Saturday, January 30, 2010

Olympic Update: Ontario Pavillion

Apart from my volunteering with the Olympics, I've also had the pleasure of listening to a certain colleague every Thursday tell us about the new and exciting features at the Ontario Pavillion in Vancouver. The other provinces got nothing on ours. It's all about showing the world why Ontario is such an amazing place to invest. Our people are second to none ... just look what they can do, just by using their minds!

Find out more about what Ontario's bringing to the Games by visiting our Olympic website.

Friday, January 29, 2010

20 Things Mountain Biking Teaches You About Life

I picked this up from the University of Toronto Mountain Bike Team's website. I thought it was pretty poignant, so I'll do my part to spread it around.

Good writers have often used sport as a metaphor for life: the lessons of the playing field or arena applied to daily living. If Norman Mailer (boxing), William Kennedy (baseball) and John Irving (wrestling) had spent time on a mountain bike, they would have learned that:

20. Boldness pays
19. Desperation breeds mistakes
18. The hardest parts are also the loneliest
17. There's fresh horse flop in the trail ahead
16. Balance is first among the virtues; momentum is second
15. Success requires confidence, but cockiness invites failure
14. Sometimes, the best way past an obstacle is straight through it
13. Some people get lucky at parts; nobody gets lucky at everything
12. It's all about the being and the going, not the having and the arriving
11. At each intersection, there's the easy way and the hard, rewarding way
10. It's tempting to focus on the immediate problem to the exclusion of the big picture
9. The thing that nails you is the one you don't see coming
8. It's worth stopping for a breather to see where you are
7. Thousands of tiny decisions shape the trip
6. The fun starts when you push the limits
5. You can get hurt, heal and go again
4. Ups are followed by downs
3. Practice makes you better
2. No quitting allowed
1. Love hurts (but don't let that stop you from falling in love).

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Olympic Update: Opening Ceremonies!

Only 12 days til I'm there ... and 17 days til Valentines!

I'm set to arrive in Vancouver at 9:00am, Tuesday February 9th. From there I've got to figure out a way downtown so I can pick up a wonderful gift from VANOC: Tickets to the dress rehearsal of the Opening Ceremonies!

I'm so excited to be a part of that, I can't even tell you.

But ... actually sorting it all out is starting to feel a bit stressful. There are bus schedules galore, a couple of question marks, and to top it all off, I'm still looking for a date. I will prevail. And there will be no pictures of any kind, promise, cross my heart. (sorry! no cameras allowed.)

Since my last update, I booked a real live flight -- so I won't be flying standby and risk getting caught in Calgary again. This is pretty exciting to me. I can't imagine lining up with a feeling of certainty that I'm actually going to be going someplace on the schedule that I selected. Wow.

I also recieved my thick, "Leading Team 2010" training workbook so I've been diligently pushing my way through that. I found out that I know another volunteer up at the sliding centre! So at least there will be one more familiar face. Exciting!

But my workbook keeps referencing some other training that I know nothing about, so I'm a little uneasy that I'm missing something. I'll have to give those VANOC guys a call. I'm sure they're just sitting around watching Oprah, eating bon bons so it won't be a big deal at all getting through to them.

Let's see, what else? OH! Mom came through, and is lending me her super comfy Mukluks. She even delivered them along with some warmer mittens than I had, and of course my red Olympic mitts (I loaned them to her when the torch came through Port Elgin, carried by a friend of hers). We're not allowed to wear the red mitts while in uniform, but I'll be rocking them at Opening Ceremonies for sure. They also asked that we wear white to that, so they'll look extra good.

Anyway, the countdown is on. Only 12 days til I'm right in the action. Awesome.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

For Sale!


If you've been reading my blog, you've probably noticed I got a new Garmin for Christmas this year thanks to Dad. That means there's no sense keeping my Polar around to collect dust, so it needs a new home.
  • Polar S720i HRM (300 new)
  • strap (50 new)
  • 2 speed sensors (40ea new)
  • 2 bike mounts
  • computer software
  • infrared reader for uploading (i have one that works with vista, and one that works with XP) (60ea new)

All parts are in perfect working order, and I just had all batteries replaced too so you'll be good to go. If you're not familiar with the 720, here are some of its features:

  • HR
  • spedo/odo
  • altitude
  • temperature
  • wireless
  • cadence sensor ready
Happy Training!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Uh-oh ...

Today is the third day I've been enjoying a lovely migraine. The epi-centre was Sunday night, so the debilitating awesomeness has passed. But yesterday and this morning I've had some aftershocks that caused me to miss my yoga last night.

To add insult to injury, I was rudely awakened at 4am to my own dry coughing. Could I be getting sick? Or did I just swallow a spider!?

I guess time will tell.

Assuming all goes well, I'll hit up RPM for a Gravity session tonight, and yoga tomorrow morning. Let me know if you want to come too! I promise to Purell.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Weekend? I'd like another one of those ...

Where did this weekend go? Can hardly believe it's Monday again already. Didn't even get anything into the slow cooker! BUT -- it was fun nonetheless.

On Friday I watched the English Patient and tried to unwind. Had a great chat with my sister on the phone -- she's excited because she got a new fridge. I also heard that Emily Batty has been signed to Trek World Racing! Huge congrats to her -- what an opportunity! If you don't already know it, Emily's is a name you should learn because she's going to be a Canadian mountain biking hero in the 2012 Olympics.

Saturday I went up to Brampton to see Baby St. Jacques digs, and chat with his parents who are patiently awaiting his arrival. Everything looks great there, and it must be so much fun to get ready for your first baby. Think of all the toys you get to pick out!

Then it was off to North York for a visit with family. It was supposed to be "girls night" but somehow it expanded and there were at least ten of us for dinner -- boys too. Awesome catching with family but I'm sure they were happy to see me go because I couldn't stop talking about the amazing benefits of raw food. Yep, I was that girl.

Sunday I went to spinning and rolled out some more individual leg drills, spin ups and then some muscular work for an hour after that. Base miles are so glamorous.

Then mom came down and spent the day with me, took me out for lunch and other mom stuff before we had to say "so long". It's nice in the winter when family comes to me, because it's so hard to drag myself away from spinning class.

So that's all folks! Yoga tonight :)

Friday, January 22, 2010

My First Power Test

Instrument of torture

Last night I completed my first-ever 20 minute power test at RPM. It was a nasty, nasty thing, and it was a really surprising trip to have that third number staring back at you. I think I have a long way to go in really harnessing a power-reading as a tool, but I can see the benefits already.

As Mike explained later on, when you do a workout based on power instead of heart rate, you are using much more "honest" numbers. Your heartrate can change depending on how stressful your day was, what time you're completing your workout or even just as you become more fit. So pegging your progress on that alone can be misleading.

Enter "Power" and you can see the point at which you're no longer doing yourself any good, and switch to just beating yourself up. That's also the point where you stop, by the way, so that you can still get something out of your training the following day.

I had a great time beating myself up last night in order to get a baseline for more workouts. I'm really excited to add this new dimension to my training. And now that it's over, 20 minutes didn't seem so bad. ;)

Here's my test -- don't judge. Obviously, consistency is an acquired art. haha.

Power Playlist
Stronger - Kanya West
Paper Planes - MIA
Sweet Dreams - Beyonce
No Heaven - Champion
Little Secrets - Passion Pit
Hide and Seek - Imogen Heap (Tiesto Remix)
Broke my Eyes - Donkeyboy

PS - to learn more about Power from the CycleOPs "Power Training Experts", click here.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


I'm very, very, super-duper pleased to announce an enhanced partnership with RPM for 2010. As I mentioned before, I've been a member of their 12-week base camp program for a number of years now. Mike and Daffyd do such a great job with it; if I had to point at one thing I do during the winter that helps me in the summer, I'd be madly gesturing to RPM. On top of regular, focused training, we also hear from special guests ranging from chiropractors to nutritionists.

This year, I've been invited to consider RPM "Training Headquarters". This Thursday, they're going to set me up for some power testing, which will be revisited throughout the season to make sure I'm on the right track. I'll also have some power based workouts to complete at the studio in addition to our regular twice-weekly sessions.

To keep up with strength training I tried their Gravity class, which I have also mentioned. On top of that, RPM has the perfect mix of free weights and core equipment to get my muscles firing and core stablized. As far as training is concerned, this is "home, sweet home."

2010 is going to be a great season, and I'm so excited to have RPM's support.

Learn more:
  • Find out what classes fit into your schedule.
  • RPM is located at 2109 Bloor Street West (on the west side of High Park)
  • Spin class is approximately $15, and Gravity $20, but you save by buying in bulk with the RPM Card System

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Any Given Sunday

Woke up early: spin class. 2 hours of spin ups and then low cadence work plus one legged drills. quote of the day: "Pretend you're going to be on display at Body Worlds and you want to be the one with the awesome hamstrings."

Got home, finished winter vegetable stew in the slow cooker, moved on to yam-and-butternut-squash soup so lunch is ready all week. Out the door for night skiing.

James was kind enough to do the driving tonight. He also helped me with my ski technique which was long overdue and got me back into the groove, literally: side cut anyone? Awesome night "shredding the gnar", jumping off boxes and discussing the bigger questions of life over hot chocolate and -- yes, I admit -- Wendy's.

So tired I can't sleep. Goodnight anyway!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Outside Ride!

Not sure where Winter went, but today, it wasn't here! Hopped on the bike around 2pm with a teammate. Our plan was to visit the horses up at Sunnybrook. However, despite the dry, amazing conditions on the city streets, the rec paths were not faring as well and since my training partner today was on a road bike (while I opted for my mtb since the road bike is all trainerized) she vetoed any further attempts at exploration.

Thus, we decided to head down to the CNE and see what could be seen. The boat show, I think! Or at least that's what I'm guessing from the blue Yamaha bags and a dude walking out with a sweet wake board. Ah, dreams of warm summer days!

Since the CNE was kind of a zoo, we decided to just keep on riding the "Blue Edge" ... ie the waterfront trail. I lost my training partner to cold hands and feet at the Roncesvalles bridge. Since it was such a nice day, I continued solo.

Not long after her departure, I met a man who was playing with his RC car in one of the parking lots. I was going to challenge him to a race, but thought I'd be embarrassed: that thing was quick. I think I missed a good photo opportunity. Oh well.

The next interesting pause came when I met Peter. By the time I'd arrived he'd only been there for about an hour and already he had an army of balanced-rock formations. I stopped to take a photo of his masterpieces, and got to meet their maker at the same time. When I got home, I looked him up online, and he's done some pretty amazing stuff. A Toronto treasure, for sure. He rocks.

Today was the first time I'd been that far west on the bike trail in a long time and I was happy to find it was just a little bit longer! On the way back, I turned off to get a photo and found the Humber River Trail (Number 15, people). I'd come down it once before, but never up. I figured I'd give it a shot. A bit snowy/icy in spots but totally navigable on the Trek and a really lovely ride. As I was exiting "The Old Mill", a man rolled down his car window beside me and said he'd "never seen a cyclist take on this hill!" which kind of made my day. (Although, caveat, it wasn't a particularly nasty climb or anything.)

After a quick street ride down Jane, I was back on the waterfront path. I decided to go see what was happening in Ashbridges Bay. Mostly, people were out doing the same thing as me: enjoying mother nature's little gift! I saw runners, rollerbladers, other cyclists, some tennis players (for real!) and even the skaters were out at the skate park.

With the sun going down, it was time to head home. Although most of the roads were dry, some weren't so nice so I had to figure out a way to clean up my girl so the salt and grit didn't do too much damage. I've seen it done ... but never had the guts to try it myself, seeing as I live with two others. So shhh, don't tell them but ...

After I cleaned the bike, I cleaned the tub and then I had a shower too -- one of those ones where the warm water makes your frozen toes feel like they've had too much hot sauce.

A snack, some stretching, a flop on the couch and that's a day folks.

Time for bed now -- spin class bright and early! ... and I'm cooking this in my sleep:

Here are some other shots I snapped along the way ...

From left to right (click to enlarge): 1. "And I thought my feet were cold!" 2. The Humber footbridge 3. Peter's people 4. A gull over the skyline from the base of route 15 5. The Humber 6. Bridge over frozen water 7. Tennis. In January. 8. Sun going down over Ashbridge's 9. A pile of kids were at the Ashbridges Skate Park.

Friday, January 15, 2010


I had to work late on Wednesday, so I missed the workout I had planned to do, thus decided that I'd try one of RPM's Gravity classes before our regular spin Thursday night.


Gravity machines are cool because they use your own body weight and ... um ... gravity to give you a full body workout. The first thing we did was legs: squats, lunges and hamstrings. My quads felt like hot butter: it was intense. The second half of the work out we did abs and upperbody.

Best of all, it kind of feels like a carnival ride at first. That slide board can be a lot of fun.

After Gravity with Trina, it was time for spinning with Daffyd. He didn't have such an easy ride in mind so with Gravity and a morning ride already under my belt I was worried I'd really be digging deep. Sure enough, on our third of four 3 min efforts, I exercised my gag reflex.

But to be honest, a little bit of tummy upset and a celtic-slash-heavy-metal song was all the discomfort I encountered -- either I wasn't working hard enough, or I'm in better shape than I thought! Good legs.

This morning I slept through my alarm, and as the day goes on I'm only getting more sore. Ah, the gentle hum of recovery.

Can't wait to get home and spin out some of this junk.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Olympic Update

One month 'til the Games!

I've been working with VANOC to get all my pre-Olympic training sorted out as well as uniforms and accreditation. Looks like I'll be Vancouver-bound on February 11, then making my way up the Sea-to-Sky. Luckily, as a volunteer our transportation is all taken care of once we're in BC, so that's a relief. They feed us too, which is always good news. I will work for sandwiches.

So here's my home for the Games: the Whistler Sliding Centre. Our events include some of my favourite Olympic sports: Bobsleigh, Luge and Skeleton. And just over at Creekside, hopefully I'll be able to catch a little Alpine to round it out. Still waiting to get my work schedule confirmed, but I'm expecting a minimum of 13 shifts over the entire Games, 8-10 hours each. I'll be earning my sandwiches, that's for sure. I'll also be begging someone (anyone!) to let me try sliding down on one of those sleds!

On the uniform, we're all issued a specific set of outer-wear and unfortunately, my glow-in-the-dark party pants are not invited. Bummer. But I think it's all for the best anyway -- our crew is going to look very professional. Smurfy, but professional.

The uniform consists of:

  • an outer shell jacket
  • a vest
  • two long-sleeved T-shirts
  • a pair of pants (I'll be in "Mountain Pants" I think, vs "City Pants")
  • and of course, a toque (no, it's not white.)

I think we are also issued a "beverage container" and it is the official, exclusive volunteer-bottle of the Games. Even our drinking will be professional. ;)

I'll be sure to post photos, modeling the whole ensemble.

In order to prepare myself for the elements, I'll need a new pair of warm dark mitts, and dark boots. Apparently my white snow boots aren't invited either so if someone has some good, warm, dark coloured ones I can borrow (size 8.5) please let me know! Mom?

Another exciting turn of events: Nancy is now a confirmed volunteer too! She'll be rocking the same uniform, but with "city pants" (hahaha) at the medical centre in Whistler, massaging the rippling muscles of international sports superstars.

To sign off, is anyone interested in renting "Cool Runnings" with me? We'll call it research! Let me know!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Green Smoothie of the Day

Spinach-strawberry-blueberry-goji berry-hemp seed-banana

Health Benefits:

Spinach (two big handfuls or more, baby spinach)
  • Excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A, magnesium, folate, manganese, iron, calcium, vitamin C, vitamin B2, potassium, and vitamin B6. It’s a very good source of protein, phosphorus, vitamin E, zinc, dietary fiber, and copper. Plus, it’s a good source of selenium, niacin, and omega-3 fatty acids
  • Loaded with flavonoids which act as antioxidants
  • Anti-inflammatory properties
  • Slows age-related decline in brain function
  • Protects against eye diseases
  • Excellent source of iron

Strawberries (two hands-full)

  • Source of vitamin C
  • Antioxidants
  • Excellent source of vitamin K and manganese, as well as folic acid, potassium, riboflavin, vitamin B5, vitamin B6, copper, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids

Blueberries (half pint)

  • Some of the planets best antioxidants (cancer fighter, heart helper ... antioxidants can help your body with almost everything)
  • Helps improve vision

Goji Berry (30 berries)

  • For their weight — a daily serving is only 10 to 30 grams — they have more vitamin C than oranges, more beta carotene than carrots and more iron than steak
  • Beta carotene helps protect your skin from the sun
  • Good source of B vitamins and antioxidants
  • Rich in polysaccharides that support your immune system
  • They have 18 kinds of amino acids, and are a rich source of potassium
  • They taste like little pillows of honey. No joke.

Hemp Seed (1tbsp)

  • Second only to soybean in protein content
  • Contains all 20 known amino acids including the 9 essential amino acids (EAAs) our bodies cannot produce
  • Free of the tryspin inhibitors that block protein absorption
  • Free of oligosaccharides found in soy that cause upset-stomach and give you gas
  • Lowers cholesterol and blood pressure
  • Ladies: helps with menstrual cramps
  • Promotes organ health
  • Helps in recovery after exercise
  • Nutty flavour that goes with everything. Yum.

Banana (x2)

  • Rich in vitamin B6 and they are a good source of fiber, vitamin C, magnesium and potassium (lack of B6 in a diet can cause weakness, irritability and insomnia)
  • Potassium helps to regulate blood pressure and may reduce the risk of high blood pressure and stroke
  • Potassium helps muscles to contract properly during exercise
  • Plenty of carbs = good source of energy
  • "The good mood food" -- may help to overcome depression!

Add two cups of water, blend, and enjoy.

Spinning Day One

Yesterday was the inaugural "Base Camp" spin course kick-off. In previous years (this is my fourth run) we've started our Sunday mornings at the leisurely hour of 11am. Ride for two hours, stop for pho on the way home, call it a day. (Or make the mad dash to get ski gear all ready and head to Blue for the night, whichever.)

This year, we've changed start time to 7:00am. I think I am actually in favour of the switch, despite first impressions experienced at 6am Sunday morning.

1) While the TTC doesn't run that early on Sunday, there IS free parking on Bloor, right up to 1pm. And no traffic.
2) By the time I actually wake up, spin class is already half over.
3) When you start early, you finish early. Home by 10am, leaving plenty of time for a nap, two lunches and then the traditional 2pm departure for Sunday-Nights-At-Blue.
4) Forces me to behave myself on Saturday nights.
5) Another feather in the cap for green smoothies which are the perfect pre-spin fuel it turns out.

Also, everyone's different but my body is happiest in the morning I think. So my workout went very well. For our first session, we completed 2x8 minute tests* at race pace to log averages and come up with a "basement" and a "ceiling" heart rate for our base miles. We also completed some single leg drills and kept a mostly steady pace for a total of two hours.

Then I got home where my lentil soup was just finishing in the slow cooker, and my kitchen smelled amazing. I had a bowl, caught up with Athena who's eight-months-down-one-month-to-go from the most beautiful physical test of all, and tended to my crops in Farmville. An hour after lunch one, I was ready for lunch two and whipped up some whole wheat pasta to go with the turkey-pesto-meatball sauce I'd made in the slow cooker the day before. Then it was off to Blue Mountain for night skiing.

Who told everyone about Sunday nights?! Snow was mostly great, line-ups were aggravating but with our little posse we had no trouble killing the time. Too bad about the cold wind waiting when you disembark at the top though. brrrr. That's why night-skiers are tougher. Who's in next Sunday?

And so, tired and sore, I start another week. On the menu: book club tonight (only 50 more pages to read before then ... eep)! yoga, training, and of course our next spinning class Thursday night! Still room if you're interested in joining. Contact Mike at RPM, 416-761-9717

*The "industry standard" for testing is the famous [dreaded] 20 minute test. But Lance Armstrong's coach, Chris Carmichael has found that in the early season, when athletes are not yet at their prime (or anywhere close to it), the 2x8 minute test will usually produce the same results as the 20 minute version, without straining capillaries, muscles and tendons that aren't ready yet.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Krunchy Kale

While in Courtenay, Gerhard's mom, in an attempt to subdue our post-skiing appetites, produced a bag of kale. But not just any bag of kale ... this leafy green had been dehydrated, and seasoned: the healthy answer to potato chips. It. was. delicious.

Naturally, I asked for directions on how to make this miracle snack. It couldn't be easier. Make up a seasoning ... I was eager to try and didn't have any raw soya sauce so it wasn't a completely raw foods snack, but that's easily fixed next time I'm at The Big Carrot.

Anyway, make up a seasoning: put some soya sauce and water in a bowl, dip each leaf and arrange in your dehydrator (115F of course, or else it's not considered "raw"). Come back after enough time has elasped to crisp the kale stems (about 4 hours).

The best part? Seeing my homemade snack at the grocery store in $7.00 packages (for half as many chips!) -- mine cost no more than a head of kale.

Kale benefits: '
  • IN SEASON mid winter ... so the best is just around the corner!
  • Cruciferous vegetables such as kale are cancer fighters: breast and ovarian, but also lung, colon and bladder
  • Free-radical fighter: It's an antioxidant!
  • Protect your eyes: "kale is well known for its carotenoids, especially lutein and zeaxanthin. These carotenoids act like sunglass filters and prevent damage to the eyes from excessive exposure to ultraviolet light." (from
  • Excellent source of vitamin A (again, good for your eyes and also your lungs)
  • Vitamin C for your immune system
  • Protects against Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Very good source of fibre
  • Calcium, without the fat from cows' milk
  • Vitamin E, for your brain!


Friday, January 8, 2010

We’re riding to conquer cancer in 2010. Please support Mark and Kristen Lake

Dad emailed today to let me know he's made a flyer to spread the word about our ride. He'll have them available at local [Port Elgin area] events he's involved in. For those not in Beautiful Bruce County, here it is:


Mark and Kristen Lake have committed to fighting cancer by participating in The Ride to Conquer Cancer® benefiting The Campbell Family Institute at the Princess Margaret Hospital. We will join thousands of other men and women in a history-making ride from June 12-13, 2010. Mark and Kristen will cover 200 miles (320km) from Toronto to Niagara Falls in two days with a night of camping in Hamilton. Riders help support breakthrough research and the discovery of new cancer therapies at Princess Margaret Hospital.

With one in three Canadians diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime, we are rallying for the cause and cycling in The Ride to Conquer Cancer because:

“We've been standing on the sidelines watching cancer attack the people we care about and feeling helpless because we cannot fix it. Now we have an opportunity to do something about it.

This 200 mile bicycle ride from Toronto to Niagara Falls June 12 to 13, 2010 offers us all an opportunity to make a real difference in helping to conquer cancer. 100% of your donation will go directly to benefit Canada’s leading comprehensive cancer research centre at the Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) as soon as it is received. The Campbell Family Institute at the Princess Margaret Hospital have assembled a team of world class doctors, scientists and support staff whose sole vision is to conquer cancer for those struggling right now and those yet to be diagnosed.

Kristen and I dedicate this ride to all who are courageously facing cancer now particularly my father James, my sister-in-law Nancy and cousin Vi and in remembrance of my mother-in-law Margaret, and my friends Richard and Robin. In particular this year, Kris and I are riding in remembrance of my mother, Marian Lake who passed away suddenly on November 27, 2009 two days after being diagnosed with lung cancer.”

For real impact, Mark (participant ID number 542028-9) and Kristen (participant ID number 547786-7) have set personal fundraising goals of $2500 each. To help them reach their goals, visit to make a donation online or call (416) 815-RIDE (7433). Mark has donation forms (paper copy) available upon request if you’d prefer to mail your support in. Visit Kristen’s blog at for updates and to download paper forms or link to the online donation site.

Riders will be supported by hundreds of Volunteers and Crew Members who will provide meals, water and snack stops, gear transport, portable restrooms, safety on the streets, comprehensive medical services and an overnight campsite complete with tents, massages, and hot showers. For more information on Conquer Cancer rides held across Canada, please go to or call (887)699-BIKE (2453). All you need is a bike, a helmet and a little motivation.

About Princess Margaret Hospital
Proceeds from the sold-out 2010 Ontario Ride to Conquer Cancer will benefit The Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation, one of the top five cancer research hospitals in the world and the largest institution in Canada exclusively devoted to cancer treatment, research and education. For more information about the Princess Margaret, please visit The Ride will generate all-important funds for research, which will be allocated based on the highest cancer research priorities at PMH such as tumor metabolism, cancer stem cells, cancer genomics, and molecular imaging/guided therapeutics.

MOM: You Go Girl!

Kudos to mom who's using her retirement to get fit! She's rocking the trainer (complains it's boring though ... psssshaw), stretching and even got a strength plan from a PT at the gym. On top of all that, she's test driving a bunch of classes to see which ones will fit into a regular routine. I'm so proud!! Dad's been in on the fun too, since they picked up memberships at the local gym, Fitness Corner. I hear they offer "Movie Night" spin classes there, too: spin and watch a movie with all your training buddies! Imagine all our theatres were outfitted that way. The world would sure look different.

As for my own fitness efforts, I'm happy to report that the rhythm has been found. Lots of trainer this week, and I have finally got comfortable with the idea of the "home gym". And let me tell you, there are some serious benefits to doing strength training in your living room.

Thanks to Santa's elves, Kim and Gerhard, I have a pair of dumb bells and a fitness ball. Turns out, I think that's actually all I really need. The ball came with a guide showing all kinds of exercises and the dumb bells are the right weight to get most things done properly. Maybe I'll move up next month, but for now, I'm rockin and rollin. I could get used to this!

The best thing about the home gym is not having to wait for equipment! There are no line ups! There are also no distractions, such as "gym chat", to knock me out of focus. And I got to watch TV at the same time.

However, a word of caution. On top of gifting me dumb bells, Kim also loaned me "P.S. I Love You" which I decided to watch last night since it claimed to be a romantic comedy. Ahem. Do not under any circumstances attempt to ride a trainer while watching this movie. There is nothing funny about it. I cried through the whole damn thing and when you cry with your heart rate in the 150s, guess what! You hyper-ventilate.

Super excited for Spin Class which starts this Sunday as well. But they changed the start time so that will be a challenge for the next 12 weeks: 7 o'clock Sunday morning! The TTC isn't even up at that hour. There's still space I'm told, so if you're interested in the best spin program in town, give Mike a call at RPM. Even with the painful start time, it's totally worth signing up. I don't think I'd make the progress I've made if it wasn't for RPM.

I also picked up a five-class-pass at Moksha Yoga Danforth so I'm all set in my hot yoga habit. I was there on Wednesday for the 75 minute class but I found it wasn't for me. I'm all about the full 90 minutes. It just seemed like everyone was in a rush there, and it wasn't as wholesome (for lack of a better word) an experience as I'm used to -- it was nearly impossible to focus because people were laughing and talking in the studio (what?!). So I think Monday night is the winner -- great time, great instructor and the full 90.

In other news, looks like Blue Mountain is a GO this weekend. With spin class so early in the morning, no longer will I have to rush home and out the door again. I'll have time for the nap I'll need!! Sunday Night Snow Club will officially kick off this Sunday Night! Night passes are $39. Let me know if you want a lift in the mini-van!

Oh, and just finished "Sleeping Naked is Green" by Vanessa Farquharson of the National Post. It's about a twenty-something woman who decides to make one green change to her life every day for a year. Since she chose a leap year, it ends up being 366 changes. She kept a blog at even after the challenge, but I think she's since abandoned it. Anyway, the book was entertaining, and has really got me thinking about changes I can make in my everyday life. I think what stood out the most is the constant catch-22 going green entails. For example, do you choose the organic apple from New Zealand, or the regular-pesticides-included apple from Ontario? Check it out, it's an easy read and a great place to start if you're thinking about what you can do to green your corner of the universe.

Now ... if only I'd remembered the book I was supposed to be reading for book club ...

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Parlez-Vous Olympics?!

I never thought I'd say this, but ... I'M GOING TO THE OLYMPICS.

Before you get too excited, let me add the caveat that I'm going as a volunteer, not an athlete. In this, I shall endeavour to represent my country proudly, speak french, and make sure that you — dear spectator — get to your seat comfortably and on time.

This is my pledge.

I have been appointed "Team Leader" at the Whistler Sliding Centre and while I'm not sure exactly what that means, I know I'll have 8-10 other volunteers to lead into service-with-a-smile glory; I know I'll be on Blackcomb Mountain; I know I'll be standing outside 8-10 hours a day; and I know I'll be wearing my crazy party pants that, yes, GLOW IN THE DARK.

Hopefully, I'll get a walkie-talkie too because that would seriously make my day. Over.

I'm so excited I could puke. Stay tuned for more updates from OLYMPIC BLOG.

I'm the hairy one in the middle, leading TEAM KRIS.

West is Best

Dont' get me wrong, I love Ontario too. But it's January ... and it's just not that awesome at the moment.

Hence, I headed west to Courtenay BC to ring in the New Year. If I could fold up my sports equipment into bite-size packages, I could have skied in the morning, then biked in the afternoon. It's winter up high, but at sea-level, it's still spring! Since both my favourite sports take up so much room in suitcases, I opted to bring out just the sticks. (And make up for the bike with my running shoes.)

I had ulterior motives as well of course -- Gerhard has left Ontario for his annual sojourn West. His parents live in Courtenay so he spends some time with them for the holidays before relocating to Squamish for the rest of the winter. I met them for the first time and was treated to warm hospitality, great walks with Max-the-dog, and some pretty amazing eats!!

I stayed a week, and it went by way too fast. Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana!

But holidays don't mean training stops ... completely: I ran my first 10 kilometres-in-a-row ... and rode my first box in the park, too. Woo hoo! Gerhard, Adlar (his brother) and I got up to Mt. Washington a couple times, and a had wonderful time both days.

Pros: some seriously fun runs (rollers! pow! park!); Beaver Tails — Killaloe FTW!; Amazing zones on the back side like a secret gully (that wasn't so secret); cool vibe including hitch hiking snowboarders, bra tree and even a Christmas Tree!; kettle chips; the Boomerang chairlift and everything it reaches; Adlar Gross's amazing kamikaze snowboard stylings (limited time only); great conditions both days, said the girl from Ontario.

Cons: Sushi Mon by the Hawk Chair for lunch was a bust -- wasted way too much time NOT shredding while waiting for crappy Raman noodles -- at least the sushi was decent (tip courtesy of an otherwise friendly hitch hiker we picked up); um ... what's with the lift-littering?; holy line-ups batman ('tis the season); bad drivers burning up their brakes on the road back down the hill (stinky!!!); sore feet from boot-breaking-in-age.

50 cm of snow fell before our second visit so it was a hard day's work on the hill skiing through all that powder. Woe is me! Alas, the sun came out and things got a little heavy, but still awesome. On top of all the other awesomeness, I was rocking my new skis and my new boots (Thanks G and Steph!!). Both get top marks!! I was a better skier instantly!

Back at Sea Level, we did a bit of one of my favourite things: picking up stuff from the beach. Much more sporting in BC because of all the amazing things that wash up! Like Turkish Towel sea weed, Bull Kelp, sea shells galore, pretty round rocks and even things you can eat! Gerhard's dad was telling me that when they went camping as a family, they never brought any food; they didn't need to because there were enough oysters and other sea food to keep everyone satisfied. Amazing.

We visited the only chocolate shop that I think might give Mill Creek a run for its money: Hot Chocolates. Their sea salt caramels are heavenly. Thank god they deliver!!

For New Year's we dined on crab and lobster with some Moet to wash it down, played a rousing game of Yahtzee then banged pots and pans at midnight to keep the ghosties away. I started 2010 rested, refreshed, and renewed.

On my last day, Gerhard and I took the ferry over to Denman Island. We walked the beach, picking up Oysters, stalking a Blue Heron (or was he stalking us?!) and exploring the sea side. We had a drink at a pub overlooking the Strait of Georgia, and learned a thing or two from CBC radio while snacking on candied salmon. It was a perfect day.

The only good thing about saying goodbye, is getting to say hello again. So ... until next time!