Wednesday, July 31, 2013

(Lack of) Workout Wednesday

Ah vacation...and the dreaded return of my cold.  WHAT?  Three weeks vacation taken in July and two of them spent sick.  Life sucks.  I feel like I should get a refund for using so much vacation time being sick...don't I have sick days for this?

So, in case you've been wondering where I have vanished to - I'm still around...I'm just not moving much.   Our camping trip ended up being aborted after one day because the kids were sick and the mosquitoes at Johnston Canyon were making us all too miserable to stay.  Hubby vanished for a couple of hours yesterday and returned with Starbucks and a hammock...LOVE HIM!  

So we are staycationing while I kick this bug.  Not really the vacation we had in mind, but I'll take it.

and my lack of workout updates?  Well, running hasn't been in the cards right now since I don't want to risk a further sideline by pushing it too much.  Hopefully my legs still remember how to do it when I return to work and my lunchtime runs next week.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Summer MOMday: Campground Review - Dinosaur Provincial Park (Brooks, AB)

Campground: Dinosaur Provincial Park Campground

Location: Approx 20mins north of Brooks, Alberta.  Dinosaur Provincial Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Driving Directions: Highway 1 toward Brooks. Turn north on Hwy 36 and then continue east on Hwy 544 Follow the signs (Directions)

Pre-Registration Available? Yes.  You can prebook thought the Alberta Parks website

Amenities: pit toilets, potable water (best drinking water we've ever had), some sites have electrical, some sites have large pergolas, playground, convenience store and food counter, interpretive centre, tours

Proximity to Kid-Friendly Attractions: Very close.  All hiking trails are under 2k in length.  Small interpretive centre onsite with great educational programs, series of tours available.

Our Experience:

Warning: There is zero cell service once you are down in the valley.
This is one of the most beautiful campgrounds we have ever stayed at..the landscape is awe inspiring...if you can see it through the mosquitoes.  No word of a lie - the campground could be called "Alberta's Official Mosquito Feeding Grounds"   At least in early July, when we were there, it could.

The sites themselves are a nice size and have green spaces running between them, which is perfect for the kiddos as it gave plenty of wide open and safe play spaces for them to play with all of the new friends they made.
why, yes - that is my kid running around in her jammies, blowing bubbles...
Not many trees, though we had 3 at our particular site - it was really hard to string up a tarp (which we needed because it was a) hot and b) rain was forecasted.

and the view right across from our site

This is a very family friendly campground with plenty for kids of all ages to do.  We did one of the hikes around the interpretive centre and it was just had to do it at high speed.  The twinners became trail runners that day to avoid being bitten by bugs.

There were also areas that were a little tough for their little legs, but they became champion climbers.

Warning: after the rains on the Friday night - the trails became EXTREMELY slippery.  Make sure you pack the right footwear for hiking.  My brother in law learned the hard way when he ended up slipping down one of the trails.

The trails are mostly single track and there are a wide variety of wildflowers and cacti to be seen.

You also need to be careful out there, because there are prairie rattlesnakes, wolf spiders and scorpions in the vicinity.  More trails are located off of the public loop road, not far from the campsites.  The public loop is about 3k and has parking at each trailhead.

Tip: If you plan to go here, make sure you pack the bug spray or, even better, bug shirts.  You'll find you enjoy it much more if you aren't being eaten alive.

We didn't take any of the tours as a family, though Hubby and his brother did go on the sunset Photography Tour, which cost $24 and they both agreed it was well worth it.  You can see the results of their journey behind the scenes here.

We did checkout the interpretive centre with the kidlets - it isn't like Royal Tyrell in Drumheller, but there are a couple of skeletons and some nifty interactive displays to learn more about the work that is done there. They also regularly feature free movies in the auditorium (think National Geographic, not Pixar) The kids got bored pretty easy while there so we didn't stay long.  Admission was $3 for adults.  Under 5 was free.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Friday Reads: Kiss and Spell by Shanna Swendson

Welcome back, Katie and Owen.  At the end of the last book, Owen's powers had been restored when the brooch was destroyed, but even more surprisingly - Katie was no longer immune...and had gained some powers of her own.   The Elf, Sylvester is more than a little bitter about his takeover being thwarted and is planning a war - he just needs to get an army through from the Elf Realm.  When people who might get in the way or not play nice start disappearing, Katie and Owen are on the case...until they disappear themselves.

Waking up in a world that is more Romantic Comedy than real world, neither knows who they actually are.  It doesn't take long for Katie to snap out of the spell she is under and soon they are plotting a way out.

Ok - I am not going to give much more away.  In my opinion, this book is the best one of the series yet.  If you like paranormal chick lit - this is a great series to pass those lazy summer hours with.  It is a really quick read and very fun.  I'm already looking forward to the next installment.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Pushing 100

I have been off work all week since our dayhome is closed.  We've been having a really fun week, me and the girlies, but one thing has been missing.  Thank goodness my phone remembered ;)

Ok - I didn't really forget, but you try to get a run in with 4 year old twins.   But then, yesterday, I noticed that the bike rental place in Eau Claire had a double chariot...and they rent it separately!   Things were looking up.

Tina and I were going to meet for coffee when running felt impossible, but with a stroller rental on the horizon...suddenly we could run!

So, after swimming lessons - I rented it and soon Tina was there and ready to run.  We dropped off some things in the parking lot and then Tina suggested we run up the curling club hill to start.

I laughed.  She insisted.  and then she took the chariot...

She ran it to the ridge in the path and then I took over for the rest of the hill... just so we're clear - there was no running here.  That hill is a killer.

By the time we came down onto centre street, the girls were zonked.

We crossed the bridge and then came down under Centre Street Bridge to head east to Edmonton Trail

It was really bleeping humid out there, but the temperature was perfect for running.  Made us happy campers!

We crossed over the next bridge and turned to the west again - intent on running to 10th Street, crossing over and heading back.

It was on the North side of the river, we could see some of the flood damage along the bank.

It is so eroded, but the work crews have been working tirelessly to restore it.  There is still a long way to go to getting it back to where it used to be, but it is heartening to see them trying to get the pathways back to usable shape.

After we passed the suspension bridge, Tina realized she needed a washroom STAT and ducked into the woods...I can't resist sharing the photo of her slipping on the way was so freaking hilarious, as I am sure she will attest...

Plus, it gave a ton of teasing fodder for the rest of the run as we joked about her mud streaked ass... HA!

Soon, we were back on our way...with just a quick photo op at the Peace girls just keep aiming to get the perfect jump shot!

Not bad, considering I probably only had half a foot of air!
Haha!  I so can't jump worth shit.

Then it was on to 10th street and over and down the home stretch to Eau Claire again.

6k.  Mission happy momma who got a run in...even if she had to push 100lbs (incl stroller) to do it!

No land speed records were shattered in the making of this run.

Monday, July 22, 2013

MOMday: (Guest Post) From Couch Potatoes to Active Family!

Note from Cori: I don't often have guest bloggers here, but when the opportunity to participate in Becky Reese's Mommy Blog Tour came up - I leapt at the chance to bring you some new content.   I hope you will all enjoy this as much as I did.

From Couch Potatoes to Active Family!

I’m a crazy running mom with five kids—yep, you heard me correctly!  I’ve been married 22 years, and many of my friends would probably say I have six kids including my husband.  A few years and a LONG winter ago, I realized that my kids were vegging out on the couch or playing video games, and honestly I am not sure I could even get them off the couch to let the dogs in.  That is when I knew I had to make a change.  Believe it or not, one in three kids is obese or overweight.  If you think I’m kidding, drive by your local middle or high school and you will see what I am talking about.   Here are some steps I took to get my kids (and my husband) to become active again.

Limit TV, video, and computer games.  At first I let them have an hour a night other than homework, but the kids outsmarted me and before I knew it they had downloaded videos to their iPads, and were playing games on their kindles.  So, I had to get tough and I made a table where the kids left every electronic device they had by 9 pm unless they had not finished their homework. Quickly the kids were getting more quality sleep and I was not having trouble getting them to wake up in the morning.

Find an activity that you can enjoy as a family.  Winter was easy—snowboarding and skiing.  No problems getting everyone to the slopes, but summer is not so easy!  Not everyone enjoys running like I do.  I had to get creative - like betting on the golf course, and the new favorite - wake boarding.  I also found hiking was one that even if they didn’t love it, they could handle it for a little while.

Change their diet.  This has been the #1 way I made a difference in my kids.  Simple swaps like water for soda, fruit for chips, cheese sticks and apple dip!  Food is energy—so you can fill them up naturally or fill them up with sugar and watch them crash on the couch.

Plan an active vacation or staycation.  I got smart this year and planned a vacation that had the kids moving and walking.  To make sure they were prepared, we went hiking and walking and biking together so that they knew they would be prepared!

Simple changes and a little creativity will help get those kids (and husbands) off the couch and out having fun!

About Becky Reese:
Armed with a mission to empower moms across the country to feel beautiful no matter what their size, mother-of-five Becky Reece founded Sexy Mom's Running Club ( to help busy women make themselves a priority again, while still balancing career and family.

And Becky has generously offered up a lovely giveaway for my readers!!!  One of my readers will take this prize package home!
To enter the giveaway, just enter using the Rafflecopter widget below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Prize has been provided by the Sexy Mom's Running Club at no cost to myself. I was not compensated financially for hosting this post, but I did receive a selection of gifts for participating in the Mommy Blogger Tour.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

That Day I Went Standup Paddleboarding

So yeah - yesterday was a pretty eventful day for the ol' 36 Resolutions list...not only did I run my first continuous 10K race (and much faster than I thought I would) AND go on a date with my hubby...I also took the Standup Paddleboarding (SUP) course I've been dreaming about for at least the last year!

Back when I posted my resolution list, my friend Amy immediately chimed in that she would love to take it with me so we took a bit of time to figure out a date that would work and then we booked in with a company out of Chestermere.  Apparently that company didn't really want us to take the course with them because it might interfere with their life so we had to track down a different company - and I am so glad we did.

I met Amy out at Wedge Pond where we would be learning how to SUP from Aquabatics Calgary.

Originally, the location was to be Allen Bill Pond by Bragg Creek, but the great flood of 2013 had washed out the access bridge and the course was moved to this pond.  It was quite a bit farther out than we had wanted, but it was incredibly beautiful and the perfect location for this.  Best of all, the course was at 4pm so the water had had a chance to absorb some of the 28*C day and not be quite so "mountain frigid"
Photo credit: Cam Wood
Hubby even tagged along with his big fancy camera to take pictures of us falling off our boards. He took all of the good ones in this post ;)

The course began exactly as you'd think it would - anatomy of a board and paddle, fitting of PFDs and adjusting paddles.  

I loved how they had the boards set up to teach us how to climb on and stand up...they had a couple of SUP boards balanced on BOSU balls to mimic the instability of the water, though they were quick to tell us that the boards would be much more stable once they are on the water.

Photo credit: Cam Wood
And then it was into the water.  We each picked a board and paddle and slowly navigated down the steep bank to the pond,  instead of at the boat launch, like one might expect...

The boards were much lighter than I expected.  I went with a very beginner friendly board and while it still had a fair heft to it, it was still manageable.   The water at that edge of the pond was already quite deep and very muddy but we were soon on our boards and paddling on our knees away from shore.

It was already amazing and I wasn't even standing yet.   Soon, I was moving to my feet and waiting for gravity to pull me into the water below...but it wasn't happening.  I was still feeling stable.  And as I started to follow the group across the water - having not even learned how to properly stroke yet - I felt so peaceful there in that little mountain pond.  SUP was like the most natural thing in the world for me! Love at first stroke, as it were...

Photo credit: Cam Wood
Photo credit: Cam Wood
Looking over at Amy, I could tell she was feeling the exact same way!   We both had giant grins on our face that I'm pretty sure only left when we actually ended up in the water (which happened a couple of times later on).

Once we were at the other end of the pond, the two instructors (Simon and Ian) gathered us together to make a raft of our boats.  There were 9 of us in the group so it was a pretty big raft.  Ian demonstrated what to do if we fell off our boards and how to get back on again.  And then that they started to teach us the proper way to do a forward stroke.
Photo credit: Cam Wood

Photo credit: Cam Wood
Then we were off and paddling around the pond.  Both of our instructors were awesome.  They were quick to correct and encourage us.  Once we had "mastered" forward stroke, they brought us together again and taught us how to do a sweep turn and then sent us out to practice again.
Photo credit: Cam Wood

Photo credit: Cam Wood

Photo credit: Cam Wood
The next time we huddled, it was for a surprise - we were going to have a relay race!   Ian paddled to the other side of the pond and Simon stayed with us to even up the numbers on the teams.  My team was the lucky one who got the instructor!  We dubbed ourselves "Team Awesome" and the race was on.   Amy went first for our team and looked like a champ paddling across the pond...only to take quite the dive off her board at the turn around.  First student to hit the water that day.  It took her a while to get back on, since she had landed face first - EEP!   But soon, she was back on her board and paddling back to the team.

Photo credit: Cam Wood
Then it was my turn and I did my best to make up for some of the lost time.   Simon told us to belt out a song at the turn around so I did my best Queen impression with "We Are the Champions" and then came back.  Surprisingly, we weren't far behind the other team.  The other two students on our team went and then Simon, on his knees (as a "handicap" for our team for getting the pro) took off to bring it home.   We had to make a teepee out of our paddles so as soon as Simon was back with his paddle up - well, I think we learned it was a tie but I plan to say Team Awesome was the winner of the day!

For the two and a half hours of the course, we learned several strokes, most of us ended up in the water at some point and we got a whole lot of time to paddle around and be really comfortable on our boards with feedback from our instructors.  We even had a little race across the pond as a group.  I liked that they encouraged us to test our limits that way.
Photo credit: Cam Wood
Photo credit: Cam Wood
Photo credit: Cam Wood 
Photo credit: Cam Wood
Photo credit: Cam Wood
I loved it.  SO MUCH!  I don't know how much I will be able to actually do it, but I am so glad I took the plunge outside of my comfort zone and tried.  I may even try to take the advanced course as well! I hope this will become something I can do every summer!  and it has me looking at moving to a lake community in a different way now.  Also - I am not sure why anyone would ever want to ruin standup paddleboarding by doing yoga on it...just my thought...

Photo credit: Cam Wood
Most of all - if you are in Calgary, I would highly recommend Aquabatics.  They were incredibly professional and very fun guys to learn this from.  And, I definitely feel like I got my money's worth for $80 in this course.

On a side note - the next day, I am not as stiff as I expected to be.  I definitely am feeling new muscles across my upper back and in my legs...but that's a good thing!

I'll try to link over to Amy's review of the day once she posts it.  I don't want to give away too many of her impressions of it all so you'll need to wait for it :)

Race Report: MEC Calgary 10K (July 20)

Today was yet another of the MEC Calgary races.  The week leading up to it was a bit stressful, as they had not announced a new race route, since they were trying to combine the race they cancelled (due to the flood) in June with the July one and they needed a half marathon route.  Finally on Thursday, they sent it out...and it was a doozy.

The race had been moved to North Glenmore Park and ran from the Canoe Club down into the weaselhead and back up the other side...and then back again.  Calgary's 2 hell hills...twice!  Egads!

I wasn't thrilled, particularly since I had a pretty big goal in mind for this race...I wanted to run it non-stop.  It would be my first continuous 10k race ever!  Those hills nearly always reduced me to walking so I was a bit scared going in.  But I'd try anyway.

I got up and got ready for the race on Saturday and, when I went to tie my shoes - discovered this:

Cancerhound had been at my laces!   So I had to make a last minute shoe change.  I had to get out of town early because it was Langdon Parade day and the only road access to my house would be closed I made it to North Glenmore nice and early.   Because I had decided I would be wearing my hydration pack instead of my iFitness belt, I had forgotten that I would need safety pins.  Inside my running bag, I keep the first race pins I ever had - if ever I pin my bib, I use these.  BUT when I opened my bag...this was all that was there:

This race was not shaping up as I hoped.

Luckily, I did have extra pins so I was soon pinned up and had my hydration pack on my back and was headed to the start line.

I looked around a bit to see if Michelle had arrived yet and couldn't see her.  It was right around then that I realized I was going to need my sunglasses so as I walked back to the car. Turns out  had just arrived and I ran into her on my way to the car.

We stood around a bit at the start line waiting for the half marathon to start at 9 and, once they were gone, MEC led a warmup for the 5 & 10k people and it was time to line up.  My selfie skills were seriously lacking that day.

At 9:15 - they started us 10k people and off we went.  I wanted to start as slowly as I could so I could keep it up a long time.  After last week, I knew I was capable of going 10k straight without walking...I just needed to repeat it on race day.   Imagine my surprise when I glanced at my watch and saw I was going 6:30 and feeling really good.   It took me a couple of kms to really find my groove, but every time my watch beeped to mark a kilometer - the pace was consistent.  

Of course, I had yet to hit the hills. Soon, we were heading down into the weaselhead

I didn't try to gain much speed on that first downhill.  I kept telling myself this wasn't about speed - it was about testing my steadyness...about finishing the same way I started.

It was such a blazingly hot day - already at around 25*C at 9am.  I was sure happy to be greeted by the shade of the Weaselhead. I was also happy to have my hydration pack.  On such a hot day - having water with me whenever I needed it was a godsend.

And there were some new additions down there since last week...all entrances into the trails were cordoned off!  I guess all of the howitzer shells they've been finding since the flood has made them take action.

I kept going and going and going the length of the Weaselhead.   Not far in, I started encountering people on their return trip.

And then, the moment I was dreading - the south hill.  This hill is a bitch on the best of days.  straight up and painful looking.

Who puts a race turnaround at the top of THAT?  But MEC does like to challenge us on these races and I knew that if I could do it on this race course - there'd be no stopping me on a flat one! So I reached the turnaround and headed back down again

This time I put on my downhill legs and added a little speed.  

Shortly after I hit the bottom of the hill, a female Darth Vadar fell into step behind me.  Each intake of breath sounded like a cross between someone on an oxygen machine and Darth himself.  I found myself praying that she wasn't using me to pace her to the finish.   Each breath she took rattled me but I couldn't pick up the pace and lose her - I needed to save myself for the hill out of there.

Luckily, around the incline to the bridge, she dropped to a walk and I could leave that sound far behind me.

I carried on and was soon plodding up the hill.  The end was near.. In 3k I would be done and celebrating my little victory.

My watch was still telling me I was going between 6:30 and 6:40.   I crossed the finish line in 1:07:28.  No walkbreaks necessary.

Yay me!

and then I went to my car to finish melting.

But I did it!  and I am very proud of myself.   The first thing I thought, though, was "How do I do it faster next time?"  Oy...I am always so competitive with myself...

The garmin geekery.  Try to not be too awed by all of those even splits :P

That dip/pause was the turnaround...I didn't stop but it must have registered like that.