Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Epic Journey I shared with my sister!!

It's been a LONG time since I've blogged. What can I say, I've been a bit busy.

Just this past weekend (June 23/24), both my sister and I participated in and dare I say “ROCKED” the Alberta Ride to Conquer Cancer! When I did the ride in 2010, I reflected on how at the start of the ride (with over 1700 people)  I experienced an ironic sense of loneliness. This time, not so, thanks to my big sister Tami! The opening ceremonies were very moving, hearing the stories of survival and remembering all of those we’d lost…but I think mostly what I was feeling was nervousness. I wasn’t nervous about finishing, that’s just a given! Mostly nerves on what the weather would bring.

We started in light rain, but it seemed that by about 5 or 10 kms in the weather was nice (at least I don’t remember the rain lasting). It was fun thinking up songs to sing about the rain, and stopping at the pit stops to get snacks and feeling the energy of the entire group. Tami is a “go getter” so our pit stops and lunch were short (which is of course a good thing). The organizers of this event are amazing, and the support along the way would be hard to match.

Coming into the last pit stop it started to rain… and kept raining (quite heavily) until we reached camp. At about 100kms in on day 1 (the last pit stop at Bar U Ranch), my right knee started to cause me some pain, but I pedaled through and still had a great ride. Day 1 was 125 kms and arriving at camp was so rewarding. We literally slogged through a mud pit in order to rack our bikes. We excitedly chatted about how strong we felt going up the hills and how we got to pass a lot people that looked like “pros” :)

After getting our gear, and finding our tent, we changed out of our soaking wet and muddy riding clothes into slightly less wet clothes ;) Luckily our families came to see us and we also had a great dinner! Eventually we made our way back to our tent through the mud and cow pie field and settled in for LOTS of giggles and puddles of water where they should not have been. It wasn’t the best sleep of my life, to put it mildly, but we kept reminding ourselves that no matter how bad we felt, it wasn’t even close to how bad cancer sucks!

Honestly, it was hard to be full of energy for day 2, since I was tired, cold, wet and muddy and my knee was starting off the day hurting. We skipped the coffee tent (what?!?!?!?!) because I didn’t want to slog through all the mud to get there. It felt like we were literally in a cloud as it was foggy and misty!! At the first pit stop the GREAT crew helped us bundle our feet in “mylar” since our shoes were pretty wet from day 1 (that morning I poured water out of them) and that made quite a difference, well for awhile.

The ride on day 2 was good, and I’m not going to lie, although I knew I would NEVER quit, there were a few fleeting moments when I wished for it to be over…or to be closer to the finish, as every peddle stroke was painful for my right knee. We experienced some excitement when we had to pedal over a washed out road (yes it rained THAT much!) and I had a few minor mechanical issues when my chain jumped off its rails on two separate occasions while passing on hills. We were extremely fortunate to not have any major issues with our bikes. I saw a crash and Tami had a near miss on day 1, but we essentially made it through without incident!

It was an amazing feeling to finish with that “pleasant” overall physical exhaustion and so worth it to see our kids cheering us over the finish line. I have to admit, it only took two days after THE ride to start thinking about when I’d go on my next ride :)  I’m just so proud to have achieved this with my sister and to know that we were part of bringing together $8 million dollars for the Alberta Cancer Foundation.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Week of FUN! and a bit of training.

I anxiously awaited this week, as I had the week off work and we were having company from Spruce Grove :) Last weekend was really fun, we went skating, played some games and spent a lot of time visiting!! And I learned how to knit (thanks Linda!!). Oh yeah, and a lot of food :) Not good for the scale as detailed below.

I started last Saturday off right with a great 60 min treadmill run. Woot Woot! Plus we went for a skate in the afternoon. Then that cold I thought I'd beat returned :( So that was it for activity until Wednesay :(

On Saturday, we had steak & mushrooms, roasted potatoes and beets, salad and oh yeah some yummy maple/garlic beef back ribs (from costco). On Sunday we had buttermilk pancakes, scrambled eggs/hashbrowns and turkey bacon for breakfast and for supper lasagna (thanks Larry) and I also made some egglplant parmesan, salad and garlic toast. There were so many leftovers it was ridiculous. I also indulged in some snacks, like yummy coconut chocolate etc. Oh boy!

The kids had a lot of fun playing and just hanging out. And Brynn also learned how to knit :)

Once our company left, it was a few days of recovery....obviously not from training or from them but from colds and tummy bugs and late nights :) I was a bit bummed because I had hoped for a great training week since I was off work. *sigh* *sigh*

On Wednesday I hopped on my bike YAY!!! With the weather of late it seems like it might not be too long before I might be riding outdoors!!
Thursday was run day, and even though I was tired I mentally pushed through a speed workout, 7 X 90 sec sprints with recoveries and then just some easy stuff to make up 60 minutes. Friday was another ride, with some more of those single leg drills but at a higher tension and some power/speed sprints... afterward my legs felt like 100 lbs a piece as I climbed up the stairs. Today is slated as a 70 minute run ... coming up :)

I've been busy with the planning for my Ride to Conquer Cancer fundraising... wishing I'd gone with a simpler cake pop label. Oh well! That's the front and the back. Big punch, medium punch, hole punch and hot glue.

I plan to do the launch this Monday!
So get ready cake pop lovers :)
the details will be at

Summary to date: This week, down 0.5 (what did I expect?!?!?!), for a total of 15 lbs since Christmas.
Plans for upcoming week: Full workouts! (please dear body!!!) Good eating!
Monday a.m. circuit
Monday noon swim
Tuesday Bike
Wednesday Run
Thursday a.m. circuit
Thursday noon swim
Friday Bike
Saturday Run
Sunday REST

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Weak Week

A rough week indeed, I am not in the business of making excuses, so all I'll say is I'm sick AGAIN!

Training was quite decent, and I had it all planned out for my road trip, and if I'd not been sick starting Wednesday night I'd have gone for my swim too! Sigh. Oh... but I did forget to pack my sports bra?!!? Seriously...I remembered my Garmin, charger, heart rate monitor, everything else, so as to not let that sidetrack me I made a quick shopping stop to solve that (and I used a gift card)!

I like to analyze. Did I get sick because I wasn't getting enough sleep (maybe, but before my trip I was well rested). I had terrible sleeps in the hotel because of a non-stop heater fan that I couldn't get to shut off! Earned me a Starbucks card when I politely complained at check out! Did I get sick because I was training too hard and not eating enough? Well clearly the scale disagrees! Insert BIG POUT here (I'm certain it was "accidental" over consumption covered later in this post which caused the scale to not budge). Or could it be the germy magnets I call my sweet children that made me sick? Hard to say, but what I do know is that I have now missed a swim, bike and a run :(

Things I've been obsessing on lately.
Tracking calories in and calories burned. Although I like to not have to cook for myself, I don't like the lack of control!! Meals I ate out in the last week:
  • Thursday & Friday lunch.
  • Saturday dinner.
  • All day Mon/Tues/Wed and most of Thursday.
That's a lot!! And mistakes were made, for example dinner on Wednesday. I thought the portions were fairly small but when I went online later to find out.... 970 calories!!! Are you kidding me?? I was still hungry afterward :( But it is done, so no going back on it.

More obsession... I did my treadmill workout at the hotel, I did my warm up, and then seven 1:30 sprints at 7 mph, then I did an easier run after (totalling 50 minutes). Then I think, maybe that treadmill was easier than mine at home, because although it was hard, it wasn't "BRUTAL".

Using I can log my exercise and all of my food. When I make my own food, I measure and weight it, so I'm pretty sure about how many calories I'm putting in. But do I really know how many calories I burned during my swim? Or during my bike ride? So the best I can do is "guess". But that determines how many calories it suggests I eat for the day. There are definitely days where I finish under my daily amount, so then I worry I'm not eating enough and won't lose. So complicated!!!

Went to "The Bike Shop" with my sister on Monday to help her get some gear :) It was fun! We were thinking of going up to Calgary this weekend, but with me being's a stay home weekend for sure.

I also got to meet up with my good friends in Spruce Grove, we got to go for dinner (the calorically expensive one!) and had a good time chatting. Was very nice indeed, and I was super happy because I think they'll be coming down for visit in a few weeks ;)

This week's goals...
Focus during my workouts. Intensity Intensity Intensity
Good eating, but not deprivation.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Recovery Recovery Recovery

Surprisingly this week went pretty good considering it started off just recovering from a cold and the chilly cold weather! It was also scheduled as a recovery week for training. I still tried to keep my workouts a bit longer than my training plan called for, including adding a circuit to Wednesday's 30 min run! I did walking lunges, squats, kettle ball raises, push ups, tri dips and some skipping (times 3). Wow, was I sore afterward :( For swims I added extra 500 sets going easy at the end, and a bit of extra "easier" spins on the bike. Lately I've been feeling lower energy and really wanted to eat more, which meant more calories to burn (I think it's making me cranky at times).

I was down 2 lbs, not bad since I missed two workouts the week before from being sick and my workouts this week were a bit "lighter". Last night we played some Xbox Kinnect Fruit Ninja... so fun, and my biceps are sore from going crazy on the pomegranates :) Still have not beat Erin's score of 66!
This week's total, 6 workout days (2 swim, 2 bike, 2 run, one circuit, one rousing game of fruit ninja hehehehe).

This week I tried a new recipe for a sweet pea pesto (picture above). It was super tasty, but did upset my tummy a bit, so I'm thinking I must have over done it on the fresh garlic. I used it in a baked salmon sandwich with sweet pea shoots, and roasted coloured carrots.

This coming week I have two work lunches at the pub....eeek going to have to plan it well. Maybe I'll order salad and then have bigger snacks before and after.

This week's goals....
  • I'd like to go for 3 lbs, just to be at nice even number before my road trip :)
  • Therefore, I need to be aware of my intensity while I am working out, especially in the pool.
  • Keep drinking my water everyday (which reminds me I haven't drank any today?!?!?!)
  • Keep going good on planning my food/meals (maybe I should go and get groceries today, afterall!).
  • Getting my sleep, and keeping stress levels down (sigh!)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Ended with a "Bang"

This week ended with a "bang". Not the good kind of bang either. On Thursday I felt a cold coming :( and by about 3 a.m. on Friday morning I knew I wasn't doing my trainer ride. And as it turns out Saturday's run was a no go either!!! So my competitive soul was dampened and I was tempted to squeeze them both in today, but just doing household odds and ends was exhausting me. I'm headed into a recovery week in my training, so I am super duper bummed that I didn't get in those two workouts. But what can you do! My biggest concern was that I'd get comfortable with 3 days off in a row and struggle to get back into the "zone".

This photo shows a pretty balmy day from this week, it was only -26, but most mornings it was -30 with windchills in the mid -40's Yowsa!

But my reward for working so hard with my training and my eating (especially the eating) was that I was down another 4 lbs!!!! The amount of time it took me to type that was about how long it took for me to realize that it is likely that after two great big drops like that, that this week will likely be meager loss. With it being a recovery week too.... gotta say, I love the long hard workouts as it allows me to eat more!! But I am making good choices and not squandering those calories on empty bad things ;)

This week I'll attribute my success to focusing on logging my food on I find I don't eat a bunch of things and then go, uh oh, no more calories left. Usually I know the night before what my next day will be like for my main meals and snacks, and then I know whether I've got room for a skinny latte or a fruit smoothie or not :) Fruit smoothies are my favourite early evening snack. Eamon loves them too, so I usually do up a enough for both of us.
They're simple, a banana, a yogurt, splash of milk and then whole frozen strawberries.

This weekend was fairly quiet, Brynn had a bday party (sledding!!!) on Saturday and Larry and Eamon went into the city today for a movie and to pick up a few groceries while Miss Brynn and I napped :)

Oh, and I might get a chance to help plan the local tri this summer :) How awesome would that be? Does that mean I can't race??

I'm very close to being finished my plan for fundraising for the Ride to Conquer Cancer 2012....just need to find a couple hours of time to put it into action. Not sure it'll happen this week as I'm going to be super busy with work!! And in a few weeks time I'm headed on the road for work, so I'll need to get my training/eating plan ready well in advance for that week! But I'm super excited as I get to visit with some awesome friends in Spruce Grove and I'll also get to stop in Red Deer for a few days ;)

This week's goals
  • stick with the controlled eating
  • not overdo it during training for my recovery week (who me??? never!!!) maybe I could use the extra time to do a bit of strength training/stretching
  • remember to eat my snacks at work and drink my water (love my new water bottle)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

It's working ....

I was thrilled when I weighed myself yesterday and was down 6 lbs :) That's a rough estimate as it could actually be more. I stopped weighing myself for awhile ;(
I've been following my tri training plan to a "T" and have been logging my food and doing the planning part for two weeks, so there you go.

So for the last 2 weeks:
3 hrs 41 minutes running
3 hours 30 min cycling
2 hours 25 min swimming
For some reason that doesn't seem like a lot now :( But by Saturday I'm pretty tired so the long run usually does me in! Plus we went skating yesterday. But Sunday is my rest day from training :) So today I'm getting caught up on house stuff. I also made my second batch of "Cream" of Broccoli soup today!

A few triumphs from the week:
  • Didn't completely hate my swims this week!
  • On Thursday we had Erin and Amber, Brooklyn over for dinner, Larry made lasagna and I made some Eggplant Parmesan as a healthy option for myself :)

Sweet Brooklyn and Uncle Larry :)

I am amazed how logging my food really helps me keep within the correct range for calories, and from mindless snacking.

Tonight we are going to Erin and Kengo's for dinner, so I'm going to have to be EXTREMELY good for the earlier part of the day. So far so good :)

But I still have to make cake pops.... that's going to be tough! I will try chewing gum to keep me from nibbling. (** Update: It worked, I didn't nibble even a bit!)

I haven't really got my act together for my fundraising plan for the Ride to Conquer Cancer yet. I have to make up some posters and a plan for the cake pops. That's why I'm making some today.
Here they are in process.

I'm going to include some recipes that I've been using....I'll add photos as I make them next.

Spaghetti Squash First I stab the squash a few times all the way through.
Microwave for 5-6 minutes
Then slice in half lengthwise and microwave further (open side down on a plate) for about 4 more minutes
Scoop out seeds from middle, then using a fork scrape out "noodles".

My favourite way of using the Spaghetti Squash is to saute the following in a pan:
1t of olive oil, onion, garlic, chopped zuchini, peppers, mushrooms, spinach, tomato

Then I mix it into some Spaghetti Squash, add some salt and pepper and 1 oz of crumbled goat cheese :) So Yummy! I also found that a bit of turkey bacon crumbled in puts it OVER the top YUMMY!

Eggplant Parmesan
Slice medium egglpant into slices about 1 cm thick (I slice them into rounds)
Spray a bit of PAM into a casserole dish.
I then lay slices of eggplant on bottom of pan, then top with some sliced fresh mushrooms and spread 1/2 cup of cottage cheese. Then I do it again, layer eggplant, sliced fresh mushrooms another 1/2 cup of cottage cheese. Top with about 1.5 cups of spaghetti sauce (I use Health Choice). Sprinkle top with 4 oz of shredded light mozzarella cheese. Cover with tin foil and bake for 60 minutes at about 375. Remove foil and bake for another 5-10 minutes. Makes 6 servings, although I always eat 2 servings in one go :)

"Cream" of Broccoli Soup
1T Olive Oil
2 carrots
2 celery stalks
1 sm onion
1 900 ml container of low salt chicken stock
1 cup cooked rice
4.5 cups chopped broccoli
1 cup milk

(1.5 cups is 164 cal and is very filling)

Saute carrots, celery, onion in the olive oil for about 5 minutes (I chopped it all up nice and fine in the food processor)
Add rice, chicken stock, broccoli, bring to boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes.

Blend in food processor or blender and return to pot. Add 1 cup milk.
My blender is really big so I just put it all in with the milk and blend it up. I liked it thick, but if you prefer you can add more milk, you can also sprinkle with parmesan or white cheddar cheese :)

Friday, January 6, 2012

Phew! I made it.

My first week of training done AND with the holidays over, I returned to work for two whole LONG days days. It's always tough going back after a break, but I survived.

As for the training....well, I survived 2 swims (Monday's swim was the first in over a year!), 2 bikes and 1 run (2nd run is tomorrow).
Basically I am using my training plans from 2010. It is a bit tough because the old plan started at the beginning of December (2009) and I'm starting one month in. As such, I was right back in.... single leg drills, oh how I'd forgotten how evil you are. But truly, today I felt really great! My legs are fatigued, but I feel really good. Physically and mentally!

In addition to my training, I have had three really great "clean" eating days! Yay!
It's been tough, but I have found myself back on myfooddiary logging my food so I know I'm on track and planning too. If I have a plan for the day, and I have it ready to go for the morning, then it is easy for the time when I'm at work. As for at home, it does take extra effort (will power baby....lots of Christmas treats still around!) with lots of salads, and I'm back to drinking my mint tea. Still need to get better about my water drinking.

I still haven't weighed myself, avoiding it until the end of next week (so I can see some improvement). Although it'd be good to have a starting point...I know how I feel and how my clothes fit is the important thing. Plus I have a $100 gift card I'm saving for a special "treat"...

Finally, my sister committed to doing the 2012 Ride to Conquer Cancer with me :) YAY!!!
So the excitment and training begin!!

Best be off to bed, gotta get up for a run tomorrow (my least favourite kind of run...long and slooooowwww, oh yeah heart rate monitor I remember you... and I still don't like you!).