Tag Archives: Vancouver

Planes, Trains and Automobiles – re-imagined

Again with the timing of appropriateness.

Twelve years ago yesterday, after about a month and a half of tinkering with the idea, Big Ring and I made our togetherness official. For 12 years, he has been my number one cheerleader, my number one support, my number one bestest friend of all. The things he has done for me, the love he has given me, the specialness of him, I cannot imagine life without his hand in mine.

And the story I share today is a perfect example of his greatness.

Let’s go back about five or six months. Back to those strained months before I got into dietetics.

I told Big Ring if I got in he would have to throw me a party, a big party, a huge party. This was going to be a party for me, but also very much for everyone that helped me. And there were a lot: those who helped edit my resume and cover letter;  who helped with the interview preparation; who took Little Ring so I could study; who helped me study; who repeatedly gave me confidence boosts; listened to me rant; acted as shoulders to cry on; even that one person who provided a word that my brain refused to grasp on its own.

Yes, I did lose a few friendships along this journey, as was mentioned in the last post, but there were so many others who became strong pillars for me. So many who I appreciate and love for all they have done. And I wanted to thank them in a huge way.

But the thing is, Big Ring, he’s not so much about the party scene, and planning a party, oh man, that’s like nightmare causing for the man. He offered an alternative:

“What if we went on a trip?” he suggested.

Dear friends and family, travel always wins!

Big Ring told me he was taking me away on a little adventure. He didn’t tell me where, he didn’t tell me what, he just told me the dates, and promised me oodles of fun. Trust me, he said.

Last month, his plan was executed.

I’m not the greatest at handling surprises. I’m not the greatest at letting go of control. It was a mystery right up to departure day, and it was a mystery every moment of every day of the tour. It drove me absolutely bonkers… and gave Big Ring great amounts of glee.

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Day 1 of the Katie Got Into Dietetics Mystery Tour: We stayed at the Opus Hotel, where we stayed 12 years prior, and went to the Queen concert as well as dinner at Chambar, a restaurant I hadn’t been to in years, but recall the last time drooling over the lamb. This time I got halibut, which wasn’t as tasty as the lamb of my memories, but the atmosphere and company were perfect.

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Day 2 of the Katie Got Into Dietetics Mystery Tour: We had breakfast at Musette, a cycling café in the heart of the city and watched stage 3 of the Tour de France. Again, with the atmosphere. The café had recently reopened after an extended closure. The tables were made using wood from the track of an old velodrome that was demolished in Antwerp. There were booths patterned after the shower stalls of the velodrome in Paris where the Paris Roubaix, a spring classic, finishes. The table flags were bib numbers from the Tour and the Giro d’Italia.

So much character.

And sitting there, eating my oatmeal (oh man, that oatmeal was good!!!) with morning cyclists all around me so enthused about the outcome of the stage, excitement all around, it was just a really perfect way to start the day.

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From there we walked along the Seawall for about an hour before picking up our suitcases and heading to the waterfront where we caught a HELICOPTER (!!!) and flew to Victoria.

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I’ve been on a blimp, I’ve been on a float plane, I’ve been on a stunt plane, but never a helicopter. It was awesome. It was a perfect day, and because it was a holiday, and he wasn’t having to worry about work schedules, the captain took us along the longer, scenic route.

So freaking beautiful.

The ride was only about 45 minutes. There was a guy next to me who I am sure had flown helicopters multiple times because he nodded off instantly. But me, I couldn’t stop looking out the window. I couldn’t wipe the amazed smile off my face.

A helicopter!!!

Day 3 of the Katie Got Into Dietetics Mystery Tour: We rented cruiser bikes from the hotel that we were staying at (The Oswego: super cute) and rode along the Galloping Goose trail. I was channeling my inner Euro as I rode in a skirt with a baguette in the basket. I totally loved it!

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And Big Ring pretended he was racing against Ryder Hesjedal 😀

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Those bikes were crazy heavy so I was pretty impressed with the 25 km ride we did. And I only had one skirt flying up incident… of course, it was right in downtown Victoria, a nicely congested area of people all around! Oops! There was also an incident of the baguette flying out of the basket subsequently getting run over by the bike. And yet, when we pulled it out of the paper bag for a picnic lunch a short while later, it did not look any worse for wear!

My favourite part of Victoria was Munro Books; I got completely lost in that bookstore. It was inside a beautiful heritage building, and the books were displayed so perfectly, with old wooden chairs situated throughout giving you an opportunity to flip through the pages. I didn’t feel rushed. I didn’t feel obligated to buy (although I did on my second return to the shop.) It wasn’t just the books capturing my eye, but the scenery and friendly atmosphere too. Everything about this place said “stay”.

Big Ring and I were also really drawn to Fan Tan Alley, a super narrow alley, just three to six feet wide and 240 feet long, that’s located in Chinatown. Going in, I didn’t know the history. The initial draw was an artisan ice cream shop we’d read about that turned out to be as good as its review. But the history of the building, the hidden nooks and crannies, the cute little shops, and the fact the alleyway was smaller than the width of my outstretched arms all had me wanting to learn more.

Fan Tan Alley was a hotspot for gambling clubs and opium factories in the early 1900s!

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Day 4 of the Katie Got Into Dietetics Mystery Tour: We travelled from Victoria to Seattle by ferry.

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I was soon discovering this trip was as much about the locations as it was about the modes of transportation. First we had the helicopter, then the ferry, what would be next?

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Day 5 of the Katie Got Into Dietetics Mystery Tour: We went to a baseball game. It was long. Really long. At one point I said to Big Ring: Baseball is like the Energizer Bunny, it just keeps going and going and going and …

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It is funny, though, the last time the two of us were at a Mariners game was 13 years ago when we were both working for the local news media, and hadn’t even yet developed a proper friendship, and were sent on assignment to cover local boy Justin Morneau’s intro to the big leagues. Needless to say, this time was MUCH different. Big Ring was not on the field shooting, and I was not in the men’s locker room blushing, or the press box dodging fly balls that landed in one journalist’s soda cup!

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Day 6 of the Katie Got Into Dietetics Mystery Tour: Homeward bound – on a train!

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Seriously, this trip was like planes, trains and automobiles – re-imagined!

And that, my dear readers, is the way this man loves me ❤

 

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Assumption kills the race

After years months of negotiation, reviewing routes, location, timing, and swag for various organized runs, Big Brother and I finally put our hats in the ring for the Vancouver BMO 8 km route to be our second annual sibling rivalry run.

By all accounts, this run had everything. The timing was perfect for both of us, it wasn’t during the height of the summer heat or summer travel, it features a beautiful scenic route around Stanley Park, and it’s for the most part a flat run, which Big Brother emphasized was important (you will recall the hill that broke him in our last run). The distance was also a compromise for both of us. It wasn’t 5 km, which Big Brother wanted, nor was it 10 km, which I wanted – a happy medium. And the technical shirts, they’re kind of, totally awesome!

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From the BMO site.

But today, I regret to inform you the second annual sibling rivalry run has been postponed 😦

The competitive ribbing was only just beginning when the whole arrangement came to a crashing halt Monday evening when I was informed of the start time –  6:30 a.m.!!! Are you kidding me? Most marathons don’t even start at that time! I had NO idea, I thought for sure it would be like other 5 and 10 km runs that start around 8 a.m. – not 6:30 a.m.!!!

Future note: do not assume, never assume!

I fired off a text to Big Brother notifying him of the horror, and not surprisingly this is the response I received:

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Now, normally I’d call him out on it, tell him it was a convenient excuse, that he was just wimping out, but here’s the thing, I’m not much of a morning person myself, but Big Brother is like death that early in the morning. And because he lives more than an hour away from the start, he’d have to be leaving his house at like 4 a.m.!!!

So no, this run will not be the second installment of the sibling rivalry run; that must wait for another day. And until then, I’ll just have to keep gloating over the photos of my first victory. Hehe 😀

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They never get old 😀

And so, while Big Brother is snoozing away in bed, I will be lined up at the start all by my lonesome at that ungodly hour! Seriously, who the hell starts a short run that early in the bloody morning? Public transit isn’t even operating that early, which is a major issue for us as we too live a distance from the site. I’m also trying to figure out what the heck to eat beforehand because unless I wake up at like 2, I won’t have enough time for a proper breakfast, just something quick, easy to digest that doesn’t attack my blood sugars. And another issue…

Take note guys, the following sentence contains info that some of you may find TMI. You have been warned.

… I am going to have the heaviest, leakiest breasts on the planet! The start of the run is a half hour before I typically feed Little Ring, and I’m pretty sure there won’t be enough time to pump – so that’s like 1,000 pounds of milk ready to burst free. Yeah that’s not going to be comfortable at all!

YESTERDAY’S RUN

  • 2:30 p.m. BG before: 4.1
  • Temp. basal: -30 per cent
  • Carbs: Honey Stinger bar; 17 grams, no bolus
  • Distance: 5.12 km – 5′ warmup/20′ tempo/5′ cool down
  • Average pace: 5:49 min/km
  • Average tempo pace: 5:36 min/km
  • Time: 30 minutes
  • 3:30 p.m. BG after: 3.5 😦

Any suggestions on a 5-10 km run in the Vancouver/Lower Mainland area that could be designated the next sibling rivalry run?

The big ‘C’

I’m not Brittany, and I’m not Christina. I’ve run marathons, half marathons, countless other races. I’ve ridden up the demanding hills of Horseshoe Bay on my bike, and twice in one day up Jericho. I can climb the Grouse Grind in a respectable 55 minutes. And I thought, as scary as the prospect is (just like all those other things once were) I could surely compete in childbirth too. The docs, however, seem to have other ideas.

A couple weeks ago my obstetrician asked what my intentions were regarding childbirth. It’s not the first time I’ve been asked this question, so I was prepared, and instantly said I wanted to go the natural way. She gave me a questionable look (apparently the size of my  hippopotamus thumb-sucking alien baby is cause for concern) but left it there merely saying, well we won’t know whether the baby will be able to fit until the time comes.

Fair enough. I knew I had a big baby, and sure it scares the bejesus out of me to push that sucker out, but everyone in my immediate family has had big babies. And my hips look to be far more child-bearing than my mom’s and sister’s who were both rail thin when they got preggers. But then last week I had to see a different obstetrician and she pretty much stuck the fear of God in me.

She spent a good 10-15 minutes going over the dangers of me going through vaginal childbirth.  She told me that my last ultrasound showed a baby with a belly in the 95th percentile, while the rest of it is within the 50th percentile … so pretty much I’ve got a pot-bellied baby!


Really hope our baby doesn’t look like shrunken head guy from Beetlejuice!

She said when you’ve got a ‘husky’ baby you run the risk of presenting shoulder dystocia which is when the head makes its way out, but the shoulders get stuck under mama’s pelvic bone. If that happens, she described a chaotic “emergency style” delivery room with doctors and nurses everywhere trying to manipulate the baby out by doing things like pushing mama’s knees back or the docs trying to pull the shoulders out from under the pelvic bone (uhm, OUCH!). She also noted there’s a possibility the baby’s collarbone could be broken! Not cool 😦

And she prefaced all that with: “I’m not trying to scare you, but ….” Are you freaking kidding me? Seriously, I’m beginning to think they get a thrill out of seeing my eyes grow so wide they nearly pop out of their sockets!


Damn these doctors, not only do they make me wait for 50 minutes before seeing me (my appointment was at 3!) they set off a flurry of worries!

I left that appointment feeling pretty damn despondent. I mean, if my family is built to have babies as my moms has said for as long as I can remember, what the hell is wrong with me? Why was this shoulder thing never once mentioned to my moms or sister-in-law, who are both five-foot nothing and had ginormous 9 pounders? Why were c-sections never once in the cards for them? And it can’t just be the diabetes, because my sister-in-law had gestational diabetes for all her pregnancies? So what the hell is wrong with me?

I know a c-section isn’t the worst thing that could happen to me, and I know some super strong women who had to undergo c-sections for various reasons, but when you’ve heard your whole life your body was built for baby bearing, and now that’s potentially being snatched away from you, I don’t know it feels like a DNF or a DQ… a failure. And the worst part is, I feel I’ve done everything right. My blood sugars have been near perfect, I haven’t over indulged in sweets and fatty treats. I just don’t understand where I went wrong. And that sucks!

We haven’t made a final decision yet, we’re going to wait and see what my next ultrasound on Aug. 23 reveals. The OB said if the baby appears to be 10+ pounds (are you freaking kidding me? How the heck does it go from 5 pounds to 10+ in one month???) then we’ll need to have a serious discussion about the risks and benefits for both sides…

And because of all that, I was forced – forced, I tell you – to go buy a new pair of shoes… or two. And then I was forced – forced, I tell you – to go for another calming pedicure.

Otherwise it would have been tears city, and we can’t have that now can we 😉

For the love of bling

It wasn’t Tiffany’s, but it was bling.

As I stood in the cool Juneuary air with my moms, my favourite running chick and Miss Speedy next to me, a smile washed across my face while listening to the event organizer talk of the reasons why we had all congregated at Thunderbird Stadium that morning: “We wanted to stay fit, keep active, bond with other women,” she said. But my favourite running chick, she knew we were there for other reasons. She leaned over towards me, soft giggles exiting her mouth as she whispered, “I’m here for the bling!”


Indeed.

Saturday morning my moms and I walked the 5 km Starbucks Run for Women, while my favourites ran the 10k.


Favourite Running Chick and Miss Speedy.

It’s always a risk signing up for first-time events, knowing that they can’t possibly live up to the glory of well-established runs, but hoping they won’t completely bomb (ie. run out of water, run out of fuel, have no spectators, have unenthusiastic volunteers… I’ve been burned on this in the past). But this run, for its first time in Vancouver, was so well organized, it didn’t feel like a small run at all! It had great volunteers, an awesome motivational speech by Canadian Olympian Jen Heil, who also ran in the 5k event, and coming into the finish line, all our names were announced by none other than John Stanton – just like in big time events!

I couldn’t have asked for a better morning. It was a gorgeous setting through the trails of UBC, and great mother-daughter bonding time for me and my moms.


Heart!

This was the first time my moms and I have participated in an organized event together, and let me just say, she’s a little motorer. There was only one time, early on as we climbed a hill, that she had to slow me down, telling me that she didn’t quite have the fitness in her legs that I’ve got built in mine. But as soon as we crested that hill, it was as though she had a fire chasing her legs. I kept asking her, how she was, if we needed to slow down, and with a lovely smile on her face she kept telling me she was doing great.


When we crossed the finish line, we were rewarded with a specially designed Foxy bracelet; the only thing missing were the firemen to hand them out 😉


Moms showing off her bling…


Favourites showing off their bling!

And the cameras, my gawd, they love the thumb-sucking alien baby bump! I swear I’ve never before had so many pics taken of me by event photographers! And yes, I did “borrow” these … Thanks My Sports Shooter!


And this wasn’t even all the pics taken of me!

Total mileage this weekend: 18 km; 3 km shy of a half marathon!


And that’s the smile of ice cream cake visions about to become reality in my belly 😀

Never Eat Soggy Weiners my butt

I knew something wasn’t right, could feel it in my bones, my legs, my feet. But I kept going … and going … and going. I had directions, Big Ring directions, which for most people probably border on the obsessive with the amount of detail in them, but for me are a necessity.

You see, I get lost. A lot. It doesn’t matter how often I have walked, ran, cycled or driven an area, I will inevitably get turned around re-seeking that area. I get lost in the town I grew up in,  the town I currently live in, heck, I even get lost trying to find my way home again. Directions have absolutely no meaning to me, I don’t trust GPS’, I can’t read maps, and seriously, what the heck is up with that Never Eat Soggy Weiners compass cross that you learned about in Grade 3 – it doesn’t work!

This morning I had an eye specialist appointment in Vancouver to check and see if the pregnancy is causing disturbing blood spots on my retina (more on that in a future post). And the plan was for me to walk from West Broadway to the Running Room in the West End where I was to pick up mine and my moms packages for the Starbucks Women’s Walk/Run tomorrow. The trip should have taken 40 minutes…

Big Ring gave me two options, which I failed to study before getting the dilation drops in my eyes, which make everything blurry for hours. Big mistake! But I did ask, before leaving the loft, which direction east was coming out of the office, based on the first point in one of his options. He told me, the way I came.


Take note, there’s an option 1 and 2.

After the eye appointment, I spent a good 10 minutes (despite Big Ring’s use of larger script) with directional option 2 practically glued to my eyes, trying to figure out how to get from point a to point b. I left the office, turned right, and started walking. Two seconds in though, I remembered, no, that’s not the right way, I have to go left. I turned around and continued on my way.

But the thing is, with every step I took, a nugget of doubt grew in my belly. The directions were to take me over the Burrard Street Bridge, which I’ve gone over hundreds of times, and never, not once, have I ever gone this way to get to that bridge. But then I thought, hey maybe Big Ring’s just trying to give me a longer stroll, so I continued on.

After awhile, I figured I’d get some added clarity. I pulled out my iPhone map app and typed in Burrard Street, Vancouver. A map pulled up indicating that I was in the Mt. Pleasant area. I started walking with the app, and by all accounts it appeared I was walking in the right direction, so I kept going.

But it didn’t take long for nasty thoughts to fill my head: My god, where the hell is he sending me; Longest frickin’ walk ever; Is he trying to kill my legs??? Finally, after walking for nearly an hour, I called the culprit.

Princess: You did tell me to walk toward Mountain Equipment Co-op right?
Big Ring: Yep, if you were taking the Skytrain option.
Princess: What Skytrain option? I’m walking!
Big Ring: Uhh, where are you?
Princess: Victoria and Broadway.
Big Ring: Oh.

Yeah, so I was nowhere near where I should have been. I could have walked back, but my blood sugars were fast plummeting, so I hopped on the bus, with the intention of getting off at Granville, to continue the trek in the right direction. But, guess who missed her stop? Yep, that was me. So another bijillion blocks later to get back up to Burrard. Are you kidding me?


My day in maps.

After picking up the walk packages, I sluggishly hoofed it over to Coal Harbour, my old running grounds.


Being back here again had me longing for my running shoes.

Twelve kilometres, a slice of banana bread, a less than impressive Whole Foods sandwich, a chat with a four-year-old girl from London, and a pair of throbbing legs, feet and buttocks later, and I was finally back on the Skytrain heading home… praying I got on the right train!

A marathon of different sorts

Sometimes you really just need to veg. For two straight weeks, 14 full days, I’ve been go-go-go. Work has been absolutely insane with the dramas leading up to the election; the pads of my fingers are practically raw from the amount I’ve been typing, and there has been NO paid downtime, which really I’m not so thrilled about. And when I’m not at work, I’m either blogging (although truthfully, I’ve somewhat fallen by the wayside on that one, sorry guys) or planning adventures for the future (more on that… in the future).

By yesterday afternoon, I was feeling like I’d been whipped by a ton of bricks. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t think. I could barely keep my eyes open.

I napped from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and then dragged myself out of bed, down the stairs, and proceeded to plop myself onto the couch for another five hours (minus the 30 minutes it took to cook and eat my omelette).

I was quite happy to learn the Food Network is now in high definition, which means I’m now “allowed” to watch that channel, which I did for about an hour and a half. (Mario’s quite strict about HD and non-HD channels… we are NOT allowed to watch non-HD, although I do sneak in Friends and Sex and the City now and again :D) After the Food Network, I moved on to a 4-episode Modern Family marathon, and then onto a two-episode Bored to Death half marathon.

After Tiffany, with this self-imposed break from training, I thought for sure I’d have oodles of free time to catch up on my TV watching and socializing and reenergizing given that I wasn’t training every free moment. But it seems, for me at least, once I let one thing go, I add on 500 bijillion more things to make up for that ONE thing. Reasonable?

After a night of vegging, I was ready to experience the outside world again. So today, Mario and I sampled a bit of Paris, mixed with upscale Vancouver at Faubourg, a French patisserie in Kerrisdale.


Pain au chocolate et chocolat chaud est parfaite!

And because you can’t go to Paris (or at least Vancouver’s version of Paris) without wearing stylish shoes, I spent the afternoon walking around in heels, which is quite the feat (hahaha :D) given that I only wear heels when I don’t have to walk very far at all. I love heels, I love the look of heels, but I pretty much can’t walk in them.

But one of my running chicks has been encouraging me to break free of my flats and practice, practice, practice walking in heels. Soon, she says, I’ll be able to run in them. I’m dubious.

But hey, I never thought I could run either, so maybe she’s onto something 😉

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.


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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.