Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Roasted pumpkin seeds

Run Stretch Fly

Still not running which is becoming a problem because work is crappy. How can it not be when I work in an industry that is bleeding jobs right now. Sadly there are some who would celebrate because I work in that ever-evil Canadian Oil Industry. No, I don't work in the oilsands, but even our provincial Premiere calls us the embarrassment of Canada. To be fair, it's probably because we elected an anti-energy government in a province that runs on the energy industry.

But, I'm not here to talk about that. No matter how bitter I may be.

You probably remember this, my lovely pumpkin from last weekend.  Well, after I roasted the actual pumpkin, I separated the seeds from the goo, rinsed them and then did wonderful things to them.

I spread them out on a parchment covered cookie sheet (because who wants to actually clean up after making a mess?) and drizzled a bit of olive oil on them. Then I sprinkled them with salt (go for sea salt if that's your thing) and Moroccan spice (because what else am I supposed to actually use Moroccan spice for?).  Then I roasted them for about 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees.

I probably should have pulled them out at 10 minutes, they were a little over-roasted, but at 10 minutes they seemed under roasted.  It doesn't matter they were delicious.

Injuries suck.

Monday, September 21, 2015


I can't run so I have to do something to occupy my time, right? I went to my running clinic on Saturday and stuck with my walking until I can do that without pain in my foot. On the way home, I decided to stop and pick up groceries. And there in the middle of the produce department they had cute little pumpkins.

Pumpkin - cleaned and ready to roast
I had to buy one. And then I had to cut out the stem, gut it, slice it in half and roast it.

run stretch fly
Yummy roasted pumkin
Why am I doing this? Just last week didn't I say I joined weight watchers?

Well, there's more to li...errr pumpkins than just pumpkin pie. I really just wanted some puree to make pumpkin smoothies for breakfast. So after roasting my pumpkin with a little salt, I pureed it in the blender and then froze it in muffin cups (silicone ones, not paper) for easy use.

I've had two smoothies so far and they're delicious.

1/2 cup frozen pumpkin puree
1 apple (quartered and cored)
1 cup milk
1/2 scoop VegaOne Vanilla Chai (you could probably just replace this with some pumpkin pie spice or apple pie spice, really).
Optional: handful of spinach because: green things

You may find that your blender has trouble with the muffin cup sized pumpkin puree - mine does ok, but it isn't happy about it. So freezing it in smaller sizes or using pumpkin that isn't frozen might be better. Add ice cubes though because warm pumpkin smoothie is probably a little weird. Even if it does taste like pumpkin pie.

Another smoothie secret: want it to have a more milkshake-like texture? Pick up Xanthan Gum. I found it at my local Sobey's, packaged by Bob's Red Mill. Use no more than 1/4 tsp for a smoothie. I usually do about an 1/8 of a tsp.

I decided I need another pumpkin. Or two. We've already used half of the pumpkin we froze. Possibly more if my husband had a pumpkin smoothie this morning.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Review: SimplyYoga

Last night I downloaded SimplyYoga to my phone. I have an Android.

My problem is I've done quite a bit of yoga in the past and I have some preferences. I like a yoga class that flows, without making me feel like I'm doing a yoga marathon. I even had some favorite videos and a favorite class (until the instructor went on mat. leave).

I probably should like SimplyYoga, but I found it too simple. From what I could find on my phone, there's a really limited selection of videos. You select the length (20/40/60 minutes) and your level. From there, instead of getting a selection of classes, you're presented with a series of poses that will fill the selected time.

Which is great, but that's not what I'm used to.

This app was recommended to me by a friend who has an iPhone so I'm not sure if the iPhone experience is better or if it's something that works well for her, but isn't enough to meet my needs?

Looks like I'll be trying the Gaiam subscription next. The good thing is, I know I like several of their instructors already because I've owned the videos.

Yes. On VHS.


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

And Yoga.

Last night, Mr. Moose and I canceled our gym memberships. Done. We were going regularly before, but in the last year we haven't gone. We probably should have canceled sooner.  For me, I have no interest in going because I can run outside.

I may regret that plan when winter gets here.

Beyond running, sure I should be doing some strength training and I was, but I wasn't loving it. I should be doing some stretching, but the yoga classes at the gym were awful.

At my running clinic last Saturday, our topic was exercise and cancer. We all know that exercise is good for our health - whether or not it helps us actually lose weight. It does good things for you and there is a lot of evidence that it also helps prevent cancer from returning.

Sign. Me. Up.

Well, ok, sign me up for exercise, not so much the gym. The point is, the speaker talked about more affordable and time efficient ways to fit in exercise. I already have the running piece figured out, but she talked about doing yoga with online classes. Something I've never considered because I find the free ones aren't great and I didn't want to pay a subscription fee to access better ones.

Which makes no sense considering I was willing to pay significantly more per month for a gym membership I hadn't been using.

The site our speaker used is called It looks interesting and it definitely has an excellent selection of videos and your first 15 days are free. Compared to the cost of yoga classes in the city, it pays for itself in about one and a half classes at $18 per month. I assume that is US$.

A little more googling brought me to SimplyYoga - A free App on iTunes or Google Play. (Let me know if that link is broken, I'm having some issues with technology today).

And finally, I found GaiamTV. I've used Gaiam videos back in the past when VHS was a thing. Because I'm old like that. I've even used Gaiam DVDs because technology happens. But this saves me from having a bunch of videos collecting dust.

Fine, I still have the videos collecting dust. Probably even the VHS versions. Don't judge me.

There may even be a VHS player in my house.

Oh my god, I'm my Grandmother.

Ahem. Back to GaiamTV. $9.99 per month.

All three of these options are available on mobile devices - both Android and Apple if you feel like doing yoga when you're out and about - like on vacation.  They do not appear to be available as apps on Windows devices, but it still has a browser and they are websites.

Well, except SimplyYoga.  If you choose that one you're on your own.

I'm probably going to give SimplyYoga a shot, but I think I'm going to end up using GaiamTV over the long term.

Yoga, on my schedule, at my level.  Hooray!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Joined Weight Watchers

I'm not sure if this is the ultimate sign of desperation or just a really good idea I've been putting off for far too long, but this morning I joined Weight Watchers Online. They have a pretty good deal right now that if you lose 10 lbs in your first 2 months, you get 2 months free.  Should be good motivation to get going.

I used to belong to SparkPeople which is kind of a free version of Weight Watchers.  The more I investigate the online portion of WW, the more I see similarities. Which is good because SparkPeople was motivating for me when I participated. The problem was there was little to keep me going there when I lost motivation. And it was an online community I struggled to find my place in. Although I did have some success with my blogs.

I've realized that all of the exercise in the world isn't going to help me lose weight if I don't get my eating under control.

I actually red a blog last week about how people don't like to exercise and it shouldn't be forced on them as a way to lose weight because it really is a crappy way to lose weight. The best control we have over our weight is through diet.

It's kind of a cruel irony that I enjoy exercise more than I enjoy eating healthy foods.

I get that all of this makes sense. There aren't many gains to be made even through strength training. Even by taking the stairs all the way to my office every morning or running 15 -20 miles a week. Walking Hank at the dog park will do even less for me.

I tried going back to a diet I'd tried before, but I struggled to maintain that for more than a couple of weeks. I quickly got bored of the food and lazy about preparing it. Although I'm still doing a fruit filled smoothie every morning and trying to make sure that fruits/vegetables are part of every meal.

It's with some fear that I start back on Weight Watchers. A program is only ever as good as the person following it. Since recovering from cancer, I sometimes get a, "screw it, we're all going to die anyway!" mentality and just go for the food I want to eat. Ok, I get that mentality a few times a day.

Especially since I haven't been able to run.

I went to my running clinic on the weekend and walked the 20 minutes instead of running. My foot/ankle wasn't painful, but I could definitely feel the tendon was irritated. To bad since I'd hoped to start running again on Sunday.

So, instead, I started sanding a desk we've been planning to refinish for my sewing room. It kept me active and out of the kitchen. We also bought stain and paint for it and now I'm going to have to go find some brass polish because it's old enough to have actual brass drawer pulls that are tarnished and crappy looking.

Monday, September 7, 2015

September Goals.

It's kind of amazing how an injury will sidetrack you.  I just realized today that August is over, we're a week into September and I haven't set any goals.

So, here goes.

1. My foot seems to be back to normal and I have a 5K to train for. It's time to get back at it.  Run 3x a week.

2. Mileage = 15 miles.  I have missed out on the first week after all.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Injuries suck

Last weekend after my run, I felt great. About 3 hours later, however, I started to realize I'd injured myself. The more I walked around doing errands with my husband, the more the inside of my right heel hurt.

Since runners are notorious self-diagnosing when it comes to injuries, I ran off to the internet to figure out what I could possibly have done wrong.

It appears as though I have a bit of tendonitis.  Either achilles, or another tendon that runs along somewhere in the vicinity of the ankle and appears (from internet pictures) to start almost exactly where my pain is focused.

I don't actually remember what said tendon is called so we're going with foot/ankle tendonitis.  Causes for this are:

1. New shoes.  Nope.  That said, neither are my shoes old.  They're kind of at that point where they're broken in, but well under 100 miles have been put on them.  PRobably closer to 60 miles on shoes that on average should last for about 500 miles.  Your mileage may vary, but probably not by that much.

2. Old shoes - see above.

3. Increase in mileage or speed.  Nope.  Definitely not running significantly further.  Slightly faster, but not that much further and I'm only increasing time ran at the rate of the plan which is often painfully slowly.

4.  Tight calves.  Oh.  That's probably the one.  Previously the same issue caused different symptoms.

Right now I'm taped with a knock-off KT Tape.  I'm stretching, doing calf raises to improve strength in my calves and doing some other strength training to help with form (clamshells, ugh).

I'm enjoying my little break from running a little too much, really. I do miss the running, but it's great to not have to get up at 4:30 in the morning to go out for a run. I think I might move to lunchtime runs at work, or now that fall is here just run after work.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

The internet, me and a Watermelon-Saskatoon Smoothie recipe.

Sometimes I have so much to say.  Other times, I pretty much only need to say, "ran today, felt great." Which is what Twitter is for - if you use Twitter.

I have a Twitter account.

I don't use Twitter.

Every time I go there, I see tweets from people much more adept at that kind of thing posting awesome statuses that go well beyond, "Ran today.  Felt great." Things that motivate me.  Or give me a list of books to read, or podcasts to listen to.

And then I realize that for an IT professional, I don't do the internet well. Podcasts (seriously - Smart Bitches, Trashy Books is a fantastic resource for all of you readers out there)?  Who has time for podcasts?  And are there that many people who listen to them? (The answer is yes, yes there are)

Let's face it - I post pictures of Hank to Facebook, make the odd running update from Endomondo into a status and complain about work (all on facebook). I have instagram - sometimes I even post pictures there from my phone.  They all should be marked #nofilter because who's got the time to figure out filters?

My Pinterest page now has a "Stop Pinning, Start Doing" board.  Which technically should be a list of things I want to try soon. I've pinned things to it. A few have been tried. I've even managed to move those few into boards titled "Favorites - something."  According to Pinterest, I don't like much.

So sometimes I really struggle with what to post here.

Which is why today you're getting a smoothie recipe.

This is my super-fantastic picture of my smoothie in a spaghetti sauce jar as I ride the bus to work. 

1 cup watermelon chunks
1.2 cup saskatoons (or blueberries)
1/4 cup kefir (or yogurt, or milk, whatever floats your boat)
Splash of iced coffee concentrate (this is a technical measurement)
1/2 cup of water
1 date (remove the pit)
2 tsp vanilla protein powder (I used Vega One protein & greens. You can easily skip this)

Throw it all in a blender.  Blend until smooth, or until you're done feeding the pets.  Pour into a glass.  Realize you're running late.  Pour from glass into a jar.  Rinse the blender pitcher and lid.  Try to remember to put the jar of smoothie into your bag before you run out of the house because you're running late and you don't want to miss the bus.

Wonder if the dog ate the cat's food after you left the house.

Realize that the smoothie needs a picture if you're going to post about it on the blog so take a poor quality one on a dark bus before you drink it all.

Remember why you make coffee concentrate every now and then.

Realize that people probably don't know how easy it is to make their very own coffee concentrate to make their own iced lattes at home. Provide link to The Pioneer Woman's Perfect Iced Coffee page. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

New goal!

I did not run this morning - mostly because of a poor sleep, but also because of the air quality.  It's pretty bad and every day they just keep rating us higher.  We're at a 14 or 15 on a 10+ scale.  I'm not sure exactly what a 10+ scale is, but apparently it's extremely flexible.

Anyway, the point is really that I didn't run.

I did, however, take the stairs at work.  I work on the 5th floor of an office building and it's 9 flights of stairs to get to my floor (3 to the second floor, and 2 to each subsequent floor)

I've decided on non-running days, I need to at least do the stairs.

Soon, I hope to make it all the way to my floor without wanting to die.  Or at the very least, without having to stop part way to catch my breath.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Air quality advisory, running and diet.

Last Friday night, I arrived home in the snow.

This week, we have heat, but smoke from the forest fires in Washington. You can't walk out the door without inhaling enough smoke that you think you're way closer to the fire than a few thousand miles!

I've been getting along really well with my running.  This week I started 4 min run/1 min walk and it's been going well.  Ok, it's painful at times and I'm exhasted when I finish, but I'm doing it, and faster than when I ran pre-cancer so there's that.

But getting up to run in the morning when it's so smokey you can taste it is going to take some extra motivation.

The diet is going fairly well. I've been sticking to it, for the most part. On the weekend, we went out for dinner and had a fabulous dinner that I tried to make fit the plan, but let's face it - a marscapone risotto stuffed with smokey spanish ham probably doesn't fit any plan. Unless that plan is "delicious." Also, pumpkin sticky toffee pudding fits into that category as well.

It was worth it.

I figure so long as I can make it through the week eating healthy, a nice meal to reward myself isn't the end of the world. And it seems to be working - I haven't been measuring myself, but the scale is down a bit and my clothes seem to be fitting looser.

Almost done the month of August.  I'm inching my way to my mileage goal and feeling pretty good about my weight. :)

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Running and diet and sleep

I'm not always the best with my diet, but the husband and I have decided to do something healthier when it comes to food.  We are  loosely following a commercial diet plan that we happened to have a cookbook for as well as some success in the past following said diet plan.  It's really more about us actually planning our week's food and eating in rather than giving in and eating out when we have nothing planned. Which is why I'm not really going to mention the diet - it's way more about balance and eliminating fast food than what the diet actually says.

That's been interesting because at the same time I've been avoiding junk food (my favorite) and alcohol (I like it, but this is not such a big deal).  Meanwhile our summer student at work is driving me to drink.  Or at the very least crave large amounts of salty, crunchy food.  Or giant plates of pasta.

Did you know that the Germans make a dessert that is essentially ice cream extruded like pasta.  Often topped with strawberry sauce?  There is something wrong with that, but probably only to someone who loves pasta more than ice cream and sees this as sacrilege.

These are the things you can find on the internet when you're trying to ignore your hunger while googling "German Ice Cream" to see if there's anything your coworker needs to be aware of before she departs for her vacation.  Because, priorities. Also because killing summer students is frowned on and it seems somewhat harsh to request he be fired.

So, having changed our diet for a whole three days (seriously, today is day three, I'm not good on diets), I've noticed that the one benefit promised in the book of benefits (otherwise why would you buy the diet book?) is actually valid.


I'm actually sleeping mostly through the night (pets notwithstanding) except for that bizarre 12:30-12:35 am time period where I continue to wake up every night.  Sure, I have a bit of trouble falling asleep (I'm surprised I was asleep by midnight last night to make my 12:30 wakeup call) now and again, but I seem to be getting better quality sleep.

I say this because I'm actually waking up at 4:30 to run with a lot less, "OMG! NO!"  I can also get on the bus on running days and not sleep for the entire trip into town.  And out of town.

On non-running days, I also don't feel the need to nap on the bus so much.

This could also be because I switched from coffee to tea at the same time as starting this diet so perhaps the sleep thing is not so related.  BUT THE BOOK SAID!

Regardless, the early mornings are getting easier, my speed is getting faster unless a hill is involved, and I'm kind of enjoying this running thing a little bit more.  And for some reason Hank is getting better behaved on leash.  Except for that poor cat he chased into the park yesterday.  In other news, turns out a good whistle will bring that dog back, even with a small furry animal to chase.

The one result I haven't seen much of, you know after three whole days, is actual weight loss, but I'm sure that'll come if I manage to find my patience.

Friday, August 14, 2015

On missed opportunities

So, I follow a science writer called Science Babe (or SciBabe).  She's pretty awesome, but today I learned that she lost 90lbs in the past.

And I realized that when she was dealing with illness she handled it much better than I did.  I can't even blame drugs that played with my appetite because she managed that like a grownup.  Unlike me.

At the start of my treatment I had the BEST intentions regarding eating healthy and losing weight.  What a great opportunity to focus on my health, right? I always have the best intentions.  They are generally followed by a trip to the grocery store where I can't resist the new flavors of Lays potato chips (Butter Chicken?  WHAT A GREAT IDEA!) (Yes, I did this last night).

On the plus side, I'm down two pounds this week through the way I've eaten the rest of the week and the snacks/junk I cut out. Like yesterday when I sat down with a bag of grapes instead of wandering to the convenience store conveniently placed right across the street.

Finally, SciBabe has an amazing attitude about her health:

"I’m going to be “sick” for the rest of my life, but most days I feel just fine. Getting into shape and taking care of my health was a huge part of that. It wasn’t my weight that caused my condition, but the circumstances of my condition stopped my weight from eventually causing any other problems."

I have much to learn.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Random bits of random stuff

I hate mornings. What is it about the night before that makes me think, "sure, 4:30 am is awesome!"?  Because 4:30 is not awesome. And most days I manage to just reset my alarm and crawl back into bed.

Now that I have some actual goals and really want to meet them, it's a little harder to go back to sleep. I tried this morning, but decided since I was up, I might as well get out there and run since later it's only going to be stupid hot.

And a big, black dog does not run well in the heat. He does, however, run really well in the morning before the sun comes up and he's getting to be amazing on the leash - rarely pulls and hardly stopped to mark his territory at all this morning - a huge improvement.

So, we ran. And then I got home and made myself a smoothie for breakfast.

Which I forgot on the counter when I left.

But I still had my fancy new Qi'a cereal from Costco. Which is apparently endorsed by Food Babe - not a selling point for me. In fact, when I discovered that, I kind of rolled my eyes and considered throwing it out. Except that it's $17 a bag and kind of tasty. I'm still at war with myself over this, but since she also likely endorses things like carrots and peas, I'm probably safe eating it so long as I don't actually hand her any money to purchase it.

So I ate Qi'a on yogurt with some raspberries for breakfast which seems like a good start to a day.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

August Goals & Updates

Sooo, I'm pretty awful at keeping up with this seeing as it's August 11 and I'm just now posting my goals for the month/next 2 months.  Go me.

August Distance:  I want to run 25 miles in the month.  While I ran 22 in July, it would seem that this isn't such a huge goal, I'm also running shorter distances with my Running Clinic and focusing a bit on faster speeds rather than longer distances so 25 miles should still be a bit of a stretch.

Longer Term Goals:
5K (October): 46 minutes for the Run for the Cure on October 4th.  For good runners and a lot of walkers, this number will seem extremely high.  Given that my last 5K was 51 minutes, let's just accept that it's an improvement and move on.

Weight: I want to lose 15 lbs by October 7.  That's the day that we leave for the Wine Festival and I want to feel like I've accomplished something and maybe need to get my clothes taken in at the same time.

5K (December): I'm a beginning runner so it's probably unrealistic to expect too big a jump in this, but I'm targeting 43 minute 5K by the end of Dec. If I can make that happen. I should be able to expect a reasonable finish time for the Zion Nat'l Park half marathon so I'll sign up for that if I meet this goal.

Moving on, update time.

I spent the weekend in Manitoba for my cousin's wedding.  This was awesome because I got to visit with a cousin of mine who I don't see nearly often enough (not the one getting married) - which really means all of my cousins because I don't really hang out with any of them.

The wedding was beautiful.

I also managed to get up the morning of the wedding and go for a run with my Mom at the lake.  For once, she struggled to keep up.  Which means I'm doing something right and getting faster.  Go me

I've been using Runkeeper to track my runs, but I'm finding that it's reliance on GPX files rather than the Garmin Connect functionality is awful. I might have to change tracking apps which isn't a huge deal now that I'm using the Garmin again. Although I do have a friend who actually uses Runkeeper so I'll lose that social networking. I do like how Runkeeper displays pace and elevation, but I'm pretty sure I can find that in other apps.

Overall, I feel pretty good about how things have progressed with my running.  Sure, I'm slow, but I'm getting there.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Three and a half miles on Monday

Hank and I went out Monday morning for a nice run around the lake.  And it was a nice run.  It was also a test of running at a busy park with lots of dogs and kids around.  Hank did amazing.  He let a little girl pet him and sat still while another little boy ran by yelling, "Hi Puppy!"  He even had a good sniff at another dog on the trail so that was a relief.  We keep waiting for the problem with the big guy and there are none.

Well, he does think he belongs on the furniture.  And he likes licking faces.

Anyway, he continues to motivate us to get active and me particularly to keep running.  Although this morning was a morning run fail so I'll have to catch up tonight.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

My first running clinic

The cancer survivor running clinic was pretty awesome.  I wasn't sure what to expect, but it's a mix of returning participants and newbies like me.  So today's session was getting to know each other, followed by a quick 20 minute run.

we start out with 1 min run, 2 min walk, which is much shorter than I usually do so I attempted to run a little faster than normal.  At which point I also had to walk faster to recover. I did ok, but it wasn't great and in the heat, I was a little uncomfortable.

I'm sad I'm going to have to miss next week's clinic for a wedding, but I can't wait until the weekend after that.  Looks like it's going to be a fun bunch of women to get to know.

Also, I managed to get my Garmin watch straightened out so I can actually use it to track my runs instead of my phone.  Or as a backup to my phone on days I forget to charge my phone.

So, this running thing, still going well and now I have a bit more motivation to get out there and do it.  Looking forward to the run in October.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Running this week - even at 4:30AM!

This is what Hank looks like after a 2.8 mile run/walk at about 24C.  

That was Tuesday night after I felt really crappy about consistently not getting up to run early. I'd even written off running that night after we'd stopped at the vet, the library and the post office to get some errands done.  We still had to have dinner and it was almost seven.

I was bummed.

Then my super-awesome husband said, "why don't you take Hank for a walk or run now and I'll make supper."

So, off Hank and I went.  He had some issues that night with being a bit aggressive to other dogs, but we hadn't walked him that morning so I think it might have been more our fault for leaving him with way too much energy.  That's also why the run ended up being 2.8 miles instead of the usual shorter distance.  When we caught up to a family walking two dogs very slowly, I made the decision to not follow them down the path they were going, instead running out to the main road and some extra hills.

Hank got home, drank water and crashed - first on his bed, then he decided he'd rather hang out with my husband downstairs (where he can make sure no one leaves the house without him) and he sprawled on the floor at the bottom of the stairs.

This morning when my alarm went off at 4:30, I turned it off planning to go back to sleep.  About 5 minutes later I dragged myself out of bed and got ready to run.  Then I realized that my phone wasn't charged so I couldn't track my run (the horror!).  I attempted to get it charged before leaving the house, but it lasted less than 5 minutes before the battery saver shut down the GPS.

But that doesn't matter.  What matters is that I actually went out and ran in the morning again.  In my new running skirt!  Without my phone, it's hard to judge, but it looks like I even managed a good time.  So I manually added it to Runkeeper with my estimated time.

In June, I ran 13.1 miles.  I targeted 20 miles for July and today I pushed past 20 miles with a distance of 2.3.

July has a lot of records, but most importantly, I met my distance goal!

Here's the thing, sometimes it's hard to get back into the routine.  It's hard to get motivated.  We have lives and families and sometimes we just want to sit on the patio with a bottle of wine.  It's been a huge struggle for me to get back into it, which was a surprise for me.  I missed it so much when I couldn't run, but apparently I got in a couch rut.   This article from Runners World helps a bit.  Ugh, I have to get back into weight training.

Then I packed myself a delicious breakfast - a peach, some jarlsberg and saskatoon banana bread.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Tasty Tuesday - Saskatoon Raspberry Muffins

Saskatoons are in season right now and on Saturday, I picked berries with a friend.  We came home with berries.  A lot of berries.  She had fifty-four cups of berries.  I think I had fewer, but not by much.  I got tired of picking and slowed down at the end.

I had about 2/3 of a stockpot full of berries.  Gorgeous, plump berries.

First thing we did was freeze about 2/3 of them.  Then I was left with a 9x13" pan full of them in my fridge. The picture above is what is STILL left after freezing and baking. Next up, we might try infusing some gin or vodka with some berries.

Growing up, Mom had a pretty great cookbook that she's long gotten rid of, but I remember baking banana bread and blueberry muffins from that cookbook - the Harrowsmith Cookbook.

This is probably why I struggle to lose weight.

I used to bake the blueberry muffins all the time, so this is my best guess as to the actual recipe from my memory.  It's been a few years so it's probably not quite right and I'm pretty sure it didn't include raspberries, but these turned out pretty darned great.

For cupcakes without frosting.

I stored these in a ziplock bag and tossed them into the freezer so I can have a quick breakfast to grab on my way to work with some fruit and cheese.

Saskatoon Raspberry Muffins

1/2 cup butter, softened (just use butter, it's always better)
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
3 cups unbleached flour (reserve 1-2 tbsp for the berries)
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3 cups berries - I did 2 c saskatoons, 1 c raspberries
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease your muffin tins. You can use liners if you like, I have some silicone ones, but I prefer without.

Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well.

Toss your berries with the flour until evenly coated, set aside. Then mix the remaining dry ingredients together well. Finally, mix together the buttermilk and vanilla.  You may find that you need a bit more or less buttermilk.

Alternately add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk mixture to the butter/sugar/egg mixture, 1/3 of each at a time.  When it's just blended, fold in the flour-coated berries. Do not overmix.

Bake for 15-20 minutes.  Remove to wire rack and allow to cool.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Kayaks, cancer and my life this week.

Last night, my husband and I went out for our second kayak lesson.  This one focused on practicing what we learned in the last class as well as rescue skills. The important part - how to get back into your kayak when you've fallen out of it.

I am so so so bruised from trying to claw my way back in on the self rescue portion. The good news is, I can get myself back into the kayak so long as someone is there with me.  So we're all set.  If I'm ever off kayaking alone, I'll just stay close to shore.  That way if I capsize, I can swim ashore and climb back in on land.

Last night I also realized that today marks a year since I discovered I had cancer.  I celebrated by starting the morning picking saskatoons with a friend.  

Well, actually I started with a book and a giant dog snuggled up in bed. Because, lazy.

Speaking of giant dogs, our new addition has a name.  We finally decided on Hank.  Hank is an excellent running partner, wonderful walking buddy and generally just awesome.  I walked him down to the vet yesterday.  He has his first appointment later this week and I wanted to make sure that we didn't have an unpleasant surprise.

Kind of like when we attempted to give him his first bath. We learned a couple of things that day - Hank (purportedly a Lab cross) hates water. No, he more than hates water. There is no word to describe our new buddy's feelings for water.  We also learned that he is big and strong enough to push open a reasonably heavy unlatched door. To get away from water.

Back to the vet, no unpleasant surprises there so I had him step on the scale.  He's 96 lbs and they feel he might be a little light.  

Good news, no one should bother me on my runs with him around!

The past year has brought many changes to my life, most of them unpleasant. I'm never quite sure how far to go when I talk about my experience with cancer. Last year, my husband and I were sitting in a parking lot in south Calgary, trying to absorb the diagnosis and I was trying to stop crying. 

It's been a long year and now that it's over, finding ways to move on and forward and live my life is interesting. I feel an urgency to do the things I've always wanted to do, but put off because there was always more time.

I guess that's the big lesson I've learned - there isn't always time.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Wishlist Wednesday

I have a pretty extensive wishlist when it comes to running.  There isn't much I can say about some of the items on the list (oh, for a 30 minute 5K), sometimes it's fun to share this kind of thing.  So I'm hoping to make this a regular installment on my blog.

Wishlist Wednesday.  Items I covet.  Things that would make excellent Christmas gifts.  Events that seem like they'd be worth a hotel stay and maybe even some airfare.

Today, I'm going to start with the  Road ID.

This is exciting - it's been awhile since I've looked at their website.  Today, I found that they have a product that works with my Fitbit Flex.  I love my fitbit and adding yet another item to my wrist (becuase the fitbit is worn WITH a GPS watch sometimes) just seemed like overkill.  Enter the Road ID for Fitbit.

As for safety, if something should happen to you, the Road ID provides emergency contact information and can also include vital information such as medical conditions and allergies.  While I'm certain nothing will ever happen to me while I run, safety equipment is really only there for the exceptional occurances. 

The more I participate in events and those events get longer and/or further away, wearing something that can provide emergency workers pertinent information in a hurry seems like a great idea.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Running Buddy!

Back in April, we lost our 9 year old Yellow Lab, Tucker.  He was a pretty special dog to us and we both felt the loss.  In the days and weeks after his death, we decided we weren't going to adopt another dog until our elderly, cranky, dog-hating cat died.

Three months later, that decision is out the window as we found a perfectly delightful, four-year-old black lab cross at the Humane Society.

This picture is a little deceiving.  He looks like your average lab, right?

Some perspective, my husband is 6'3" tall.  And this is my new running partner's party trick - sit, sit pretty (90 pounds of black dog, sitting pretty!) and then hugs.  And apparently kisses.

He is a big, sucky, lovebug.

He's actually pretty well trained and understands "out!" means get out of the kitchen.  He also has sit and lay down.

And he's a runner.  I took him out for a jog this morning and while it took a little longer while he sniffed and poked around and did dog-things (like trying to chase deer and cats) it was a pretty successful run and he dragged me out of bed at 4:30 when I felt guilty for rolling over and going back to sleep instead of taking him out for a walk.

He is still the dog with no name as we try to figure out what's going to work.  The name he was assigned at the Humane Society is not going to work and he didn't respond to it anyway.

Anyway, loving our new dog, even as I worried that I'd come home to find he'd escaped from his kennel, eaten the cats and chewed a hole in the couch. I arrived home to find him casually hanging out in his crate, excited to get out and explore the back yard.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Fixing my running problem

There was a time when I thought I could consistently get up at 4:30am to run.  Lately, it seems I'm more likely to hit the snooze button (or just reset the alarm completely) rather than actually get up and run.

And when I get home from work, I've convinced myself of three things:
1.  I'm too tired to run,
2.  I don't have enough time
3.  it's too hot/cold/rainy/windy/sunny/cloudy to run.

Yeah.  This is not a recipe for running success.

So last night, after dinner, I dragged my butt out into the pretty much perfect running weather.  I'd love to say that I was faster than ever.  I wasn't.  The first mile, as always, was a liar and it felt crappy.  It's also the mile where I do all of my uphill so there's that.  The second mile was infinitely better and by the third mile, I actually felt like I could complete three miles.  A look at the clouds surrounding town made me change my mind.  I ran about 2.7 miles.  My GPS had a bit of a hiccup and I ran through some houses on the map so I'm not really sure how far I went. Technology is great.  Until it isn't.

So, I'm trying to figure out how I can fix this motivation problem I have.  Once I get out, it isn't so bad, but getting up off the couch is pretty hard sometimes.  Running in the morning is clearly not working.  Running after work might work better if I plan for it.

I also have another option of running at lunch time, but I hate getting back to the office and having a bright red face.  And lately I've had SO many meetings that there's a good chance I can't just hide behind my computer screen.

So.  Next week, I'm going to plan for evening runs, even in the heat.

If that fails, I'm going to do a lunch time run, an evening run and a morning (weekend) run and see how that goes.

I want to run.  I love running.  I don't get it.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Kayak lessons

After kayaking in Vegas in April, we decided we enjoyed kayaking enough to want to learn more about it.  We definitely needed to learn more about safety and and what to do if you flip over.  And better information on strokes, stopping, etc.  So we signed up for a lesson with Undercurrents here in the city.

We chose Undercurrents for a few reasons.  First, they're certified with Paddle Canada.  While this isn't absolutely necessary, it does give us a bit of confidence that they know what they're doing.  Also, they have small class sizes - max. six for the introductory class we did last night.   Finally, they offer a variety of locations for the lessons.

We still ended up at one of the furthest locations from our house.

This first lesson (Fundamentals) taught us what equipment is required, what to do when you flip over (demo on dry land), how to set up the kayak for ourselves, and how to sit in the kayak.  He also went into a description of the equipment (different paddles, different boats, etc)  And then we got into the kayaks and out onto the water for basic strokes, turning, edging, stopping, etc.

Finally, we had the option at the end of the class to flip a kayak over and practice exiting.

Yup, I did it.  I was the first one if you don't count that time my husband flipped his kayak while practicing edging.

We definitely enjoyed kayaking and the lesson we attended (excellent instructor!)

Sunday, July 12, 2015

The introvert as a runner

I'm an introvert.  I don't tend to like people all that much and when it comes to running it's easier for me to run slowly by myself than feel like people are judging me for being the slow.

I've been reading more and more about how running with someone can be a benefit, particularly for the slower runner.  They pick up their pace while the faster runner gets a low intensity workout and you both get some social interaction.

Social interaction, something I'm not all that good with most of the time.  Part of why I love running so much is that I can do it without having to interact socially.  It's how I recharge.  I love that time by myself, listening to myself breath, listening to my feet on the pavement, listening to the birds.  It's magic.  Pure magic.

So yesterday, when my Mom wanted to come with me on my run, my first thought was "Nooooooooo!" While nodding my head and saying "Sure. Let's go!"  I dreaded it.  She isn't a runner, but she is much faster than I am even as a walker. She is a power walker.

Then something amazing happened - partly because I didn't want to be judged for my speed, but also partly because I was busy and concentrating on something other than how my legs felt like lead - but I ran/walked faster than I normally do.  Much faster.

Sure it was flatter than my normal run, but 2 weeks ago I ran it and I was a good minute/mile slower than this week.

So there you have it.  Maybe there is a benefit to getting out there and running with other people.  Maybe I will get something out of the running room classes.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

The Running Room's Survivor Clinic's for CIBC Run for the Cure

This week, I signed up for a local Running Room clinic.  I'm in training for the CIBC Run for the Cure in October and while I'm okay training on my own, the Running Room gave me an offer I just couldn't refuse.

The Running Room = the Godfather.  Sure.  Why not.

Anyway, for breast cancer survivors, they're offering a free running clinic to prepare for the CIBC Run for the Cure.

Yup.  Free for breast cancer survivors.  Seems like  good idea.

Are you running the race?  Are you a survivor?  Have you signed up for a local Survivors Clinic?

Friday, July 10, 2015

8 Things I Wish I'd Known as a New Runner

1. Speed Doesn't Matter!

When I first started, I hated that I was so slow.  When I was doing the C25K program, I hated that in the first week, my workouts barely took me 1.5 miles.  Here's what I've learned since - all runners appear to believe that they are slow.  At least all recreational runners.  The reality is that whatever your pace, you're still running and you'll likely get faster.  I did.  And when I did, it felt amazing!  PS.  I'm slower than a 12 minute mile.  :)

2. C25K Programs Aren't Accurate

In fact, they're liars if they're based on timed intervals rather than distance.  In the program I completed, the last workout was a half hour run.  At that point, my 5K time was closer to an hour than a half hour.  I felt like a failure and even now, a half hour 5K probably isn't in the cards until probably next year due to the break I had to take and the lingering effects of chemotherapy.

3. Never again is also a lie.

My first race ever was a half marathon.  I can't include what a bad idea that was in this list because I knew that going in, but it was one of those things.  A bucket list thing, even if I didn't call it that at the time.  I'm pretty sure I was still running the race when I started to say those words - "Never again."  Other words were said as well, things like, "OMG, what was I thinking!" and "I HATE RUNNING!"  and "Hey, the girls doing a shot a mile probably had the right idea."  That medal up there is the first I ever earned.  I crossed the finish line as they were dismantling it.  They were out of medals.  I hurt.  My husband had spent time finding the closest entrance to the hotel, and I think I spent my entire limp there cursing and swearing and telling him he'd found the furthest possible entrance.  I got to the hotel room and I said "Never. Again.  I don't think I'll ever run again.  I'm definitely not doing another half marathon.  What a stupid sport.  Holy crap, this ice water is cold!"

My friend's husband actually gave me his medal that night so I'd feel better until my medal arrived in the mail shortly after so I did eventually get a medal.

The next morning, I was looking up 5Ks for the next year.

4. Medals are fun

8 Things I wish I'd known as a New Runner
Calgary Marathon 10K

The only event where I had to wait for my medal, is the first race I ran.  Every other event, I've been able to get my medal as I crossed the finish line.
8 Things I wish I'd known as a New Runner
Millarville Cinnamon Bun Run
I love seeing the different medals for races and I'm a little guilty of choosing races by their medals a time or two.  It's also why I tend to run longer distances.  They're more likely to have a medal than a 5K.  

5. Hills suck, but they're good for you

Look, we're already out there sweating and red-faced.  The last thing we want to do is make this running thing harder to do.  And then they say to do hill training.  I avoided it as a beginning runner.  Mainly because I was already painfully slow and I felt that any hill I would attempt would result in me walking up a hill.
Sometimes when I'm running hills, I feel like my dog in this picture - like I've bitten off way more than I can chew.  I live in a neighborhood where hills are kind of required.  My average run has an elevation gain of 150-200 ft, depending on the route I choose.  Yes, it makes me slower on THAT run.  But hills build strength and endurance and on the flat, it seems easier to run and I get faster running where it's flat.  Running faster makes me feel better.

6. Rest is important

Rest days always make me feel a little lazy
But the reality is that we get stronger as our body repairs and rebuilds.  I probably could have avoided much of the swearing during my first half marathon had I rested when things hurt instead of trying to run through the pain and racing injured.

7. Massage is your friend.

This includes paying someone to make you want to scream in pain while they jam an elbow into that knotted muscle as well as learning to use foam rollers and various other methods of torture.  While they're painful at the time, they can do wonders for helping you stay injury free and relaxed.

8. I'd get up early to run.

Mornings are not my favorite.
But they can be absolutely peaceful and beautiful.
Calgary Marathon start line
Or full of other runners waiting to start a race on a beautiful spring day.

I find it much easier to get up and run in the morning - especially in the summer when the days get really hot.  I have more energy after I'm done and I feel like I accomplished something.
And then I can go and sit on my front porch and have a coffee on a Saturday morning and not feel like I've wasted my day.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Happy Canada Day!

We didn't do much for Canada Day.  A bit of housecleaning, a bit of reading, a bit of cutting a quilt out. And a bit of discussion about what we eat and how we can fix that.

So we set some goals for July.  We've been doing a great job of eating at home rather than out and we've been particularly staying away from fast food.  But we have been eating a LOT of junk food.  I don't know why, but chips, pretzels and candy have been finding their way into our house (and my desk drawer!) way more often than they should.

So, for the month of July, we're aiming to eliminate crap from our diet. If I'm going to run a half marathon next year, I've got to get better focused on what I eat.

And I need to get running again.  A combination of the heat and a lack of energy at 4:30 has meant I haven't run in the last week and a half.  I have great intentions, but when that alarm goes off after a night where I've struggled to sleep due to the heat, it's way to easy to reset the alarm and get another bit of sleep.

In June, I ran 13.1 miles.  In July, I'd like to see that number go up to at least 20 miles.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Plus sized running clothes

Today I had my port removed.  This is a great thing (woo hoo, no more chemo!), but at the same time it means I'm not able to run for a few days, or the rest of the week.  Whatever.  Also, the freezing is coming out of my incision and I'm hanging out with a bag of ice on my chest.  It's a fantastic evening watching Schitt$ Creek.

I decided to console myself with a bit of online shopping.  Originally I was looking for clothes for work, but I stumbled across an amazing sale on Addition Elle.  I picked up two long sleeved running shirts for $15.00 each.  Yup.  $15.

There wasn't a lot of selection of color and sizes, but I'm not all that worried - I run at 4:30am.  No one cares what I'm wearing, I just want to be warm!

There were other options - like some great tanks, but I'm just not a tank top person.  And early in the morning it can be freaking cold out there!  I only bought the two above, but this one also looked great.

It is so great to find nice looking running clothes in plus sizes!  I also found a nice selection of plus sizes on Nordstrom, but they were a little pricier.  Also, Zulily has had some plus sized sports boutiques in the past few weeks - another great option for finding running gear.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

CIBC Run for the Cure

Hey, look, I'm talking about the Run for the Cure again.  It's somewhat awkward asking people for donations for the run.  Especially since I actively avoided telling many people in my life that I actually HAD cancer.  And then I did this which is forcing me to talk about it and share way more than I ever planned to.

To donate without reading further, please click here

But hey, in my first week, I surpassed my original goal for fundraising.

The first week.

I really should have celebrated with pie.  What was I thinking?

I set my goal at $500 because I thought I'd get $20 donations from most people.  I expected $20 donations from most people, IF they chose to donate, but my friends, coworkers and family surpassed that by leaps and bounds and I soon discovered I'd could increase my goal from $500 to $1000.

So, today I want to talk about why I chose to fund raise.  After all, there's the option for me to just pay my $40, run the race and go on my merry way.  I started out by looking at where the money from the run goes - this is actually pretty important and you can find ratings on many charities through various websites.  I found this which made me feel good about my choice.  And then I found this which gives you more information on investigating charities although some of the links found in that article are broken.

How about a recent financial statement?

But what does that mean and how does that benefit people with breast cancer?

I started at the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation's webpage.  That link will take you directly to the information that impacted me the most - what they do in the prairies and Yukon/NWT.

Things that matter to me?  They provide a grant to the Canadian Cancer Society.  When diagnosed with Cancer, much of the information provided to me was published by the Canadian Cancer Society.  Pamphlets on what to expect with Chemotherapy, information on managing side effects, diet, activity and what happens after treatment.  Any information you could want while going through treatment and beyond was available.

I still have several of their booklets in my bedside drawer, even if I read them less and less.

How about research?  It seems to be a commonly held belief that the money being raised for Cancer charities is just being wasted.  With the amount of money and time spent, we should have a cure already.  Therefore, the cure exists and continuing to fund it is pointless.

Yes.  I've seen this argument.

It makes me want to kick puppies.  And I love puppies.  There is nothing I would like more than to lie down in a room full of the furry, wiggly little buggers and let them crawl all over me.  Ok, there are some things that I'd like more, but come on A ROOM FULL OF PUPPIES!

I digress.

Sometimes I have to refrain from saying things like, "Shut the hell up unless you're actually a cancer researcher."  Then again, everyone is an armchair expert and will always tell other people how to do jobs they have no intention (or skill/knowledge) to do themselves. Myself included.

Just ask my husband. (Hi honey!)  This week, I attempted to tell him how to unclog a sink drain.  Because that's totally my skillset.

BUT, when we look at research, it goes beyond looking for a cure - regardless of the name of the event in this case.  For example, there is much research in the areas of early detection.  Someone out there discovered the breast cancer gene which many would argue is a HUGE step in prevention and treatment of cancer.  If you go to the page here, you'll also see that they fund research into other very important things like how to support people at the time of diagnosis, or examining how the disease affects people's lives and helping them better deal with that.

But let's talk treatment.  If you're uneducated about cancer treatment (like I was and I still am overall), you probably think that because there is no "cure" there is no advancements.  First of all, I was amazed by the sheer number of chemotherapy drugs that exist for treating all cancers.  I received a drug that is apparently used in breast cancer as well as lymphomas and leukemias.  In all, I received three different chemotherapy drugs, but many with breast cancer don't get chemotherapy at all.  I'm also continuing to be treated with an ongoing, non-chemotherapy drug.

And finally, there are a number of drugs designed to make chemotherapy bearable.  These drugs are invaluable.  We've all heard the stories of mouth sores and nausea.  I've watched people go through it in the past and I dreaded that.  DREADED it.

I had mouth sores for a total of 10 days.  They were a nightmare, but 10 days out of about 7 months total treatment is amazing.  Add to that the anti-nausea drugs.  Whoever developed those deserves a medal.  I never once suffered from nausea.

This is not to say that I went without side-effects altogether, but the worst of the most common ones were limited.

Seriously, find it early and  your treatment could be as easy as surgery and a bit of radiation. Which is why so much money is poured into awareness and education.  It's why you see screening programs and information everywhere about the importance of self exams, mammograms, etc.

Originally, pre-surgery, that was the plan for me - surgery and a few radiation treatments just to make sure.  Then the tumor was large and agressive.  I still had the option of skipping chemotherapy, but it seemed like a bad idea to skip it and risk things like metastasic cancer (where it spreads to other parts of the body.  Aka Stage IV.  Aka terminal)

Interested in what kind of research they're funding?  Go here.  Keep in mind, that is JUST the money that has been granted to research in the prairies (AB, SK, MB) and the territories (YK, NWT).

So, this is why I've decided to be a fundraiser in the CIBC Run for a Cure event.  If you've made it this far and want to support me in my efforts, please click here to donate.  I appreciate any and all support.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Farmer's Market Season is here!

I'm lucky, I live a few minutes from a pretty fantastic Farmer's Market.

This was our trunk when we left the market.  It was full of fresh fruits, veggies and a box of frozen fish.

 I love cherries so much.  These are probably my favorite, but they weren't as good as I'd hoped.  Definitely not as good as the Ranier cherries we had last week.

Fresh cucumbers and tomatoes from Broxburn in Lethbridge.

 Some fresh strawberries.  I don't know how they make them so flavorless in the grocery stores.

I'm not normally a fan of tomatoes. I am trying to be a bigger grown-up about the whole vegetable thing overall though so I'm willing to have toasted tomato sandwiches now and again.  These ones did make an especially flavorful sandwich so maybe this growing up thing is working for me.

Overall, we're trying to eat more produce and more fish.  They say we should be eating fish once a week.  We both like fish, it's just not something we cook a lot of.  So tonight we had steamed salmon with rice and a nice salad for dinner.  It's a start at eating a healthier anyway.

Normally, we cook our salmon on a cedar plank on the BBQ.  Next time, I'll get some pictures and maybe even post a recipe.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

I hate mornings

There was a time when I would sleep in as long as I could.  Even now, I set my alarm as late as I possibly can, giving myself little to no room for error if I want to actually catch my bus.  Some mornings, if I'm moving a little slower, I have to skip breakfast at home and grab something on the way or hope I have some fruit and yogurt stashed in the fridge at work.

So it's a bit crazy that as our summer heats up, I've started running in the morning again.  This morning, I was up at 5am to run before I went to work.  I drove to work so I had a bit of leeway and actually hit snooze before dragging myself out of bed.  And I was painfully slow.  Monday, I was at least 2 minutes per mile faster than I was this morning.  But, I still went and did it.  My legs felt like lead.  I might as well have just walked it - my average pace was a relatively slow walk.

And I think that's really just all I can do as I start running again.  Running until I'm tired, walking until I'm recovered then running again is ridiculously simple, but it also allows for mornings like this morning to happen without me feeling like I huge failure.

Don't get me wrong, I still feel like a failure.  But I don't feel too overly bad because  I still got out there and ran.

 This weekend, I found two magnets that are perfect for me.  First, the one above.  Yay! Running!  It's how I feel now that I can run again.  And then there was this magnet.
Mmmmm, pie.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Scotiabank Calgary Marathon: Volunteering

It's been a week now since I volunteered at the Calgary Marathon.  As a runner, it was a pretty great experience.  It's the first time I've volunteered and I have a greater appreciation for what makes a race go around now.

On Saturday, the day before the event, I volunteered for the package pickup.

I probably should've gone for the t-shirt pickup instead to have something a bit more active.  Live and learn.  It was still a fun experience.  Ah, the excitement of picking up your race package.

AND the excitement of running a half marathon.  (Soon.  Very soon)

The volunteers are working hard to make sure runners have a great time on race day.  We also want to make sure that you have everything you need.  Many of us are runners (or walkers or joggers) as well and we love the excitement around the event.  I don't have much to say about this experience other than it was a lot of fun and I enjoyed the runners I got to talk to.
Oh, wait.  I guess I should add that I love a race expo.  I love the excitement around the event and the potential for future events.  Look at these awesome races I could run in the future.  Seattle, Quebec City, Victoria (Goddess Run!), the Dino Dash (complete with a medal with a dino footprint on it).  Bloomsday in Spokane is particularly interesting, even for a giant race.

Race Day dawned clear, sunny and calm.  Look at that gorgeous sky.  Imagine starting and finishing at the Stampede grounds.

Gah, I can't wait to run this again next year!

Anyway, race day, I volunteered at the finish line.  First up was unpacking the medals.

Lots and lots and lots of medals.  There were 12000 runners this year in all events.

Oh yeah, the finish line is in front of the grandstand at the Stampede.  Yep, you finish in front of stands.  With people.  Last year?  I finished my race (not the marathon) right in front of the marathon runner (in my defense, he had a head start).  The cheering from the stands was pretty awesome.

But I digress.

Volunteering was a great experience and thanks to all of the runners who were absolutely awesome at the finish line.  Ok, there were a handful who weren't very cooperative with the volunteers (no, really, there's a reason we're asking you to keep moving and keep the finish line area clear.  It's ok, EVERYONE is waiting for someone else to finish.  I asked all of them to move too!), but overall the runners were fantastic and I loved volunteering.

It's something I'll do again, maybe even next year.

At the end of the day, I had a nice bubble bath, a good book and a Negroni

If you're a runner, go and volunteer at an event.  It's a fun experience and it gives back to the running community.

And if you're thinking about the Calgary Marathon (half marathon, 10K, 5K, Ultra Marathon), I don't think you can go wrong.  It's a great event and there's a lot to do in the neighborhood when you're not running.