Sunday, January 24, 2010

Food Stories

Endurance athletes LOVE food. There's no doubt about it. Talk to any athlete and they will have a food story. We love to eat. It's the nature of spending a ridiculous amount of time and energy outside, in motion, for hours on end.

The best potato chip ever - Corey Pass, Summer '08

A few years back, in a past life, I was once an adventure racer. Adventure racers in particular are food obsessed. You spend hours on end, running around in the woods, frequently delirious, exhausted and hungry. The very nature of this sport, inspires frequent conversations and fantasies involving food. Eventually, when you are adventure racing or running for hours on end the trail chatter ALWAYS end up coming back to the subject of food. The dialogue often starts with the phrase:

"You know what would taste good right now?"

And digress quickly into fantasy:

"I want bacon. Yeah. Bacon and beer. Wait. I want chocolate. Yeah. Oh. How about chocolate covered bacon with a beer?!?"

Those discussions would be followed up with:

"When this is over, I am going to eat a......*insert food fantasy here*"

Yes, whether you are an adventure racer, a trail runner, a triathlete or a mountain biker, we love food.

Halloween Run '08: The Coffee Crisp Experiment

During Friday's long run, I had a funny little thing occur which involved a Cliff Bar and My Bra. This got me thinking about "food stories". I have so many fantastic memories and stories involving friends, food and adventures be it on the trail, on the ski slopes, on a bike or in a canoe
. In fact, one of the many multitudes of super incredible reasons my husband fell in love with me was because of a food story. But I digress.

Friday's run was a long one. Running in cold weather is always challenging and it's especially challenging to eat and drink properly. Not only do you not feel as thirsty as you would on a hot day, but crazy things happen to impede you from drinking and eating like you should. For example, my water system frequently freezes up. On Friday, my Cliff Bar was so solid I thought I was going to lose my front teeth eating the thing, so I put it in my bra to warm it up. It worked like a charm and in minutes I had a soft bar to enjoy, so I ate half a bar and put the other half back in my bra...unwrapped.

Boulder Pass, Peanut butter and Jam, today at about 2:00PM.

I kept running for about half an hour before I remember the Bar, nestled in between the Girls all cozy and warm. When I reached in to get my snack, I discovered my Chocolate Almond Explosion bar had melted and adhered to the inside of my bra. I had to fight with it to get it out, but it still tasted great!

Aaaaah, so many food stories and memories. This little event reminded me of so many others....

Cycling shorts are, in fact, the BEST place to store food. While adventure racing, I would frequently carry a virtual smorgasborg of deliciousness stuffed in the front legs of my shorts. People were amazed when I would randomly pull out pieces of beef jerky, fig newtons and entire slices of pizza out of my shorts. This system worked well, but was *slightly* problematic when you had to go to the bathroom.

I have a friend who did an Ironman a few years back and when asked to describe how the experience was, summed it up with her fondest memory:

"I was halfway into my marathon run and feeling rotten. I was tired and grumpy and had stopped eating and drinking because I couldn't stomach anything. I was rummaging through my collection of Gu Gels, and Sports Beans and all of this synthetic crap when I found a Ziploc full of Pringles Potato Chips. When I bit into that chip and tasted the fatty salty goodness, it was the best thing I had tasted in my whole life...."

Aaaaah. Food and sport. I can still visualize and taste in my mind, a sandwich that I once found in the bottom of my pack, during a particularly long 12hr+ day of racing. I too, found myself rummaging through a variety of snacks that had long since lost any appeal when I found it. It was a bacon, avocado and havarti sandwich that had squished itself in the far corner of my hydration pack, almost pulverized beyond recogniton, but still intact in it's happy ziploc home. It was in fact, and still is in my mind the singlemost tasty morsel of deliciousness that I have EVER eaten.

Oh yeah,
of the many multitudes of super incredible reasons my husband fell in love with me, was because of a slice of pizza.

This food story takes place on a chairlift. Fifteen years ago I was riding a chairlift with the younger-version-of-Keith, who was a very hungry ski bum. While riding the chairlift, I offered him a piece of pizza. He was instantly smitten when I reached into my pack and pulled out an unwrapped piece of pizza. Ah, wuv.

On that note, I will wrap up the food stories. I'd love to hear some of your stories, I know that you all have them!

The Readers Digest Condensed Version of my weekend went like this:

Friday, Run for 6 1/2 hours, twice up Sulphur, great run, great day complete with the Chocolate Almond Explosion Cliff Bar. Saturday, 5 hours of ski touring in a very beautiful place with fluffy turns. Prosciuto and Avocado, with a Coffee Crisp which I mooched. Sunday, run to Skoki, 29km. PB and J, with a butter tart for second breakfast.

I got a new camera and so far I'm enjoying the results! It's shockproof and waterproof and hopefully food proof. It will frequently find itself in the pocket of my shorts, next to the unwrapped Toblerone triangle and the handful of salty pecans.

We had a very pretty ski day on Saturday, enjoy the pictures.

And some random silliness running the snowmobile trail into Skoki Lodge:

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Ice, Ice Baby

See that shimmer of ice on the river? It's ice, ice baby. This past week, we were hammered by chinook winds and had a great meltdown. I was lovin' up the warm temperatures, but my trails were left in a frozen, solid, treacherous skating rink. It was a grey day for a run, but I got myself 3 1/2 hours of solid running. Thank-you Kahtoolas. I love you.

Saturday, I got myself a visitor: the lovely Neasa joined me for a run out the back door and up Sulphur Mountain. We walked most of it, because I was feeling tired and sluggish, plus I wanted to visit! It's hard to socialize when you are running up a mountain, heavy breathin' and gasping. Thanks, Neasa!

It was such a great day, I headed back out the door and went up to Lake Minnewanka to check out the state of the ice on the lake. I thought maybe, just maybe it might be in good enough shape to go for a ride on the bike. I threw the Frankenbike in the car, a mean looking cyclocross bike with studded knobby tires. I was hoping for a ride on the lake...

But no such luck. Fresh snow on ice meant Frankenbike couldn't get any traction. I did however, go for Run #2 right down the middle of the lake. The funny part was that I forgot my runners, so I ran in my Nike snow boots and Kahtoolas. It didn't matter, because there was nobody around to point and laugh at me! It was so beautiful and I got to see the sun go down on the mountains from the middle of a giant frozen lake. And I got me some quality Leslie solo time....

My snowy foot prints

To round out the weekend, Stu and I went for a great tour some place new. For a longtime, I've wanted to walk up this little mountain...with it's flat easy slope I've been wanting to go up it for quite some time to check out the view.

The destination.

The view was great! We managed to get a few runs in as well - 4 laps on a real nice little snowy slope. Sweeeet. A nice way to round out the weekend.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Hola, Mexico and Other Adventures

The holidays have come to an end, the decadence is done and I think I ate myself into a semi crazed chocolate induced coma. It was all a bit of a blur, in a good way. Pre-Christmas, we had visitors from Blog Land and enjoyed meeting Jonathon and Kristen from South Carolina. We enjoyed some great company: the lovely Lara of Ottawa visiting for a few days and my mom for The Big Day. Mom arrived on Christmas Eve Day and we relaxed our way through Christmas Day and Boxing Day. It was awesome! I snuck out for a few runs, but mostly we just turned off the computer and relaxed. We flew off to Mexico shortly afterwards. Phew.

The week in Mexico was great: quality time spent relaxing with the rest of my family doing the All-Inclusive resort thing. My Dad and step-mom celebrated their 25th Anniversary and we rang in the New Year in style. Thank-you, thank-you and thank-you for a special holiday! Keith and I embarked on a gluttonous journey of the Mexican Dessert Table and Other Eating Adventures. It was a fat and sassy week! In fact, we were so relaxed, we didn't even take a single photo of the buffet, the beautiful resort, the beach or me in my bikini. :)

Needless to say, the beach was great, the holidays were fabulous, but after weeks of socializing, eating and decadence I felt the overwhelming need for a return to normalcy.

I needed me some of this:

A winter fix of one of my favorite places
, the totally amazing Skoki Lodge. As you can see, it was a perfect day for a running adventure into the lodge for a visit, and a return trip back out. At the lodge we got to visit Allison and got tea, treats and soup! Now that is backcountry bliss!

Keith and I had a great day, it's always such an enjoyable (but always challenging....) winter run. There's a lot of days in winter that the trail conditions are less than ideal for a runner. With soft snow, wind and drifts, you need to wait for an ideal day and be prepared to turn around if things get sketchy. This was not one of those days! It was pretty much a perfect day. Keith is overjoyed to be back running some longer distances and seems to be well on the road to recovery and running stronger than ever.

We also had the pleasure of a quick visit with Leo, who was driving some supplies in on his sled. Not everyone gets a hug on Deception Pass!

To top of a rather social day in the middle of nowhere, we ran into Dave and Brenda who were skiing in to the lodge for the weekend. We got in 29km and a bunch of hours on our feet and it was a most excellent day....

I *love* Dave and Brenda!!

We followed it up the next day, with a ski tour up to the Sunshine backcountry. Keith decided to challenge himself with something new:

Oh yeah! Keith had fun on his snowboard and I got in 3 hours of ski touring and a great visit with friends Michelle and Christine. We got some exercise and made some pretty powder turns. Thanks, ladies!

To finish up a great weekend, today, Mike and I got a lift to Johnston Canyon for a sweet long run. We had a warm up run up the pretty canyon and then ran the 25km back to town, for 30km total. Yiiiihaw! A fine way to wind up the weekend...

Jumping for Joy!