Race Day Recap: Calgary Half Ironman

Every good race comes with a bit of drama and a lot of smiles. My race on Sunday was no exception.

In the interest of not boring you to death, I’ve decided to share a few of the highlights from the Calgary Half Ironman instead of giving you a play-by-play (you’re welcome!):

The morning of the race I gave my Mom bad directions and we ended up arriving 15 minutes before my swim start time. I was such a mess and let me tell you, it was not a great way to start a race.

When I was swimming I saw a sunken car in the water. I wonder how that got there?

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Photo credit: Dr. Brian Abelson

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Photo credit: Dr. Brian Abelson

The bike course was AMAZING! There were non-stop mountain views and the wind was at my back for most of the ride.

The timer on my watch wasn’t working so I calculated my bike speed using my regular watch clock. I must have miscalculated because I was convinced I was biking too slow and that I needed to kick it up a few notches during the last 30 km. In the end, I did my fastest ride to date. Thank you broken timer.

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Photo credit: Dr. Brian Abelson

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Photo credit: Dr. Brian Abelson

The first 3/4 of the run were fantastic. I kept telling myself “you got this, you got this” and then I hit the 17 km mark and I wanted to stop. I really really wanted to stop. I saw my Mom, I cried a little and I even walked for a minute. I’m not a fan of walking during races because I’m afraid I’ll get sucked into the sweet temptation for long periods of time. I’d rather saunter along at the world’s slowest pace than walk. And that’s what I did. I ran at the slowest pace known to man for 4 kilometers until I pasted the finish line, where cried a little more and then found my Mom and Atlas the dog.

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Photo credit: Dr. Brian Abelson

Thank you for all the support over these past few weeks. You guys have been so helpful and motivating. I know that for some, it’s just a race and that’s true; at the end of the day, it was just a race that I did. But for me, it’s about all those hours I put in, all the people who supported me, the friends who trained with me, the muscle pains and rolled ankles and the many many mental games I played. That’s what I’m celebrating.

Why do you love racing?

xx

P.S. As you can see, I didn’t take any of the pictures in this post. They were all taken by Dr. Brian Abelson who has uploaded his gorgeous race photos onto this Flickr account.

Ursula

Meatless Mondays: Sushi Bowls with Cauliflower Rice

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We love sushi in our house. I kid you not, every time I ask Ian to cook dinner he suggests we go out for sushi instead. Hmm, I’m starting to see a pattern.

Sushi is fresh, cheap and delicious, not to mention vegan and vegetarian friendly. What I love most about it are the distinct flavours. The salty sea taste of the nori, the fresh veggies and the zing of the wasabi.  Yum. Doesn’t reading this make you crave an avocado roll??

That being said, sushi is not particularly healthy as the rice is loaded with sugar and the soya sauce is basically drinking salt. So what better way to enjoy all the tasty flavours without all that bad stuff than by making a sushi bowl with cauliflower rice?!

To be honest, part of the reason I make cauliflower rice is not only because it’s good for you, but also because making sushi rice is such a pain. It takes forever and the first eight times you make it, it’ll probably turn out weird. I’ve read that the art of making sushi rice requires years of practice, so keep that in mind the next time you have a sushi rice fail.

Here’s what I used:

  • 3/4 of a large cauliflower
  • 2 tbsp of rice vinegar
  • 2 small cucumbers
  • 4 large carrots
  • 1 piece of nori (seaweed paper)
  • 1/2 cup of wasabi peas (less if you don’t like the heat)
  • soya sauce to taste
  • 1 tbsp of sesame seeds
  • 1 ripe avocado

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Start by grating your cauliflower using a cheese grater. This will make your “rice”. Boil 3 cups of water with your rice vinegar. Once boiled, turn down to low and place your “rice”  in a steamer over the flavoured water. Wait 8-10 minutes or until the cauliflower looks cooked but not mushy. Take it off the heated water and let it drain and cool for 15 minutes. If you’re in a rush, pat your “rice” dry with paper towels and place it in the fridge until cooled.

Side Note: I’ve eaten this sushi bowl as a warm and cold dish. Sushi is usually prepared and served cold but if you prefer, this dish is still delicious when served warmed with hot cauliflower rice.  

Julienne your carrots and cucumbers and cut your nori into tiny strips. Separate your rice into two bowls, flavour with soya sauce and top with your prepared vegetables and nori. Garnish with wasabi peas, sesame seeds and sliced avocado. Enjoy!

This recipe makes 2 servings.

Are you a fan of sushi? Have you ever made cauliflower rice? 

xx

Want to see some more Meatless Monday ideas? Check out Tina Muir’s link up at Fuel Your Future with Tina.

Ursula

DIY Potato Stamped Napkins

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There are a few things in life that mark you as an adult. They are the milestones that tell the world “I no longer bring my laundry home or ask my parents for help with rent”. Among these milestones include owning your own bank account, getting your driver’s license, buying a bed frame and of course, using cloth napkins.

Until recently, I’ve never owned cloth napkins. I’ve admired them from afar, but I’ve been too cheap and frankly, who uses napkins? Isn’t that what paper towel is for??

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What I used:

  • 1 meter x 1 meter muslin fabric
  • paint brush
  • 1 large yukon potato
  • acrylic paint
  • fabric paint
  • dish to hold paint

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I started by washing the fabric and then hand ripped it into four pieces. Next, I ironed the napkins and cut out a stamp in my potato. I painted the stamp and then went to town on my napkin design. After the paint dried, I folded and re-ironed the napkins and then I proceeded to enjoy them with iced coffee.

See I’m maturing right before your eyes :)

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 Have you ever made napkins? What are your “adult milestones”? 

xx

 

Ursula

The Truth About Training

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Sometimes training sucks. It can be lonely, tiring, boring and I guarantee that at some point or another, you’ll wish you were doing anything else. The truth is, training is a mental game and there are a few things about it that most people don’t care to admit:

1. You will be one smelly mess

Sometimes I gross myself out. I’ve been know to come home from a sweaty run, make some food and sit in my dirty clothes for hours. Like I said, gross! I’ve also been known to re-wear super smelly workout clothes. It’s embarrassing but true. When training is part of your daily routine, you can only be expected to change so many times. Right? Right?

2. Sometimes you will cut corners

When you’re training alone, no one is there to hold you accountable. Sure you might post your distances online or take an Instagram picture of your Garmin but eventually, when you’re particularly tired and it’s cold outside, you might be tempted to cut your run short. You’ll barter with yourself and every once in a while you’ll give into temptation.

3. You will spend more money than you care to admit

When you start training you’ll likely buy all sorts of new gear like compression socks, fancy running pants, lululemon shirts, etc. You’ll convince yourself you’ll get your money’s worth but let me tell you a little secret: you don’t need it. I train in leggings, my bike has duct tape on it and I use Ian’s bike gloves. At the end of the day, unless you’re a professional athlete, all that “stuff” is just, well, stuff! It won’t make you a better runner, biker or swimmer. Nothing makes up for hard work and consistency. That doesn’t mean I won’t fully support you purchasing a pair of neon running shorts. Go ahead; TREAT YO’ SELF!

4. You are always going to wish you did a better job training

Come race day, you’re going to be plagued with thoughts of self-doubt. Sure you probably could have trained a bit better and a bit harder but you didn’t so let it go. Every time I race I have this overwhelming yearning for just a little more time to prepare. I promise myself that if I had extra time, I’d wake up a t 5 am everyday, eat like a green clean eating machine and do speed work like it’s my job. But then life gets in the way. Training is a balancing act, so cut yourself a break and be proud of the hours you did put in.

bike fail_edited-1What are some of your hidden truths about training? Do share! 

xx

Ursula

Why I Blog: The Writing Process Tour

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Blogging is a funny hobby. Aside from sharing all my strange likes and dislikes online, I’ve gotten to know some pretty great fellow bloggers. One of whom is Suz from SuzLyfe. She’s such a breath of fresh air because she lays it all out. She’s supportive, funny and real.

Suz invited me to participate in the Writing Process Blogger Tour. It’s an opportunity for bloggers to take you “behind the scenes” and into the blogging process. Like most things in life, the best bloggers make blogging look effortless. Truth is, it requires lots of work, time and effort.  So let’s get started.

1. What am I working on?

I’m currently working on improving my blog photography. I’m such a visual person and I love blogs with beautiful pictures. There are so many tiny tips and tricks that make a picture go from ‘okay’ to ‘AMAAAAZING’. I’m self-teaching at the moment and thankfully, the internet is full of good advice. Some of my favourites include “My Top 5 Blog Photography Tips & Tools” and anything on Katie Baird’s Pinterest Board Tips, Tricks & Infographics

2. How does my work differ from others of its type/genre?

Is it too cliche to say my blog is different because it’s written by me?? Okay, yes, yest it is a bit cliche but I’m going to go ahead and say it anyways. Sue me.

I also think my blog is slightly different from others of its type because it’s centered on triathlons. When I first started training, I found the sport to be a bit elitist and unless you were a phenomenal biker or swimmer than you were the odd kid out. I wanted to create a blog that inspires us “normal folks” to dream big and try something new. I was never a good athlete as a kid and I still wouldn’t consider myself particularly good but I love it and that’s all that matters.

3. Why do I write what I do?

I started my blog as a means to keep myself inspired while training for a triathlon. It’s such a daunting and lonely task, that I figured a blog would keep me accountable. Little did I know I’d quickly enjoy connecting with people, learning about their fitness goals and I’d enjoy doing crafts.

So so many crafts.

Now I use this space as a place to motivate and inspire others, as well as share my story.

4. How does your writing process work?

I’m slightly embarrassed to answer this question because now you’ll know how obsessively organized I am (and not in the cute way; more like in the weird way). Okay, here goes.

I have a monthly schedule with all my blog post ideas. Since I work with a rough schedule (Monday-Weekend recaps, Tuesday-Triathlon, Wednesday-healthy recipes, Thursday-crafts, Friday- random) it’s pretty easy to plan ahead and to know what I’m going to be doing in three weeks time. That being said, sometimes I’m not inspired to write or to publish a post I’ve prepped. A big time blogger that I admire a lot once wrote that you shouldn’t publish a post unless it’s something you’d be interested in reading. I try to take this to heart. I mean, the reality is, sometimes an idea just doesn’t work out. Instead of publishing a bad post that reflects poorly on my blog, I decide to not post at all. This site is my little piece of the internet. I have complete control over the vibe, the feel, the content and the image I’m projecting so I want to make sure I’m proud of it.

Enough about me.

I’ve asked Camila, Kels and Kristen to participate in the “tour”. These ladies are wonderful, witty and insightful, so if you don’t already read their blogs, you should because you my friend, are missing out.

Just to give you a bit of teaser….

Camila is a fellow Canadian so I’m already a fan of hers. She used to live in Scotland and she loves to travel so her posts are often full of gorgeous pictures and travel stories. She makes me long to buy a one way ticket to Europe.

Kels writes over at the Blonder Side of Life. When I stumbled upon her blog, the name alone made me want to keep reading. If we met in real life I’m positive we’d be two peas in a pod.

Kristen’s blog makes me laugh so hard. In fact, I can often be caught laughing by myself on the couch at 6 am in the morning. To be fair, I only just told her about the writing tour so she hasn’t officially agreed (no pressure Kristen) but I wanted to give her blog a little shout out regardless.

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Hey bloggers, what makes your blog different? What’s your writing process? 

xx

 

Ursula