Calgary Marathon Race Day.

So here we are.  Sunday May 27 2012, the day of the 48th annual Calgary Marathon.  Just a quick bit of background on the “Calgary Marathon”:  the Calgary Marathon is Canada’s longest running marathon with the first “Calgary Marathon” being run back in the summer of 1963, and it was also the first marathon ever run in Western Canada.  Today the “Calgary Marathon” race weekend now features 5 races all held on the Sunday of the race weekend: Marathon, Half Marathon, 10km/6.2 mile run, 5km/3.1 mile run and walk, and the “Kids Run”.  For more information on the “Calgary Marathon” please visit http://www.calgarymarathon.com as this is the site that has provided me with the above information.

Fuel this morning in the car on the way down to the race: PROMAX chocolate mint energy bar. I bought this bar about a week and a half ago, and it ended up in my kitchen cupboard and I found it this morning while looking for a quick fix of energy before the run.  I highly recommend this bar for any lover of chocolate and mint, as well it is very filling and did keep me from bonking during the race.

Ashley and I prior to the start of our 10km/6.2 mile run at the 48th annual Calgary Marathon.

 

Todays time of 1:03:11 set a personal best for me at this distance by 52 seconds.  My race time today would have been even better had I not overextended myself between kilometers 7 and 8 where I lost some big time.  However thanks to my best race start ever I was still able to register my best 10km race totals ever this morning.

My beautiful and ever supporting wife Ashley and I with our finisher medals after the Jugo Juice Calgary Marathon 10km run.

 

After the race it was off to “Ricky’s All Day Grill” for some much-needed and much deserved breakfast with Ashley and her wonderful mom (my mommy in-law Cheryl).  Breakfast for me was a 3 egg vegetarian (cheese-less of course) omelette, and hash browns, with 2 slices whole wheat toast, and my usual coffee.

 

Once home from all the morning activities it was time to ice my knee to reduce the excessive swelling from the run and enjoy a nice hot cup of Blueberry tea, while watching some baseball on TV, and just getting some much-needed rest and relaxation after an excellent run and all round fun morning.

 

If you look closely you’ll find me on the results page.  I came in 685 out of 981 men in the 10km distance, and 107 out of 146 men in my age group.  These are all results that I’m only too happy to have achieved, Yay Me!!!

 

To all of you who have and continue to encourage and support me with my running, fitness, and my blog, THANK-YOU!! None of this would be nearly as easy to accomplish without your kind words, and especially the love and support of my wife, she is who keeps this boy’s butt going day in day out!!!

I hope you all had a great weekend, and to all my American friends I hope you have a great Memorial Day and end to the weekend tomorrow!

-Ben-

So Much To Do In So Little Time.

If you’ve never had one of those days where you’ve said at least once “there’s no way I’m going to get all this done, I have so much to do in so little time!” then there probably is very little point in you reading this post.

Today started with me getting up a little after 8am with a long list of things to do today.  However 4 hours later I had managed to cross very little off the list.

However 1 of the 3 tasks I had completed of the 11 I had to complete today thankfully was a good filling breakfast at home with Ashley.  Today for breakfast we each had: 2 scrambled eggs with onion, 2 slices of whole wheat lightly buttered toast, half of a banana, and coffee.

This afternoon was filled with continuing tasks from my long list of things to do.

Grocery shopping, laundry, and cleaning the car all turned out to be easier and a lot more fun then I was anticipating them to be.  With the grocery shopping and car cleaning I had the help and company of Ashley.  Doing laundry was the one task I chose to do on my own because for some strange reason, and likely a reason I’ll never fully know or understand I find a strange sense of enjoyment in doing laundry and also cleaning our condo.  Luckily for me, haha both of these tasks were on my list of things to do today.

By late afternoon I was actually doing so well with the items on my list I actually squeezed in a little shoe shopping for me.

Yes I broke down and bought myself a pair of the overly popular “TOMS”.  Now I’ve heard so many excellent things from  friends about them and their “TOMS” and everybody says how comfy they are, how light and breathable they are, and I have to say all the testimonials I’ve read and heard are completely bang on correct, they really are all of the above.  I can’t wait to really try my “TOMS” out for a true outing tomorrow after my running race in the morning.

Dinner tonight was a special dinner for Ashley and I as we made dinner together.  This was a big deal for us because we rarely make meals together, we typically just eat them together. 

We made Mexican mac & cheese, and a caesar salad.

 

Tomorrow we have an early wake-up time of 5:15am.  Tomorrow we are both running in the “Jugo Juice 10KM run” portion of the 48th annual Scotiabank Calgary Marathon, with our race starting at 7:30am sharp.  Tomorrow’s blog post will include a full recap of the race, but until then I must run off to bed to gain 5 hours of shut-eye before the race, wish me luck!!

Happy Weekend to you all!!

-Ben-

Okanagan Recap pt. 1

As I mentioned in my last post last Thursday, Ashley and I went to the Okanagan region in British Columbia for the Victoria Day long weekend to visit my 89-year-old grandpa in Vernon British Columbia.

The weekend started out very romantically Friday night with our night in Revelstoke British Columbia at a little mountain resort “Coast Hillcrest Resort”.

The dinner was the most romantic meal we had had together since just after our engagement just over a year ago.  We started the dinner off with a baked crab salad for an appetizer, followed by New York strip steak with smashed potatoes for the main course, and ended with a delicious New York cheesecake for dessert.  All while looking out the windows of the restaurant at the majestic Canadian Rocky Mountains.

Ashley and I overlooking the majestic Canadian Rockies.

 

Saturday started off in Revelstoke with a romantic sunny breakfast for two on the resorts patio (upper left).  For breakfast I had a veggie filled cheese-less omelette with fruit 9 grain toast, and my favorite black coffee.

Lunch in Vernon on Saturday in my mind was a picture I just had to show.  I had a 5 alarm beef burger but in place of the traditional burger bun I had the option of having my burger and all the toppings encased in leafs of iceberg/head lettuce, and with this offer placed before me I just couldn’t pass this offer up.  I highly recommend trying this next time you have some big leafs of lettuce and are looking for a lighter option to a bun.  Excellent idea “Red Robin”!!

After lunch it was off to do a winery tour at “Grey Monk family estate winery” in Lake Country British Columbia, to do a winery tour and an extensive wine tasting, and the purchasing of a few bottles of wine (like I’d go and not buy any, haha).

one of the many vineyards belonging to “Grey Monk Family Estate Winery”, and me overlooking one of them.

 

Sunday morning started with a great 7km or 4.35mile training run through a Polson Park in Vernon, British Columbia.  This was one of my final preparation runs before Ashley and I run our Calgary Marathon 10km/6.2mile run this upcoming Sunday morning.

The rest of the day was spent primarily with my Grandpa “Grandpa Eating Living Running” as he is the main reason for our trip this past weekend out to the Okanagan area.

“Grandpa Eating Living Running” and I

 

Ashley and I with Grandpa!

 

Ashley and I ended our day and weekend in Vernon much the same way we started it on Friday in Revelstoke, just the two of us and a quiet cozy yummy dinner.  For dinner we went to “East Side Mario’s” only problem is we forgot about the big bowl of house salad and Italian Wedding soup they bring you at “East Side Mario’s” when we ordered our main courses and an order of the bread sticks as an appetizer, haha!!

 

 

After dinner we had one final stop to make en-route back to our hotel for our final sleep.  We went to “Coldstone Cremery” for an indulgent dessert.

 

 

I hope you all had as good of a long weekend or if you had only a standard weekend I still hope it was as good and fun as my weekend was.

-Ben-

 

Leap of Faith

Now I wanna start off by pointing out: in no way am I talking about taking a “leap of faith” in a spiritual/religious sense.  Instead I’m referring to doing something I wouldn’t normally or for that matter likely ever done before in my life.  The “leap of faith” I took today was going into two grocery stores on my own and by self and going specifically going to check out the Whole Foods/Natural foods section.  Now I know what you’re probably thinking… “What? Seriously? And you blog about food, fitness, and healthy living”.  Ok so here’s the scoop.  Until today I had been in many natural food stores, and sections at grocery stores, and found many helpful and yummy foods, but those trips had all been originated by my wife Ashley.  Today though after some prompting from the book I’m currently reading “The Skinny Rules” by Bob Harper, yes that Bob Harper (NBC’s “The Biggest Loser”) I decided today would be a great day to take as Bob likes to encourage in the book “Take a leap of faith”.

I started this book yesterday on the train ride into work yesterday morning, and continued reading this afternoon along with an afternoon coffee snack from Starbucks in the form of a Grande Skinny Vanilla Latte (my favorite) while in the waiting room at my Dr’s office.  Now I haven’t gotten super far into the book, maybe about a quarter of the way but have already learned new rules and been reminded of other rules/tips for weight loss, and keeping the pounds off and maintaining that lean and mean figure we all want so desperately.

One tip I was reminded of was “Drink a big glass of water before every meal”.  Water being the best form of hydration for our bodies, as well as a metabolism stimuli, makes it one of the best and easiest weight loss tools.  Also I have been learing about some of the most common weight loss myths and the truths that we are all searching for, and some ideas for healthy foods that I have not been so aware of.

I am really into this book and the tips/rules that Bob has outlined thus far in the book, and I really look forward to hopefully finishing the book this upcoming weekend while Ashley and I are away visiting my grandpa in Vernon, British Columbia over the “Victoria Day long weekend”, yay for Monday off!!

 

The things I bought at the stores today on my little healthy/whole foods shopping afternoon are: a single serving of “Berry Infusion” Vega smoothie mix which I am saving for a smoothie that Ashley and I can make and enjoy together and try this Vega mix together.  Also bought a “Promax chocolate mint” protein energy bar.  Now I will point out that being someone who has severe nut allergies to all nuts minus almonds it is extremely difficult to find bars that I can eat so when I found this bar this afternoon I had to pick it up, and I can’t wait to try it out this weekend. The third and final product I picked up was an item I had never seen before but looked very yummy.  Somersaults crisp nuggets, I got the sea salt flavored nuggets and tried a couple of them this evening and I have to say so far very good!  All three of these products I will do a more in-depth review on next week.

Also while I was out shopping I picked up some fresh veggies such as zucchini, white mushrooms, fresh tomato, jalapeno peppers, and some deli ham and a pizza crust to make homemade pizza for my dad and I as he came over for dinner and to watch some NBA playoffs with me this evening.  I would have in keeping with all clean and fruit and veggie based products made an all veggie pizza tonight except that my dad would not have been into that much veggie and no meat, so a compromise had to be reached.

before/after cooking

 

Now as I said at the beginning of this post I will be going to visit my grandpa over this weekend and coming home to Calgary on Monday, so I will be taking a blogging break over this weekend.  I will write again Monday night May 21.  I hope you all have a terrific weekend long or regular length I just want you all to enjoy it!!

-Ben-

Sunny Spring Feeling.

There is just something about looking at the days forecast at 6:00 am and seeing the high for the day is forecasted at 84 degrees farenheit or 29 celsius that automatically gives you a “sunny spring feeling” to get your day rolling.

 

This fresh sunny spring feeling was reflected in my entire day today in all aspects from the way I viewed things, and interacted with people to the food I ate to my evening activity.

Breakfast this morning was 1 cup original Cheerios in 1 cup fat-free milk with 1 cup fresh grapes, and a mug of black coffee.

Lunch was a creation of mine “Summer Spinach Salad”: fresh spinach, mandarin oranges, red onions, blackberries, pineapple, strawberries, toasted almonds, roasted tortilla strips, with a citrus dressing.

For dinner tonight I must admit I gave way to temptation and convenience and had a drive thru meal from “Wendy’s” en-route to Ashley’s soccer game this evening after work.  Now I must also admit at “Wendy’s” I’m somewhat of a sucker for the “Spicy Chicken Sandwich” which I know is far from the healthiest dinner choice I could make, but I also know and have no trouble admitting that like everyone else I’m not perfect nor do I make the smart and healthy choice 100% of the time everyday, I simply try my best as often as possible.

As I said above this evening I along with my mother in-law (Cheryl) went to watch Ashley and her younger brother play soccer, and enjoy an absolutely beautiful Calgary night.  Unfortunately Ashley did not score, but Ryan (Ashley’s younger brother) did score a goal just as he promised his mom he would and helped lift their team to a 4-3 victory, and move their team to a 2-0-1 record this season so far.

I hope wherever you are or were today you were able to experience and enjoy some of the same Sunny Spring Feeling I so enjoyed all day today.

Happy “Hump Day” tomorrow!

-Ben-

Mother’s Day Run Recap.

Yesterday marked the 35th annual running of the “SportChek Mother’s Day Run and Walk” in Calgary.  This year was the 4th straight year Ashley and I have run this race, and for me the 6th year ever.  Of all my years running this race I can’t ever remember the race day conditions being more perfect, hardly a cloud in the sky and warm warm temperatures.

This years edition of the race saw over 20,000 runners and walkers take to the streets of south Calgary many of whom were running or walking with their mom’s (something I would dearly love to be able to say I did but my mom just isn’t a runner or distance walker).

View of the start line of the race prior to start time.

 

The running duo of Ashley and I.

Now while I was desperately trying to set a personal best for time in this distance (5km/3.1mile) I did run a strong race and achieved results that did make me very happy.  Here is some of what I accomplished in the race yesterday:

Total Time: 32:47
Final Place in Race: 537
Place in Sex: 320/957
Place in Division (division male 30-39 years):46/185
Pace: 6:07/km
Total distance: 5.35Km

The nicest thing for me about running this race every year is using it as a warm up race for the “Calgary Marathon” which I’m competing in the 10km/6.2mile run in just 13 days from today.  Yes I did overall well yesterday I still feel there are areas in which I can and need to improve on for the upcoming race, such as my pace and patience at the start of the race while everyone is jockeying for good starting positions.  I know these next two weeks will or at least should be filled with more training runs, and fitness in preparation for the “Calgary Marathon”.

Now while things were going for the most part my way yesterday morning there was one tragic moment after the race for me.  While pulling my iPhone out of my running shorts pocket I accidentally dropped the phone and shattered the touch screen, which ended up sending me to see the great people at the “Genius Bar” at the Apple Store to replace my phone to a brand new un-shattered iPhone 4.  Not that the “Genius Bar” folks need anymore praise, but I have to praise and thank them for all their help and understanding in my situation yesterday, and providing me at a fraction of the original cost a brand new iPhone!

Shattered iPhone and brand new iPhone after the “Genius Bar” visit.

 

Aside from the run, and the “Genius Bar” visit yesterday Ashley and I took her Mom, and younger brother, along with “Mama Eating Living Running” and “Step Dad Eating Living Running” out for a beautiful Mother’s Day brunch at Nick’s Steakhouse here in Calgary, gotta love brunch buffets after a solid run to start your Sunday morning.

Hope you all had a great Mother’s Day especially you moms, and a great start to the week today, and hoping an amazing Tuesday is in store for all tomorrow!!

-Ben-

 

Fun, Food, and Fitness Fair.

Today was a very welcomed day for me, after a work week of around fifty hours a day off filled with fun, food, and a trip to the 2012 Sportchek Mother’s Day Run fitness fair was just what this guy was in the mood for.

Chocolate Chip muffin French Toast.

Now I’ve had a lot of people ask me about my “Chocolate Chip Muffin french Toast” breakfast creation both today after a post on Instagram, and Twitter, as well as posts I’ve made about this creation in the past, so here is my recipe and description of  “Chocolate Chip Muffin French Toast”

INGREDIENTS: 1 chocolate chip muffin (cold not hot or warm), 1 large egg beat with 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1 tbsp butter or margarine, 1 tsp icing sugar, 2 tsp maple syrup.

METHOD: Melt butter/margarine in hot skillet over medium-high heat, cut chocolate chip muffin in half and completely coat each half in egg and cinnamon mixture, place egg mixture coated muffin halves in skillet allowing egg mixture to cook onto all sides of the muffin halves, once all sides have been cooked remove the muffin halves from the skillet and place on plate, sprinkle icing sugar over the halves of muffin and finish off by topping with the maple syrup, and enjoy.  (1 full muffin serves 1 person)

 

After a late breakfast today it was off to the “fitness fair/race package pick-up” for the 2012 Sportchek Mother’s Day Run which Ashley and I will be running in tomorrow morning (Sunday May 13) here in Calgary.

Race bib number, race t-shirt, program, along with commemorative tote bag for all our race goodies.

 

This afternoon turned out to be perfect weather to sit out on a patio and enjoy lunch or some drinks which Ashley and I did.  We enjoyed double slush Long Island Ice Tea’s and Margaritas along with some “Nom Nom’s” (Food) on the roof-top patio at Joey’s Chinook restaurant and bar at Chinook Center.  I tried their Ahi-Tuna clubhouse sandwich and was completely blown away by how much I loved this sandwich with the smokey bacon paired with the rare cooked Ahi-Tuna I was in palette heaven!  This was the perfect atmosphere for a romantic couples spring lunch date in the sweet sun.

 

Tonight was just a lazy relaxing night at home as we prepare for our first official race of the season tomorrow morning, and while we are just starting out small by just running the 3.1mile/5km run, running an official race does require somewhat different preparation instead of just going out for a training or leisure run along the river.  One preparation we made was a carbohydrate and vegetable load up for dinner.  Tonight I made roasted chicken tortellini with tomato and mushroom sauce, along with a vegetable heavy garden salad including: cucumber, tomato, onion, and mushrooms with a chipotle mango salad dressing.

 

Aside from dinner tonight was just a low-key night for me made up of cleaning up my emails, watching my beloved Los Angeles Lakers advance to the second round of the NBA playoffs by eliminating the Denver Nuggets in a thrilling game seven that came down to the wire, and watching my beautiful wife Ashley sleep on the sofa next to me.

Yay LAKERS win!!!!

 

I hope you all had a great Saturday, and to all the moms reading this… HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY tomorrow, you all deserve today for all that you do for your children, husbands, boyfriends, etc..  Mom’s you truly are the most special people in anyone and everyone’s lives and for that I take this opportunity to acknowledge and salute you and all you do, and to my mom (Mama Eating Living Running) “THANK-YOU MOM!!!”
-Ben-

I Can’t Believe I Did That (Belief Can Overcome Anything)

As I talked about in my last post 16 years ago I first tore my ACL and have torn it another two times since then, and undergone a total of six operations on my right knee and numerous rehab stints to keep repairing it and regaining my strength in that knee and in my whole right leg.  Also I mentioned how I went snowboard one last time back on Saturday with my friend Matt and fell and badly aggravated the knee and sustained inflammation and re-swelling in that knee.

This is what my knee looks like today, a little larger and more pushed inward than normal. (3 days after snowboarding)

Against what some might say “Common Sense” staying off my knee for a few days and allowing the swelling and inflammation to subside, I chose tonight to do one more training run in preparation for this upcoming Sunday’s “Mothers Day Run” in Calgary.  So with my cross-trainers laced up and my custom-made knee brace on I ventured out to conquer the streets and run.

 

 

Now tonight based on the level of pain i was feeling and swelling I was experiencing I set as my goal for this outing to just finish my run, and hopefully run or at least lightly jog the entire route.  Starting off my course is a steep hill followed by a gradual incline for the first mile and a half or 2.5 km before beginning a gradual decline in the second mile and a half/2.4km.  Now i am a very positive thinker and always believing in myself and expecting nothing less than 110% effort in everything I do, and I expected a good honest effort tonight despite my knee troubles, but what I did I never expected.  Not only did I complete the entire course, and run the entire course, but I did it in the best overall time and at the fastest overall pace I’ve run this year.

I completed my 3 mile/4.9km training run in a very self pleasing time of 30:19:09 and at an average pace of 6:11/km and with the knee problems and to top it off in 71 degree (22 celsius) weather.

This run tonight just proves to me again that if you want something bad enough, and give an honest 110% effort, and believe in yourself you can overcome and achieve ANYTHING!!!

Thank-you all for taking the time to read about my little overjoyed accomplishment tonight, I just had to share it with you all!

-Ben-

 

Happy Cinco De Mayo

Happy Cinco de Mayo everybody! Today was a very busy but very fun Cinco de Mayo right from the moment I woke up this morning, and going through right up until now.

This morning I went up to Lake Louise Ski Area in Lake Louise/Banff Alberta for one final day of snowboarding this winter/spring with my friend Matt.  Now I’ll be honest I’m not as a rule a big fan of May skiing or snowboarding, due to both a lack of snow, and what snow is left is for the most part has turned to slush making for some tough and at times un-enjoyable conditions, however having said that the opportunity to go to my favorite ski and snowboard resort in my part of the country for about 60% the regular lift ticket cost I couldn’t pass it up.  Now just as I predicted based on prior years of mid spring skiing and snowboarding the snow conditions were less than desirable.  At the top of the hill the snow was pretty decent but  there was so much fresh powder that had yet to be groomed it made for some tough times for me, especially given the fact that a freak accident in deep powder is what lead to the initial tearing of my ACL 16 years ago this is something that has in some form always kinda scared me ever since.  i did however each time manage to make it down the upper runs, but not without a few bad words and more than a few sits in the wet cold snow and trying to just slide myself down on my butt.  Now the lower runs were just pure wet, sticky, slushy snow, which makes for very difficult traction with the snowboard.

Now while there were some definite down sides to the day of snowboarding there were some very bright and positive sides, such as: warm sunny weather, fresh air, and a killer leg workout which you definitely get trying to glide through the heavy slushy snow.  Also the great friend time, and the ski resort food are definite pluses.

Today my ski resort dining menu included for lunch a grilled chicken burger with lettuce, mayonnaise, onion, tomato, and pickles.  Along with the chicken burger I had a jumbo cinnamon bun, and bottle of Coca-Cola.

 

After returning home this afternoon from snowboarding with Matt, Ashley and I went out for Cinco de Mayo supper with our friends Emily, Jordan, and Dylan, to Mucho Burrito for “Cinco de Mayo $5.00 burrito day”.

 

Tonight Ashley and I after dinner decided after a full day apart to have a married “Date Night” out at the movies.  Tonight we chose Jason Segal, and Emily Blunts new movie “The Five Year Engagement”.  Now this movie is from producer Judd Apatow (the producer of last years hit romantic comedy “Bridesmaids” ).  Five Year Engagement was a great couples “Date Night” movie filled with laughs, happiness, and even some sadness.  I will definitely recommend this movie to all the couples out there looking for a cute romantic comedy to go check out.

 

I hope you all had a great “Cinco de Mayo” no matter what you did or how you may have celebrated it, and hoping that your enjoyment and happiness continues into Sunday!

-Ben-

10 Days To Go.

Today is officially 10 days until my first official running race of the year, the 2012 Sportcheck Mothers Day Run and Walk.  Ashley and I are both running the 5km/3.1mile race next Sunday, May 13 (Mothers Day).  If you’re still looking to register for this years race you still can at: http://www.mdrunandwalk.com

The realization that we are now officially in May 2012, and as of today only 10 days until race day lit the pervebial fire under my butt to get me back out there running and training for the race next Sunday.  Today’s training run I ran 2.1 miles/3.5 km in just over 23 minutes.  I wasnt overly happy with my preformance today, but at the same time I realize that it could have been worse, today the big thing was just getting back out there running after having taken the last three days off running due to a combination of the bad sinus cold I got at the end of last weekend, and an overly long week at work leading me to as a rule going pretty much straight to bed in the evenings once I have gotten home from work.

 

In preparation for a new month of running including two races I updated my iPod running playlist with some fresh new tunes for May 2012.

Last months running playlist

 

This months running playlist.

 

On a final note one of my brightest moments of the day came in the form of recieving my Income Tax refund cheque!

 

Hope you all had a great Thursday filled with fitness, and money making, haha!

-Ben-