Almond Butter Cookies (Gluten Free!)

I like to think of myself as a generally levelheaded person. However, every once in a while, something (like an EXAM maybe?) sends me totally into orbit.

Over time, I’ve learned that the natural answer to this is taking a mini-break. I’ve already gone for a run today, and the late-night studying had me craving something sweet. Since I’m still working in Sechelt, there aren’t any grocery stores open at 9 PM. I decided to try making healthy-ish cookies with what I had on hand – here’s what I came up with :)

Almond Butter and Oat Cookies

Makes 14 cookies

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup rolled oats (in hindsight these are a little oat-y, so if you want to decrease the oats that’s probably fine)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1-2 teaspoons cinnamon (I like more!)
  • 1 cup almond butter
  • 1/3 cup egg whites
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Depending on your oats quantity, you might need to add some flour to thicken the batter – you want it to be pretty thick! If you want to keep the cookies gluten free, I think almond flour would work really well!

Combine everything in a bowl. Bake at 350 deg F for 10-11 minutes. Cool and enjoy! 

 

 

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Race Day Checklist – Road Race Edition

This Sunday is the Sunshine Coast Fool’s Run. It’s a half marathon from Gibsons to Davis Bay. Since I’ve been working on the Coast (only 2k from the finish line!) I’m excited to run here.

Last weekend I was in Vancouver and needed to figure out what I’d bring back with me. I grabbed a few things to wear to work this week, then ended up going back to my marathon, trail race and triathlon packing posts. I figured it would be good to make one for a simple road race!

General

  • phone
  • wallet
  • keys

So I used to carry some of these things with me during a race, but ever since chafing at Seawheeze from having my phone in my back pocket, I’ve stopped. It’s not like I used it anyway!

Race Gear

  • shirt
  • sports bra
  • shorts
  • arm warmers
  • gloves/hat
  • socks
  • shoes
  • hair tie/headband/bobby pins
  • sunglasses
  • tape
  • number and safety pins
  • watch
  • heart rate monitor
  • Body Glide (I really can’t explain how important this is. Trust me.)

Some of this stuff will be different if you are racing in warm vs. cold weather. The forecast for this Sunday at the start line is 6 degrees and a 25% chance of rain. That probably means running in shorts, a singlet, hat, gloves, and arm warmers. No sunglasses and (happily!) no tape needed this weekend. I haven’t been running with a heart rate monitor lately (but might get back into it… more on that later) and I won’t need to carry anything for a half marathon.

Pre-Race

  • coffee
  • warmups (remember to factor in if these will be thrown away or checked!)

Post-Race

  • warm/dry clothes

Nutrition

  • hydration: race belt (or handheld bottle/vest) – prob only for marathon or longer
  • gels/fuel (What is my plan this weekend???)
  • post-race snack (my favourite cookies!)

And that’s it! Seems like a long list but it’s really not that much. Plus, on a warmer day/shorter race, you can get away with less!

What do you always bring? Did I forget anything?

Workouts this Week


I feel like I barely made it to Friday night this week – finally walking into our place (and seeing my Belgian) after a packed clinic, ferry delays and bridge traffic was the best feeling.

On the running front, I felt a bit of fatigue this week as well, so it’s a good thing the next one will be a bit of a drop-back! Here’s what I ended up doing:

Monday Friday/Sunday call shifts and run last weekendI always rest on Mondays! I think I still had some sleep debt from the , so I went to bed early.

Tuesday Easy 11.5k to the Kinnickinick park trails with Alexa, a med student who’s also staying in Sechelt this month. The run to the park is super hilly, so it felt like a good workout even though we kept the pace (mostly) conversational. I noticed I didn’t have as much pep in my step as I often do on Tuesdays.

Wednesday I ran with one of the docs, Simon, at lunch for a zippy 4.5k at 4:20 pace. After work, I did another 12.5k in the trails at a much easier 5:30ish pace. I had planned to do 14, but cut it a bit short because of timing.

Thursday This was supposed to be 12k of hill repeats, but after 8.5k I was really fatigued, so I ended it there. 2x Field Road hill (138m/450ft of elevation)at 4:43/km.

Friday I skipped my run in favour of trying to get home earlier, but traffic and the ferry delay made it a major fail. In hindsight, I probably needed the rest day anyway. When I got home Jan and I ate sushi and watched The Office. 

Saturday I met Alyson for an awesome, easy early am run around the Seawall. It felt SO good to be back in my usual neighbourhood, waking up in my own bed. We did 5:30/km and ended at Whole Foods – honestly amazing.

Sunday We met up with the usual RR crew bright and early for a 33km long run. It rained the WHOLE TIME! I was very cold but very glad to finish. I tried a fasted-ish run (oatmeal an hour before, then water + 1 shot block during, for a 2350 calorie deficit) and actually felt really good.

Total mileage: 80.6km! Even with the rest/cutting off a run or two I’m still happy with the mileage and happy for the chance to listen to my body.

Snowshoeing Hollyburn Mountain

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In January, Jan and I took advantage of a perfect holiday Monday and snowshoed up Hollyburn Mountain. The views were bluebird! Here’s a recap of our day and the hike up:

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The trail is free, and starts from the alpine area of Cypress Mountain. It’s a left from the main road as you head towards the ski parking. At the base, you can rent snowshoes or get passes to go into the groomed Cypress trails. The Hollyburn trail is marked by red poles, like the one in the photo above.

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The first part of the trail is one of the steepest, and I always find myself de-layering here :). Eventually, you move away from the power lines alongside this trail and into a more forested section.

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After 2.8 km of meandering up (sometimes climbing, sometimes more level ground), the trail turns up to the left towards Hollyburn peak. Several times when I haven’t had time for a long snowshoe, I’ve called it a day here.

This time, though, we had the whole day and it was so beautiful, I knew we had to get to the peak.

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At about 3.6 km, the trail starts to wrap around the mountain. Here, it’s easy to go exploring “off piste” if you have good visibility and the right conditions. Make sure you take the usual safety precautions that you would in the backcountry!

We explored a bit – my favourite is the trees that are covered in snow!

The snow is deep – I would definitely recommend snowshoes (you need more than just boots or spikes, at least in January/February).

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Eventually we stopped goofing around and made it the final few hundred meters to the peak. The views were unreal!

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2017-01-02-snowshoe-hike-hullyburn-mountain-038We took in the sights, ate a snack, and headed back down. Our total ascent time (with lots of playing around/stopping for photos) was just under 2 hours. We took our time going back down as well, with lots of photo stops.

Quick stats: 8 km roundtrip | Dec-Mar | 3 hours roundtrip | Parking and snowshoe rentals ($15) at Cypress Alpine Parking lot | 590 m elevation

Photos all thanks to Jan

Workouts Last Week

This past week felt like a roller coaster of workouts – between weather and odd work hours, I was just glad to be able to fit in the mileage. My mornings felt a lot snoozier (thanks, daylight savings!) but I LOVE having light into the evening hours. It means leaving work at six still gives me tons of time for a run outside, sans headlamp.

Monday I always rest on Mondays! This week I headed to Sechelt on an early ferry, then spent the rest of the day in the hospital and clinic.

Tuesday I had planned to get an easy run in, and it ended up being a little faster than I intended. Sometimes I get caught up in a “get it done” mentality (this directly relates to the length of my to-do list for the day) and an easy run morphs into a tempo. All good, though, since I was feeling comfortable. 12k | 4:41/km

Wednesday So, on Wednesday I worked all day. About an hour before leaving work, the sky turned super dark and it started raining. I tried to wait it out but the idea of running in the dark and rain was not appealing. I decided I probably wouldn’t totally die in the rain and just headed out to run. It did start to thunder towards the end, so I cut it short. 8.7k | 5:00/km

Thursday I ended work a little later and knew that if I went home first, I would lose all momentum. So, I decided to just throw my stuff in the car and run a loop from the parking lot at work. I found these great trails, and even though I got a bit lost, it ended up being a really fun run. 13.9k | 5:56/km

Friday I worked in the clinic during the day and had to head to the hospital for a night shift after, so I just wanted to get a shorter run in to get my blood flowing. The road that the clinic is on is a nice, long uphill, so I did a few repeats of that and called it a day :). 8k | 4:40/km Saturday I came home from the hospital in the morning, ate breakfast, and immediately went to bed :). I woke up around 11:30 and slowly started my day with some oatmeal and reading. Around 1, I knew I couldn’t put my long run off any longer and headed out. When I left Vancouver last weekend, I totally forgot that I would be doing my long run in Sechelt this weekend, and so I didn’t have any of my usual long run food with me (honey stingers and shot blocks, I’m looking at you). Before my night shift I picked up a couple of these Bounce bars at the grocery store. I ate one 16km into the run but it just sat like a rock in my stomach so I didn’t have any more. Another long run fuelling flop. Other than that though, the run went pretty well – a mix of road and trails with some good hills in there for me. 27k | 5:24/km

Sunday After a daytime ER shift, I squeezed in a little trail run to end the week. It was so beautiful and sunny out that I just couldn’t stay inside. 9.1k | 6:16/km

Total mileage: 79 km! How did your week go?

Sun Mountain 50k Training Plans

This past Saturday marked 10 weeks out from Sun Mountain training. I don’t know if it’s going to be my “A” race for the year (will I have an A race?) but it’s definitely what I’m focusing on for now.

I haven’t set a serious goal, but I’m loosely hoping to be between 5:30-6:00 (average 6:35-7:12/km).

I’ve never raced anything further than a marathon on my feet (and I’ve only run one marathon!), but doing some longer triathlons did get me accustomed to multi-hour race day efforts. I tried to use some of the things I learned there to build a plan for Sun Mountain. Mostly:

  • I tend to log more miles when I’m with a group and there’s a set plan
  • I need to build in some solo workouts to prepare for how it will feel to be racing on my own
  • I need to listen to my body!
  • I need to practice fuelling.

I’m also trying to consider a few extra things for Sun Mountain:

  • It’s just a lot of time on my feet
  • I have only done a few short races on trail

Long Runs

I decided to build up to the race in parallel to the Running Room BMO Vancouver Marathon clinic. Dave and Greg are leading a big group of people who are running the race, and since Sun Mountain is just a few weeks later (and a few km’s farther), I’ve hopped onto their long run schedule.

This past Sunday was 29km (although a bit short), and I’ll loosely follow the clinic until they start to taper. My plan is roughly: 29 – 32 – 29 (with 21 as the April Fool’s Race!) – 32 – 32 (clinic starts to taper) – 36 – 40 – 30 (race day for the clinic) – 20 – Race!

Weekly Mileage

With those long runs, I’m looking to steadily increase my weekly mileage. For the past seven weeks, it’s been mostly between 65-75 km.

For the next four weeks, I’m hoping to be able to increase that a bit to 75-85 km/week. For the three weeks after that, I’ll look for 85-100k, and then I’ll taper down to the race.

Types of Runs

Since I’m working on the Sunshine Coast, I’ve also been trying to make my runs hilly and looking for opportunities to run on trails. I’m trying to do a bit of speedwork as well!

Fuelling + Listening to My Bod

So. My fuelling has always been something I forget to focus on. I tried hard during marathon training to nail down a strategy and practice it early. On race day, I didn’t end up getting all the calories I planned, but I did get most and I felt really strong, so I called it a success. Lately though, I haven’t been thinking about it as much and I want to make an effort to get back to being strategic. I haven’t fuelled with anything except water and a few gummies for my long runs during this cycle, so that’s gonna have to change.

As for responding to my own cues, I did take an almost rest day 2 Sundays ago – I woke up with a bad cold and decided not to suck it up and do my long run. Overall, I don’t think this made me lose any fitness and I felt great last week, even though I still have the end of the cold.

And that’s it! Any trail runners have some advice for me? 

PS – photos by Jan, except for the blurry cell phone photos I took of Dave’s map + my salad creation