Archive | April, 2011

A Royal Affair

29 Apr

Yes, I took photos from my tv!

There are definitely things within a marriage in which a husband and wife won’t agree upon – and that includes watching The Royal Wedding.

Will and Kate’s wedding took place this morning (Duh. Winning), and I set the alarm to watch the 6 a.m. wedding, which isn’t too far off my normal wake-up time anyway.

The dress. The music. The hats. I loved it even more than I expected.

When Jamally woke up, he couldn’t believe I had gotten up early to watch the ceremony, and started sassing me for it. I finally turned to him and said, “Who cares?!”. As soon as I said it, I felt like a teenager, but – unlike during my teenage years – it seemed to have worked, and he wandered off.

Royal Wedding Highlights:
-Her dress is gorgeous, and apparently cost $400,000. No big deal.
-Whenever they did a crowd shot at the wedding, all I was looking for was Victoria Beckham. They kept putting the camera on Elton John.
-I nearly died when Prince Harry said to Will, “Wait til you see her”. Adorable.
-I’m going to need a nap today. Amazing.

Happy Royal Wedding Day!

What the Fartlek?

27 Apr

Training took a new turn this morning, as I substituted my hill workouts with fartlek training. Swedish for “Speed Play”, fartleks work to help you increase your lactic acid threshold. In other words, it prepares you to hurt less when racing. I haven’t done speed work in so long, so it was nice to get back into it. But it’s been. so. frickin. long. I was hurting, and knew I wasn’t as fast as I was during my boot camp days.

I took some advice from Run By Design, who said not to make it a structured run, but rather, go by feel. So I chose to run according to telephone pole distance for a while, and then simply picked landmarks. “Just run to that patch of mud in the middle of the road.” It went by so quickly, and was good to listen to my body, rather than depend on a structured outline. Other than hurting very muchly, great workout.

For me, these runs help not only with my training mentality, but also with my mental…umm…mentality. I’ve definitely had a cloud hanging over my head for the past week, and can’t seem to shake it off. As you could imagine, I’ve been a real treat around the house.

Source

 To make matters worse, I spent the majority of my run today, thinking about past work failures. As Borat would say: That is very helpful – not!

 

 Source

So as I was coming to the last kilometre of my run, I said to myself, “Now think of the good things you’ve done in your work.” Immediately, it helped negate the bad thoughts, and focus on the positive. Not easy to do, but hey, it worked. I then came home and swept the floors. It’s amazing how a clean house can sort out one’s mind.

Storm Cloud and All.

 

Question: What do you do to get out of your Storm Cloud Funk?

 

Tricking the Man of the House

26 Apr

Wendy’s Nachos. Pizza Hut Stuffed Crust Pizza. A&W Onion Rings.

There are so many food options that I’m a sucker for, and it finally caught up with me in grad school. I had gained 15 lb., and my gramma told me so. It wasn’t a lot of weight, but I realized my metabolism had changed and late-night wings weren’t going to help.

It’s been a slow progress, trying to eat healthy. But ever since marathon training, I’ve really stepped it up. I’ve learned a lot about what my body needs rather than simply knowing the difference between healthy foods and deep-fried iced cream.

I’ve been experimenting with certain recipes and to make Jamally buy into them, I trick him.

Spinach in smoothies? Tricked.
Black Beans in Brownies? Tricked. (Thanks for the recipe, Amy)

The weirdest part? I get absolutely excited when he eats it, and he’s none the wiser. Then he looks over, and I have the creepiest smile going on. Just call me Samberg.

Do the Creep, ya!

Jamally then knows I’m up to something, and I excitedly confess. Last night’s experiment was the black bean brownie. He was so jolly, eating away. Then, when I told him, he said he knew something was up, and he most likely won’t eat them now. I swear, he has some kind of bad history with black beans in a past life.

The trickery is slowly backfiring on me. He now questions everything I make him.

“There isn’t spinach in this popcorn, is there?!”

He’s open to my recipe experiments, but I think the book is now closed on sneaking healthy foods into delicious treats.

In Other News:

It’s my BFF’s birthday today. Happy Birthday, Braun! Moo!

Question: How do you bring healthy foods into your treats?

Hoarding and Easter Miracles

24 Apr

Happy Easter! I hope each and every one of you has been enjoying a long weekend full of friends, family and a handful of Easter treats, too!

This is Jamally’s first full weekend off in a while, and it’s been nice having him around the house. We have a huge backyard, and we spent the better part of Friday afternoon raking and cleaning up the yard and garden areas. While doing so, we discovered our dog has a serious problem: he’s hoarding in the backyard. Over the course of his two years of existence, Tux has managed to sneak every toy we get for him out to the backyard.

This is just some of the things we collected during our weekend spring cleaning episode:

The pile didn’t last long, as he would steal a toy and run away with it every few moments. He – and we – were not impressed.

The majority of my weekend has been spent working, and this means Jamally has been on full-time house duty. From the dishes to the dog, he’s been stepping up and ensuring the house, “doesn’t end up having goats living in it”, as he put it.

And then he told me this: “Working on the house all weekend has made me realize how frustrating it is when people don’t pick up after themselves.”

He meant he can understand why I get frustrated when he leaves dishes, clothes and coffee cups lying around the house, and I’m the one picking up after him. It’s been a point of tension with us over the years, and it’s as though he had his “a-ha” moment.

It’s an Easter miracle!

In Other News:

– I went ‘down’ to a 23 km long run this weekend, and it was sooo much better than last weekend’s run.
-We watched the movie, Extract, last night starring Jason Bateman and Kristen Wiig. She is my comedic hero and every time she is on SNL, I get giddy. Her role in Extract was more serious, but great, nonetheless.
– We need to have a garage sale. Stat.

Question: What’s on your Spring Cleaning To-Do List?

Planning a Romantical Getaway

20 Apr

For the trillionth time, I’ve told you how much Jamally is working these days with the election coming up, and on May 3, we expect everything to get back to ‘normal’ around our household. That being said, he suggested we plan a trip that following weekend to get away and spend some one-on-one time together.

Flashback: During our marriage prep course weekend, there was a Q&A we reviewed with our small groups, and one question was, “What is the most romantic thing your partner has ever done for you?” I pitched our proposal story as Jamally’s best romantic crafting, but we both came up with nil on my part. Noted.

And…we’re back: Jamally suggested we book a night away the weekend following the election, even if it’s to a nearby location, to ensure we spend some quality away together. I love having the chance to get away, and love planning the weekend just as much!

Take our honeymoon for example. The day following our wedding, Jamally and I hopped on a train (with bindle in hand), and travelled to Quebec City for a four-day getaway. It was the perfect place for us. We didn’t travel too far and didn’t have to fight in the car ride, as we could relax on the train.

We arrived at our hotel at night, and woke up the next morning to see our actual view from the hotel:

Our view from the Courtyard Marriott

We were excited to tour around the area, and had gorgeous weather to go with it.

We ate:

Wine and Dessert? Yes, Please!

We took a Horse and Carriage Ride:

We got carried away!

And we ate some more:

Drinks at the Irish Pub

We had an amazing time, and realized we didn’t need to go too far for a getaway. With that in mind, our post-election getaway will also be to a nearby region.

We could go to Ottawa, Kingston, Merrickville, Prince Edward County…but before I start planning:

Question: Where should we go for our getaway?

Your Running Mantra

19 Apr

Did anyone get to watch yesterday’s Boston Marathon? I caught the last five minutes of the men’s finish. It looked like they were working so hard, and the numbers prove it, as they both quashed a course record.

2:03:02: Mantra Magic!

While watching the top two runners fight it out in the last mile for the win, I was trying to imagine what was running through their own minds. As I wrote about the mantra I used on my long run Sunday, I wondered what mantra these runners use for the biggest race of their lives.

Runner’s World magazine published an article in the winter about using mantras to help you get through the tough parts of a race (are there easy parts?).

They suggested using the following scheme:

Take one word from each section and make it into a mantra:

A
Run
Go
Stride
Sprint
Be

B
Strong
Fast
Quick
Light
Fierce

C
Think
Feel
Embrace
Be
Hold

D
Power
Speed
Brave
Bold
Courage

I used this article and made the mantra, “Run Strong, Be Bold,” as I’m known to blow my mental game up during a run.

But the article had one elite runner share her mantra: lighter, softer, faster, relaxer. I ended up using this mantra during the Winterman Half, which helped me to relax and shape up my poor form. It also helped take my mind off the pain and focus on the words.

Going beyond running, mantras work well for any difficult situation. When an elementary school friend moved away in Grade 5, I didn’t want to cry when saying goodbye. Instead I looked up on the classroom wall and spotted a picture of a cow, and spit out, “Pretty Cow”. Now, when my one (I do have one!) friend and I don’t want to cry, we respond with the phrase, ‘Pretty Cow’. It’s our crying mantra, and brings laughter to some tough situations.

Question: What is your Mantra?

The Hardest Run of my Life

18 Apr

This weekend was spent with one special man in my life: my 20-month-0ld nephew. With his parents taking a well deserved trip, they trusted me to take him for an inclusive three-day, two night stay.

I knew I would either walk away with an extended family starting timeline or that my ovaries would be churning. In the end, I left with the satisfaction that I got to spend some one on one time with him and that I didn’t burn the house down! And maybe a bit of the ovaries churning factor came into play as well. 🙂

I learned a couple of things this weekend, too. Chasing after a two-year-old means you can’t really get anything else done, and you don’t really ever have a chance to eat a lot.

I didn’t realize the eating component until I was out on my run yesterday afternoon. I had increased my long, painful slow run up to 32 km this weekend. It was brutally windy outside yesterday, and was a victim to all four seasons in just one run.

First rain. Then hail. Then snow. Then sunshine.

It was the hardest run of my life. Not only did I face the harsh winds, I had to deal with the weather forecast and the fact I didn’t eat enough for my long run. It was ridiculous, and there were points in the run that I was giving it my all, and hardly moving.

So what did I do? I laughed.

After the first few km, I reacted with frustration, but knew that attitude wouldn’t get me far. So my mantra was “this is your test, this is your test. You can get a beer after this run. This is your test.”

I finished with an ugly hobble and had an ice bath with tea in hand. I followed it up with a beer and a spaghetti dinner at my parents’ place. What a great reward for such a hard run.

This morning I woke up with not only aches and pains, but a sore throat, too. I’m sure the changing weather didn’t help my immune system at all.

So here I am, drinking my PC Pomegranate Green Tea, with the high hopes this sore throat will disappear!

The best part about the end of my runs is that Jamally asks me each and every time, “How was your run?”. Whether or not he wants to listen, he is so good to ask me, allowing me to vent or brag about the most recent run. Now if only I could convince him to massage my sore feet!

Side Note: The house across the street from us is going up for auction tonight at 6 p.m. It’s been in the works for three weeks, and I’ve watched people from my office window (I can see them from the desk, I’m not crazy!), come visit and tour the house. I have been so excited to see how many people come to tonight’s auction. This morning I forgot I was covering an assignment and will miss the big event. I guess we’ll have to wait and see who moves in!