wasn't that. Then on the way back (dreading the poop smell), we realized that the piles and piles of dirt we could see were not in fact dirt, but poo. Stinky, stinky, poopy fertilizer ready to be hauled away in trucks and sprinkled on flower beds around the city. We were happy to head back into the smell of garbage.

The third stench of spring? Skunk. I woke up this morning to the smell of skunk wafting through my open windows. Shouldn't complain too much about having windows open in March, but I wasn't too happy to wake up to that smell. Because that one lingers...lingers in your nostrils for hours. 

I'm sure we'll have another snowfall before spring is truly here - but happy stinky spring everyone!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

three things thursday - the summer in march edition

It is March. And today the high was 24 degrees. When I went running at lunch, it was 18 degrees. I got sweaty taking the metro - which is crazy talk in March. I feel like the end of the world might be near...therefore, today's three things thursday is the summer in March edition.

Thing one: My office gets the afternoon sun. All winter, I wait for that sun with anticipatory delight...the warmth on my face makes me smile and it is the best part of the work day. Today? I had to close the curtain for part of the afternoon because it was getting too hot in my office. Crazy.

Thing two: On the left, what I ran in on March 29th, 2011. On the right, what I ran in today.
I know it seems like I'm beating a dead horse here - but it was hot. I was actually too warm in the outfit on the right today...And the cashier gave me the stink eye when I walked in all sweaty and bought a few things at IGA.

Thing three: I am not complaining about the weather, but it really does feel strange to be thinking about the ceiling fan (I had to replace the batteries in the remote to make it work), opening windows, and shorts in the middle of March. I feel like this is a sign of the apocalypse and that somewhere, a polar bear must be crying because he knows this means bad times ahead. I'm sure we'll get another day of snow before the spring is truly here, but for now, I'm enjoying the sun.

Is it unseasonably warm where you are or are things pretty normal?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

seen on the run

One of the benefits of running that you don't often think about is that it is fantastic people watching. As the kilometres or miles tick by, I see people in all sorts of settings and situations. Here are some of my favourites from the last two long runs:

  • A guy out for a run (and I know he was actually out for a run and not just running for the bus or running somewhere because he was late because he was carrying a running water bottle) in his jeans and metal band t-shirt. I was really disappointed that I didn't have a camera so that I could send it in to Jogging Jeans.
  • A guy running in khaki pants, a t-shirt, and a half-zip stripy sweater.
  • A group of people having a cookout (two portable grills were involved) in the park complete with wine, beer, and a dog in a sweater.
  • A couple doing a wine tasting on a random picnic table (complete with stemware).
  • Not exactly a favourite - but I ran through a cloud of pot smoke because a lady was smoking it during her walk along the path and decided to turn and blow out smoke just as I was running by.
  • A lady sitting on an abandoned couch on the side of the road.
And although this has nothing to do with running - a picture of the best office mate I've had all year:
Just playing with her giraffe 
Again, nothing to do with running, but it does have something to do with why I've been a bad blogger. I had visitors last week and this weekend and wanted to spend time with them instead of my computer. I figured that means I have my priorities straight :)

Have you seen any interesting people on the run recently?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

snowshoeing - vermont style

When I picture snowshoeing, I normally picture a nice, flat, walk in the snow. A workout if you keep yourself going at a reasonable pace, but nothing all that strenuous. This weekend, I got a lesson in how fun (and how much of a workout) snowshoeing can be when you hit the ski hill with snowshoes.
Mad River Glen. A ski co-op. No snowboarding allowed (for real).
We took the "easy" trail because we weren't sure that we had the 3 hours the advanced trail would take us. It was an absolutely beautiful day. The sun was out, it wasn't all that windy, and it had snowed several inches (I'm using inches since we were in the states ;-) the night before - so there was a beautiful covering of fresh snow. It started off fairly easy with the terrain looking a lot like this:
Flat and powdery.
Then we started climbing. For the most part, it wasn't too bad on the way up. We were glad we had poles and we were glad we were all in good shape so that we didn't struggle going up. It was a good to get our legs moving and our blood pumping out in the sunshine! Plus, we had scenery like this:
It started to get a little more "extreme" when it was time to go down hill. First off - it was kind of sad to have done all the work climbing up the hill without being able to glide down the hill. I think we all wished we were on skis at that point. Plus, some of the snow had been worn off and there were some definite icy patches - making the steep downhills a little intimidating. Something I learned while trying to go down a steep hill on snowshoes: if you've grown up skiing, your instinctive method of sidestepping down the hill is completely wrong. You just have to walk down the hill. There are metal spikes on the snowshoes for a reason...and even though every part of you thinks that pointing the things strapped to your feet will result in disaster, it is the right thing to do.
Going down
Another thing I learned - snowshoe trails shouldn't be marked with white diamonds attached to trees. They're really hard to see when you've made a wrong turn and you're trying to find your way back to the path. Shockingly, the white on the trees blends into the white snow when you're looking up the hill for them. But, we found our way back to the path (after going down a mighty steep slope and then hoofing it back up) and quite enjoyed our snowshoeing adventure.
Done! Now where's my apres-shoe beer?
Definitely something I would do again. Though if I'm going back to Mad River Glen, I think I'd rather go skiing. It looked like a really fun hill to ski - even if one of the chair lifts looked really lonely (what looked like the longest lift was a SINGLE chair. I had no idea those even existed).

And just in case you were wondering - as long as it is a warm day, trail shoes actually work pretty well with snow shoes!

Have you been snowshoeing? Thumbs up or thumbs down?

Friday, March 09, 2012

allergic to running?

I know many of us have made the joke that we must be allergic to exercise because our skin gets red and hot and we start to get short of breath and we sweat. I've definitely made the joke, but have never really been serious.

But this week, something strange has been happening after I run: I get small, itchy hives. I'm fine when I run - there's no itching. But when I get home, I get really itchy within about 15 minutes of coming back inside. And when I look at my skin where I'm itchy (mostly my thighs and my "trunk" but today it was also right behind my knees), there are little hives (and claw marks where I've been scratching) turning redder and redder.

I've had a couple of hives before after running, but they were always right where my sports bra hit my skin and figured it was a reaction to a new laundry soap (I tend to be sensitive to some soaps). But this week they've been more spread out than just my bra line and more than just one or two. I haven't changed my laundry soap and I'm not wearing anything new or weird...I'm just randomly getting hives after I run. Clearly, I'm allergic to running.
not itchy before, during, or after this picture.
According to the always reliable wikipedia, the cure for hives after exercise is "regular exercise, i.e. every day or two." That's what I'm already doing. So is the cure to exercise multiple times a day? My course of action for now will be to shower as soon as I can after running, to put lotion on the itchy areas, and to take an antihistamine if needed. Hopefully this is just a fluke thing and it is just a weird thing that is happening right now and will go away soon.

Hopefully I'm not actually allergic to running. That would make me sad. (and uncomfortable because I don't see myself stopping just because of some itching)

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

when i talk about big sky country

When I talk about big sky country, this is what I'm talking about. Yes, I realize that the video is made by the tourism board to convince you to visit Alberta...but the skies really are that big (and blue), the views really are that good, and water really does get that green.
I like where I live, but wow that makes me miss "home."

Monday, March 05, 2012

monday morning smiles

Monday morning isn't my favourite...and I found myself putting together a post in my head for this morning that was all about things I wish I'd written. Something light (like how I wish I'd written this post because it would mean I could do my hair), but still something that in my head had the wrong attitude. So instead of "what I wish I'd written," I've got a "things that are great" for Monday morning. Not all are things I could have even written in the first place - but all are things that I think are fun, inspiring, or smile-worthy today.

First : The You Can Play Project. It is initiated by Patrick and Brian Burke of the NHL. Their mission statement:
You Can Play is dedicated to ensuring equality, respect and safety for all athletes, without regard to sexual orientation.
You Can Play works to guarantee that athletes are given a fair opportunity to compete, judged by other athletes and fans alike, only by what they contribute to the sport or their team’s success. 
You Can Play seeks to challenge the culture of locker rooms and spectator areas by focusing only on an athlete’s skills, work ethic and competitive spirit.
As someone who isn't gay and who isn't a competitive athlete, I don't know what locker rooms are like, but my assumption is that they aren't always all that gay-friendly (especially in the "tough and manly" sports). I hope this can be a good catalyst to help gay kids (and adult athletes) feel more comfortable being themselves while playing sports.

Second: Have you been following Aron's posts about training for her first ultra-marathon? If you've lost your running mojo or just like to read posts by someone who is loving running right now, read her blog. She's currently training for the American River 50 Mile Endurance Run and loving every second of it. Her enthusiasm is pretty contagious and her posts always make me smile.

Third: The sun! The days are getting longer and there is more daylight! The light is actually visible when I get up in the morning. The winter darkness is lifting and before I know it, waking up to a temperature of -16 will be in the past. (right now though? yeah, those cool temperatures are around for at least another few days)

Fourth: Did you know that there's a Platypus Day?! Apparently I missed wishing the platypus well on its day...but I guess I'll do that by directing you all to this random news story about it: Platypus Day. I forgot how funny looking an animal it is.

Fifth (and finally): Apparently, women don't like beards (on guys...jury is still out on bearded ladies). Looking at the news story, I'm hoping that the examples shown there aren't the best of the beard pictures that were used in the study. Sorry Keanu - your beard is a little weak, but Prince William? Not bad. The best news out of that study is for Jian Gomeshi - "light stubble" seemed to get the highest ratings of attractiveness from women. I guess we want a guy to be able to grow a beard, we just don't want him to actually grow it.

What is smile-worthy for you this Monday?

Thursday, March 01, 2012

three things thursday - the "it's march" edition

Thing one: After not getting real winter weather almost all winter, two big snow storms in two weeks. Argh. Earlier in the winter it was rain (which meant icy sidewalks all the time) and now that I want spring to be here, the snow comes. Yeah- this item is just one big whine about the weather...what of it?

Thing two: I laughed out loud yesterday when I got the following notification in my email: 'Hal Johnson (@bodybreak) is now following you on Twitter.' Just in case you aren't Canadian, there was a series of public service type commercials on TV when I was growing up called "BodyBreak" starring Hal Johnson and Joanne MacLeod. They were sponsored by a group called ParticipACTION and would give various nutritional and physical fitness tips all while encouraging us to "keep fit and have fun." I kind of thought "well...if Hal Johnson is on twitter, maybe it is time to move on."
(from the Wikipedia page)
Strangely enough, when I clicked through to see his twitter page, it didn't appear that he was following me. So I decided to follow him to see what would happen and got one of those "Hey, thanks for the follow" direct messages as soon as I did. Is he a secret tweet bot? Does Hal Johnson employ the "follow then unfollow" technique to gain followers in order to spread his Body Break propaganda?!?! And most importantly - does Joanne approve of this?

Thing three: The Angelina's Right Leg stuff cracks me up a bit. When a guy accepting an Oscar references the leg before the night is even over? You know the internet will be abuzz... So the right leg has a Twitter account, apparently has a tumblr (which I can't find at the moment), and has spawned "leg bombing." I wonder how many places the leg will show up...

Have a great Thursday - maybe do something to keep fit and have fun!

What public service announcements do you remember from childhood? (maybe a robot telling to you to be careful?)