Tag Archives: Granville Island

Lonely in Cycleville

We were about 2.5 hours into a nearly 3.5 hour ride when we entered the trail head. Big Ring had been chatting about this path for the last 20 minutes or so, a look of mischief on his face the entire time. I didn’t know what I was in for; I’d never ridden trails before, and knowing my husband, I was picturing crazy, straight-up, steep, dirt climbs coming my way. We were near my recent running grounds, I knew this because there was a huge sign we’d passed announcing Burnaby Lake, and as soon as we came upon the path, Big Ring asked if I’d run here before. Without pondering it over, I right away said No, the road we’d just come off didn’t look familiar at all. But then, a few pedals in I thought, Hey, maybe, nah, could it be, maybe, no, yes, yes I think it is – yes, it is! YES! Seriously, I was saying all that out loud, and mostly to myself. A huge smile on my face when I realized it was the Central Valley Greenway that pretty much I’ve been doing speed intervals on every Thursday for the past year!

I run here. I ride here.

I run here. I ride here.

I wish I could say that smile held true for the entire ride.

I can run for hours and feel confident with nearly every stride I take (well, maybe not these days with this dang injury) . But get me on a bike and my confidence shoots out the window.

Last week was my first ride upon Holly Go-Quickly in 2 years. I was nervous as heck. You know how they always relate things to It’s like riding a bike, well, for me, like riding a bike is almost like mastering bloody chemistry. If I’m not doing it, I forget it. So the night before the intended first ride (with a friend, not Big Ring) I was incessantly grilling Big Ring about shifting gears – How do I know it’s in the big ring? how do I get it back down to the little ring? is there a clutch? Yes folks, I did ask if there was a clutch.

His response, with a smirk in his eyes, was: You’ll be fine; it’s like… riding a bike.

Oh crud.

Please clouds, give me cycling strength.

Please clouds, give me cycling strength.

I got on Holly Go-Quickly, I clipped into her pedals, and I rode, oh did I ride. For like all of one minute. Living in New West we face hills every which way we go, and so the first hill, two seconds into the ride, I tried gearing down into the little ring, but instead beefed up to a harder gear – right at the bloody tip of the ascent!!! – and my legs got all weak and shaky, and my brain all wigged out. Out popped my right foot, down to the ground it went, and a waddle bike walk up the hill we went.

Well that was a cruddy start!

I don’t remember it being this difficult before. I remember wanting to climb hills, cursing them in the moment, but feeling immense pride at conquering them in the end. I remember loving the wind whipping my face with every descent. I remember enjoying the chase of Big Ring, who always rode ahead, and loving the thrill of those few times I actually passed him (regardless of whether he let me or not). I remember at times feeling frustrated with my lack of speed when my legs grew tired, but more over I remember loving nearly every moment of every ride, even the bloody hard ones – hello Horseshoe Bay!

But the last two rides for me were, well, they weren’t exactly love. I liked them, I liked them a lot, but I struggled. Wow, did I struggle. I struggled to keep up, I struggled to feel comfortable and at ease with Holly Go-Quickly’s swiftness, I struggled to push hard, I struggled with my confidence.

Lonely cyclist alert.

Lonely cyclist alert.

Last week I discovered my neighbour chick just bought a new Cannondale, hers the more muscular version of mine. I’d contemplated sticking a note to her door, welcoming her to the world of Cannondale love, and signing off with a friendly Hey, we should ride together.

Now, I’m not so sure.

It wasn't all unhappies :)

It wasn’t all unhappies 🙂

YESTERDAY’S 2nd RIDE in 2 years:
10:30 a.m. BG before: 8.8
Temp. basal: -100% (4 hours)
Time: 3:24:34
Distance: 51:68 km
BG: @60 min: 6.6 (1/2 box raisins) @90 min: 9.1 (lunch: Granville Island sandwich and Chocolate Arts ice cream bar) @140 min: 4.0 (Larabar)
3 p.m. BG after: 5.6
Temp. basal: +100% (1 hour)

Yep, that is chocolate in my teeth – worth every tasty bite!

Yep, that is chocolate in my teeth – worth every tasty bite!

Weird aside: Following my aqua jog session the other day my hands and arms felt like they were moving through a mass of thick cobwebs. Seriously, every time I moved them, I could feel the hairs moving. I thought my blood sugars were low, you know that tingly feeling, but nope, they were perfectly awesome. It was the creepiest thing ever!

T-minus 29 days until Global Heroes Medtronic Twin Cities 10 Mile. I will conquer this.

Running … with company

Full disclosure part 1: My training the last couple of weeks has fallen off the map.

For the last 10 days, the Princess and the Rings have been entertaining Big Ring’s mom and niece from Onterrible; the first visit since Little Ring’s birth. In the weeks leading up to the visit, I thought for sure I’d keep up with my running and strength training. I had a well defined plan, and I was determined not to stray from it. But then, our guests arrived.

Now, let me backtrack a moment. Big Ring and I are not well versed in the art of entertaining. Since purchasing our loft four years ago, we have hosted just ONE other couple, and that was long before Little Ring’s existence. Heck, I’m pretty sure we can count on two hands the number of times we’ve held dinners at our place. So really, we can’t be faulted for not realizing ahead of time just how stinking exhausting daily entertaining can be!

Initially I thought I would get my runs in at night, but after hours of driving around (it rained a lot) or sight seeing, or even simply negotiating acceptable activities for an 18 year old who loves to shop and a 76 year old who values her rest, by late afternoon all I wanted to do was crash in my bed. I did not want to lace up my sneakers. I did not want to brave the rain. I did not want to pull out the mat and activate my push-ups and planks. I just wanted to sleep.

So, I changed course and tried getting my runs in, after getting Little Ring sorted, in the morning. But that also proved challenging as I felt I was holding everyone else up for getting started on their day. Ugh. And my strength training, oh man, the only way I was able to get my circuits in was to opt out of an afternoon or two of activities – but that, too, was not always possible. I didn’t want to be rude.

Unfortunately (for me and my fast softening belly) the perfect solution to fulfill their touristy desires and my running needs was only just realized yesterday; the last day of their visit! When Big Ring suggested we walk around the Olympic Village, where his niece could see where the 2010 athletes stayed and his mom could relax with a cup of hot chocolate in one of the nearby cafés, we decided it would also be a great opportunity for me to get a quick run in on the Seawall out towards Granville Island. And so, instead of dressing in my regular wear, I kitted up in my running gear, and packed along an extra pair of Lululemon pants, hoodie and warm socks for the post-run activities. Win. Win.

Why the heck didn’t we think of that sooner?

Because sometimes, company and all, you’ve just got to run (ps. that’s not me!)


  • 2:30 p.m. BG before: 6.0 (2 biscuits, 16 grams carbs, no bolus)
  • Temp. basal: none
  • Distance: 4.95 km
  • Pace: 5:54 min/km
  • Time: 30 minutes (5′ warmup, 20′ tempo, 5′ cooldown)
  • 3:15 p.m. BG after: 3.3 😦

And so, my friends, instead of a week filled with three run days, two strength training days, and one cross training day, I managed just two runs, one strength day, and one 40-minute stint aqua jogging at the pool last week, and so far this week, I’ve accomplished just one run and no strength training or cross training … then again, the week is not yet done, and I no longer have company. Time to get back on that training wagon 😀

Ask and you shall receive…

I had an absolutely fantastic day yesterday. I didn’t run a super fast race, didn’t get a lingering hug from Andy Schleck, didn’t become a chemistry genius, or get a solid night sleep – all of which would have been pretty darn spectacular – but I did get something that was absolutely out of this world.

Yesterday’s tale starts with a text I got from Big Ring on Friday informing me that instead of going for a ride, he had opted for a city day, and in that city day a scrumdiliumptious cherry chocolate ice cream bar from Chocolate Arts was included. Instantly I was jealous.

Let me tell you, these bars are friggin amazing! They’re handcrafted from locally made, and super pure, Avalon dairy cream and free range eggs, topped on a perfectly sweet brownie base, and dipped in decadent chocolate. Their flavours, almost all of which are seasonal, also use locally produced, organic fruits and herbs. In the last two years I’ve enjoyed lemon basil, raspberry, rhubarb (my favourite!) and cherry.

Not surprising, I sent a rapid-fire text back to Big Ring informing him of our plans for a city day on Monday, which would include a bratwurst on a bun with sauerkraut from Granville Island (that’s been my crazy preggers craving) and a stop off at Chocolate Arts for a bar. Obviously!

But on Sunday afternoon, it dawned on us that the chocolate artisans may be taking a holiday too. I Googled their hours and sure enough it said it was closed. Nooooo! But because I’m a desperate pregnant chick (with seemingly no shame) in need of her ice cream, I emailed the company asking if they really were closed. I mean really, it’s only BC day. A few hours later, I had a response in my inbox: Yep, they were closed 😦

But Greg, who owns the shop with his wife, is so totally amazing. When he realized I was preggers, in need of my ice cream (a craving he could relate to with his own wife) he told me to come on down, they’d open the shop up, no problem. Oh! My! Gawd! Seriously, how often does that happen?

I guess there are benefits to this medicine ball attached to my belly after all 😉

Then and now

What I was doing 10 years ago: I was being startled awake by the phone ringing just before 7 a.m.. I remember thinking who the hell was calling that early as I stuffed my head under a pillow to muffle the sound. It was my moms. A minute later my big-big brother, who I lived with at the time, was banging on my bedroom door. I can still hear his voice. “Kate! Kate! You got to get up! You got to see this!”  The Twin Towers were on fire. Two planes had crashed through them. The world as we knew it would never be the same again.

I couldn’t pull my eyes away. Not two weeks prior I had been in New York, I had got pictures of the towers, I had listened intently as a girlfriend of mine had pointed high up and told me the story of her parents getting married up there so many years prior. And as I watched the towers crumble that day, my heart broke for the people, the city, the country. Today, 10 years later, with video clips and images filling the TV screens, newspapers, and magazines, and with goosebumps still covering my skin, and tears still brimming my eyes, my heart continues to break for those lost, and for what used to be.

We will never forget.


What I’m doing today:  Well, I’m not running, nor am I cycling or aqua jogging, or pilatesing … but I am walking. Dear physio never told me I couldn’t walk and I never asked, so I’m going with it 😀

And you know what, I’m actually kind of enjoying it. I had been going stir crazy. (And maybe driving Mario a little crazy while I was at it) For two and a half days, I was in a serious mood, a you don’t want to mess with me as I might drop kick you one second and burst into tears the next kind of mood. By noon Saturday, I had to something. And so, dressed in my lilac sundress, I put my walking shoes on and headed out the door. I started to power walk down the quay, a total 3 km there-and-back jaunt, when not halfway, I ran into my grams and her faithful Ginger. We walked together for about a half an hour before we went our separate ways; grams for home and me back to the power walk.

I headed back out the door today to meet up with Mario for lunch at Granville Island. He rode. I walked. From the Skytrain station at Science World to Granville Island is another 3 km trek. Mario and I had a great lunch out in the sun with music and beauty all around us. And when it was done, he went back on his ride and I went back on my walk. For two hours, I became a tourist in my city; my eyes opened to its beauty, its treasures, its hole-in-the-wall secrets. And today, I once again fell in love with the place I’ve always been.

Walking is no replacement to running, but for now, it’s a good diversion to the mind battles, knee struggles and mood swings. Thank you feet.

Music is magic

It should have been Red Red Wine blasting through my earbuds yesterday morning (ahem) given how awesome my run was and given I had shared a bottle of Shiraz with a girlfriend the night prior – lending further claim to my theory that red wine the evening before a long run/race is just as beneficial as pasta, maybe even more. Does your pasta have heart-healthy antioxidants loaded inside? I don’t think so 😀


  • 12 p.m. BG before: 8.1
  • Temp. basal: -50 per cent (3 hours)
  • Distance: 15 km
  • Average pace: 6:23 min/km
  • Time: 1:35:49
  • Fuel: 1.5 scoops of Perpetuem (No belly issues!)
  • @3km: 6.8, @11 km: 7.1
  • 2 p.m. BG after: 9.0
  • Temp. basal: +50 per cent (1.5 hours)

So it was a bit of a late start to the run. I had planned on being out the door no later than 10 a.m., but unfortunately the wine did have its faults in getting me out of bed, or not for that matter. When I finally did lace up my sneakers, I had a head full of worries. I was worried the over-indulgence of wine would take its toll; worried my leg pain would once again rear its ugly head; worried I’d have another BG disaster similar to last week; and most worrisome I wouldn’t find a toilet in time.

I started the run at Science World and it seems now that the big globe is all fancied up they no longer let us runners use their toilets (which is really quite a shame as they were my favourite toilets next to the Kits Beach toilets … nothing like reading about quirky science when taking a wee :D) and because I always have to pee before a starting a run, I had justifiable fears of wetting my shorts. Luckily, though, I had opted to head in the direction of Granville Island, which was only 3 km away and which has an abundant supply of public-use toilets, surely I could make it that far without having an accident. I hoped.

Those first three kilometres were killer. I felt slow, I felt tired, my legs were heavy, and the jiggle of my butt had a not-too-pleasant tender sting to it. But after relieving my bladder (and after listening to a woman trying to force her kid to pee first by threatening the kid telling her they were going home if she didn’t pee, then by singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star to relax her enough to pee, then by exclaiming ‘Listen, someone else is peeing!’ That was me! Awesome.) I had a totally amazing run. I had energy, I had kick, I was passing people – on hills!

There was just one part of that run where I felt I needed a little extra oomph. I had just come up from Kits Beach, had just past my dream townhouse in Point Grey, and had impressively powered my way up a short but super steep hill. My breathing was laboured, I could feel the beads of sweat stinging my eyes, and for a brief moment I was tempted to take a premature walking break. But, it was in that same moment when Eminem’s ‘Til I Collapse started beating through my earbuds. Seriously, how could I stop with lyrics like these:

(Go left, go left, go left right left)
‘Cause sometimes you just feel tired
You feel weak and when you feel weak
(Go left, go left, go left right left)
You feel like you wanna just give up
But you gotta search within you
(Go left, go left, go left right left)
You gotta find that inner strength
And just pull that shit out of you
And get that motivation to not give up
(Go left, go left, go left right left)
And not be a quitter
No matter how bad you wanna just fall flat on your face and collapse

Say what you will about Eminem, but as the line in the song says, his music is magic – at least for me it is. First of all that left, right, left, that gets my feet and legs working together, and then his words about not quitting no matter how bad it gets, that instantly keeps me driving forward and pushing harder. Perfect song.

Ran into a Heineken White Pool Party. Not sure if they wouldn’t serve me beer because I wasn’t wearing white, or because I wasn’t dressed scantily clad enough?

Because I was meeting up with Mario and friends of ours at Granville Island, and because I was feeling pretty awesome, I sped up the pace for my last kilometre, pulling out a solid 4:30 to 5:00 minute per kilometre pace. Not too shabby at all 😀

I ran. Mario rode.

And then we met up with friends for a pint of craft beer and pizza on the patio – that’s adequate recovery fuel right?

How was your weekend? Any runs? Rides? Relaxation in the sun?

Making it count

Not all long weekends are perfect, in fact many don’t seem long enough, but this one was pretty darn near close to perfection. Sure I may have had a splitting head ache for a few hours of it and a couple of lows that tried to bring me down, but not even those could ruin it. In fact, they were just mere hiccups compared to everything else. Nothing spectacular happened, but a lot of good happened, and that combined surely adds up to spectacular.

On Canada Day, Mario and I had a spontaneous date night and went out for some traditional Canadian grub at Las Margaritas (seriously, how is Mexican not Canadian?) then we went and saw Beginners at the Fifth Avenue, which is one our favourite theatres. And the movie, oh my goodness, I was on the verge of tears through the entire thing, and even at one point squirted a few which rarely ever happens. Yes, it was a sad one, but such good one. The story, the acting, the characters were so compelling, so great. Heck, even the dog was. If you haven’t already seen this movie, you must seek it out. Perfect.

On the way out of the theatre, Mario’s eyes were drawn to the BMW dealership, but not for the cars – for the BMW bikes! Only Mario 😀

On Saturday, we watched an impressive first stage of the Tour de France, which was won by Filip Gilbert – BELGIUM REPRESENT!!! (My sleep for the next three weeks will be somewhat jarred with the alarm blaring for a half of a second at ungodly hours, because apparently watching the Tour live is better than watching it on PVR … I don’t get it either, it all looks the same to me.) And then we did our traditional anniversary climb up the Grouse Grind, and followed that up later in the afternoon with a local beer on the patio of a new restaurant at Granville Island – in the sun! Perfect.

How proactive … and funny!

Yesterday I spent the afternoon wandering around Steveston by myself. I was on a mission to find something I’d seen at the Steveston Farmers’ Market a few weeks back, but when I couldn’t find the seller person (and I was super persistent walking back and forth through the market like three times) I decided to just hang out, discover the boutiques, lazily stroll down the wharf, take in the smell of the salt and seafood, and the beauty of the day. Perfect.

How was your weekend?

A fishful adventure

My day wasn’t a complete loss yesterday. After sleeping off my post-low migraine, Mario and I headed into the city to wander around Granville Island. We didn’t really have a reason to go beyond wanting to get out of the house, but by the time we left the great market, we had purpose: Paella.

Paella on the barbecue is like Spain on my patio!

I’ve blogged about paella a few times over the last year and a half, but seriously I cannot get enough of this stuff. I was first introduced to it when in Barcelona two years ago and fell in love with its saffron, seafood, smoked paprika goodness, and because I have a husband who loves to experiment with his cooking (or maybe he’s just forced to because I don’t cook at all), the Christmas after that trip, I bought him an authentic paella pan online, Spanish rice, smoked paprika,  jarred saffron, wrapped it up, and voila, the makings of paella. The perfect gift 😀 We’ve had it with seafood and with chicken and sausage, and for last night’s concoction Mario added a twist of prawns with eyeballs and cooked it on the barbecue instead of the stove. Scrumdiliumptious! And just like all the others, this one too had me dreaming of Spain: the colour yellow, gothic cathedrals, Eduardo, tiled walls, Gaudi, Las Ramblas, beer, butterflies, and one of the most beautiful languages ever.

¡Oh España, lo hago con amor!

And because of the seafood, yesterday’s adventure turned into a fishful adventure!

Better crabs in the water than crabs clamping my fingers.

Mussels are key to a good paella.

A blowfish teapot, how brilliant is that?

We weren’t quite brave enough to do the live spot prawns…

But the dead ones, like butter!

Sorry Scully, I cannot resist: Fish heads, fish heads, eat them up yum!

So while my day started out in the crapper, it most definitely ended brilliantly, with full belly and all … although, I kind of totally screwed up the carb count for the rice and ended up with majorly high blood sugars two hours later. Oops.

Do you have a favourite meal that reminds you of past travels?