Sunday, January 26, 2014

A quick word about registering for races

Today I registered for the Calgary Marathon Centaur Subaru Half Marathon on June 1st, 2014. From start to finish, registration took about 4 minutes.

Last Thursday I tried to register for the 2014 Lululemon Seawheeze Half Marathon on August 23rd. Notice I said tried. I literally spent 3 hours (longer than it will take me to run the race) struggling to get though a website that could barely load and repeatedly crashed, before Lulu closed the whole thing told us to check back in a couple hours. Then told us to check back the next day. Then told us they'd reopen it in 2 weeks.

You can imagine I was frustrated. And tweeted out my feelings. You can find those tweets here (#seawheeze)

Having done the Seawheeze last year (read all about my very first half marathon) and enjoyed every second of it (right down to the blisters and chafing), despite my frustration I am still eager to do it again this year. In fact, I want to take a full 25 minutes off my time and come in under 2 hours (I just need a strategy to do so!).

However, with a limited number of spots for runners and a years worth of hyping, I just hope I'm able to grab a spot when the registration opens up.

And not just one, my cousin will be running with me, as part of her C-Section to Seawheeze goal! (she gifted the world with possibly the cutest baby ever last August). So we're going to need two spots.

So consider this my first post en route to a sub 2hour 21.1km in 2014. I'll be keeping you updated with my training runs (got out on the bow pathway yesterday for my first run of the year), my tortured knees, my highs and lows on the way to the #Seawheeze....provided of course I can get that pesky registration out of the way.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Knitting Corner: The Purl Bee's Big Snowy Owl

This year for the holidays I tried to do some knitting to create lovingly hand crafted gifts. One project that I particularly liked (an may even have to make one or two more!) is the Big Snowy Owl Pattern from the Purl Bee.

Since my cousin's baby's room has been decorated with somewhat of an owl theme in mind, I thought this soft and cuddly looking stuffy would be a great gift for little Penelope (who just turned 5 months old!)

Fun fact, the blanket the owl is sitting on was a wedding gift to my cousin, made by yours truly as well.

The patter knits up really quick (on US 15 needles) and I used a grey and white tweed bernat super chunky acrylic yarn for the body (a little more durable for babies than the recomended alpaca wool blend, also more budget friendly!) and the eyes and beak I just improvised, crocheted rather than knitted as the pattern described; using left over stash yarn, sometimes holding two strands together.

The finished product is about a foot and a half tall, and unbelievable cuddly. I wish I had thought to throw a bean bag in the bottom tho before I sealed him up, as he does have a tendency to topple over (oh well!).

And as for the lucky little girl? It's clear from the smile on her face that she loves her new toy (or more realistically that she's just one super happy baby!).

Friday, January 10, 2014

The Bridgestone Winter Classic, 105 thousand people, a reluctant new leafs fan and a promise made

I may be the worst person and keeping secrets...ever! Not the kind of deep personal secrets that no decent human would ever think to share, but the fun kind, the no poker face, the don't spoil the surprise party kind, the secret Christmas present kind.

Back at the beginning of October my cousin Krista called me up with an awesome idea for a birthday gift for her husband and a Christmas gift for Kevin. Since it was infinitely better than any gift I would have likely dreamed up, I jumped at the idea (and spent my whole Christmas Budget in one go).

Tickets to the Bridgestone Winter Classic, at the Big House in Auburn Hills.

For those of you who aren't into hockey, this is the annual outdoor NHL game, played on New Years Day each year, often in a football stadium, typically involving two American Teams (although lets be honest, you're not likely to see a match up between the Kings and the Ducks). This year's match up proved to be the perfect gift for these guys, since it was between their two favourite teams, the Detroit Red Wings and for the first time, a Canadian team, the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Having bought the tickets so long before Christmas, it was a struggle not to let the secret out, especially considering how excited I was for the game, and the road trip to go with it. My strategy, tell everyone I possibly could except for Kevin. This included total strangers, colleagues, friends and family. On Christmas morning, I'm pretty sure he was the only one to find out. And since the tickets were waiting for us up in the Sault, what would I wrap up? A set of hand warmers to be opened first. Followed by a hand knit scarf (blue and white of course). Finally, I stole his very own Toronto jersey from his closet and wrapped it up, inside of which I tucked a printed copy of the photo of the tickets.

Needless to say, I'll be hard pressed to top this Christmas morning surprise!

So we celebrated New Years Eve, and were in bed asleep by 12:15, so we could hit the road bright and early for the drive down to the Big House.

We bundled up nice and warm in the mall parking lot, 2 miles from the Stadium, and despite poorly organized shuttle buses, and hour and a half waited in lines going nowhere and a subsequent 2 mile walk, we made it to the game on time!

Us and over 105,000 blue and red eager hockey fans!

I cannot describe the experience, the sense of awe, that walking through the tunnel and into the stadium had on me, it was overwhelming. If only it held the power to keep me warm. Despite many layers of clothes, hand warmers crammed into boots and gloves and the heat of the crowd; winter prevailed. The constant driving snow and wind (directly into our faces of course) and the freezing temperatures were just too much. I must admit I watched half of the 3rd period from inside the relatively warm merchandise shop (and picked up a super cute shirt!).

But I was out there for the goals, for the cheers, for the edge of your seat end of the 3rd period (a tied game), for the overtime where we may have been saved by the buzzer (half way through to switch sides right during a Detroit breakaway) and through the shootout from which the leafs came away victorious!

It was an amazing day and a perfect game, even if our 50 dollar six pack of tall boys was freezing as fast as we could drink them! And a memory I'm sure we'll all cherish!

If you were one of the other 100 thousand of so die hard fans who braved the cold, let me know about it in the comments!

And if you're wondering, I am reluctantly now a leafs fan! It would seem that along with my fingers and toes, hell also froze over at that game. So maybe now they'll even win the cup! And the promise made? If they do it this season, I'm getting a kitten!