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

Dauphine Bakery and Bistro on Urbanspoon

Detox Day 3: 3-Day Refresh

I had to go to work on Day 3.

It was a Monday.

It was a little bit of a drag. I got to smell all sorts of delish lunches being warmed up in the kitchen. Lunchtime was over in 30 seconds for me (slurp, crunch, done) so I went for a walk.

Lots of energy again today – efficient, effective, etc. Crazy how despite the vague feeling of hunger, I was sharper and more aware of a lot of things, if that makes sense. I prioritized, got things done, had some clarity and vision on other topics. Hm.

When I got home, the family was all in the kitchen making their dinners, and I was blending mine. My love affair with food was on hiatus essentially. Food plays so much more of a role than just “fuel” for me. Hard to break that train of thought.

Monday was super hot in the city again, and despite going to bed at a reasonable hour, I couldn’t sleep. By 1:00 am I shuffled downstairs where it was much cooler. And because it was past midnight (3 days done in my books), I ate a wrap with ham in it. I was SO HUNGRY.

Fast forward to the next morning – for (ta-dah) —–> the RESULTS!

I was down 5.5 lbs and 2 inches from my waist. Feeling lighter on my toes MENTALLY, above all.  Was the junk in my system slowing my brain down?

Would I recommend this refresh?  Ya.  I’d do it again, I think, maybe after Christmas or a holiday.  It really re-sets you. It was an annoyance for me though.  It showed me what a huge role (beyond just being fuel) that food plays in my life. I’m slightly obsessive.

I think my biggest take away is “What am I going to eat next?”  It’s not the pizza or the gooey brownie from the Italian Centre (you know, the one where you literally feel the sugar coursing through your veins = so good) that I was kinda secretly planning on. Instead, I’m feeling very careful in my decisions.

The next day, I spent 15 minutes in Sobey’s staring at the Greek yogurt section debating whether or not I wanted to add dairy back in after the refresh.  I did buy a container (I love it to pieces) but then I didn’t enjoy it as much.  I just felt like it wasn’t right. (Is it possible to be brainwashed by vegetables in three short days?)

Now two days later, I know for sure that I’m going to give dairy a break, remove all processed meats from my diet (so long, deli ham!) and keep my coffee treats to green tea treats.  (Not terribly excited about this, but it just feels right – does that make sense?)  The hardest part is not knowing what to replace things with.  I need to check my protein lists again, review my carb options, get some recipes…so that I’m better prepared.

And that’s the 3-Day Refresh!  Give it a go. You can buy it here with a 30-day supply of Shakeology so you can maintain your kick start results: 3-Day Refresh challenge pack.  Or you can just buy the three day kit on its own here: 3-Day Refresh base kit.

Would love to hear if you do this detox – post your story and results!

Or if you’ve done other detoxes, what were they like?

Detox Day 2: 3-Day Refresh

Day 2 of my 3-Day Refresh has been a little more manageable.

I did wake up with the same headache…it continually pulsed from my forehead around the left side of my head to my neck and then back again. I also woke up crazy grumpy and was out of bed by 6:30 am on a Sunday. Insane.

Despite the head and the grumpiness, I was uncharacteristically efficient today. I did 30 minutes of yoga, crossed EIGHT things off my to-do list, walked to the grocery store, and organized stuff like there was no tomorrow.

By noon I was so ready for “lunch” – yes, still slightly hungry all the time – and I caved in and took Advil for my headache. Cleanses I did way back in the 90s were all about feeling the pain, working through that detoxification process, etc. The 3-Day Refresh promo materials did say I’d experience some mild discomfort (hm – how about creating an entire different personality??) but I don’t think I read that you couldn’t kill the pain with pills….

By 1:00 pm I was back busily doing my chores, when BAM! I was exhausted. I lay down on my bed and passed out for a good 3.5 hours. I woke up feeling amazing.

Made dinner for the family, and the little Refresh dinner for myself, then went on a 2-hour walk in the River Valley.

I feel really good tonight in comparison to yesterday. OH – and when I weighed myself this morning at 6:30 am, I was down 3 lbs. I’ll be curious to see if any weight loss during a detox process is permanent or temporary.

ONE MORE DAY!!!

PS. DH did indeed quit the Refresh. He was happily eating all sorts of things all day. Sigh.

Detox Day 1: 3-Day Refresh

Alright, alright, alright.

So, yeah. From my last hastily scribbled out post, I’m detoxing (cleansing, torturing myself, etc) for three days.

Why? Well – I had about two weeks of holiday. GREAT HOLIDAY. I travelled to the mountains and hiked into the backcountry, living out of a tent with nothing by the bears and the hummingbirds about. Okay, there were other campers as well, but I didn’t always communicate with them.

The beauty of travelling into the backcountry is that there is no rush and fuss. You eat, you walk, you sleep. Unplugging from everything is quite the decompression. Life is simple and thoughtful.  Your priorities shift.

For food, I ate a lot of nutrient dense slow-burning stuff.  I was super good in NOT buying 18 chocolate bars under the reasoning I’d be hiking every day and needed energy, and instead tried to figure out the healthiest, fuel-providing foods. Trail mixes with mixed nuts and dried fruit, a few M&Ms sprinkled in for good measure; a whole whack of different protein bars (love Clif Builder Bars); and then dehydrated meal packets for suppers.

These dehydrated meals with fancy names like “Kung Pao Chicken” and “Country Turkey with Potatoes and Gravy” can be deceptive. Yes, you’re far from any other choices, so it’s bound to taste good. And even if it doesn’t, it’s at least going to warm your belly because you “cooked” it by pouring hot water into the resealable bag or because the fact the makers of such meals seem to douse all meals in copious amounts of like, white pepper.

The icing on the cake is the sodium levels of these dehydrated bag meals. Way more than half your daily recommended intake. I know you often need a little salt after sweating and hiking all day, but the levels were just scary.

In the end, I’ve come off the trail absolutely craving all sorts of healthy fats (nuts all the time! avocados! plates of cheese!) and salty deliciousness (chips and salsa! salt! more salt!).

The 3-Day Refresh is like a mini re-set of the bod. Getting things back to normal. The promise on this product is to cleanse the body and improve the way you feel without starving. (Note: as I write this I could REALLY USE A PIZZA. Please send. I will give you money.) Other bits and pieces are to lose weight, inches, blah blah. You can do moderate workouts and eat “real food”.

Today was Day 1. Breakfast was fine, the “Fibre Sweep” did not send me running to the bathroom or anything, lunch was good… then we walked over to the mall to do some chores.

(My husband, btw, is doing this with me. Solidarity. Well, I feel for him because he drinks crazy amounts of coffee all day, and the 3-Day Refresh suggests you refrain – if you MUST, then have it black.)

By the time we walked home from the mall, my head was buzzing and DH thought he was underwater. When we got home, we had our afternoon snacks, then he hit the couch for a nap, and I just did some computer work.

By dinner, I wanted to eat anything I got my hands on. It was awful. I was panicking in the kitchen.

I drank the dinner portion of Vanilla Fresh, and scarfed down two teaspoons of unauthorized almond butter. I just needed SOMETHING. Then I made the dinner from one of the recipes in the program guide – a little veggie stir fry. I ate out in the sun on the back deck. I calmed down after that.

DH was still sleeping when I checked on him. When I checked in again a couple hours later, he said he felt terrible. He thought it was food-related. So he had cereal and toast for supper.

I am on my own.

I don’t know whether he will continue tomorrow or not…he’s not sure if it’s the detox or if he’s coming down with something or if it’s caffeine withdrawal.

ANYWAY. Here I am, needing to go to sleep, because if I don’t sleep I will feel the hunger.  I also have a low-level headache across the forehead.  Erg.

3-Day Refresh: drunk pre-detox prep

I’ve had a beer. Or three.

Maybe a plate of nachos. With extra salsa and sour cream because sharing is really hard for me, and eating someone else’s share is not.

I’m reviewing my 3-Day Refresh program guide, because I’m starting a detox tomorrow. Oh, the irony.

A little bit drunk. HAPPY, I think they’d say. Still have most of my faculties.

I suppose I should’ve prepared more seriously for this detox thing.

Tomorrow I get to do this:

- I should start by weighing and measuring myself, just in case there are differences at the end of all this.

- drink 8-12 ounces of water “upon waking“. I might just wake up at noon…

- breakfast is Shakeology with filtered water (do I really have to filter water? Do I buy that? Can I use my camping/backcountry filter from MSR?) and 1 serving from the fruit list. We are SO OUT OF FRUIT except for cherries, so cherries it is. Get 2/3 of a cup, so that’s like 4.

- optional morning tea. No thanks.

- AM snack is the Fiber Sweep (why do Americans insist on ER rather than RE?) mixed with filtered water

- lunch is the Vanilla Fresh – mixed with more filtered water, plus one serving from the veggie list, the fruit list and the healthy fat list. God. Decisions. Can I make up my mind tomorrow?

- PM snack is 1 serving from the vegetable list – prob go with broccoli at 3/4 cup – and 1 serving from the healthy fats list. Let’s make it easy and just suck back 1 tsp of coconut oil. Oh wait…healthy fats OR some raw juice. Well. Really. I don’t have a juicer, so there be no raw juice in my house.

- optional afternoon tea. Nope.

- dinner is more Vanilla fresh + filtered water and 1 serving from the dinner recipes list (read: salad or some sort of veggie thing)

- optional evening tea. NO.

I get to drink half my body weight in ounces of water every day, so that should be freaking plenty.

Tah-dah. That will be day one.

They don’t suggest too much exertion/exercise…bahahhaha. But I am in a PiYo challenge, so I may/may not squeeze a workout in.

All of this should kick-start the 3-day detox process of fun.

Chances are I’ll be a little grumpy.