Monday, February 28, 2011

Eb and Flow

There has been a little glitch in my plan working with the Youth Girls. See, the thing is, the youth coordinators have never actually worked with this age group before because of (a) interest and (b) getting them to keep coming.

Some days I go and there are only 2 girls, sometimes 4, and one time none. If it werent for the youth workers picking them up from school and bringing them to the youth house, they would never make it there on their own. Because these girls are considered "at ricks" there are so many other variables involved in their lives.

With all that said, we decided to ditch the Sun Run idea. Maybe it was an unrealistic expectation on my part from the beginning but I had high hopes. To be honest though, what I have them doing now is 100 times more fun. Instead of the standard walk/run program, I TAKE THEM ADVENTURING to places they have NEVER been

Last Wednesday we went hiking in Lynn Canyon and I took them across the Suspension Bridge. Neither of the girls had ever been there before and it was really cool to see how excited they were. Friday I took the girls to Deep Cove where we hiked all the way to Quarry Rock.

I really enjoy this format better. I was explaining to Peter today how with the walk/run program, because a lot of the girls couldn't maintain a run for the 2 or 3 minutes (x6) prescribed, it was almost like they were having mini failures all along the way. But, with the adventure format, they get to hike and get to a final DESTINATION which is so rewarding for them. It has made me realize how fun it would be to start a hiking group for teen girls or even a bit older and take them on immaculate hikes to places they would never normally go!

On another note, life has been pretty fun. I went out with the Mountain Madness group again for the Dirty Duo orientation run. Heather was popping up all over the place and she managed to capture a quick pic. I attempted to get us all in a jumping shot but after 7 tries, we gave up haha.

Peter and I got out for a little ski tour today. We had planned to go all the way to Elfin Lakes but it started to snow pretty hard outside so we just hung out at the Red Heather Hut and played backgamon by the fire!

I think I'll head to Whistler tomorrow for a day on the hill. I finally signed up for the Knee Knacker 50km. Thanks Dirk for the test message reminding me that it was the last day to sign up! Tomnorrow is the first day to sign up for Where's Waldo 100km which I plan on running. It's part of the Montrail Ultra Cup and I would LOVE to get a guaranteed spot into Western again.

I think that is all for now. I just got back from an awesome Compu Trainer session at the Challenge By Choice Studio. Two of us rode the first 30km of the Ironman Canada course. Pretty rad! The good news is that I can continue riding from where I left by next Christmas I will have completed the entire 180km!

Summary of last weeks adventures:

Monday: 2 x strength sessions at the Challenge by Choice Studio (shadowing/doing)
Tuesday: 2 hour Chief Hike from home
Wednesday: 2 hour run in North Van, 90 minute hike with girls
Thursday: run 30 minutes home from studio in torential winds!
Friday: 1 hour run in North Van, 90 minute hike with girls, 1 hour climbing (tired)
Saturday: 2.5 hr run in North Van
Sunday: off

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Act of Walking

(View from the top of the first peak)

One of my favorite adventurs these days, consists of a walk/hike, from my doorstep, up to the first peak of the Chief and back. Why don't I run it? I don't know! I just really enjoy the leisure nature of the walk. I tend to do this specific outing on very nice sunny days which allows me to optimize the amount of time spent outside. If I ran the whole thing, it would just go by way to fast. I plug in my tunes and all of a sudden, I am in walking heaven.

(section leading up to the peak)

The Chief hiking route has been getting a lot of work done on it, as you can see below! Even in the snow...

(View of the second peak)

(A self portrait, way harder to do on an IPhone)

All this walking got me thinking. Why don't I walk more? I used to walk all the time. Before I got into distance running, I used to walk for hours. I would just leave my house, walk the 2 hours it took me to get downtown, adventering all along the way. However, I would normally bus back! You get to take in so much of your surroundings when you walk. After my run on Saturday I met up with a good friend and we just walked all over downtown Vancouver.

I guess, as a runner and a car owner, when I am not running, I am driving. Somewhere along the way I lost the want to walk. Why walk when I can drive! Maybe it's because it just takes so darn long to get to places. On a nice day however, it truly is great to just set out on your own 2 feet and experience. Experience the folks who are also walking, sitting on the bus or taking the sky train. You give yourself that time to take in the view while crossing the Lions Gate Bridge, or watching the waves crash down while you sit on a bench in English Bay.

Walking...the love affair has been rekindled.

Quick and Easy (Healthy Dinner Idea)

(Not my picture but this is what it all looked like essentially. I am usually to busy eating my food to think about taking a photo, will try and get better! props go to

When I lived on my own I used to make A LOT of greek salads. Let's face it, the salad is delicious, the colors boom out of the bowl, and it's healthy to boot. I mess around with a lot of different salad dressings but sometimes I get lazy and just put on some low calorie kraft greek feta.

Peter went away on an ice climbing trip, so naturally, I turn back into that living solo person and get into my old ways. This dinner is fast to make, easy to prepare, and unreal to eat. The flavours are just MMM.

Greek Salad with Quinoa and Chicken (serves 2-3)

1 green pepper, roughly chopped
1 red pepper, roughly chopped
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives (I actually didnt have them in this salad because I had a bunch of them the day before and was olived out but I would highly recommend you out them in)
1/2 large cucumber, roughly chopped
2-3 roma tomatoes, roughly chopped
1/2 cup Feta cheese or more to your liking
1 cup quinoa (uncooked)
2 chicken breasts,

I have an awesome rice cooker that I won at a silent auction last summer and I always end up cooking my quinoa in that. 1 cup quinoa:2 cups water, turn it on and your in business. If you have to use a pot, bring water and quinoa to a boil, cover and reduce to simmer for about 15 minutes. Let sit for 5 minutes and then fluff with a fork.

After this, put in your chicken. I like to use about 1-2 tbsp olive oil to brush over(coat) the chicken, sprinkle with dried basil, and salt and pepper each side.

In the meantime, roughly chop your peppers, onions, tomatoes, cucumber, add the olives and sprinkle the feta.

Let the quinoa cool and slice up your chicken. Because I was eating solo, I added about 1/4 of the quinoa into a bowl and 1 chicken breast but could easily just eat a 1/2 breast. You are getting protein from the quinoa as well and the feta! Then I added about 1/3 of the greek salad, added my kraft dressing and easy...healthy...delicious dinner. This meal has left me with about 3 meal servings for leftovers!

* Other dressing ideas- When I had it the next day for lunch I simply used 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar and it was delicious. You can also go with a more traditional greek dressing which uses olive oil, red wine vinegar, oregano, salt and pepper.

Time to go play!!!! There is snow on the ground and sun in the sky.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

My Running Roots...

I decided to stick around the city (North Van) this past weekend. Peter had left for the week on an unreal ice climbing trip in the Canadian Rockies and I seized on the opportunity to visit/run with some people I had not seen in a while.

When I first got into road running, I ran with the North Shore Athletics marathon clinic. It's no secret that I love this store, the staff, and the people. The same clinic members have been coming for years and years and there will always be a handful of people I know on any given clinic run day. Awesome. This Sunday they were set to run 16 miles. Perfect. I could manage that. Staying the weekend was more of a spontaneous endeavour and I was not as prepared as I could have been. I left my road runners back home in Squamish but did have a pair of Nike free's that I wear for work/all the time. I was pretty confident that they would do the trick but have only ever ran in them once, for 45 minutes. After 16 miles I can confidently say that they were SUPER COMFY. Right on. The Nike free is just an overall great multi-purpose shoe and it packs up super small because of the colapsable top. I am a fan.

Likewise, when I first got into trail running, I started with the mountain madness clinic. It was through this clinic that I learned all the trails in North Van. I ended up running with them on Saturday. I have been writing 'blurbs' on training tips for the weekly newseltter. Heather (clinic owner) calls me the 'virtual coach', it was only a matter of time before I showed my face! Again, another super awesome 20km run with some amazing peeps. One of my clients was there and he made the mistake of telling me on Friday, during our session that he has never run up Homestead hill. Yes, homestead is a doozie and, in the past, it was my nemesis hill. However, I learned to conqeur it and now I run up the entire thing every time, unless I am extra extra tired. Anywho, so I happened to be running with my client at that time and I asked him if he was ready to tackle it all in one go- and of course he was. He rocked up the entire thing and making it look damn easy I must say. Way to go B.Y!

The rest if the day was spent catching up with an old friend. We went to the market (via water taxi) and got an amazing spread of food. Olives, olive baguette, cappicollo, salama, smoked jarlsburg, grapes, and some vino. Walked along the sea wall, taking in the sunshine. A perfect was to spend an afternoon. The city of Vancouver is simply stunning!

All in all, an awesome weekend of running. My muscles were pretty tight after both those runs, mostly in my hammys and groin area. Not sure if that is because of last weekend race or because of 2 days of skiing as well. hmmm....

I think a yoga class could be in my future...i.e- tomorrow!

See you in the trails!

Thursday, February 17, 2011


This week has been a whole lot of fun. That's my main goal in life right now...just to have a whole lot of fun. That's right. I am not concerned about making a lot of money, saving for a house, having kids...All I want to do is play, every day, all day!!!

(Note: I do not just play all day everyday, I do work (a bit)...It's just the goal)

I have acquired a season's pass to Whistler/Blackcomb mountain. Don't ask me how but I just have (small fee). It sat, dangling (can you sit and dangle?) on this jewelry stand that looks like a person in my bedroom for the past 3 weeks. After enough sitting around on my ass, baking, on rainy days (or partial), and some positive harassment from Peter, I finally caved and went skiing all by myself on Tuesday. My excuses for not going, even though I have acquired this pass, which would normally cost $1600, were (1) I don't know the (BIG) mountain very well(2) I don't know where to park my car(3) I have no one to go with...lame I know.

Who was I kidding. I love adventure and I should be ashamed of myself for having waited this long to go skiing, where a chairlift actually takes me UP the mountain, all I have to do is ski down! Not like this ski touring business where I have to work for my turns. That's what ski tourers call them..."turns". I was just calling it 'going down the hill'.

Tuesday was glorious and skiing by myself was surprisingly, almost better than being with others. I was in total control of where I went, I got to stop when I wanted, and leave when I wanted. I often am way to willing to put myself in dangerous situations with others where I am being thrust into places way beyond my current experience level, then I end up crying in a tree well somewhere in the middle of nowhere. It was nice to not have to do anything that was "going to make me stronger" or "build any character" haha.

I have had the most interesting encounters with people on the chairlifts. As a curious person, I often end up in these deep informative conversations, which only last a maximum of 7 minutes. The conversation is almost forced to end because so does our ride. That person, never to be seen again.

Anywho, I went up today as well. I always love the first ski down. My muscles feel as though they are in the last kilometer of a 10km race, filled with so much lactic acid (hydrogen atoms) they want to burst, the only bonus being I can stop and rest, not so much in a 10km race. It was a blue bird day and I can honestly say there was nowhere else I'd rather be. Today though, the company of a friend would have been nice. I listened to music for the first time. I liked it. The only negative was I became pretty anti-social on the chairlift. I didn't like that so I started taking out the earphones on the way up. Much better.

I have managed to climb twice this week. Tuesday night I went in our Squamish friends (Tara and Patricks) garage. They have built an awesome climbing wall in there. Mostly overhanging which is my weakness for sure. Looking forward to going back there in a week's time, disco ball and all!!

I went to the Edge climbing gym yesterday. Had a good time bouldering, however my limiting factor that day was my hands. They can get very callousy and sore. I am dying to go climb outside. I can smell a hot destination climbing trip soon. Hopefully sometime in March (Joshua Tree, Red Rocks?). I get giddy just thinking about it.

And, lastly, I have ran once this week! I took 2 days off after the half because believe it or not I was pretty sore/tight due to my lack of speed work and hard effort that day. In serious need of massage!!! I'm booked for tomorrow at 12pm! Will get back on the running wagon this weekend. Unless it continues to snow and then plans could easily change but I am craving a running adventure. Still, nothing beats adventuring on my OWN 2 feet.

See you in the MOUNTAINS!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

'First Half' 1/2 marathon report

(My friend Fawn, at this same race 3 years ago)

I origionally signed up to this event because 1) My mom, who now lives in Powell River, was making the trek down to do it. The last time my mom and I both entered into the race (4 yrs ago), I finished and selfishly did not wait for her to cross the line. This was my chance to redeem myself, now that I am a little bit older and wiser.

(2) a friend of mine, named Fawn, who now lives in Victoria, was coming down to do it. We used to run track and XC together at U.B.C, so it would be a nice visit on both ends.

I would like to note that I had no expectations going into this race. I have done not an ounce of speed work, let alone any solid specific run training. I have mostly been running for fun (3-5x/wk) and doing a whole lot of other things (skiing, yoga, climbing). I am also no where near my 'race weight' which I am now convinced does not make that much difference to me! It's all in your head.

The course is 100% flat. The intensity of this race felt no different than any other year. Somehow though, I managed to pull off a 1:25:40, which for me is like a near 2 minute PB. The only difference from this race to others is that I listened to music. I don't normally do that but I just wanted to plug in and run. I didn't look at my watch except for at the 10km mark where it read 39 minutes on the dot.

I think what I have learned through this is that, when I run without expectations, I actually just do what my body is capable of doing, without any negative background noise coming into play. I had no negative thoughts in this race at all. I never wanted to quit. I think the music plays a big part in it.

Another interesting note is that earlier on last week I baked a bunch of power cookies and bran muffins. Some guy made a comment on my facebook about how slow I was going to get, eating food like that, because I should be watching my weight etc. Well, honestly, I am almost 6-8lbs up from where I raced last year, but I am faster, with less training. Yes, it makes me wonder what I could do if I were 8lbs lighter and had done some speed work but I have so much more FUN doing it my way.

Here's to a great start to the year, smiling the whole way through! My mom rocked it in a time of 2:15. She is on her way to her first marathon in May (Vancovuer) and I know she will do awesome because she is a superstar! I almost forgot to give a shout out to Ellie Greenwood who won in a time of 1:18. Here's to a great start to her year and I look forward to seeing what incredible feats she will pull out her hat this year!

Time to go skiing!!!!!! Next race up will probably be the Dirty Duo 25km,

Thursday, February 10, 2011


When thinking about the environment lately, I have focused a lot on the things I DON'T that is hurting it (i.e- not using cloth bags, buying things in plastic containers). But yesterday I started thinking about all the things that I DON'T do that actually help the environment!

1. I don't use deodorant (I've never had a complaint!)...maybe everyone is just being too nice. I just find I don't smell and if I do, it's because I am or have been running and in which case, I shower right away.

2. I don't wear make-up. Nothing. This girl prefers the o-naturalle look, or else I am cheap/ of the 2! This saves me from buying all the containers I can't recycle!

3. I drink mostly water, from a glass, which I own. I don't buy a lot of things that come in cans, plastic bottles, or tetrapacks.

4. I only shower if I am dirty! If I haven't done any exercise, I really don't feel the need to shower.

5. I only wash my hair every 3 days (saves water and shampoo/conditioner). Even if I do go for a run and have a shower (sans hair wash), it lasts all of about 3 minutes.

There we have it. 5 things that I don't do by nature that actually help the environment!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Today, I was blessed with another wonderful day here in Squamish, B.C. After a long road run yesterday and a great spin session that night, I knew I wanted to take it easy today. I also wanted to be outside and maximize my time spent under the sun and in the mountains.

I started the morning with an amazing bowl of rasberries, 1/2 a banana, edelweiss granola, and topped it all off with a healthy dolop of wholesome organic yogurt. I set out from my pad towards the top of the Chief with a backpack containing only a water bottle and a power cookie. I plugged in my ipod and rocked out to great tunes all the way to the base of te Chief. I love just setting out walking. It's peaceful, relaxed, and calming. I could see myself being a walker when I am older. I was also skipping, and moving to the beat of the music. I was simply having way too much fun by myself!

Just after passing the parking lot I noticed a truck was going along the gravel trail by the campsites. The last time Pete and I tried to go on this hike the trail was closed due to construction. For fear of not being able to head up, I sneaked my way onto an alternate trail, which wasnt in fact a trail at all. I had a fun scramble and eventually found my way. I could hear the water falling over the rocks in a fast and durious fashion. Oh the sound of running water, there's nothing quite like it.

I love days like today where you don't think about training. Your just out to explore and be one with your surroundings, taking it all in, regardless of pace and speed. You get to take that extra minute or two to chat with the trail builder or the guy walking his dog who hasn't been on the trail in a year and a half.

The sun was bright, shining through the trees, and lighting the way. The top was windy, very windy, I struggled to put my jacket back on as the arms were being blown in every which direction. I figured my best shot at warmth would be to lie down. So I did. I layed, relaxed, breathed in the fresh air, and succombed to the beauty that was surrounding me. I took a few pictures but they never do it any justice. You simply, have to be there.

It felt nice not to drive. It felt great to walk. On a nice day like this I thought a lot about the Clean Bin Project and some of the things I'd love to do. I'd love to be able to compost. As a tenant, we have never been allowed or had a place to compost because of the bears. I bet there is somewhere we could take our compost. I would love to have a garden of my own. I want to grow my own vegetables and herbs. Instead, I normally buy them in a plastic container and put my vegetables in plastic bags. NO MORE!

Jen and Grant from the Clean Bin Project said the besy way to start being greener is to to focus on changing one thing. When that becomes easy, try something else. #1 on their list: Stop using plastic bags. This one I am already getting better at. I am making a habit of putting cloth bags in my car. However, I did use 2 new plastic bags in the bulk section and 1 for lettuce. I know they make wash-able and reusable bags that are great for veggies, I just need to find them. As you can see, I am still working on # 1 and have a lot of work to do!

ps- I just went to their blog and they posted something super hilarious about peeing in the shower...think about it

See you in the trails!


Monday, February 7, 2011


A little over 2 weeks ago I went to the screening of "The clean bin project" which was held at Quest University. Funny enough, Peter knew Jen, the main girl, from high school. Here is a little snip-it telling you what the movie is all about...

The Clean Bin Project is a feature documentary film about a regular couple and their quest to answer the question "is it possible to live completely waste free?".

Partners Jen and Grant go head to head in a competition to see who can swear off consumerism and produce the least landfill garbage in an entire year. Their light-hearted competition is set against a darker examination of the sobering problem waste in North American society. Even as Grant and Jen start to garner interest in their project, they struggle to find meaning in their seemingly minuscule influence on the large-scale environmental impacts of our “throw-away society”. Featuring interviews with renowned artist, Chris Jordan and marine pollution expert, Captain Charles Moore, The Clean Bin Project presents the serious topic of waste reduction with optimism, humour, and inspiration for individual action.

This documentary will blow your mind and inspire you to take action all at the same time. It really makes you think about what you are currently doing and how much you are wasting.

This started me thinking about how much waste I produce when I race/train for ultras. I immedietly thought about all the gel packets I use. I guess one solution would be to make my own gels and put it in a re-uasble flask. But even then, I would have to purchase a lot of plastic gel flasks to put them in when I race.

At the end of the entire year, they each had one very very small bin of garbage they produced. It was unreal. Jen started making her own toothpaste and laundry detergent to avoid the plastic tube it comes in. Part of the whole clean bin project was not to buy anything they absolutly did not need for the entire year. So besides food and essentials for work, nothing external was bought- no clothes. Even at Christmas time, everything was handmade for gifts, nothing bought.

If you want to get inspired to make a difference and learn a little bit about what's going on the in world and what we can do about it, I would suggest watching this movie. They are dong screenings all over the city. Check out their website to see when the next one will be showing. They also kept a blog for the year, which is neat because you can go back and learn some things about what they did. They composted everything and eventually turned it into soil to use for growing vegetables/lettuces.

There is actually an appartment down near the lonsdale quay with about 20 different units in it. This building actualy produces NO GARBAGE. They recycle everything. I had never heard about this place before I saw the documentary and I have lived in North Van my entire life. The movie is also very funny, as Jen's husband is a riot. They actually have a competition going between them to see who produces the least amount of garbage in their own respective bins. Their competetiveness adds a comic element to the movie.

Anywho, there you have it. This movie has really got me thinking and I plan to do my own little clean bin project very soon. I just need to establish some guidelines.

So I leave you asking, WHAT DO YOU DO? I am sure many of you are already doing so much and I'd love to hear about it.


Last week seemed like a pretty busy week and a lot was accomplished...except, not a lot of running!

Monday: 1:20 run (actually discovered some new trails!)
Tuesday: am: 90 min ski tour pm: Spin (1:00/27km)
Wednesday: am: BCMC (opted not to come down) pm: Run/walk with Youth girls
Thursday: pm: weights workout + spin (1:20/32km)
Friday: Run/walk with youth girls + climbing gym (felt rather tired today and just wanted to not do a whole lot of anything)
Saturday: Run 1:15
Sunday: 5 hour ski tour

Legs were feeling pretty tired this week. I hadn't done a weight workout for a while and for some reason kettle bell swings just make my hamstrings super sore in the days following. The kind of sore where running up hill doesn't feel so great. However, the ski tour felt amazing and I am sure I got all the cardio benefits of a long run, without any of the impact. The two spins this week were great but spinning does leave my legs feeling tired. Biking does not come easy for me, especially when there is no gravity to coast down hills with! I did not stay on top of any form of recovery fueling post any hard workouts, something I need to take more seriously this week.

After cutting my, what I thought was going to be a 3 hour ish run, on Saturday, down to 1:15, I was left with a lot of time on my hands. So I did what I sometimes do when I have a lot of time, I bake! I finally made a cookie that is similiar to the capers/whole foods power cookie. Delicious! And a really good blueberry bran muffin which I got from the food blog Pods and Pans. The author of the food blog, who oddly has the same name as my brothers girlfriend (Krista Johnson), is a delicious and healthy cook. I'll be posting these recipes soon.

The Youth girls this week were awesome. I didnt have a lot of structure to the 2 sessions we had. I wanted to have a chance to just get outside with them and watch how they run, energy levels, and what they can realistically handle. On Friday we were out along the bowser trail in North Vancouver and one of the girls noticed a long set of stairs. This girl is super energetic and quite fit so I told her to go sprint up them and we would time her. So she did and this inspired everyone to climb the very daunting number of stairs to the top, where we were rewarded with an amazing view of the city. One girl was quite content with just going half way but it didn't take her more than 5 minutes to realize what she was missing out on, and she did it.

This weekend I am running the 'first half' half marathon. It's been a couple of years since I last ran it and I am looking forward to having some fun. It's a great route which starts at the round house, goes around BC place, around the Stanley Park sea wall and back to the Round House for some of the yummiest post-race food. My mom will also be doing it as part of her journey towards the Marathon here in Vancouver in May. I am super proud of my mom for her goal. She attempted to do a marathon before I was born (I think) and had to stop at mile 20. That was back when no one ate anything and only drank water. You go MOM! I'll be cheering you all along the way, just like you did for my very first marathon!

Alright, time to get outside for a run before work! It's a glorious day here in Squamish!

Thursday, February 3, 2011


Yesterday, I had the great pleasure of running with 6 totally awesome girls as well 2 of their youth leaders. These girls are from the Squamish Nation Youth Group (North Van) and I believe most of them are considered 'at risk'.

It's been a while since I have worked with a group of girls of this age group (age 14-17). The last time would have been 6 years ago when I coached a U16 girls soccer team.

Myself and the youth work leader decided that we were going to train these girls up for the Sun Run. I thought it would be great for them to experience because it's just such a great first time event and because of the 50,000 people who participate, it can be quite exciting!

Back to yesterday...

Running with groups can always be a bit of a challenge, especially when everyone runs/walks at different paces.

Many of the girls had pretty bad footwear, which meant a lot of sore feet. I don't even want to say 'bad' because I am sure the shoes are actually 'in style', however, not as great for running. Also, think back to when you were a kid, I don't think I even knew about pronation/supination and stability versus neutral shoes. I see teens walking around all over the city with stylish shoes, but their pronating to hell which is only going to further any knee or feet issues they have. That was the one curse about working in a running store for a bunch of years, you notice people pronating on the street and all you want to do is correct it!

I had a talk with one girl about how awesome she was doing. She confessed she was a bit lazy and gets out of participating in Physical Education by saying that she has stomach problems. I was so happy to have been out there with her today, even though she walked because she has asthma (no inhaler...yet!). We ran/walked and did a mini strength circuit in b/w all along the Sea wall in west van. It was such a beautiful day and a great way to spend an afternoon. We went back to the youth center for veggies!

I look forward to working with these awesome girls for the next 10 weeks or so, every wednesday and friday. We already decided on getting bright NEON green shirts for the race. Now it's just a matter of getting them all there, healthy, and still excited!

See you in the trails!