TG’s mini, Vipers, tarantulas and Abby, Winter running and Canadian sunbathing!

What a crazy good long weekend it was! Saturday morning kicked off with a fast-paced game of (indoor) field hockey…my team kicked butt thanks to a speedy young player we picked up!

He often played as though the opposing players were simply pylons – lol!!

Then I got home and threw a chicken into the crockpot – first time slow cooking a chicken in there – used this recipe – and the only note I would add to it is that next time I would choose the cooking it on high option – on low, in mine, even after 8 hours it hadn’t quite reached 165F.

Then I met and welcomed a very special person into my home – TG’s 8 year old daughter!! OMG. She is adorable…a real cutie patootie (CP). No joke, within 5 minutes of meeting me, she looks up at me and says, “Jane, do you like to cuddle?” When I told her yes, she literally squealed and said, “Can we cuddle?!”.

CP is a total animal lover (she now wants a wiener dog lol) , so the three of us went to the Museum of Nature’s special Reptile exhibit that they have on right now…super awesome…because they were behind thick glass! lol

Gaboon viper…with 5cm fangs

Red spitting cobra…

Snake necked turtle – I had never even heard of these!!!

Tarantula…ugh, so gross.The elusive Giant long haired wiener dog…oh wait, that’s Abby! lol
Then we got back home and had dinner – the chicken was a hit (thank god) and CP and I made dessert together: Dirt Cake Parfaits

OMG. They are to die for!!!

Sunday morning I woke up before everyone else (not hard to do as TG & CP are NOT early risers lol) and got in 12 miles…IN GORGEOUS WEATHER…in terms of sunshine and temps that is…road conditions were um, pretty brutal…icy and slushy almost everywhere!

Yeah…any asphalt showing is actually glare ice. It was an adventure!

But in terms of winter coming to an end at some point, I did see light at the end of the tunnel!

And I stopped downtown to wow over the construction of the upcoming Ice Cross Downhill World Finals. Yeah, what is that you ask? Well, the short answer is: Total and complete insanity. Lol.

This is a quick video ad for it…basically people race down this twisty maze filled with jumps, WHILE WEARING SKATES.

Here is where construction is at now:

Here is one of the jumps…

On skates? No thank you. But I can’t wait to watch – although tickets to the event are INSANE so I will probably be happy watching highlights on TV! lol

We spent Sunday wandering around downtown…it was the last weekend of the Winterlude Festival here so there was lots to do – CP had never been to Parliament before and she was very curious about whether Trudeau’s office was at the top of the clock tower! (note: it’s not lol)

Yesterday was Family Day here in Ontario so, with the weather still behaving, my dad and I headed up to the cottage just to check things out (i.e. make sure the cottage was still standing despite the more than 8 feet of snow we’ve had this winter. Ugh.).

Literally, without my snow shoes, I would still be in our driveway in hip deep snow!

Yup, we’ve had enough snow…summer can start now!

Canadian sunbathing at it’s best…

Summer or Winter, this is my favorite place on earth.

Three day weekends are THE best!!!

TG took this pic on the weekend…so cute.

Happy Tuesday!!

Princess Abby (hit a new level), that white stuff I have too much of and the creature I defeated this morning (shudder).

Last night, I went to a new level with Princess Abby. The last few weeks, her skin has been really dry – something that has never happened before. I reached out to the breeder I got Abby from and she recommended, contrary to what you’d think, washing Abby more frequently, switching up the type of shampoo and adding a conditioner…and the products she recommended aren’t even ones I would splurge on for myself!

I wash my own hair with Herbal Essence – not the cheapest at the drugstore, but definitely not the most expensive. So, comparatively, it felt like I was washing Abby with liquid gold last night.

AND, she got this, too.

Can we be clear on something…I HAVE NEVER HAD A DEEP CONDITIONING TREATMENT MYSELF BUT MY DOG NOW HAS!!!

Further proof, not that we needed it, that Abby is a princess. lol

I’m also going to be adding some fish oils to her food. Something else I don’t do for myself – lol!!

This morning…this happened.

  1. That is my bed.
  2. For a serious arachnophobe, that is a HUGE spider!!

It seriously won’t stop snowing here. My last post was about the insane amount of snow…and we got hammered again yesterday.

Thankfully (if you can say that about winter hell), it has been light snow so I’ve been able to continue launching the snow up on top of the mountain that, in the summer, is my front garden!

Tuesday was Valentine’s Day…not a day I fuss over and really mark but, I will admit, TG really surprised me by sending me flowers to my office and made me smile – and my co-workers caught it on camera!

Am in the process of updating some pictures I have around the house – haven’t decided where I’m going to hang this collection yet but I already LOVE it!!

This week hasn’t been perfect with training – active recovery on Monday but had to miss team track practice on Tuesday night because of work and just couldn’t get my act together to get it done on the treadmill that morning. Oh well. It happens. I got my tempo run in this morning…OMG, House of Cards is just evil…and I can’t stop watching!!

And, finally, I really need to find myself a coat like Abby’s…she’s so impermeable to the snow & cold!!

Happy Thursday!!

 

Snow and more snow, a giant on ice skates and Abby porn!

Ok, winter, we’ve had enough. Seriously.

And I shoveled twice more after this…we’re supposed to get more snow and I’m really not sure where I’m going to put it!!

Abby however, is in her happy place…especially when I chase her around the backyard…seriously, she would do it for hours!

Ok, but let’s back it up a bit…Friday night I went out with my teammate, Joanna, and we ummm…well…we might have partied a little too much together lol. I didn’t make it to hockey Saturday morning and was in bed until NOON!!!! And then basically spent the rest of the day lying on the couch swearing to never drink beer again!! Thankfully, TG was around to bring me the foods I needed to quell the unhappy stomach!

I slept for 11 hours (!!!) Saturday night and woke up Sunday morning a new (and wiser…for now) person! There was a huge snow storm predicted for the city and so I opted to do my long run on the treadmill…I managed 10 of the 12 miles I was to do until even House of Cards couldn’t keep me on that ratmill!

Then TG and I headed out onto the Rideau Canal (the largest skating rink in the world – it’s that water that I’m always running around in warm weather!)…and yes, in the middle of a storm. But here’s the thing – if it’s snowing, it’s not usually that cold! It was only -17C/1F with the wind!

This was me:

And this was the giant…when you’re 7 feet tall on skates, it can be difficult to be graceful – he was such a good sport to just get out on the ice…he hadn’t been out on the Canal in 25 years!!

Then it was over to my parents house for dinner…Sunday night dinner by mom is always so yummy! Those are beets…my dad HATES them, but I love them…what about you?

I have to work tomorrow night so I won’t be able to make it to track practice…this was us last week after a tough but awesome workout: 5×800 on 2 mins rest, 2×400 on 1 min rest.

How hilarious is the little one??

Speaking of little ones, here’s some classic Abby for you!

And then there’s this…I would like to cuddle with Abby at 7pm…she prefers to cuddle at 3am.

Happy Monday!!

New Orleans Adventures: Food, Voodoo, Food, Beer, Food, French Quarter, Food…oh, and a RACE!!

And my 16th state is complete with Louisiana this past weekend in New Orleans! As you can see, there is clearly a part of the US that I need to get to to start evening this out!

I flew to New Orleans on Friday and soon met up with fellow running and twitter friend, James. 20 minutes after I checked into my hotel, we went for dinner at the Oceana Grill which had come recommended to him from a friend. I don’t eat fish/seafood so that cut out about 80% of the menu but knew I’d find something there! I started off my weekend of non-traditional pre-race fueling with some “Gator Bites”. Yes, I had to at least try alligator while in New Orleans…

Ummm…so I’m glad I tried them buuuuut, I don’t need to again. They didn’t really taste like anything but they were a bit chewier than chicken and, to be honest, I had a lot of trouble forgetting what I was eating.

Then I moved onto ribs for my main course…again, traditional race fuel right there!

So, if I’m being honest, the food wasn’t really anything special at this restaurant and, had I done a better google search beforehand I probably would have nixed this idea…I have since discovered that this restaurant was featured on Kitchen Nightmares…and it was a bad one. Like, Chef Ramsey shut the restaurant down immediately. And, if you believe the internet (lol), apparently things haven’t changed much since it was reopened…but, I didn’t get food poisoning so let’s move on!

Saturday morning James and I met for breakfast…I ordered bacon, obviously.

James ordered pancakes…with something that seriously offended the Canadian in me:

Pure maple syrup is the ONLY way to go.

After breakfast we joined a walking tour organized by a company called Free Tours by Foot – this particular one was their Voodoo Tour. Our FANTASTIC guide, Robi, is a practicing Voodooist

And for 2 hours, took us through the streets of the French Quarter and demystified and de-demonized the religion. Starting with the catholic slave owners and then continued by Hollywood directors, the religion of Voodoo has been COMPLETELY miss-represented…it’s almost a boring religion! lol I highly recommend this tour should you find yourself in New Orleans.

Then it was on to packet pick-up and the expo…

Most boring race-shirt ever (not sure why the pic turned out this way, but it’s actually a turquoise colour). And an underwhelming expo – but, I wasn’t looking to buy anything in particular so I wasn’t that put out by it.

Then we had lunch at the famous…

…and had what everyone kept telling me I had to have while in New Orleans…

…a po-boy…a roast beef & ham po-boy to be precise (you know, perfect race fuel lol). I was still full from the alligator and ribs from the night before…I managed to eat half of what was advertised as a small order!

And then I tried (and thoroughly enjoyed) some of James’ bread pudding with brandy!

Then it was back to the hotel for some rest before our pre-race dinner…

On our way to dinner, we encountered a Mardi Gras parade…

Apparently not all Mardi Gras parades include topless women and beads – who knew!? lol

For dinner, carrying on with my non-traditional fueling plan, we went to a Mexican restaurant! Feeling a little over-loaded with meat, I ordered veggie tacos…forgetting that one of the main veggies that seemed to keep appearing on dishes in New Orleans was my arch enemy of vegetables:

The brussels sprout.

But really, who puts brussels sprouts on a taco??? Sigh. Apparently southerners do.

Well guess what folks? Despite vehemently opposing the consumption of these round balls of bitterness since I was 5 years old, I tried one of these in my taco and, well, apparently I have wasted 33 years of brussels sprout eating – they’re not too bad!! lol!!!

Then it was back to the hotel to lay out my race gear for the following morning’s half marathon…

Before I knew it, it was time to meet James in the hotel lobby to head to the start line!

Mandatory pre-race hotel selfies…

Then mandatory pre-race start line selfie…

And let’s address the weather…it was 14C/57F. And I’m wearing a reflective blanket because I’m freezing…despite it being arctic cold back home! I crack me up! lol

Then it was the singing of the American national anthem (which I can now sing pretty well!) and then we were off running!

Now, let’s talk about this race for a minute…I had ZERO plans of racing it. I was very injured for a few weeks in December (and have a nasty scar to remember it by), then I went to Africa where I ran once. My plan was to just run and enjoy myself! And that is exactly what I did! I didn’t look at my watch once and kept an even pace of 7:59min/mile the whole time…it helped that this was the course’s elevation lol

I have no idea where those 5m even were! lol

And, something which I would never do if I was racing, I took this picture along the way – this guy, in these Rock N Roll races, always makes me laugh!

And I cruised across the finish line in 1:44:37, smiling and feeling great!

At the finish line there was unlimited free Michelob Ultra draft beer…

Despite my high hopes, even when free, Michelob is nasty.

James and I took the incredibly well organized shuttles back to the start line (which was basically our hotel)…seriously, look at all the buses they had ready to take runners back! This is why I love Rock N Roll races…they are super organized!!

After showering and changing, James and I met for lunch at Pierre Maspero’s which has some serious history to it…

and did some proper carb replenishing…

After a stop at Cafe du Monday for a beignet…

(sorry our beavertails are better)…We then met up with our second walking tour, again offered through Free Tours by Foot. This time it was their tour of the French Quarter. I highly recommend this tour – and do it at the beginning of your time in New Orleans because it highlights many different areas you might want to visit while you’re there…whereas for us, it just highlighted a whole bunch of areas we didn’t have any more time to visit!

Sunday was GORGEOUS weather and we enjoyed the sights and sounds of the French Quarter

The architecture is absolutely gorgeous…


The history is deep…

General Andrew Jackson led the last major battle of 1812 and prevented New Orleans from being seized by the British…

The oldest cathedral in the United States is here (although it has technically been rebuilt MANY times, but gets to own that title because a few bricks on the far left back corner are original lol)

And, like any major tourist city, it has its fair share of crap…this is a huge market in the French Quarter which could be filled with wonderful locally made crafts, arts, etc…but no, it’s 95% junk made not even on this continent…

Then, before I knew it, it was Monday morning and time for me to fly home…this is what my travel looked like…

Leaving New Orleans and its warmth…

Flying into Toronto…not as warm…

Then landing in Ottawa…aka the arctic. Sigh.

But it was sure good to be reunited with this one!

Happy Thursday!!

EDIT: I should have mentioned how shocked I was when, less than 24 hours after arriving home, New Orleans was struck by 7 tornadoes!! A) I can’t believe my luck and B) I am so saddened that people who already had their lives devastated by Katrina, are facing devastation again. It just doesn’t make sense. Here is a list of organizations you can donate to, to help victims of the tornadoes.

TG’s birthday, max heart rate and Abby stink eye!

This past Saturday was TG’s 43rd birthday. To celebrate, we went out for dinner with another couple…to my favorite Thai restaurant – Green Papaya. Yes, for his birthday, we went to MY favorite restaurant – lol. Then after dinner we went to a local comedy club for a show…

To be honest, I had never been to one before and during the opening act I was seriously questioning the idea…the first guy was, um, just not funny. It was awkward…this is likely what my facial reaction was for most of his act…

Thankfully the headliner for the show was HILARIOUS!!! The male of the other couple we were with actually paid the club’s seating host NOT to sit us in the front row…and I AM SO GLAD HE DID THAT. It was tear-jerking, pant-peeing hilarious to watch the people who were unfortunate to be sitting there getting picked on by the comedian, but it would have been mortifying to have been them!! lol

Sunday morning I met two teammates for a long run…let’s just be clear, I still LOATHE winter but, the weather on Sunday was absolutely perfect (for winter) and it was such a nice run with these lovely ladies in our beautiful city!

This was the cityscape on our way across the bridge – sun trying to break through the clouds…

And then us on the way back – sun given up on trying to break though and just trying to throw as much light through the clouds as possible! lol

Last night was track practice. I don’t know about you, but for rest portions of intervals I MUCH prefer ones where it’s rest done any way you like it which, for me, means either bending over gasping for air or walking VERY SLOWLY in circles lol. What is not my favorite is active recovery rest…I DIE. lol

Last night’s workout was one of those killers: 3 sets of 5x300m with 100m jog in between the intervals. UGH. To prove how much these kill me, my heart rate max last night was 206. lol

But, as per usual, after the torture is done, I feel awesome. And it’s always better to be tortured with these ladies! Yes, that’s FG leaping in the background.

Some random stuff…I made this on the weekend: Beef Enchilada Dip

TG was drooling and I’m not sure even stopped to talk while eating this other than, “OMG, this is sooooo good”. lol

This year, Canada is celebrating it’s 150th anniversary of Confederation and one of the many promotional things happening around the country is that Parks Canada (a government body that oversees the protection and management of our National Parks, Historic Sites and Conservation areas) is offering a FREE pass for 2017 to all these destinations!! How cool is that?! And mine arrived yesterday!

And, to conclude this post…have you ever seen such stink eye??? (or a treadmill that needs a cleaning!)

Happy Wednesday!!!

 

Anyone want to post bond? Abby’s in jail. Plus some running.

If you read my last post, you know Abby and I are having some…issues.

And she’s ensuring that I pay attention to her…especially while I’m TRYING to watch TV. You know if she could talk she’d be saying, “I don’t know what you’re complaining about mom, I can see the TV perfectly well!”

When I left for work Monday morning, I blocked her off from the second floor of my house – but she still had full access to the first floor. When I came home from work at the end of the day, all looked as I had left it…until I found this in the living room…

That WAS a crucial component of my iRobot roomba vacuum cleaner. But it is no more. And while SUPER angry, I didn’t have much left in me after yesterday’s attack on my down duvet and, it clearly doesn’t accomplish anything to yell at her soooo…she has left me no choice. She spends her days now in jail.

f0abc513-5149-46b0-bc08-ac2d1b2cff2cI HATE leaving her in it all day but, luckily, I have always treated the crate as being a safe place for her. It’s where she goes if she has hurt her back and needs (forced) rest, or if she’s sick and needs to be confined…I always talk in a quiet and happy voice when dealing with her and the crate. So, each morning as I go to work, she willingly (almost happily) goes into the crate. But I still hate it. I don’t want this to be permanent, but it’s the way it has to be for now…for the safety of my house…and sanity.

Tuesday night is track practice with the team. All day there had been grand predictions of a winter Armageddon hitting the city and, while it never happened, girls who live on opposite ends of the city, made arrangements to get their workout done closer to home rather than risking their lives heading out to practice so the group was smaller.

But practice was, as per usual, a slice of wonderful hell. 2×800, 4×400, 2×800

I actually didn’t do the last 800 because in the latter half of the workout, my left achilles started screaming at me. So I took myself out for the last interval – the last thing I want is an injury that I could have knowingly prevented. Some ice, ibuprofen and a day of rest and it’s feeling 95%!

I think it was because a) I’m out of shape and b) I was wearing my flats which are hard on the calves but, nonetheless, I went out an bought a (needed) new pair of runners which I wore for my tempo workout on Thursday!

Am loving the turquoise! I did 2 miles warmup and 3 miles at 7:30min/mi pace. Felt better than last week…which is encouraging! 🙂

This morning I did 5 miles of active recovery and some strength training – squats (I probably won’t be able to walk tomorrow), push-ups and planks. Abby slept in her bed next to the treadmill until I was done on it…at which time she promptly got out of her bed and lay down on the treadmill…the WARM treadmill. She’s not dumb.

Happy Friday!!

 

Anyone want a slightly used wiener dog? Training 2017 and my key ingredient.

No joke, over the weekend I sent a message to the breeder I got Abby from 8.5 years ago and asked her if it was too late to return her. And I was part serious.

I left her for TEN MINUTES yesterday morning…TEN MINUTES. And when I came back, she met me on the stairs, looking guilty, with feathers coming out of her mouth. I was confused. The only place I have feathers in my house is my down duvet…

In TEN MINUTES and she chewed a hole through my duvet cover and chewed right INTO THE DUVET. WHY?????? To say I was angry would be an understatement.

The breeder laughed and told me that the window to return her had long expired and my parents declined my offer of a slightly used wiener dog. So I’m stuck with her.

Oh yeah, did I mention that she chewed up a blanket last Tuesday as well?

While talking to my mom yesterday, she said, “You know Jane, while you were in Africa, Abby had your father’s undivided attention. She had her own lazy-boy (seriously) and knew that anytime she wanted, she could get belly rubs and treats. She’s back in reality now and doesn’t like it”.

Yes, apparently living with me is like being in a concentration camp.

After some time apart, we reconciled last night and had some cuddles in front of the TV. But I have a feeling this issue we’re having is far from over…

Last Thursday night, TG (The Giant) was over with Dolly. The two furballs follow me EVERYWHERE I go in the house. This is them…as I’m coming out of the bathroom! Really? I was gone 2 minutes!!

Saturday morning was hockey…the usual madness all over the pitch. Awesome madness.

And Sunday morning, I woke earlier than planned and wanted to get my long run done…but at 6:30am, it was dark, foggy and really damp…so I wussed out and did my LR on my TM. lol

I’ve finished watching Sons of Anarchy…SUCH A GOOD SHOW. And have now started House of Cards. OMG. Has anyone else watched it? The level of evil is incredible!!

Last week was our first real week back on the track. And our team is KILLER big & good this year!

And my god, I am out of shape compared to 2 years ago. The workout was 4×400, 2×800, 4×400…and when I compared my splits to 2 years ago, I was like…

So I have some work today. But that’s ok…gives me motivation.

I have a race in 2 weeks in New Orleans…will cross off Louisiana from my state list…but in terms of performance, it will strictly be treated as a long slow run…because that is how it’s going to turn out. lol

I have signed up for the Mississauga half marathon in May – this is the race that I PR’d on 2 years ago (breaking a PR I had set something like 7 years earlier)…so I’m going back again with the hopes of PR’ing again…but I HAVE WORK TO DO!!!

And I’m ready to do it. This is my overall weekly schedule for training. Will be training by heart rate again – hence the zones. And, although not listed but a vital part, this training plan includes at least 8 hours of sleep per night. I know this is crucial for me.

Meanwhile…Abby is planning the next non-food item she is going to eat in my house.

img_2653Happy Monday!!