Thinking Out Loud #31

It’s that time again…..!

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Happy Thinking Out Loud Thursday!

1.  I went back to work today for the first time in over two months.  Holy shock to the system.  I’m not going to complain about work though because not a lot of professions grant you with a couple of summer months to do whatever you please!  It was nice to see all of my colleagues and students again too.  To those of you who asked – I am a substitute teacher but kind of situated in one school.  I fell in love with a particular high school and became really close with a lot of the teachers as well as the administration so I am lucky enough to work at the same place nearly every day.  Sometimes I take on multiple day/week assignments for teachers too.  It works for me right now and gives me a lot of flexibility and time to work on the blog/do other things that I love! :)

2.  I didn’t bring any food to work today (I was only supposed to work half a day but it got changed at the last minute) so I went out for ROTI on my lunch.  I ordered a channa and potato roti as well as doubles.  Oh. my. woooooord.

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The doubles were better than the ones I had when I was in Trinidad.  No lie.  The bread was lightly crispy but pillowy and fluffy at the same time if that makes any sense…and it’s filled with curried chickpeas.  They don’t make for great photos, especially when you eat in the car but man they’re delicious.  There’s just something about fried carbs, am I right?

3.  I’m going to see WICKED this weekend!!!  My cousin got me tickets for my birthday.  Has anyone seen it???

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The last musical I saw was Aladdin and I absolutely loved it so I’m pretty pumped for this.

4.  Who else gets weekly Lululemon updates and fell in love with the oh-so-Canadian Scuba hoodie (far right) in this week’s “hi we are here to take all of your money” email?

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Well when Danielle saw it and tried to buy one it was immediately SOLD OUT.  Lululemon people are cray (including us, I guess).  Anyway, the amazing friend ;) that I am scurried on over to the mall when I heard about her predicament (there is no Lulu near her) and BAM.  The store just got them in.  So I bought three – one for her, her friend, and myself.  Because I really need another hoodie in my life. #YOLO (<- do people eve say that anymore?)

5.  Speaking of apparel, these are my new current favourite jeans:

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Let’s also note that I do not wear crop tops – I just hiked my shirt up because I was texting my cousin photos and needed help choosing between two sizes.  I thought the ones in the above photo were too tight but she told me to get them because they stretch.  Let’s hope she’s right because they currently make me feel like a stuffed sausage.  They are from American Eagle in case you’re wondering.  I used to be one of those people who happily spent $200+ on jeans but those days are over.  AE jeans fit me better than any other brand I have owned and my wallet appreciates the $60 price tag a lot more.

6. A few people have posted this article from Buzzfeed on Facebook entitled 18 Things You Can Only Get Away With In Toronto and I just about died when I saw this guy because I actually gave him $20 last winter when I saw him in a subway station sitting with his cute dog.

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NOW HE’S FAMOUS!  I asked him what he’d do if I gave him money and the first thing he said was “buy food for my dog” so my heart kind of melted and I had faith that he would spend it on the right things.  I hope he did.

7.  I like to creep on my dog when he’s sleeping and get pretty dirty looks in return.

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8.  Someone else tell me they’re not too impressed with Costco already having their Christmas stuff out.  The thought of snow and below zero temps makes me want to die a little.  It’s even worse that I’m going to have to train through that weather again if I’m running Phoenix next February.

9.  If you need a laugh…

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Seriously though.  Dead.

10.  Speaking of oats, I think I might have some of dinner.  Is that weird or what?  Gotta satisfy those random cravings, right?  I’ve just got to make sure that I have some bewitched pecan butter in the fridge… ;)

Hope you all had a great day!

Marathon Monday: summer running gear

Happy Marathon Monday!

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It feels good to be back after a few disastrous days.  Last week I started to feel a bit burnt out and like my body just needed a break so I scrapped my 5am workouts/gym sessions and just ran.  That’s all I really felt like doing.  I ran based on effort and took it easy for the most part:

Monday: 5 miles @ 9:09 avg.

Tuesday: OFF

Wednesday: 10 miles @ 8:26 avg.

Thursday: OFF

Friday: 5 miles @ 8:21 avg.

Saturday: 3.5 miles @ 9:11 avg.

Sunday: 5 miles @ 8:44 avg.

Hopefully this week I’ll find a little more motivation to cross train and lift weights.

I also decided not to run the Niagara Half Marathon yesterday.  I was this close to going but I knew it wouldn’t have been the best decision for me.  I have been racing so much lately and I know I would have put a lot of pressure on myself to PR.  It might have been possible.  Who knows.  I did love staying in my pyjamas until 11am yesterday though.  It’s been a while since I did that but it sure felt good to have a lazy morning for once.

With the super hot weather creeping up on us, I thought I’d put together some of my favourite summer running pieces.  I always get questions regarding gear and everyone loves cute workout clothing, so why not talk about it?!  We are all different when it comes to what we are comfortable wearing (especially when running) but these are some of my essentials:

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accessories

1.  Mizuno Lotus Sports Bra - I’m super picky with sports bras and how they are cut.  The racerback on this is very comfortable and doesn’t dig into my back at all.  The bra also comes with removable inserts so you don’t get a uni-boob.  WIN.

2.  Mizuno Daria Sunset Shorts - The flat waistband and longer built-in underwear (kind of like boy shorts) are awesome.  Super comfortable and no wedgies while running!

3.  Mizuno Harmony Tank - This tank is not super tight or clingy, allows for movement, and has no built in spots bra so you can wear what works for you underneath.

4. Lululemon Stuff Your Bra Sports Bra - IT’S BACK!!!! I have two of the Stuff Your Bra Tanks (Lulu is getting these again soon, so I was told) and they are the BEST. You can literally fit so much stuff in the pockets. I wore one to the Phoenix Marathon and it held three gels + my iPod. Your boobs might look a bit strange with all your things stuffed in there but trust me, it makes things soooo easy! No fiddling with zippers or belts.

5. Lululemon Dart & Dash Short – I’ll be honest, I didn’t like these when I saw them online but I tried them on anyway over the weekend and they are awesome.  They are long enough that you can run without your butt hanging out and they don’t squeeze you around the thigh opening like a lot of other tight shorts do.  The side pockets are a bonus and they are deep enough that you can put ID or a key in and not have to worry about it falling out while you run.

6. Lululemon Speed Shorts – These have been a long time favourite. They fit really well and always come in super fun colours. The only thing with these shorts — if I wear them for runs lasting longer than about two hours, the seam around the thighs starts to irritate my legs a bit. Other than that, I love love loooove these shorts.

7.  Mizuno DryLite Cap – My hair has gotten so long and it’s kind of painful to wear it in a ponytail because it’s so heavy.  I’ve gotten used to just throwing on a hat and wearing my hair down or wearing this Mizuno cap and pulling my hair through the hole in the back without using a hair elastic.  So it’s still kind of like a ponytail but without the headache!

8. Mizuno DL Comfort Quarter Socks – I used to think wearing any socks to run in is okay…not the case.  To avoid blisters I make sure to wear running-specific socks.  Along with these Mizuno ones, I also love Pro Compression, WrightSock, and Running Room brand socks.

9.  Sunski Original Sunglasses – I know these aren’t your typical running glasses but they are my new fav.  They’re polarized and really lightweight so they do a great job at reducing glare and don’t move one bit when you’re running!

That’s more or less what I’m sweating in this season!

What are YOUR fav apparel pieces/accessories for summer?? 

Marathon Monday: BMO Vancouver Marathon RACE RECAP

Happy Monday!  The weekend was an absolute whirlwind for me.  Ever since the big surprise on Friday, I’ve felt like I’ve been in a big dream.  I don’t know what I did to deserve all the good that has happened to me but all I can say is that I am so grateful.  The last few days have blessed me with some pretty memorable experiences that I will probably talk about for a while!  I ran the BMO Vancouver Marathon yesterday so I thought I would start by putting together a recap for this week’s Marathon Monday.

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Th weather was calling for rain all weekend but judging from Friday and Saturday, things still looked promising – like it would be a day of light showers which would be refresing to run in.  I crossed my fingers which absolutely did not work.  I woke up race day morning with a sore throat and the sound of pouring rain outside my hotel window.  Not ideal.  I woke up at 5am and the race didn’t start until 8:30 so there was quite a bit of time for the rain to stop so I just stayed positive and hoped for the best.  I ate a slice of gluten-free bread with peanut butter, took my time getting ready and headed to the start around 7am.  It was early but I had to do a bit of filming for Vega before the start which was fine because early > late.  Being late to races is the worst ever.

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[What I wore: Vega tech tee, Lululemon run skirt (from last year - can't remember the name), Pro Compression calf sleeves, Mizuno Drylite cap, Mizuno Inspires]

The rain didn’t stop and it was pretty dang cold so I was eager to get started to warm up my body.  I knew that some of the Vega team and Emz would be around the 5-6 mile mark so I was really looking forward to seeing them.  They did not disappoint.  I’ve never heard people cheer so loud for me in my entire life.  They had the best signs, cow bells, horns, you name it.

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It was so great to see all of them, get a big hug from Emz, and then continue trotting along.  I took a Vega gel just after the 6 mile mark and was really happy with the way I was pacing myself.  The course is quite hilly so I ran based on effort which ended up being a lot faster than I anticipated…at least for the first part of the race.  I was holding an 8:30 min/mile pace for the first half and felt awesome.  My legs felt good, my energy didn’t plummet once, my body was finally getting warm, and I was just excited to be running.

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I didn’t have a time goal for myself for this race.  Finishing was the plan.  I got to the halfway mark well before two hours and took another gel.  When I got to around 15-16 miles though I started having all these crazy thoughts of setting a new PR.  It was so possible.  If I just kept my pace up for the rest of the race I would kill my previous PR that I set in Phoenix.  Easier said than done.

It was around the 20 mile mark that I started to fall apart.  I saw another group of  Vega friends at this point which was awesome for me mentally.  I was in quite a bit of pain but seeing their faces made me smile.  Plus I knew Emily wasn’t much farther along the course and she was running with me for the last few miles.  Having something to look forward to always helps.  I intended on taking a gel at this point but my stomach was not having it.  I felt sick and the thought of choking something down made me cringe.  I pushed through, saw my friend Ale who was cheering with her friends from Luluemon (thank you for coming out!) and finally got my Emily.

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I told her to talk to me because I needed to get my mind off running.  I was struggling holding a 10:00 min mile.  The last stretch is right by the sea wall so it was freezing, windy, and nothing sheilding the rain.  My entire body was red and my arms were going numb.  Not awesome.  Emily stayed a couple feet in front of me for the most part so I had someone to “chase” and it worked as best as it could.  I am so thankful she was there with me.  I probably would have walked if it wasn’t for her.  I barely had anything left in me.  I stopped and took breaks at the last couple water stations and drank whatever electrolyte drink they were handing out hoping it would give me something.  ANYTHING.  Nope.

Once we got off the sea wall I was thanking the freaking heavens because I knew it would feel at least a couple degrees warmer.  Before the home stretch I saw Emma from Vega who had run the half marathon and then came back to cheer.  Love that.  There was a slight incline before the finish.  Pretty rude if you ask me.  BUT WE DID IT!  I grabbed Emz’s hand and we crossed the finish line together…again.  My official time was 4:00:50.  I’d be lying if I said those 50 seconds didn’t bother me.  Another sub-4 would have been nice but I guess it wasn’t in the cards this time.

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I honestly didn’t know I was running this race until about 6-7 weeks ago so I told myself not to set any sort of time goal expectations.  The competitive part f me wants to PR every single time I have a race which is not smart or reasonable and I know that.  I really have no complaints about this race except for the weather and that is something that was out of my control.  The course was awesome, the support was phenomenal, everyone stayed positive despite the terrential downpour, and I had THE BEST team behind me every single step of the way.  I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to go to Vancouver, have my best friend with me, do some fun work for Vega (coming soon!), run this race, eat delicious food (more on that this week!), and just soak up everything the city has to offer.

A huge thank you to Vega for making this happen, for having my back, for cheering in the rain for four hours, and for making me feel so comfortable and welcome.  Most of all, thank you for bringing Emily along for me.  I knew this weekend was going to rock before she showed up but having her here brought things to a whole new level of awesomeness.  I am so grateful that she took time out of her life in Phoenix to come here for me.  She left her work, her family, not to mention she’s freaking PREGNANT (if you didn’t know, now you do!) - to come here and cheer me on.  I might be the luckiest person ever.

It’s not always about a PR.  Sometimes you just have to stop and think about how lucky you are to be able to run and have friends who support you.  I crossed the finish with a huge smile on my face knowing how hard I worked but better than that – knowing Emily and I had a post-race massage scheduled!  Bliss.

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Hope you all had a rad weekend and thank you x a million for being so awesome and supportive on here, Instagram, and Twitter.  I may not have had the time to respond to everything this weekend but I sure as heck read all your messages and I am so thankful.  You guys rock.

I got real lucky

Happy SUNDAY.  I’m pretty excited it’s a long weekend.  For you Americans — us Canadians have what is called ‘Family Day’ tomorrow which = day off = lots of time with my favourite people = happiness.  I got really lucky this weekend and it isn’t even over yet.  This is going to be a pretty random post and maybe I should have saved it for this week’s Thinking Out Loud Thursday buuuuuut I’m not.

I’ve had a Pad Thai craving for weeks and finally satisfied it on Friday.  If you live in Toronto and haven’t been to Salad King yet, GO.  NOW.  So good.

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My mom bought me a Vitamix on Saturday.  I don’t think I need to say anything else about that.

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I found (and ordered) myself the most perfect top (stuff your bran tank II) from Lululemon for my marathon.  It’s pretty genius if you ask me.  I won’t have to wear any uncomfortable belts or anything.  The less, the better.  I am planning on just stuffing some gels and my iPod into my shirt and stopping at water stations when I need it.  Hopefully it all works out okay.

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I was surprised with tickets to see BRUNO MARS in July!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  After I watched him perform at the SuperBowl I was like “Man, I need to see him in concert.”  Whattayaknow?  Just five more months and I get to see the guy LIVE.

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Aw yeah.

Today I got to go to lunch with a good friend of mine who is getting married in four months (yay!).  We had a lot to catch up on and a lot of goodness to eat.

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There is nothing, I repeat NOTHING better than perfect bread.  The kind that is super soft like a pillow but then has a really crunchy crust.  Ohhhhh yes.  I know that sandwich doesn’t look like anything spectacular but it was filled with about half a pound of goat cheese, tomato, basil, and a pesto spread.  I loved every bite.

Lots of surprises and time spent with some pretty cool peeps this weekend and it isn’t even over yet.  I am one lucky girl.  I’ll be spending Family Day with my….family.  What a surprise! ;)  I’ll also be getting my last long run in tomorrow morning (15 miles) and then it’s time to taper (after a couple more speed sessions this week).  I can’t believe the marathon is just 13 days away.

Canadians — how are you celebrating Family Day?

Tell me the best part about your weekend!  And runs today?  Delicious food?

These things make us (okay, ME) happy.

Well today I got another long run in the books.  It was less than fabulous.  More stomach issues – yay!  Major GI stuff going on PLUS I had to PEE 9 miles in.  Yeah, uncomfortable.  Also, my iPod died with 1.5 miles to go.  I don’t know what else could have gone wrong.  Anyway, I got it done and was still frozen by the time I got home.  I’ve got serious issues and have a really hard time warming up these days even when I feel sweat dripping everywhere.  Doesn’t make any sense.

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Next week’s long run is scaled back down to 10 miles and then the week after I think I’m looking at about 14.  Shit’s getting real.

The rest of my day was spent shopping (note to self: do not go to another mall until 2014), eating (was able to hold down toast for breakfast and a lettuce/bean/guacamole/salsa wrap for lunch), foam rolling, and putting together this collage of things that make me happy and will also make any runner in your life smile so big that her face hurts.  Some of these products I already have and some I need desperately in my life.  I told my family no gifts this year – I’d rather them donate whatever money they planned on spending on me.  Santa is a different story though (HI SANTA!!).

Run Wishlist

1. JayBird Freedom Sprint Wireless Headphones ($129) – I have really awesome headphones already but let’s get real, everyone should have wireless ones.  Wires get cold and frozen in the winter and weaving them through 19 layers of clothing is a pain in the butt.

2.  Garmin 310x ($225 CDN at Costco) – Every runner eventually needs a watch.  I recently purchased this Garmin after my last one died and I absolutely love it.  The price varies site to site but I found the best deal at Costco and it shipped the next day.

3.  Lululemon Run: Inspire Crop ($86) – I have one pair of these and they are my favourite crops in the world.  They don’t ride up or down and the waist band is super wide so it contains the muffin top.  Perfection.

4.  Pro Compression Marathon Compression Sock ($50) – I’ve got a bunch of compression socks and while I do love them all, Pro Compression makes the best colours and patterns.  There are so many to choose from and they even come out with really cute seasonal ones.  Their Holiday ones are super cute.

5.  Lululemon Base Runner Long Sleeve ($88) – Something about this shirt I just love.  It’s a bit pricey (in my opinion) but sometimes we just need to pay the price (or get Santa to pay the price) to look cute when we run.  It’s a fact.

6.  Mizuno Running Wave Rider 17 ($154.99 CDN) – I have never tried the Wave Rider as I usually wear a more supportive shoe but how can you not want it, especially in that colourway??  I have heard nothing but amazing reviews about this shoe and I might need it in my life even though I am running out of space on my shoe rack.  You can never have too many Mizunos.

Other great gift ideas include race entries (heck, we spend a lot on those), gels/run fuel, water belts/packs, winter running accessories, iPod, medal hanger (I have one from here and love it), foam roller, and there are probably a million other things I am forgetting.  Runners are very needy and we need lots of things to make our runs magical.  Maybe I should add Pepto-Bismol to my list.

Don’t forget to enter my VEGA giveaway (ends tomorrow)!

How did you spend your Sunday??

What’s on YOUR wish list??

Not as impressed as the rest of the world.

Last night I had a physio appointment (yay for paying for bruises!) and on the way I checked out Nutrition House to see if they had the latest Quest Bar flavour.  I was shocked when I saw it on the shelf because once something is launched in the US, it takes a good few weeks or sometimes even months for it to get here.  When the cookie dough was released I am pretty sure I called ALLTHESTORES on a weekly basis until it finally came.  Yeah, I’m one of those customers.  Anyway, I found the  double chocolate chunk cookie and snagged three (at the outrageous price of $3.49 each) and was not impressed.  At all.

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I see where they were going with it.  It’s just like the chocolate chip cookie dough (CCD) flavour, just that the “dough” is chocolatey and then has dark chocolate flavoured chips in it.  It was way too much for me and tasted too bitter (like dark chocolate).  The chips in the CCD also have that dark chocolate flavour but the dough part kind of balances out the bitterness.  So maybe it’s just me but this is probably my least favourite of all the bars.  Now I have two left and no desire to eat them.  I’m sure they won’t be hard to get rid of though.

One thing I AM impressed with:

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I just got this hat from Lululemon (except in black/grey) and the ponytail hole is the best thing ever.  I wore a pair of Lululemon gloves this weekend while I was working for Clif Bar and by the end of my shift they were all ripped so I went by Lulu and they let me exchange them and I got the hat instead (it’s called the Run With Me Toque).  I might wear it for my race on Sunday depending on the weather.  The fabric is a lot thinner than the Mizuno one I wore last weekend so it may not be as warm.  We shall see!

Given that it is four days until race day, you will probably hear about four more problems or questions I have/advice that I need from you.  I am starting to have a bit of anxiety about everything.  Last time it was pre-race nutrition and today I am stressing about the weather and what I should/shouldn’t wear.  Barb hooked me up with two new Mizuno pieces on Saturday – the Breath Thermo Windtop and the BG3000 tights.

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Right now the weather is supposed to be 5*C and rain/SNOW.  I am hoping that it is still early and that these weather a**holes are wrong.  Excuse my language but snowing on race day is just rude.  Coach says always add ten degrees to the weather and then dress accordingly…so if I’m dressing for 15* but will be freezing at the start, what the heck do I wear?!  Let’s keep in mind that it takes me (AT LEAST) a good 5K to warm up (so I’ll be freezing in shorts) but then the last thing we want is to be sweat city (long sleeves and tights may end up being super hot).  This is all so confusing.

Speaking of races, my crazy Arizonian friend Emily (aka RUN EMZ) ran her first outdoor 100-miler (the Javelina Jundred) last weekend and took 2nd overall female.  Just a few weeks after running her 108.8-mile treadmill charity run in San Francisco.

After the race I discovered that this lovely trail that participants ran on had SCORPIONS and TARANTULAS and COYOTES just roaming around.  Ultra runners be CRAZY.  She finished in 20:58:55 … yeah almost an entire day.  I can’t even go that long without sleeping.  For someone to be awake for 21 hours, let alone RUNNING, is beyond me.  Just when you think this woman is superhuman and inspiring, she does something even more crazy and extreme.  She rocks.  Also – Nicklaus Combs (@nicklauscombs on IG) – he rocks too.  He kindly paced Emz for the last 40mi (WHAT) after running his own ultra just weeks ago.  I want some of whatever they’re drinking.

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Coolest award ever (picture stolen from her Instagram @runemz).  I’d *almost* want to run this race just to get a skull but then remind myself about the 100 mile part and quickly change my mind.

There was also a 12-year-old boy who completed the race in almost 30 hours and as awesome as I think it is for a child to have goals and the physical ability of pushing himself through something so challenging….I’m not sure how I feel about the whole situation.  Is it even safe to have a kid awake and running for that long?  I’m not a doctor so I honestly have no idea and I am sure there are arguments both ways.  I read an article about him and apparently he wants to run the Badwater 135.  I didn’t even know what that was so I had to look it up – 135 mile race starting somewhere called DEATH VALLEY (no thanks) and in temperatures as high as 130F (55C).  Double no thanks.  Ain’t nobody got time for that.  Except this kid.

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I get that this kid’s parents are ultra runners so I assume they did their research.  I just hope their child is not at any kind of risk putting his body through such extremes!  He is very inspiring though!  Kind of makes me feel like an idiot for freaking about weather for a half marathon.  Kid ran with scorpions and here I am having anxiety over pants vs. shorts.

What do you think about a 12 year old running for that long?

Have you tried the new Quest bar flavour?

Would you rather be too cold or too hot while running??

Food treasure hunts and my new favourite app

You know when people keep talking about a certain food and they can’t stop raving about how good this food is?  Yeah, well KABOCHA SQUASH has been quite the hot topic lately and I had no idea that it was so hard to find.  I don’t know what the big deal is but if Amanda and Kasey can’t stop eating it, I thought it might be worth a try.  It took me three grocery store trips to finally locate one and I felt like I won the jackpot.

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I don’t even know how to eat this thing.  Most people have said just to cut it up into wedges and bake it in the oven so that is what I plan on doing.  I just have to wait until I can get my hands on this:

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Picture stolen from Amanda because her pictures  > Google images.

Apparently Justin’s maple AB + kabocha = heaven.  It’ll probably cost me about $20 for a jar of Justin’s here but if I’m going to eat a kabocha squash, I’m going to do it right.

Another thing that has oddly been difficult to find given the time of year that it is:

PPS

I KNOW.  How can grocery stores NOT carry pumpkin pie spice right now?!  Ever since I posted Angela’s smoothies, I have been dying to try the pumpkin one but didn’t have the spice.  Now all is good in the world so it will be the next one I try (I had the apple pie smoothie first and it was delicious).

This weekend I went for two runs (I am allowed to run up to 5K right now according to my PT) and finally decided to track my pace.  I avoided using my Garmin for a while because I just didn’t want to stress about losing so much speed because of my injury.  I got curious over the weekend and as I was about to head out, I noticed my Garmin was dead so I decided to try out an app my friend told me about a while back that I had downloaded and never used.

strava

It’s called Strava Run (they also have Strava Bike) and tracks your time, distance, pace, approximate calories, etc.  It was good because I kept my phone in my pocket and wasn’t tempted to look at it every five seconds like I would do if I was wearing a watch.  It’s definitely a good alternative (or addition) and I like that it keeps a record of all your runs in one place so you can just login and look at your progress.  Hopefully I will start building speed again soon and it will be fun to look back and (hopefully) see that I got faster.

Tuesday = Lululemon ‘What’s New’ email day aka torture day.

PicMonkey Collage

If all of my clothes were this colour I think I would be 100% okay with it.  GIVE ME ALL THE PLUM PANTS.

Have you tried kabocha squash?

What are you looking forward to most this season?

What do you use to track your runs/workouts? (Polar, Garmin, phone app, journal, etc.)