Smoothies of Summer

Ah it’s summertime and the living is easy! Because it’s finally hot here (second week of Van Isle heatwave right here) I am loving making smoothies with fresh ingredients.

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My most recent smoothie- featuring blackberries! 

A couple options that I have been making: Smoothies with frozen blueberries, a banana, lemon yogurt, a handful of spinach, ice cubes and water, and a scoop of Vega protein powder in vanilla.

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This was blueberry-mango with some coconut sprinkles! 

A few other ways to mix it up- I love love love blackberries, so I have been picking them at the riding stables and freezing them. Add blackberries to the smoothie instead of blueberries for a hit of antioxidants and flavour! This usually makes enough for two smoothies, so I share them with my husband unless I’m having a very hungry day then I drink both of them!

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This was a raspberry-blackberry one. So good! 

And some other mix-ins…frozen mango, fresh raspberries and using unflavoured kefir instead- makes it really smooth. And always keep a banana in there! You don’t need to use juice or other liquids if you have yogurt and ice cubes and water. Yummy!

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Coming Around: Smoothie Queen #2

Just some random shots from the weekend. It was lovely and hot, so I had another smoothie- this time it was frozen mango and blueberry, with a banana, 1 scoop vanilla protein powder, ice cubes, water, and unflavoured kefir. It was delicious!

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There was also a show and shine, and we saw a bunch of the cars around town:

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And finally, some tipsy mini golf. Fun!

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Show your PRIDE!

This past weekend was another long weekend for me! Yay! It was quite busy as per usual with a special highlight- my husband and I marched with Island Health in the annual Pride Parade! We had an absolute blast, it was so fun 🙂

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The floats were awesome, and the ‘octopus’ balloons were just amazing. We marched to the park, and then enjoyed some of the vendors/swag booths set up at the park. The swag was the best I have ever seen- mini bottles of sunscreen, sunglasses, face paint, headphones, watermelon and cupcakes (!!) and so much CANDY!

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We brought Gidget along to enjoy the festivities and she kind of hated them, ha. She was afraid of the balloon bears as they were kind of popping and squeaking…

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And there were puppies corralled by the SPCA. Poor little guys, they were soooo tired. Adorable! My husband and I then went home and I went riding (in the field, whoop!) and he went out and we met later to enjoy some live music and drinks as Pride wrapped up. We had a lovely time and the bands were awesome. Bonus- we came late to the beer garden, and got some free tix by some partiers that had partied a ‘touch’ too hard… 😉

A fun weekend all around and I will definitely do Pride again!

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Friends go kayaking

This past weekend I went kayaking in Victoria’s Inner Harbour (to the Gorge) with a friend and we had a lovely time! We only went for two hours, but that was plenty of time (hello bathroom breaks…) and it was much easier than when I first attempted to go kayking in Brazil, in the ocean at Paraty.

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That time we were rented these totally insane surf kayaks (??) that we had to basically jump into in the waves, fight the waves and my balance to paddle out to a few islands (one of which apparently had a dangerous guy living on it??). I couldn’t even reach the foot stop in the ridiculous kayak- it was too big for me. So I was floating in the middle of it, trying to paddle without falling out of the kayak or the kayak tipping over. In the waves. UGH!

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Pretty tippy!

Ian switched with me and I used his, which was MUCH easier. Ha. It was still quite the adventure! I have to say that the kayaks at Ocean River Sports are very slick. They are not cheap to rent (2 hours is $44.00) ouch. But really good kayaks and it’s a very relaxing way to spend a morning with a friend! I loved it. 🙂

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Axe & Grind

Another crazy weekend! This one was all horsey-filled, lucky me. 🙂

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But I’m getting to that- first in my weekend recap is the new-to-me sport of axe throwing! My friends had booked us into an hour slot at the brand-new Axe & Grind in downtown Victoria. I had no idea where it was, and I was running sooooooooo late from the horse show that I microwaved food, bolted it down, and literally ran to meet them (late). It’s on Government street in this weird basement-type dwelling.

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It’s so simple and crude but pretty fun! A few ‘batting cages’ of targets and chain-link fencing. You line up at a target, the person to the right throws their axe first, and then the person on the left throws. You both go grab your axe, and try again!

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There is actually a real technique to axe-throwing, one that I royally sucked at. Ha. A lot of the time my axe whanged off the target instead of sticking in it! And one-handed? Forget it. That was not something I could do.

But for an hour? It’s fun!

Ultramarathoner

So I did something this past weekend that seemed pretty crazy to ‘outsiders’ but pretty old hat for running nutters- I ran a 50k trail race.

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On the homestretch and feeling strong. Photo by Joseph Camilleri.

Now let’s backtrack a little- I didn’t tell anyone I was training for this, except for Ian and a few friends (ok, 1 friend). It scared me more than a little, and I was worried about it. Just completing it felt like a huge task, and I wasn’t sure how I was going to do. I also didn’t want people analyzing me, or my running, or second-guessing how I was going to do. I wanted it to be personal, for me.

So…I kept it under my hat for months. I signed up for the race in December after deciding last year that if I couldn’t go faster, I would go longer. Of course, then I had an incredible race season that proved that I COULD go faster, so…Ha. But I maintained that this was my main goal- completing the race.

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At the start- the lady with the hat and walking poles is the legendary ultrarunner Ann Trason. 

The race: Prairie Inn Harriers 2:18 Run Elk/Beaver Ultras. Why Ultras? Because they offer multiple distances for the choosy runner (or crazy runner). I raced the most popular distance (50k), and they have a 40k walkers category, and a 100k and 50-miler.

The race is quite small, which surprises me because for a beginner’s ultra it is very race-friendly. Run 5 loops for the 50k- a bit repetitive due to the loops, but VERY safe, easy to stay hydrated and fueled, no need to carry nutrition or water with you, and it’s a flat course with some gravel and some roots but nothing difficult.

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Lap four and going strong! 

So, pretty doable for a first-timer ultra. The race started at 6am, I got up at 4:30am to choke down enough breakfast (hated eating, but I didn’t have a real choice) and get to the lake for the start. I was fortunate enough to have my long-suffering husband come and be my support crew (driving, handing me gels/Gu’s, electrolytes at each checkpoint to mark the laps).

Basically my brain/body was still asleep for oh, two laps or so? I ran pretty slowly and had a hard time getting with it. I felt like I didn’t really ‘warm up’ and feel like running or racing until the second lap. Which I guess, if you have 5 of them, is totally ok! I ran with another runner for the first lap (Steve) and we helped up another woman who went crash landing face-first on the ground. She was ok, but ended up dropping out after that.

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My best support crew ever! 

By the third lap, I was in the groove. I was doing it! It was a beautiful day, I had to use the washroom but nothing bad, and I felt like my fueling/water was right on target. I ate a LOT of Gu’s and gummies. The maple syrup gel I tried out was so gross I thought I was going to puke- gagging sweet. ICK!

I also ate a S’mores GU that basically slurped right down my throat because it got so warm, which was kind of gross but also…kind of ok? Ha. I really liked the Powerbar gummies, yum and great texture. The Clif Shot Bloks were harder to chew than I recalled.

I was getting tired of sweet things- yick, so many sweet things.

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Each lap I ran through the checkpoint to register my bib, and grab a few doughnut pieces to eat while I gulped down water and electrolytes. It was getting hot, my face was prickly with dried salt that abraded my nose whenever I rubbed it.

Halfway through the 4th lap (35k) my legs started howling. Wow, this was getting hard.

I struggled on and went through my last checkpoint- Ian was cheering and encouraging me, and I felt pretty good heading into the last lap. Except my right knee locked up when I started running again, and I limped for close to a kilometer until it got with the program. I was pretty concerned- was this where it ended for me? 40km? But I kept moving and motion is lotion so my knee got with the program and it was ON!

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The aftermath- not too bad actually!

My goal was to basically finish, but I was aiming for around 5 hours or under. I was right on target on my last lap, and I needed to basically pull it together for 10km more.

I felt pretty strong overall, and random older men who were unofficially manning the water stations (ersatz…water bottles left on picnic tables, haha not fancy) were impressed and told me I was looking really strong. YES! I can do this!

I ‘raced’ ok it looked like I was walking but I swear I was running so fast into the final stretch and I couldn’t believe it was over.  I ran it in 4:51 for third place in my age-group. A huge sense of relief, but also …I was expecting more? For it to feel different? For me to feel different?

I chatted with the volunteers, stood around for awhile and then we headed out for brunch- yes!! I did have a hard time scrambling out of the car (low+calves cramping up= can’t move nimbly) but otherwise, my recovery has been pretty fine. Phew!

So I did it. And I feel like if I did it, anyone can. It’s just a matter of putting your mind to a bigger, more frightening goal.

 

Friday fun: Let’s go to the beach!

 

And swim with a good ol’ Nemo jump! kuna

Due to a new WordPress change, I am having difficulties loading any photos into my blogs, so you will just have to imagine a big inflatable Nemo, that we all jumped our horses over! Stupid WordPress! ARGH.

The awesome Nemo jump was courtesy of friend Sarah, who has a very unique eye and a talent for creating fun, crazy and freaky jumps for our ponies to play over! 

I had a lesson with my trainer Nicole yesterday and I had a GOOD TIME! Yes!! I felt like Fuck yeah!

Finally! hahah

We schooled canter circles outdoors, it felt kind of hot and god, I wanted to ‘wimp’ out, but I didn’t. I felt like, I have to start taking responsibility for my pony’s actions. I have to get him going and get him ‘angry’ ie- kind of on fire! 

No more making excuses. I can start pushing his buttons, and mine too!

So, we schooled a warmup, and then cantered over the little red panel fence. Then, we did a small round of 7 jumps, including a few lines and the Nemo jump. My goal for yesterday was to pretty much jump the Nemo jump. I’m so transparent haha. 

Went well! So well that we had to do it again! But this time, there were 12 jumps. Eeeek! I don’t think I have ever voluntarily jumped that many in a row, haha.

We jumped the flamingoes, the Nemo jump, a small two-jump combination, the red and white striped panels, the ‘road closed’ jump (and almost had a stop at it, holy..I thought he was over until he wasn’t! tricky!) and the ‘brick wall’ jump.

The entire ride, I had ‘periods of intensity’ echoing through my brain. I can do intense for this long..

And it was good! We had the 1 icky jump- the ‘road closed’ but recovered. I did get a bit left behind during the combination (couldn’t remember if it was a 1-stride or 2? Oh well!!).

So…I have to step up to the plate. For both of us.