Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Grocery Shopping, Reading, and Looking Forward

It's official. Sobey's rocks. I'm generally an Extra Foods shopper, mostly due to proximity, but every time I've needed a slightly obscure ingredient I've been able to find it at Sobey's. Every time. It's almost like magic.
Yesterday I was looking for a package of dried Italian dressing mix, and as a last resort (I don't know why I don't just go there first), I went to Sobey's. Slightly holding my breath, I walked down the aisle, and there it was. Magic I tell you.
[aside: I'm trying a new recipe tomorrow and am somewhat of a stickler for following exact directions the first time I make anything, necessitating the hunt for this particular ingredient.]

This year was another good year of reading. I read only 40 books, down a little from last year's count of 54, but there were some definite gems among them. Here are some of the highlights:
1. During the holiday season I read the first installment in the Troy Trilogy by David Gemmell, titled Lord of the Silver Bow. There's something that appeals to me about reading an epic novel during Christmas. Perhaps because the stories of larger-than-life heroes and mythical conquests remind me of the magnitude of the event we're celebrating. This was probably one of my favorite novels of the year.
2. Rowboat in a Hurricane. Fabulous true story of Julie Angus, who was the first woman in the world to row across the Atlantic Ocean from mainland to mainland. During the worst hurricane season on record. After biking from Moscow to Lisbon. And then she biked home from Costa Rica to Vancouver. Yeah, she rocks.
3. Travelling Mercies, by Anne Lamott. I haven't read a book by Lamott that I didn't love.
4. The Little Book, by Selden Edwards. Well-written book about a guy who finds himself in Vienna, circa 1900. And yes, now I would like to go to Vienna. Somewhere, in some notebook, I have started a list of the places I would like to visit, inspired by books I've read. If only I could find that notebook...
5. The Necklace, by Cheryl Jarvis. Girl power! A great book about women and friendship and what we can accomplish when we work together.
6. Well Enough Alone, by Jennifer Traig. A humorous book about hypochondria.
7. Interred With Their Bones, by Jennifer Lee Carrell. Mystery with a dash of Shakespeare. Perfect.
8. The Animal Dialogues, by Craig Childs. Interesting and educational. Did you know there were once camels in Saskatchewan? Or that porcupines quite often fall out of trees?

It would be too hard to pick a top 8 of 2008, but this list is where I would start.

And tomorrow is a new year. I love New Years. My version is not some big, crazy party, but rather a reflection on the past year and anticipation of next year. I'll probably start half-marathon training in about a month and am greatly looking forward to it.
I used to make a list of all the new things I had done the previous year. I like looking back and feeling that I've continued to learn and grow as a person. This year's list would include running 2 half marathons, and learning much about myself in the process, as well as writing book reviews for the StarPhoenix. Dreams for next year include running a full marathon and doing some travelling.

May you enjoy this last day of 2008 with friends and family, and do at least one new thing next year!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Adventures of Gym Girl - Discovering New Muscles

I went to my first weight-training class on Monday, and I'm still feeling the effects of it. My hamstrings got the worst of it so I decided to put some Rub A535 on them last night. Expired A535 I should add. And I learned a valuable lesson - expiry dates mean something, even if it's not food. Not a minute had passed after I put the cream on, and I started to feel a peculiar burning sensation on the backs of my legs. "Oh that just means it's working," I thought to myself. A few more seconds though, and it felt like my skin was going to start peeling off. It got a little better after a few rounds with a cold washcloth, but I fell asleep trying to figure out how I was going to drive myself to the doctor's office the next day (to check out what was surely a monstrous rash from the cream) if I couldn't sit down.
As it turned out, everything was fine this morning, but my hamstrings remain rather sore.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I finally did it...

Tonight I went to my first class at a gym. I've always kind of wanted to join a gym and take some classes, but was too intimidated by all the machines and fit-looking people. I just wrote myself off as "not a gym kind of person." Except now I am.

I have a 2-week free pass for Mawson Health & Fitness, and their ads on the radio make their classes sound like so much fun, so tonight I went.

I got there too early and was wondering how to use up my time without standing around looking like the awkward girl I felt like. So I changed very slowly and then discovered that my lock didn't fit the locker. It was too big! You'd think these things would be standard sizes. So I changed back into my street clothes and put my valuables back in my car, deciding just to leave my clothes in an unlocked locker. I guess if someone needed clothes badly enough to steal my 5-year-old jeans and smelly socks, they are welcome to them.

That wasted just enough time, so I went and stood in the hall with some other girls to wait for the earlier class to finish.

When our turn came I realized that I didn't know how to adjust my bike and the instructor wasn't I just guessed at where things should be positioned (wrongly, as it turns out).

And then it began.

Oh did I sweat. I'm generally not a very sweaty person, but I had it streaming down my face and we were only 20 min into the 60 min class. In fact, by the time we were done my hair had taken on a decidedly frizzy look from the humidity cloud I apparently generated during the ride. After class the instructor showed me how to adjust my bike, and I think it will be a little more comfortable next time. :-)

I realized, as I looked around at the class, that these people are just like me. Some a little more fit, and some a little less. And I felt like I could belong there.

Aside from a sore foot that has been bothering me lately, I feel good. We'll see how things go tomorrow.

And I'll be back. Cause I'm a gym girl now.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

October 19

Too cute for words.

Cuddle time for Josie and Me.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Nap Time

Now that's relaxation!

The cats are at the point now where they can all nap together on the couch. Isabelle is still a little wary of them, and tends to sleep with one eye open, but the other two are a model of contentment.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Day 1

Today was a marvelous day. Although technically the last day of a long weekend, I will consider it the first day of my 2-week holiday. After a busy summer and early Fall, I am greatly anticipating 2 weeks at home, to work on the projects that seem to be ever on my mind and destined to live on my to-do list forever.
I look in my closet and think that I'd like to move those boxes into the basement.
I open the pantry and think it needs to be re-organized.
I open the cupboards and realize they need to be wiped out.
I go downstairs and wish that things were just a little more organized. That box of give-away stuff needs to be given away. Those blankets need to be washed one of these days.
And why oh why is there so much stuff everywhere? Newspapers, flyers, mail, old grocery lists, bills, receipts, reminders, the list never ends.
Today I took 5 bags and 3 boxes of stuff to the garbage, the recycling bins, and the community living bins accordingly. And then came home and discovered that I had forgotten a few things.
How and why do we accumulate so much stuff?
Awhile back my sister sent me a link to a blog about becoming minimalist.
I like the idea of minimalism - downsizing our lives and homes to just the essentials. Of course, this begs the questions of just what is essential. I don't want to get rid of all my books just because I've read them already. I like books. I have memories associated with them.
However, the old bath mat that's not being used, the random candle holders that will never see another candle, the broken answering machine in that box in the corner, all of that stuff can go.
But I digress. Today was a marvelous day, because I got so much accomplished. Besides the purging, I washed windows inside and out, vacuumed, tidied up, and actually brought those 2 boxes down to the basement, taking the time to properly rearrange the existing stacks of stuff to accommodate this other stuff.
I also read outside in the beautiful sunshine and watched a bit of tv.
I played with my cats and bathed in contentment when they all curled up on and around me for their afternoon nap.
And tomorrow I'll carry on, alternating between productivity and restfulness as the mood strikes me.

Friday, October 10, 2008

About Jake & Josie

Jake and Josie are quite close, and this is especially apparent when it comes to nap time.

Josie - trying out some catnip.

Isabelle was quite territorial at first, but each day she is learning how to co-exist with these two little creatures who have thoroughly invaded her space.

Monday, October 06, 2008


Every now and then I get an idea that I think is a good the time. Like when I suggested taking Isabelle with us on our Saturday morning Tim Horton's run. Not so fun. Ever since a traumatic car experience on the way back from Calgary, Izzy is not fond of car rides and ended up hyperventilating on the way back from Tim Hortons.

So why I thought she would like a little kitten for company, I'm not sure. But think it I did, and even more, I went out and adopted a 10 week old, grey kitty yesterday from Street Cat Rescue. Oh, and Nicole got one too.

Yes, that's right, 2 more kittens. Both grey. They are brother and sister and stick to each other like glue so we didn't want to separate them.

They're adorable and have been raised around animals, so they're fine with Isabelle. However, Isabelle is not fine with them. She's experiencing quite a lot of distress over other animals being in the house, so I'm not actually sure that we'll be able to keep the new kitties.

However, here are a couple of pics of the newbies.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

New Beginnings

Autumn always brings with it a sense of anticipation. Winter is the season you endure, and Spring heralds Summer, which is the season of rest and play. But Autumn is the season of new beginnings. It's time to pack away the swimsuits and beach gear but not yet time for scarves and mitts. The leaves turn brilliant shades of red and gold; the morning air is crisp and fresh. Kids go back to school and churches start up their programs again.

After today's church service, I feel like I'm ready for something new. Pastor Bob talked about growing and maturing in Christ and how that requires involvement and commitment. I often find myself not wanting to invest my time and energies into anything, though I'm not quite sure what I'm waiting for. I do want to be more involved at church this year and I'm excited about what that may look like.

With exciting changes taking place at work and the possibility of new friendships and ministries at church, I am looking forward to this next season.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

The Hills

Today I ran my first set of hills.
In my half-marathon training plans there were several weeks of scheduled hill training - running up and down hills to build endurance. (I imagine non-runners who think running is a bit pointless already shaking their heads over the idea of running up and down the same hill over and over.) Being a bit on the lazy side when it came to my training, however, I never ran one set. I didn't think there were any hills near enough to my house and I didn't want to have to drive somewhere just to go running.
Recently though, I noticed that the block between Kingsmere and Acadia Drive is a good little hill. (Not sure how I overlooked that one, as I drive it almost every day.)
So tonight I ran. Choking on exhaust at times, but I ran. (I think I may have to start running in the morning to avoid inhaling so many traffic fumes.) And it felt good.
All in all it was a 41 min run that felt like 15 minutes.
I'm thinking about running a 10k in early October and would love to break the 1 hour mark. For middle-of-the-pack runners like myself, 1 hour is kind of a benchmark time. I don't think I'm fast enough yet, but with a month of training I'm hoping to be able to shave off those extra minutes.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Back At 'er

Today I went for my first run in a month and a half. It felt good and I remembered why I like it. Sometimes you just need a little break from the things you love to remember why you love them in the first place.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

A New Obsession

I have a new bike obsession. Finally, after about 15 years, I bought a new set of wheels. When people ask what kind of bike it is, I have to snicker a little when I reply that it's a Giant mountain bike. And I love it. I brought it home 2 weeks ago and have ridden it every day since (every day that I've been home that is). As par for the course I've taken up reading magazines with titles like Adventure Cyclist and Bicycling magazine. (I just read an article in the latter that gave tips on what kind of bike one might consider for their fifth bike, as apparently their average reader has 4 bikes. Four. I've never considered the possibility of more than one bike.)
Anyway, my new wheels reside in my kitchen next to the patio doors when not in use, which may help explain the setting of the pic above.
I've ridden downtown several times (to work once) and will ride with the smallest excuse. ("Hey Nicole, I'm just going to return this movie...time me, ok?" - incidentally I can now return a movie in 3 minutes flat).
Today was a great day of exploring on wheels. I rode downtown, returned a pair of shoes to the Bay, stopped at the bank, rode through the 2nd Ave sidewalk sale, then took off to the Farmer's Market. (I tried to return something to Oceanquin Athletics only to discover that they've gone out of business in the few days since I bought my item!)
Today I noticed that my "indignant cyclist" attitude is developing quite well. Downtown there are spray-painted reminders on almost every sidewalk corner that you have to walk your bike on the sidewalk. That's fine. I imagine that law is in place for the safety of pedestrians, which is fair enough. However, have you ever tried to ride your bike downtown? It's not easy. Some streets are just not wide enough to permit both vehicle and cyclists to co-exist peacefully, and there are more than a few inattentive drivers to ratchet up the tension. But I don't know of anyone who would be willing to walk their bike block after block just to get through downtown. So today I employed a varied approach, staying on the streets when possible and taking to the sidewalks when it felt like the only safe course. It worked ok, but I think I'll prefer to stay out of the downtown whenever possible.
At the end of almost every ride, I take a detour and make one lap around the little lake by my house because, inside, I'm still an 8 year old kid who doesn't want to come inside yet...just 5 more minutes on my bike...please?

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Pictures From Race Day

Another medal for my collection. And notice our race bibs had our names on them.

Moments after finishing...just trying to stay upright.

Surprised to see people I knew.

More About the Marathon

I run so that I can race. Fitness has never been a good motivator for me, and if I couldn't race then I don't know if I would continue running.
The best part of a race is five minutes before the gun goes off. At this point you can't train anymore. You've done your warmup. You've stretched. You're as mentally prepared as you're going to get. The past several months of training were all for this moment. Everyone around you squeezes in, waiting for the gun to go off.
I like to look around me when I'm waiting, and note all the different people who will be running that day. In Calgary I was standing beside a girl who had a picture of her dad pinned to her arm with the words "I run for you Daddy" written around it. It brought tears to my eyes (still does) and I wondered about her story. Everyone has a different reason for running, a different path that brought them to that race on that particular day. In Calgary there were over 6000 people running from 25 different countries. I was glad to be a part of it all.
In the moments before the gun goes off, you still feel good, and anticipation rises above all other emotions. By the end of the race I'm just glad to be finished. Making it to the starting line carries with it it's own sense of accomplishment.
I hope to make it to at least a few more starting lines this season.

Calgary Half Marathon

I ran a new personal best in Calgary on the weekend - 2:16:56! (The time on the clock in the picture is the gun time, but my chip time is my official time.)
Before the race I was feeling disappointed with myself, because I'd let my training slip in the last 2 weeks before the race. I was tired of running, particularly the long runs, because I've been in training since the end of January. Mentally, I was lowering my expectations and trying to convince myself that as long as I finished the race I would be happy, regardless of my time.
The morning of the race came early, as I was staying in Airdrie and had to rise at 4:30am to get ready and have Nicole and her mom drive me to downtown Calgary. (They were good supporters, not complaining too much about the early hour, and I saw them at 2 different points along the way, as well as at the finish line. My friend Donna and her kids came out to cheer me at the end as well. After such an extreme effort it's always nice to see a friendly face at the end!)
I lined up with the 2:30 pace bunny with hopes to finish a little bit ahead of her. After a short while I decided on a new "pacer" - a guy with a bright yellow jersey and a serious-looking water belt (he was carrying 8 bottles!). I overheard him say that he wanted to finish the full in 4 hours, 30 min, which means if I could keep up with him, them I should be able to finish the half in about 2:15. (The courses for each race were the same up until the 18km mark).
I felt fairly strong in the first half, trying a variety of mental tricks to keep my pace up. I finally settled on repeating my own mantra in my head, "find your own rhythm and run in it." In a crowd of over 6400 runners, it's sometimes hard to find your own pace and stick to it.
I usually start to bonk around the 14k mark, and was happy to find that I was doing ok at that point. At the 16k mark, I met up with my pacer and we ran together for the next 2km. His name was Wayne, from Edmonton, and I don't think I could have finished the race with such a good time if I hadn't had someone to follow. We talked for 2k until he branched off to continue with his full marathon. It was nice to have the distraction for a little while, when my body was starting rebel a little.
After climbing the hill right at the end (what the heck is a hill doing right at the end of the race?!) I managed to cross the finish line upright, with a new personal best. And having said before the race that this would be my last for the summer, I now wonder if perhaps I might try just one more this season...maybe just a little bit faster?

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Half Marathon

A few kilometres into the race.


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Secret

Being an adult means many different things. It means renegotiating your mortgage, making sure your bills are paid on time, remembering to change the oil in your car, and calling the repairman to fix your washing machine when it breaks. It means being responsible, and making decisions that are usually farther reaching than those that confronted you back in your school days.
It also means you know the secret.
That eating one of your Subway cookies, in the car, on the way home after work, before your supper, will not spoil your appetite.
Being an adult means being responsible, but it also means savoring those delicious moments of freedom and choice.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


"There are a thousand thousand reasons to live this life,
every one of them sufficient."
- Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

Monday, May 12, 2008

quote of the day

"We are, every one of us, going to die. Rotting is the way of all things. A tree, a cheese, a heart, a whole human chassis. Now, knowing that, understanding that, living begins to seem less important than living the way you'd like to live...So, life, by definition, is impermanent. All the energy we spend in trying to fix it, secure it, save it, protect it, leaves damn little time for living it. Pain or death or any other pestilence doesn't pass over us because we're careful or because we have insurance or, God forbid, because we have enough money. All right. So how does one come to understand exactly how one wants to live? How one wants to use up his time?"

- from A Thousand Days in Tuscany by Marlena De Blasi

Sunday, May 04, 2008

I Believe...I don't want to run anymore

Each year, (all 2 of them), I seem to have a theme song for when I run. A particular song that I play when I need a little audio encouragement. This year it is Believe by Suzie McNeil.

If you just believe
You can move mountains with dreams
The higher you climb
The better it gets
Cause you will see things
You'll never forget

and particularly the following verse:

No one says it's easy
And no one says you have to be perfect
But as long as you try
You're always gonna find
It was worth it

Today was my toughest run yet. I just had no juice in the tank. Tired from the word go, by the halfway point (9 km or so) I was running on fumes. I blame it on not eating enough for breakfast, not drinking quite enough, the heat, and not putting in the training time during the week. Surprisingly, I had no specific sore points, and my feet felt better than they have during any of my past long runs. However I had to give in and walk more than I usually do, putting me 9 minutes slower than my projected time.
By the time my condo came into view I was ready to pack it in and never run again. I'm starting to feel better now that I've had time to rest and shower and reflect on what went wrong.
I did a lot of thinking about what I like about running, and I think the greatest thing I've come away with so far, is that running has taught me a few things. It's taught me that I can do more than I think I can; that willpower counts for a lot. (I ran the last half of my training run today on nothing more than that.) I've learned that when things go wrong, or get difficult, you have a choice to pack it in or to keep going - it's a specific choice that has to be made, and if you choose to keep going, you'll be stronger for it. I've used this lesson in other areas of my life lately, which makes my running seem even more worthwhile.
Today I think I learned about wisdom. That while sometimes you have to make the choice to push on, you also have to know when to step back and admit that things aren't going as well as you'd hoped, and make adjustments accordingly.
All in all then, my run today was not a total failure, as I came away with another lesson learned.
And also my first sunburn of the year.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Victoria Moments

Sam's Deli - the fabulous restaurant where we dined on shrimp and avocado sandwiches the first day we were there.

A magnificent garden on the way to Craigdarroch Castle

Nicole and I having high tea at the Empress Hotel

The view from our 6th floor balcony


Having just recently returned from a 4 day excursion to Victoria, BC I'm already planning my next trip.
Victoria was wonderful. What a treat to see (and smell) so many flowers and trees already leafing out at this time of year. While the weather was mostly cool and windy, we were still out and about every day. We decided not to rent a car, and ended up doing a lot of walking. A lot. Lots and lots of walking. One day, nearly 6 hours of it. Which was probably a good thing, because we also did a lot of eating.
Mmmmm...we ate at some fabulous restaurants. The lunch highlights were Sam's Deli and Willie's Bakery, and supper was absolutely amazing at Pescatore's. Halibut is in season there right now, and my meal was melt-in-your-mouth good.
We took a partial city tour, visited the wax museum, toured Craigdarroch Castle, and watched a show at the Undersea Gardens. We had high tea (afternoon tea) at the Empress Hotel, which I would recommend to anyone who visits Victoria. Using solid silver utensils and fine china, served tea and the most amazing food by a gentleman named Josief, relaxing in huge comfy chairs listening to a talented piano player, looking out over the was a lovely experience.
Now...where to next?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

$20? For Socks? Really?

I bought some running socks today. From an actual running store. Thank goodness I had birthday money. Granted, I didn't buy the cheapest ones in the store, but rather the ones recommended by the salesgirl, who has used them to run admirable distances.
I took the socks for a test run as soon as I got home, and they performed beautifully.
And yes, I can actually tell the difference between the Walmart socks I was using and the Brooks beauties I bought today.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Long Run - Too Long

I woke up this morning with a sore back from moving around some heavy furniture in the basement yesterday. I thought I should probably forgo my weekly long run, so as not to turn what was just discomfort into an actual injury. As the day wore on and the sun broke through the clouds, I found myself unable to resist the pull of the run. "Just a short one," I told myself. An hour, tops. As my internet connection wasn't working, I was unable to plot out a route, leaving me free to run an exploratory route - a turn here, a jog along that path, wherever I landed was fine with me. I love these kinds of runs, because there are no rules - just go for as long as you can or want to. The pitfall, unfortunately, is that I always think I can go further than I really should.
Alas, it happened again. An hour passed and I found myself downtown, by the Bessborough. Now, if you know where I live, you know that I probably shouldn't have run that far, given that my scheduled distance, even if I had been feeling up to it, was only 16 km. I called Nicole to let her know that I would be longer than my imagined one hour. She offered to come and pick me up, but I wasn't feeling too bad at this point.
Off I went, across the Broadway bridge and heading home. My feet were really starting to ache at this point and I was happy to turn onto Taylor. I usually end my runs coming home on Taylor, and as such feel that it is my home territory, even if I am still many kilometres from the end of my run. I probably should have called for a ride at this point, but the crazy part of me didn't want to concede defeat to the route I had chosen.
Well. Now I pay the price. Overall I'm sore, but not unexpectedly so. However, my right calf has decided that it no longer wants to flex when I walk, forcing me into an unusually slow, stiff-legged gait. I hope I haven't done any serious damage with my ill-advised and probably a little foolish 20 km run today.
In comparison, though, my back does not ache nearly as much :-)

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Long Run 16 km - 1 hour 49 min

Every long has its own personality. Last weekend I was all about the focusing and forgetting; focusing on my music, on a spot on the road a ways in front of me, on a daydream or rabbit trail of thoughts, anything to keep my mind from thinking about my sore body. At times I got so good at dissociating myself from my lower extremities that I had to actually look down and make sure I was still running and hadn't come to a standstill.
Today was just the opposite. I found my pulsing joints and sore feet became my companion as I ran. The pain was not something to be endured or forgotten or frustrated about, it was just a part of the experience. Today was also one of the first long runs I've done where I didn't get tired, which was encouraging. In the last 4 kms or so, I had to really pin it sometimes to get through an intersection before the light turned red, and it was nice to know that somewhere deep down there are reserves of energy that I can call on even after I've been running for well over an hour.
At one point as my hips were starting to seize a little, I thought about what I must look like, and pictured an arthritic chicken hobbling across a farmyard. I'm relatively sure that I didn't look quite that bad, but it made me smile nonetheless!
All in all, I think today's run was a success.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Wayback Track

Apparently I shouldn't have posted my previous entry so hastily. I just came across another band that I have vivid memories of - WhiteHeart! Oh how I loved them. Remember the concert at Elim, Sher? Remember Sing Your Freedom, Hotline, and Convertibles? It was one of my favorite concerts, made even more memorable because my big sister let me tag along with her and her friend!
I feel like I'm putting together the soundtrack of my teenage years.

The Good Old Days

I got an iTunes gift card for my birthday, and decided that I would try to find 20 different songs from 20 different artists previously unknown to me. In my searching I just stumbled onto a group that I listened to a lot growing up - the Christian rock band Guardian. Wow. Talk about stepping back in time. It brings to mind all the hours I spent listening to them on my first ghetto-blaster (back when it was still called that!)
Songs like Dr. Jones and the Kings of Rhythm, Never Say Goodbye, The Captain, Forever and a Day, You and I, C'Mon Everyone, Fire and Love, and Endless Summer were some of my favorites. (I'm not sure how many people would even recognize any of those songs, except maybe my brother-in-law.)
I may just have to add some of those to my $20 playlist.
Aaahh...sweet memories.

Long Run March 22 - 14 km

I got home from this weekend's long run a little while ago, and I'm feeling pretty good. The weather was about perfect - a little cool and breezy, with the sun peeking through the clouds just often enough to offer a little encouragement. The roads have dried up considerably in the last couple of weeks, making for a less stressful run. In fact, this is probably my first time out that I could classify it as a run - other times it was more of a shuffle, leap-frogging over frozen ground.
I felt fresh and motivated until about the 10k mark. This is usually where the hip pains start to set in, and they showed up right on time. However, this time I managed to figure out a way to focus and bring myself into a rhythm where the pains actually went away. (They were replaced shortly after with the irritation of a growing blister on my right foot - you win some, you lost some.) This was the first time I've taken along a bottle of Gatorade, and it definitely helped to keep my energy level up near the end. I even set a new time record for myself!
After a little stretching and a cold bath, a large helping of my sister's Easter bread, and a few lines of writing, I think I might be ready for a nap now.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Long Run 12 km

My mood yesterday during my long run reflected the weather like a mirror. I didn't feel particularly buoyant, but not overly bad either - just neutral. About 3/4 of the way through the run, I began to feel sore, and tired. I forgot how sore I get at distances over 10 km. It may be time to start the post-run ice baths! I need to do more running during the week so that next Sunday doesn't come as a shock.
Sometimes I wish I could carry a little recorder with me as I run, because I'm usually composing my blog entry out on the streets. By the time I get home it's lost some of it's oomph and I'm just glad to be off my feet. Hopefully the snow will continue to disappear this week, and my run next week will be on dry ground.


Thanks to my friends who made my birthday a fabulous day!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Long Run - 10 km

Yesterday's long run was difficult. I was over-dressed. Hot. Tired. Frustrated. But I didn't get angry until an inconsiderate driver drenched me head to toe with muddy water that had pooled in the street. (At the moment of impact I confess to thinking many rather unkind things about the driver!) As a note to myself and all other motorists in this wet and wonderful season we're entering, if there is a huge puddle of water on the street, please slow down and/or move over if you can so as not to shower the pedestrian on the sidewalk.
Unfortunately the run didn't get any better, and I was splashed a couple more times. I really, really wanted to turn around and go home. At one point near the end of my run I had to turn in the opposite direction of home and start my last loop. I'm happy to say I didn't give in, if only for the satisfaction of being able to say it!
When all was said and done, I was happy to get home and cleaned up, with hopes that this week will be better.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

4th Long Run - 9 km

Today was the first day I could run without something over my face. It was cold going into the wind, but so much easier to breathe! I enjoyed the route I picked, and the 9k actually went by quite quickly, (1 hour, 7 min to be exact). The sunshine and happy music propelled me along. I got caught up in a daydream about halfway through and didn't even notice the clouds move in until I was almost done.
A good run all in all.

Monday, February 18, 2008

3rd Long Run - 9 km

I set out today with a little trepidation. Nine kilometres. A new distance for me. After a few technical difficulties (with the watch and ipod), I was on my way. The first leg of my run was into the wind, so I started off pretty slow. I got hot quickly and wished that I hadn't worn my balaclava. Thankfully I had my music to distract me, and to keep me from thinking about my rising temperature. (When the wind picked up later, I was thankful for it.) I got a second, third, and fourth wind just when I needed it and felt my spirits picking up as I ran. Music and running are two of the things I can count on to restore my optimism.
Today's effort was an interesting combination of running/scrambling/shuffling over the various terrain. I happened to map out a route that didn't have sidewalks the whole way, so I had to pick my footing carefully in some spots. Although I look forward to running with lighter clothing and on dry streets, summer running isn't quite as interesting as it is in the winter.
(side note: apparently I'm not recognizable as a female in my balaclava and all-black running duds, as some guy called out to me as I passed - "Hey, buddy! Hey! Buddy!" I didn't stop to see what he wanted, but smiled to myself and carried on.)
When I rounded the corner for home, I checked my watch and did an internal fist-pump as the time was better than I was expecting. Good times.

Sunday, February 17, 2008


Friday, February 15, 2008


In Amongst The Chaff

I love it when you come across an unexpected nugget of wisdom in a book that's otherwise just a bit of fluff. I finished reading "The Hopeless Romantic's Handbook" today, and came away with this bit of advice:

"Do something different today. Be bold in your choices, accept invitations that previously you may have bringing something fresh into your life, you will begin to see the world differently. You will be enchanted again by things you have taken for granted. You will see that beauty is never far from your door. And you will find romance in the small things of life, which are as important as the significant ones. Remember that if you only stick to what you know, then what you know now is all that you will ever have."

I feel like I'm at a turning point right now, with choices laying themselves out in front of me. I want to be bold and choose something new, even if it seems intimidating right now. I will pray for faith to lean not on my own understanding, but to trust in God who has always been faithful in giving me not always what I want, but always what I need.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Theoretically, we never know what a day has in store for us, but things usually go as you think they will.
Not today.
I had no idea what today would hold when I woke up this morning. I thought it was just another Tuesday, slightly warmer than it has been lately, only 3 more working days this week.
Just Tuesday.
Now I am in a completely different space than I was this morning.
My how things in the course of a day.
Everything has changed, and some things have stayed the same, all at once.
Just Tuesday.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Chilly Goodness

Tonight was one of my coldest runs this Winter, but I think it was also one of my best. On the way home I whispered a prayer of thanks that I live in a land of such varied seasons. In some ways I've always been thankful for Winter because it makes me appreciate Summer that much more. But I tonight I was able to appreciate the cold and the snow for just what is was. It felt clean and crisp outside, and there's a satisfaction that I get from Winter running that just isn't present in Summer.
Your body doesn't have to work so hard to cool itself for one thing. In fact, my internal heating system seems to work so well that I've yet to finish a run with my gloves still on. I usually take them off about halfway through.
There's also the light factor. I appreciate the long days of summer, but I also enjoy the quiet stillness of a winter night. There aren't too many people out, and I feel at peace running through the streets of my neighborhood.
Praise God for seasons.

Monday, February 04, 2008

2nd Long Run - 7 km

My run yesterday went much better than last week. It was a bit colder out, but I've figured out a new combination of layers that doesn't weigh so much. I didn't get tired quite so quickly, and found myself in good spirits throughout the run. Praise God for sunshine in Winter, it does so much to lift my mood!

Timepiece 2

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Small Prayers

I believe God answers small prayers. My car has been dead since last Tuesday. Each day, I've gone out and tried to start it, to no avail. I haven't really needed it until today, because Nicole has been driving me to work. I decided I would try it one more time today, and then call for a boost. I prayed as I turned the key, and it actually started! I see no reason why it should have started today as opposed to any other day, except that this was the first day I really needed it. Praise God for giving us what we need, just when we need it!

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Follow Me

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Jailbird, only not.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Mess, by Isabelle

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Me and Myself

I hate this. It hasn't even been 2 minutes and I'm tired already. Keep going. It will be better once you get into your rhythm. My glasses are fogging up already. And I can't breathe. I don't like running in Winter, it's way too hard. You can't quit unless you're injured. [running, running, running, turning the corner onto Acadia. Getting closer to the mall.] I better keep my expectations for the race low. In fact, even finishing might be too high a goal. It will be easier in the Spring. Keep going. [running past Sobeys...mmmm...I can smell the bakery.] I'm tired. You're three quarters of the way done. Keep going. You can't quit unless you're injured. At least you're not running into the wind now. I'm getting crunchy. Everywhere that moisture has seeped out of my body (sweat, breath, and, unpleasant though it is, snot), has formed a crusty layer on my outer garments. Even my headband is crisp by my ears. Hmm. Go figure. [Despite all the traffic on 8th St, I am very much in my own world.] If I can finish this run, I get to do whatever I want to for the rest of the day. That's fair. Delayed gratification. Even sit on the couch and eat bags of potato chips. Well I suppose you could, but you'd probably make yourself sick. Yeah, that's true. [Thinking about all those people for whom a 7k run is barely a warm up. Thinking of extreme runners who do 5o, 100, and 150km races. I can't even imagine that at this point.] Yay! I'm finally on Boychuk and the last leg of my run. Running with the wind at this point, which means I can pull my buff down and breathe normally. Even if the weather people say there's not a windchill because there's so little wind, the slightest breeze in the winter makes a huge difference. Man this path is hilly. Keep going. I think my effort today has been 99% mental. That's ok. Whatever gets you to the finish. Just think, this is building character. I guess so.
There's my house!
Yes! I did it!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Champetre County Ranch

Friday, January 25, 2008


Thursday, January 24, 2008

Darth Vader plays the violin

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Monday, January 21, 2008

roses, pt. 2

Sunday, January 20, 2008

roses, pt.1

Saturday, January 19, 2008


Friday, January 18, 2008

Winter Rain

Thursday, January 17, 2008


Wow. Now this is talent. If you keep watching until the end, the camera does move in closer so you can have a better look at how he's playing.

American Idol

Sometimes TV is funny, but rarely enough to make me laugh out loud. Last night was an exception. I happened to turn on American Idol in time to catch the last contestant, and boy was he something! You have to see it to favorite part is when Paula starts dancing at the end. Good stuff.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Lost in the Pinecone Forest

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Monday, January 14, 2008

Pink Button

Sunday, January 13, 2008


Saturday, January 12, 2008


Friday, January 11, 2008


Wednesday, January 09, 2008


Tuesday, January 08, 2008


Monday, January 07, 2008

The Giggles

I find myself slouched in a vinyl library chair, hand to my mouth in an attempt to prevent their escape. It's inevitable, really, once they start. You read a line and it makes you smile to yourself. An inward smile that soon shows itself on the outside. The scene in the book doesn't end, though, it keeps getting funnier and funnier. The smile grows to a grin, which is awkward enough. To sit by yourself, grinning foolishly at a book, in public, seems a little undignified.
And then.
You can't contain it.
Oh, you can try. Cheeks stretched about as far as they can go in that grin that just won't die, you try to keep the laugh inside. But it won't be kept. The more you try the stranger your facial expressions become. It will twist your lips into something resembling a grimace and bring tears to your eyes. If you're like me, you start to get red and hot, because keeping a laugh inside is hard work.
Eventually part of it escapes, and it comes out like an embarrassed little sound. Not a sneeze or a cough, but more of a squeak. And then that seems funny, which just pushes you over the edge.
You have to laugh. Not just a chuckle, but a full burst-out-loud-laugh-till-there's-no-sound-coming-out-just-silently-shaking kind of thing.
Or you primly find your bookmark, place it, and put your book away, desperately thinking unfunny thoughts. Put your coat on and wander the shelves, feigning interest in all manner of books while you try to forget one of the funniest pieces of writing you've ever read.

Sunday, January 06, 2008


Friday, January 04, 2008

Downtown Saskatoon

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Winter in the Park

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The Saskatoon Club

Tuesday, January 01, 2008


As first days go, this one was alright. Time in the kitchen cooking up new recipes mixed with some R&R makes for a good January 1st. The holiday season is over, and it's time to look ahead. In the coming months I anticipate starting my training for the Saskatchewan Marathon in May. I look forward to the poetry class I've enrolled in, starting in February. I'm going to attempt to post a new picture every day on my photo blog.
Most of all, I look forward to this being a year of growth; of learning new things, and maturing in my faith. I want to make the next 365 days of 2008 count.
Snow Tires