Friday, August 10, 2012

The incline: This Girls' Kryptonite

As a cyclist the thing I hate the most is a gradual incline. Give me a vast expanse of flat land and I am one happy camper. I'm a prairie girl, the love of flat is in my DNA. My second choice would be hills because at least you see the end point, plus you get to go down the other side. Gradual inclines though, those are torture.

I went on my first "long" ride this week down the highway from the cottage. I say "long" because it was only 20km but I didn't want to push myself too hard. I just wanted to have a nice ride to start off my serious training. Guys, that 20km kicked my ass. It wasn't the overall distance, but about 3.5km of straight incline that almost killed me.

My mental breakdown went something like this:

km .5 - Oh, an incline, that's okay, it will be over soon.
km 1 - *looks ahead* awww shit.
km 2 - I just really want to stop, this is not awesome.
km 2.5 - Yup, I'm just going to quit, I can be fat for the rest of my life....
km 2.55 - Just keep pedaling

And keep pedaling I did, I promised myself I could quit, that I could just turn around and go back to the cottage, but for some reason I never did. My mantra became "you can do this" and it got me though to the end. I knew that if I kept going I would get to turn around and go back down that same stretch, and I would get to go fast. That was the carrot I dangled in front of me, and I fell for it. The way back was worth it though, I did not lead myself astray. I even managed to find my max speed and grinned like a lunatic all the way home.

Hard rides are inevitable, but I know that if I just keep pedaling I will make it though, hopefully with the wind in my hair and a grin on my face. If not, any km I can get in the saddle will only help in the long run.

Friday, July 27, 2012


I'm just going to put this out here. This is me, ten months post-partum.

While I wasn't a supermodel pre-partum, the aftermath of a baby is not hot folks. NOT. HOT. The thing is, this body right now is my reality, but not my future, and I can't just treat it like crap because it isn't what I wish it would be. This paragon of un-hotness has developed, birthed and nourished three beautiful babies, which is awesome, and deserving of respect. It became what it is because of me, no excuses here, but it will become healthy and strong because of me too, no excuses. My goal right now is to learn to love and respect this body, as it is now, this body that I have hated and been at odds with most of my adult life. This is not an easy process, to undo so many years of disrespect. I can though.

This is my plan, a century ride. A canadian century though. I came up with this a couple years ago, after I did the MS Bike Tour. Because I can be lazy at times I chose not to do it, but I have regretted that choice ever since. It will take place on Thanksgiving weekend, and my route is from my home to my aunt and uncle's house for our gathering.  

The other part of my plan is to not set a weight loss goal. That's right, all I'm going to do is eat well and train hard. My goal is to condition my body to the point where it can ride a bike for 100km in a row. Simple. I will also be posting about my training here as a log to hopefully keep me motivated. This is only just the beginning, but I need my body to be strong if I am going to be able to attain my dreams, be the person I see in my head. 

Behind this big ass is an athlete folks, just wait and see.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

My brain is melting.....

Seriously. For those of you who only follow this blog, or don't know me personally, I am currently expecting my third child. I am 21 weeks along and well on my way to crazy town. Part of the reason why I have been so sporadic in posting is because my first trimester was very hard on me, but there is another reason entirely.

For a while now I have been unhappy with the direction this blog has taken. While I love taking part in French Fridays with Dorie, it has slowly become the main focus, and that is not what I wanted when I started writing here in the first place. I wanted a place to document my journey towards a fitter, healthier me, but after I completed the MS Bike Tour, that journey just stalled.

Fast forward to now, pregnant and incredibly unmotivated, hormonal and frustrated. This pregnancy has been the hardest on me by far. I am impatient, easy to anger and my mood swings will one day be spoken of in hushed tones, my husband a modern day hero for putting up with me. Lately though, I have been craving a change, thinking there must be something out there to make me feel not only better, but more balanced. So I spoke with my doctor on Tuesday, and she gave me her blessing on a workout plan I had developed.

My plan is not extensive, I am starting slow with two morning of prenatal yoga, two morning lifting weights, along with riding the stationary bike and walking the dog for cardio. My goal is to very slowly work up the intensity of my workouts, and get myself and my kids outside and moving everyday. I really think this is the best way to get me feeling like myself again. I also have big plans for after this baby is born, and this workout will provide me with the building blocks I need for my future endeavors.

So basically my hope is to get back to my original goal, to become fit and find my inner athlete. Wish me luck!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

French Fridays With Dorie: Beggars Linguine

When I read this weeks recipe, I made the same face I make when my youngest has a poopy diaper. Pasta with nuts, butter, raisins, figs and Parmesan cheese did not sound, well, appealing. What won me over was the fact that the ingredients were cheap and the preparation was quick, so we had it for supper today. It has been my biggest cooking surprise to date. Some members of the site said that the pasta needed bacon, or it was too sweet, but I found the flavours amazingly well balanced. the ingredient that really made this recipe great I think was the addition of orange zest at the last minute, it was sweet and salty and earthy all at once. Although my husband does not completely agree, I love this dish enough to make it again....several times over.

 We served it family style

My little bowl of heaven

Friday, December 31, 2010

French Fridays With Dorie - Beef Daube

A beef daube is a type of stew....a delicious, delicious stew. Seriously, it should be illegal for animals to taste this good. I have been looking forward to making this recipe since I saw it on the list, but I waited oh so patiently to see if I would get my cast iron dutch oven for Christmas. I did, and I squealed louder than my daughter did after she got her sleeping beauty barbie. But back to the stew. It is the definition of simplicity. Onions, shallots, bacon, carrots, a blade roast, a bouquet garni and an entire bottle of wine. That's it. The prep is a bit time consuming, but your hard work will pay off in the end. Especially when it comes to the browning. Be good, dry your meat and don't crowd the pan. I served mine over mashed potatoes. I swear, this is what angels eat. I liked it so much I took my head out of the pot just long enough to write this post. Those angels have great taste.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

On My Needles - Christmas Edition

For the past few months I have been hard at work making some gifts for a few people. It's only been a few because I knit very slowly and I didn't want stress myself out with too many projects. Now that I am becoming more confident in my abilities however, I find myself planning for next Christmas already. But enough of the future, here are some goodies I gave away this year.

 This scarf I made for my mom. Unfortunately it is too itchy for her to wear on bare skin. Must remember baby alpaca is a no no for next time.

 I found this purple malabrigo in the summer, and knew it would be perfect for my sister. It took me a long time to find the perfect pattern though, and I started knitting this baby 3 days before Christmas. This is the Kiwi hat and can be found on Ravelry.

 This cowl was made specially for my sister in law Tarra. I chose a simple pattern to show off the hand spun, hand painted beauty of this yarn. This "cowl'd and frosty morning" pattern is on ravelry as well.

Up next, knitting wise - mittens! January is National knit mittens month, and while I usually scoff at such things, I love knitting mittens and already have three pairs ready to go. Now I just have to dye that farmers market wool.....

Monday, December 27, 2010

Daring Bakers Challenge: Christmas Stollen

The 2010 December Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Penny of Sweet Sadie’s Baking. She chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ to make Stollen. She adapted a friend’s family recipe and combined it with information from friends, techniques from Peter Reinhart’s book.........and Martha Stewart’s demonstration.

Stollen is a traditional German sweet bread. It contains a generous amount of butter, candied peel, glace cherries and almonds. When I saw this month's challenge, I have to admit, I wasn't thrilled. Especially when I read some of the ingredients. Candied peel? Glace cherries? Not only had I never baked with either of these, but I found them both incredibly unappealing. Still, my whole goal in joining this group was to be more adventurous with my baking, so shopping I went.

This challenge did not get on my good side when it took me 45 minutes to prep all the ingredients for the dough. I thought "good lord, if this is how long it takes for me to prep the ingredients....I'm hooped when it comes to the dough." Okay, back story. Yeast dough and I have a love hate relationship, I love to make it, it hates to make it easy. I make most of the bread products my family consumes, and it has been hit and miss with me. It's a good thing my children have grown up with my bread, so the occasional (frequent) dense loaf is a fact of life. Long story short, this stollen made me nervous. I shouldn't have been. This recipe is amazingly easy. It is time consuming, so if you decide to give it a shot make the dough 1-2 days in advance.  Just follow it step by step, and you will be fine.

The dough turned out to be smooth, supple, and really easy to work with. Here it is ready for a sleepover in the fridge.

The next day I let the dough warm up for two hours, and after that it was time to shape. One of my favourite things about this dough is that it was very forgiving when it came to my clumsy attempt at shaping. After many attempts I finally managed to join the ends, and the wreath began to take shape.

After the shaping ordeal I was a little worried about proofing it, but it rose beautifully. After 50 minutes in the oven, I had the makings of a German masterpiece.

The competed wreath was huge. I am so glad I decided to make this for a family gathering. I have a large extended family, so they have a shot at finishing this monster. I wanted a simple presentation, so I filled the centre with some lovely dried mangos, pineapple and strawberries.