What's in my head

This is the home of your average girl in her early 30s making her way in the big city...Not really. I have thoughts. Now I have somewhere to put them.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Travel update

So a few months ago I went to this little thing called the Olympics.
Vancouver 2010. It was pretty sweet.

The best part?

Having to stand and hear my country's anthem played not once, but three times. I personally was in the stands for THREE of Canada's gold medal wins. So exciting.

There was the gold by Charles Hamelin in the 500 m men's short track event and the bronze by cutie Francois-Louis Tremblay in the same event. Which the boys followed up with a gold in the men's 5000 m relay. I love short track.

Then there was the gold by the men in the ROO - Richmond Olympic Oval. It was a pretty uneventful showing for the men on the oval, but they pulled it together for the last event and crossed the line together ahead of the Americans to win gold.

The aerials were also pretty cool, but I could have done without the hour of waiting and the two hours on buses to get to Cypress. But, at least there was snow.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


Four days.

It's hard to imagine as I sit at home watching hours and hours of PVR'd Olympic coverage that in a matter of days I too will be in the Olympic city with tickets to three events. I have been planning this trip for years and the time is almost here for me to get on a plane. I can't wait to see the cauldron (from behind the lovely fence) and to mingle with the people of the world and to sit inside the beautiful Richmond Olympic Oval. I can't wait to see the aerialists perform their amazing feats at Cypress and to watch our feisty short trackers duke it on in roller derby on ice. It's going to be awesome. And I'll be able to say I was there.

The anticipation is killing me!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Call of duty

Jury duty, that is. If anyone tells you it is exciting, fun or otherwise awesome they are a big fat liar. It is a break from work where you can catch up on your reading and make small talk with strangers for five days while waiting to be chosen. It is mind numbingly boring. I got to leave the Big Room and see the inside of a courtroom exactly once. For about an hour.

All of the sitting around and waiting and three hours a day on transit would have been worth it though if anyone had pulled Boggle, Win Lose or Draw or Trivial Pursuit off the shelf and started a juror tournament. That woulda been AWESOME. (Apparently the Big Room's shelf of ways-to-pass-the-time hasn't been updated since 1989).

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Travel rewind

In writing my last post I realized I had failed to document so many of my fantastic trips on my blog (I blame facebook). So I figured it's better late than never. Presenting Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon, June 2008:

My friend Stuart and I took off for four fun filled, sun drenched days in Sin City and it was AWESOME. Highlights included being up for nearly 24 hours straight, playing in a poker tournament, shopping, lounging by the pool, 99 cent margaritas and catching Scott Weiland and The Stone Temple Pilots play the Pearl at The Palms (by fav band from high school). Fantastic show! (Just wish I'd brought my camera...)

Oh, and there was the little matter of seeing the wondrous Grand Canyon. Breathtaking.

The pool was surprisingly cold, but refreshing since it was about 40 degrees while we were there. It's a dry heat though and I loved it.

Las Vegas Blvd., aka The Strip, looking south from the Stratosphere tower. I, however, failed to actually take a picture of the tower. Oops.

The famous Bellagio fountains. The show was much more impressive at night with lights and stuff...

The Hoover Dam. Our tour bus stopped for 15 minutes en route to the Canyon. Apparently they were building a bridge across the river while we were there so buses would no longer be allowed over the Dam. (Precaution against terror attacks).

Less than a year later I saw real Egyptian pyramids and obelisks.

A good time was had by all.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Bucketish Lists

Travel has always been high on my to-do list in life. I remember getting a map of the world in grade school and wanting to tack it on my wall so I could make a mark where I've been and where I needed to go. Fast forward a few years and I made a mental list of all the places I wanted to go before I was 30. I can't quite remember all the 10 places that was on the list, but I'd say I make a pretty good dent. I turned 30 in October so it's time to get started on my new list. But, first I shall revisit my travels to date:

  • New York City

  • Paris
  • London
  • Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon
  • Vancouver
  • Egypt

There were a few places on the list I didn't manage to get to (New Orleans, Cuba, Ireland) so I will carry them over...

So now I give you Danielle's list-of-places-I'd-like-to-visit-before-I-*gulp*-turn-the-big-4-0:
  • Prague
  • Italy
  • Spain
  • San Francisco
  • Chicago
  • The Olympics (cheating since I'll be there in five weeks).
  • Seattle (the hotel's already booked)
  • Drive out to Victoria
  • New Orleans
  • Cuba
And to add a difficult one to the list:
  • an African safari
(And I'll just put this thought out into the universe - I traveled to most of the places on the first list alone, I'd be happy to welcome a travel partner along for my next adventures).

Friday, January 08, 2010

Head shake

I am someone who tends to focus on the negative, to think of what I’ve done wrong instead of what I’ve done well, who lives with regret. I am well aware this is a bad trait and one I intend to change - even if just a little bit - with this post. I am going to the Olympics next month. Not just to the host city, but to three actual Olympic events to which I have actual tickets. I have great seats for two of the events. I know, right! This is awesome. A once in a lifetime opportunity. I am a lucky girl.

Problem is: I keep focusing on the negative. I am, an idiot. I am fixated on the fact that I am only in Vancouver for four full days. That I won’t fully be able to soak in the ‘Olympic’ experience. That I should have not rushed to book my flight so soon because of a low, low fare (the result is an extended journey that takes me through two provinces and three states - or two states and DC). That I should have waited and flown directly from Toronto. That I should have booked two one ways instead of a round trip. (That I should have bought more Olympic tickets when I had the chance and sold them to the highest bidder to help pay for my own trip...I am far too innocent a person for that one as it goes against the true spirit of the games).

So with this post I give my head a shake and remind myself that I AM GOING TO THE OLYMPICS!! I will get to see speed skating and aerials and short track speed skating - events where it is very possible Canada will win gold! I get to spend four full days soaking in the atmosphere of Vancouver 2010, mingling with people from all over the world, visiting with my little brother and catching up with an old friend. And then I get to spend 30 hours in Seattle staying at a very nice hotel. People would love to be in my position and I’m being an idiot for focusing on the negatives, the what ifs and the should haves. I shouldn’t be thinking about ‘making the best of it,’ I should be grateful and ecstatic that I am going to fulfill a childhood dream!

Danielle, you are going to the OLYMPICS. You are a very, VERY lucky girl.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Serious withdrawal

My sore hip - it is more serious than I first thought. I went to the doctor and I went to physio (again and again and again). I've stretched and iced and rested my hip and it STILL hurts. My physiotherapist is stumped and my doctor is of no help, "it's just going to take longer to heal," she says. Yes, but what is needed to be healed? What can I do to help it? It hurts more now than it did when I was running 40k a week. It's been so long since I've laced up my shoes, gasped for breath and pushed myself harder than I ever thought I could that it's hard to believe I used to do that. That I can do that.

I want to sign up for some spring races. I want to push myself again. I want to fly along the waterfront and zone out.

I want to run.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

In which I do not mention running

AKA - reasons why I would make a crap critic*.

I'm a lucky gal. I like musical theatre and I love free stuff. In the past two months I've been able to combine these loves for a record five shows (well one was ballet and one was stand-up, but none of them cost me a cent). Let's begin my mini reviews.

West Side Story - First musical I've ever seen that I really didn't like that much. And I've seen We Will Rock You and a rather amateurish production of Cabaret. I think this means I lack...ummm, what's the word. Taste. Yes, that's it because apparently this is a quintessential musical. And I saw the Broadway production, people. I found the fight scenes a little sissy what with all the kicks and jazz hands and the only song in the whole show I knew was in Spanish in this version. I'm Canadian, the extent of my knowledge of Spanish is how to say "where is the bathroom" and count to 13 (Thank you, The Offspring). The actress playing Anita, however, rocked.

The Toxic Avenger - I saw the movie 10 days before and wasn't expecting much. I was pleasantly surprised with the Toronto premiere. I would totally have paid $30 to see it. Kinda funny, entertaining and catchy little songs. I think it might be geared more towards the fellas though what with the arm ripping off, blood spraying and increasing rising hemlines of the blind librarian's outfits.

The Sleeping Beauty - The premiere of the National Ballet of Canada's latest production of the classic story was nothing short of elegant. The athletic ability of these waif like creatures astounds and baffles me. Lovely, just lovely.

My Mother's Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding - The hit of the Fringe Festival is now in an extended run by Mirvish productions. Pretty good, I was again pleasantly surprised.

(*see, I like everything. A crap critic indeed.)

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

I am a runner

So I ran four to five times a week for six months. (I just had to double check that count using my fingers because OMG I couldn’t believe I exercised that much and that consistently). I ran a half marathon. I ran hills and distance and did speed work. But, that is not what makes me a runner.
  • I am a runner because high on my list of things I MUST do while on vacation in New York City for four days was run in Central Park. I did. I started my 30s by running up the Upper West Side to Central Park and then running around the Central Park reservoir - I believe it’s kind of like Mecca for runners in Manhattan. And I couldn’t think of a better way to start my birthday
  • I am a runner because I woke up at 8 a.m. on a Saturday to go watch others run in the Canadian national 10k championship and this past Sunday I devoted two hours of my lazy afternoon not to Project Runway or Tori and Dean, but to watching NBC’s entire two hours of the New York City Marathon. And it was awesome.
  • I am a runner because for the past two weeks I have been going through withdrawal from not being able to run. As I drove home and watched people trotting along through the ambers and golds of fallen leaves I wanted nothing more than to rush home, change into my clothes and get in some kilometres before the light faded into dusk.
But, I can’t. I’m injured. I felt a twinge in my right hip starting in August (maybe late July) and I ignored it because I was afraid I would be told to stop running until it healed and I didn’t want to miss training or not be ready for the race. It didn’t hurt that badly and only when I stretched, I could suck it up. And so I did and I gave myself a break after the half to let myself heal. I ran the next weekend and it kinda hurt, I ran in NYC and it was sore and then I ran after watching the 10k and it really hurt so I made myself a doctor’s appointment and started physio. I’m likely sitting out the next week or two and I’m getting antsy. And despite the training log I have of proof of the craziness that was my half marathon training I am surprised.

While I secretly hoped the being active thing would stick. That the running thing would keep my interest I knew better. I’m the girl who did belly dancing for 10 weeks, rowing for one summer, soccer for four months and I thoroughly enjoyed those activities (well, the last two anyway), but I never took up with them again. I never missed them when they were over. But, I really, really miss lacing up my shoes, putting on my earphones and heading out for four to six kilometres of sweating, panting and pushing my muscles. And that’s how I know: I am a runner.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


The race preparations today began at 5:30 a.m. and finished with my right foot hitting the finish line at 2:15:26. My realistic goal. (I had a secret goal of 2:10, which would have been an amazing feat given what I'd done in training). I was a tad disappointed because the last few kilometres I felt a little light headed so I wasn't able to push as hard as I knew I could.

The whole experience was amazing, exhausting, crazy and a definite learning experience that included arriving to a packed Nathan Phillips Square later than I should have and being greeted with a really long baggage check line, and a last minute trip to the washroom. The men's washroom. This is where I was when the race started. It didn't matter though, I was supposed to be so far back that the little pit stop still had me in line with the 2:30 pace time - just a little back of my projected 2:15. The race started good. I felt good. I didn't freak out despite my MP3 player deciding not to work properly for the first 30 minutes. I was on a good pace and enjoying the experience. There were so many runners. 20,000 in all - 10,000 in the half. At one point along Lakeshore the pack ahead of me were running up a slight incline (or maybe I was on the incline looking down at them - the details are a little fuzzy) and the wave of heads and backs in front of me was just astounding. I'm bit embarrassed to admit there were a few moments that got me teary eyed. One of the most emotional was when at 42 minutes in the men's leaders passed us heading east. It was amazing to watch these athletes in action. We all clapped as they flew by us and I got a little misty.

At the 10k mark I was really happy with my time and then the humidity started to take a toll and things got harder. I made it through to the 14k mark - 2/3 of the way through - and then I had to give myself little pep talks and slow down my pace so as to not burn out. At about the 17k mark the half marathoners headed one way towards the finish and the marathoners headed another towards the half way mark of their race. I couldn't imagine having more than 4k to go. I checked my time at 18k and I was four minutes ahead of when I'd run it before. Everything from here was a new distance to tackle. We headed under the Gardiner before heading north on Bay for the final stretch. I could see Old City Hall and the spectators along the route and I desperately wanted to dig deep and push towards the finish - there was just over a km to go, but my body was having none of it. My legs were heavy and I was tired, but more than anything I was feeling a little weak. Like faintish weak and I did not want to have an episode mere metres from the finish. With about 700m to go I passed a group of teenage girls and they screamed encouragement and held out their hands to high five some runners. I took them up on their offer and tried to use their energy to keep going. Then I saw my mom and my cousin and it helped push me even more. But, with 350m to go I still felt faint so I walked for 30 seconds and then took a deep breath and pushed through those last two minutes. I couldn't walk the final stretch and so I crossed the finish line running and smiling. Or at least I think I was.

While it felt great to cross the finish line and accomplishment my goal, it also felt different than how I imagined it would. I thought I would be overcome with emotion. I was happy, but not teary. I felt happy to be part of something so big and to have the medal around the neck. And then I felt like cattle as we were corralled to the water, to the timing chip drop off, and to the food area. By the time I saw my mom - after I'd dried off and changed - it had been nearly an hour since I'd crossed the finish line and by then I was just tired. Maybe I'll be elated tomorrow. The rest of the day I spent curled up in the fetal position because of some GI issues so common in runners. I guess these means I can now officially call myself a long distance runner.

And I have the medal to prove it...

Saturday, September 26, 2009

T-16 hours

I have my bib in hand and now all I can do is drink water, eat some carbs and wait. The big day is almost here and I'm excited, nervous and anxious. I just want to lace up my shoes, put my hat on and get out there. I went to the run expo yesterday and listened to a few speakers who were very inspiring. They talked about what a big accomplishment this is and how we've inspired others through our journey (even if we don't know it...and even if we're just doing the half). And I have to say I agree.

Five months ago I had never run more than 5k. I had never had a sports injury or run a 5:32 km or run for two hours or run up and down hills repeatedly. But, five months ago I set a goal for myself and I worked hard every single week to prepare for that goal and I am so proud of myself for sticking with that journey and no matter what happens tomorrow no one can take that accomplishment away from me. And when someone slips the finishing medal around my neck it will be the icing on the cake.

Of course, everyone knows how much I love icing...And cake with icing.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The last leg

After months of training, the big run is now just 10 days away. Holy crap! And I am so grateful and happy to have had an awesome run last night. I was euphoric after crossing 6k off my training schedule in 32:32 because two weeks I got INJURED. Like I'm some kind of athlete or something.

It was the first night of speed training or farklets. As a newbie I knew this was one area of training I needed help with and so I went to the Running Room's practice run. And they broke me. After an hour and 45 minutes I believe I'd covered nearly 11k (did they not see the 6k John Stanton instructed for that night's training in THE BOOK??) and I was hurt. The evening of running increasing distances at top speed pulled my hamstring. It was serious. More than I knew until I tried to run Saturday and had to walk/run really, really, really slowly. On Sunday I gave up after just four minutes and wanted to cry. I needed to run 20k. What about my training? What about the race? What about all my hard work? I didn't know what to do or how long it would take to heal or what taking a week off from training would mean for my race performance. It was devastating to think one day of training could ruin everything I'd been working towards.

But, I iced. I rested. I cross trained. I came back slowly and easily and last night for the first time I ran without pain or stopping to walk. Plus I did it in a great time AND my hamstring doesn't hurt at all anymore. I am ready.

And so very excited.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Running's bitch

So on Friday I wrote the words my "training has become a mental thing" and it's no longer about the "physical activity of running." Back on track Sunday (skipped Saturday to attend an out of town wedding) for the first time since my disastrous run Thursday, my body responded to those comments with a resounding call of "BULL SHIT." BULL. SHIT.

It's my own fault really. I had regrouped and was approaching the daunting task of running 18k with a new mental attitude. I was excited about the prospect of running a long distance in cool 16 degree weather with a breeze. I got too confident and started my pre-run routine by downing a massive amount of Indian food at a late afternoon buffet. In case you didn't know, this is a bad (BAAAAAD) thing to do less than three hours before a two hour run. So I was punished with a cramp in my side for the first four kilometres, but I didn't let that get me down. Despite my intense desire to vomit partially digested butter chicken through the bulk of my run, I made a mental commitment that if that did happen I wouldn't let it slow me down. Nope. Buyoed by the fantastic weather conditions I made a decision half way in to try for the two hour mark, which would be a personal best run pace for my long run. The cramp returned to accompany me on the last four kilometres, but again I didn't let it slow me down. I raced the last 500 metres, reached my imaginary finish line, stopped my watch and then looked down. Hopeful. 1 hour, 59 minutes and 16 seconds. I'd done it. I almost cried with joy.

And then I woke up Monday, got up and walked out of my bedroom and wanted to cry again. I was wrong. Very wrong. It's still a physical test. And I over did it. Now my knees hurt when I go up and down stairs. Heck, they hurt to shuffle to the kitchen to fetch a cookie. The pain in my right hip is now concerning me and my thighs are burning like they did the day after my first boot camp class. I learned a very valuable lesson with less than four weeks to go: save the 110% effort for race day or else I might not get there.

Message received, Body. Loud and clear. And painfully.

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Wall

Last night while attempting to complete an easy 7km run I hit the wall and it SUCKED. I have run before sans motivation or desire, I have run in less than ideal weather conditions, and I have run before when my body wasn't on board, but I have never experienced the mental state I did last night.

It appears with a month to go the training has become a mental thing. It makes sense, having tackled 16k running another 5.1 km to get to the half-marathon mark isn't about the physical act of running. Rationally speaking if one can physical cover 16k, well then what's an extra 5? But, the mental aspect of continuing to lace up my running shoes and put one foot in front of the other day after day is getting tough. Last night I actually wanted to sit down on the sidewalk and cry. Not for physical pain - though my knees hurt from the last session of the cursed hills the night before - but just cause. It's not that I couldn't do. I didn't want to do it.

I mean I really, really did not want to do it. And so I began to walk - at the pathetic 2k mark (and the 3k and the 4.5k and the 6k, etc. until I finally arrived home and torture was over.) I felt like I had a blister on my left foot and my earphones just weren't co-operating and I wanted to scream. At one point I felt tears welling in my eyes at the prospect of being so far from the comfort of my couch. And I haven't a clue why, other than to blame that mysterious wall.

Maybe this is why people train with groups or a friend. To have someone to tell them "you can do it" and to remind them of how far they'd come. I have people who encourage me and who tell me they're proud of me for what I'm doing and what I've accomplished, but the positive reinforcement seems to be few and far between. Or maybe it just felt that way last night. Maybe I really wasn't completely alone as I struggled to make it home last night. With four weeks and a day left to go I need to dig deep and find the mental strength to push aside the other voices and listen for the cheerleaders because I don't think I can do it alone.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

This is where things get tough

Last week was the worst week of training I've encountered thus far.

There were cramps and exhaustion and heat and humidity and it wasn't pretty. It began Sunday with the already daunting task of having to run 16km, but Mother Nature wasn't helping matters with a weather forecast of heat and humid with thunderstorms thrown in for good measure. I awoke earlier than the previous Sunday (I can not begin to express how much of a morning person I am NOT and how I can't believe that I rise on a weekend morning earlier than I do to go to work on weekdays. And I'm not getting up for something good - not food or a cute guy or an awesome vacation - its to run. To run obscene distances. In hotter and hotter weather) and headed out at 8:08 a.m. The humidity was hard to miss. A third of the way in I was covered in sweat and forcing myself to ration my water. At 8km I had to talk myself into keeping the course and not heading home. At 10k I knew I couldn't do it. The heat and humidity was too much. I was exhausted and dehydrated. Defeated, I headed home where I went up to my apartment, wiped away the sweat, grabbed the Gatorade and headed back out to do two more - one shy of what I was supposed to do.

If someone had told me five months ago that I would return home from a 13 km run, covered in sweat, my dri-wick clothing soaked and then head back out for more I would have told them they were CRAZY. Because that behaviour right there was beyond belief for me a few months ago.

I know people do amazing feats everyday. People run marathons, people swim across great lakes, people climb mountains. They push themselves in ways I can't even imagine. But I have never felt such exhaustion, such fatigue, such a powerful urge to quit as I did last Sunday. And despite running 15k of a 16k run I felt like I'd failed. For the first time since I began training I'd failed. And the crap runs continued All. Week. Long. If I was ever going to give up on this silly half-marathon training it would have been last week, but I didn't. I learned a few things and I came back and woke up earlier, ran further and enjoyed the accomplishment that much more.

This morning I left the house at 7:15 a.m. and ran for one hour, 53 and a half minutes. I covered 16km - my goal. It wasn't fast and I walked far more than I would have liked, but I did it. I pushed myself mentally and physically and I did it. I hope today's accomplishment sets the tone for a better week than last. A week that is not mired by exhaustion three kilometres into a 5k morning run or a feeling of nauseau, fainting and cramps all at the same time while doing hills. But even if it is, it's OK. I will try again. I will come back more determined the next day.

Six weeks to go!