Monday, July 7, 2008

Seek the Peak

Yesterday Nicole and I took part in Seek the Peak. It is a 16km route that starts from Ambleside at the seawall in West Vancouver and ends at the chalet at the top of Grouse Mountain after gaining 1000m of elevation.

The event can be run as a relay and there are 4 different stages. We decided to register solo and run the whole thing together. The first stage was only 3.5km, which we ran. When we got to stage 2, which was 6km, we starting walking more, mostly because it was through the Capilano Canyon, which is so beautiful and we were really enjoying ourselves. I really want to go back and walk around some more. I loved the narrow canyons and deep, clear water.

The third stage started at the base of the Grouse Grind. We finished the grind in 58 minutes, which is our second fastest climb this year so far. It was great! I was wearing my running hat and it really helped to get in the zone and climb. With my head down, the visor blocked out everything that wasn't a step or two away and then all there was to do was to keep marching on.

The clouds were really low and so as we neared the top it started to get misty. It was very refreshing. Once at the top of the grind there was only one more stage to go! We followed a route marked by little pink flags over trails, dirt roads and sometimes uneven grassy areas to the very peak of Grouse mountain and turned around at the Peak Chair. As we headed down we realized we were very close to finishing in under 3 hours and although we hadn't felt the urge to rush and had no time goal, this seemed like a good opportunity. We were almost back and came around the bear area and both grizzlies were right there! But we had no time to stop! It is so cool to see those animals. They are huge. Only had time to glance over our shoulders as we ran through a mucky, uneven meadow and back onto the trail. Just down and around the corner and we crossed the finish line together into the little plaza area at the top. Hooray!

We agreed that this race is at the top of both our lists. The scenery was fantastic, it's a big challenge, you get to see bears, and Grouse Mountain is a fabulous place to be. :) We went inside the chalet and before catching the tram back down to the parking lot we shared a veggie panini and a huge plate of poutine. I was home by one and then barely an hour later Luke and I were out the door and heading to Buntzen Lake for Loranda's birthday. Busy!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Pampered Chef Sale!

I have a bunch of Pampered Chef products for sale. Some are brand new, some have been used as demos a few times. Let me know if you are interested! More product information can be found at

Monday, June 16, 2008

Excited for summer

There's always something to be excited about. :) Now that running is over and the weather seems to be turning around summer plans are definitely taking shape. The marathon in Tofino last weekend (June 8th) was tough but it's done and I'm not afraid to boast that I have run 3 marathons and I've got the medals to prove it. :) Not planning on running any more for a while. Well, I guess until July 6th since Nicole and I have decided to sign up for the Seek the Peak event. You can do it as a team, relay or solo and since there's only the 2 of us, we are going to be registering solo and doing the whole thing side by side. It's only 16km (10miles) and having just run 42km I'm not at all worried about that part. I am, however, a bit worried about the 1000m elevation gain and the fact that it's a race and I don't really consider myself to be a "racer", but whatever. Says right on the website that it's not strictly for elite athletes. We're trained and we're suckers for punishment and Grouse has a special place in our hearts, particularly Nicole's since she was married up top last summer. :)

I'm so happy the weather has warmed up. We tried to hike Hollyburn Mountain on Saturday morning but there was too much snow. A few more days like today though and we should be fine. After the (aborted) hike we went out to Abby to help the Closs' go through Luke and Loranda's old stuff in preparation for their move. Luke and I came home and decided to finally finish our apartment cleaning and we hit the den like a tornado. We are not planning on moving for some time and we needed to make space and get rid of junk so a few weeks ago we started a major clean up. It feels so good to have it all finished. We've brought countless bags down to the trash and recycling, made a big trip to the Salvation Army and have 4 big boxes of stuff destined for a garage sale. We were ruthless, and have been rewarded with empty drawers and space on shelves that were jam-packed before. Things are neat and tidy and we are quite pleased with ourselves.

Nicole and I bought our passes for Grouse and have made 3 trips up the grind so far with Beth and Mel. First time this year took us (Nicole, Beth and I) 1hr12min, second time (Nicole, Beth, Mel and I) was 1hr30min and Sunday morning Nicole and I went looking for a good workout and finished in 1hr1min.

It was a great morning. I scooted to the grind and met her there at 7:40. The roads were empty and it was a beautiful day. It was exhilerating scooting over the bridges surrounded by and taking in the scenery and I was very surprised to get to the grind and see that the parking lot was more full then than it was on Thursday after work when we went up. Coming down the tram it was interesting to see the type of folks who'd just made the climb. Not everyone gets out of bed that early to climb 800m. On the trail there were two teenage boys that raced past us at the beginning. We caught up to them resting at the quarter mark and they took off again. Saw them resting again at the halfway mark and when they saw us they got up and reluctantly started up again. At the 3/4 mark they were sitting down and we passed them. I could see them a few switchbacks down as we neared the top and we muttered to eachother that we weren't going to let them pass us, perfect "turtle and the hare" demonstration. We pushed it to the top and swiped our cards just as they were coming out of the trees. What a workout! Normally my heartrate drops pretty quickly, but I had to walk this one off for a few minutes. Haven't felt that nauseous-bust-a-lung feeling in a while - it was great. :)

For Father's day yesterday Luke and I went sailing with mom and dad. We had clear blue skies and enough of a wind to sail for a while. Luke and I are feeling pretty confident that we could take the boat out on our own now. We went to Clark Island, bbq'd some dinner and sailed home as the sun was setting. I put some photos up on my flickr page.

We're planning a sailing trip for the Canada Day long weekend and I'm excited. Should be a lot of fun. I've also got lots of ideas for hikes this summer. We post those and our upcoming grind trips on our wiki. Check it out!

Adios for now amigos!!

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Causing mayhem in the city

Luke, Nicole, Shawn and I joined the Critical Mass bike rally last night. It was the first time I'd joined such a ride and it was a blast. Here is the route that we took:

It was pretty fun causing havoc for Friday commuters. Some accepted the fact that they were going nowhere, many complained, a few tried to penetrate the masses of bikes and ended up being swarmed by cyclists and trapped. The parade of bikes was kilometres long. It was so cool to see the cyclists fan out when we'd get to an unblocked intersection to position themselves in front of the cars to hold the area open for the flood of bicycles (it's called corking). It was wonderful being able to ride on the road with no cars. We stopped in a few places to allow everyone to catch up. Once on the top of the Burrard Bridge and then again on the top of the Lions Gate bridge. We basically stopped traffic completely on the Lions Gate. We rode to the apex, stopped for a while and then turned around and rode back through Stanley Park and into the city. We even had the counterflow lane heading to the bridge along the causeway. :) It was so beautiful at the top of the bridge! The ocean was gold from the low sun and everyone was smiling. Even a few of the drivers got out to admire the view. They were so lucky to be stopped there!

There were thousands of bikes. It was so much fun. I especially liked it when someone would call out "We're not blocking traffic!" and everyone would shout back "WE ARE TRAFFIC!!" This week has been "bike to work week" and the weather was wonderful so the turnout was great. It is supposed to be even bigger next month since June is "bike month". I'm hoping to join that ride too. I left the group after Stanley Park when we got to Burrard. That was nearly 3 hours of riding and I was tired, hungry and had a pretty sore bum.

Saturday, May 24, 2008


One week ago I returned from a 10-day Vipassana retreat as taught by S. N. Goenka. It took place at the Vipassana Meditation Centre of BC which is located off the Coquihalla 30km east of the tollbooth. I'd like to share my experience, but I'm hesitant because of the influence it could possibly have on future students' expectations and also because it's difficult to put into words an experience like this. Everyone's story is unique and here I will share some of my thoughts and interpretations.

I drove to the retreat with four other people; three of us were new students, one woman was returning for her second course and one woman for her third. It was reassuring to learn that people return to these retreats! We left the city at 11:30am and pulled into the driveway of the centre just after 2pm. Registration was from 2-5pm followed by orientation and a light supper. We were to gather together that evening for the introductory discourse to prepare us for the first day of the course.

The discourses were given every evening at 7pm and were video recordings of Goenka discussing the technique and theory of Vipassana. His discourses were always a pleasure to listen to. Questions I had during the day were often answered during the discourse that night. Goenka also introduced and concluded the led meditation sessions via audio recordings. I was already aware of this format going into the course but had I not known I can see how it would have been surprising to hear a strange man's voice come over the speakers while the teachers meditated at the front of the room in perfect stillness.

The first evening we were all to agree to the five precepts and we repeated them aloud to the teachers. The five precepts are as follows: abstain from killing, abstain from stealing, do not tell lies, abstain from all sexual activity and abstain from all intoxicants. Old students had three more precepts to follow: abstain from eating after midday, abstain from sensual entertainment and bodily decorations and abstain from using high or luxurious beds. Agreeing to these precepts and requesting in unison to be taught Vipassana from our teachers marked the first of three parts to the training. By laying this ethical framework we were establishing sila, or moral conduct, onto which we would build samadhi, or concentration of the mind through Anapana meditation. Thirdly, panna, or wisdom, follows through regular Vipassana meditation practice.

Noble silence was instated at the end of the discourse and at 9pm we went to bed. Lights out at 10. Noble silence is silence of body, speech and mind. There was to be no further contact with those around us. No speaking, no gesturing - we were to act as if we were completely alone. If a problem were to arise we were to address the teachers or the designated management personnel. There was one individual for the men and one for the women as men and women are separated. The silence was relatively easy. Everyone co-operates and it really wasn't difficult. There was the odd time you'd want to hold a door open for someone, say "bless you" when they sneezed, or let them pass in the lunch line, but everyone understood, as far as I could tell. Silently my 2 roommates and I got into our beds and went to sleep, not really sure what to expect over the next 10 days.

Day 1:
At 4am the gong sounds. It's a nice chime, but it's so early. At 4:25 it sounds again and by 4:30 we are to be meditating in our rooms or in the meditation hall. The first day, everyone went to the hall. I went into the hall and sat down in the space designated to me the night before, not knowing what to expect. The first 3 days we learn Anapana meditation. Today we are simply observing the breath. The natural breath, unregulated. We are learning to be aware of the inhalations and the exhalations. When my mind wanders... I am to gently, kindly bring it back. It's ok, the mind wanders, come back to the breath. We meditate from 4:30 to 6:30. The schedule every day went like this:

4am - wake up
4:30-6:30 - meditate in your room or in the hall
6:30-8 - breakfast and rest
8-9 - first group sitting in the hall
9-11 - meditate in your room or in the hall according to the teacher
11-noon - lunch and rest
noon-1pm - interviews with the teachers
1-2:30 - meditated in your room or in the hall
2:30-3:30 - second group sitting in the hall
3:30-5 - meditate in your room or in the hall according to the teacher
5-6 - tea
6-7 - third group sitting in the hall
7-8:15 - evening discourse
8:15-9 - final meditation in the hall
9-9:30 - questions for the teacher or rest
10 - lights out

The breakfast bar was the same everyday: oatmeal, toast, granola, fruit, herbal tea. Most days I would either go outside or take a nap after eating. At 7:55 the gong would sound and we would head into the hall for the first of three group sittings. We would often receive new instructions in the previous night's discourse and then work on those things during the subsequent sessions. Goenka would chant and talk us through the first few minutes and then it would be silent. After about an hour his voice would come in over the speakers chanting "anicca....", which is "impermanence" in Pali. This word was repeated many, many times throughout the course. The sitting would conclude with him chanting in Pali "May all beings be happy" three times. We all agree by repeating "sadhu" three times.

I meditated in the hall for the first couple days and then started staying in my room when it was ok to do so. Our window faced east and it was so nice to see the sun rise and fill the room with gold. My room was also more comfortable and I felt more relaxed, sometimes too relaxed though and I'd have to get up and walk around from time to time to stay awake.

The first day went by quite quickly and I fell asleep pretty easily, despite it barely being dark out. In the first few hours of the day I'd already meditated more than ever before in my life. It wasn't easy but it wasn't hard either... yet. Focus on the breath, I can do that. I do that in my yoga practice all the time. Sitting comfortably was harder, but there were shelves full of cushions and other props to try. Some people built themselves elaborate supports but I managed to get by with a backrest, my meditation cushion and 2 small cushions for under each knee, as well as a blanket for the chilly mornings. I was impressed by those who could sit with hardly anything and not move an inch throughout the sittings.

Day 2:
Today we are focusing on the triangular area encompassing the nose and nostrils and the top of the upper lip. Noticing where the breath touches and observing it. At first I didn't feel it very much. The mind chatter would get louder, I'd notice it, come back to breathing and then feel the touch again. Already my mind feels clear. I'm rocking this. Then, as a defense mechanism, my mind fought back and I became completely distracted. Our minds build walls for protection and habit patterns are developed to help us react, but these reactions often lead to suffering and the habits must be broken. I had trouble focusing for the rest of the day and into the evening. I had a hard time falling asleep and when I woke up the next morning I signed up to speak to the teacher to see if she had any advice on how to deal with a mind that was trying to sabotage my efforts to reach enlightenment.

Day 3:
Today we narrow our focus and become mindful of the area below the nostrils, above the upper lip. We are concentrating on smaller and smaller areas to further sharpen our minds. I talk to the teacher today after lunch and she tells me that what I had been experiencing the previous day and throughout this morning is very common and she tells me to keep coming back to the breath. These thoughts, however distracting are impermanent. They won't last. I'm feeling much better by the evening. It's very quiet here. After 3 days of Anapana meditation, tomorrow is Vipassana Day and I'm looking forward to it.

Day 4:
Vipassana Day! The morning carries on as usual but there are no midday interviews and at 2pm we are summoned to the hall by the gong. We are to undergo our first "sitting of strong determination." Here we sit completely still for the duration of the session. For our first Vipassana meditation we are led through for 2 hours by Goenka. We start at the top of the head and move down to the tips of the toes observing any and all sensations that come up. We are to observe the sensation (heat, cold, tingling, prickling, itching, throbbing, pulsing, etc). Observing the sensation without feeling any craving or aversion and watching it arise and pass is essential to fully understand the physical nature of impermanence. It becomes habit to react without thinking to our environment and as we develop cravings and aversions to these stimuli, our habit patterns become more deeply ingrained. Everything passes, everything changes; it is senseless to wish it otherwise because that is impossible and to wish it so only causes suffering. How I choose to react will determine whether I suffer or whether I am happy. It is only up to me. In the discourses, Goenka would talk about the importance of experience. It is easy to read books, to learn theory, but to actually practice and learn through experience is essential for complete understanding. And complete understanding is essential for liberation from misery and suffering. I feel like I have a lot of work to do.

Sitting still for 2 hours is HARD. First it was my knees that started aching, then my back. I think I moved once or twice. After the 2 hours I stood up slowly, feeling the blood rush back into my legs and feet and I went outside. During our breaks or rest periods we were free to walk the paths through the forest outside. The men had their designated paths and so did the women. The areas weren't very big but it was so nice to go outside. I'd felt pretty good the previous few days, sometimes finding it difficult to keep from smiling. The evening of day 4 though I couldn't help it. I went out walking in the forest with the biggest grin on my face. I was so happy! Everything made me smile. The food was delicious, the air smelled so fresh and clean, the absurdity of all these people coming together and sitting together so closely in complete silence nearly had me laughing out loud on occasion. I felt so free clear and I think without really realizing it at the time I was so looking forward to day 5 and the halfway mark that it represented.

Day 5:
As of today the three group sittings are sittings of strong determination and we can't move for one hour. I've figured out a way to sit comfortably by now and today when the closing chanting starts and I move for the first time I feel refreshed. Today we are observing sensations from the top of the head to the toes and then back up from the toes to the top of the head. Up and down, up and down. Equanimously. Observing, not reacting, observing, not reacting. Going to bed I am so happy to be halfway over. I'm glad I'm here, but it is hard and already I'm looking forward to going home. Hooray for halfway!!

Day 6:
Ugh, only halfway. Still day 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10. That is so long, I can't meditate any more. I woke up a bit sour. After the first group sit at 8 my roommate and I returned to our room for water and we were surprised to see that our third roommate had packed up and left. Her bed is bare, her things are gone. I didn't even know her name. Strange to live with someone for 6 days and then suddenly have them be gone. I'm restless the whole day and I sign up to speak to the teachers at lunch. I can't possibly meditate anymore. Come back to the breath I'm told. When the mind wanders, forget the sensations for a while and just breathe. Find the quiet, don't crave it. It will come. Just breathe. In the discourse we are told that day 2 and day 6 are often the hardest for people. That's exactly what I have felt and that is comforting. All will pass.

Days 7, 8, 9:
We continue to observe the sensations, we go up and down and up and down the body, observing larger chunks together at a time. The areas that were previously blind start to awaken. I can feel where I couldn't feel before. On the mountain across from the centre I see a face in the hillside. The mountain man becomes my friend and I talk to him and look at him exasperatingly when I open my eyes and realize I've been imagining brand new episodes of The Office and House in my head. The days go by and I can keep my focus for longer and longer stretches of time. By the end of day 9 I'm so excited for day 10 and how it will unfold. I miss Luke, I miss my friends and family and I miss my snuggly orange cat. I can't wait to go hiking and camping and to read and write and sleep past 4am and eat dinner and cook and bake and do yoga! The yoga! I miss it!

Day 10:
Morning schedule as usual. After our 8am sit we come back to the hall to learn metta bhavna (loving kindness) meditation. Goenka often uses the metaphor of performing deep surgery on the mind by practicing Vipassana meditation. We are extracting deeply rooted sankharas and metta bhavna will now act as a soothing balm for our wounds. I don't really feel like I've undergone surgery, but it's hard to tell in such a peaceful, supportive, loving environment. We are guided for about an hour by Goenka and for me this was one of the most powerful sittings. We are instructed to once again tune into the subtle sensations we have sharpened our minds to feel and then infuse these sensations with love and send them outward. Love. Goodwill. Peace. Happiness. May all beings be happy, may all beings be peaceful. The audio stops, the teachers get up and leave the hall. I was a bit confused. What do we do now? Slowly people start to leave the hall. I get up and go out. At the end of the hallway is a sign saying "Noble silence is now over...". I avoid looking at anyone and slip out the door to find someplace quiet to sit. We can talk now, but now is when I feel like I need silence the most. Love brings happiness and peace. Ill will brings misery and suffering. The choice seems obvious. Everything seems so clear and I feel very peaceful outside listening to the nearby creek. I go into the dining hall where people have gathered and are chatting excitedly. It was so refreshing and reassuring to hear everyone's experiences. We all had crazy dreams, we all had doubts. Day 2 and 6 were hard for many. We all peeked when our eyes were supposed to be shut. Many of us wanted to run halfway through (one woman I spoke to had silently wished for a passing helicopter to stop and scoop her up and take her away). I realized that the silence isn't just to make it easier to clear our minds but also so that we wouldn't compare experiences as we were going through them not to influence them. "I feel tingling do you feel tingling? I don't feel it! Oh no! I've failed! I'm doomed to be miserable forever!" That kind of thing.

After a few hours we were back in the hall at 2:30 for the regularly scheduled group sitting. The evening went by quickly and we were fed a light dinner (what a treat!). By 9pm everyone was exhausted. Talking is so draining and my head feels like it's spinning!

Day 11:
I have never been so happy to be woken up at 4am. At 5:15 we were summoned to the hall for the final discourse. Breakfast was at 6:30 and by 8 we were on the road heading home. It was quite a shift from the slow, peaceful, quiet life we had been living to suddenly be merging onto the Coquihalla. It was a beautiful day. The snow was melting along the highway and waterfalls were full and gushing with the spring thaw. Everything was so bright and green. As we exited off the freeway in Vancouver I started to feel a little overwhelmed. There were so many people, so much noise, so much busy-ness. It was so wonderful to walk in the door and see Luke and Jebus. As I reconnected with friends and family that day I was surprised by the culture shock and how sensitive I was feeling. This week has been busy and full of distractions and while I have felt very refreshed and alive, I'm also slightly sad as the chatter in my mind picks up and the quiet starts to fade. I'm looking forward to re-establishing my yoga practice and including Vipassana in my routine. I think the two practices will be very complimentary.

This was an amazing experience and obviously a life-long process and is something that I can see helping so many people. I've been asked if I feel like I've changed and the answer is definitely yes, but it's impossible not to change. We change with every breath, every moment of every day. I've thought about those 10 days and what I learned every single day since I've been home. While I was there I couldn't wait to come home and there was no way that you could convince me that I would ever go back, but on the 10th day something changed, and now I know that I'll definitely return. I'm happy to talk to anyone about the course if you have any questions and I have some books that I'd be happy to lend out. I know it's not for everyone, but who doesn't want to be liberated from misery and live a life of happiness and peace? Everyone deserves that.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Marathon day

First of all, happy Cinco de Mayo and happy birthday to my superstar orange cat Jebus, who is 7 today!

Well Nicole and I ran the marathon yesterday. The weather was wonderful, maybe a bit on the warm side, but that made the cool ocean breezes that much more refreshing. In order to mentally tackle such a huge distance I divided the race into 4 chunks. First was the out-and-back to Granville Island from BC Place along 2nd/6th/4th. Granville Island is where we first met up with our amazing husbands on their bikes. Michael was taking photos and they showed up along the route many more times than we expected and were so supportive. It was getting quite warm already at 8am and I was relieved to see some clouds coming in as we made our way to the 2nd chunk along Prior nearly to Clark and back through downtown along Cordova. There were quite a few stations set up with music and I thought it was pretty hilarious how loud it was cranked for early on a Sunday morning. Get out of bed everyone! Come to your window and cheer us on!!

Soon we were heading into Stanley Park (3rd section) and past the halfway mark! Stanley Park is such a nice place to run. The marathon has always had a huge hill that is in Stanley Park but it was taken out this year and swapped for a slightly less long and steep hill. As we made our way to the top and could just make out the crest of the hill we spotted Luke and Michael. Soon we were passing the 16 mile mark - only 10 more to go! This is where I started to feel tired. I think from the beginning Nicole was feeling stronger than I was, but this is where it stopped being "easy" for me.

My parents were waiting at the Burrard bridge and it was great to see them. At the other side of the bridge we saw Camilo, Lindsey and Beth who ran up to greet us and passed on some of their energy and enthusiasm. This 4th leg was incredibly difficult for me. We saw Neil and Jen a little further down Cornwall and shortly afterwards my legs started cramping up. At first it was my left calf and right quad, mostly the muscle on the inside of my right knee. It wasn't painful, it just completely refused to fire. I noticed it mainly going uphill so I started to bargain with myself... "you're almost at the top, finish the hill then walk." Then I'd get to the top of the hill and keep running because running downhill isn't too difficult and it's nice to let gravity pull you along and also the longer I run, the faster I'll get to the end. I did walk a couple times and was so incredibly thankful to reach the turnaround point at 4th and NW Marine Drive. Heading back was a bit better if only because it was becoming more and more obvious that we were getting sooo close.

I walked a bit at Macdonald and Cornwall and Nicole kept running - she was so strong and having a great day. Thinking back now, I think that I was hitting the wall, or at least coming as close to it as I ever have. There was no more internal banter and suddenly I would just be walking, my legs having decided on their own that they weren't going to run anymore. That's when I saw my parents again and resumed running only to stop once they were out of sight. I looked up and there were Jen and Neil again so back to running - I seriously may have walked the rest of the way if it weren't for seeing those familiar faces at that point, so THANK YOU!!

I had to look away from the 25 mile marker heading back over the Burrard bridge. I would make me emotional and my breathing would get a bit irregular. There were a ton of people gathered along the roads by this point and it was a bit overwhelming and the magnitude of the distance and exertion were starting to sink in. I walked a few more times, just to flush out some of the lactic acid. Chris and Mel were by the Roundhouse and I ran past them. Only a few more blocks to the finish line. So many people, I can hear the announcer at the end. I usually have enough juice to really kick it to the end but at this point I had nothing. I ran across the line at 4:51, 5 minutes after Nicole. Hooray! I finished my previous marathon in 5:23 and my goal this time around was to finish under 5 hours and I did it!!

I took 4 gels during the race, maybe another one would have helped but after 4 gels, 2 with caffeine, a bunch of gatorade and 2 advils, my stomach wasn't feeling like it could handle more goo.

Mom and dad had ordered a sushi tray and so we headed back home and sat on the patio to eat. My legs were feeling tired but fine at this point but after an hour or so of visiting I stood up and the stiffness was definitely setting in. I tried to have a nap after everyone left but I couldn't get comfortable. Last night was the same, even after a hot bath. It hurts to roll over. I can't lift my legs without burning muscles. Getting up to standing I have to rely completely on using my arms. Standing straight is enough to stretch my calves. I'm shuffling around today, icing my knees and looking forward to another hot bath. There are more photos on my flickr page here.

So 8 months of training and we did it! We've got 5 weeks to fully recover and get motivated for the Edge to Edge marathon in Tofino on June 8th. Thank you so much to everyone who came out! You made a huge difference! Thank you Larry and Linda for the sunflowers and mom and dad for the carnations!!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The final countdown

There are 5 days until the marathon. Holy. I haven't run since my disappointing attempt last week, but I'm over it and will try a short jog tomorrow. I saw my chiropractor yesterday and he did some major work on my IT bands. I'm black and blue but that man is a miracle worker and I think I'll be ok for the race. I'm going back tomorrow and then I'll be resting up until Sunday. I've got some super meals planned this week in preparation and I'm so much more jazzed about race day this time than I was when I ran my first marathon in 2005. Or was it 2004??

Here is the course map. I've pasted on my estimated times and corresponding mile and km markers. If you are in the area and feel like checking out the runners please do! It makes such a difference to have someone cheering you on. I'm not only talking about cheering for me, but for all the runners. We've all worked so hard and put in a ton of hours for this one event and it has not been easy. I get chills when I think about crossing the finish line.

You can also access the map from my flickr page:

The teacher training finished on Sunday and I'm still buzzing from meeting so many cool people and from learning so much. We had some awesome discussions and every single person always had something insightful to add. It was a very cool dynamic and I'm stoked for the 2nd session in Ucluelet in the fall. This summer I'll be assisting in Eoin's classes - not sure which ones precisely but it will likely be once a week for a month or two. It's a bit difficult to put to words everything experienced and learned in 100 hours and I likely won't write much more about the training specifically. All I can really say is that it was a transformative experience with lasting effects (hopefully).

So, marathon on Sunday and then a couple days to rest and then I'm off to the Dhamma Surabhi Vipassana Meditation Centre of BC just west of Merritt for 10 days of silence. The Vipassana experience I had on the beach during the teacher training really has me excited for this next retreat. Although I'm really not sure how I'll cope with intense meditation of this type, I'm definitely ready, or at least as ready as I'll ever be.

I'm headed back to work in early July and between now and then I've got 2 trips to Tofino/Ucluelet (one of which is to run another marathon) and a super camping trip up to Nairn Falls for Canada Day. Go here for more details and to sign up. It's going to be a blast! Come for all or just for a day and some marshmallows and veggie dogs over the fire. :)

I'm hoping to do a few hikes in the Whistler area while we're up there and also thinking about potentially heading east to Chilliwack to camp along the river and then hike Mt Cheam for the summer solstice (June 21-22).

On another note, I'm nearing the end of my holistic nutrition studies. I've got 2 courses left (of 17), my case studies and then the final exam. I've got 15 case studies to write up so if you are interested let me know. All it involves is filling out a detailed form and questionnaire and then I'll do an evaluative write-up that would hopefully set you on the right path to take control of your health. I've enjoyed this program immensely and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in holistic health. The accompanying books have been very informative and I'm happy to lend them out to anyone who is interested.

I'd like to thank you all for following me along the past year and for your support and encouragement. I feel so blessed to have such a wonderful network of family and friends. I would like to continue posting about yoga, food, love and wellness, eating and living sustainably and my adventures in the outdoors but I'll no longer be "jen@home" so there will have to be some changes in the next few months. Much love to you all! Shanti and namaste.