Qualifying for the Boston Marathon

18 Jan

When I started this blog many years ago I was hoping it would help motivate me to train hard and finally qualify to run the Boston Marathon.   I tried personal training, running more miles, doing more speed work, losing 10lbs…. but my marathon times stayed in the 3:40-3:50 zone.  After running a few trail races I decided to quit marathon training and start ULTRAmarathon training.  My first ultra was the Grizzly 50km ultra in Canmore, AB in October 2014.  It was tough, but I didn’t cry or puke, so I signed up for the Iron Legs 50 miler the following summer in Kananaskis, AB.  Iron Legs (2015) race day was rainy and a pretty good running temperature for me, and although I was disappointed there were no mountain views I was happy to not be running in 30 degree temps.  Running the 54 mile race took me less time than expected, and I was happy to finish the race in under 14 hours (and before dark).    After having completed a few ultras (that summer I also ran Rundles Revenge 50k and the Mount Robson 50k), I figured it was time to try running the Vancouver Marathon again in 2016, which I would use as early training for my main 2016 goal- the Black Spur 108k.

I felt confident that I could qualify for Boston at Vancouver because my training had gone well, and running at sea level after training in Kimberley always feels easier.  Buuuut on race day it was HOT, and I clearly hadn’t trained enough on pavement because half way into the marathon my legs felt very heavy and I couldn’t keep the pace I needed to BQ.  I still ended up with a personal best, but was 1 minute short of the time needed to qualify.  This meant I wouldn’t be running Boston in 2017.

After researching all the fall marathons (fall=cold temps), I signed up for the Hamilton Marathon which took place in November on the weekend before my birthday.  Supposedly it is the best race to BQ in Canada, and it meant we would be able to spend some time in Toronto afterwards to celebrate my 33rd birthday.  I don’t think I trained any differently for this race, but maybe running 108km a couple months before did help.  After the Black Spur I took a few days off before jumping back into marathon training.  I didn’t do any speed work leading up to Black Spur, so I incorporated a few yasso 800s and continued to do runs of between 30-40km on weekends.  And most importantly, I ran mostly on pavement.
Brett and I flew into Toronto a few days before the race and were able to check out the Canadian side of Niagara Falls.  I was thankful to visit at this time of year because it meant fewer tourists.

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My mom flew in the night before the race, so her and Brett made a plan to meet me around the half way mark.  I drank many litres of Nuun the day/night before the race, and had a dinner of butternut squash ravioli.  My friend from Edmonton was also running the Marathon, and her husband was running the half.  Her sister gave us a ride to the start, where we spent the 30 minutes before the race waiting in a port-a-potty line until just before it was time to start. My initial plan was to stick with the 3:30 pace group for the first 10-20km, because this was the time I needed to make sure I could actually register for Boston.  In previous years you need to have finished a marathon about 2-3 minutes faster than your qualifying time to actually get in.   I also planned to take a gel every hour, and drink water from the aid stations if I felt thirsty (which ended up being just 2 or 3 times).  By the end of the first km, I decided to run based on how I was feeling.  I didn’t want to regret running slower than I felt I could.  The race is very flat and starts on back country roads.  The first half went by very fast, and I was on pace to finish in under 3:30.  I saw my mom and Brett, threw them my arm sleeves, and was happy to start the second half of the race.  There is a long slightly downhill section in the second half, and then a very short trail section, before an out and back along the waterfront trail by the lake.  I enjoyed the short section where you could see other racers heading back to the finish.  For the last 5 or 6km I ran with a girl from Halifax, who had also graduated at St.FX.  It was her first Marathon AND she was going to qualify for Boston!
I finished the race in 3:25:22-FINALLY qualifying for Boston. I stuck around and waited for my friend to finish and then it was time for recovery beers.
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Terrible photo near the finish- I think I was yelling something at my mom as she took this.

 

A few years later…plus a race report!

17 Jan

It’s been awhile.  I’ve finished a Medical Lab Tech program, ran a few ultra marathons, moved to Kimberley, BC, qualified for the Boston Marathon (to run in 2018), and got engaged.  Now that I am running more exciting (in my opinion) races, I thought it would be a good idea to start writing in this blog again as a way to remember these experiences.

Brett (the man), Sam (the dog), and I moved to Kimberley from Edmonton just over a year ago.  Going back to school for 2.5 years was challenging, but it allowed me to get a job in a smaller town and live close to mountains.  Leaving Edmonton was an unexpectedly sad experience for me.  I have some pretty great friends and running groups in that city, and in my excitement to move to the mountains I forgot how difficult it would be to not have those people near me.  Still, moving to Kimberley was the best decision.  We have access to many so running/hiking trails, outdoor and indoor rock climbing, lakes, skiing, etc.

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In August I ran my first 100km race- the Black Spur Ultra.
It is a 54/108km race that’s held here in Kimberley.  The 54km race consists of 3 loops, each coming back to the base of the Kimberley Alpine Resort.  The 108km race completes the 54km route twice.  I had a group of friends running the 108k as a relay, so they, along with my fiancé, were there to support me throughout the day.  Each leg starts with a hike up part of the main run of the ski hill.  Leg 1 (16.1km, 886m) starts on the round-the-mountain trail (which is it’s own race in June), but branches left at a cutline, so you can hike straight to the top.  This climb probably lasts for a few km, but once at the top you’re treated to some nice rolling single track and fun downhill for the rest of the leg.  This is the most technical leg in my opinion, and it was also the only part of the course I hadn’t trained on.  This leg wasn’t so bad the first time around. I remember trying to hike fast and run when I could, because I didn’t want to have to run in the dark for too long.  I met a runner who had placed 1st in the 54km race the previous year and ran with her for a few km before taking off on the downhill.  I’m a terrible climber but pretty good on technical downhill.  Since it’s the only place in a race I can ever pass people, I take advantage of any downhill and go as fast as my legs will carry me to make up time. Brett had been out for breakfast with his dad and brother, and I finished this first leg ahead of schedule…. I told my friend who was running the relay to let him know I had been through and took off without spending any time at the first transition.
Leg 2 (18.3km, 674m) heads off in the opposite direction from leg one after the short hike up the ski hill.  It climbs up magic line, which seems like never ending switch backs of a mountain bike trail even though it probably isn’t very long at all.  It was starting to get hot already, and I hate running in the heat. This leg went by relatively quickly.  After reaching the top of the magic line climb,  the trail is mostly runnable and is quite pretty.  Once reaching the aid station there is a fun mostly downhill section on mr. toad.  The challenging part of this leg is when you cut left onto a not so well traveled trail and have to run mostly flat or slightly uphill for a few km.  Luckily I met a runner along this stretch and chatting with him helped these boring km go by a little faster.  He was from the Crowsnest Pass and was running the 54k.  Eventually on this leg you reach creek trail, a short but sweet shaded section that actually has some water (most of the trail is pretty dry).   This leads you back to the nordic trails where there’s just one noticeably long uphill, followed by mostly flat back to the transition.
Leg 3 (19.4km, 670km) is probably my favourite leg.   Once through the nordic trails, it heads up myrtle mountain (runnable when not in the middle of an ultra), but then there’s a nice long downhill stretch for a few km- first on single track, and then a wider dirt trail/road. At the end of the downhill there’s another aid station to chill at before heading up sunflower hill.  The rest of this leg feels heavy on the uphill.  I actually  have no memory of running this leg, but it probably sucked because I know I felt very terrible starting leg 4.

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I think this was the end of leg 3

Before heading back out on leg 4/1 I attempted to eat some of a grilled cheese sandwich (which worked for me at the Iron Legs 50 miler), and chugged a lot of coke.  This was a mistake, and I felt very nauseous for a long time.  I couldn’t run any of leg 4 until I reached the top of the climb.  At this point my friend had texted me to let me know I was somehow first female, which was both exciting and stressful.  The thing I like most about ultras is that you can take your time and not worry about your pace as much as in a road race.  Now I felt pressure to keep moving as fast as I could…. which was not fast at all.   I didn’t see many people during the second half of the race, and my brain kept trying to come up with reasons to drop out.  It was way too hot, my shirt was crusted with salt from sweating so much, and I couldn’t eat anything.  I was drinking about 1.5L of water every 10km.  I don’t remember much from leg 5, aside from some mountain biker volunteers and high fiving the first place male as he was on his way back to the transition.  Leg 6 was when I finally needed a headlamp.  At first the darkness was a little creepy, but eventually I stopped thinking about bears and cougars and ghosts, and enjoyed running at a comfortable temperature.  At the last aid station in the race a couple of girls from run club were volunteering, and so I had my first sit down of the day.   After a couple of ginger chews, and learning that I was still in first place, I took off to finish the race.  I heard someone entering the aid station as I was hiking up sunflower hill for the last time, and was scared it was the second place female (it hadn’t been).   For the last 9k I managed a rotation of running for 20 seconds, walking for 10 seconds, while listening to Trail Runner Nation podcast on mental toughness.
And then, after running/hiking/walking for 16 hours, 41 minutes and 10 seconds,  it was over.  I finished just before 1am, and unlike my arrival at the transition for every other leg, it was dark and quiet, with just a few people waiting at finish line.  Somehow I finished 4th overall, and 1st female.  Also, thanks to this being only the second year of the race, I get to hold a course record.  I’m sure it’ll get crushed this summer, but until then I will enjoy seeing my name on the website as holding the course record for the 108km race.

 

 

 

Maui Oceanfront Half Marathon

18 Feb

Last month I spent 10 days in beautiful Maui.  We arrived on a Friday night and I was signed up to run The Maui Oceanfront Half Marathon that first Sunday.  My mom and sister were running the 10K.  It started really early (it was still dark), and I was surprisingly cold in my shorts and tank top while we waited for the race to start.  The entire half marathon (as well as the 10k and full marathon) was an out and back along the Honoapiilani Highway– starting and ending in Lahaina.
A few days before I arrived in Maui I started getting sick.  I felt mostly fine the day of the race, other than having a horrible cough that made it a little difficult to breath at times.  About 3km into the race I knew it wouldn’t be one of my best running days.  I passed the 10K turnaround and was really really tempted to just head back. I could never do that, of course, unless I was actually seriously injured.  I made it to the halfway point, grabbed a peppermint candy from the giant bowl of random hard candies, and settled in for the next hour of running.  By this point the sun was up, I was hot, I wasn’t carrying water or any gels (what’s wrong with me?) and the water stations seemed spaced very far apart (every few miles?).  The water stations also didn’t have any gatorade… at least I only found it at one of the very first stops.  SO I was tired, thirsty, feeling dizzy, and frustrated that I could barely run a 6 min/km at this point.  I finally finished in 2:03:19, 10th in my age group, out of 24.  In retrospect, I hadn’t been running very fast prior to the race and I probably started the race way too fast for my running fitness at the time (I finished the first 10k in like 51 or 53 minutes).

Some things I learned from this race:
– If you’re running somewhere a lot warmer than you are used to, BRING WATER!
– Take a gel/fuel just in case. 
– Some races are going be tough for whatever reason, and that’s okay!
and something I always struggle with – Don’t start out too fast.

ImageMy my and sister enjoyed their 10K runs.  My sister even placed 2nd in her age group!  It’s nice to have family waiting for you at the finish line.

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stolen race photo

Christmas lights and candy canes

18 Dec

Today’s Workouts:
moksha yoga (pm)
speed work on the track/treadmill
-5x800m on the track (but it’s a little more than 800m because it’s not a regular track)
-1x800m on the treadmill set to 8.6
-3x500m on the treadmill ranging from 8.5-8.9
5.5km run with the sister

Speed days are my least favourite running day, even though they’re probably one of the most important workouts.  After 5 intervals on the track I felt like I couldn’t keep going fast anymore so I moved my workout over to the treadmill.  It was still pretty tough so I switched to 3x500m intervals instead of the last 2x800m intervals I was supposed to run.  I also always feel very sneezy after I do a track workout…. what’s up with that?

Today I meant to get up for my favourite spin class because I haven’t gone in a few weeks, but it’s at 6am on the other side of the city.  SO I ended up staying in bed until 10:30 instead.  Then I got up to make one of the best breakfasts (really they’re good for any meal)- vegan carrot cake pancakes!
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Usually I use a recipe from the Everyday Happy Herbivore cookbook, but my sister has it at her house right now so I made up my own recipe (which I think tasted pretty much the same).  This makes 1-2 servings:
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 water
1/4 coconut water  (I didn’t have any milk)
1 tbsp agave
1 tbsp ground flax seeds + 2.5 tbsp water
random splash of vanilla extract
pinch of salt
some cinnamon
1 cup shredded carrot
Cook in coconut oil for the best flavour!  They’re pretty good on their own, but I added maple syrup because I like sugar.

Last night I went to this event called Christmas Reflections at Fort Edmonton Park with my sister and friend.  The park is basically a history museum and shows what Edmonton life was in the olden days.  Since it’s winter most things were closed, but we got to tour the streets in a horse drawn wagon, and we made candy cane tree ornament crafts and christmas buttons.  Santa was hanging out in the Masonic Hall but we were too embarrassed to get our photo taken with him since he seemed like a handsome young man under that white beard and hat.

fort crafts
Tonight my sister and I ran around Candy Cane Lane.  It’s a street on the west side of the city where most of the houses have christmas lights and decorations.  Kinda reminded me of being back in Newfoundland, where everyone on my street had christmas lights on their houses…. and usually a lot!
I tried to take pictures but everything just looked foggy.  We did get a group shot at the end.  Even the dog had a frosty beard!

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Tomorrow my dogs want me to talk them for a walk through the legislature grounds to see the Christmas lights.  I love walking through there even more at Christmastime because they have lights in all the trees AND Christmas music playing ALL THE TIME! (I haven’t tested out this theory at 3am yet, so maybe not ALL the time).

Oh, guess what? I’m on Season 4 of How I Met Your Mother after only 1.5 weeks of unemployment.  Speaking of which, I think it’s about that time of the night where I get in bed and watch 15 episodes and fall asleep.

Early Christmas gifts

17 Dec

Today’s Workouts:
Healthy Rhino UNbootcamp (am)
Moksha Yoga (pm)
Elliptical/Abs workout (pm)

I’m liking the Healthy Rhino classes.  I bought the Groupon for only $29 for 12 classes, when a regular month membership is like $200.  GOOD DEAL!  If it was cheaper I would likely get a membership once my 12 classes are used up.  It’s different every class, which is awesome, and you have to sign up ahead of time for the class you want and if you cancel less than 12 hours before you have to pay $10.  SO you can’t really get lazy and not show up.  However, I have to live on half of what I’m used to now, and I choose to pay for yoga instead.  It’s probably pretty easy to design your own hour workout to be similar to the classes at Healthy Rhino.  You just need to write down 10-15 exercises (squats, burpees, pushups, plank jacks,etc.), and get a timer.  We’ve done 8 sets of 40 seconds on 20 seconds off, 1 set of 1:20, 1:00, 40 sec, 20 sec, with 10 seconds in between, and 4 sets of 40 seconds on 20 seconds off.

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Pretty knee

Christmas parties on Saturday were a lot of fun, and I somehow didn’t take any pictures. Walking home at 4:30am after the party on Saturday (or technically Sunday) I slipped on the ice and now have a swollen/bruised knee and a bruised arm.  I used that as an excuse to take the day off yesterday.  You know that feeling you get on Sundays?   Like you feel a bit sad because the weekend is over and you have to go back to work?  I thought I wouldn’t feel like that since I don’t have to go to work on Mondays, but I still felt it!  I wonder if that Sunday dread feeling ever goes away….

My mom sent our Christmas gifts to us and they arrived on Friday.  I couldn’t wait until Christmas to open something, so I opened just a couple.  I got these new Monster iSport headphones, and a Helly Hanson running jacket in this pretty blue color!
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I tried the headphones out today at the gym and they worked really well.  They stayed in my ears, but one of them started to feel a bit uncomfortable after an hour on the elliptical. I may just have to change the size- it comes with 5 different sizes and I left the medium on today.

Because I took pictures of all my meals today, I thought I’d post this pretty picture of everything I ate today… minus a handful of blackberries I ate while cooking dinner.
foodBreakfast was a green smoothie made with celery, apple, and banana.  Normally I’d add spinach but I didn’t have any today.
Lunch was an arugula salad topped with red cabbage, avocado, and roasted beet, carrot, and orange pepper.
For dinner I steamed some kale and swiss chard and topped it with quinoa flavoured with balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard, and a bit a stevia.
After dinner snack was pureed pumpkin with stevia and cinnamon.

Now if I could only eat this healthy every day during the holiday season…..

Gingerbread Jelly Shots

15 Dec

Todays workout:
21km @ 6:23/km

This was my first full week of being unemployed, and I’ve loved every minute of it. I’m sure eventually I’ll start to feel useless and really want a job, but it really is nice to be able to run outside while it’s still light out, and fit in 2 or 3 workouts without having to get up at 6am. I’ve filled my days with bootcamp, yoga, runs, spin, dog walking, etc., combined with cooking, cleaning, organizing… it makes the day go by fast. You’d think I’d have a super clean and organized condo by now, but looking around now you wouldn’t think I’ve done anything.

Running feels hard these days. I knew it would take me awhile to get back to where I was pre-vacation, but I didn’t think it would be this bad. Maybe it’s just the winter running, but I feel like I’m running in slow motion and I just can’t speed up. Don’t get me wrong- I still enjoy my runs. There’s something I like about being covered in frost on the outside but still feeling really warm. It’d just be nice for a run to feel easier once in a while.
Because I spent last night in bed watching Netflix with my dogs, I didn’t mind getting up early for a run today.

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It was -10oC when I woke up this morning! Because of this I omitted my 4th layer jacket I’ve been wearing and long johns… normally I wear a tank top, a long sleeved running shirt, a thermal running shirt, and a jacket. And on bottom I wear silk long johns or regular running tights under my winter running tights.
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5km in- frozen already

5km in- frozen already

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I’ve been wearing my trail running shoes (Salomon Speedcross 3) since the trails are sometimes pretty snowy. It’s taken me a few years of winter running to finally start wearing trail shoes. They keep my feet warmer and make it easier to run in snow.
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Tonight I have two Christmas parties to attend. My old lab Christmas party, at my old bosses house, and then my 3 friends who just moved in together are having one. For the lab party the vegetarians were told to bring a side dish, since the main course would be some sorta dead animal.
I made vegan sweet potato salad. You can find the recipe HERE.

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For my friends party I made gingerbread jello shots. I used a recipe slightly modified from here:

Add to saucepan:
1/3 cup gingerbread syrup ( I got mine at Starbucks)
3 tbsp water
3 tbsp sweetened condensed milk (coconut milk would likely work for a vegan version)
2.5 packs of gelatin
Heat on low or low-medium heat until gelatin dissolves
Remove from heat and add:
1/2 cup vodka
1/2 cup baileys (Is there a vegan baileys alternative? maybe extra kahlua and coconut milk)
1/3 cup Kahlua
Pour into some sorta pan or jelly mold or I used small foil cup things that are supposed to be used for candy or chocolate. Not as pretty as with a jelly mold, but I figured it was safer this way.

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These were stronger tasting than I had imagined, but better than regular jello shots.

Now I’m off to celebrate Christmas with some of my favourite peoples.

Running and Yoga

11 Dec

Today’s workouts:
Moksha yoga (noon)
Speed work on treadmill (pm):
1 mile warmup
7x800m @ 7:03min/mile
1x400m @ 6:53min/mile

One of my goals for my unemployment phase of life was to fit in more yoga.  So far so good.. I’ve managed to go 2 days in a row and I hope to make it every day this week.  During Edmonton winters there’s nothing better than laying in a 39oC room.  Really. It’s great.  For those of you who have a hate for hot yoga, and HAVEN’T tried moksha- DO IT! You might still hate it, but it’s better and more yoga-y than Bikram (in my opinion).  For me, yoga is a great way to gain strength and flexibility, and it helps ward off injuries.  I swear my hips don’t hurt as much when I’m doing yoga regularly.  I also find it beneficial to attend at least one yin yoga class a week.  For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, Yin is a form of yoga where you hold each pose for 3-5 minutes.  It targets ligaments and tendons, and doesn’t focus on building strength at all so mostly you just lay on your mat in different poses.  Easy right?

I’ve heard different people say different things about yoga and running, but it seems to make sense- you run a lot and things hurt, muscles are tight, etc.  Why would yoga (if done properly) NOT be beneficial?

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Sis and I in Maui

I’ve started making my schedule for training for the Vancouver Marathon.  I’m using the book “Run Less Run Faster“, but the speed at which it is telling me I need to run in order to run a 3:35 marathon is making me thing I’LL NEVER QUALIFY.  I can barely run 8×800 meters at a 7 min/mile after my 3 week vacation of drinking/eating/not exercising, but it’s telling me I need to be running it at a 6:35 min/mile.  Plus my long runs should be way faster than they ever are.  I think that means I’ll need a race day miracle to qualify.

On another note, I remembered that Half Marathon I ran in Phoenix last month and found the pictures.  My race photos are always so horrible so I thought I’d share a couple more of em.
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What training schedule do you use?  
How much slower than your race pace are your long runs?
Do you do yoga regularly?

 

Every day is Saturday…

10 Dec

when you’re unemployed, that is!

Friday was my last day in the lab.  Technically my last day was Monday, but I just can’t get enough of that place.  To celebrate my departure my coworker made me VEGAN DONUTS!
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They also gave me the new Garmin 10!  Which was the best gift ever.  Not only is it smaller and pink, but since my old 405 has trouble keeping battery power and my foster dog chewed up the charger (as well as the watch) I’d been having to rely on carrying my iPhone around to track my distance/pace.

After a couple nights of staying out until 4am with friends, I had a surprisingly easy 20.5km run on Sunday afternoon.  It was about -24 with the windchill, but aside from my face, I was pretty warm.

IMG_0569It took about 30 seconds of hot shower to thaw my braid afterwards.   I think white mascara should become a new winter trend.

Day one of being unemployed went something like this:

9-10: unbootcamp class at Healthy Rhino (I bought a groupon for 12 classes).  Felt a little out of place since everyone knew each other… but was a fun 1 hour class of intervals.
11: make (and eat) lunch
12-1: moksha yoga
1:30-6:30- clean house/watch how i met your mother/dinner
6:30-7:30- lift weights while watching how i met your mother

So you can see the majority of my time today was spent watching how i met your mother.   I did also apply for 2 jobs.  Tomorrow I will aim to watch less than 5 episodes.  It’s just so goood!

SAD NEWS-  Our team did not get registered for the Sinister 7 Ultra and Relay this year… however, we are 6th on the waiting list and I’m thinking positive.  Five teams must drop out by July. Last year was so much fun.  It was my first experience with a relay, and it’s so different running in a team, knowing somebody is waiting on you to get back so they can run.  I was also trying to finish fast so the next person running wouldn’t have to run in the dark.
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Have you ever done a relay race?

What’s your favourite Christmas cookie?  Song?
– my favourite christmas cookies are gingerbread.  and song is mary’s boy child, or fairytale of new york

 

 

 

Santa shuffle weekend

2 Dec

Weekends runs:
Saturday- 5km santa shuffle
Today- 16km run

 

Friday night was a going away party for 2 of my good friends.  One of them who I’ve been friends with since grade 10 and has always (minus 1.5 years when him and his wife were in Korea) lived in the same place as me- Newfoundland, Antigonish for university, and now here in Edmonton.  We went to a local bar for some Karaoke, and by the time I got home it was about 3:45am.  Good thing my long run this weekend was changed to Sunday, and on Saturday morning I just needed to run a 5k. The santa shuffle was 2 laps around a park and we got medals!

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I ran the whole thing with my sister because she really wanted me to.  And it made things go by much faster having someone to talk to, even though our pace was slower than I normally run (7min/km).  I was proud of her for running the whole thing without needing any walk breaks (she was way more hungover than me).  I just felt really happy to be outside running.
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My coworker also ran the race, but she was faster than us.

IMG_0556Another awesome thing about this race was they were giving away Lindt chocolate advent calendars!

Today I ran 16km with my new running friend Tammy.  She was awesome and didn’t make me feel bad about slowing her down.  Not sure what our final pace was, but probably not the 5:45min/km pace we normally run.

I just bought a juicer so tomorrow I can start making green juice for breakfast!  I’m also obsessed with this kale and quinoa salad recipe.  It’s so good I’ve been eating it for every meal.  I made a second batch today and omitted the olive oil (substituted another 1/4 cup of water) and the goat cheese, as well as the sun dried tomatoes because I forgot about them.

Now I’m getting ready for a night out with the sis… we’re going to the Vinyl Cafe Christmas show tonight!  I listen to the vinyl cafe podcast most nights when I go to bed so I’m pretty excited to hear it live.

And to end this post, here’s a cute picture of my dog laying in this weird position on the couch:

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Do you make your own juice?
Does your city/town have a Santa Shuffle?

 

London

29 Nov

Day 1:

Anne and I arrived in London at around 10:30am. After dropping off our bags we headed to the Household Cavalry to watch the changing if the guards. On the way we saw the London Eye and Westminster Abby, which were just a 5 minute walk from our hostel (The Walrus). Afterwards we walked down the Mall to Buckingham Palace- the flag was up, which means the Queen was there!

After lunch we decided to start our pub crawl of some of the oldest pubs in London. We started at The Old Wine Shades. Next was The Jamaican Wine House.  This bar was filled with men in business suits and we felt very out of place.

Next was ye old cock, followed by ye old Cheshire cheese, where we met up with another friend. By around 7:30 we decided some dinner might be a good idea and we headed to the oldest wine and cheese bar in London. It’s in a cellar.

Day 2:

Before Anne had to fly back to Cork we walked along the south bank and found a place to have breakfast.  After she left I set out for Camden market, where I wandered around for a few hours. Next I went to Harrods, even though I knew I couldn’t afford anything… I just wanted to look at it.  Inside and out it’s a very spectacular department store.

Before heading back to the hostel I stopped at the National History Museum.  There was an exhibit on Volcanos, which was pretty cool, and also a bunch of stuffed birds, marine fossils, and “creepy crawlies” (spiders, insects, crabs, etc.).  I love how all the museums look like castles.

 

That night one of my favourite bands, Elliott BROOD, was playing at a small pub on the East side of London.  There were about 40-50 people there- much smaller than if they were playing here in Edmonton.  It was a great show, but being there alone was a bit lame.

Day 3:

I started my final day in London with a 12km(ish) run along the south and north bank of the Thames river.
My shin was hurting as it mysteriously does sometimes and proceeded to hurt for the rest of the day. This meant I spent the day walking around London with a slight limp. I spent about 3 hours at the Tower of London. It was so awesome to see the Crown Jewels, and also in some of the rooms you could see where prisoners had carved things into the walls, back in the 1200-1500’s. CREEPY!  I could have spent another hour or two there but I was getting hungry and my leg hurt so I wanted to go sit down.

 

I left and walked across Tower Bridge to London Bridge and the Borough Market, where I ate delicious pumpkin pasta.


Next I went to the National Portrait Gallery and the National Gallery. I enjoy walking through a gallery listening to my own music.  After the gallery closed I wandered the streets and found myself in some giant shopping area in covent garden. It sucks being poor.
I then took myself out to dinner and spent the last of my money on riding the London Eye before heading back to the hostel for the night.

 

There is still so much I’d like to do in London….