Sunday, December 29, 2013
This is the great cake my aunt made for our Christmas Eve supper. It was beautiful and delicious!
We also built gingerbread houses. We had a 3-way contest; my 2 boys vs my oldest daughter and niece vs my youngest daughter and husband. Here is proof of their hard work.
(I did take pictures of my youngest daughter and husband building their house but only when I looked back at the pictures did I see that she has a breath right nasal strip still on her nose. We decorated them around lunch time and I guess it was a slow morning for her. I know she would not appreciate the picture going public. It is funny though.)
It is a tradition in our house and no matter how old the kids get, it never gets old. Especially when there is candy and chocolate involved.
Yesterday, my daughter tried out her new cupcake maker and made gingerbread cupcakes. They were just the right size and so yummy.
Now that the hustle and bustle is kinda over- it is time to recoup and relax. Usually that occurs at the lake cottage where we are usually heading to as quickly after Christmas as possible. So why aren't we there yet? One reason and only one- COLD. Now not just cold but blistering cold. Today the high was -28 Celcius and with the windchill, it was -44 Celcius which is close to -50 F. This is what how the next few days look;
Now, not trying to come across whinny, but it sucks when you can't get outside. We are usually cross country skiing or tobagganning or skidooing through the holidays. So hard to do a lot of that with these temperatures. So, short bursts of activity outside before coming back in to warm up. Lots of games, dancing with the Wii, reading and bike trainer/treadmill workouts. There are many great aspects of living where I do, but this isn't really one of them. Oh well.
Speaking of reading, I got some great books for Christmas. One is a cookbook called The Feedzone Cookbook so I am so excited to try some new dishes. Another is a devotional which I have dived into. So many great books to read right now!
I am currently reading Triathlon for Every Woman by Meredith Atwood and am enjoying her humourous storytelling and advice based on her experiences with triathlon. The book is filled with answers to many questions that those new to triathlon want to know but don't ask. And because she has participated in every triathlon distance from sprint to ironman, her advice concerning the small things is invaluable. The next book on my list is A Life Without Limits by Chrissie Wellington. My husband has already read it and has great raves so excited to get to it.
And finally, a training update. This is an athletic blog right? Training has been going so good. There has been a lot of base training with no speedwork at all. I have run on the treadmill at an incline but have run slowly. I am still embracing the Mafetone training routine right now, going by heart rate with all my workouts reflecting this by maintaining my heart rate below a certain level. I will be kicking it up into base 1 next week which will include tempo and speedwork to both the running and cycling. I have had issues with my right knee and IT band but have had huge improvements in the past 3 weeks. I have 3 exercises that I have been doing not just a couple times a week but a couple times a day. This is the key to the success I think. I have been foam rolling like crazy as well. It has taken a lot of consistency but it has made my glutes so much stronger! The only thing that still seems to aggravate it is squats. Hopefully, if the glutes are stronger and the knee is less irritated, the ability to perform squats without problem will also come.
I have been trying to run shorter distances more frequently right now and building up my bike mileage. I have run so many half marathons that I know I can manage the distance. I am entered to run a half the beginning of March so running that distance is in the near future. It is a planned run but not a competitive run. I have no concerns about my time. I have not biked much past 30 miles though and want to increase that right now. I am so proud of myself for getting in so many longer rides. In December, most of my training rides are between 10-25 miles on any given day but I have done 5 rides that have exceeded 25 miles. In the month of January, I have plans to see the other side of 40. My goal is to stay healthy and injury free so I am trying to build distance but also to be smart about it.
One of my goals in the next week is to get my training plan all worked out so I have things structured a bit more. I like the impulsiveness of training on feeling, but also know that I need structure within the training to give me guidance and balance. I need to see the big picture, work backwards and plan according. I also want to start registering in some events so I need to see the year ahead and how these various events work together to register for some and hold off on others for another year. I have read about the priortizing the A, B and C events but this is the first year I have really been proactive about it. I am not the typical triathlon personality which is sometimes seen as the "A" type that has the stats, data and their yearly plan at their fingertips. I like being a bit unstructured and especially to be mindful of why I am pursuing the hobby of triathlon. With that said, it will be nice having some structure to my training. That is the great part (I think) about having a coach. You get structure, expertise and knowledge without figuring it all out yourself. I'm just not ready to jump into that yet.
Well, Happy New Year to you all! I will be at the lake enjoying the fireworks with my kids and maybe getting in a midnight cross country ski with headlights and a million stars!
My husband's side of the family had a group picture taken at Thanksgiving (Canadian Thanksgiving in October) and I have seen the proof and ordered my pictures. I think they turned out so well and wanted to show you the group photo.
Sunday, December 15, 2013
I am a juicing virgin. I drink water, almond milk and the occasional herbal tea and really nothing else. Until now that is.
A couple months ago I was listening to a podcast with special guest Dr.Junger talking about his book Clean Gut. The podcast got me checking out his website, reading and learning as much as I could. I have tried many recipes but I have not read the book yet (it is on my Christmas list!). The information Dr. Junger gives is so radically different in the sense that he wants to find the source of inflammation and disease and not just treat the symptoms and conditions with band aids.
Then a few weeks later, I watched the documentary "Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead" which is the powerful story of Joe Cross and his quest for health. This then led to the reboot with joe website containing a wealth of information and recipes.
Shortly after, I watched another documentary called "Hungry for Change" (gotta love netflix). This documentary is jam packed full of knowledge from a huge panel of experts. It is a must see.
So, after tons of research on which kind of juicer to purchase (centrifugal or masticating) I ordered the Breville Fountain Crush masticating juicer. I have used it many times now and it has performed beyond my expectations. I also ordered a book called "The Juicing Bible" which is full of recipes and much more.
I have tried many different juices, mostly vegetable, but occasionally the kids want to help and we make some awesome fruit juices. I will continue to experiment but so far have found a routine of "green", "orange" and "red" juices. My 2 most favourite juices are the Mean Green (from the Reboot With Joe) and the Beetalicious (from the Juice Bible). So yummy!
My juicing is in addition to my regular diet as I am not wanting to do a complete juice cleanse at this time. With that said, I often have just juice for supper though. It is just better for me.
Now, I'll get to the good part! The introduction to vegetable juice has made significant changes in me. My complexion is way better, the plumbing is always very regular, I have more energy; not missing the mid-day lull one bit. I am content with less food. To a friend, this made no sense and all I could say was that sometimes having less of something really good is better than having lots of nothing. My body actually craves the greens. It does smell like "garden, hay patch, something green" though and when my mom tasted it, her face really contorted unhappily. She said she thought it would just take a few times of getting used to. The truth or not? Don't know but I do know the first taste for me was blissful.
From a training point of view, the juicing has been very beneficial. I usually drink juice right after running or biking and I feel my recovery improves significantly! My muscles recovery much easier, though they still get tight on occasion and need to be stretched. I guess the juice can only do sooo much! I have been working slowly on heart rate base training so nothing fast yet. Will update you with the effects of juice when speed work comes into play in the next month. Got big plans for 2014!! So excited. I will post about it soon but (it involves me, my guy, a pier and a few miles).
As far as time goes, I usually plan to make 2 or 3 recipes at one juicing. I wash and peel/chop ingredients for each recipe (which I usually double) and put each recipe into a separate ice cream pail. When one recipe is complete, I do the same for the other(s) and then when I start juicing, I have all my pails ready to go. I start with the green juice, move to orange then end with red/purple. I usually cut the produce into smaller pieces as I am feeding them into the chute and I rotate through the veggies. I use an apple slicer, don't know what it is really called but divides apples into 8 sections and removes the core. Usually, a double recipe makes enough for my husband and I to each have a large glass of juice and the rest I pour into a glass quart sealer jar. Fill right to the top and get the lid on and store in the fridge for later or tomorrow. Not as much oxygen with little headspace so the juice doesn't oxidize quickly. So, if I make 3 recipes, double of each, then I end up with at least 6 jar fulls of juice for the rest of the day and tomorrow. If I make juice each evening then I am good for the two of us for that evening and tomorrow and sometimes left over to start the next day. Depends on how much we drink. I like to drink the green (green apples, kale, ginger, celery, cucumbers) or orange (carrots, oranges, green apples, parsley) in the morning, the opposite at lunch and then the red/purple (beets, celery, garlic, spinach, ginger) juice for supper.
Clean up isn't hard at all. I put a bag in the pulp bin ( I compost pulp) and take apart the other pieces, rinse under hot water and let air dry. There is one component that requires some extra effort with small brush (is included) but it doesn't take long. Making 2 or 3 recipes, double of each with prep and clean up is max 1 hour. Probably more like 45 min.
So, if you were thinking of giving juicing a try, want to fill your body with the micronutrients it needs, want an edge with your workouts or looking to detox- I encourage you to get yourself a juicer and give it a try. I would not trade it for anything. The only problem is figuring how to take the juicer with me when I travel.
Monday, October 28, 2013
I am trying really hard to limit the amounts of carbohydrates I am consuming. I know this goes against almost everything in the "athletic" world as carbs are what fuels us. There is no gluten problems (though I did have a score of 9 in the IgA test) but I feel soo much better with limited carbs. So, no bread, which was no big deal though I do miss a mean pb and j sometimes. And no pasta or mini wheats and the most difficult is no oatmeal. But I have come up with some awesome alternative.
I can't lie and tell you it hasn't been difficult. It's different, it's not the way I have known. Our traditional eating has revolved around the meat and carbs with a little veggie thrown in. Cutting back on carbs and sugar started out as a forced issue (thoughts of a bacterial imbalance in the gut) and the truth be told I was a bad a@@ rebel. Very unhappy, grouchy and bitter. I missed my carbs! But as time has gone on, I see so many other people who are EMBRACING this lifestyle. Hello, Attitude? We need to make some major changes. Stop with the mopey, grouchy, life is so tough routine. Let's get on board this train!
The biggest issue I have struggled with is not feeling full and needing something more. I am sure that is the soothing nature of carbs- comfort food. Veggies and lean meats have been my staple and they don't seem to have those special powers of contentment, not like carbs. I have also removed most fruit consumption right now with plans to bring it all back again. So the challenge has been to bring the comfort and sweetness of carbs to the veggie/meat diet. Hello FAT- the good kind. Experiments with avocado, coconut oil and nuts have proved to be sucessful. I made a chocolate mousse with avocado and ate almost the whole thing that night. Serious self control to make it last 2 days! And chia pudding with almond milk, with the chocolate mousse, now I am talking out of this world. My granola was replaced with a seed and nut combination that makes me forget what I had before, what did I have before?
The moral of the story? Embrace the good fats. They do not disappoint. I cannot vouch yet as for how this change of diet will impact heavy training or exercise. I am still in the "off season" of hit and miss/ whenever I feel like something training. I am anxious to see how regular training and the lack of carbs will roll together but I am confident it will be fine.
I am looking forward to experimenting with new recipes and creating some of my own. Wishing you a great week of nutritious eats!
Sunday, October 27, 2013
It is hump day, yaaa! Who doesn't get excited about that? Today's post is all about motivation. We all struggle at times to keep our head above water and sometimes we just need a pull. I'm hoping you read and feel refreshed.
I heard something funny the other day. We just got a light brushing of snow in my part of the country and it came without expectation and my friend said that meteorologists (aka: weather people) are the only job where you can be wrong a lot of the time and still keep your job. lol.
Well, we all make mistakes, it's true. I like to remind myself that it's not the mistake that is the issue but whether I pick myself up after it and go on instead of staying in the dreaded, you know it- RUT. I really dislike the same old thing day after day. That's what our relationships can become, our work lives our home lives and certainly our athletic pursuits.
In my last post, I gave my thoughts on things needing to be in sync to get the best performance. SO much of performance is outcome based. It is very difficult then to go against the norms of today's society and feel GOOD about what you do, even when the results don't show it. I have listened to Miranda Cafrae's You Tube post IM win in Kona and she said that it was a good day, good swim, good bike and great run and at times it seemed effortless. Isn't that what we all want? I think the truth is that those days are probably not the norm. What then keeps us motivated during the rest of the time?
I recently replied to a blog post(that I follow) concerning the subject of overthinking and having rough days. I am very much an overthinker; a passionate person who feels so strongly and has deep connections within myself. I don't hide much; you see what I feel, how I care and what moves me. This is truly an amazing way to live but does have drawbacks; the most prevalent is being hard on myself. It can become fear of failure, retreat to my comfort zone (which is exactly not how I like to be) and a joy stealer. I have certainly improved in the past few years. For example, when I started seriously training, I did on occasion stop a run and go home because my ponytail was too tight or loose and my hair flopping around bugged me. I have also packed it in once when my ear buds wouldn't stay in my ears. (Had to go back the next day and dig the ear buds out of the ditch) Pretty junior high of me I know. I just can't explain how it happens but a small thing can easily become a mountain with overthinkers. I am trying to look beyond the mole hills so I can reach the mountains.
I gave my most favourite advice on the blog post (indicated above) because it is ALWAYS what I need.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” Theodore Roosevelt
Friday, October 18, 2013
I am not the most talented musically, but when my kids are playing their instruments, I can usually tell when they hit the wrong note. Now take the orchestra director- being able to distinguish a single note played incorrectly from 1 instrument out of the many in the orchestra or band is an amazing feat.
My run yesterday had me thinking of such things in terms of my fitness. There are so many variables that need to work together. It's not just one single instrument but an orchestra of many. And to create harmony- they all need to play together. There are so many factors that can be in surplus or deficit. As athletes, we are more affected and challenged by imbalances because we are so much more connected with them. The leisure Sunday driver doesn't care if he is driving 50 miles an hour or 60 miles an hour but ask Danica Patrick (the race car driver) and she will know her speed to the hundredth of a mile.
It is clear to me that for those endeavoring in athletic pursuits, there are so many imbalances that can affect our performance. Nutritional, muscular, body composition, skill not to mention other factors such as training, weather and equipment. And clearly, to get the best results, we need to have a lot of these factors in balance. So how is one to get the perfect harmony or in this case a perfect race? It's more than training and eating good. It's doing your best everyday to listen to your body, to learn more about creating and finding YOUR sync. I realized with clarity that the point of my dreams and goals is more than just crossing that line, more than challenging myself to the limits, more than keeping myself busy and trying new things. I am on a journey of discovery, of actively finding the perfect balance, finding harmony, creating equilibrium. And the thing about it is, it doesn't happen fast. It requires tons of trial and error, bad rides, even worse runs, kicks in the face, water in the goggles, left in the dust days. It requires patience and reading and more patience and researching and did I mention patience?
There is no Staples Easy Button- oh how I wish somedays for one of those. These less than desirable events teaches me more about the right combinations, muscles I need to beef up, foods I shouldn't eat. The kicker for me has always been that for some people, it seems so easy. So easy to spit out fast runs, to train without injury, to get good race results. I know that it takes hard work and effort for everyone, some can make it looks so easy though. And this would cause me to get impatient with myself and expect my results to be like that of others. So, I would work hard and get things on track (or so I thought) and then just when it seems I have got it it together, something else happens to rock the results boat.
And so, I will endevour to always remember my journey is MINE. An opportunity to chase harmony and find my sync.
A few great resources that have inspired me lately. Everyone has a story to tell, and its these stories that motivate and inspire. Thanks so much for sharing.
1. Ben Greenfield - so many ways to listen
2. Tune in radio: Endurance Planet
3. Angela Naeth -
4. Team Wurtle-
5. Tawnee Prazak
Tell me what motivates YOU?
Monday, October 14, 2013
[caption id="attachment_375" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Most of September, I was either in here or"][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_376" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="in the big green machine."][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_393" align="aligncenter" width="224" caption="This was my office view for awhile."][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_377" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Having fun by the river after supper in the field"][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_379" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Picked bushels of apples- made TONS of apple crisp for the freezer- YUM!"][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_380" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="So happy to see my Kona box come in the mail. Took it in the grain truck with me and it was empty by the end of the day! (I did share a bit)"][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_382" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="The twins turned 16!!"][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_381" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Birthday celebration at supper in the field for Denae and Brett."][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_383" align="aligncenter" width="224" caption="Birthday cake in the field for Mackenzie. 3 birthdays in September- whew!"][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_384" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Lots of pumpkins!"][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_385" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Snuck in a football game on a rainy weekend. Saskatchewan vs British Columbia"][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_388" align="aligncenter" width="224" caption="So sad to have to clean off my sunflowers from the garden. They were massively tall! The birds are happy though."][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_389" align="aligncenter" width="224" caption="Hubby and I mountain biking on my favourite trail."][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_392" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Did manage to sneak in a couple short runs."][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_396" align="aligncenter" width="224" caption="A great Sunday afternoon 30 mile ride on the skinny tires."][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_397" align="aligncenter" width="224" caption=" "][/caption]
Hope you made many September memories:)
Thursday, September 19, 2013
Crazy nothings I think about when I am sweating.
1. How come a lot of athletes in sports that hit or throw require concentration but only in golf are we required to be quiet?
2. How come I can NEVER understand the scoring of tennis no matter how many times it is explained to me?
3. How come my inner thighs are starting to rub together when I thought one of the benefits of exercise was to have slimmer, sexy legs?
4. How come one of the biggest muscles in the body (glutes) are the laziest? Don't they know they need to do their share? I guess the old expression "get off your lazy butt" is really the truth.
5. How come we can run, bike or exercise huge amounts and feel MORE energized when we are done though we have burned a couple thousand calories?
6. How come in some places geographically, exercise is almost on the endangered list? You know this when you are running and people look at you like you are from another planet?
7. How come when I run, I think I am running like a graceful gazelle, a smooth thoroughbred, a fast cheetah but when I see pictures or video of myself I am like - WHO THE HECK IS THAT?
8. How come right now my bike rides always feel the best the first half but my runs only start to feel good after the halfway point?
9. How come some people think that if you are "athletic" and training for something, it must be nice to have all that free time. I have the same 24 hours as they do.
10. How come it is "acceptable" in hockey to hit and fight like you are in a bar but in no other sport is this acceptable?
Any how comes of your own?
Sunday, September 1, 2013
How do you adapt to new beginnings?
My oldest daughter finished camp 2 weeks ago and we pretty much decided the day before she was done to take the camper and get away for a few days. When the kids are older, it is harder to go places all together so we capitalized on the few days we had. Never have we had the opportunity to get away like this in Aug as we are ALWAYS harvesting but this has been an unusual year. We headed on a 12 ish hour drive (split between an afternoon and the next morning) toward Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Our destination was Eden Prairie. We were looking forward to warmer weather as it has been quite cool at home and we were not disappointed. We lived in shorts the entire 4 days. The best part was we lived WITHOUT bugs the entire 4 days! Long, warm walks in the evening without swatting mosquitoes-heavenly. Our first stop took us to Valley Fair- an amusement park with a water park within it.
[caption id="attachment_302" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="At Valley Fair"][/caption]
The kids wanted to waterslide and that we did. Raging Rapids, Lazy River, Body Slide, Hurricane Falls--sounding good? It was fun. We had a great day and lots of fun.
What visit to Minneapolis wouldn't be complete without a stop to do some shopping at a little place called Mall of America. We have been there before but the highlight of the trip was mostly for the youngest daughter as she loves American Girl.
That evening we went to watch the Minneapolis Twins play Cleveland Indians at Target Field. First ball game for all of us and what a great time we had! Ball is so relaxing to watch. Our seats we deep in left field and though we were close to a home run ball, we didn't go home with any keepsakes. Except of course the Twins helmet that you purchase called the Ultimate Taco where the helmet was full of nachos. Fed all 6 of us, yum!
[caption id="attachment_303" align="aligncenter" width="224" caption="Minnesota Twins ball game"][/caption]
My husband and I are early risers and love to chase dawn on our bikes or feet. We took our road bikes along with us and were so glad we did. The most impressive feature of Eden Prairie were the paved paths that were everywhere. We rode our bikes for miles without worry about traffic and being on the busy roads. What a treat. We just had to watch at intersections. It was so wonderful! One morning we explored to the south east and the next morning the north west. There were so many other places we wanted to go explore but not enough time- darn it. Definitely a highlight of the trip. We found a cool place called Green Acres. It looks like it is a events center with the whole farm theme. Cows painted in all colors.
[caption id="attachment_307" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Green Acres"][/caption]
Also did some biking one morning and stopped for a snack at Starbucks. Love doing things like this with my husband!
We also checked out places and things we wouldn't get the chance to otherwise do so mostly because of geography. I have always wanted to try some Newton Running shoes. Our map took up to TC's Running Store. A great place with friendly help and great service. Newtons are certainly different shoes in terms of the way they fit, how they feel on the feet and how the lugs on the bottom feel. I liked them but not sure enough to buy some and try them out. I don't think you actually know if shoes work for you until you put in some miles. A quick run on a treadmill doesn't cut it. It was so good to try them though. The kind I tried were the neutral Distance Newtons.
Also tried on some Zoot tri shoes. These hug like a glove and felt great. They were at a tri shop called Urban Tri and we had great assistance by the owner. He gave us tips and info about the shoes as well as long course triathlons. He told us he was leaving in a week to head to Ironman Canada in Whistler. Shoes were 15% off so the hubs and I both got a pair. I was still a bit unsure of how they would work for me in reality (while running a few miles) as I have not ever run without socks and not sure it would feel too good. And to be honest, they won't work in a triathlon setting as it sits for me right now as my bike shoes pretty much need socks or they will be too big so not really a time saver to go from swimming to socks and bike shoes to removing the socks and running with sockless shoes. So what can I say but that they felt good and I think that as athletes we need to try new things.
While on the topic of shoes- all the kids needed shoes and my husband and I each got a pair so lots of bright colors and styles being sported!
We tried our Zoot shoes out the next morning with a 3.5 mile run. I loved how they performed while running. I had lots of support but they are so light, it is effortless to run with them. My only complaint is that I didn't even think of applying body glide and being the person that I am (meaning if something can happen, it will to me) I managed to have some serious rubbing along the top of the shoes and my skin on the outside of my feet and in the heel area. So am now nursing blisters and cuts. Not really my smartest move considering I have a triathlon in 2 days but oh well. Thank goodness for bandaids!!
Have a great day!