Sunday, June 28, 2015

Rainy run

The rain was light, consistent, and refreshing. A sharp contrast to energy-stealing sunshine. I followed sections of bike path in directions that don't provide shade on hot sunny days but have plenty to offer otherwise, like nearby trees with leaves so broad I felt small as a smurf, and great views of the river, grey and choppy from the bursts of wind.

My GPS gave up along the route, leaving me to do some fancy math in my head to evaluate how far I had run and when to take my second gel (apple cinnamon, a new flavour I feel no ill will towards yet). I think I got the distance right, or at least close, but I doubt my calculations based on feeling: I feel MUCH TOO GOOD to have run 26 km - and on just one bottle of water. (Not a single refill!) Blame it on the rain. Last week I worked hard to meet the 25k goal, and by run's end I looked like a Mad Max creature burnt from all that apocalyptic radiation.

Today: 26 km
Weekly total: 36 km  

:: Friday night cheese & cosmo combo ::

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Long run Monday

Due to an over-extended weekend schedule of work + play, I didn’t get around to starting my long run until 6:30 pm last night. Our days are nice and long right now (but steadily decreasing! oh snap!) which meant there was sunshine to soak up well after I left work at 5:00 pm, and still more at 6:30.

Long runs in the summer are all about starting early to stay ahead of the curve of intensifying heat. Some runners I know start their long runs on a weekend morning at 7:00 am or even earlier, in order to reduce time in the sunshine. The heat saps your strength, encourages thirst, makes you want to pop into a shop with blasting A/C and hang out forevermore. Evening runs have the opposite vibe. The heat is already in force so you end up drinking a lot of water at first. Case in point: I refilled my water bottle twice during the first half but thereafter it became an empty vessel for my hands to hold. (And fumble.)

I like to do all my intense sweating in the beginning of the evening so that I can encase myself in a layer of salt fine as icing sugar, and which I sometimes have the great pleasure of tasting as I swipe sweat out of my eyes and accidently touch my mouth. Is there anything grosser than tasting the salt produced by your own body. As the evening cools and I am left running amidst pairs of lovers strolling at dusk, I continue to appear red-faced and flaked with salt. And that is why sunglasses are the best invention ever. Remind me to take along a fake moustache next time.

Another disgusting moment in gel tasting history: Salted Watermelon. Stay away!  

Long run: 25k
Weekly total: 41k


Sunday, June 14, 2015

One gel run

I blasted out 23km today, the longest distance in quite a while. Or so squawks the quads. Left home around 630 pm even though the sky was growing more overcast by the minute. I felt sure the rain would hold off until I was back home. It was a single gel run, surprising since this distance would normally require two shots. Lately I haven't been taking the second gel and I haven't noticed any ill effects. Is that a sign I'm eating too much sugar? Since the toaster joined my kitchen appliance family the Nutella jar in the fridge has been gradually looking more empty (heavenly on toast with banana slices) and I recently discovered the delicate cinnamon brioche at Evilbucks. Maybe I need to reign back on the sweets for a while. (A short while.)

The minute I got home I dove into a bowl of kale salad in a delicious dressing made by one awesome salad chef. And some cookies. ;)

Long run: 23k
Weekly total: 49k

Friday night chips n beer

Monday, May 4, 2015

Music muffins

8k run this morning. I had to resort to bringing along the music player (with its cheesy, non-ironic tunes) to see me out the door, but it was worth it. Watching the sun rise against a background of robin's egg blue sky is one of my favorite things to do. A beautiful experience for a Monday.

// Banana chocolate chip 2-bite muffins //

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Sunny with a side of geese

We were treated to double digit temps today! 

I ran along paths and in parks unvisited during the last six months of seasonal incarceration. Lots of happy people in this city today, and if they weren't biking or walking they were firing up the barbie and grilling animal slabs. 

All that snow was unmeltable in the course of a single warm day. Snow is still everywhere and the canal remains half frozen like a chunky brown margarita. I was running slowly, feeling sunshine on my bone-white legs (yup, wore shorts!), savouring the primal scents of said BBQ adventures, and...slipping on ice? A few geese have arrived to check out the ice floes, walking cautiously, a little to new to town to look the local humans in the eye and spit. All in good time. 

Despite a hangover and a low grade IT band issue on one leg my run went super well. After returning home I sat in a hot bath and thought about life.

Weekly total: 37k

Friday, April 10, 2015

Heron sighting

It's no Bigfoot, and way more elusive than a Yeti.

It's just a massive grey bird that stands statue-still in a canal waiting to catch something to eat. Big, grey and sensitive, it watched me watching it and freaked out. It waded through the brown water on its stilt-like legs, its ess-curved neck moving with the camel-like gait, one big eye trained on me as my small ones were on it.

It was breathtaking.


Thursday, April 9, 2015

Rainy day people

I laced up newish running shoes and thought about how they'd be christened in the rain that was lightly falling. And they were. Thankfully the rain stayed light and fresh with no driving winds to knock me back. No big puddles either. Running cap is looking overused and frankly exhausted after maybe two years of summer training followed by seeing too much of the Portugal sun. Anyway, main thing is, it held up.

I enjoyed having long stretches of path to myself. Not everyone sees the appeal of running in the rain.

8.5 km

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Training starts for reals

I couldn't let a sluggish spring season stop me from running outside this week. Treadmils are miles off my interest bulls eye right now.

Early in the week I got lucky with two warmer days for 5ks. And then today, which was not warm at all. Managed the needed 16k (bolstered by an updated playlist) and then I was happy to thaw in a hot bath. Today's run was chilly and rather windy. A scarf would have been helpful so it couldn't have been that bad.

After my core temperature had returned to normal, I cooked up a fry pan of blackened tilapia and ate the double serving too quickly to take pics.

Weekly total = 26k.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Lighter fare

:: Cuke slices, beans & carrots, baked tofu and buckwheat noodles ::

Ran 10k hamster-style, then came home to satisfy a craving for vegetables.

Isn't it weird that someone of the vegetarian persuasion could crave vegetables? It happens, trust me. (Wait until July when the truly weird craving begin: juicy steaks following 20+ km runs.)

Veggie craving over with, my mind considers the following joke: a two scoops of ice cream and a bag of choco chips walk into my mouth...

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Weekly total

It's been a busy week! I wish I had more to offer than this:

Today: 15 km
Weekly total: 7 + 9 + 15 = 31 km

Birthday karaoke - coming soon

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Skating in the sun

I woke up surrounded by sunlight. Dark and heavy curtains were still drawn from the night before, but they were clearly no match for the sunshine. My plants love it. To be honest, so do I.

Pumpkin maple oatmeal muffin
(with text)

I haven't decided against a southern holiday next month. The offer is still there. For now, I get my vitamin D kicks in cold weather excursions outdoors. This morning I revelled in the beauty of strong sunlight, blue sky and clear ice. The cold spell will break soon. This could be my final skate of the season!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Still February. Still freezing.

Goal set! I have set my heart on a fall marathon. Yay! Only thing left to do is train through the summer heat. Nothing to it...yeeeaaaah.

This morning I fumbled through a run on the treadmill. In these temperatures it's a blessing to be able to run indoors...but we are charged mentally for the service. I'm sure I've complained before (repeatedly) about this aspect of treadmill training. It just means you have to make your own fun, even if said fun amounts to what I am about to describe.

Today, I listened to podcasts and watched life unfold on the other side of the floor-to-ceiling windows of the gym. I saw people walking their dogs, and a tiny dog scramble frantically across the top of a snowbank. Noticed a mother and child playfully hide from each other behind snowbanks as though it weren't minus kajillion degrees outside.

I thought I deserved a break and also something fresh, so for dinner I cooked a potful of Pasta with Creamy Pumpkin Sauce. Added a bunch of broccoli. Danced a little jig in my head because I was able to hold back from eating it all, thereby reserving a portion to enjoy for lunch tomorrow. 

Plus, I accidentally threw too much garlic into the dish, which will make my breath grossly irritating to those around me. Such serendipity. Could life possibly provide more than two thumbs up?

Today: 15 km
Total weekly mileage: 33 km

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

A pressing issue

Fish tacos are insanely delicious. The two I enjoyed tonite were assembled from Sunday's leftovers. Both fish and wraps had to be reheated. Added some mashed avo, coleslaw and white pepper. Lime squeeze for a drippy layer of tang. Insane.


I've discovered a machine at my gym that is going to be my new bf - the seated shoulder press. It's a twist on the regular seated press in that the hard metal bars are gone, replaced with plastic handles like skipping rope, the plastic kind. The handles make the pressing up motion more difficult because they're wicked unstable. I haven't done presses in forever so I'm also weak! Could barely lurch through the first set of 10 lbs! I want to see that measley number grow.

Ran for about 7km, then some machines including the presses. Three sets of 8. It was the final stop for me for the evening and I could do no more. Tender shoulders tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Blueberry muffins

Who doesn't love a blueberry muffin hot from the oven? 

Whether you need a healthy snack or a delicious one, blueberry muffins are pretty great. Indulgent but not hedonistic unless you're into the butter scene (like me).

I had to use up some bran, so I rounded up frozen berries and milled flax, threw it in the oven and called it a day. 

Actually I called it dinner!  And then went for a skate. Brrr.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Lucky 13

I'm getting back in touch with a dear old friend, the Sunday long run. This friend is a big fan of outdoor adventures but those are hard to get excited about in these temperatures. This phase of winter is rancorous and repellant. 

I speak only for myself but I can't be the only one who thinks that way because the gym was crowded on the weekends until just last week when the chaotic vibe loosened up. Fewer people on the machines and more lockers available in the change room. One explanation could be that the snowbirds have flown to warmer places. If that's the case, the place will return to zoo city soon enough. Another possibility is that people have dropped interest in maintaining their memberships, and their ambition to see their new year's resolution through to the end, and returned to sleeping in on Sundays. Or maybe people are tougher than me and have taken up running on the canal! I definitely know that last option to be true.

So I was able to score a treadmill for 13k this morning without keeping anyone waiting for my machine. There was no lineup. Having broken the long run seal - it's been ages since a distance longer than 10k, maybe since my October half - it hopefully won't be long until I see some progress and the long runs lengthen like summer days. I definitely see a fall marathon in my future, maybe even someplace far away....

Festibiere d'hiver

Friday, January 30, 2015

Sweet chili shrimp

If you have to ask for something*
More than once or twice
It wasn't yours in the first place

And that's hard to accept
When you love 
Sweet chili shrimp
And you're lead to believe
In your moment of need
That someone will cook it
But they won't

// justify my love //
*like respect, say, or trust

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Volcano curry

This morning I woke up to a sink full of dishes and mountains of dirty laundry. I've been burning the candle at both ends the last couple of evenings. Such adventures wipe out all my spare cleaning time and energy (I know - shucks) and since my roommate is the laziest, nothing gets done except the stuff I get paid to do. These stints are short and intense, with something like 15 butt-in-chair hours per day for a few days. But so be it. They're fun in a caffeine-driven, deadline-flogged kind of way. I'm also, for brief periods, tolerant of my own disarray.

Assisting me through my time crunch hell was my anticipation of dinner. I looked forward to finally getting the kitchen in order and cooking something new and tasty. I had a recipe in mind, and almost all the ingredients in my cupboards. All I needed was a hot Indian spice mix.

Mission accomplished.

Four bucks for a massive bag of spice!

The spice mix is fiery. I ate an hour ago and can still feel the lingering chili in my throat. The tomato base of the curry dampens its effects I think, but only until the flavours have a chance to mingle, at which point the curry will become a firebomb.

I just hope I can get my laundry done before the lightning strikes. ;-)

:: Chickpea spinach curry with Thai rice ::
PS: The text on the bottom of the spice bag reads, "This picture does not reflect the ingredients of the contents of the pouch. (no closing quotation marks)

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Black bean soup

I rely on my crock pot to make soup on the regular. Particularly in winter when the need, nay desire, for comforting yet relatively low calorific food stuffs is highest. I read somewhere that cold temperatures condition us to crave more calories, but the body doesn't care if those calories are obtained through ooey gooey mac n' cheese or a crisp apple! Personally I would really rather not eat apples or any other cold foods in this weather. Salads are more or less banned from the kitchen. Soup to the rescue!

To the recipe below I added a 1/4 cup of brown rice for thickener.

With diced tomato, yogurt, and a lime squeeze

Oh yeah- ran about 9.3 km on the treadmill this a.m., bringing the total to 4 runs this week. Plus a spinning class and one session on the elliptical (a break from the treadmill but kinda feels like a time waster). And one gorgeous night of skating under the stars!

Here's the recipe:

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

In the present

It's cold. The evening sky deletes its pink ribbon clouds quickly, leaving the dark to settle like dust on our shoulders. Yep, treadmill weather.

Had a solid 45 minute run tonight. Solid but not easy. Boredom flowed like gatorade. I didn't find my running groove. No state of euphoria was reached. Near the end a few tears threaten to flow (sappy sitcoms can get to me) and for a minute somewhere in the middle I felt a flicker of rage red hot as a flame. Running calls up inner demons I guess, and I wouldn't have believed it if I didn't  experience emotional aches and twinges myself once in a while. 

What made the run solid, then? I played some mind tricks on myself and loosened my grip on time. Focused on the present and not the end, which is always out of reach. It doesn't always work but it helped in a huge way tonight!

What's for din-din?
Whole wheat pasta w/ homemade sauce

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Lentil burritos

// Salad, burritos and sweet corn muffin //
I cooked up a batch of lentil filling last weekend. It's a spicy, flexible meal that can be eaten in many formats. I bundled it into wraps and drizzled plain yogurt on top. For lunch the next day I folded in spoonfuls of tomato sauce and grated cheddar. It was tasty and flavourful, and warmed my tummy after a cold walk in the dark.