Friday, July 19, 2013

Race Recap: Dirty Feet Trail Run, Vernon

Last Sunday Chris and I ran the Dirty Feet trail run race in Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park. Dirty Feet host a number of trail running and mountain bike races throughout the summer (plus snowshoe runs in the winter). This was my 4th Dirty Feet race and once again I cannot say how well organized it is, how incredible the sponsors are and the very reasonable registration fees – it’s all just flat out awesome!

I was signing us up at the last minute and I’d normally sign up for the 10km distance but when I was registering I noticed the race start times; 9:30am! Whoa – with temps in the late 20’s all week and with no forecast for change I wimped out of the 10km and instead signed us up for a wee 5km! Still just as awesome but since I’d been struggling with the temps this last week in training I couldn't mentally wrap my head round a 10km starting so late in the morning (I was dying out there at 7:30am!!)

We headed out early on race morning to leave ourselves plenty of time for packet pickup since we hadn't been able to get there ahead of the day itself. Kal Lake Provincial Park is such a pretty place on the shores of Kalamalka Lake. Interesting most (all I think actually) of the shoreline within the park boundaries is only accessible on foot – at least a 5 minute walk from any trail head or parking spot and some of the beaches are nearer a ½ hour walk!  The start/finish line for our race was around 5 minutes down a steep hill to one of those beaches – it is an awesome spot!!

The thing with 5km races is they’re over so darn quickly. Chris made a break for it right at the start line. There’s some steep uphills in the first mile or so, but his mountain goat tendencies got him out near the front. I stayed front(ish) of the main pack with plenty of walking uphill to start – it’s inevitable of course with trail running but they always seem to start on an uphill – right when I’m struggling to find my groove and get my breathing comfortable! At about the 1.4 mile point we crested the last of the hills and it was a downhill course there on in. And I love my downhills! I came in at 33 minutes having ran hard for the last 2 miles or so, switching back and forth with 2 other runners close by me (I beat one, and one beat me across the finish line at the end!)
One of us won a medal. The other is barely surviving!!

Dirty Feet races lay on a mean snack table post-race – gotta love the big buckets of gummy bears, jelly beans, chips and crisps, granola bites, along with bananas and orange segments and plenty of eload and water to wash it down with. After grabbing a handful from the table we took the extra half dozen steps further for a dip in the lake to cool off. The water was gorgeous and clear, completely still and deliciously refreshing. I normally play around in the lake rather than actually swim, but today I set my sights on a buoy offshore and swam out and around that!

We took our time after the race, cheering other runners in. Since there was also a 10km and 21km distance happening at the same time there were plenty of people coming in after us. We just laid out our towels in the sun and took in the atmosphere (and snacks!)
Finish line with a view! And the perfect way to cool off!

It was sometime after that Chris was speaking to the organizer about something else when she mentioned that he’d come in 3rd overall Male in the 5km!! Then of course it was even more reason to hang around – my man got a medal!

And another thing… that totally rocks about Dirty Feet – their draw prize tables!! Seriously these guys rock the sponsorships and the table was chock full of clothing, vouchers, gadgets and more from the sponsors (it’s laid out ahead of time so you can ‘shop’ the prizes and check out what you hope to win! When they’re doing the draw there’s quite the adrenaline pumping when you’re hoping no-one ahead of you grabs the item you've got your eye on!) Anyway Chris, not only scored his medal and gift card to our local North Face shop for his third place result, he then got an early draw ticket and picked up a really nice long sleeved Arcteryx tech tee shirt – sa-weet! As for me, I was lucky to win a prize - I think my ticket came up about 5th from the end so it was slim pickings to choose from, but it goes to show how awesome all the gear was – I still lucked out with a nice pair of tech running socks!

Another awesome race, and this is race 8 of 13 for me in my 13 in 2013 challenge this year! And once again I was out proudly representing Team Tough Chik, and for once with weather that was truly appropriate for my team tank!

I'm linking up to Jill's Fitness Friday today!


Friday, July 12, 2013

FitBloggin recap - part 2!

Day 1 of the actual conference started bright and early for me with a lovely 6 mile run...

There are plenty of trails along the river and I just stuck to those passing across 2 bridges to make a great lil’ loop on either side of the river, then cutting up through historic downtown for a little early morning urban sightseeing!

I skipped the first session so I could shower and change but I was ready to get stuck into many of the awesome sessions on offer. I grabbed my breakfast and whilst making my choices from the fab buffet table I spied a golden cowbell. I'd read online prior to the event the DietsinReview were organizing a G+ Hangout live chat with Dolvett - the sexy trainer from Biggest Loser and if you found a golden cowbell it was winning you a free seat in that chat!! WooHoo! I got me a cowbell and I can swoon over Dolvett (but I probably need to find something interesting and witty to ask him aswell!) Anyway back to the sessions, first up was Motivating your Community to choose healthy lifestyles, followed by a session on tackling the taboo of therapy. Most sessions were 1½ or 2 hours and there was usually a ½ hour break between them which gave us plenty of time to switch rooms or grab a snack (and adjust clothing depending on the AC setting!). Lunchtime many of the sponsors had collaborated on a mini fashion as we enjoyed our lunch. It was served buffet style and you went into the ballroom and found yourself an empty seat at a table – all the tables had ‘theme’s – and you picked what theme fitted you – we went with the ‘really hungry’ table – which was amusing since for the first few minutes we barely spoke to each other – seriously hungry people here! (we got a little more social as our plates emptied!)
Hanging with the Laughing Cow at the vendor expo and me and my golden cowbell!

My afternoon sessions included a discussion on clean eating, Optimizing your post-workout recovery and turning your blog into a business. I generally preferred the sessions on blog techniques and the business side of growing your blog - typically these sessions were more presenter led rather than discussion and for me personally I got way more out of it that way as you can spend more time listening to your presenter and their expertise. Friday evening were the Ignite presentations – around 15 I think – Ignite follows a standard format – 1 presenter, 5 minutes, 20 Powerpoint slides auto-advancing every 20 seconds – it’s an awesome format I’d not seen before but very engaging and great to hear from so many different presenters about a wide variety of topics – many were fun, some had a more educational component to them (the best you can do with 5 minutes!) – I loved the presentation on adrenal fatigue by our new friend (and room neighbor!) Susan. I also loved the presentations that spoke of peoples stories and journeys to health, weight loss and/or fitness – I am always a sucker for these – they are so inspiring! The evening reception also included a delicious Parfait bar sponsored by Attune Foods and Driscolls Berries – there were tonnes of fresh berries, granola, seeds, shredded coconut, chocolate and you were left to ‘build your own’ – mine may have featured a large dose of chocolate (which was really awesome actually – broken pieces of this pro biotic chocolate)

Saturday morning was another bright start – 6am Yoga session with SweatPink. Given the early time it was a popular class and I really enjoyed it. I had time to grab my delicious breakfast (fresh fruit, bacon, pastries – all the things I love!) before heading off to a Discussion session on ‘How to set health & fitness goals’ with Erin. I was LiveBlogging this session – in fact volunteering for this role was the reason I was at FitBloggin’13 since I received a complimentary conference ticket in exchange for volunteering. It was a busy and popular workshop with a tonne of information – great for the participants (and me!) but crazy busy for me as I tried to capture everything. Live Blogging is an awesome way to get the information from the conference ‘out there’ for those that weren’t able to make it – and I’ve enjoyed reading up on some of the sessions I wasn’t able to attend, and I thoroughly recommend checking out the write-ups on the blog.

I had a tough time with my choices of sessions on Saturday. In the end I went along to a Crossfit WOD (awesome - never done it before, now keen to try a full class as this was a mini demo class), How to Create a Media Kit and a workshop on Google Analytics (and kinda, managed to duck into the first half of a session on Improving your blog through SEO) As a pretty low-key blogger here at ‘What Happened Next…’ these tended to be more applicable to those with bigger and more pro blogs but since I help Chris with the behind-the-scenes stuff for InSpiral Coaching’s blog it’s fanatsic information as we work to grow his business in the future – there’s so much to learn, and the presenters were fantastic.

Sadly the conference was drawing to a close and Saturday night was a reception hosted by those fabulous people at Nutrilite – yet more goodies from them, mini iPads and Tiffany necklaces as door prizes (not for me sadly) and some delicious hors d’oeuvres doing the rounds by the waiters. There was some karaoke and some dancing, plenty of margarita drinking and time with new friends. At the end of the night I headed back to my room exhausted and happy.
This was the amazing swag we got from the sponsors - Reebok shoes, sports bags, t-shirt, sweat towels, months worth of supplements, protein bars, cereals, nuts, an awesome water bottle and so much more!!

FitBloggin was an awesome experience - just the right mix of workout classes, blogging technique workshops and health and fitness workshops. Many attendees have been on amazing weight loss journeys and so there were a number of classes on that topic, so those weren't so applicable to me so much. I concentrated mostly on the blogging classes and was blown away at what a big business this is. Whilst I may not be growing this little blog much I'm keen to help over at InSpiral Coaching and my hope is that we can build that into something bigger with time (and knowledge & skills - exactly the kind of skills I was learning about at FitBloggin!) I'm keen to return next year!

Happy Friday! I''m linking up to Jill's Fitness Friday again this week.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Back on track with Menu Planning

Wow! What a crazy few weeks! We were away more weekends than we were home, with visits to Abbotsford, 2 long weekends in Whistler and finally 6 days in Portland this weekend just gone. I think I can finally breathe a bit - we've got 2 weekends in a row at home - yay!

Of course that traveling played havoc with any attempts to meal plan - I was just shopping a a day or two at a time and again I'm reminded at how unsatisfied and disorganized I feel when I shop like this, how much more it costs, how easy it is to just reach for a crummy unhealthy option and how much time is taken mithering about what we'll eat!

This week after lots of excesses I'm taking another week to detox after the success of my last one - I want to feel better from the inside out! So it's back to LOTS of fruits and veggies (and not a lot else!!) I enjoyed shopping at the Farmers Market this week - here's my haul of new season baby carrots, beets, garlic, cauliflower, garlic scapes, raspberries and baby spinach plus some creamed honey! I'm excited to try out a couple of new recipes aswell - and I've got to figure out what to do with those garlic scapes - I'm thinking pesto and maybe a potato salad - but I'll let you know how that goes!

Salads and greens from the garden are highly featured - we're in danger of our garden going to seed after a little neglect from our time away! So we're eating it as fast as we can, and juicing and smoothie making on overtime!!

Here's how our menu this week is looking;
Here's my recipe for our Lettuce Wraps and my favourite Gazpacho is based on the fabulous recipe from Pioneer Woman - normally I always end up adjusting it depending on what we have in the fridge!

I'm linking up to Jill and Laura's Meal Planning Challenge.

Friday, July 5, 2013

FitBloggin' & Trout Lake Farm

I’m still catching up on sleep from my weekend at FitBloggin’13. We got back after a 12 hours drive late on Monday night and my sleep patterns haven’t caught up from our fun, but sleep-deprived weekend! Chris and I both attended this conference for Fitness, Wellness and Healthy Lifestyle Bloggers in Portland OR. The event was hosted at the gorgeous and rather luxurious Nines Hotel right on Pioneer Square in the heart of downtown.

We actually arrived a day early to the event and took a tour hosted by Nutrilite to their Trout Lake Farm in Southern Washington. 

Whilst I may have hesitated that the day might have been festooned with sales patter it was probably the highlight of my weekend. From the moment we boarded the bus at noon on Thursday to getting dropped back at our door later that night we were nothing but pampered by our wonderful hosts. The drive from Portland to the Trout Lake Valley was around 2 hours along the Columbia River, stopping en route at Multnomah Falls for a quick photo op’ and enjoying probably the best packed lunch ever along the way to Trout Lake. The valley sits in sight of the majestic Mount Adams and is only around 7 square miles and is entirely organically farmed with no threat of overspray or pollutants. It was such a beautiful serene place, lush with green and abundant fields of crops. We were met by the farm manager and took a quick field visit into the…well, fields! We saw crops of echinacea, lemon balm (OMG – how amazing did this smell – I picked a few leaves to just try and suck in this fabulous scent!) and others, plus a few crazy moments of ‘see how many people you can fit on a combine harvester’. There was something about the sky and the clouds that day that made everything so dramatic – I think I snapped around 100 photos at Trout Lake alone! After some refreshments back at the farm building and a quick fix of wifi (this was the funniest thing about travelling with a bus load of semi-pro bloggers – everyone was on social media on their phones and mobile devices every other moment!) Nutrilite blew us all away with an outrageously generous gift bag (An Athleta bag which has just become my new favouite bag evah btw!) full of their products! Literally hundreds of dollars worth of supplements! I’ll be excited to try them out once life has settled down (because right now no amount of supplements is gonna fix the over-indulgence I enjoyed this last weekend or 3!!). After bidding farewell to the farm we were back on the bus via Hood River and the 3 Rivers Grill for an early dinner.

3 Rivers Grill – oh my! Firstly I gotta say what a funky little town Hood River is – lots of older brick building and steep streets perched high along the shores of the Columbia River. The 3 Rivers Grill served us a fabulous 3 course dinner with wines from Mt. Hood winery. I had a salad to start, entrĂ©e of Steak and 2 desserts (perks of travelling with a husband who doesn't have a sweet tooth!) – a fruit panna cotta and a chocolate moussey-cake thingy! All paired with a lovely Pinot Gris. Our hosts from Nutrilite sure knew how to pick a good restaurant – this is exactly the kind of place I would have hunted out if we’d been travelling on our own.

After a fun packed and thoroughly enjoyable ‘lazy’ day (just what we’d needed after our 12 hour drive down to Oregon from BC the day before) we were delivered back to our hotel in time for conference registration and name-badge decorating. (where we picked up another goodie bag full of stuff; tshirts, cereals, nuts, protein powders and bars, sweat towels, socks, coupons (picked up my free packets of Babybels and Laughing Cow cheeses on the drive home!),  from all the other conference sponsors – Amana, Attune Foods, Reebok, Enell, SoyJoy, Blue Diamond Almonds, Jumpsport to name just a few!).

We finished our evening relaxing and enjoying a drink at the trendy rooftop bar atop the hotel - checking out the fab views, sipping margaritas and enjoying the cool summer evening breeze - aaaahhhh, bliss!

There is so much to say about my experience at FitBloggin' I'll be writing more about it soon!

I'm linking this post up to Jill's Fitness Friday

Thursday, July 4, 2013


A year ago today little Miss Meli landed on the tarmac at Kelowna Airport and straight into our hearts. Those weeks waiting for her to come to us from Pointblank Dogs seemed to pass by at a snails pace, yet these last 365 days have flown by. I couldn’t imagine life without her.

She fits into our lives perfectly. She hangs out with us as long as possible, going to bed late, and getting up late. Lazybones barely raises her head to greet us good morning when the alarm is set on the dark side of 6am! She’ll follow us loyally around the house – re-positioning herself from the upstairs sofa to the downstairs sofa to keep a watchful eye as we workout, or from one study to the next depending on where the sun spots are! (they don't call them Velcro dogs for nothing!)

She has un-ending Vizsla energy (once she finally decides to get up in the morning!). Slowly but surely she’s learning to become my faithful running partner. We’re managing the short runs right now, with a few minutes at the start (and somewhere at the 4 mile mark) where we have a case of the crazies but on the whole when I look down at her cute wriggly bum she seems happy to be trotting along beside me.

She doesn’t like venturing into the back garden for some reason – but once we coax her there she’s fine. She’s finicky with her food – getting bored of the bags after a few weeks so we try something new every time, she hates her nails being clipped, but our hardwood floors plead with us to do them regularly (but honestly Meli is more vocal so she usually wins that battle). She gets restless and needy if she doesn’t get some good off-leash time and exercise.

She loves her doggy friends, oh, what am I saying – she loves everyone! You’ll be her long lost friend every time you see her – even if it was 5 minutes ago! She loves playtime at doggy daycare and sleep-overs at Auntie Liz’s and mopes around for a few hours when you first bring her home and away from her friends.
She’s so well behaved in the house. She has never chewed, and is well trained to sit at our bedroom door and go no further – it’s her one no-go zone and she is brilliant at respecting that. She’ll sit patiently for her food and rings a bell at the front door when she needs to go potty. She likes roaming outside but if she sees a doggy friend she’ll be off – her one trouble-spot when it comes to discipline! She tolerates her leash (barely) preferring to run wild and crazy, and lucky for all of us we live so close to the woods.
And after last year’s uncertainly she loves the water, and has a competitive edge when there’s one ball or stick and more than one dog – and usually she’ll win! If there’s no water she’ll happily take a giant ball of the white stuff – cold? – what cold?! Throwing snowballs (or water in the summer) at her is one of her favourite games – and she’s still not figured out there’s nothing there to actually catch! And just yesterday - the eve of her anniversary with us she's become a SUP dog - we're so proud! 

Yes, life as a family of 3 is good. Meli-mou we love you! Happy 1 year anniversary to us!
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