Monday, November 30, 2015

Fat Ass Full Frosty Beaver Moon Half Marathon

Friday night, I ran a half marathon. As you can see from the title of this post, the total of the race is really, really long, so let's just shorten it to the Frosty Beaver, for the sake of my laziness.
This is a no fee, self-organized trail run half marathon for us crazy Winnipeg runners who run all winter long. Unlike most races, this one is at night. It started at 7pm. It also meant that the roads weren't closed, there were no water stations or big mile markers along the way. It was just us and the run. It was a hell of a lot of fun.

Friday night wasn't very cold. It was only about -15 with the wind chill, which meant that the majority of the run, which was on trail by the river were completely devoid of wind thanks to the trees. The first 7-8km, I was way too hot. I had to roll up my sleeves to cool down! There were some nasty gushes of wind at some points, but all around, it was a really good course. The snow was packed down on the trails and barely icy.

Right after passing mile 9, my phone died. That meant no music, or any way of knowing how many miles left to run.... for 4 miles. It doesn't seem like much, but nearly the end of a half marathon, there's not much that really keeps you going, and music is one of those things. It's a good thing I was running with two great women who really helped me finish the race! I finished with a time of about 2 hours, 34 minutes. That's only 20 minutes slower than my average, which is really good for a trail run that I barely even trained for!

It was such a run race! We all had our headlamps and our reflector stripes made us look like we belonged in a sci-fi movie! Everyone was in a great mood and it definitely helped that we had an "after-party" with cheap beer and nachos! Did I mention how much I love running in wintertime?

Friday, November 27, 2015

Pre/Post Half-Marathon Rituals

As any athlete (though I don't exactly consider myself one), I have pre and post half-marathon rituals. There aren't many, but I give them a lot of importance. It's how I prepare myself mentally and physically for the race, which is extremely important. 13.1 miles isn't anything you can do on a whim (at least not if you want to survive it) so we prepare ourselves the best we can.

Pre Half-Marathon Rituals:
First, I start with going over the course and any little detail of the race; where to park, who will be driving me or meeting me at the finish line, what is the course closing time, what the finish area will look like, where I can drop off my gear before the race, etc. I'll most likely forget all of it in the morning, but it's good to go over. It makes me feel like I have everything under control, like I know exactly what will happen.

Next, I make myself a big giant bowl of tortellini. It's basically the only time I eat then, since they're pretty expensive pasta. After I'm stuffed to the brim with carbs, I take a long, hot bath with a lot of Epsom Salts and a good book. I managed to find some that are seated with Eucalyptus, which makes it even more relaxing. I did this for the first time in Berlin, as my legs were so damn sore from all the walking around and visiting. I always feel brand new right after I get out. Not only does it give me time to myself to relax, I also get time to catch up on some reading.

After my bath, I slowly prepare my gear for the race: I pin my bib to my shirt, lay out my clothes (I double-check what the weather will be like first), and get my bag ready with the gels, my ID, keys, shoes and whatever else I need to bring with me. When I think I have everything put together, I try to sleep. The thing is, every night before a big race will always be like the night before Christmas: it's impossible to sleep! Maybe that will go away eventually, but I am always way too excited the night before to get a full 8 hours of sleep. I'm lucky if I get 5! Eventually, I manage to drift off.

Post Half-Marathon Rituals:
The minute the race is over, it's time for pictures. I take a few pictures with my brand-new medal, then I go collect my bag at the drop-off. Then it's off to the recovery area!

The first thing I look for is chocolate milk. It's probably one of my favourite things ever, and it's believed to be the best recovery drink/food, so I usually grab 2-3 of them in my bag for later. I also grab a bagel for the ride home. Some smaller runs offer a pancake breakfast, which sounds amazing, but during the WPS race this year, it gave me such a stomach ache, that I haven't had the courage to try it again.

Lastly, I order pizza. This is the most important ritual of them all, of course. This actually started during my first half-marathon, where I struggled to finish and the entire time, my mother and I joked about my boyfriend Pete Za and the thought of victory pizza was the only thing that kept me going. I was hungry, sick, injured and just plain exhausted, but in the end, I finished and ate my weight in pizza afterwards. I didn't actually think this would become a tradition or ritual, but in Berlin, we ended up going to this little Italian place after the race, where I had this amazing, gigantic pizza. So I decided that I needed to keep this going! After every race from then on, pizza was to be had!

Do you have any rituals after a race/competition?

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Another Scarf!

I made a post about scarves last week, talking about how much I love them, and here's another one! This one is probably my favourite scarf.
Last year or the year before, my aunt got me this amazing green scarf for Christmas. This is a huge scarf, almost as long as my legs and as wide as my arm and chest. It has a zipper right in the middle, which means I have a bunch of different options on how to wear it.

It's such a nice scarf to wear during the winter, since it's so thick and soft. It never runs out! I especially love the back of the scarf. It has a split at the bottom, which makes it sit perfectly on my shoulders and rarely ever rides up like a regular scarf would.

You can find more, really great things made by the same company here.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The World of Dating

I've been dating since I was 14. I definitely just shuddered at the thought of that, so don't worry if you did too. Fourteen is young, maybe too young. That also means that at the age of 21, I've been in the dating game for about 7 years. It may not be a lot compared to people in their thirties, but to me, it feels like so much longer than that. I have definitely learned a few things in those seven years.

The world of dating isn't what it used to be, anyone can see that. Nowadays, no one really "dates" or are "in a relationship." People are "friends with benefits" or "seeing each other" or even doing the "Netflix and chill" because it's easier; there's an escape route clearly marked. If you don't label it, you technically don't have a commitment, and therefore could leave anytime you want. More and more people just want flings and one-night-stands. We want to be the best in our career field, we want to travel, we want to experiment, start a band, etc. Most of the time, that means being to busy or not wanting to settle down. I don't know many people in their early twenties who are ready to get married and have kids, even if that's what we all dream and talk about.

The thing is, with the Internet, the world has gotten a hell of a lot smaller. You can meet people around the world instantly, you can even find people who are nearby with the click of a button (or a touch of a screen). The only place that doesn't seem to have caught up with this technology is Hollywood. Hollywood keeps on showing us that Prince Charming is just around the corner, not on the other side of a screen. It's still teaching us that the perfect guy is out there, and of course, that's something we should always hope for.
Nowadays, though, there are a lot of "the One"s. I'm sure I could find a "the One" in every country. The problem is that my generation and even the one of my parents' believe that everything is temporary and disposable. "The button on my shirt fell off... better throw it in the garbage!" is the same as "He didn't throw out the trash one too many times and I just decided that I couldn't live with him anymore!"

We have this idea that nothing lasts, so of course no one wants to commit. We see our friends get cheated on, lied to, heart-broken or have been there ourselves, so why would we go through that again? Why commit to someone when you know that there's a solid 90% it won't last, even if you do end up getting married? And everyone knows divorces are messy, so why bother?
I've been on tons of first dates. Most of them generated by trying online dating (never again....), but I could tell that we are all so jaded. Guys think that girls are always playing games and have an agenda to watch them fail, that every word out of our mouth is some sort of ploy to start a fight, that in the end, we are all psycho bitches that need big romantic gestures like in The Notebook. Girls think that guys only compliment them to get in their pants, that if they buy us a drink, we have to put out, that they will tell us anything just so they can get laid, that they are never going to even try to understand, that they only care about cars and football and we're only good for cooking and looking pretty.

No wonder we don't commit. We are terrified of each other, we are terrified of getting hurt, or the mess a breakup or a divorce leaves behind, we are terrified of missing out on life or even on finding the real "the One" if we settle too quickly.  In the meantime, we keep on keepin' on, dating, one-night-stand-ing, Netflix-and-chilling, trying to get one another to commit, all the while trying to fulfil our dreams before we finally settle down to what may hopefully be a "happily ever after."

Monday, November 23, 2015

Weird Child.

I was a weird child. Still am! I mean, most kids are pretty weird... but I definitely had some hilarious moments that we still laugh about at the dinner table and I'm sure will end up in a slideshow at my wedding. Here's a few strange things I have done or did as a child.

I was so proud that I had learned how to read, that I would read to my stuffed animals.... in my bathing suit.

One day, I was at Tim Horton's with my dad and I had just started to learn English. I was reading the menu and said a little too loud, "Beaver eggs?! That's disgusting!!" A few people looked around curiously. My dad looked up at the menu "Em, it says 'beverages'."

During one of our road trips to the Rocky Mountain, my sister and I were really disappointed that we were climbing mountains, as we thought that that's what "hiking" meant. So, we strapped on some of our own makeshift gear and started to climb.
Once or twice, we went to the beach and I would run into the water, play around for a while then come out and take my bathing suit off (Keep in mind, I was little back then) and then run back in the water. Finally, my dad asked why I took my bathing suit off, and I simply said "well, it's wet."

My parents always found the most random things for us to play with and when we went camping, one of those happened to be the Tupperware bins they used to do the dishes.

 I used to love eating snow. By the handful! One day, my dad asked me what snow tastes like and I said "my hand." So he asked me what my hand tasted like, and I said "skin."

There are so many more stories, so many weird things I used to do or say, but these are just a few of my favourites.

Do you have any stories of weird things you did as a child?

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Things No One Tells You About Running

I've been running and training consistently for the last 2 years, and there are a lot of things about running that I didn't know until I really started running seriously. Many things that runners don't tell you when you start, simply because they are such a common part of being a runner, that you forget to mention them to new runners.

Things No One Tells You About Running:

  1. When you talk about running to someone who doesn't run, the first thing they will tell you is how much they hate running.
  2. You will realize that most people don't really how much you ran today.
  3. In the middle of a race, whether it's 5, 10 or 21km, you will be telling yourself you will never do this again. Yet the minute you cross the finish line, you want to do a hundred more. Kind of like a hangover in a way.
  4. You will never have digestive problems ever again. Running is kind of amazing for that. Oh, and chances are, you'll need to go number 2 in the middle of your race.
  5. Just because you run by another runner, doesn't mean they'll want to say hi or chit chat.
  6. Running is expensive.
  7. You will get addicted and obsessive. That feeling when you're flying to the finish line, the therapy you get from running, the people you meeting in running groups... It's addicting. Wait till you start obsessing over which race and how many you can fit into one season.
  8. Eventually, your clothes will stink, even if they're clean. You just can't get that smell out, especially the summer running clothes.
  9. People will always ask you how long a marathon is. Always.
  10. You will discover this amazing mental and physical strength you never knew you had from running, rain or shine, happy or sad, you kept going, and that's a strength not many people know how to find.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

How I Blog

I blog because I love it. I love writing and talking and sharing random bits of my life that I'm sure no one really cares about, but that's not what matters. I don't blog for attention, or write what people want me to write, I write what I want to write.

Coming up with ideas of what to write about is easy for me. Finding a way to organize those ideas and actually turn them into blog posts is a whole different ball game. First, I start by making a list of all my different ideas in my notebook. Each page is a different category; daily, style, food, running/fitness, travel. After that, I write down the dates Monday-Friday for the whole page (usually about two months). I start by writing down posts for Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, then fill out the rest with whatever else I forgot or leave some blanks for the impromptu posts.

What I love about Blogger is that I can schedule posts. So if I'm feeling particularly efficient one day, I can write 3-4 blog posts at once and schedule them, then like magic, they are published without me having to do a single thing! I also discovered how to do that on Facebook and Twitter, that way if I'm at work when I want a post to be published, it will do it automatically for me.

Right now I have about 16 blog posts drafted from my makeshift calendar, most of which I only need to add pictures. It definitely helps having this little schedule, that way I don't have to think too hard about what to write if I'm in a rut, and don't stress if I'm working 15 hours that day and don't have access to my computer to write or publish a post. Of course, nothing is set in stone, but it does give me a good guideline.

There you go! Not a very long post, but if you ever have questions about how I blog, feel free to ask!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Best Accessory a Girl Could Ask For

I've never really been good at accessorizing, or even matching colours or patterns together. So, I just never bothered wearing jewelry or "fancy clothes." I stuck to the good old t-shirt and jeans style and it's been working out perfectly fine for me. Until I started wearing scarves. It's the perfect accessory for someone like me who doesn't do jewelry and can't match patterns.

When I was younger, I hated wearing scarves. I found them itchy and constricting and I was always tripping on them. Winter clothes were already bulky enough that I didn't need the extra obstacle! But I grew up and the snow pants were no long needed... I shed the bulk and the scarves became essential.  It started with one... and next thing you know? I have 10. Obviously ten isn't a lot compared to other people, but for me, it's a lot. Now it's become my favourite accessory! I still haven't gotten to the point of wearing a scarf during the summer.... but let's not get ahead of ourselves.

One of these I got as a birthday gift from a close friend, another is made of a recycled sari, another I got in Germany, another is hand dyed and another I wore at my aunt's wedding. Almost every one of these has a story, which may explain why I only have 10. I love all of them! My favourite accessory.

What is YOUR favourite accessory? Does it have a story behind it?

Friday, November 13, 2015

November Project

In September, a friend of mine suggested I come with her to this bootcamp called "November Project" and my first thought was "well it's September, but okay..." So the next morning, she picked me up at 6am and brought me to The Forks Skatepark where everyone met up for 6:15am.

The workout started with a little huddle, where we hugged 4 strangers and told them we were glad they were there. After that? Man oh man. We did all kind of things: squats, lunges, sprints, jumps, bear crawls, push-ups, etc, etc. This workout is every Wednesday, rain or shine (end of the world included) only lasts an hour, which makes it perfect for anyone who works regular 9-5 hours (unlike me) and needs to be done by 7:15am to get ready for work.

 It was one hell of a workout and I was definitely sore the next day. Not only was I sore, but I was also addicted. It was so much fun to be surrounded by over 100 people, working out for free and being allowed to go at my own pace if I needed it! The first day I went happened to be picture day, so I got some funny glasses for a picture:

November Project is pretty damn cool: there are "Tribes" all over North America (Boston, Chicago, New Orleans, New York, Vancouver, Washington, just to name a few), it's free, it's guaranteed to happen every week and the people are amazing. People of all ages, shapes and sizes come together every week at the crack of dawn to start their day on the right foot.

The only hitch... I'm by no means a morning person, so of course I haven't been as often as I should have or would have liked, but I go and every time I go, I love it. Here are some pictures from the few NPs I've gone to (I've gone to more than 3 I promise! I just skipped the group photos) :

**All photo credits go to November Project Winnipeg**

If you're still not convinced, check out this great video:

November Project WPG from 204 FILMS on Vimeo.

See you Wednesday at 6:14am!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Thai Coconut Chicken

I'm a huge fan of chicken and curry dishes and we've had this little packet of Club House Thai Coconut Chicken seasoning in the pantry for a long time. I've always wanted to try it, but never had the right ingredients. Finally, I decided to just go for it and get the ingredients and make a delicious meal out of this little pack of powder!

1tbsp vegetable oil
1 lb chicken, cut into strips/cubes
2 1/2 thinly sliced vegetables (I used 3 small heads of broccoli and half a red bell pepper)
3/4 cup coconut milk
3/4 cup milk

1. In wok or large skillet heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat.
2. Add chicken and stir-fry 4 minutes.

3. Add vegetables. Stir-fry 5-7 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink.

4. Reduce heat to medium. Add coconut milk, milk, and seasoning mix, stirring constantly until sauce is thickened. Simmer 1 minute.

5. Serve over rice or noodles.

It was delicious! Much better than I thought it would have been for a packet of powder.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Thunder Balls

This year, I joined a dodgeball league with some of my coworkers. It may sound silly at first, but it's actually a lot of fun, and definitely more intense than the dodgeball I remember playing in high school!
Our team is called the Thunder Balls we play every Monday night and, we even decided to get team jerseys with numbers and nicknames! One of the guys had the idea of sharing a nickname with me: "Shake" and "N' Bake."
So far, we've only won one or two games, but we play hard. I am almost always the last one standing, of course, but that's just because the guys throw hard and dive and jump to catch balls, putting them in "harm's way."

Monday, November 9, 2015

10 Random Facts About Me

I haven't done one of these in a really long time and I love lists, so I thought I would share some more random facts about me!

  1. I get morbidly proud when I get purple toenails after a big race. It's a very common running "injury" and it's like a battle wound.
  2. I have a box full of all the papers/notes/projects/handouts I have ever gotten or written that I refuse to throw out just in case I might ever need them again, even though... I'm 99% sure I won't.
  3. I hate wearing heels. As much as I love how pretty they look, they destroy my feet! I have never gotten used to that. Plus I really suck at walking in heels...
  4. I have a horrible Netlfix addiction. I have to follow through ever single TV show I start, even if I don't really like it. I torture myself through all these TV shows I don't even like anymore just because I have to finish it!
  5. I have a little white oval chicken pox scar under my left boob.
  6. I don't like wearing hats. It has nothing to do with messing up my hair, but they just disagree with me. Bandanas and headbands always fall off, toques are always too big or too small and fall off. I've given up!
  7. Just like with hats, I'm not a jewelry person. It's not because they don't fit, but because I have never learned how to coordinate it. It's also because I work in environments where I can't wear jewelry, so wearing it on my way to work simply to take it off at work seems a little silly. So I just end up collecting necklace after necklace without ever wearing them.
  8. If I wake up before 7am, I become a total morning person. After that? Don't even try to talk to me! I don't know what it is, if it's my body overcompensating, but it works! If only I wanted to wake up that early....
  9. Of all things I could be self-conscious about, I don't like my forehead. I have deep frown lines and my hair always cowlicks in a way to expose it even more than I would like. I usually chop my forehead in half in most of my selfies.
  10. I rarely ever wear green. It's my favourite colour, but I'm too picky on what shade I like when it comes to clothes, so I usually end up with blues, reds and blacks.
There you have it! Another list, ten more facts!

Friday, November 6, 2015

A Day in the Life of a Tour Guide

**Disclaimer: the opinions shard in this post are mine and mine alone. They do not necessarily reflect the museum's mandate or views.**

For the last year, I've been working at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights as an interpretive guide and honestly? I absolutely love my job. Every day, I get to be surrounded by inspiring stories, I get to meet really interesting people from all over the world, I get to work with such knowledgable and kind people, and I get to talk to people and explain the highlights of this beautiful museum.

In August, I gave a tour to a group of elderly folk, which isn't uncommon for me, but this group was special. They were a group of friends, all couples who get together every year in a different city in Canada as a sort of reunion. They were so interested in what I had to say and in the content of the museum, which is refreshing as sometimes I give tours to people who look like they would rather be anywhere else in the world. About a week after the tour, I received an email from my managers. They had gotten an email from one of the gentlemen on my tour with some really kind words and a picture:
"It was our great pleasure, as members of (...),  to visit the Museum of Human Rights last week. The experience was made even more enjoyable because of our most excellent guide, Emilie (Emily). Her 90 minute presentation was absolutely “first-class!” Attached is a photo which, hopefully, you can forward to her. Thank you! We will plan another visit next time we’re in Winnipeg."
When I get comments like this, it makes me feel like I'm making a change, like I can help inspire people and it's such a great feeling! It's always wonderful to know that others appreciate the work you do, especially when you love what you do.

A typical day in the life of a tour guide at the museum, usually starts at 9am with a morning meeting with the whole team where we make sure everyone is on the same page about the tours and school programs going on that day, as well as any other news or events happening that day. Then, I have a tour at 10:30am that's 90 minutes, which takes us to lunch time. After lunch, I either have a tour at 1:30 or 2:30pm, and in between I spend time roaming, talking to visitors or studying in the galleries to learn more of the content. At the end of the day, we write down the statistics of how many people were on our tour, where they're from and what sort of comments they gave us, whether it's about the museum or the tour itself.
Now I thought I would finish this post with a few images I took at the museum.

Indigenous Perspectives gallery
Hall of Hope
Garden of Contemplation 

Me on the Alabaster ramps
Bitter Memories of Childhood
Breaking the Silence gallery 

Inspiring Change gallery
I imagine... cards
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