Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Mulch nightmares

The mulch haunts me. There's a thick layer in the front and back yard. After having a quick chat with our homeowners, we compromised and they're adding more mulch to the garden. I want to cry. I'm planting as fast as I can, but if I don't fill the gaps then the mulch comes in. It's looking like a shopping mall out back. Okay that's not true, it still looks like the forest for the most part, but...what can I do, they like the mulch and it's their home.

The funny thing is they appreciate and enjoy the gardening we've been doing, but they don't have the patience to wait for things to grow and develop and fill in the gaps. So last night I woke in a panic over the mulch. You know there's big problems in the world to concern me (war, global warming, animal cruelty, factory farming) and I wake in the night with mulch concerns.

Sunday, May 27, 2007


What's a vegan to do without her soy products? Eat more of everything else and keep reading those labels. I've been reading labels for so long that I'm like the terminator when I read. I can pick out "whey", "casein", "rennet" in a flash. Now I've added a new item to the list: "soy".

I seemed to have developed an intolerance to it or at least that's what I've concluded after having been off soy now for about two weeks. I feel better and I've stopped fearing my dinner, wondering if it's going to make me feel sick. Yeah, I'd say that's definitely a good thing.

It was difficult the first week because everything we ate often included a soy product, either tofu, tempeh or an Yves fake meat product. Removing these things from my diet made me realize how dependent I'd become on them. I never drank soy milk so that wasn't an issue. I've always thought that soy milk was disgusting (it's a texture thing). At one point I thought I should just probably go fully raw, but small steps here are needed. I'm eating lots more veg, other legumes, lots of grains (got to get those carbs in me to fuel the long distance run). And...there's the wonder food Hemp! Hemp protein contains the essential fatty and amino acids required. Sounds too good to be true? It probably is, but for now I'm going with hemp.

I've been sprinkling shelled hemp seeds on my food for some time now and I've been a devotee of Ruth's Hemp, Maca, Flax protein powder for some time. Now, I've added some hemp bars which are quite tasty (also from Ruth's). Yes, there's even hemp beer so I can even get a tiny dose of hemp in my weekend brew. I guess the overall point is I'm feeling better and that's important. With race day just a couple of weeks away I want to feel as healthy and rested as possible.

Bye-bye whipped soy, soy chocolate mousse, soy nocello gelato, belsoy chocolate pudding and noel nog. Adios scrambled tofu, veggie links, veggie salami, ground round, tvp, tempeh. Ciao frothy soy lattes on the weekend. Adieu blocks of organic tofu, soy mutton, tofurkey, tofurkey beer sausage. Farewell, soy chocolate and vanilla smoothies. Soyanara.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Crossing the Finish Line

Hey, I just got this link that opens up a little video so I can watch myself crossing the finish line. If you type in my clock finish time (2:01:59) and select the half marathon and then view you can watch me cross the finish line. Just so you know I'm wearing a purple bandana, gray shirt and purple capris. If you keep watching you'll see the pace bunny come in around 2:02 with a bright green shirt, and his pace bunny ears on.

It's quite entertaining (for me anyway).

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Garden Grows

Like so many this past long weekend, db and I spent some time in the garden. I think we are still struggling with how to manage this space. It's unconventional in shape and light from what we are use to so we've had to re-think what the best options are in order to include some of our favorite veggies such as tomatoes. db did his research and we picked up heirloom tomatoes that are eastern European in origin. We're hoping that we'll have success with tomatoes that should do fine in a cooler, damper climate. I know the summer can get quite hot here, but we still have a lot of shade on the property and needed to take that into account.

One solution I've been reading about is container gardening. We bought a self-watering container from L.V. so we could find the sunniest spot for some tomatoes and we've continued with the container theme, placing them around our place wherever we find the sun tends to rest for a few hours in the day. Another technique we are trying are the topsy-turvy planters.
db and I had to laugh once we put the planters up because they do look so silly. Nice photo isn't it with the compost bin there? I'm hoping to put another hydrangea to the right of the bin. We put a couple of tomato plants in the planters. The planters were given to me from someone at work so I thought we should give them a try. I've heard good success stories with regards to these planters so why not? The idea is that you reduce any pests that might be after your tomatoes in the ground and by watering through the top, you avoid watering the leaves that don't really like to be moist (and we really need to watch that here). The planters are also on a swivel so the planters turn in the wind, ideally getting sun on all sides. The result will hopefully look like this:

I planted this container full of herbs (sage, marjoram, cuban oregano, mint, thyme, chives and taragon) just before we lost the light of the day. I put a few rocks collected from my east coast travels to fill in the gaps until the herbs get a little larger. I do plan to move the sage to the retaining wall once it's in, but that job hasn't been finished yet. On the right is blood-veined sorrel that I put in a pot because it was the end of the day and I was out of ideas and energy to work on a new area for the herbs.

While db. planted tomatoes, I added more perennials to the garden. This gives you a better idea of how it will continue down the slope on the left side. I added some woolly thyme, a forest fern and another type of fern that is lighter in colour with leaves that are quite feathery (I can't recall the name so you'll just have to imagine with my description). The cedar barrel in the foreground looks huge here, but it's not that big. We're going to put some lettuces in there and set up our furniture on the left.

This final photo gives you an idea of what I'm working with in the rest of the garden. The owners think that the solution to everything is to lay down landscape fabric and then cover it with 3 inches of cedar mulch. I tried to encourage them to leave the space as mulch free as possible, but he rented a truck, took a shovel and loaded up on mulch at the landscape center.

So I'm hoping to fill in those mulched areas with some colour and greenery. I found this beautiful black-leaved Ligularia and had to get it. It is stunning (even db who doesn't really pay too much attention to the perennial planting, said "wow, that looks amazing."). I also planted some wild ginger in this space, toad lilies and a painted fern. Fingers crossed that they will all be happy and thrive here.
These plants are located as you go up the path so it's something nicer to look at as opposed to mulch.

I still feel like there's so much to do. We have a whole area to plant in once the retaining wall is finished. I just hope I can get there before the second batch of mulch arrives.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

And Run I did...

...or "wet hell" as db refers to this morning's run. As db just said "I didn't know your extremities could freeze in 8 degree weather." I was actually okay. db however, was on his bike so he wasn't generating the heat I was. I only got cold at the end when I started to shut down and my body was saying "nope, that's enough for the day". I was soaked through by that point.

At 7 am it was quite nice outside. A peaceful morning with just a little cloud in the sky and fairly bright so I wasn't concerned. Last night db and I talked about whether I should run today or tomorrow since the weather looked like it would be miserable today and quite nice on Monday. I decided at 6 am that we should go for it. So I had a little porridge and a shot of espresso (yes, that is how I often start my running day. Don't worry I hydrate plenty all week) and away we went.

We had mostly uphill at the beginning and then it evened out after that, but then the rain came. At the 12 k mark I had to stop because it was raining so hard. db and I waited in a bus shelter for it to "let up". It didn't. I thought we should at least head for an indoors location to wait it out or decide that we should call it a day and then I could run the rest the next morning. When we headed out after a 15 minute delay, I waved db on and kept going. The rain eased (after all Tofino - Ucluelet could be just like today) and I hit my stride again.

At 26 k, a new problem came up as my body was tiring and the muscles cold. I started to tire more quickly. I walked and ran. Then the rain started up again with only 6 k left. I struggled through it to finish my 32 k. db pushed me and encouraged me through to the end. I'll have to think of him with me when the event comes up.

So how do you recover from that? You take a trip to a gardening store. We travelled far out of little neighbourhood to the Natural Gardener. Heaven. It's a small space, but it is chock-full of treasures. While db picked out his heirloom tomatoes that are perfect for our cooler climate, I selected herbs and perennials for our shady garden and for our containers that can be in the more sunnier areas. Marjoram and chives were necessary and then I found a blood-veined sorrel I've never seen before. I also picked up another arugula (or rocket, rucola whatever you like to call it) but it has a purple green hue to the leaves and feels slightly thicker. I suspect it will do okay in part shade like it's green counterpart. As for perennials: woolly thyme, toad lilies and a purple Ligularia were my prized choices. My sis planted toad lilies in the garden last year and they were exquisite so when I found them here and learned that they are shade tolerant I snapped them up.

Yes, tomorrow will be gardening day. I hope we get the sun promised because I can't wait to start planning and digging.

The other way to recover fully from a 32 k run is to have Sunday night pasta. Porcini, crimini, almond cream, tomato vodka sauce atop gemelli pasta. A perfect end to the day.

We walked up the final hill home, exhauted, soaked through, cold and spent. I think it may just have been one of those runs that builds mental toughness.

The Power of the People

Red (thanks Red) forwarded the update on the mars story that I linked to earlier this week. Apparently, so many people responded to the news that mars would be adding rennet to their candy that mars caved to the pressure. Here's the link if you want to read the update.

I think it's great that mars listened to the people. This one small story gives me hope.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

The Vegan Runner countdown

I'm thinkng more and more about the Edge to Edge Marathon. Usually, I always qualify the title of the event by saying, "I'm actually running the half marathon." It's dawning on me that I'm going the full distance now.

Sunday is my last really long distance before the race and I'm nervous just thinking about it. I get inspiration from the fund-raising because I just think of the chimps and helping improve their lives at Fauna. I get inspiration from my sister and her first half marathon she will be running. I'm so proud of her for sticking to her training. After all she was inspiration to run to begin with. I get inspiration from my mom's friend, B.F., and ultramarathoner, who ran the Paris marathon and then got on a plane the same day and flew to Boston just to run Boston the next day! I get inspiration from the support of everyone who tells me I can do it. Also, I'm getting good advice from db (my coach and partner), good advice from my online clinic instructor, good advice from reading and other runners I encounter. However, none of it calms me because in the end I have to run the distance and I have to summon all my strength mentally and physically to get to the end.

So tomorrow is like a pre-race trial. It's supposed to rain, but I tell myself that training in all weather makes me stronger and race day could be the very same weather. So tomorrow when I put on my running clothes, have a sip of water and tie up my shoes I'll be thinking of Tofino and pretending it's my day. Hopefully that way I can begin to visualize myself to the end.

Run vegan run.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Plod, Paddle and Grizzlies

Wednesday's "Plod and Paddle" had enough people show up this week to include the plodding part of the journey. We walked the lovely Port Whoody inlet. It's a gentle little trail that traverses around the inlet with soft trail, a few stairs and some boardwalks over the boggy areas. This was a nice way to begin because it actually gave us a chance to chat with our friends a little more.

Once at the beach we met up with the paddle group and switched roles. I had a smaller kayak this week so it was a much better fit for me and while I found it to feel even more buoyant than before, it was easier to paddle since I was more comfortable in the boat. We headed out. I had the camera this week to give db (*note: D. will now be referred to as db -- hope this doesn't confuse anyone) a break and I knew he'd be taking the camera anyway.

I have to admit that I'm not much of picture snapper. I went on a long hike last week with a friend in this beautiful park in Whoville with many trails and small lakes and when I told db (*remember D. is now db) about the spectacular views and trails, he asked "do you have any pictures?" I didn't. I didn't even think about taking the camera. When we were in Italy on our "honeymoon" (thanks again sis!) db took all of the pictures. I had to remember to take the camera from him so we'd at least look like we'd both been to Italy. I think the only picture of the two of us together in Italy was taken in Scido, Calabria when visiting some of his family who insisted on taking a picture of the two of us together. It's a nice photo. We are, however, next to a statue of Jesus at the top of the mountain which is odd because let's just say that it's the closest db and I have been to Jesus prior to and since.

Okay, back to the kayaking. All of that is just leading up to the spectacular paddle we had. Those who had done the first leg of the paddle journey had departed the beach with excited stories of seeing seals and they saw a bald eagle out of the log drift. Ha, "newbies" I thought (now that I was on my second paddle adventure I felt like a seasoned plod and paddler).

It was a gorgeous night as you can see.

We headed across the inlet and knew we'd see seals since they hang out on the logs that seem to be anchored out in the inlet. There was little wind and we paddled into the sun.

The university team was out rowing and we got a good view of them heading out for their training. I was lagging behind because I'm the slowest paddler, but also I was taking the photos.

We paddled close to the seals and one came out to check us out. He trailed quite close behind db and I and even popped up between our kayaks at one point. It looked like Prima to me, something about the whiskers I guess.

Then our friends ahead caught sight of the eagle and we paddled towards it. Closer and closer and I kept wondering if we'd get a good look at it. Would it take off as we neared? There was an angry crow dancing in front of it making quite a racket. Would s/he frighten it away? db just caught sight of the eagle.

We kept moving towards it.

Our friends were already rounding the log drift. Now we were close and I could see it in profile and make out better details. It was thrilling. I've never been so close to an eagle.

Then we rounded right before it. I kept taking photos. As I moved to the far side of the drift I could make out its talons and feathers in detail.
It truly is a regal looking bird, the king of the skies in this part of the country really.

We drifted a little and then it took off. The wing expanse carried him over to the next set of logs where he stayed for a bit. We headed back to landing. The whole journey was quite thrilling.

I'm so glad we moved here. Enduring the months of rain through the winter has been worth it all. I've been hiking, biking, running and now paddling like never before.


"A fed bear is a dead bear"

So keeping on the wildlife theme....
Grizzly bears in Squamish? Apparently there hasn't been a sighting here in ten years. I didn't even think of Grizzlies being in the coast mountain area. Great. I'm concerned enough about my inevitable encounter with a black bear, but now this? How long before a Grizzly is spotted in Whoville? This poor ol' Grizzly was seen getting into some garbage which is bad news for a bear (sorry about the pop culture reference there). The plan is to trap and move the bear away from town, but I fear the worst. If this bear returns and looks "aggressive" (term chosen by the police, but as to how one decides what that means I don't know) they will "destroy" it (that means kill. I don't know why people think the word "destroy" is a more appropriate word for "kill").
I hope the Grizzly realizes how boring and pointless people are and moves far away from the town back into the mountains and valleys that are less populated.


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

"What would Jesus Buy"

I see that the BBC world news has caught wind of the film, What Would Jesus Buy, produced by Morgan Spurlock who brought us Super Size Me. I can't wait to see this film. I've been a Rev. Billy fan since he started preaching to the public about the sins of Starbucks. He's an inspiration. You can check out the "surfing" column for the Church of Stop Shopping if you want to find out more about his congregation.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Bad news for vegetarian candy bar people

Red forwarded this story in my comments so I thought I should bring it to the fore here so all can read. Another good reason not to eat chocolate bars. Being vegan I haven't had one of these dairy laden treats in a while.
Don't worry though I get my vegan chocolate fixes from these people:
Denman Island Chocolate
Chimp Mints
Cocoa Camino
and whatever else I come across that is rich, dark chocolate and vegan.

Okay, I've got to get out in the garden while the weather is good.

Good news for Ethiopian coffee growers

I found this story via The Church of Stop Shopping website (see the sidebar surfing links). This coincides with my recent viewing of Black Gold: Wake up and Smell the Coffee, a documentary about Ethiopian coffee growers. The film is fabulous and the impression I got from the film was that there is a significant impact directly on the farmer due to my own personal purchasing coffee choice. Starbucks is so completely huge and powerful it's frightening. The Ethiopian coffee growers are so poor it seems absurd that something in such high demand and coveted by people globally does not benefit those who grow it.


I've been tagged by Red so here goes:

Available or single: I wish I'd known there was a difference when i was "available" or "single". Married, paired, partnered.

Best friend: D.

Cake or pie: Depends on the flavour. How about sis's vegan cheesecake which is both cake and pie. It's unbelievably good. Vegans, and non-vegans all rave over her cheesecake. Hmm. time to get that recipe.

Drink of choice: I'll have to say smoothie overall. (wait have I done this before?). My favorite smoothie recipe: 1 banana, 3 tbls of my hemp protein powder, 3/4 cup or more of my favorite juice (usually berry in nature), 1 kiwi, a splash of flax seed oil. Everything goes into the blender and then into my belly.

Essential item: Running shoes. They don't really go with the more glamourous clothes, but then neither do I.

Favourite colour: I love green, but I seem to wear a lot of blue. Curious.

Gummi Bears or Worms: worms, as in earth worms for the garden. (I have done this before haven't I?)

Hometown: Saint John, N.B. I really grew up in Grand Bay, but we also lived in Saint John and it was really central to my life growing up.

Indulgence: soy-whip

January or February: February brings me closer to summer.

Kids: Yeah, kids are okay. I worked with kids for a few years. I have cats though.

Life is incomplete without: writing

Marriage date: April 19, 1999

Number of siblings: 2 (as far as I know. Mom? Dad?) I have an older sister and and older brother. I'd say I have a potential step-sister as well just because P. is more like my dad than my dad and his daughter and I share the same birthday which I think is very very cool.

Oranges or apples: Apples. Raw, tossed in salads, apple sauce, apple crisp, apple pie, apple spice muffins or cakes. Did I forget something?

Phobias/fears: Where to begin? I'll stick to the phobia since i know what it is for sure. Spiders. It's absurd I know, but there you have it. I can't help it.

Quote, favorite: "I don't know, internet?" - Homer Simpson (This is in response to Marge asking, "how will the children get home?")

"The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more than black people were made for whites or women for men." - Alice Walker (see I have done this because I remember the Dorothy Parker quote from last time which I'll leave out this time).

Reasons to smile: The cats, especially Gigi's many expressions and quirks. I'll think of Gigi when I'm at work just to make myself smile. The mountains around us because I just need to look up when I'm walking and see them in the distance or I can take a short bike ride and go for a hike in them. Life with D., but that goes without saying.

Season: summer

Tag three: I'm going family on this. Sis, mom, D. So you'll have to post in my comment window or email me to post in the comment window or on a blog page.

Unknown fact about me: I once took ballet. ( I realized this was an unknown fact when I mentioned it at dinner last night and D shook his head in disbelief).

Vegetarian or oppressor of animals: Disturbing choice of words here as if "oppressor of animals" can be taken lightly, so I'm obviously Vegan.

Worst habit: Procrastinating.

X-rays or ultrasounds: Huh? Depends on what's wrong with me. I like the word "x-ray" better.

Your favorite foods: D's pasta with any sauce, but most recently his vodka tomato sauce has been outstanding! I'll also include D's pizza, D's caponata ( I had it again last night so it's rekindled my craving for it), D's wine (does that count as food? It does sustain me so I suppose it does). You get the picture. If D. makes it, it's damn good.

Zodiac: Cancer

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Cinnamon crunchies

Well as you can see, D. has done it again. Looking for another way to split his sourdough when making his weekly loaf of bread, D. went for a new treat and consulted the Joy of Cooking, creating his own vegan version of Cinnamon crunch rolls. I think cinnamon crunchies is a good name simply because there was a bakery in Kensington market where I use to buy these muffin sized cinnamon crunchy rolls (when I was vegetarian not vegan) for a treat every now and then.

You can see that there is one missing from the right corner. We tasted before he took the photo because we had to see if they were photo worthy and I said "oh, I have to put these on the blog so get ready to write out the recipe." I'll get D. to put the recipe up for anyone who wants to make vegan cinnamon crunchies.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Plod and Paddle...or just paddle and paddle

Wedesday evenings is "Plod and Paddle" night at the inlet just down the road from us. We had planned to go with some friends last week. I was pretty tired after having a tough training session and when D. and I got on our bikes to head down to the inlet I could feel my legs refusing to do much more. So I was hoping that the "plod" side of the trip wouldn't be too taxing.

The idea is that you paddle around and across the inlet where you meet up with the "plodders" who have hiked around the inlet and you switch roles so the plodders take the kayaks and the kayakers take to the trail. However, when we arrived, the owner said there wouldn't be enough people on the other side of the inlet so we could paddle the whole time if we wanted. Hurray! I wouldn't have to use my legs at all.

I've never kayaked, nor has D. and I was a little nervous, but our friends assured us that everything would be fine. I've been in a canoe many times, but always with another person. I've rowed unsuccessfully in my brother's boat, mostly doing circles on the lake, but I've never kayaked. I have to say that I felt a little shaky at the beginning because the craft is so light and bobs around like a buoy, but then I relaxed a little and got use to the strokes and away we went.

There was a bit of a wind going up the inlet, but not too taxing. D. and I zig-zagged along while the rest cruised, but it was so much fun. There were lots of harbor seals lying out on a landing in the middle of the inlet. A couple of seals checked us out from a safe distance which was pretty cool.

It was a perfectly beautiful evening with the sun laying low in just behind the mountains so that there was a crisp line of the mountains and not a cloud in the sky.

My family will be visiting in June and we have to go out and do this. I think my brother will really enjoy it. He's not a swimmer, but I think he and his girlfriend could take one of the double boats and really cruise around. I'll add it to the list of things we should do and see.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


The official results are in so I'm going to boast because I am pretty proud. I can't wait for Tofino.

Rank: 1895
Clock time: 2:01:59
Chip time: 2:00:48
Pace: 5:47/km
Dist: 21.1 km
Bib#: 7472
Gender Rank: 777/3680
Division: 3539
Division Rank: 129/611

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Veggie Favour worth the travel time

When D. and I rented a car this past weekend to get me from Whoville to Van city for that early Sunday morning race start time, we decided to take advantage of the vehicle and seek out some Red Fife flour. As we did circles in one little area trying to find the store that contained the 20 kilo bag of flour for D, we happened upon this veggie restaurant/cafe. Veggie Favour was a welcome surprise.

It was late afternoon and the cafe was empty. It's very new looking and as it turns out they've only been open there for a couple of months. They highlight the fact that they use organic brown sushi rice which I had never had. The sushi list was extensive and all of it I could eat! The entire menu highlighted the possible vegan options and I let the server know that I needed everything to be vegan and it was no problem.

The Miso Soup was a standard miso soup, nothing out of the ordinary. Our veggie sample plate that was an assortment of the "fake meats" with some greens in the middle. It was very clean tasting and by that I mean there was no sense of too much oil, salt, or fake flavouring or fillers. When I read the ingredients I realized that there is no gluten in their products which is a nice change from the usual fake meat products that I find elsewhere. For sushi we ordered an avocado and asparagus roll, a Shitake roll and a Unagi roll. Each one came drizzled with a mango sauce and organic ginger on the side (the kind that isn't that odd pink colour, but rather a natural ginger colour. We were so happy to see that). The owner couldn't assure me that the unagi would be vegan and suggested the salmon roll instead. She also said the salmon tasted better. I had to take her word for it. She offered us some tamari on the side, but by then we were well into our sushi and honestly I didn't want to ruin the flavours with a dousing of tamari, it just seemed wrong for this food. Overall D. and I preferred the salmon roll with the veggies and a generous helping of mango sauce.
All the ingredients tasted very fresh and the rice was superb. Again, the food was lovely and everything was presented beautifully. I had a sense of great care going into each dish.

The co-owner came over and talked to us for a bit about the food and how carefully they are about selecting ingredients.

I'd go back but it is so far away. Next trip with a car when we go to pick up the flour, we'll have to go. Or maybe they'll open one in Whoville someday.

Monday, May 07, 2007

The Finisher at the BMO Vancouver Marathon!

As you can see it was an overcast Sunday at 7 am. There was no wind and at this point no rain. It was cool, but I wasn't chilled. I'm about mid way back from the start line. I always start mid point because I'm neither a fast nor a slow runner, but somewhere in the middle. When we run through the start line and start to open up a little I am always passed by many runners. It's hard to hold back and go slow because I know I can go faster, but I don't want to do too much too soon.

So I stuck to the plan to start out slow and keep an eye out for the 2 hour pace bunny. For those that don't know, a pace bunny is a runner with cardboard bunny ears on with the expected time through the finish line. You can follow a pace bunny and guarentee a certain timed result. D. suggested I follow the 1:45 bunny, but he headed too close to the front and I knew I couldn't keep up from the get go.

At about the 2 k mark I stopped to do my one minute walk (I train in 10 minutes of running followed by 1 minute walk breaks in between) on the viaduct and saw the 2 hr pace bunny and his followers. I picked up my pace and followed a bit. Then they stopped for their walk break so I figured I'd keep going and it'd all even out as long as I kept pace with them. Of course the bathroom break was needed by about 4 k. I had to stop and wait which is very frustrating. I lost sight of the bunny, but I got going with hopes of seeing them again. I tossed out the plan and decided to forget the 10:1 ratio and just run until I needed to stop and walk, i.e. listen to my body.

Stanley Park was beautiful. There was a light drizzle by this point as we climbed up to Prospect Point. The hill wasn't as bad as I thought and I actually ran up about 90% of it. I had to catch sight of that 2 hr bunny and I felt good. Someone called out that we were at the top of the hill so I knew the downhill was coming and sure enough we turned a bend and down we went. I kicked it in and flew. I didn't lose control, but rather picked up my pace and passed mostly everyone going down hill because I knew if I was going to find that bunny again I'd have to go for it.

We streamed out of the park, past the lagoon and along the treelined Beach to Pacific. I knew the finish line was about 4 k away and judging by my time I knew I'd have to keep pushing it to get there in 2 hours. Still no bunny and I was really moving along. I hadn't taken a walk break since the uphill in the park just after the half way point.

I forgot about looking for D. and red jane who were there to cheer me on and I focused on my race and my rhythm. Finally, about 2 k from the finish line I caught sight of that bunny and knew I could catch up because I knew that he probably had another walk break coming up while I had dropped mine all together. Sure enough I saw him walking and I made up time. With just under 1 k left I passed him and I could hear the finish line. D. caught this shot off me with my eyes focused on the end ahead of me.

I finished in 2:00:48. That's my best result since Toronto 2005. I'm very proud.

Inside the BC Place I saw the pace bunny having a snack and I thanked him. I stretched, had a snack, showered and then went for a massage under that great billowy dome with the jumbotron showing more runners pulling through the finish line. I'm proud of every one of those runners.

Red Jane brought her famous cookies full of yumminess and power for good refueling. She also made chocolate macaroons that didn't last the car ride home. It was very cool to have her there cheering me on. She's been an amazing supporter and I thank her for that.

D., my coach and partner, was relaxed and proud. He had a "I told you you could do it" for me at the end because he believes in me like no one else. I don't think I'd enjoy it as much without him and now that he's been beside me encouraging me on my training runs, I know he's with me on every run and I hear his words of encouragement when I race.

I worried that running would be something that I'd tire of and give up like I've done with other things in my life, but if anything the opposite has happened.

With the marathon in sight I feel I can do it. My sister and I have set up a fundraising page to raise money for the Fauna Foundation that provides a sanctuary for Chimpanzees. You can check out their website by clicking on the Fauna link in the sidebar.

If you haven't been contacted by me for the fundraising then watch for the link that I'm about to put up so you can click and donate.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Run Van City

...Or at least a small section of it. I've been so focused on my end goal of the Edge to Edge Marathon that I've thought very little of this coming Sunday's run in Van city. I was feeling fine about this until I went for a run a few hours ago and it was awful. My legs felt like I had rocks in them and there was this wind whipping up around me. I felt forty pounds heavier than I am and started to curse the water bottle on my hip (I'm sure it doesn't weigh that much).
Okay to be fair, I did bike to and from work today. On top of that, on my way home I took a "short cut" that turned into a very long detour on a bike path that meandered all over. It was lovely, but by the time I got home I was a little tired to say the least. I did manage to bike up the hill telling myself that I could knock off a hill training session with the hills I climbed today on my bike.
I guess I just fear that the race will start and I'll feel sluggish and will never feel otherwise. Not likely right?
I'll find out in 36 hours.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The Rhododendron

I've been an admirer of Rhododendrons since I first discovered them when living in Victoria. These spectacular trees/shrubs are very showy with their clusters of blooms that burst into spring like no other.

I nurtured a small shrub "back east" when we moved into sis's house and I was determined to bring a little west coast to our garden. The rhodo seemed like the obvious choice. It grew like a bonsai, not really getting beyond a couple of feet tall, but was very showy every spring against the drab background.

I was thrilled to see that our new home had several rhodos in the front yard and one in the back as well. The photos here are two of the front rhodos. I do love the white one.

I had to take another shot so you could get an idea of where the rhodo is situated in relation to the house. D. is bringing his bike down the stairs for our Sunday run/bike session.

While I do enjoy rhododendrons, I've actually become a little bored of them in the last couple of weeks as they seem to be blooming everywhere. Every house on our street has at least one on the front yard if not more and I can almost safely say that the surrounding streets around us are probably the same.

When they are part of a garden they are lovely, but I think their popularity has caused them to turn up on every lot from someone's front yard to the front of the local casino where they seem plunked into the soil that frames the parking lot. It's not very appealing. I've seen straggly looking lots in front of a business, but someone at some point thought that a rhodo should go in there and so it did. There's more to a garden than having plants stuck in the earth.

While I still appreciate a rhodo in a gardenscape, I do also look away when I see one sitting on a patch of grass with nothing else around it. It's difficult to appreciate a plant when it is so misused.

After all of that I've heard that there's a rhodo show this weekend (and general plant sale) not far from here. I'm running a half marathon in Van city on Sunday that starts at a very early time, so I should be finished before anything opens which means we should have lots of time to visit the rhodo/garden show after that.