Trader Joes Goodies

Happy Wednesday!


I finished my 7K tempo run with success this AM. The only dumb thing I did was eat an apple right before. For most that wouldn’t be a problem, but apples have traces of sorbitol. So you can guess what happened – another uncomfy run. I finished the run, but the last 3K were brutal and now I am paying the price with my stomach being off. I need to learn to stick to bananas!

I’m off to a friend’s house for dinner soon – so I shall make this short. P came home from California last night and arrived with a box of Trader Joe’s goodies. My wish list was just cookie butter and chocolate covered peanut butter pretzels – but because he had to check a bag, he decided to get as many things as he could. Sadly, they were out of the pretzels! Darn! Also, some of my items did not survive the trip.

This is the haul of Trader Joe’s Stuff that survived:




In my haul was:

- Various BBQ sauces

- Masala Simmer Sauce

- Yellow Curry Sauce

- Crunch Cookie Butter

- Cookie and Cocoa Swirl Butter (this one will probably not last long – yummy!)

- Chocolate bars with caramel and some with cookie spread

- Hot Sauce

- Strawberry preserves

- Blueberry preserves


What did not survive:

Cookie Butter, Grape Preserves and another Indian Sauce





Don’t those pictures make your tummy sad?  I bet grape preserves and cookie butter would go so well together.  I have put in a complaint with Air Canada about the way our baggage was handled. This is the third consecutive trip to LAX that we have had to make a complaint. This time, the damage was a bit on the ridiculous side. It looked like someone had played football with the box. As you can see in the pictures, the glass isn’t just cracked, but completely destroyed. They were not even at the sides of the box – they were in the middle. In my complaint I did not ask for another coupon, but actually asked for another jar of cookie butter. Let’s see if that happens! (I doubt it).

Anyways – when I am in Toronto in a couple of weeks, I plan on heading down to the Buffalo Trader Joe’s for a little shopping. I have had P and my parents do my Trader Joe’s shopping for me, but I haven’t stepped foot in a store in over two years. I’ve always gone by what my American friends like at TJ’s and reading various blog posts. If you have  Trader Joe’s near you – you are so lucky!

Perhaps it will be time for another giveaway??

By |August 20th, 2014|Food|1 Comment|

Race Day Considerations: Bag Check

It has been over two months since I have raced, but finally that raceless-streak is about to end as I have the B&O Yorkville Run coming up on September 7th. I know a few of you are going to be there – I am hoping to meet some of you :-) September is a busy month with at least two races scheduled and then before we know it: NYC Marathon Day!

I really enjoy racing. Although I may not PB every time and not every race will be perfect, I still love the opportunity to put on a bib, race with hundreds if not thousands of people and then eat a plain bagel afterwards with a medal around my neck. There are some runners out there that have yet to run in a race, and there are also some runners who have never run a race as big as Ottawa Race Weekend. I have run small races, large races, races surrounded by fields and races involving costumes. I have a fairly set routine when it comes to Race Day. Part of my routine comes from being involved in track and field where our warm-up routine to a race is fairly strict and something us coaches repeat about 10-15x on track meet day. But, because I have run so many races, I also consider a few other things before I set out to the race location. I figured I would share some of my race day tips and tricks. This week we will discuss bag checks.


bag check

Race Day Consideration #1 – Bag Check

For those who do not know, Bag check is exactly what it means: a place to check your bag. Your bag could consist of warm-up gear, some extra goodies and maybe your phone/car keys. Bag check is helpful if you are racing alone, parking is far away and have no one to carry your stuff. Bag check might also be really good idea for some races that start and finish in different locations (like NYC and Boston). But, bag check is not a guarantee nor a ‘race right’. Some races do not offer bag checks for a variety of reasons, mainly the event size or for security reasons. If you are really wanting a bag checked at a race, you will need to find out whether one will be offered via the race website. Around the Bay was one race where there was no bag check. It was a cold March Day and parking was far away – so having a bag check would have been nice, but we dealt with it. It was the race where I over-heated though. What I did notice is that people were leaving all of their stuff lying around the arena. I would not recommend leaving your gear just lying around. For NYC, there is a bag check, but if you want to get out of the finishing area as fast as possible, it is recommended that you select ‘no bag’. I have chosen this option. I probably only check a bag for 1-2 races a year. Otherwise I just leave my stuff in my car, give my stuff to P and Max, or just go to the race with only the items I need (bib, phone, fuel for right before the race).

If I am able to check a bag, this is what I will put into my bag:

- Sweats

- Leftover fuel

- A snack for after (chips, recovery bar)

- Flip flops or another pair of shoes

- A clean change of clothes

For most races, P and Max have an ‘after bag’ for me. For the big Ottawa races, I tend to go to the race by myself via bus. I will have a bag of ‘race gear’ and then the after bag. Below you can see a picture of what I had in my after bag for the Ottawa Race Weekend Half Marathon (it is the bag on the right). Max did a fantastic job of emptying out this bag in the middle of a parking lot for me…


So what can you do if there is no bag check? Here are some tips for common questions regarding the lack of bag check

Where to put your car keys? - you can put them in your pocket or tie the key onto your shoe. If I have to tie my key to my shoe, I will just take my car key and house key with me, all other keys stay at home.

What if I really need warm-up sweats? Go to Goodwill and buy a cheap set , then discard them right before the race or on the course. Some races have Goodwill bins to drop off items. I would also recommend keeping a bag of clothing at home just throw away purposes. This is where crappy race shirts come in handy. I have 4 shirts ready to go for NYC!

What if my hotel’s check out time is before I will be done my race? If you are travelling with family, they can gather your things. Otherwise, ask your hotel’s front desk if you can have a late check out. If you cannot, then ask if they can store your bags for you. Most hotels are very accommodating during large races. Ask ahead of time and see what their policies are. For NYC, we are only staying in Manhattan on Saturday night – so ideally we will have one backpack for all three of us, which P will carry with him.

Where do I put my phone?  For big races, I always run with my phone. I have a phone case that wraps around my arm. Odds are, I am not listening to music and I just have my phone on me. There are a number of different kinds of phone cases that you can pick out. If you are against bringing the phone and are meeting people after – discuss meet locations before the race. Saying ” I will meet you in the family reunion area” is not the best – find a very specific place. I would also suggest having an emergency location determined, just in case.

What about Food/Water? - For NYC I will be travelling to the start line with some food and drinks. I would suggest just plain plastic bottles that you can recycle afterwards. Some races even have food/water set up at the start line for you. NYC will have water, coffee, gatorade, bagels and power bars on hand for the runners. Therefore I will probably only need to bring some sports gummies and a banana.

I am by myself and I have a wallet! What do I do? If you can leave your wallet in your car, you are good – but some races this is not possible. This is when planning may come into play. If you are travelling to a race and going by yourself, you might have to carry your important cards with you. Therefore, figure out the minimum stuff that you need (credit cards, health card, ID, hotel key) and try to fit it in your fuel belt. Some phone cases come with a pocket to hold cards as well. You don’t need your library card at a race, so if you have to, only run with the bare minimum.

It is raining the day of the race, what about my rain jacket? Grab a garbage bag or one of those cheap ponchos you see people wearing in Niagara Falls and wear it til the start of the race, then simply discard the bag. You can also save those space blankets (or whatever you call them) from other races and keep them for your next race. I have my Ottawa Race Weekend space blanket ready to go for NYC.

You do not necessarily need to check a bag for a race. It is nice, but not necessary, especially for summer races where you might not need a full set of sweats to keep warm. My biggest piece of advice is to browse the race website to see what is on offer at the athlete’s village. The more you know before hand, the better you will be prepared.

Do you have any tips for lack of bag check? 

What do you put in your checked bag?

By |August 19th, 2014|running|4 Comments|

NYC Marathon Training: Week 5

Another week has come and gone – is it just me or do marathon training plans go by really quickly? Perhaps it is just because I’m still in the ‘easy’ part. With the first initial base building period done, it was time to start mixing up the workouts: moving from just steady/long runs to tempo/hills/steady and long runs.



Training Runs this Week:


Monday – Off

Tuesday – 6K with hills in 38:00

This run was all about beating the rain. There was some substantial rain in the radar – so I set off to do a 6K loop with a few hills added. I live near a highway with overpasses only 2K away – which serves as an excellent warm up. After the initial 2K warm-up, I set up over the overpass and then up a gradual hill that leads to “upper Orleans” (Orleans has a distinct hill that kind of separates the two parts of Orleans). The second hill after the overpass is much bigger – but I did not make it up the big hill as 3K beeped as I was halfway up. I went back down (but still had to go back up the overpass) and arrived home at the precise moment it started to rain!

The only thing about this workout was the the hills, although not really challenging during the workout, kind of did something to my left leg muscles. Not sure what the little pains are about – but it could be because I have been on relatively flat ground since June. I don’t think I’ve tackled a large hill since the Ottawa Half Marathon.


Wednesday – Off

Thursday – 3K in 20:00

Ugh – Piece of advice – never, ever, ever eat Wendy’s right before a run.

I almost hurled

That is all there is to say about that – other than I stopped at 3K (was supposed to do a 6K tempo).

Friday – 16K long run in 1:55

I had to move my 16K run to Friday because I was alone this weekend and there is no way I am running a long run with Max in the chariot. It just isn’t going to happen. S0, with Max at daycare, I started running at 9am under a cool and cloudy morning. The weather was absolutely perfect for running, couldn’t ask for more. I did wear a long sleeved shirt – but I did not get overly hot nor was I cold. Because P was not in the country – I took my phone with me and stuck to areas that were no farther than 4K away from my house. Normally I will do a large out and back along the parkway but if something happened, I couldn’t phone P to come pick me up. I also decided on coming back to my house at the halfway point for water and a washroom break. It really helped to break up the run. It honestly did not feel like I was running for almost 2 hours. I ran the first 8K in just under an hour and the 2nd half in about 56 minutes. My pace was really really slow for the first 12KM – I could have a total conversation and wasn’t out of breath at all. I did stop once to talk to a family who asked about the path. I also stuck with 10 and 1′s but for the 1st break during both halves, I kind of forgot and didn’t break until 13 minutes had gone by. I did not feel tired at all and could have kept going. This is a big change to my last 16K run before the Ottawa Race Weekend where I bonked and felt awful after.




Saturday – Off

I wanted to run – but downpours + chariot do not mix.

Sunday – 5K Chariot run in 34:00

Standard chariot run. Despite being at almost the same pace as my 16K – this run was MUCH harder. I was breathing more heavily, was sweating and felt more tired. That is what happens when you are pushing a 30+ pound toddler! Because I had the chariot – I had to stick to the flattest 5K route I know. Nothing to extraordinary happened other than two other Mom’s saying “hey look, a running mom!” and Max telling me to “go chase” a much faster runner.


Total KM this week – 30KM (supposed to be 33)



A pretty solid week minus that awful after-Wendy’s run. I’m pretty sure I just strained a muscle on my leg with my first set of hills. It doesn’t hurt right now and did not hurt at all when running. I do have a massage appointment for this week scheduled so hopefully I can get that one muscle that is tense worked out. I have a doctor’s appointment next week as a follow up to my bone scan. I’m going to ask my doctor to write a note to get my massages covered by my insurance. I basically can get three 45 minute sessions covered – which should be more than enough to get me through marathon training.

In terms of the actual distance – 16K is the most I’ve ever done for half training, so the next few weeks of training will be interesting as I now go farther in the training plan and out of my comfort zone.  I will say that training for a half marathon again will be a BREEZE. But – speaking of that, I have no intentions of signing up for Ottawa Race Weekend’s half ever again. Registration opens in September and I will be signing up for the 10K. Next year I will probably be running STWM’s half marathon instead!

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By |August 18th, 2014|NYC 2014, running|0 Comments|