Monday, September 23, 2013

Half-Marathon #2: This Time It's Personal

I can't believe it was just yesterday morning that the long-awaited Ottawa Army Run took place. It seems like it was so long ago, or like it didn't happen at all. Was it all just a super exhausting dream? No. It wasn't.

It wasn't because today I can't walk down stairs, and when I do succeed in walking, I look like Gumby.
But that doesn't matter because I'm so super excited to have had a fantastic experience running and, this time, it was all because I kept it personal, or in other words, I focused on myself.

I sometimes get competitive, especially with people I don't know.  When I first ran the 10K races, or the previous half-marathon, it was so difficult not to feel pressured by the people around me to keep running, even when I felt I needed a break.  If you've ever run before, you'll know what I mean: walk on the side of the road for five seconds, and a hundred people will pass you.  And that pace-bunny you were right behind for the past 10 kilometres is now nowhere in sight.  Comparing yourself to other runners can be good for whipping you into finishing another mile at your best pace, but it can also be really bad if you end foregoing much-needed breaks because you're focused on keeping up.

And compare, compare, compare I always do.  But this time, I focused on my Nike running app, pacing myself as per my training plan, and when I wanted to speed up because senior citizens were zipping by me, I just looked away and at the river on my other side. I looked around and imagined that I was running alone. And when I took my one walking break, I looked straight at my watch to avoid seeing the seven million sprinters passing me. Granted, I resumed running after two minutes of walking, and didn't let myself stop once since then, but at least I'm starting to get it! I was able to pace myself so well that I easily sped up at the end of my race for a last quick sprint, and honestly didn't even realize the finish line was approaching. I felt great after the race, and can't wait to do another one.

So, a new tip for anyone thinking about running a half marathon: pay attention to your body.  It's tempting to follow everyone into a starting sprint, but you don't know these people and their plans! They could slow down significantly mid-way through, or take a ten minute walking break somewhere down the line. Everyone has their own strategy and if you don't follow your heart *cue saxophone* plan, you'll end up confusing your body, leading to exhaustion, cramping, and let's not mention what else, but it starts with a d and ends with iarrhea.
But enough about that! On to the fun part: I finished in 1:55, which, given all the colds/viruses/crappy stuff I've faced this year, is a pretty awesome time!
And once more, I have to mention how incredible it is to see all of the spectators. Standing outside in the freezing cold, holding hilarious posters in their hands, smiling, waving, cheering on people they've never met before- what an overwhelmingly inspiring moment, and one safely in my vault of unforgettable feelings.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Target Ottawa- finally!

I've loved Target for as long as I can remember shopping in the US. The store itself is so cheery, so bright and fun, and always full of amazing stuff at crazy-low prices. Their collaborations are pretty terrific too...I still get butterflies when I think of the Rodarte dress hanging in my closet. 

I've been waiting for Ottawa to get a Target for years, and finally, my budget shopping prayers were answered when the ever-so-cute Billings Bridge announced the arrival of the famous Bullseye...and then my budget blogging prayers were answered when I was invited to a Bloggers Breakfast event just prior to the store's opening! 

It was great to meet some of the Ottawa bloggers while loading up on chocolate...

..and then it was time for Target to open, and for me to head to my fabvorite section: beauty. The lighting is always so fun in Target's beauty department, like you're in a cosmetics spaceship. Destination: concealer. Har har. Anyway, look what they have! Dr.Bronners! No more driving across the border for me!

Thanks Billings and Target :)

Monday, September 16, 2013

Coming up, in running...

Well, it has been about six months of training and at last, next Sunday, September 22nd is the long awaited Army Run! 21 kilometers of running, sweating, smiling (and maybe crying)....but also, a really, really exciting thing is set to happen during that half-marathon: at some point during this race I'm going to hit the blue level (1000Km) in my Nike Running app!!!! Stay tuned for a detailed listing of all the food I'll be eating in celebration...

Friday, September 13, 2013

Liberté Mediterranean Yogurt: yum!

I have kind of a weird thing for yogurts.  I'm not sure where or how it started, but every time I'm in the dairy section of a grocery store, I obsessively look at the different yogurt flavors trying to find one that's unusual or particularly exciting.  I'm so over the usuals: vanilla, strawberry, blueberry- yawn.  Fruit on the bottom used to seem like a treasure, but you know what's an even better treasure? CARAMEL ON THE BOTTOM. Yeah, that's right. And if caramel is too Plain Joe for about, oh I don't know, COCONUT? ON THE BOTTOM? That'll do it, yeah? Though I'm usually an adovactor of Greek yogurts for their fantastic protein content, this Liberté Mediterranean yogurt was an awesome break from the norm.  The yogurt itself was creamy and rich, like they promised, and the caramel had a true caramel taste, as opposed to the 'somewhat flavored sugar' that you can sometimes get from different brands.  The coconut version was also delicious and when I mixed the coconut part with the yogurt, it basically turned into ice cream. Or something equally as delicious.  These yogurts aren't particularly low on calories, but if you're going to indulge in a somewhat healthier dessert, these guys are definitely worth it.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Help me, I'm poor

I recently made the decision to move back in with my mom. I was tired of paying ever-increasing rent, and realized that I'm not 16 as previously thought but rather 26 which means I should probably seiv. Or is it sayv? Sav? Whatever, it's this concept where you like, take money and like, not spend it. You put it away somewhere (sock, bag, mattress, up to you man, I don't care) and you just...leave it. So, I decided to give that a try, because apparently, according to the world slash everyone's prophecies, there's also this thing called a Rainy Day, which is what everyone is saiveng (savying?) for, which looks something like this:

...with those who haven't saved (GOT IT) for this "rainy day" obviously playing the role of Sarah Connor in Terminator 2 (now do you get the photo reference??), though I won't post a picture of her melting skeleton.

So, with that said, I moved back in with my mom and sister, and was lucky enough to get my sister's old room.  This room has a wooden "V" on the door, because that's the first letter of her name. To avoid uncomfortable and confusing situations for my potential future visitors, I plan on converting that V into a charming and positive message: Velkommen, ja. So, welcome, one and all, to my new room!

Let me tell you how fun it is to stuff the contents of your entire one bedroom apartment into a pre-teen sized bedroom: it is very fun.  Sort of like Tetris, but you have to live on everything, and none of the carefully organized blocks ever go away. Why hello, Mister Toilet Brush, please make yourself comfortable between my pillow and armpit. (Alright, alright, I got rid of the toilet brush).

Another fabulous aspect of moving back home is that your mother assumes you have regressed to your childhood years and/or are handicapped in every way possible, and questions your every move.  Every time I go upstairs, regardless of whether she's making dinner or in the middle of a coma, everything is dropped and I am requested to explain where I am going.  I'm never going anywhere exciting: I'm going to sleep, I'm going to read, I'm going to take out my contacts. But, every time, she must know where I'm going - a sentence that implies a dissatisfaction with my sudden absence from her platform of ultimate control.  So, here's the fun part: I now invent new reasons why I would be leaving the living room to go upstairs.  Yesterday, I told her I was making hats out of skin.  This evening, I ran upstairs to aggressively touch old photographs.  Sometimes she laughs, sometimes she doesn't, so for now, I'm just going with it.

Seriously, though, if ever you're considering moving back home, yes, it's slightly painful...I basically feel like Kristen Wiig from Bridesmaids all the time. I mean I've always felt like her, but now it's like...for real, and complete with the part where she moves back home. Yikes.


It's slightly painful, but it's also nice to have people around who constantly worry about whether you packed a lunch or put on a scarf this morning, or call you if you're late coming back from work.  It's annoying, but I know one day when I'm rolling in riches and sleeping on a bed of lobsters, I'll miss the smell of my mom cooking something buttery downstairs, or the sound of their incessant laughter as they watch the same episode of Friends for the eighteenth time.  Living with your parents can be hella lame, but it can also be your one last chance to feel like you're really, truly home.  So that's what I'm doing - making a new home in my old home, one shelf at a time. And if it all means I have a couple more fives in the ol' savings account, well then you just can't go wrong.

Gotta go, mom's calling..