Saturday, October 22, 2011

Zip-lining the Okanagan!

Last Sunday we took a drive up to a new attraction here in the Okanagan - the Zip Zone! Our friends Julia and Peter had invited us along to check it out. We were blessed with a beautiful sunny but crisp fall day and after the waiver signing we got kitted up into harnesses and got going. Chris and I had both zip-lined before in Whistler, BC but once we set eyes on this set-up it was in a whole different league! Hazy memories of before but this seemed much bigger and longer - we were excited to get going!

After feeling so blase about it, I had a moment of nerves standing at the platform for the first line. We'd all opted not to take our handles, but I think that first one I kept a firm hold of the webbing line anyway! Of course the moment you're going it's the greatest buzz! And the views......stunning!

All 6 lines criss-cross back and forth across Deep Creek Canyon and you can see right down the canyon into the distance and even get a faint glimpse of the creek waters at the bottom (it's tough cause it's only a small creek and the canyon walls and steep and narrow). The canyon was dotted with the yellow fall leaves on the trees and it was so peaceful! (well apart from the zipping!)

Zip Zone apparently has the highest zip lines in Canada (at around 380ft above the canyon floor), and combined there was around 2km of zipping to be had! Some long, some short, some fast and, probably the best....some that you ride upside down!! (well, it wasn't my idea - I was just going with the flow!)
The whole 'experience' was 2 hours of pure fun and adrenalin, and a little hiking between lines thrown in for good measure! Lots of fun, and all polished off with a spicy Caesar and Burger at The Blind Angler pub in Peachland, with fantastic views of Lake Okanagan to catch our breath!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Hot & Smoky Beef Stew

Our new favourite recipe!
I finally invested in a slow cooker! Amazing really that I'd never had one before so after being inspired by lots of recipes I'd been seeing on Pinterest I finally bought one. And then it sat in the cupboard in a sealed box for another month. But this weekend I finally cracked it open to see what it could do. I was kinda paranoid about having something bubbling away all day whilst I was out so I wanted the first time to at least be when I was home so the long weekend was the perfect opportunity!

After having no clue about cooking times and how much liquid, and how full it should be, and after all those recipes I'd been pinning I did what any normal person would do and made something up! It was based very loosely on this recipe.

Here's my slow cooker version;

Hot and Smoky Beef Stew (Slow Cooker) serves 4

  • 750g Chuck Beef
  • 6 rashers Smoked Bacon
  • 1 Large Red Onion
  • 4 Medium (7-8") Carrots
  • 400g potatos
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 Chipotle Pepper (I used the canned type with some of the juices thrown in for good measure!)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Smoked Paprika powder
  • 1/2 bottle red wine
  • Crumbled Blue Cheese
  • Chives
Chop everything up, throw in the crockpot, pour over the wine and cook on Low for 8 hours. Sprinkle Blue Cheese and Chives on top to serve.

I stirred it up a couple of times later in the cooking. The meat absolutely crumbles apart on touch when it's done! There's a definate kick of flavour here so feel free to reduce the paprika and chipotle accordingly (but try not to omit completely because it does help with the rich smokiness of the dish)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A new PR!!

Sunday I ran my second 1/2 Marathon.

Saturday I was all jitters and nervous. After having been completely cool, calm and collected about running 13.1m (in one go!) this year it crept up on me and the day before I was full of mixed feelings. Last year I had nothing to prove - I just wanted to complete it. This year I had a benchmark. I had done it before, on the same course and I had a time to beat or fall short of. Since training this year I was consistently slower than last year, I carried around several extra pounds for much of the summer and despite all my best intentions I never really got out there and did any true speedwork as part of my things weren't really looking good. And a sweet debut time of 2:04:39 from last year was a tough one to live up to.

Sunday dawned cloudy, grey and a bit drizzly - so even the conditions were pretty much an exact replica of last year! Temps were around 12 degrees and I've become quite fond of a little drizzly rain to keep me cool :-) I was all in a 'kerfuffle' when it was 1 minute to the start, they'd finished singing the national anthem and I was still waiting for Chris at the porta potty line. We rushed to the start corral where I was right at the back. I'd wanted to be nearer the 2hr pace bunny but that idea was long gone and I hurriedly handed over my bag to Chris and said a teary and panicked goodbye - I just didn't feel ready or prepared.

Of course I was all OK once I got going, and I settled into what I know I can do and love. I admit I completely ignored those final words from Chris to not try and catch up any of the pace bunnies and sped through the crowds and popped off the 2.30 and 2.15 bunnies within the first couple of kms (after all so I should - I didn't want to be behind them!) I knew I was going a fair pace (read too fast) but I felt so great I just wanted to see where it would take me. Note: I always vehemently maintain I do not have a race pace. I have pretty much always ran the same pace regardless of distance or circumstance. But today I was pushing it a little harder for a little longer and it felt OK.

For this race I'd been begrudgingly lovingly lent Chris's iPhone so I could use the Nike+GPS app to monitor my pace. Every km it told me my distance, elapsed time and average pace. I loved having it! and it was truly so helpful to better keep track of how I was going (since I am lousy at trying to gauge a pace otherwise!)

I passed over the timing mat for the 10km distance in 55mins and 20 seconds! A new PR for the 10km for me - I was stoked! And was still feeling awesome!

Really I felt great for most of distance. My pace was slowly slipping each km but since I'd started out at a 5:26 that was hardly surprising! I was beginning to realise that a new PR was possible and the extra push I'd found for the day was carrying me through. That last 4-5 kms got tough but by then it was the home straight, and I knew I could keep it going long enough to do it!

All I needed to see in that finishes tunnel was a time on the clock less that 2:04:39 - that was last years time and I knew I'd crossed the start line some way after the gun went off. The time was showing 2:02 something - I'd done it!

I AM THRILLED! 2:00:17 was my official chip time! (more than 4 minutes quicker than last year!)
But enough about me.....I was also thrilled to cross the finish line and find Chris in the crowds and find out about HIS race. He's only just started training again (ok so I think he's been to the gym 3 times so far!) so entered the 10km - and finished in 46 minutes! Un-flippin'-believable awesome job! Also a relief to hear the calf pain he's been suffering from lately hadn't flared up for the race.

It was a well deserved lardy lunch all round! After heading home to shower and freshen up we went off to a local pub to replenish as many of those calories (and then some!) as we could!!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Currently: October

listening: to the sound of bubbling boiling water and the popping of the cans containing my freshly made salsa, and the heating periodically blowing (set to 22) 
reading: finished this morning; Run like a Girl by Mina Samuels - slow going but a great inspirational read (by slow I mean it's been on the go for the last 2 months!)
eating: freshly made salsa of course! with corn tortilla chips (pasta rucola for dinner this evening)
drinking: rock creek cider
wearing: jeans and a cosy brushed cotton plaid shirt
feeling: excited about having my name printed on my race bib!
weather: rain, rain go away
needing: my man home so I can get this evening started
enjoying: life
wondering: what the weather will be like for the race this sunday
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