Gorgeous Fall Running

Yesterday I decided to sneak in a short morning run. I had boot camp in the evening so I didn’t want to do anything hard core but it was such a beautiful day, it was too good to pass up. My run turned into a 5k walk/run with lots of picture taking along the way. I still managed to work up a good sweat and started my day in a very good way.

photo 2 (7)

I love the crunch crunch of leaves when you run in the fall. It makes hearing my feet pounding on the side walk a whole lot more fun. I purposely drove to the Running Room and started my run downtown. This way I could enjoy the view of the river and follow some of the trails in town. Our neighborhood is too populated and hilly. I don’t always like running here with all of the traffic. I was really happy with my choice, the views were worth the short drive.

fallruncollage1

I had perfect weather, we are in full fledged Indian Summer mode here. The leaves are changing and the air smells like fall but the sun has been out for a week and we have been getting summer tempeeratures. Luckily I was running in the morning before it got too warm, but I didn’t have to worry about cold fingers or wearing a jacket. I saw tons of people on my run. It was fun to watch moms with their kids and people with their dogs. I passed one guy walking a black Scotty dog, wearing a kilt and a Guinness t-shirt. I wondered what his plans were for the day.

fallruncollage2

Runs like this remind me why I like to run. Sometimes I feel like running is a chore I have to do. When I am running I often feel pressure to run longer, not take walk breaks and to go faster. Yesterday was nothing like that. I stopped when I wanted, walked when I wanted and ran when I felt like it. It might have not been the most intense workout but it was just the ticket on a beautiful day.

Weekend Recap: Applefest!

This weekend I was feeling a bit sick, but I still managed to fit in some fun. It was my mom’s birthday and Josh worked for most of the weekend, so I spent lots of time enjoying some down time and girl time.

Friday Josh and I both happened to be off work. This worked out great because he had to work both Saturday and Sunday. We spent the day together and had a really nice lunch date. We sometimes will be in different places and later find out that we were thinking the same thing at the same time. This is a little weird, we chalk it up to our awesome relationship (insert googly eyes and awes here). We were both craving nachos at work on Thursday and decided to cook some up for dinner Friday night.

friday night nachos

I think I could have made these healthier, but meh, it was Friday night. There will be plenty of time for healthy meals during the workweek. I make my nachos with whole grain chips, extra lean beef or turkey (depending on what is in the freezer), light cheese, salsa and whatever veggies we like. This is a sometimes meal and it doesn’t taste the same without sour cream. YUM. We watched a movie and had a quiet night.

Saturday was my mom’s birthday and we planned on going to Brighton for their annual Applefest Celebration. Every year they have a big vendor sale down their main street, a car show, a five km run, a parade and many other events. We were going to hit up the market really early and then get onto the highway. Unfortunately, I woke up super dizzy and woozy. This happens to me sometimes, especially if I am fighting off a bug or something. I am not sure if I am sick or not but this week I have been having a lot of problems with dizziness and nausea. Saturday morning was the worst and I wasn’t even sure if I could go. I had to sit down in the shower and we got a lot later start than we had planned. Eventually I pulled it together and we got to go.

applefest pics

I am so glad I felt up to going to Applefest. It was a lot of fun and was defiantly a great fall activity. We spent a few hours looking around the vendors, tasting treats and had a great BBQ lunch. I even got my annual caramel apple! It was so tasty. It got a bit melty so I put it in the fridge and ate it later in the evening. I think I definitely need to make my own caramel apples this year.

finnick in bed

Sunday morning I wasn’t feeling too bad when I woke up and decided to go for my Sunday run. Things were really out of whack last week and I need to get back on track with my exercise routine. I was looking forward to a great run to put me into workout mode and start my week on the right foot. I was going to run an 8k route but I wasn’t too excited with the route the leader had planned. I knew there was a cut off that would give me over 5k and when my stomach started to flip when we took off on our run, I decided a short run would be the way to go. I really enjoyed my little run. The leaves were falling on the trail, the sun was shining and the air smelt amazing. I love fall runs. This is my favourite time of year to run. I can’t wait to go back out this week.

Sunday afternoon I went into cooking mode. I made some yummy yummy teriyaki cheddar turkey burgers to put into the fridge for lunches this week. The recipe is from one of my favourite bloggers over at Simply Taralynn. This is the second time I have made them and they are man approved. We love them around here.

chicken burgers

I also made Josh a nice dinner. I made spaghetti squash with meaty tomato sauce. I used the left over taco meat from Friday night and some pasta sauce I had in the back of the cupboard. I brought my first spaghetti squash of the season at the market on Saturday. I have cooked with this squash a few times and while it is tasty and pretty easy to make I have one complaint. They are really hard to cut in half! I had so much trouble with it and made a crazy mess. It did make a good dinner though and we will have lots of leftovers.

speghetti squash

squash pasta

Question:

What was the best thing you did/ate/cooked this weekend?

My Fall Bucketlist

Fall Bucket List

Fall is here and I’ve got stuff to do! I love this time of year, pumpkins and cold weather and sweaters. Plus there is so much great stuff to do in the fall. I need to get organized. This perfect weather and tons of great weather won’t last long so I decided to put together my fall bucket list.

Make Caramel Apples

I usually find a way to get my hands on a caramel apple every fall. But I have never made my own. Josh and I might have to do some apple picking this year and make our first batch of caramel apples. I think these would make awesome gifts and would taste super yummy. I can’t wait to do this fun fall project.

chocolate caramel apples recipe

More and More Pumpkin Baking

These are some of the pins on my Yum! board that are defiantly on my to-do list for September and October baking.

crock pot pumpkin latte recipe

 

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese Frosting - Full of pumpkin flavor and perfect for Fall baking! #pumpkin #fallbaking

Visit the Pumpkin Patch

IMG00058-20111023-1329

Every year Josh and I plan a special trip to the pumpkin patch. We spend lots of time going through corn mazes and taking wagon rides. I also torture Josh by being super indecisive when I am picking out my pumpkin. We also like to take goofy pictures like this one.

IMG00040-20111023-1217

Fall Walks and Leave Gazing

The leaves around here are already starting to look amazing. Everyday I am noticing more and more red and oranges coming out. It is such a beautiful time of year. I really want to get in more fall walks and maybe a fall drive to go see some of the colours a bit north of us. My parents started this tradition and every year they take a day for their fall drive.

fall walks

 

Fall Paddle, Maybe?

I really don’t know if this one is going to happen but I really want it to. The weather around here is very unpredictable and while it feels like summer out today, next weekend could be a totally different story. That being said, we didn’t get out on the water nearly enough this year and I really want to go canoeing or kayaking one last time before winter comes. Please, please pleas! Well, here’s hoping for good warm weekends.

I have gone canoeing a week before Christmas before, but it wasn’t the best decision I have ever made. I jumped in the water after my fallen backpack and got soaked up to my waste. Yah, not one of my finer moments. That pre-Christmas water it cold! I think I’ll be avoiding that, for like, ever.

Question?

What is on your fall bucket list?

Are you still enjoying water sports where you are?

Kindergarten Germs and Loving Soup!!

I have spent the last three work days in a Kindergarten classroom. This might not seem like such a horrible thing to some people (or maybe it does if you hate kids) but for germ prevention not so good. Little tiny runny noes and sticky fingers have been haunting my dreams the last few nights. Sure enough I there is not a tickle in my throat and my nose is stuffed up. I am off work today and am using my down time to get in some rest and fill myself with nutrients.

emergenc

Don’t you love the cat photo-bomb? I do. Has anyone else tried this Emergen-C drink mix? I am in love with it. I swear this stuff saved me from a winter of antibiotics and long and never-go-away coughs last year. Orange is not my favourite flavour (I have only tried lemon lime before) but it does the trick. I see teachers with this stuff all of the time. The instructions say to mix it with water but don’t specify whether hot or cold water matters. I like to make mine into a tea and drink it hot. So far its keeping me going. Hopefully I can hold up against the ongoing kindergarten germs.

Lately I have been all about soup. I have been eating soup like crazy, finally made some homemade soup for myself and have been ordering it out at restaurants I love soup! Whats not to love now. This week we have been getting summer like weather but that hasn’t stopped me. I can eat soup almost any time of year. It is easy, fairly inexpensive, low in calories in fat (most of the time) and is usually packed with veggie punch. I, for one, need all the help I can get in the vegetable department. If I can sneak in some veggies in the form of yummy soup, sign me up!

Today was a teacher planning day, so as a supply teacher, I had the day off. Since Josh happened to have today off as well we decided to get some lunch together. There is a little tiny soup restaurant downtown that I have been dieing to take Josh to for lunch. The problem is they are only open on weekdays and we hardly ever get the chance to go out for lunch on a weekday. So we decided to go for a walk and get some soup.

gnome home

We see this little gnome home every time we make the walk down town. I always look for it on our walks. I think it is pretty cute tucked in a pretty place. The lady who owns the house used to have gnomes out beside it and a fairy but I think she took them in for the winter.

tomatoe soup

I got tomato with sausage and tortellini and it was AMAZING! That bread in the picture is homemade warm from the oven bear bread. OMG I could eat there everyday. I was kicking myself that I didn’t take any of that bread home with me for later. Everyday the restaurant makes six different types of soup from scratch with all natural and local ingredients. You have to stand in a long line for take out and fight for a table but it is worth it for sure. I wish they were open on weekends because I would love some of this after a cold Sunday run.

mix it up collage

After lunch we hit up the book store and I spent some time in the kids section. The teacher in me was showing. I love all of the Halloween and Christmas books that are coming out right now. I have already started my Christmas wish list! Someday I will have my own classroom and need all of the awesome books, right?

Question:

What is your favourite kind of soup?

How did you spend your Friday?

Race Day Dos and Don`ts

race day do's and don't

After my crazy race day on Saturday I have been thinking about some of the mistakes I have made on race day and some of the triumphs. I have been running for four years and have completed a number of 5k, 10k, and half marathon races. Not all of these races have always gone smoothly. In fact I have been in tears at the end of a few and have kicked myself for mistakes I have made along the way. Live and learn, right? Today I thought I would share some of my adventures of race days and some of my tips for surviving.

Race Day Do: Train Properly

Some people (my fiance Josh) can show up for race day practically unprepared, only a few runs under his belt and pull off a comfortable half marathon race day. This is a huge annoyance to me because I am totally not one of these people. If you ask any running expert out there, they will tell you how important training is. You need to be physically prepared for race day. Ideally you will have been following a training program of some type and will have gotten in a number of longer distance runs. This training will carry you through race day and past the finish line.

Well what happens when you have to move back and forth between two different cities every month leading up to your race? What happens when you are unable to properly follow a training program and have missed a ton of hill training and a few long runs? Well, unless you are my fiance Josh, race day sucks. Dieing a slow death has come to mind on occasion. On the other hand, properly training for a race and showing up on race day confident can make the day amazing!

After our second Half Marathon, the Goodlife Half. I felt like I was gonna die the whole time. Josh kept me going.

After our second Half Marathon, the Goodlife Half. I felt like I was gonna die the whole time. Josh kept me going.

Race Day Don’t: Forget your gear

It is a common tip to lay out everything you need the night before you run. This way you can make sure you have everything you need before you race and avoid the panic of not being able to find your water bottle on your way to the starting line. You would honestly think this would be an easy thing. As runners, we head out for runs numerous times during the week. Grabbing everything I need for a run should be second nature. Well it seems that even with the best intentions, everyone forgets something. This weekend I forgot my sunglasses and my hat. Why, I have no idea, since I ALWAYS run with sunglasses and a hat. If you always train with something you should always have it on race day. This way you won’t have to worry about squinting or whipping sweat off your forehead when you usually wouldn’t have to.

7k flamingos

 

Race Day Do: Race for Fun not a PR

I am not a PR runner. I have discovered over the years that a time goal only discourages me rather than motivates me. I don’t need a fast time to be a real runner or to enjoy running. I also don’t need to beat my race time to reach a goal. I would rather race for run and new experiences. That is why I greatly suggest racing for run rather than a PR. Pick races that have a fun element involved. Running through a zoo, amusement park, a colour run or zombie run are great ways to race while having fun. Races can be intense, dodging people and constantly being reminded f what km your on and what your time is. Stopping to take some pictures of colourful flamingos is nothing to worry about, but rather a great photo-opp! It will defiantly make your race day more memorable.

colour run

Race Day Don’t: Don’t forget your cheering squad

One thing I really regret about our past races is not have more friends and family along the route to cheer us on. This hasn’t really been on purpose. Josh and I have never done a big race in our home town and it has very rarely worked out that our friends or family have been able to come along with us. I wish this could be different. I wish we could have lots of people with funny race signs cheering us on. I am always really thankful for spectators cheering us on but not having someone to meet at the finish line is sometimes sad. This is why I am planning on making my next half marathon race a local one. I really want to have people out there on the course and see many familiar paces along the way. Plus we won’t have to find a stranger to take our post-race photos!

race medals

Weekend Recap Part Two: Adventures in Soup

Sunday morning we woke up to rain rain and more rain. I was a little soar from the run on Saturday and my foot still hurt a bit. We didn’t plan on heading out for our usually Sunday run so there was only one other thing left to do, breakfast. Josh and I decided to head down town to one of our usually breakfast spots and get some food. We bundled up and braved the elements.

rainy day

 

When I got home I set to work. I wanted to put some healthy and home cooked food in our fridge and decided that Sunday would be the day I started my adventures in soup. Soup always seems like a lot of work, a lot of time and chopping things. Not really my favourite things. But I have been looking for a good soup recipe. I love soup on a cool day. It can be low in calories and fat and can pack lots of vegetable punch. I made Cheesy Potato Soup from My Recipes.

soup makingThis soup was so yummy and creamy and very reasonable for something full of potatoes. It goes so well with some bread, sandwich or salad. Right now I am loving the big container of soup I have in my fridge.

soup

 

After the great success of my Pumpkin-Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies, I baked up last weekend, Josh has been interested in much more pumpkin baking. I had half a can of pumpkin in my freezer and decided to be a nice fiance and bake him some pumpkin chocolate chip muffins. I found this amazing recipe from The Girl Who Ate Everything. She has amazing recipes on her blog. I played with this recipe a little bit and used apple sauce for most of the oil and used whole wheat flour. The muffins turned out great! I love that this recipe also makes 24 muffins. 12 muffins always get eaten too fast. We are really loving the pumpkin-chocolate combination around here.

muffin collage

The rest of the day included a yummy roast beef dinner at my parent’s house and an early bed time. I always feel like fall is here when my mom stops barbecuing steak on Sunday nights and begins cooking roast beef.  I am feeling a bit bitter sweet about the coming fall weather. I love it and the pumpkin flavored everything it come with, but I miss summer and wearing shorts and tank tops.

This week I have two days booked in a kindergarten classroom (EEKK) wish me luck. I also have more cooking to do and really want to get active this week. It is going to be a busy one people. The year is revving up and getting crazy. I need to remind myself to hold on and keep my healthy living goals in focus.

Have an amazing Monday!

Weekend Recap Part One: Toe Injuries and Race Day

I know I have been away for a while but I have lots to blog about and share. This weekend was jammed packed with lots of happenings and excitement. In order to get my thoughts straight and get everything in, I thought I would split up my Weekend Recap into two posts, starting with Friday and Saturday.

This weekend I completed the Oasis Zoo Run 10k in Toronto. This run has always been on my bucket list but, because it is in September, I have never been able to make it work. It sells out really fast and school and work commitments or unknowns have always gotten in the way. This year Josh and I were finally able to commit and had planned on making the event into a little weekend getaway. We weren’t able to do any big trips this summer and we thought it would be a good idea to spend a couple days in Toronto, have some fun and run the race all together. That was the plan anyways.

I haven’t been getting much supply work lately and decided that I wouldn’t book Friday off work. We had a hotel booked for Friday night and were going to visit the Ontario Science Center during the day and maybe do an IKEA trip. I didn’t think I would possibly get called into work Friday but we agreed that if I did, I would work and we would miss out on the Science Center. Well. wouldn’t you know it, no calls all week and I end up working all day in a Kindergarten room. Bummer. While I ran around changing plans and getting ready to work the day instead of blow everything off for a mini-vacation, I walked straight into a door frame, crushing two toes and falling head first into our bath tub. OUCH!!

The toes were bad, really bad. I felt sick to my stomach and honestly thought I may have broken one, less than 24 hours before our race. I was so mad! My training has been perfect. I have had amazing runs and was feel so ready for this race. This 10k was going to give me a burst of confidence in order to begin training for my next half marathon. And here I was with a bruised and swollen foot and hardly able to walk. Not to mention I was expected to run after four year-olds all day long. Luckily we worked it out that it would save us some time and gas money if Josh drove me to work, so I didn’t have to drive on Friday. I wore some comfortable shoes, popped some pain killers and got down to business. I was pretty sure half way through the day that I hadn’t broken a toe, I was much too functional, but it still didn’t feel okay to walk or run for that matter.

going to TO

I got through the day and we finally made our way to Toronto to pick up our race bibs and check into our hotel. I was so happy that we made it in time to get our race kits the day before the race. I like everything to be laid out and ready to go for race day and I don’t like the added stress of standing in line to get my bib before a race. Plus they always put awesome goodies in race kits, including yummy snacks to eat while you are watching TV in your hotel room the night before a race :)

Everything was going really smoothly (minus crazy foot pain) until we got to our hotel. We had booked the hotel late and were looking to save a bit of money by staying at a less expensive hotel, so we weren’t expecting the star treatment or anything. Unfortunately what we got was just a hilarious disaster. We showed up and found construction workers everywhere. To get to the ‘front lobby’ we climbed through a patio door into a hotel room and found two women sitting at cluttered desks. The whole hotel was a mess, there were paint buckets and wet paint signs in every stairwell. Almost every room had tape on the door describing what needed to be fixed in that room. There were no working elevators and we had to search for quite a while to find a stairwell that didn’t have workers in it. When we got to our room we found that the heating system didn’t work and the whole room smelt like a dirty construction sight. The whole thing was horribly disappointing. I was already upset about an injury and missing our fun day, a dirty, smelly hotel room was too much. When Josh turned on the heat and discovered a burning smell and I found a dirty bathroom waiting for us we finally called down to the front desk to complain. We were quickly upgraded to a slightly better room and felt much better.

To calm ourselves down and salvage what was left of our night we decided to go out for some dinner. We were looking for something close by, simple and yummy and settled on Swiss Chalet. It was the perfect choice. I don’t think my meal had any vegetables in it unless you count the spinach in the spinach dip appetizer we ordered. Carb loading? Okay maybe it wasn’t the best option but I am not regretting it. I spent most of the night watching TV with my foot elevated, happily munching race kit goodies.

swiss chalet collage

Saturday morning was crazy. I can’t believe we made it to the starting line in one piece. I thought I had set everything out the night before and was organized for the run but I think my swollen foot distracted me. We had to get up super early and get to the zoo in order to beat the rush of 5000 runners. Unfortunately our crummy hotel`s breakfast didn`t open until 7am. We ran in grabbed some bread and peanut butter and scarfed in down in the car, guzzling water the whole way. Luckily we were only running 10k not a half or longer. We got away with the poor planning this time. After standing in washroom lines and finding our corral I realized I had missed a few essential things. I broke a hair elastic and made Josh go back to the car with me. When we got back I realized I had also forgotten my sunglasses and hat. With no time and a sore foot I didn`t want to go back to the car again and decided to go without. In Josh`s words I was a mess. I wasn`t even sure if I could run the whole race on my foot and I always run with a hat and sunglasses. before the race

Here we are before the run. We seem like we have everything together right? Hahaha, not so much. We really lucked out in the weather department. We had mostly cloudy sky’s for our entire run with not-to-warm temperatures.

creeper selfie

The guy behind us is looking into your soul right now. Poor guy seemed pretty grumpy and probably wasn’t that impressed that he was getting stuck in our selfie. This was right before start time and the corral was getting pretty crowded.

andrew

Someone bought his race bib from a runner who couldn’t make it. We called him Andrew all day.

zoo collage

These are some of the animals we passed on our way through the zoo. It was really cool to have the animals be our race day entertainment. At one point it looked like we might have been running right through an animal exhibit. Everyone around us was glancing around waiting to be jumped by a tiger. I know why I wear a hat when I run. It drove me nuts to constantly wipe the sweat off my forehead. I missed my hat! The route was really really hilly. I knew the zoo was kind of hilly so I was somewhat prepared but it always seems worse when you are running your but up a cliff to reach the finish line!

7k flamingos

This is at about the 8k mark. I look red and tired. These flamingos were awesome though and very exciting to see when I was tired and hot.

race medals

We look a little rough but we made it through. We ran the race in 1:14. I wouldn’t normally post my race time. I am a slow runner and although I usually own that I always get a bit touchy with my race times. But we ran a super hilly route and stopped for pictures along the way so I am pretty happy with an hour and fourteen minutes. It was an awesome day and the slice of pizza I ate afterwards was the cheery on top. We walked around the zoo a bit before heading home. The rest of the day was for napping and movies.