Weekend Recap.

Happy Sunday evening everybody, I hope you all had a terrific weekend whatever you got up to.  My weekend was an amazing, and amazingly busy weekend pretty much from start to finish.  Here is my June 22-24 weekend recap.

Friday after work Ashley, her mom (Cheryl), and our closest couple friends Jordan and Emily went out for a group dinner to a legendary Calgary restaurant “Ed’s” downtown in Calgary’s Victoria Park/Beltline district.  Ed’s is a Calgary dining institution largely thanks to their famous chicken wings in particularly their “Suicide” flavored chicken wings.  After dinner the five of us went to “Yuk Yuk’s” comedy club to see legendary stand-up comedian Dave Coulier (Uncle Joey from tv’s Full House).  As amazing as Dave Couiler’s show was the highlight of the night for me was getting to meet and chat with Dave for a short while after the show.

Saturday brought a busy but fun day started with a late sleep in until 10am which when you normally get up around 4:30-5am Monday thru Friday is definitely a wicked sleep in.  We really started the day off with a trip to “Phil’s Pancake House” for a Saturday morning brunch.

My apple cinnamon pancakes at brunch.

 

After brunch and running a few errands it was time for me to run in all likelihood my final long run training run in preparation for the Stampede Road Race Half Marathon in two weeks on Sunday July 8 here in Calgary.  For yesterdays run I ran 10.33 miles all along the Bow River in a time of 1:57:29.  This run gave me the opportunity to run through rain, wind, and quite honestly rather cool temperature, but a great training run nonetheless. 

Last night Ashley and I went out for a sushi date night dinner to a sushi restaurant not too far from our condo called “Kinjo Sushi”.  My two favorite dishes there were the “Alberta Roll” named for our province, and made with Teriyaki beef, and complimented with a side dish of steak sauce for dipping, along with the “Alberta Roll” was the “Hot California Roll” my other favorite sushi dish from last night.

This morning was another epic sleep in morning as is evident in this photo.

Me and my oldest childhood plush toy, a brown teddy bear named Brownie.

 

The rest of our day today has been spent between grocery shopping where I picked up a wide variety of protein/energy bars, and “Honey Stinger” fruit energy gummies for me to have in preparation for my upcoming Half Marathon in two weeks.  After grocery shopping and coming home to put groceries away it was off to the movies to see Prometheus in 3D. This latest film from legendary film maker Ridley Scott was an epic save the world disaster extra terrestrial film especially in 3D.

This pretty much covers my June 22-24 weekend.  I hope you all had a great weekend whatever your weekend may have brought you. Have a terrific upcoming week of work, school, or any other daily activities you may take part in during the week.

-Ben-

Father’s Day Weekend Recap.

What a busy weekend this past “Father’s Day” weekend was.  Ashley and I had her dad out from Manitoba for the weekend and to celebrate Father’s Day with him.  It was really nice having him in town to celebrate with, also it provided a weekend full of activities for Ashley and I to do with her family including her mom, and younger brother who both live here in Calgary too.

I started this weekend with a great training run Friday afternoon in preparation for my upcoming Stampede Road Race half marathon on Sunday July 8.  Friday afternoon I went out for a 7 mile run in 1:13:29 (just over half the distance that I will run in the half marathon, 13.1 miles).

 

Saturday brought a full day of family time with Ashley’s dad (Gerry), her mom (Cheryl), and younger brother (Ryan), and even Cheryl’s dog Diesel.  Here are some pictures from our fun-filled family Saturday.

Ashley spending some time with Diesel the pooch!

 

Top left: Me and my amazing mother-in-law Cheryl
Top right: my father-in-law Gerry, brother-in-law Ryan, and I having an ice cream break in the sun.
Bottom left: Ashley, with her dad, and brother playing mini-golf.
Bottom right: a family game of mini-golf.

 

In preparation for my upcoming half marathon I had to take a little trip to “The Running Room” to pick up a iPhone running armband, and a package of Jelly Belly energy beans.

 

After a full day of shopping, mini-golf, visiting, and eating, Ashley, Gerry, and I capped a great day with some homemade margaritas!

 

Sunday brought forth another great family filled day, starting with a lovely brunch that I took my dad (papa Eating, Living, Running) for just the two of us while Ashley took her dad out for a nice father/daughter brunch just the two of them.

My breakfast brunch skillet. Scrambled eggs, hash-browns, sausage, and whole wheat toast with a little grape jam.

 

the soon to be world-famous “Papa Eating, Living, Running” and I after our father/son “Fathers Day” brunch.

 

Sunday night we had a great Father’s Day dinner (me, Ashley, her dad Gerry, mom Cheryl, and her younger brother Ryan), that I made while Gerry, and Ryan went to watch Ashley play volleyball late Sunday afternoon.

Getting ready to grill the potatoes, and steaks, and yes steaks cook better when you have a beer to go along with the cooking.

 

Father’s Day supper time: Steak, potatoes, carrots, asian salad, shrimp, and of course the red wine.

 

Unfortunately a great weekend ended on a sour note for me with me having a bout of the flu yesterday spoiling my day off from work yesterday.  However aside from the Monday flu this was a truly amazing weekend filled with family, fun, and food, and yes even some running.

I hope you all had a great Father’s Day weekend with a special dad or two in your life.

-Ben-

My Nephew Landen.

This past Monday, June 11 2012 my wonderful kid sister Kate, and her husband Mike welcomed their first child and my first niece or nephew; beautiful baby boy named “Landen”.

Tonight’s blog entry I’m dedicating completely to showing off my precious baby nephew through the initial pictures I have received over the first 3 days of Landen’s life sent to me by “Mama Eating Living Running” and my sister/Landen’s mom.

Landen just moments after his birth.

 

Pictures of Landen being held by his Grandma, and Grandpa (mama and step dad Eating Living Running).

 

Isn’t he just so adorable?

 

Landen says “Hi world, my name is Landen!!”

 

All cute babies need their rest.

 

I am so proud of my sister, and brother-in-law, and so happy for them and their latest addition to the family Landen, and so excited to be the best uncle I can be along with my beautiful wife Ashley to our first nephew!!

-Ben-

Sunday Training Run.

Today brought forth yet another training run for me in preparation for my “Stampede Road Race Half Marathon”.  However today also brought cold and extremely windy weather to Calgary, which self admittedly didn’t help really motivate me to get out today for my training run.  Ashley and I had contemplated and tried exploring solutions to the weather factor today and what I came up with was trying a training run indoors on a clay running track instead of going to the gym and running on the “Dreadmill”.  “Dreadmill” for those of you who’ve never heard me use this word it is my word for “treadmill”.  I call the “treadmill” a “dreadmill” cause I very much so dread running on it cause I find it boring and somewhat fake, largely because of the fact that when I run on it I feel that I’m going nowhere and running a very robotic artificial run, whereas at least on an indoor clay track I’m at least travelling and moving somewhere.

For the run on the clay track we went to “Westside Rec Center” where our good friend Jordan works as a personal trainer, and he has asked us to come visit him at work before, so today seemed the perfect opportunity for us to accomplish both my training run and visit Jordan at work.

For a pre-run energy boost I made a fresh fruit smoothie at home for the drive to “Westside”.  The smoothie was made up of fresh grapefruit, strawberries, banana, acai berry yogurt, non-fat vanilla soy milk, and protein powder.

My training run today was a 3.25mile run in 29:56:83 burning 480 calories.  It had been over 3 years prior to today since I last ran on a running track seriously which took a couple of laps around the 433 meter track for me to get accustomed to once again, as well as “Westside” being very hot and humid inside today.  However despite these somewhat minor obstacles I ran my fastest 3.25miles ever, which I was more than pleased with.  The two things I really loved about my first ever visit to “westside” today were the fact that the running track instead of being a traditional oval track it was in the shape of a club encompassing the inner perimeter of the building so the scenery was always changing and never at any point in my 12 laps of the track getting boring.  Also I loved the smoothie and fro-yo/coffee bar we visited after the run.

With 4 weeks to go until the half marathon I’m planning to embark on a heavy upcoming week of training for the run, with hopefully an eight to ten-mile training run this upcoming weekend.

I hope you all had a great weekend filled with happiness and joy, and a great upcoming week!

-Ben-

Surprise Saturday Date Night.

For those of us married folk, or even those in a committed relationship, two things are common in every relationship: we all like to be surprised and we all like to surprise our wife, husband, girlfriend, or boyfriend right?

Yesterday I gave my wife (Ashley) the surprise of a romantic dinner just the two of us at the restaurant “Sky 360” atop the Calgary Tower.  What sparked this dinner plan was the desire to surprise Ashley with a romantic dinner somewhere she had never been before in Calgary, and always wanted to eat at.  I had some time yesterday morning alone while she was out with her mom, so I called the restaurant and made a reservation for us which I received the last available booking for the night at 9pm.  All I told Ashley once she was home yesterday was that I was taking her out for dinner, and dinner was at 9 o’clock and that she should wear something dressy, and that she wouldn’t find out where we were going until we got there last night.

Once we got to the base of the “Calgary Tower” we found ourselves staring at two doors, each leading to a different restaurant.  One door lead to “Ruth’s Chris Steak House”, and the other to the observation deck of the tower and “Sky 360 revolving restaurant”.  When Ashley saw me open the door to “Sky 360” her eyes lit up and she showed a happiness beyond what I had hoped to see with this evening.

The views from the observation deck of the tower are absolutely breathtaking views of this beautiful city we call home.  Here are a few different views from our night last night overlooking downtown Calgary, and the outer edges of the city.

Top Left: The two tallest buildings in Calgary, (left: Suncor Energy, Right: The Bow)
Top Right: looking straight down at the intersection of 9th ave and center st.
Bottom Left: Calgary Stampede grounds, including “Scotiabank Saddledome” (home of the Calgary Flames hockey club)
Bottom Right: Western downtown with a hint of Northwest Calgary.

 

After our stroll around the observation deck it was off to our dinner at “Sky 360” for a romantic dinner in the revolving restaurant.  I had to drink 2 Sky 360 cocktails, and to eat the Curried Carrot soup for an appetizer, followed by the roasted lamb with seasonal vegetables for the main course.  For dessert I had the strawberry rhubarb cheesecake which came on a crust made of a gingersnap cookie which for me was beyond being the perfect crust just based on how much I love gingersnap cookies.

Unfortunately I forgot to get a picture of the Strawberry Rhubarb cheesecake, but trust me it was beyond amazing and yummy!

 

Last nights dinner date with my wife was easily one of the best “date nights” I’ve had with Ashley in four and a half years together (between dating, and marriage), and it also provided 2 of the best looks I’ve ever seen from Ashley.

I hope you all had a great Saturday night, and that this week you will all take the time and give the effort to truly surprise the one you love!

xoxo

-Ben-

I Will Do It!!

As I mentioned in last nights blog post I have recently signed up for my first ever Half Marathon road race.  I made the final decision to sign up for the race last Monday evening, after completing my “Calgary Marathon, Jugo Juice 10km”.

The Half Marathon I’m registered for is the “Stampede Road Race Half Marathon” on Sunday, July 8 2012 in here in Calgary.  In case you’re you’re unaware a half marathon is 13.1 miles or 21.09 kilometers which will make this the longest competitive running race that I will have ever attempted and trained for.

With this being the longest race I’ll ever run it is taking a lot of conditioning, training, and self-discipline.  One area of my life that has changed drastically over just the last 7 days is my diet.  Where I would in the past have eaten meals with a bit less care and attention and certainly snacks, I now am finding my self eating large amounts of fruits and vegetables, and even more whole grains than I was eating in the past.  Now before I continue let me set the record straight, I do eat more than enough of these, but with your first half marathon coming up in 34 days you can never eat too much of these along with lean proteins.

Training runs have also become a very regular part of my life right now, not all long runs but doing runs every chance I get.

Today was a shorter day at work for me as I was done for the day at 12:15pm.  With my now free afternoon I decided to come home make a delicious and very healthy fruit smoothie for lunch/pre-run boost.  I then embarked on a 5mile training run in a time of 50:27 and followed that amazing sunshine filled early afternoon run with a 16 floor stair climb in my condo building just for an extra little burn.

 

After my run and stair climb I met up with my dad “Papa EatingLivingRunning” for some mid afternoon birthday drinks and snacks to celebrate his birthday today.

We went to a bar near my place called “The Blind Monk”.  For my snack I ordered grilled chicken dumplings, and I must say these were the GREATEST dumplings I’ve ever had, any kind of meat, and any type of restaurant. My dad and I had a wonderful birthday visit, and chatted some about my upcoming half marathon race next month.

I hope you all had a great Monday, and I’m wishing all of you all the best in your Tuesday!

-Ben-

Camping: Good VS Bad.

I know what you’re all thinking.  How can anything camping related be bad?  Well, usually I would say the same thing, however when you’ve just recently signed up for your first ever half marathon there becomes a battle of good vs. bad in terms of the choices you make while out there sleeping under the stars in the woods.

One of the biggest battles I faced this weekend while camping with Ashley, and 6 more of my closest friends was the battle of what to eat while camping.  Yes I did have my share of unhealthy foods such as: hot dogs, potato chips, sour gummy bears, and yes beers, and even on saturday afternoon and entire bottle of Pinot Grigio all to myself.

I did however also make some very healthy choices such as eating lots of fresh fruit, minus the whole bottle of white wine Saturday afternoon not a whole lot of alcohol, and one of my favorite choices was bringing a bag of Vega whole foods smoothie mix which I made a shake & go smoothie with every meal on Saturday and breakfast today.

Other positive choices I made this weekend that I was pleased with were getting full nights sleeps both nights, and I also got my whole camping group to take part in a group toothbrushing session both Saturday and this morning before we all left the campground, which was very important to me both to look after myself physically, and also just because I sadly have a dentist appointment this upcoming Wednesday evening.

Ashley, Kim, and I partaking in Saturday’s group toothbrushing.

 

This weekend’s camping trip was designed to be an early birthday camping weekend for Jordan (my best friend aside from my beautiful wife), and it was a huge success and a great opportunity for all 8 of us to get out of the city for a couple of days, and catch up on each others lives, and get some much welcomed sun tanning.

Here are some more photos from our camping weekend.

Ashley with her “Wizard Staff” of beer cans!

 

Me with Dylan, Jordan, and Kim goofing around on an air mattress.

 

Kim and her beloved Bailey’s.

 

Birthday boy Jordan starting his morning off right!

 

This afternoon after returning home I made one final healthy/good choice.  I chose to lace up the old running shoes and hit the pavement for a 3.1mile/5km training run in preparation for my first half marathon which I’m running on Sunday July 8.

 

This weekend was a great weekend for me, and I hope it was for you too!!

-Ben-