Sunday, December 29, 2013

Christmas Greetings and Updates

Hey, Merry Christmas to you all!  Hope you have had lots of laughter and love through the holiday season.  The past 10 days in my house have been crazy (probably the norm in most homes) and though the time has gone by rather quickly, we have done so much.  We have attended 3 separate Christmases, hosted Christmas Eve supper with the turkey and works, hosted a huge party for friends, attend 2 Christmas programs, curled in a boxing day bonspiel, helped some friends move to another house, had coffee with other friends, toured the town looking at Christmas lights, tried to watch as many Christmas movies as possible together.  There are so many great movies to watch this time of year.  We love the Home Alone movies, the Santa Claus movies, I'll Be Home for Christmas, The Search for Santa Paws, Christmas with the Kranks and of course National Lampoons Christmas Vacation.  I recorded the Sound of Music and am looking forward to watching it during a long ride on the bike.

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


Hello.  Couldn't wait to show you this bad boy that came to my mailbox recently.

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.
Cover of "The Juicing Bible"

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.



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