Vancouver’s Sun Run

With 50,000 people waiting to run, getting to the starting line of this 10k race is a lesson in patience. Waiting, waiting and then some more waiting. Luckily I had cute and friendly male runners all around me. Amazing how waiting isn’t so bad when you’re chatting with hot men dressed in tight t-shirts. sunrun 2014 010 Off we go! Into the cherry blossom and pink flower lined streets…

sunrun 2014 036 It’s all about the signs! sunrun 2014 041 sunrun 2014 042 sunrun 2014 043 Why yes, I did think they said Rum, as a matter of fact.

And, last but not least, the big reward. Crab bennies and lots of coffee while we rehash our 10k laughs, traumas, chills and spills. sunrun 2014 059 Time: 1:12

Not bad considering my extreme laziness leading up to the race.

Dead last is better than did not finish, which trumps did not start.

And, last but not least, thank you Nancy, of My Year Of Sweat, for adding me to your April Badass list! I am once again, completely honoured to be one of your badasses!!

 

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Ready, Set, Go!

new shoesMy 10k Sun Run is scheduled for next Sunday at 8:30 am and I can’t wait to put my new runners to the test. I thought my new shoes (a pair of cute Saucony PowerGrid Triumph 10’s) might help me fly across the finish line. Well, if not fly, at least not limp over it.

These sneakers feel like I’m sprinting over pillows compared to my flattened out old shoes and I’m feeling quite encouraged in spite of my lack of training. Yes, I completely blew my training schedule about three weeks ago and I just got back on track last week….sort of. I blame the spring rain. It’s not me or my lack of motivation. It’s the rain. And because of all of this darn rain, when I do actually get out there and run, I huff and puff with the loudness and intensity you would expect from a morbidly obese, 60 year old man trying to jog. Not good.

Instead of actually training, I’ve been spending quite a bit of my allotted running time lounging on my comfy sofa and scouring the internet for running tips. Hey, if you’re not going to run, reading about running is the next best thing, right?

A few of them are so good that I just have to share them with all the runners out there. Here are my five favourite tips (all from Women’s Health magazine):

1) Relax to the max. When running, let your jaw hang loose, don’t bunch up your shoulders close to your ears, and occasionally shake out your hands and arms to stay relaxed.

2) Make time for a quickie. If 15 minutes is all the time I have, I still run. Fifteen minutes of running is better than not running at all. -Dr. Duncan Macdonald, former U.S. record holder

3) Anyone… Never underestimate the value of a good training partner, even if it’s your dog. Training allies will get you out the door on those days when exercise might otherwise be reduced to a finger on the remote control button. (okay, as much as I love the idea of running with your dog, I’ve tried this several times and always end up carrying my pup home. Disclaimer: do not run with your dog if your dog is a stubborn Yorkie)

4) Go with mind over grind. Anyone can train him or herself into the ground; the trick is doing the training that makes you gradually stronger.

5) Don’t be in a rush. Thanks to the race-day adrenaline rush, any pace will feel easier than normal. So make a conscious effort to hold back in the early miles.

Now, all I have to do is get up early Sunday morning and run for my life.

hey girl run

 

 

Dove’s Beauty Patch

One of my favourite bloggers, Nancy of My Year of Sweat, wrote a beautiful post today that included this video:

As I watched the video, I found my eyes starting to water. And then the watering eyes turned into a full on, good, deep cry. Why was I crying? So many reasons. This video was a big reminder of how successful our society is at setting up women to never be satisfied with how we look. The ages, weight ranges and body shapes that are deemed acceptable are very, very narrow and, for a lot of us, unattainable. How deeply, heartbreakingly sad.

And, because I’m 51, one of the most moving moments for me was when a woman asked why aging is so bad? Why can’t it be seen as a good thing? Why indeed?

Can you imagine a world where aging was seen as a positive? Where we celebrated our wisdom and our wrinkles? The billion dollar plastic surgery industry would collapse. There would be no more botox or fillers or freakish “trout pout” collagen lips. A world where women were proud of their age instead of ashamed. Can you even imagine?

I think it’s time to start a revolution ladies. Time to create a new reality where the word “beautiful” encompasses a wide variety of body types, ethnicities and ages. Because the real truth, which I hope we all know deep down, is that we are all perfectly beautiful just as we are.

Read Nancy’s post here.

Bitchin’ Bananas

It’s Throwback Thursday and I’m California dreaming again…about frozen bananas.

photo (6)The first time I tasted a frozen banana was in Balboa Island, Orange County about four years ago. I was a little obsessed with “The Real Housewives of Orange County” at that time (yes, embarrassing but true), so visiting Orange County (the home of my dysfunctional, slightly alcoholic, drama queen housewives) was super exciting for me.  I loved being in their neighborhood and secretly hoped my friend Tammy and I would run into one as we toured around the OC.

But, I digress. I’m supposed to be writing about bananas, not housewives….

The astonishingly delicious frozen banana I had on Balboa Island was dipped in a sweet, milk chocolate and covered in fluourescently bright candy and chopped walnuts. It was sublime. “How do we not have these in Canada?”, I thought as I chowed down on my banana while soaking up the California sun.

Lately frozen bananas have been dancing in my mind again and I’ve been experimenting with a healthy, clean, vegan version of the treat I discovered in Southern California.

So, below is the recipe I concocted to duplicate all of the frozen banana yumminess but without all of the bad stuff:

 Laurel’s Bitchin’ Bananas

  • two large bananas
  • raw cashew butter
  • a hunk of 80% dark chocolate

Slice the bananas into .5 inch little circles, put a dollop of cashew butter in between two slices, like an oreo cookie and place in freezer.

While the banana chunks are freezing, heat the dark chocolate on a double boiler and when it starts to lightly bubble, dip the cashew banana chunks in the hot chocolate. Place back in freezer.

bitchin bananas

Serve frozen, just out of the freezer.

Bet you can’t eat just one.

How To Not Gain Weight When Dining Out 24/7

Last week my cousins were in town and I feel like I spent every moment either eating or planning where we should go next to eat some more. It was all great fun until I couldn’t quite fit into my jeans one morning. That situation was a rude reminder that it was time to take a day off from gluttony and go for a run as well as skip a couple of meals before I resumed feasting with my family.

Oh, and did I mention that they were staying on the 20th floor of the Fairmont Pacific Rim? This floor comes equipped with its very own lounge. A lounge that has magnificent views of the ocean and mountains and also serves free food morning, noon and night. Free food such as delicious eggs benny for breakfast, yummy sliders, creamy devilled eggs at lunch and items like Vancouver Island scallops in cream sauce and beef enchiladas in the evening. And there was always an assortment of smoked salmon, cold cuts, salads and chilled cucumber water available throughout the day. Burp. I fell quite in love with this lounge, its endless array of delicious edibles and its spectacular view. 

me & g

view

I started trying to figure out ways I could continue to have access to this foodie Nirvana after my cousins flew home to Ontario. One of my nieces suggested stealing a maid’s key, the other recommended hitching a ride in the elevator with a real guest and making myself at home in the free food lounge. Caught up in the midst of my feasting frenzy, both of these sounded like really good, reasonable ideas.

Then I came to my senses. My skinny jeans that couldn’t quite button up helped me get there. There’s got to be a better way, I thought. I must be able to eat out without going into full-on glutton mode, right? Right. On the third day, I decided to start making really good choices and as I went along, I felt my jeans, slowly but surely, begin to feel comfortable again.

Below are my smart and healthy eating tips when visitors or travelling have you dining out 24/7:

  • Avoid pre-meal bread and butter like the plague. Huge calories with not much nutrition and not that much satisfaction either. Avoid the fattening fillers and go for the good stuff!
  • Ask for your appy as soon as you sit down if you feel like you’re starving. Don’t worry about etiquette. If anyone gives you a dirty look, tell them you have low blood sugar and must eat now, thank you very much.
  • Order high protein, low fat appetizers. Raw oysters are perfect. Full of zinc (anti-aging) and protein that will fill you up. Low fat as well.
  • Pick entrees that don’t contain refined carbs or a super high fat content. Say no to creamy pasta and yest to fresh seafood or a vegan option. One of my nieces is vegan and she ate mouth-watering dishes like roasted portobello and fire-roasted red pepper quinoa. Yum. I found myself eating food from her plate more than my own.
  • Only have one glass of wine with dinner. Two max. If you drink more than that, you may lose your judgement and before you know it you’re ending your meal with a big slice of cheesecake topped with extra whipped cream and washed down with a Bailey’s (or at least that’s how I used to end mine).
  • Drink lots of lemon water. Thirst and/or slight dehydration throw our bodies satiation signals out of whack.

And there you have it. Follow these tips and you can dine out indefinitely without adding pounds to your beautiful body.

 

Lunch with Joe

I’ve been a little obsessed with Joe Cross ever since seeing the documentary Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.

Watching his transformation from a 320 pound, extremely sedentary man with a ton of medical problems (who also looked like he may have swallowed a soccer ball whole) to a beach running, juice drinking, slim and fit hottie is beyond impressive and inspired me to try a couple of juice cleanses myself.

fat-sick-and-nearly-dead

When I found out that Joe was coming to Vancouver for an informal lecture at a local drug store, I went a little over the top in the excitement department. I immediately made sure I could get the allotted 2.5 hours off of work, then double and triple checked that my iphone and Nikon were fully charged for video taking and photo ops. I was fully geeking out. Last but not least, I made sure I was wearing lots of mascara and a cute outfit to meet my juicing guru in person.

There were lots of people attending his talk and it took a bit of jostling to get a decent view so video taking was a little bit challenging. Below is a short video I managed to take on my trusty iphone of Joe describing the physiological effects of a juice cleanse. And it totally explains why I never make it past day two…

Hearing Joe describe his diet of green juice and fruit during the day and a “normal” dinner at night made eating a large percentage of raw and green food seem like a really smart, balanced  and easy thing to do. I love good, nutritious food and all that it can do for you, but the idea of never having an occasional cheeseburger with fries makes me very, very sad. A balance of healthy greens during the day and a maybe slightly indulgent dinner in the evening seems like a really attainable goal.

Oh, and he was pretty easy on the eyes too!

Joe + me