Whine. But with no cheese, and actually no wine, either. Boo.

Sooo the scale is gonna kill me.

I’ve gone and committed myself to really HITTING IT for the next three months, and the damn scale keeps screwing with me.

I started the new Tony Horton program, P90, and I’m on Day 12.  The program is not intimidating (I wasn’t sure what to expect as Horton’s previous programs are supposed to be pretty tough), but it still works the bod and causes a bit of a sweat.

I’ve been dedicated in getting the workouts done and eating clean.  I’ve even given my flask to Miz J. and she duct-taped up our stash of road-pops.   The worst nutritional crime has been lasagna one night, and a couple of tablespoons of an Argentinean dulce de leche (so good). One “cheat” cannot have reversed the 3.5 lbs lost to date on the program…and yet… the scale says it has.

So annoying.

And every time I whine about this, there are non-scale victories to share. My pant size has gone down. I have a size 14 pair of black pants I’ve been wearing (I started at a size 20-22 in January 2014), and when I went to buy some thermal outdoor pants from Eddie Bauer, I bought a size LARGE, and they are actually a tiny bit loose.  Crazy.

SO. Yeah. I get it. Stop whining. But I swear to God, I need to drop permanently below 200 lbs and not have the scale be a bloody pendulum!

That is all.

 

 

Brokedown palace

It’s been a week of feeling broken down.

Tired, sore, painful, stiff, cold, busted.

I’ve forgotten about the sniffles, and am totally gutted about the sore back.  I returned to the chiro and the lovely young doc dug his thumbs deep into my glutes, my hip flexors, you name it.  The wincing pain mostly stopped after that visit but then everything froze up.  I walked around like I was made of glass, afraid to make any sudden moves.

Doing penance for all those summer months of frivolous hiking, imbibing, etc I’m sad to have wasted all that time not concentrating on my weight loss and overall fitness.  It’s the old story, right? Don’t know what you’ve got until it’s taken away? (HA – this is the part where I get the tough love from Miz J. telling me to BUCK UP and stop feeling sorry for myself and GET ON WITH IT. Thank you, Miz J.)

I swear I will be the workout QUEEN for 90 days solid of fitness and clean eating as soon as my bod is ready to face Tony Horton. I swear.  (Like making promises to God to be good only if…). You’re my witness(es).

On the flip side, I’m excited to get training for more than one reason.  For three reasons, actually.  All will be revealed in time.  It just goes back to having goals, having a WHY.  WHY I/you/any of us want to get in shape and be healthy, happy, awesome.

Oh – AND I’ve started dreaming (literally – like at night, eyes closed and everything) about the Camino de Santiago. Is it time again already?? Hmm….

My newest scheme – P90 (yo Tony!)

Soooo, after an entire summer and first month of fall having LOST NO WEIGHT, I’m onto yet another scheme of awesome.

Backing up a bit… after the 21 Day Fix (which WORKED) I got on board with the newest (at the time) program release from Beachbody, which was PiYo – a combination Pilates/Yoga exercise plan. This program is truly challenging, and it builds strength using your own body weight. You also get more flexible. However, I didn’t follow the PiYo meal plan, and I only half-heartedly attempted to maintain the 21 Day Fix meal plan while doing PiYo. I did do a cleanse – which was really good – but then ate my pounds back on.  It all equals one big bomb.

Blergh.

So – back at it. I’ve got the new Tony Horton program in my hot little paws: P90 = “for everyone.” Super excited about this one, but I totally have that nagging feeling that I won’t stick to the food plan or the workout schedule etc. I got all psyched up for DAY ONE, and then boom! Caught a cold.

Here I am, tip-tap-typing away, snotty as all hell and now with a sore lower back from laying in bed mindlessly watching Netflix with the lap top propped up on my tummy. ALL NOT GOOD.

Fingers crossed that I can de-snot and feel better soon so that I can get started on something new. The year is almost OVER! I need to crack the whip and get into shape here, people.

Seriously.

Race report – Melissa’s Road Race 2014, Banff

I’d known about Melissa’s Road Race for years but always thought it too big, too epic for the likes of me. Well, since 2014 is all – CHANGE THYSELF – I figured I would make it so.  I knew I would more than likely be running it alone, and yep, that’s how it turned out.  But in the end, it’s just what I needed.

It was my second and final long race of the year. This one was a 21K road race compared to the 25K trail race I did in May.  And, really, my first true road race of the season as I’ve mostly stuck to the trails.  This course was out of the Banff Rec Grounds, along the Bow River, past the Bow Falls, two loops around the Banff Springs Hotel golf course, then back again.  95% pavement. Something new.

Organization: From the online registration through to the package pick-up, this was a quick, slick operation for those in the know.  Back in the dead of winter, credit card at close hand, I dutifully watched both the Melissa’s and the Running Room websites for the announcement of the registration. From what I’d heard, this race would sell out in a day or so, and I wanted to be ready.  For 2014, the registration opened on February 18 and the 10K sold out almost right away, and the 21K a few days after.

I didn’t train very well for this race. I was a little bit lazy, in fact.  I did do a 14K trail race two weekends prior, but otherwise wasn’t running daily.  I really should have been, but I’ve been in a bit of a funk with exercise, and it worried me somewhat that I was being silly in following through with this commitment… but at the same time, I signed up. So, I was going to do it.

Package pick up took place in Calgary leading up to race day and in Banff at Melissa’s the day before. I elected to head straight to Banff and it was a quick number pick up and scan right at Melissa’s restaurant.  Not a lot of touchy feely stuff going on, and if you had questions you kinda just kept them to yourself…the volunteers’ main purpose was to get through the line, I gather.

On race day, the start/finish was located in the Banff Rec Grounds.  I was quite morose to see the beer tent not open pre-race. Don’t they understand I need a cold one to calm my nerves??  I picked up my very own Melissa’s shirt with the awesome autumn artwork, then checked my bag. Huzzah for bag checks.

A trainer from the Banff Springs Hotel started a warm-up session, which was awesome. It helped me shake off the nervous excitement and warm up my body.  I had to laugh though – the warm up was like a whole workout session for me….lol.  I was worried that I had expended precious energy!  And that was it – – – >  we were off!  The 10K race left at 10:30 am and the 21K race started 10 minutes later.

My run: Rewinding a bit…Despite having lived in the area for seven years, I’d never actually eaten at Melissa’s Mis-Steak, so I decided this was a good place for my pre-race carb loading.  Spaghetti Bolognaise – pineapple juice is their secret weapon in this sauce – bread and garlic butter, Caesar salad.  Did the trick.

The day of the race, I brought my little backpack with gels, watermelon Spark, salt packets, etc.  When I saw the bag check, I weighed my options against the course map. There looked to be enough water stations to safely forgo bringing my own H2O, and my jacket had pockets to bring the gels.  The three salt packets from Wendy’s were a new addition to my running repertoire.  Miz J. told me that her totally amazing brother-in-law used salt in his long distance running. I sweat out SO MUCH salt.  21K was long distance enough for me, and because I didn’t want calf cramps like my last race, I figured I’d give this a go.

I seeded myself at the back!  The slowest pace bunny was 2:45. (My 25K took me 3:59 so I was aiming for about 3:00 hrs for this race.)  No walkers were permitted, although there was evidence of such, complete with walking sticks.  The main reason would be because of Parks Canada restrictions, and the time allocated for the race was limited. I would later learn how serious they were about this time limit.

Off and running, I was so excited. Seriously. A half marathon!  SO COOL.  And in the mountains, my favourite place on earth.  After I simmered down a bit, I found my legs, and I had to pass the 2:45 pace bunny and the 2:30 pace bunny. Not sure how wise this was, knowing I had so many kilometers to go.  I found a girl in purple with a long brunette ponytail to follow. She had a good solid pace and I kept time right behind her.  My right heel was sore, so I was trying to carefully place my foot, and even when I started to tire (hello – this is me we’re talking about…I get TIRED) I concentrated on keeping up with her.

Side note: I remember reading the question “Do you like to chase or be chased?”  I think I prefer the chase. I get way stressed out when trying to keep ahead of other runners coming up from behind me!

Passing a water station, I grabbed a cup and stopped at the garbage can to chug it back and to chuck out the cup.  Purple Girl didn’t take any water nor did she stop, and that’s when I lost her. And the little old Japanese lady.  And the sweatpants guy. I was soooo unhappy about that. Purple Girl was truly keeping me going.  Things started to go downhill.  I became so sluggish. I felt mentally defeated. It hurt to lift my feet. I was achy.  I’d already taken a gel with the water, and needed to save the others for later in the race.  People I hadn’t previously seen started passing me.  I shuffled a few more kilometers all grumpy like this.

Then I remembered the salt.  I touched my face, and already a crystal layer was building up.  I took a salt packet from my pocket, ripped it open and poured the contents under my tongue. So gross.  But so good.  As it melted into me, I felt so much better.   And that’s when I had the conversation with myself. Yes, it hurts now but pain is temporary. You want to finish this race?  Then just go. Stop feeling sorry for yourself. All this is temporary. The accomplishment of finishing this race ON YOUR OWN is something no one can take away.

Generally, these kind of pep talks don’t work on me. (You don’t really want that cookie…) I think being there alone, with no one to motivate me or hold me back, it was all on me. I was going to make or break this run.  And you know what?  I didn’t want to be last.  Again.  So, I ran. (Well, let’s be honest, I never actually RUN, more like shuffle/jog).

I picked my pace back up a bit and found my stride.  Surrounded by new people now…an older couple, a trio of 30-somethings, pink lady with the fanny pack, etc.  Partway through the first loop on the golf course a wave of runners loped past: the 21K-ers on their second loop already!  Loved this!  So amazing.

I almost didn’t do my second loop – the junction with the two water stations didn’t have clear markings, and I started to head down and out of the golf course. I caught myself in time and asked for directions.  I got straightened out but as I was talking to the volunteers, another wave ran through, including the 2:30 pace bunny (damn!!).

From there on I just kept at it – periodic salt and gel, water when it was offered.  I appreciated all the water stations and the musical volunteers along the route.  Kinda made you want to sit down, kick up your feet and stay a while!  Finally, I hit that junction again and was on my way back to the finish line.  The 2:45 pace bunny caught up to me and passed me, but then he ran back again.  He was having trouble keeping to his assigned pace, and was constantly going back and forth.  He did offer some nice advice to stand up straighter…I must have been hunching at this point. (Hunching, as in, let me lay down in the fetal position for a while)

Coming up past the Bow Falls I chatted with a walker (who walked as fast as I ran) who had actually run the loop THREE times due to the directional challenges at the junction – poor thing!  And then, that’s when I spotted her: PURPLE GIRL!!!  She was still running, and not too far ahead of me.  I told the Triple Loop Lady how I was following Purple Girl at the beginning, and she was like, oh! let’s catch her!!  So we ran together until we reached Purple Girl.  I said hello, but Purple Girl was lost in her own jammin’ earphone haze.  And that’s when I realized that Purple Girl was going pretty slow. And that I could keep moving.

I picked up my pace again and ran the last kilometres back onto the Rec Grounds.  Lots of cheering, lots of love from people I’d never met.  They announced my name and my town, and I crossed the finish line at 2:39 hrs.  WOW.  SO AMAZING.

Conclusion: Oh, heck ya, I’d do this one again.  I feel so at home in Banff and would be thrilled to do it.  The race had loads of draw prizes as well, many of which to encourage you to return to Banff, such as brunch certificates, etc.  Would you believe I didn’t go back to the beer tent?  So unlike me.  Or was it?  Perhaps I finally figured out I didn’t need it.

I forgot to switch off my running watch, so I’d wandered about the grounds eating my free race banana, stretching etc before I turned it off. I totally appreciate the way Melissa’s operated their food section.  You shuffle through fencing one by one, receiving a plastic bag, then volunteers in turn fill it with fruit, yogurt, granola bars, juice, etc.  There was no worry at this race of having the food plundered by faster runners from shorter races.

When I’d had enough, I started to walk back to the Banff Springs Hotel through the woods and back along the Bow River where we’d already run.  Coming towards me on the forest path was a little old Japanese lady with a giant pink balloon in her hand.  She was one of three little old Japanese ladies wearing matching t-shirt I’d seen sprinkled through the race.  She was followed by a volunteer in a golf cart. I suspected she was one of the last ones.  I put my stuff down and cheered her on as she came close.  It was a little weird, me, alone in the woods cheering on this stranger.  When she passed me and offered a tired smile, I started to cry.  I don’t know why.  Maybe because I was tired, too. Maybe because she was awesome. Maybe because she was running for someone who was no longer here. Maybe because I’d finished so many races alone and last. Maybe because I was alone today.

I walked – rather gingerly at this point – along the Bow then headed back up to the road.  That’s where I bumped into another runner.  She was off course, and she was pissed.  By the time she’d finished her two loops and was heading back into town, all the race markers had been removed due to time restrictions, and there were no longer any volunteers or directions in place. She’d been walking because of an unexpected hip injury.  Angry and defeated, she was trying to get back to the finish line. I pointed the way, and wished her luck.  That sucked.  I felt bad for her.

And that’s Melissa’s from September 27, 2014!  A fun race, good organization, a cool t-shirt, neat prizes, and lots of good time.  I’ll sign up for this one again next year.

Race report – 5 Peaks, Canmore

Still last. Well – 4th from last. Or something like that.

The final race for the Southern Alberta 5 Peaks trail running series was at the Canmore Nordic Centre in the beautiful Canadian Rockies. Following a week of cool weather, snow flurries and the like, Saturday was blocked in with fog hiding a spectacular bluebird day.

I signed up for the “Enduro”, which was 14.7 km, I believe, for this particular race. My strategy behind signing up for this race was that it’s a nice longish run in preparation for the half marathon I have in two weeks.

Organization: You know what, out of all the 5 Peaks I’ve been to this season, I have to give it to the Southern Alberta crew. Informative, rah-rah emails leading up to the race; great location using the main lodge at the Canmore Nordic Centre; lots of sponsors and vendors pop-tented at the start/finish line; and hey, a good sound system with lots of tunes throughout and a fun race director MCing the whole thing. LOVE the super samples given out by the Clif and there was some cool 5 Peaks gear for sale. Parking was spacious, and package pick up was swift. Got a 5 Peaks toque with my reg package along with a mini Builder Bars, Kicking Horse coffee, etc.

Course: The 14 km Enduro had its very own course (yay! Love this as opposed to doing two laps of a shorter course). The course came with hills, technical bits and crazy gorgeous scenery. After leaving the start line, the course ran up into the mountains and the majority of the run took place weaving through the trees. Being in the mountains and inhaling that crisp, cool pine air = wow. Good to be alive.

My run: After the helpful bear spray demo (spray was mandatory for this race) we were off! The Enduro runners began at 9:30 am, and I seeded myself about ¾ of the way to the back. Super excited. The course began with a gradual incline (where I was passed by the remaining ¼ runners), which then became kinda a steep road up the hill, which then turned into like, a gnarly (not in the kewl way) hiking trail.

Oh my gosh – SUCKING WIND, dude. All the way. For two kilometers of UP – sucking wind. All I could think was: I shouldn’t have had that beer last night;  I should’ve left earlier yesterday to drive from Edmonton to the mountains; I shouldn’t have slept in my car; I should’ve trained more; I should’ve stayed home. I was sad and sorry.

I regained my breath sometime between kilometers two and three, and then suddenly – miraculously – the trail evened out and I was a runner again! My pace went bonkers as I juked through the trees, leaped over roots and zipped through snow-covered trails. I was Chariots of Fire. I was Rambo. I was John McClane running over broken glass in Nakatomi Plaza. I was awesome. (No, really – that’s how I felt). I was out of the fog and it was a bluebird day above.

The kilometers flew by after that. I chatted with some nice ladies on the trail, stopped to take a few selfies beneath snow-covered peaks, etc. The trail rolled through the forest, with some more uphill and steep downhill, but those proved to be some good active recovery moments. Of the two aid stations out on the trail the second one had water plus a selection of gels (Salted Caramel GU!) and chewy bloks – so spoiled. But by the time I’d sucked back the sugar, and was on that final four kilometers, I was beat.

My feet hurt, my body slowed down to a crawl and I was sooo tired. Am assuming this was a case of going too flat out on the midsection of the race. All that superhero running I’d done was totally catching up to me. I truly was enjoying it – and trying to make up time for those first two kilometers of “hiking” – but clearly going for it had some consequences.

The last few kilometers were at a shuffly little pace. I walked any remaining hills. Saw a squirrel and a deer. Shuffled down the last stretch towards the finish line. Right when I was in view of the crowds, I started to feel tiny clenching muscle balls in my calves. I stopped twice to try and stretch them out. Something down there was not going well. Made it across in 2:16…ironically a few minutes longer than my 5 Peaks 16 km run in Terwillegar earlier in the year!

Either way, all good. There was still a lot of food left and I sat and had a snack while I listened to the announcer give away prizes etc. Very peppy, happy little atmosphere in Canmore. Being one of two Athena racers I was also presented with a wicked awesome 5 Peaks swaggy medal – best ever.

I had so much fun at this race that I think I’ll go out of my way to make sure I do another Southern Alberta 5 Peaks again next year. Good times. The only thing that would make this race better would be beer.*

 

*I’m not sure the 5 Peaks folks roll that way on the race grounds, tho – so general imbibing takes place post-race, in town or at at a campsite. I did, after all splurge on a campsite for my second night in the mountains – haha. No more sleeping in the car.

The agony of the non-scale victory

It’s that time again. When the scale stops moving and every single pound lost is an epic battle to the death.  My weight has been fluctuating a bunch for the past two months but still comes back and settles at 200 lbs.  I don’t WANT to be 200 lbs. Anymore. Ever.

This is the part where I’m supposed to be all

  • I went on two epic backcountry hiking trips
  • The two pairs of summer pants I bought in May from Costco actually fit now, and are on the verge of being too loose
  • Upper body muscle tone is developing slowly but surely
  • I set a personal best for a 5K
  • I feel stronger when I run
  • Blah blah blah

I am simply ungrateful for these changes.

I want to be 50 lbs lighter.

Anyway.  I’m back into running/training mode in order to not die on my next big race.  It’s a 21ish km road race in the mountains at the end of September, and I’d like to finish in a respectable time. My 25K trail race in May took me 4 hours…ahaaa.  I’m aiming for about 3.0 hrs on this next race.  Just a nice steady run.

My PiYo workouts have been terrific for building strength and improving my flexibility.  PiYo kind of surprises you that way. You think nothing is happening but suddenly you’re stronger, more flexible, have endurance, etc.

Over the long weekend, I took the opportunity to clean out my closest to get ready for fall. I love fall. To heck with the lazy days of summer. Fall is fresh, new, clean – truly the start of my new year is September rather than January.  But I digress.

Clothes.  I decided to clean out all my XXL summer clothes from the closet, because by the time next summer rolls around, those won’t fit. Heck, they don’t fit now! They hang off me but I wear them because that’s what I have.

I got out the blue recycling bags and trudged upstairs.  I dug deep into the closet for every last stitch. Shirts, sweater, skirts. XXL. Gone. Into the donation bag.  Some things I’d never even worn, because ultimately, I’d bought them only because they fit but I, in fact, hated them.  In fact, I have a lot of clothes I bought only because they fit. That’s just crap. It steals away who you are. Your identity and self-expression.

But enough whining. The clothes are culled, and I’m left with a skeleton crew of some pants and skirts, and a few sweaters (some of which are still too big but I need SOMETHING to wear to work…).  I started digging through my fall clothes to be proactive and weed out the  big ones, and was delighted to find a bag dedicated to items that were once all too small!  Most of them I can now FIT. Woot.

So, not much has changed since my July weigh-in.  And I apologize for forgetting August – I was in the backcountry at that point and had no Internet or inclination to share stagnant results. [Insert sad face]

For NO EXCUSES SEPTEMBER, the game plan is to lose 6 pounds. SIX. POUNDS.  That shouldn’t be too hard, right? I’m going back on the 21 Day Fix nutrition plan, and my workouts will be running, PiYo and the occasional 21 Day Fix workout.

Dauphine Bakery & Bistro: Urban high tea win

dauphine teaFor an intimate atmosphere with urban flair, hit up Dauphine Bakery and Bistro for a swanky high tea in the heart of the city. Enter off 104th Street and descend into a delightful European bakery with all the goods, minus the line-ups at the Duchess and the prices of the Hotel Macdonald.

After wandering the City Market Downtown for organic wines, pea shoots, zucchini and other treasures of the earth, we – a trio of middle-aged ladies – appreciated getting our reserved table right away, starting off with iced teas and water to cool off. Think Little Britain: we were doing what laayyydies doooo.

Our first course was a little cheesy poof and a tiny pitcher of gazpacho. Icy cold with a deep, rich tomato and red pepper flavour, the gazpacho had us swiveling in our seats to check if the bakery sold this as a take-home item in their refrigerators. (They did)

The next course – sarnies! – arrived on a tiered tray, and oh! Absolutely delightful! Every single mini sandwich was perfectly fresh, moist and above all, creative in the pairings of flavour and appearance. A delightful apple, chutney and cheese; mounded egg salad; whipped goat cheese and fig; and chicken salad with tiny concord grapes. Each one featured a delicious base of different breads made in-house. Dauphine’s breads may be considered second fiddle to all the pretty desserts on display, but shouldn’t be discounted as they are hearty and delicious, and worth picking up a loaf (or three) to take home.

We experienced a rather lengthy pause between the removal of the empty sandwich tray, the bringing of fresh plates and the arrival of the dessert course. Seriously – it must have been at the very least half an hour. When it did arrive, it didn’t necessarily look as though it had to be prepped (ie. Some items were simply from the bakery display cases and sliced neatly into three portions) so I’m not sure as to the massive delay. Of course, we were there to visit as well, so it was no great loss.

Two of the sweets were somewhat traditional – a dense chocolate brownie to balance the lemon tart with blueberries. There was also a coconut snowball and a nutty brittle triangle, along with the scone of the day, which was ginger and dark chocolate.   The scone practically melted in the mouth, and could stand alone – no need for the silliness of jams, creams and the like. All were nibbly sizes so that there was no regret or sugar overdose when each and every morsel was consumed.

Last but not least, I should, perhaps, address the tea. I suppose that’s what it’s all about. The tea sets were all lovely silver sets, with different silver sugar pots and spoons on each table. There was a large selection of teas from which to choose. I’m not a tea aficionado, so I can’t really speak to this subject much. As well, being such a warm day, our focus was more on the iced tea and water. Still, I happily downed two cups.

Love the atmosphere at Dauphine with the white walls, chrome and black accents – an ideal backdrop to make the stars of the show (Lemon tarts! Carrot cake tulips! Luscious chocolate bombs!) all pop. Our server, Sophia, was polite, engaged and knowledgeable, and kindly offered to take group photos of us enjoying our tea. (I think she’s done this before…)

Perhaps it had been a rough week, or the staff was exhausted by the heat but there were some little touches – like burnt out overhead lamps and extinguished twinkle lights – that could not go unnoticed. And speaking of heat, the bakery was truly as hot as Hades despite the charmingly useless fans they had in place. If you didn’t make any sudden movements you were fine. Otherwise, it was all about keeping the sweat at bay as you tried to simply glow while sipping and snacking. Spiff up those details, and the atmosphere would be perfect.

Conclusion: hands down prefer the $25 pp high tea at Dauphine to the $39 pp royal tea & tour at the Hotel Macdonald, which, to this point, had been “the” place to go for high tea in my books. And it’s not just about the price. The food quality, freshness and creativity wins at Dauphine, along with this intimate urban atmosphere which lends to exclusivity all on its own.

Side note I: I hear the bistro sandwiches are to die for here – that will have to be the next visit.

Daupine Bakery & Bistro
10129 104 Street, Edmonton
(780) 421-4410
facebook.com/dauphinebakery

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