10 Things I’m going to do in 2017 (NOT resolutions!) #1 – Play outside more!

I do NOT like the idea of new year’s resolutions, at least for me. Mostly because of the pressure to keep them and to not screw up! However, I do have some things in my life that need some attention. Some are smaller (reading more and better books) and some are, to quote the Cheeto-dusted PEOTUS, YUGE (ending my infernal addiction to sugar!). I’m going to start with this one, though…

PLAY OUTSIDE MORE. (Could also be called “Stop being such a serious and rigid Birch with a capital B in regards to running but also in various life areas.” I just thought PLAY OUTSIDE MORE was much catchier.)

I need to preface this with the fact that I do a fair bit of physical activity, and by physical activity, I mean I run. I run slow, fast(er), long, intervals, hills, trails, road, tempo, fartlek (real word!), basically any form of running, I’m there. I’m not saying I’m OBSESSED with running, but I realized that I HAVE come to the point where I don’t count anything else besides running as legit exercise, I do NOT deviate from the planned run route/length of the day, and I am way too crushed when I don’t reach my time/distance goals. It’s getting pretty serious out there, folks. I need to build in some levity!


Found some!

Robert and I decided to cross-country ski at Victoria park in the not-freezing-off-my-arse weather. I have my own set of skis and boots, but Robert has tried skiing maybe twice in his 41 years. Fun times resulted, leaving me feeling like quite the expert in comparison (which I really REALLY am not, so let me revel in that feeling for a bit).

One more.


You can do it, Robert!

The Victoria track is short and sweet – about 3 k. It was a great intro for Robert and for me and my unused cross country ski muscles.


P.S. I’m posing by this sign because I am DYING to go to the Nordic Brunches and Victoria suppers offered by Culina at the Dogwood Cafe. As a matter of fact, I just decided right now that next weekend, we are going to ski and then go for brunch!

Here’s our couple bonding photo. Note Robert being a trooper in his lined jeans.


After skiing, we went home to walk the dogs. Couldn’t be anything more fun and more appropriate to my PLAY OUTSIDE MORE goal than frolicking with our pups!


The ONLY way I got this shot was to have Robert hold a stick over my head. Our sweet and completely CRAZY 2 year old Border Collie/Husky mix, Freyja, gets fixated on chewies of any kind and never, ever slows down long enough for me to get a photo.


Here’s my prince, my best buddy in the world, 10 1/2 year old Kona. He’s a Tahltan bear dog cross, which makes him very exotic, don’t you know. He will always sit for a pic but will NEVER look at the camera. Such a funny boy.



And here’s the closest we could get to a double dog photo. Kona steadily refusing to look at the camera and Freyja about to spaz out, tear that stick to shreds, and become a blur.

It was so refreshing, literally and figuratively, to get outside and just have fun without thinking about distances and times. Tomorrow, the dog park and some backyard ravine exploring. I’m determined to continue with my goal!

Gotta go run now! 😉





Sweaty Sunday

I try to fit in my longer run on the weekend, whether it’s a Saturday or Sunday. Sometimes it will be a Sweaty Saturday. Sometimes it will be a Sweaty Sunday. But I know that if I’ve left it too long, and it’s turning into looking like a Sweaty Monday might have to happen, I have let the Alliteration Accountability gods down. I was proud of myself this past weekend when I kept the Accountability going by engaging in some Sunday Sweaty Sprinty Speedwork.

Okay, I trotted. But trotting doesn’t start with S and it CERTAINLY doesn’t make me feel Strong, Superior, or Superfit. However, it’s tough to just get yourself out there when you’re dealing with illness or injury, and such is the case with me lately. There was a time when my long run was generally 20-35 km. Right now, I’m lucky if I get in 16-18. It’s easy to compare my new and unimproved slower self to my old and mythical faster self, but that often just leads me to want to not get out at all. Vicious circle of doom, self!

So yesterday, I decided I would be kind to myself on this run. I would run at any ol’ pace I chose. I would stop and look at the river if I wanted to. I would smile at and even chat with passersby. These types of behaviours, though normal for trotters and walkers, are NOT ALLOWED when I am running in the zone. But since the zone is about 87.45 spatial and temporal dimensions away from where I currently reside, I gave myself permission.



I actually BACKTRACKED to take this photo by Hawrelak. I am not allowed to backtrack when I run. But I found out that it’s actually not so bad to go back and take a second look sometimes. This hill, though a weekly contributor to my IT band issues, is so pastoral and brings you right down to the river.


When I started my run, by Mackenzie Ravine, it was so overcast, misty, and foggy, I felt like members of the undead were about to appear from behind every aspen and birch. 30 minutes in, the sun appeared.


Look at our big, beautiful river. I do love this time of year for the stark and haunting look of the landscape. I feel so relaxed, being kind to myself on this gentle and calming run, I break into inspirational song. “All the leaves are brown (except for that lone holdout on the left there) and the sky is gray (well, the clouds)… I went for a walk (a TROT, ok?? A TROT!  I realize that convoys of scooters with grocery baskets are passing me but it’s still a TROT, not a (shudder) walk, for the love of all things Mizuno! ) Breathe…..breathe….look at this next photo and feel calmerrrrr……….


Cute and calm bird on a cute and calm milk carton bird feeder! Much better…


Doesn’t this feel slightly apocalyptic? Actually, I think most of October and November in Edmonton is pretty much a preview of the apocalypse. I can totally picture a zombie falling off of the LRT bridge right now. Lots of sharp sticks around though, so I’m okay!


Granddaughter, once, long ago, automobiles traveled over this bridge, filled with people heading to do things like “jobs” and “school” and “looking hip at the farmers’ market”.

Grandmother? May I please have another piece of delicious lichen?

Yes, granddaughter. After you have sabred your daily quota of the undead.


Ooooooookayyyyyyyyyyyyyy…….WAY too much apocalyptic fodder in these pictures.


I love running by the legislature, especially in summer and at Christmas! My favourite moment is when I run by just as the bells start ringing at 6pm or whenever they enjoy ringing.

I bet you thought I was going to make a comment about how the grounds look dismal and dying and the building looks locked up and deserted by the governing faction in the wake of the impending zombie apocalypse.

C’mon, people. You watch WAY too much TV.  After all, I’m just out for a trot on my Sweaty Sunday!

Distance: 16.8 km (accepting this kindly on behalf of new kindtomyself self)

Time: really really long due to trotting and snapping photos and reflecting on impending doom of earth as we know it.

Goal for next Sweaty Sunday: At least 17 km and to focus more on live people than on undead peeps.