Foodie Pen Pal Reveal!

The Lean Green Bean

It’s reveal day for my first go-round with Foodie Pen Pals!

In case you’re a new reader, here’s a reminder of what the program is all about:

-On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal! 
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month. 
-Foodie Penplas is open to US & Canadian residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We’ve determined things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa. 

Click HERE to find out more and how to sign up!

I was thoroughly spoiled by my foodie pen pal, Cher.  I told her I had a sweet tooth and liked chocolate and she definitely took that and ran with it.

Here are some photos of the goodies I got (please excuse the awesome photos, I know I’m bordering on photo-taking genius):

I gotta say that I loved EVERYTHING, especially the chocolate covered pecans – I will have to find me some of those! The agave was neat, and I’m glad I got to try it, and will definitely be using this kind as well as the regular kind in baking and in general more often now.

This was a lot of fun, and I can’t wait to participate in May’s exchange, too!

Uxbridge Run for the Diamond 5K

I suppose this is a few days late but I’m sure no one expects on time posts from me by now!

I have to say that this race was THE MOST fun I’ve had at a race yet – and I’m not just saying that because it’s my first race post runner’s knee.  When I went to bed on Saturday  night (late!) the weather was calling for low of 2C to a high of 8C – great running weather.  However, upon waking on Sunday morning, it definitely felt a lot colder than that, and the skies were threatening rain.  I dressed in my new bad ass knee socks, shorts, and a tank but I wore a hoodie and brought my Running Room jacket as well, just in case.

We left at 7:45 for the 45 min drive north west, for the 9:20am race start.  The instructions for parking were easy to follow, and there were many volunteers (as well as police directing traffic) to help us find our way.  Everyone was super helpful and pleasant.  Found the chip pick up area fairly easily, and then kinda just stood around waiting for the start.  There was a half marathon, a 10km, the 5km as well as a 300m kids dash (and the kids got to look for Easter eggs after their race!).  Once the walkers had set off, they had a fun warm up for the runners, and everything started on time, which was good because it had started to SNOW while we were waiting! Definitely went with the running jacket instead of just the tank.

I was super nervous as I always am before a race, but I turned on the music and just decided to have fun.  It started off with 300m on the road, and then headed into the woods and onto the trail for the next 3km.  As usual, I started out too fast, and my first km was around the 6min/km mark.

Let me tell you, I was not fully prepared for how much trail running can hurt! There were a lot of uphills and running in loose dirt.  I walked most of the uphills as did just about everyone else.  A woman passed me on one of them and tapped me on the shoulder to tell me she loved my socks.

I walked more than I wanted to, but my endurance still isn’t back to where it was pre-injury.  Once out of the woods, there were 2km on the paved golf cart paths of the golf course – I managed to pick up my pace there and started passing people (big ego boost for me).  I crossed the finish line in 35:09, which is 20 seconds slower than my previous 5km time, but not bad for my first race back and my first ever trail run.  I was 20/45 in my age group, and 75/164 in my gender.  The finisher medals were nice, and they had water, Clif bars, and all natural sports drinks at the finish.  I grabbed a water and a Clif bar, and then we were outta there.

The little expo in the parking lot was cute, and had a lot to offer like pizza, popcorn, massage, etc, and if it hadn’t been snowing I would have stuck around to check it out.  Over all, it was a great experience and I will definitely attend this race next year – hopefully in the 10km or the half marathon.

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Tri training started this week, too – but I’ll leave that for another post!

nightmare

you know that feeling -
when you are snuggled into bed, the covers pulled up under your chin
when sleep starts to tug at your eyelids and you initially fight, but always give in
when, in that plane somewhere between awake and dreaming, your imagination begins to wander

what starts as something innocuous suddenly becomes something much more sinister
that initial thought turns into a full blown night terror
you hear the phone ring (in this half dreaming world)
you hear the silence, the sobs, the anger, the disbelief
you feel your heart stop, the world drop out from under you
tears come to your eyes, your heart starts beating again, but faster, faster, faster

until you are jerked awake, heart still racing, thoughts still racing
fear still fresh in your veins
only a dream, you whisper. only a dream
yet the fear is still fresh, and still very real
and so you lie awake, not daring to close your eyes
for fear the phone will ring, and bring with it
the silence, the sobs, the anger, the disbelief

you know that feeling?
i do

Just Don’t Call It A Comeback–Race Weekend!

One more sleep until race day!

I’m still hesitant to have any kind of finishing time in mind.  I’m a slow runner as it is, and I’m still even slower since starting back running, and it’s a trail run.  As I said before, I’ll be happy to finish upright and smiling.

I ran on one of the many golf courses in Uxbridge Thursday while I was at my parents’ house for the afternoon.  This isn’t the golf course the race will be held on, but the golf cart paths and grassy areas were a nice change from road running, and the hills really worked my legs (and lungs).  It was a gorgeous day, and even thought I got lost on the golf course (who does that?) I still had a great run.

I picked up my race kit from one of the local Running Room stores Thursday evening.  It had a lot of stuff for a smaller-ish race, and I was surprised to see that they actually had samples.

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The race shirt is really nice as well, and it was lovely that they had men and women’s sizes, and not just unisex like a few of the smaller races I’ve done. 

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Since this race is sort of a “comeback” (I guess – I was never really anywhere before, ha) and the start of something new, of course I had to come up with a new playlist.  I’ve been running with the same songs on my old playlist for far too long.  The new stuff definitely makes running more fun (for me – I know a lot of purists won’t run with music), and even hearing the songs on the radio makes me want to hit the pavement – er, trail in this case. 

Capture

On the CrossFit end of things, I had 3 great workouts this week, particularly yesterday’s.  The workout was:

3 x 3 x 3 x 3 x3 of bench press
Then:
6-5-4-3-2-1 of cleans (increasing weight each round, up to 90% of 1 RM)
Between each round, do 5 box jumps

I suck at bench pressing, but managed to do 60lbs for 3 reps. My cleans were as follows: 65lbs – 70 – 75 – 85 – 90 – 95, which is a new PR for me – I had never cleaned 95lbs before! Not only that, but my box jumps (at 20’, not on the tire for once, but used a smaller box and 35lb plates to get up to 20’) were solid, AND I finished first for once, in 10:26.  I’m normally the slowest. It was a killer workout, and talk about a CrossFit high – I don’t think I stopped smiling all afternoon.

Besides the race on Sunday, it’s also my mom’s birthday (hi Mom!) – she comes back from Florida today, and brings with her cinnamon bears for me.  I’ve never had them but have heard a lot about them, and now my desire for cinnamon-y, gummy goodness can be satiated.  I’ll also put the finishing touches on my try-a-tri training plan which I will start on Monday. Oh and I also added a page for the dogs at the top of the blog – check out their cute faces!

So many workouts, so little time.

Have a great weekend!

#SweatPink

Eeeek it’s official!

I’m sure some of you have noticed the new badge at the side of my blog – the “sweat pink” one.  Well I applied and was accepted as a #sweatpink ambassador for Fit Approach! I love their mission, and I’m proud to represent them on this blog and in real life!

From their site:

Sweat Pink Ambassadors live the Fit Approach mission every day: they sweat hard, play hard, and inspire those around them to achieve their best selves.

Feel free to check out my profile on the Fit Approach website, and definitely check out the other ambassadors there, too – I’m in some awe inspiring company.

Interested in becoming an ambassador? Check out the #SweatPink ambassador program.

Three Thing Thursday

1. I’ve been super stressed out this week due to ongoing family troubles.  I actually have no reason to be stressed but it’s my natural tendency to stress out about anything and everything.  Due to this I haven’t been sleeping well, and my workouts are suffering, and now I’m worried I’m either getting sick, or have allergies, or have some sort of acid reflux issue.  Add hypochondria to my never ending list of problems please.

2. The post injury “come back” race is this Sunday.  I’m looking forward to running on trails and enjoying running again.  Of course, I have a time in mind I’d like to finish by, but since I haven’t done a lot of 5km running in the past few weeks I’ll be happy to finish standing, not limping, and with a smile on my face.

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3.  I may have pressed “submit” on my registration for the Guelph Lake Try-A-Tri this morning.  Looks like the next few months will be full of swim-bike-run goodness.  The distances are short – 375m swim, 10km bike and 2.5km run.  All distances I know I can handle, but I need practice in the swim and bike.  So as of Monday morning I’m going to shove myself into my sausage swim suit and try not to look like a whale, and dust off the ol’ mountain bike and try to make this 10km bike less disgustingly difficult than the duathlon I did last September.

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Wordless Wednesday

Sometimes the world seems too big.

And the crushing weight of our problems and troubles seem overwhelming, no matter how big or small they really are.

In times like these, it’s good to take a step back and appreciate the smaller things in life.

Like pizza and ice cream, baseball, and a walk on the golf course.

Happy Wednesday <3

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Boys of Summer & A Love Grown Granola Review

First things first – my poor car is dead. Well, he’s not really dead, just in “limp” mode as Shawn says.  The car can only go max 20 km an hour and sputters like a lawn mower, and while he’s not a big car he shouldn’t sound like a lawn mower.  So off he’s been towed, to hopefully get fixed and not rip a huge hole in our wallets.

Anyway – one thing you probably don’t know about me (unless I actually know you, or you follow me on Twitter – and if you don’t, you should, c’mon now) is that I’m a huge baseball fan.  I’m a Blue Jays fan through and through, although with the trade of Johnny Mac and Aaron Hill to the Arizona Diamondbacks last year I kinda have a loyalty to them as well.


The house I grew up in had a pool, and some of my favourite summer memories are of lounging in the pool while listening to Tom and Jerry commentate the ball game. My boys had the best record in spring training this year, and while that means nothing when it comes to the actual season it still brings all of us Jays fans some hope.  They are playing more aggressive baseball this year and I hope that continues throughout the season.

My parents both have birthdays in April, and so to celebrate we are heading to the ball game tomorrow night.  First one of the season!

Next: these lovely things arrived in the mail yesterday:

I’d contacted Love Grown Foods on Twitter, asking where I could find their product locally. They were kind enough to send me three coupons just for asking – one free bag and two $1 coupons.  How nice is that?

At my local Loblaws all I could find was the Simply Oats variety of granola, so I used my free coupon yesterday to scoop some up.  I paired it this morning with some greek yogurt for breakfast.

While the serving size is small (1/4 cup), I really liked this granola.  It had just the right amount of crunch and a nice cinnamon flavour, and was good on it’s own and mixed in with the yogurt. The ingredients are decent, and I like that it’s certified wheat free. Definitely a keeper.  Now, if someone from Love Grown happens to read this, I’d really like to try the Dried Apple or Chocolate varieties of granola, too (pretty please!).

As for workouts, yesterday I ran on the treadmill and took the day off from CrossFit. Today I have no idea what I’m doing, as my plans got screwed up with the car going into the shop.  Hoping to go to CrossFit and if not, then yoga.  I’m planning on going with the flow today (is that possible? To plan to go with the flow?).

Have a great Thursday folks!

Max says hi

That Time I Decided to Become An Olympic Lifter

 

Yeah, random title right?

So my “secret” not so secret news is that I’ve decided to train for an Olympic lifting competition that is in August.  One of our coaches just completed his first comp this weekend and did very well for only 5 weeks training.  We have a lifting coach that was coming in on Wednesday nights for group training, and he was privately training Kyle as well.  Now he wants to find more “talent” and bring them to the competitions.  We have some extremely strong guys in the gym, and I think they would excel.

So why am I doing this, you might ask yourself? I’m not extremely strong, and apparently according to my training session yesterday, I’ve been doing the lifts wrong for the last year. Not horrifically wrong, mind you, but my body position needs a lot of work. My hip flexors don’t bend as they should, and I’m all tilty, and I always have this feeling that I’m going to fall backwards. Or I do fall backwards. I’m just so graceful.

But I am a perfectionist when it comes to some things (cleaning is not one of them – sorry Mom, I know you tried) and I really want to perfect these lifts. I am not going to compete to win, or place, but I’m using it as a goal to work on my form and hopefully improve my strength gains in each lift.

Now what exactly is Olympic lifting? Olympic lifting consists of 2 lifts – the clean & jerk, and the snatch (yes, laugh, we all do), while powerlifting is the more commonly thought of deadlift, back squat, and bench press.

 

Snatch

 

Clean and Jerk

 

Truthfully, the Olympic lifts are more technical than the powerlifting ones (at least they seem that way to me).  The term “powerlifting” is also a bit misleading – the Oly lifts are about power, and hip drive, while the powerlifts are more about strength.  Form is extremely important in both, but I have a harder time wrapping my brain around the subtleties of the Oly lifts than the powerlifts. 

Last night we worked on snatch progression (cue snickering), and really all I worked on was set up and first pull (bringing the bar to my knees).  Before yesterday I didn’t really realize just how much leg strength is involved in this lift, probably because I was doing it wrong and using my back before.  But holy, trying to do the WOD afterwards was excruciating.  Our workout (after the hour + of Oly lifting!) was:

50 kettlebell swings (16kg)
40 box jumps (20’)
30 push ups
20 air squats
10 pull ups
400 m run

My legs felt like lead after the KB swings, and I was slow getting started on the box jumps.  But I finished in 12:37, not the slowest on the day, so that’s a good thing!

Time to get off my chair and head over to the gym for tabata tire flips and a 1.5 mile run. Sorry body – the things I do to you!

Enjoy your Tuesday!

The Weekend I Ran 5km Again, and Signed Up For a Race

Good Monday morning everyone! I trust that everyone had a safe and enjoyable long weekend, and that you didn’t indulge (too much) on Easter candy. No

Just a quick post to check in.  I had a great weekend overall, but especially exercise wise.

Friday morning was my return to running, with a 3.6km run with some walks in between the 1200m repeats, to a total of 4.08km.  My knees felt great afterwards! Just as a precaution I wore my drugstore knee sleeve the rest of the afternoon, for some added support.  After my run my mom met Shawn and me at our house and we took our 3 dogs and her dog for a walk down by the lake.  It was basically the same route I had just run, so we ended up walking for about an hour and covering nearly 4km.  So for me that was about 8km either ran or walked for Friday – not too shabby.

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Rocky, Scout and my parents’ border collie, Chase, at the cottage

Saturday was my return to lifting heavy.  I have some updated news on that but until things are figured out with my coaches and I actually have a plan in place I’m going to keep that secret to myself.  Needless to say I’m VERY excited and look forward to the challenges the next few months will bring.

Sunday I finally ran 5km! Okay, I know that doesn’t seem like a lot to most of you, but since my injury I have run exactly 5 times, one of them being yesterday’s run.  And boy, in a 2 month time period do you EVER lose your conditioning.  I can’t believe how difficult the run was for me.  I ran with a friend from work, and I felt badly because we took so many walking breaks, but my lungs and legs could just NOT keep up.  It was a huge difference from being able to run 16km a few months ago. I have a lot of work to do to build back up but I’m going to take it slowly.  My knees are happy now and I’d like to keep them that way.  After my run I iced, foam rolled, and wore my knee sleeve for a few hours again.  So far this strategy seems to be working! I wish I had a fancier knee sleeve but the shipping prices on the ones I’m eyeing (ie Tommie Copper!) are almost as much as the sleeves themselves, so it doesn’t make sense for me to order one at this time.

To celebrate my 5km distance, I did what any other self respecting runner would do – I signed up for a race! And it’s in less then 2 weeks!

The Uxbridge Half Marathon – Run for the Diamond has a 5km trail run/walk, 10km trail run/walk, and a half marathon trail race (as well as a kids 300m fun run).  I had originally wanted to do the 10km but clearly will not be ready for that, so I signed up for the 5km.  I’ve always wanted to do a trail race, and since I have my sights set on a 14km trail race in July, I figured I might as well start now.

So that was my weekend in a nut shell! Add in dinner with friends on Saturday night, and Easter dinner at my parents’ yesterday, and it was a busy weekend.  I’m off to run some errands, then head to an extra lifting class at the gym, and of course, Monday night yoga as usual.

Enjoy your Monday, whatever way you plan on spending it!