Sunday, October 28, 2012

Orienteering Race: Peak-2-Peak Enduro 10K

View IMG-20121028-00183.jpg in slide show(note burrs all over pants)

My friend and I just did the Peak-2-Peak Enduro 10K in preparation for the 25 - 27 K Raid the Hammer orienteering race in two weeks.

We did it because we're runners, not navigators.

And the funny thing is that we didn't have trouble with the running, only the actual orienteering.  Strange, eh?

We like to challenge ourselves.

And you know, it really puts things into perspective.

After the race today, after spending three and a half hours (yes, that's correct) running in the mud and a constant cold rain, it felt unimaginably good just to lie on my bed.  I hadn't quite appreciated before the level of softness and coziness that is my bed.

And just to be in a warm robe drinking hot chocolate after a hot shower; it was absolutely wonderful.  See?  It makes you appreciate things.

We naively thought it wouldn't take us that long to run 10K because we've done it in pretty short times running.  But, of course we weren't running.  We were trying to find the checkpoints!

You get a map with numbered checkpoints and you have to do them in order.  If you don't, you get disqualified.  Did I mention that we got disqualified?

There were 16 checkpoints.  We did great for the first 7.  Especially because neither of us is known for a good sense of direction.  Okay, speaking for myself, ANY sense of direction.  (Yes, I can hear you saying that and yet, we signed up for an orienteering race.  I know.  I like to think 'hard-core' versus 'stupid'.  Look, it's good to learn new things, okay?)

Checkpoint 8 really threw us for a loop.  All the other checkpoints had an orange streamer on a branch overhead with the checkpoint below.  We found a hilltop where we thought 8 was, and we found a streamer.  So far, so good.  But no checkpoint!  We kept looking around and around, thinking it must be near.

The race organizer told us later that he had put the streamer there, thinking that was the right hilltop, and then when he realized it was the next hilltop, he just kept going and didn't retrieve the streamer.

Anyway, eventually we ran into another team and they said the course was closed at 1:00 p.m. and it was almost 1:00 p.m.

We decided we were done anyway, since we couldn't find 8, so we thought we'd just do a few more and then call it a day.

Did I mention we were completely soaked through and freezing at this point?

We laughed quite a lot on the course despite the bad weather.  At one point we knew we had to cross a creek.  I crossed a little stream and then yelled, "Okay, we just crossed the creek!  It wasn't as big as I thought, I - (major soaker)...."Correction: we are now IN the creek!  We are IN the creek!"

The other funny part was that we had to go through an electrified fence on a farmer's property (I'm sure that was completely kosher).  A man we met up with assured us that if we went through the two green wires we would be fine.  This was a 'I can't believe I am doing this and yet here I go' moment.  Then we joked about how we were like Catherine Zeta-Jones in that movie where she evades the red laser beams.  We definitely looked the part, I can tell you, with us covered in mud, burrs and thorns, completely soaking wet.  Pretty sexy.

We did do lots of bushwhacking. And I mean, tangled up with thorns, unable to move bushwhacking.  I mean having to crouch down just to get through places.  And hanging on to trees to climb up places.  I'm talking having to take pieces of branches out of my hair, and having my legs covered in thorn scratches (through my running pants!).

Well, there are three things I know now.  1) we are in major trouble for the Raid the Hammer.  2) It was fun!  3) I need to learn to read a map better, but hey - I'd do it again!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Princess Doll Cake

Here is the Princess Doll Cake I made recently for my daughter's birthday.  Of course when I went to make it, I couldn't find the aluminum rod that goes down into the middle of the cake bowl.  I looked and looked, getting pretty agitated, blaming the kids for taking absolutely every small item in the entire house and hiding it in completely unforeseeable places.  Finally I gave up and decided to make my own with aluminum foil.  It was the only thing I could think of.  They're both aluminum, right?  It would have to do!  It worked well enough.  And of course, as I was baking the cake, I found the real aluminum rod in my baking cupboard where I had put it to keep it safe from the kids....sorry, kids!  Love you!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Daniel Craig - James Bond in SkyFall

What can I say except that I love Daniel Craig as James Bond?  I just saw the official trailer for Skyfall and it looks amazing!  I can't wait to see it.  Here is the link:

Also, there's a great article in Maclean's right now on an interview with him about the movie.  I like his personality.  If I could put a picture of his personality on the blog, of course I would.
(Too many photos?  I only put the swimsuit photo in because people would expect it.  Obviously.)

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Mmmmm, Mindfulness!

I went to a workshop on mindfulness yesterday.  I think most people are afraid of things like this; they think they're weird.  I understand that, but really it's just simple relaxation.

And now that I'm a working mom - well I've always been a working mom, but now I'm basically full-time outside the house as well as inside - I could really use some more relaxation in my life.

It didn't start out well, of course.

The sessions were already running late, and I was running to the bathroom before the workshop began, but bathrooms on two successive floors were closed to cleaning so I had to run to a third floor!

And then I couldn't find the room.

So I was late and flustered.  When I finally found the room and barged in, I found everyone completely quiet with eyes closed, doing the first mindfulness session.  Of course I dropped my purse and a few things fell out with a crash, and I completely disrupted the whole zen thing going on.  (Sorry about that, fellow workshop participants.)

Anyway, I was definitely in the mood for some calm.  I ignored the dirty looks (that wasn't very mindful by the way!) and got ready to participate.  I was happy when we did another session at the end.

I had my eyes closed and I was focusing on my breathing.  I think I was doing pretty well.  But then I said to myself, panicking:  "OMG!  I forgot to turn off the ringer on my new cell phone.  I don't even know how to turn it off!  I can't possibly disrupt a session again!  They'll kick me out of mindfulness.  How will THAT look??"

And it's not really practicing self-kindness when you're kicking yourself and telling yourself what an idiot you are for not being technologically literate enough to know how to turn your !@#$% phone off.

Anyway, you can see that I need to work on this mindfulness thing a little bit.

When we were being quiet and trying to be aware of what was going on in our bodies, I realized that my face was practically vibrating with stress.  Just sitting there calmly for several minutes without any expectations, just focusing on being in the moment nonjudgmentally and without trying to list your groceries or all the things you need to get done that day - it was so nice.

The great thing is that even if you get distracted, you're not supposed to judge yourself.  You're just supposed to matter-of-factly bring yourself back to being aware of your breathing.  The leader of the workshop said that most people's minds are full of racing thoughts and that we are usually just carried away by them all the time.  That's me.

She said we need to practice 'kind patience' to ourselves.  Isn't that a great phrase?  I think we could all use more kind patience.

Mindfulness is really just taking time each day to calm yourself down.  It could be going for a nature walk or run.  It could be listening to a song that relaxes you.

You don't have to wear bells or tie-dyed shirts or chant while you're doing it.  It's just breathing.   Aahhhhh.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

I Don't Know How I Do It...Correction: I Am Not Doing It

I am now working both inside and outside the house every day (did you see how I phrased that?).  I have been part-time since our first child was born, but now all of our children are in school every day.  So it's back to work for me.

So far, so terrible.

It's like when you have your first child.  You think you were busy before, but then you realize that actually, you had all the time in the world and you completely and utterly took it for granted.  You had absolutely tons of time on your hands that you thoughtlessly and uselessly squandered.

Then you have another child.  And you realize that with one child you had loads of free time... and on it goes.

I thought I was busy before.

And let's clarify.  Of course it is busy for moms working outside and inside the home.  But I think we can agree that when all the children are in school all day, it is a completely different kettle of fish.  Or ball of wax.

(Hmmmm.  Neither of those sayings mean anything to me at all.  I can't relate in any way, so why do I use them?  Let's just say that it is a book of a completely different genre.  That's better.)

The point is that I would be ecstatic to have 7 hours every day on my own.  Alone.  Free from distractions.  Able to do errands!  Read labels and make decisions!  It would be a beautiful thing.

I could organize my house.  I could decorate it.  Heck, I could BUILD it.

Right now I am either at work or I have three children with me.  Yes, I have a husband.  But I think because I worked part-time for so long, and because I am a mom and it means the most to me, I have taken over all the kid-related things (except for hockey).

I do homework.  I set out clothes for them that I have bought.  I shop for toiletries.  I buy birthday presents for their friends.  I take them to all medical appointments.  You see where I'm going with this.

It doesn't help that all three children have activities and that my husband and I also have our own activities so it is a very busy household.

I find that little things can send me right over the edge.  Like the other day when I was trying to find socks for the entire family so we could go on a hike.  I couldn't find any that matched and didn't have holes.  I practically lost my mind.  I should have just said, "We're all going sock-less, and we're going to LIKE it."  These are the things I have to learn now that I am working every day outside the house.

I'm going to do groceries at 9:00 p.m. at night.  I'm going to be on close intimate terms with my crock pot.  And I am going to have to do things like stockpile birthday presents so I don't have to go out every time a child is invited to a birthday party.  And I'm going to spend enormous sums on groceries (last time I almost fainted dead away in front of the cashier when she told me the total).  But I will do it again.  Why?  Because I don't have time to do groceries more than once a week.  So I will buy extra bagels and milk and chicken that is already cooked.

I will absolutely cherish P.A. days and holidays.

And I will buy socks.  Lots and lots of socks.