Monday, 27 May 2013

Appetizer & Drinks Party

A couple times a year we like to have the hubby's work team over for a social event with their spouse/significant other. As a spouse to someone who works long hours and travels I enjoy to meet the people he spends more time with than me! :-) I also like to celebrate the other spouses/significant others who hold down their side of the family like I do.


Friday evening we had the team over for a Spring Social. I don't care for doing much of anything on Friday nights - I always do my long runs on Saturday mornings and that is sacred to me. It is really hard for me to get out and do a 1.5/2+ hour run by myself. I need to the support of my running group for the route and company to be out running that long. We meet at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday mornings so I try to keep Friday nights low key so that I can get up the next morning. As the summer goes on that will be more and more important. Not only because we will be going longer and longer each Saturday but also because with the warmth of the summer we will be meeting earlier in the morning.

I wanted to keep things easy for myself with preparing for a Friday party. I did all appetizers and tried to prepare as much as possible Thursday night. Below are the recipes I made with notes about what I prepared when.

therightrecipe.org

I made this layered hummus dip a couple of times when my Mom was visiting and it's a big hit so I made it again. See my recipe here. I chopped the olives, tomatoes, cucumbers, and onion the night before. Stored them in a container in the refrigerator and right before guests arrived I assembled and sprinkled the cheese & dill on top. Worked out great!

Annie's Eats

I first had this strawberry bruschetta at a neighbors house (Hi Maria!) and loved it. It's the perfect summer appetizer! I have used this recipe from annies-eats.com. I chopped up the strawberries & basil and sliced the bread the night before. All stored nicely in a baggie & plastic container until right before the guests arrived. 
bevcooks.com

These crostini's are really tasty! I love the combination of the sweet from the honey and peach & the pop you get in your mouth from the blue cheese. I toasted the bread the night before - really all I could do a head of time. It doesn't take too much time to assemble and melt the cheese before the party, but I started with these first when I was getting everything together.

Fresh Catering

Asparagus is in season so I thought these phyllo wraps would be a good appetizer to have and they were perfect because I could prepare the entire recipe the night before minus the baking. I lined them up on the cookie sheet, covered with plastic wrap, and popped in the refrigerator until about 30 mins before guests were scheduled to arrive. 


I of course had to make my "famous" guacamole. Honestly this is a winner every time. The hubby complained the next morning that while he was cleaning up from the party there was no guacamole to snack on or save for the next day. I guess next time I should put a bit away for him in case he doesn't get his fill during the party. I don't have a "pretty" picture of my guacamole so I found this one on the web from Jinie's Kitchen. Click here for my guacamole recipe.

Glorious Treats

I wanted to serve something sweet, but I didn't want to spend a lot of time baking something. I found this recipe for Caramel Cream Cheese Apple Dip on Pinterest and thought it would be great to give a try! I followed the recipe exactly keeping in mind that it works out best if the cream cheese is completely at room temperature. I sprinkled the top with Skor Chip Its because they are a Hershey product and that was the crowd I was entertaining! I made the entire recipe the night before, covered with plastic wrap and kept in the refrigerator until about 30 mins before the party. I wanted the cream cheese to soften a bit to make it easier to dip the apples in. 

Erin's Food Files

And last but not least the signature drink for the party Pineapple Sangria. This unfortunately can't be made ahead of time. I put this all together within the hour of the guests arriving. It was really good! I made small stir skewers of fruit and served it in mason jar mugs! It was a bit sweet, but really good!


I hope you are able to enjoy some of these recipes for your next get together!



Sunday, 26 May 2013

Summary Saturday

Training

Sunday - off

Monday - run: 6.5 easy trail run. It was a humid morning with some storms coming in - the first one of the season - it's going to be a long summer of marathon training in the heat. 
strength training:  the gym was closed today due to the Canadian holiday Victoria Day

Tuesday - off day. Manicure & Pedicure with my Mom before taking her to the airport. 

Wednesday -  run: it was raining so I went to the gym to run on the treadmill. Click here to read about my love/hate relationship with the treadmill

Thursday - off

Friday - off 

Saturday -  14.3k long run, we are starting to get up there in distance. Nothing compared to later on in the training season, but I feel like anything longer than 10k for consistent weekends is a big deal

Web Find


I'm finding that my web finds have a trend - they are all about food recipes! This week I was searching for a rhubarb recipe after getting some from a friend of ours. I'm going to give this Orange Rhubarb Bread recipe a try from the Taste of Home magazine website. 

Orange Rhubarb Bread from Taste of Home

Goals for the Week

* Get the twins signed up for swimming & ice skating lessons. Patrick is obsessed with hockey and we really need to get him on skates. Luckily here in Canada there are plenty of places year round to take lessons. Swimming will be a good activity to keep us busy this summer and I would like the boys to have some basic lessons. 

* We were at a church fundraiser Saturday night and I bid on and won a gait analysis from a local chiropractor. I'm not sure how good it will be but I don't think it will hurt for me to see what they have to say. It only cost me $25 and it went to a good cause! 

At what age did you start swimming, skating or other kind of lessons for your children? What distance do you feel moves from more than just a nice easy weekend run to a serious training long run?

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Treadmill Running

I have a love/hate relationship with the treadmill. Yesterday afternoon our weeknight group run coordinator sent out a note stating the skies didn't look like it was going to be a dry run. They have been dark for a few days now as storms have gone through. Just as the babysitter came to watch the boys while I ran and worked out and the hubby went to his men's golf league it started to down pour. I really don't mind running in a bit of rain - but not a downpour unless it's race day (See my recap of Nashville's half marathon in the rain here). 

So I decided to use the gym membership for something other than yoga and the hot tub! 


While I did get a good run & quick strength training workout in there were so many things that annoyed me about doing my run at the gym that I think I may deal with the rain next time!

** Warning ** This is going to be a complaining list - just to get it off my chest!

  • People who hold up parking lot traffic for the closest spot to the door. Unless you are handicap (and therefore would have a permit for those spots) it isn't going to hurt you to park at the back of the lot and walk to the entrance! Reminder: You are parking at a fitness gym - the walk to the entrance can count as part of your work out if you want! 
  • People who choose the treadmill right next to mine when there are plenty others open! I purposefully went to the corner of the gym away from the busy spots to have a bit of quiet and space and wouldn't you know it, but someone picked the treadmill right next to mine. And he pounded the treadmill so hard with his feet while running I thought he was going to break through it!
  • Staring at TV's rather than nature! I couldn't fully relax during this run and get into a good rhythm. I'm just not used to staring at a sports-pub-like display of TV's while I'm running. 
  • People with bad fitness club etiquette - please wipe down your equipment after using it! I saw how much you sweat and see the drips puddle on the ground under your area!
Okay, I think I'm done - whew! I feel better and I'm pretty sure I will be running out in the rain instead of on the treadmill next time - it just wasn't worth it!

Do you like running on a treadmill? Do you run on one in your home or at a gym? Are there things I could do to make it more enjoyable the next time I "have" to do a run on one?


Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Long Weekend Fun = Sad Goodbye

My Mom was visiting this last week. It was a Holiday Weekend (Victoria Day - celebrating Queen Victoria's Birthday) here in Canada. We had beautiful weather, great food, really good drinks & fun adventures all with my Mom here with us. She and I went on 4 runs together over the 8 days she was here! That was a lot of fun for me! 

It was really sad to take her to the airport yesterday. Each visit the twins are older and more aware of how much fun it is to have their Grandparents around and more and more devastated when they leave. It really breaks my heart. More on my feelings on this "assignment" we are on in a later post - I want to keep this one up beat!

A few other blogs I follow of friends I have met here in Canada did a recap of their long weekends in photos. Seems like a good way for me to sum up our fun time with Nana as well! Thanks La Dauphine  and Cherry Pie Twins for the idea!

Planting a Vegetable Garden with Nana!

I'll write more soon about the vegetable garden and our unexpected guests munching on it! Argh!

Taking Nana out on her first "treasure hunt" aka Geocaching

See my post on Geocaching here. This find was called "Dude, I lost my car"! Super fun!

Finding the Cache in the lost car!

When we are not using Saturday night as our date night we often entertain at home and always have Saturday Night Steak. I tried a few new and really good recipes. We invited some of the running friends my Mom has gotten to know on her visits here. See the recipe for the layered hummus dip here and I'll post about the others (Strawberry White Chocolate Tiramisu & Blue Cheese & Pear Crostini & Strawberry Margaritas) soon! 

Saturday night steak with running friends!

Another Geocaching adventure in our friends new neighborhood of Bronte Harbor. We didn't find the first one, but luckily there was another nearby!

Geocaching, beach walk, & lunch at the Fire Hall

We ended the long weekend and my Mom's visit with a Victoria Day BBQ and invited over my cousin (actually my Mom's first cousin, my 2nd cousin) and his partner. 

Mike, Nana & Logan playing a game on the iPad

I hope you had a fabulous long Victoria weekend if you are Canadian - it was wonderful weather here. If you are American do you have fun plans for the upcoming Memorial Weekend? I wish safe weather for everyone this weekend after the recent devastation! 

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Summary Saturday

I'm a day off! Eeek! Not a good start to my weekly summaries! It's been a busy weekend. My Mom has been visiting since Tuesday and the weather has been gorgeous so we have been outside a lot! 

Training

Monday - run: 40 min run with hill repeats. Elizabeth Primrose came out to discuss running form for our running group. Click here for the recap on that. 
strength training: legs, lots of squats & lunges!

Tuesday - off day - drove my cousin & his wife to Buffalo airport and picked up my Mom

Wednesday - run: 40 min run with hill repeats with my Mom! We did hill repeats again because I only got one set in on Monday night because of the running form part. 
strength training: upper body & core. Tonight was low weight, high intensity circuits. My Mom joined us and did great! 

Thursday - off

Friday - 7k easy run

Saturday - 12k long easy run

Web Find

We hosted a few running friends over for Saturday night steak dinner (when we are home on Saturday nights we cook steak). I was looking for some spring/summer recipes. Of course I went to Pinterest for inspiration. I found a great recipe for a hummus layered dip I want to share. It's really easy and the flavors make it taste like it was so much harder to prepare than it really was. I highly recommend it!

Layered Hummus Dip from therightrecipe.org

Layered Hummus Dip Recipe

Ingredients

16 oz container of your favorite hummus - I used a roasted garlic flavor
equal amounts (I did around 3/4 cups each) of diced tomatoes, diced red onion, chopped kalamata olives & diced cucumber
1/4 - 1/2 cup feta cheese crumbles
tablespoon fresh dill 

Directions

Spread the hummus evenly on a platter - I used a cake stand like the picture from therightrecipe.org. Mix tomatoes, red onion, kalamata olives & cucumber in a bowl. Spread evenly over hummus. Sprinkled feta cheese crumbles over top then fresh dill. I cut off a couple sprigs of the dill and used a kitchen scissors to chop the dill over the dip.

Serve with pita chips! Enjoy!

Goals for the Week

* I really need to get my nutrition back on track. My Mom is a healthy eater, but I feel like we drank more than usual - toasting her visit and the fabulous weather we were having. 

* With not feeling the greatest last week I did not wake up before the boys any morning. I really enjoyed that time so I need to start that again.

* Run again on my own on either Thursday or Friday. I have been only running 3 days a week since that's all the group meets for - but running this Friday morning with my Mom felt really good. I also know that will benefit my training for the marathon.

Do you have any weekly food traditions like Meatless Mondays or Saturday night Steaks? How many days a week do you run when training for a long distance race?


Friday, 17 May 2013

Mother's Day Weekend Recipes

Whew! It's been quite a week. I feel a bit like a airport taxi service driving my cousin & his wife to and from the Buffalo, NY airport (it's WAY cheaper to fly into Buffalo than Toronto and it's only about 1.5 hours away) and then picking my Mom up there as well!

I sat down to get a head start on my Summary Saturday post for this week and it quickly turned into a post about recipes from last weekend so I'll work on the Summary later! 

When we found out we were moving to the Toronto area I immediately got in contact with my 2nd cousin who has lived here for almost 15 years. We have gotten to know him and his partner very well since living here and it's been great having a piece of family so close. His brother and wife came to visit from Portland, OR for the first time last weekend. Friday I got them from the Buffalo airport - we stopped by Niagara Falls on the way back to our house for a fish taco dinner - with of course my "famous guacamole"! 

Cousins out in Toronto!

Here's the recipe I used for the fish tacos from Brittany's Pantry. They really turned out well, I'll be using this recipe again! I served them with shredded cabbage, guacamole, corn salsa from Trader Joe's, and this black bean recipe

Fish Tacos by Brittany's Pantry


Seasoned Black Beans

Saturday night we got an overnight babysitter to head into Toronto. The overnight babysitter was partially my Mother's Day gift - a morning to sleep in and not worry about rushing home to the babysitter after a night out. My cousin made us homemade pizza at his place for dinner - it was Amazing! I'm afraid to even ask for the recipe because I'm not sure I could do it justice, he'll just have to make it for us again some time - soon! 

Amazing Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza!

I have loved the "invention" of Pinterest! It has become a virtual cookbook for me. I have always used the internet to find recipes vs. spending $$ on cookbooks that I only use one or two recipes from. Pinterest has made it so easy for me to organize and save recipes that I have found throughout the web. Feel free to follow my Pinterest boards here!

Do you use Pinterest to organize your recipes or are you a cookbook kind of person? 

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Running Form Part: Foot Strike

Monday night our running group asked Elizabeth Primrose CSCS, NCCP to join us to analyze our running form and provide suggestions on how to improve it. While I had hoped for a more individualized assessment (which wasn't possible because more than just us "regulars" came out because of her appearance) she did give me somethings to think about. 

First of all, who is Elizabeth Primrose? I didn't know either, but according to her bio she is definitely a good choice for someone to give advice on running form. 

Elizabeth Primrose CSCS, NCCP
As the first ever Canadian Professional Triathlon Champion in 1988 and the 2011 Ontario Professional Triathlon Champion, Elizabeth knows how important quality coaching is for achieving high performance and for staying healthy from year to year.

In addition to her triathlon successes, Elizabeth placed 5th at the 2011 World Snowshoe Running Championships, was the 2009 Canadian Masters Cross Country Running champion and won the 2008 Niagara Falls International Marathon. She credits proper planning, well designed training programs and strength training for keeping her competitive as an elite runner and triathlete for more than 25 years.

Elizabeth is a certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS) with the YMCA and a certified distance running, triathlon and swim coach with the National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP). She was the dryland coach at Rocky Island Swim & Tri Club in Huntsville from 2010 to 2012 and for the Huntsville Otters Hockey Club in 2010 and 2011.
The focus of her short time with us was where our foot was striking the ground when we run. She noted perfect running form would be that our toe box should strike first and we should think about pushing off with our big toe. I would say most runners (including myself) do not run like this. When we were practicing this with her most of us were saying how "unnatural" it felt. 

I run with my heel striking first. As does many of the people I run with - so should we all work on a mid foot or fore front strike when it doesn't appear to be a "natural" form for us?


I did a bit more research on this topic because it just didn't feel good to me to run with my toe box striking first - I was picturing shin splints and tight calves after my run because it felt like I was running on my tippy toes! 


My go-to source for all things running Runner's World had this to say about foot strike:
To run well, you need to push off the ground with maximum force. With each step, your foot should hit the ground lightly -- landing between your heel and midfoot -- then quickly roll forward. Keep your ankle flexed as your foot rolls forward to create more force for push-off. As you roll onto your toes, try to spring off the ground. You should feel your calf muscles propelling you forward on each step. Your feet should not slap loudly as they hit the ground. Good running is springy and quiet.

Perfect Running Form - Runner's World

I wouldn't describe my running as springy, but it is quiet. So maybe I'm doing something "right"?!?
I also came across this blog post at myperformancerehab.com by a physical therapist. He gives a good break down of the good and bad of heel striking while running. 


Running Form
myperformancerehab.com

He states that heel strike is bad for long distance running while it's ideal for walking. A heel strike means more of your foot hitting the ground. A forefoot landing is bad for long distance running, but ideal for sprinting. A midfoot strike is ideal for long distance running because "less time with your foot on the ground = less slowing down of your body".

So why would anyone heel strike if it's slowing us down? I had experienced some plantar fasciitis in my left heel when we first moved to Canada. I ultimately figured out it was because I was standing on a hard tile kitchen floor most of the day in just socks or bare feet. Once I started wearing "house shoes" things got better. 

Fast forward to Tuesday morning - the morning after I was attempting to run with a forefoot landing - I have left heel pain!! Ugh! I'm glad I did a bit of research on this foot striking thing with running. I'm not a sprinter nor do I want to be so I shouldn't be attempting a forefoot landing. A mid foot strike is more ideal. Here's an explanation of why according to the physical therapist on myperformancerehab.com:



Here is why forefoot landing is bad for distance running (but ideal for sprinting):
  • Overuse of calf muscles which causes significant fatigue, as well as Achilles tendon issues, and often plantar fasciitis due to poor lower leg translation over the ankle joint.
  • Landing on the forefoot puts significant increased stress on significantly small bones. Look at how thick and dense your heel is compared with the bones that make up our toes. This can quickly lead to stress fracture.
So, to say one style of running is “better” is not accurate – what makes sense on paper and in an ideal person doesn’t always pan out in reality. I ascribe to following the evidence and research whenever available. Midfoot landing with running makes the most sense, but cannot be generalized. It has flaws too. Trust me, this is not going to be a popular answer, but there is NO WAY – NO WAY to address proper running form in most persons, let alone to be able to say what the best technique is for all.
Like I said, I'm naturally a heel striker with running - apparently that isn't the way to go either and maybe more of my problem with my heel pain. 
Here is why heel strike is bad for running (while it is ideal for walking):
  • When your heel accepts the force of your body weight, your foot is rigid (locked). This translates the shock out of your foot/ankle, but usually places it up to the knee and back.
  • When your foot lands in front of your body, your IT band (a band that runs from your hip down the outside of your thigh to just under your knee) becomes overactive. This can result in generalized knee pain, also known as patella-femoral syndrome as well as hip bursitis.
  • Tendency for longer strides, which are not natural and often don’t work for efficiency.
  • Over-striding also typically leads to the overuse of the hamstring muscles with a heel strike.
I'm coming away with a couple of things from Elizabeth Primrose coming to meet with our group and researching this a bit more. 
* It is impossible to give a generalized description of running form. What works for one person isn't going to necessarily work for the masses. 
* It makes sense that a mid foot strike is beneficial to avoid the heel pain I'm experiencing and to lighten my step.

My overall conclusion on this is that I need to do more research, experiment with my foot strike placement on different runs and find what works best for me, my body and the distance I will be working up to. 

Monday, 13 May 2013

My "famous" Guacamole

I really love to entertain people at our home. I mostly host parties with appetizers and drinks, although I have been fine tuning my "dinner parties" as well. I am an extremely social person so I don't like to be stuck in the kitchen preparing food while my guests are at the house. I tend to prepare most items ahead of time and have them all out to munch on so that I can enjoy the party with my guests. One of my staple prepare-ahead-of-time-foods is guacamole. I make it so often people have come to expect it at a get together at our home. My cousin came to visit with his wife from Portland, Oregon and I made fish tacos for dinner. What better to serve that with than my "famous" guacamole. For a while I wasn't giving out my "secret ingredients" but I was getting asked about my recipe so often, I decided to be flattered instead of secretive about it.

So consider yourself lucky that I'm sharing my recipe, ha! :-)

I usually don't measure out my ingredients when making this guacamole. I have made it so many times I know when it's good by a quick taste or consistency. I measured things out this time around to be able to post the recipe. But with all recipes, feel free to add more of the things you like and less of what you don't!

I always consider my crowd when adding the jalapeño pepper and red hot sauce - more for those I know can handle it, less for those that can't or if I know kiddos will be eating it. Have you heard that Midwesterners, specifically Minnesotans can't handle spice? I've heard the joke that ketchup is considered a spice in Minnesota! I'm not one of those people - I can handle the non-ketchup kind of spice! :-)

I base the amount of my ingredients for this guacamole based on the number of avocados I'm going to use. I base the number of avocados I'm going to use on the amount of people I'm serving. For this batch I was making it for 6 people + a couple toddlers sneaking bites!

Ingredients (missing garlic)

Begin by chopping the cherry tomatoes. Depending on their size I usually cut them in half then quarter each half. I prefer cherry tomatoes because I like that they are firm after cut into eighths. I like my guacamole chunky! 

Halve cherry tomatoes, then quarter each half

Dice red onion - Have you ever wondered why they call it red onion when it's clearly purple?!?!

Diced red onion


Using rubber gloves chop the jalapeño and garlic. Roughly chop cilantro. 

Mix together tomatoes, onions, jalapeño, garlic & cilantro in a container you can close tightly. Squeeze the juice from one lime over the tomato mixture. Stir well, cover and refrigerate for a hour or overnight. I usually make the guacamole this far the night before. That way before I'm serving it I don't have the mess in my kitchen of all the chopping. I like how the guacamole tastes with these veggies marinating in the lime juice! 

Veggies marinating in lime juice

Just prior to serving cut up avocados. I forgot to take a picture of myself cutting the avocados. I found this picture from ourbestbites.com on how I cut them. First run your knife around the avocado the long way. Remove the pit. Slice into the avocado making a checker board look. Then spoon out into a large bowl. Repeat with each half of the avocados.

How to cut an avocado by ourbestbites.com

Mash the avocados to desired consistency. I always like to leave it a bit chunky. 

Stir in marinated tomato mixture. Add tablespoon of worcestershire sauce. This is my secret ingredient - I like how it gives the dip a smokey flavor. Depending upon how spicy I want the dip or how spicy the jalapeño is I'll had 3-4 dashes of red hot sauce. Add a pinch or two of salt and pepper to taste. I usually don't add too much salt even if it tastes like it needs it - tortilla chips have enough salt on them! Stir well and serve with tortilla chips! Enjoy!


Guacamole Recipe

Ingredients


1 cup cherry tomatoes (halved or quartered)

3/4 cup diced red onion
1 medium sized jalapeno pepper (seeds removed from all or half depending on spice level desired)
2 garlic cloves - minced
juice of one lime
3 ripe avocados
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
3-4 dashes of red hot sauce (more or less depending on taste)
salt & pepper to taste

Begin by chopping the cherry tomatoes. Depending on their size I usually cut them in half then quarter each half. Using rubber gloves chop the jalapeño and garlic. Roughly chop cilantro. 

Mix together tomatoes, onions, jalapeño, garlic & cilantro in a container you can close tightly. Squeeze the juice from one lime over the tomato mixture. Stir well, cover and refrigerate for a hour or up to overnight. Just prior to serving cut up avocados. Mash the avocados to desired consistency.

Stir in marinated tomato mixture. Add tablespoon of worcestershire sauce. Depending upon how spicy I want the dip or how spicy the jalapeño is I'll had 3-4 dashes of red hot sauce. Add a pinch or two of salt and pepper to taste. I usually don't add too much salt even if it tastes like it needs it - tortilla chips have enough salt on them! 

Stir well and serve with tortilla chips! Enjoy!

Do you have a dish that you consider your "famous" or "signature" one? Do you share the recipe?

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all you Moms, Grandmas, Nanas, Bonus Moms, and all the other amazing women in our lives!

Throughout my blog you will see lots of references to my Mom. She started running after I was born and has continued to this day. Without ever pushing my brothers or me to run a race we all have ran countless races and marathons! We all found our own love of running and racing by her example. Our family vacations were to Duluth, Minnesota for two races Grandma's Marathon and the Edmond Fitzgerald Ultra Marathon (which is no longer running) to watch my Mom run. Now we all do the same! 

Here is a picture of the 5 generations on my Mom's side of the family. My Great Grandma (the twins' great, great grandma) turned 101 this December. She is still living alone in the house I have always known her to live in! She is amazing! The boys are young in the picture - only 18 months! Amazing what another 18 months of growth does at that age!

5 generations!

What things do you do as an adult that your Mom did while you were growing up? Are you surprised you do them now? 

Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Summary Saturday

Training
Sunday - watched hubby run his first marathon! See my recap here 

Monday - run: 15 min warm up (WU), 3 minute fast/2 min recovery x 3, 15 min cool down (CD). This run took 35 minutes and was 5.6k in distance. The WU and CD are meant to be just that, run them slow. I ran my WU and CD around 6:10/km. Then pick up the pace  for 3 minutes, not an all out sprint just a bit faster than the WU and CD. I ran my 3 minutes around 5:20/km. The 2 min recovery should be back to the WU pace. Repeat the 3 min fast/2 min recovery 3 times. The idea is to keep the 3 min fast all at the same pace. So not to go too fast the first round that you can't keep up that pace for the third round. 
strength training: Monday nights are legs at the cross fit gym I go to. Click here for a post on strength training. Our leg workouts typically include A LOT of squats and lunges. Last night was no exception. I'm going to feel this workout on Wednesday! It's always two days later when the soreness really kicks in! 

Tuesday - 60 min bike ride pulling the twins in the buggy - that's nearly 70 pounds of extra weight! They sure have grown from last summer!

Wednesday - run: 15 min WU, 6 hill repeats, 15 min CD
strength training: upper body, this was a high intensity, quick upper body work out! 

Thursday - off
Friday - off

Saturday - 11k run, it was a cool overcast morning Perfect running weather!

Web Find
You will see a trend in my blogging that includes me partaking in "adult beverages" as my husband would call them. I really like most adult beverages but I would say my favorites are margaritas, beer, red wine and gin & tonics (like I said I pretty much like them all)!

This week's find from around the web caught my attention because of the name Margarita Tarts. Yum! I'm saving this recipe to try soon. I was thinking of serving it for a dinner I will be hosting for my cousin who is visiting from Portland, but it looks like a put-together-right-before-you-serve-it kind of desert so I'm off on the search for something I can prepare ahead of time instead! Click here for the recipe from A Couple Cooks.


Margarita Tart from www.acouplecooks.com


Tuesday I scheduled with a friend of mine who has twin boys the same age as ours to go Mini Putt Golfing. We were the only ones there and the boys had a blast! It was a beautiful day! And only in Canada would the 18th hole be a hockey rink and goalie! 


Goals for the week:
I feel a cold coming on. . .ugh! My goal for this week will be to stay healthy!
My Mom is coming to visit this week. I'm excited to have her help us plant our vegetable garden.  
I did really well this last week getting up before the boys did and have some quiet time with my coffee. I'm hoping to continue that this week, but whether this feeling I have amounts into a cold will probably determine that. 

What is your favorite "adult beverage"? Do you get up before your children in the morning or are they your wake up call?

Have a great week!

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Strength Training

It is more than acceptable to be just a runner! I was for a very long time. However, if you do any research on long distance running you will undoubtably read that your endurance and speed will improve if you add strength workouts to your training schedule. I added strength workouts to my training in January of 2012. I strongly believe that those workouts along with my consistent running with the group have made my running so much stronger! Since starting the strength training I took 8 minutes off my half marathon time, 5 mins off my 30k race time, and nearly 10 lbs off the scale. It's hard to argue with those results!

The group I run with worked out a deal with a crossfit gym in Oakville called Primal Athletics. It's a bare bones gym with nothing more than barbells, bench presses, & pull up bars. But it has two amazing coaches that have tailored two workouts a week to our running group. On Monday nights we focus on legs and Wednesday nights we focus on upper body and core. 

strength training workout - I'm in the blue!

Each workout is 45 minutes. The gym typically puts it's members through a warm up time, but our group runs for 40-50 mins prior to the session so we usually get right into the work out. At first we mostly used our own body as resistance. It's amazing what great of a workout you can get with nothing more than your body! Squats, lunges, plank, push ups, wall sits, etc. As time has gone on and we have gotten stronger we have added weights in. 

Example of adding weight: 

beginner me - wall sit with just my body
stronger me - wall sit holding a 15 lb weight in each hand 

beginner me - walking lunges with just my body
stronger me - walking lunges holding a 25 lb plate

beginner me - squats with just my body
stronger me - squats holding a 35 lb kettle ball

How many reps do you do?

Remember, getting up to these weights has taken me over a year of doing this strength training 2 times a week. Some weeks days feel better than others and I can push myself a bit farther. At the end of the workout I feel amazing! I sleep better and overall feel so much better about myself. I have really accomplished some great for just me! Which as a Mommy to twin boys is a great thing to have 2 days a week! This strength training as really strengthen my running. My legs don't get fatigued nearly as fast as they used to. I also feel that it has kept me injury free. . . KNOCK ON WOOD!  An added bonus is that I notice my physical appearance toning. My arms, back and chest are not quite as flabby as the couple years post twins. I'm working on my belly, but that's being done with nutrition. You can do a million sit ups and still not get a flat belly -it's a fact! Belly fat isn't lost in the gym, it's lost on your plate. What you eat and drink effects your belly fat. My plan is to work on that this summer and fall leading up to Chicago Marathon with the nutrition plan from one of the coaches at this gym. 

I would not do any of these kinds of workouts if it wasn't for this gym or going with my running group. I am someone that needs peer pressure and accountability to motivate me. I'm so thankful to have the running group and the coaches at Primal to do both for me! 

Do you do regular strength training? Have you always with your running? What benefits do you notice?

Monday, 6 May 2013

Mississauga Marathon Recap


No I didn't run a marathon yesterday! Mine is coming in October in ChicagoThe hubby ran his first marathon yesterday in Mississauga (the closest suburb to Toronto). He did an amazing job! Here is a recap of the day in pictures. I can't speak for him too much about what the course was like, but I believe the first half is downhill towards Lake Ontario and then some rolling hills along Lakeshore Drive to the finish.

Here is a picture of all of the great pictures and messages he received from friends and family in response to my message out to all of them about a month ago. Read here about my message to them.

Marathon Messages

This marathon is quite small. The marathon only had 840 finishers. The half marathon at about 3000 finishers and the 10K & 5K had 1,200 each. It was quite easy to park at the start, walk up with him, give him a kiss good luck and head off to my first spot along the course to watch him!

At the start!

I went to a location along the route where he would be passing by twice 22k & 28k. It was perfect! He said he was feeling really good when I saw him at the 22k and started feeling tired when I saw him again at 28k. I asked him how he was feeling at 28k and he shouted to me "I just want to be done!" As you can tell from this picture it was a sunny day. Around 52 at the start and it warmed up to 75 later in the day. There wasn't a cloud in the sky and full sun so it got warm!

Lookin' good at 22k!

We were very lucky to know someone who got us parking passes to the Port Credit Yacht Club to park our car. It's right at the finish and made it very convenient to get close to the finish to see him come in! We set out to watch him finish as he was coming around this pond. I got a good look ahead at him coming and decided to run a bit with him as he pushed to the finish! 

Pushing through to the finish!

Here's his happy face at the finish!

The Finisher!
Hugs for the finisher!
He had an amazing first marathon finishing time! Boston qualifying time for his age group (35-39) is 3:10! Crazy fast! He did an amazing 3:34:54 for his first marathon! Way to go honey!


From a spectators point of view I thought this was an easy race to support a runner at. Marathons can sometimes be a hard spectator sport if you are trying to watch a particular person along the course. It was great to see Josh 3 times along the course. 

Have you been a spectator at many marathons? Are there particular races that are easier or harder for watching friends or family?