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kelseydo half marathon training

"Excited" faces

“Excited” for running faces

Nick and I are training for the Scotiabank Half Marathon in June. We started training once before, a few years ago, but it didn’t work out because a bunch of people decided to get married in the middle of our training and we had to go dance, drink, eat and celebrate instead. Also Nick didn’t want to do hill training. I tried to explain to him that no one ‘wants’ to do it, it simply must be done. Anyways moral of the story is: you can’t tell Nick what to do.

BUT he’s doing hill training now. He even seems to enjoy it. He’s a changed man: he drinks juice made of kale and spinach, runs on a mini foot elliptical while playing video games and goes to bed before 2am.

Running is difficult but rewarding. Our training schedule has us outside 5 times a week rain or shine (or snow a couple times!). We get the benefits of fresh air, taking a mental break and getting some exercise. Also, Nick read somewhere a while ago that “couples who work out together stay together” so there’s that.

Running Start to Finish

Inside this book is the training guide we’ve been using. Obviously it’s from the 90’s and it’s a bit dated but it’s a great beginner’s running guide plus my mom gave it to me so that also means it’s great. Also, I like looking at the pictures of people running/training in the book in their 90’s garb, it makes me feel really cool in my futuristic running gear.

Speaking of running gear. I find running really uncomfortable most of the time and usually I can find at least one thing going wrong with my gear to complain about while running. This is why running gear is so important. If the gear is good, there is less to complain about and the run can actually become fun. I know, weird right?

SPORTS BRAS are muy importante. I used to follow my elders and wear two sports bras at once: one that looked like some kind of post-op device and another run of the mill uniboob maker. Now I have sold my soul and wear the Lululemon TaTa Tamer:

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It does the trick. They also carry this one, the Booby Bracer, which I bought and returned a day later:

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It’s like putting on a really tight wetsuit every time. I decided it was unnecessary to go through that amount of discomfort to put a bra on. However it is supposed to mold to your body once you begin to sweat and your boobs will not move, I guarantee it. See how in the picture the model’s nipples are on top of her boobs, reaching for the ceiling? They were trying to rid themselves from the clutches of this skin tight device seconds before they got strapped in there and now they’re trapped like Hans Solo in a brick of Carbonite. There’s nowhere to go. It’s locked down in there, air tight.

I highly recommend this item by Moving Comfort that I purchased at Extreme Runners in Courtenay:

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It’s an awesome sports bra. Very comfortable and keeps everything in place.

Shoes supplied by Courtenay Frontrunners

Shoes supplied by Courtenay’s Extreme Runners

RUNNING SHOES are of course another very important part of the gear- some might say the most important. Another reason why I love Extreme Runners in Courtenay is that they let you ‘try out’ (lightly) and return running shoes if they aren’t perfect. They should feel perfect when you try them on. I test out a bunch of different pairs and whichever runners make me feel the most like I’m running on clouds, are the runners I buy.

Dodging puddles

Dodging puddles

CHAFING is not part of your running wardrobe. I remove this problem by not wearing shorts; pants to the ankle or just below the knee are key. Nick removes this problem by wearing long shorts that have a shelf liner that keeps his business sealed and protected. Whatever you wear, you need to make sure there is no thigh-on-thigh action. Otherwise you will cry.

Another problem that I have, which probably only happens to me and maybe my mother (aka genetics), is that my pants are always falling down for the first 15 minutes of the run (until I start to sweat and the pants stick on). So far, the only solution I have is to a) buy tighter pants and b) wear pants that are slightly damp (aka not fully dry from being washed). If anyone has another solution- running suspenders, waistband glue- I’m all ears.

APPS We use RunKeeper to record and plan our runs. Nick has a Pebble- a watch that connects to his smartphone- which vibrates when we’ve completed our run.

What a beautiful day :S

What a beautiful day :S

Hope you enjoyed my tips. Please share some of your own tips/tricks with me! I still have a long way to go and a lot to work on before the half marathon.

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2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,000 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 33 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

kelseydo Tea Ceremony

Today the Ritsumeikan High School students held a free temple tour and tea ceremony at the temple 春光院 Shunkoin  in 妙心寺 Myoushinji. This temple complex is located very close to my University and I occasionally bike home through it. Every time I bike through the complex I feel like I am on some kind of Edo period film set, but then I realize I am actually riding my bike through something that was built over 300 years ago. No big deal, totally casual.

The students introduced the culture of Zen Buddhism in relation to the art and architecture of the temple. They explained that the art in each room has never had to be restored because the paint is made from minerals and sunlight does not enter the rooms. Also, all of the paintings are done from the perspective of someone seated in the middle of the room on the floor as they would have been viewed. Because there was no electricity, a lot of gold paint was used so that when the doors were opened, the light would reflect off the walls and brighten the room. The wooden beams and doors are each made from a single tree, making them extremely solid and valuable.

妙心寺 MYOUSHINJI

妙心寺 MYOUSHINJI

Wall Painting

Wall Painting

Chair for the assistant to the Master of Ceremonies

Chair for the assistant to the Master of Ceremonies (I got to sit here and ding the dong)

Wall Painting

Wall Painting

Wooden Doors

Solid Wooden Doors

I really enjoyed the tea ceremony because I have heard how formal and long tea ceremonies can be, but the high school students were informal (although still dressed in Furisode– a Kimono for unmarried women with long sleeves) and gave us more of a tutorial version which I appreciated for my first time. We shared some sweets made of rice flour and then mixed our own matcha. Matcha is powdered green tea. It is quite bitter but not so hard to swallow after eating sweets. Apparently matcha was drank by Samurai (military nobility of Japan) before going to battle so that they could stay alert while fighting.

Traditional Sweets

Traditional Sweets

My sweet- a spring flower that blooms before the winter cold ends

My sweet- a spring flower that blooms before the winter cold ends

My matcha- before stirring

My matcha- before stirring

My matcha- after stirring (it was not easy!)

My matcha- after stirring (it was not easy!)

A common saying used in the tea ceremony is “Ichi-go ichi-e” 一期一会 which means “once in a lifetime chance”. I really do feel like my year in Japan is a once in a lifetime chance! Thank you to everyone for supporting me, I couldn’t have done it without you. ありがとうございます!

A Kindergarten at the Myoushinji complex

A Kindergarten at the Myoushinji complex

Statues outside of a Kindergarten in the Myoushinji Complex

Statues outside of a Kindergarten in the Myoushinji Complex

kelseydo Yatsuhashi

Omiyage (souvenirs) are a huge thing in Japan. Every city or village has it’s own special local souvenir that can only be purchased there and is a must-buy for anyone passing through that area. Usually omiyage are some kind of wagashi (Japanese confectionary). Kyoto’s famous omiyage is Yatsuhashi– a sweet made from mochi rice flour, sugar, cinnamon and azuki bean.

I got a chance to make some Nama Yatsuhashi last weekend at the Utano Youth Hostel (more like a resort) near my dorm.

Ingredients

Ingredients

Rolling out the rice flour

Rolling out the rice flour

My ugly Yatsuhashi

My ugly Yatsuhashi

Someone else's perfectly shaped Yatsuhashi

Someone else’s perfectly shaped Yatsuhashi

My Yatsuhashi didn’t look very good but I took a quick photo anyway and managed to gobble them up before anyone else noticed how bad they were. They tasted delicious though, so it wasn’t a total fail!

At most temples in Kyoto there are omiyage shops that have many Yatsuhashi samples. Usually there is green tea as well so you can fill up on a sweet snack and warm drink for free before or after your temple visit. Yatsuhashi comes in many different flavours, more traditionally: cinnamon, sesame or green tea, but also chocolate banana, hazelnut (my favorite) or strawberry.

Here’s the recipe if you want to try to make it at home:

Nama Yatsuhashi

Ingredients 

3 oz  Joshinko (Rice Flour)
1.5 oz  Shiratamako (or Mochiko)
5 oz  Sugar
5 fl oz  Water
1 tbs  Cinnamon

Directions

1: Mix joshinko, shiratamako, and water in a microwave-safe bowl till smooth.
2: Add sugar and mix well.
3: Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and microwave it for 2 minutes.
4: Stir the mixture and microwave it again for 1 minute.
5: Stir the mixture and microwave it for another 1 minute.

Caution: The mixture will get really hot!

6: Add cinnamon and knead it well.
7: Flatten the dough with a rolling pin.
8: Coat it with cinnamon and cut into squares or rectangular pieces.

You can fill the squares with Azuki bean paste and fold them into triangles if you like.

kelseydo Nanzenji

Yoshino at Nanzenji

Yoshino at Nanzenji

Megumi & Yoshino

Megumi & Yoshino

SHOES

SHOES

Megumi wa sakana desu.

Megumi wa sakana desu.

An old dam

An old dam

Peek a boo at Nanzenji

Peek a boo at Nanzenji

Four leaf clover on a clover cab: a very rare sight!

Four leaf clover on a clover cab: a very rare sight!

Fall colours

Fall colours

The leaves they are a changin

The leaves they are a changin

Yoshino digging into the Takiyaki (dessert filled with red bean)

Yoshino digging into the Takiyaki (dessert filled with red bean)

I love these! Import to Canada!

I love these! Import to Canada!

I forgot to post these photos a few weeks ago from my outing to Ginkakuji, the philosopher’s path and Nanzenji. I didn’t go into Ginkakuji but there are some amazing shops and food stops around the temple. I’d like to go there when it snows (it did on Monday!) because it looks beautiful in winter. The philosopher’s path is a gorgeous stroll along a small creek between the two temples, Ginkakuji and Nanzenji. It was a great lazy day outing and I feel like going out to “see the leaves” is really an excuse to do a little exercise before chowing down on some serious sweets! I’m a fan!

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