Monday, August 20, 2012

Fire Hall Open House

Like any typical little boy, Tristan likes fire trucks and firemen. He has a gazillion toys related to fire and fighting fire. When I heard that the fire halls were holding open houses for the public, I knew I wanted to bring him there. Every time we walked or drove by a fire station, Tristan would stare. Stare for a long time. Imagine the joy he felt when he finally got to go inside and tour an actual fire station? JOY!

Today we went to the open house for fire hall #13 in Vancouver. We got to tour the inside of fire trucks, inside of the fire station, and we even had a personal guide who so happened to be the Fire Chief! The firemen were giving out juice boxes, Kashi granola bars, stickers, tattoos, red fire hats, coloring books, and build your own fire truck sheets. Tristan even got to see the fireman go down the fire pole! He was super shy the whole time but when it was time to leave, he didn't want to go. He was even too shy to sit on the driver's seat in the fire truck. Jean-Louis wasn't too shy though :) Tristan barely spoke during the tour but you could tell he was very interested in hearing what the fireman had to say :)

Look at Daddy!

There weren't a lot of people at this particular fire hall. All the visitors were also babies, toddlers or preschoolers, like Tristan. I was a bit surprised there weren't more older kids. I have never visited a fire station before and I was even amused :) I think older kids and adults could learn a thing or two and have fun visiting a fire hall.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Long weekend staycation in Vancouver

We were thinking of going to Seattle or even going camping this past BC day long weekend but in the end, we decided just to have a staycation in Vancouver.

What we did Day 1:

Jean-Louis and I wanted to go to the Veg Festival downtown so we ran down there. We are training for a marathon right now and 17km to downtown seemed like a good distance. When we arrived, we wanted to have lunch at the Veg Fest. To our disappointment, there was only one actual food stand. I mean there were quite a few stands but they were stands giving out flyers, information, and a few bake and health bar stands. The one food stand sold Gardein food, which we have already tried. Somehow I thought some of the vegetarian and vegan restaurants in Vancouver would be represented there with food for tasting. Sadly, the festival was kind of lame. We decided to just run our errands and leave.

We stopped by Chinatown and grabbed some Vietnamese sandwiches (aka Banh Mi). We got a couple of the usual cold cuts, a chicken one, and a tofu one.

We got home, showered, and then took Tristan and his bikes to a nearby park. It was so hot! Tristan got to try his pedal bike for the first time. He had trouble starting on his own but once he was on it, he did great! Yay!
Strider running bike

2 wheel pedal bike
After biking, we went to Marble Slab Creamery for some ice cream. This was the first HOT day of the summer here in Vancouver. We stopped by Price Smart after wards to grab some fruit and then rented a dvd on our way out.

What we did Day 2:

Jean-Louis made us a vegan pancake breakfast. It was good. Then it was off to Metrotown for our weekly grocery shopping. We dropped off food at home and headed to North Vancouver for some shopping errands. On the way back, we stopped by at Rainbow Playland at Queen's park for a late lunch picnic. Tristan got to play in the water park there and we visited the petting zoo. I love how that park was so shady! That was one of the reasons we chose to go there. It was another toasty hot day.

What we did Day 3:

Jean-Louis went for a long bike ride in the morning. Tristan and I slept in and took our time with breakfast. I prepped some food for our dinner barbecue and then we headed out to the Burnaby Village Museum. We stayed there for a bit and played. Then it was back home to cook. We fired up the grill and feasted on a ton of food. What's new, right? :)

Homemade shrimp burgers with chipotle yogurt sauce.

Jean-Louis' vegan hawt dawg...whatever he calls it.

It was just the 3 of us this weekend but we had a great staycation. I even got to watch some Olympics. Most of them were replays but still :) I didn't know what the big deal was but staycations are actually pretty cool :)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Training for a marathon with a small child

In exactly two months from today on October 7th, Jean-Louis and I will be running the Victoria marathon. OMG.

How are we doing in our training? Just alright. We had two long runs so far. One 21km three weeks ago and then 17km just this past weekend. Next weekend, we are scheduled to run 25km. Yikes! The night before every long run, I kind of get scared. Honestly, it never gets easier. Every run is hard work. Our time may improve but it is always hard.

Two and a half weeks ago, we both injured ourselves. Jean-Louis hurt his leg from too much biking and running and now has to run with a compression band. He was limping around the first few days after his injury so it must have been bad. Then again it was reckless of him to run 21km and then go on a 85km bike ride the following morning. As for my injury, it was probably equally dumb. I threw my back out throwing heavy garbage. GARBAGE! I couldn't run for about a week. It hurt so bad, I could hardly take care of myself. I had to apply heat to it several times a day. When I started running again, I was so tensed Jean-Louis said that I looked constipated. Lol. With both our injuries we had a bit of a set back in our training. Unfortunately these things do happen :( Fortunately for us the timing was just about the same time. We train together so it worked out well that we both had to rest at the same time.

For those who don't know, Jean-Louis is my husband and we have raced together and have always done so since 2002. With the exception of the Vancouver half-marathon this past May, we have been in every running race together. This marathon in Victoria will be our second marathon. We ran our first marathon nearly 9 1/2 years ago in Paris. Since then we have been running a lot less but what really makes this a challenge for me is that I'm a mom now and quite a bit heavier than before. I have also been eating more sweets in the past few years since becoming a mom and I'm much older. Ahem. Jean-Louis, on the other hand, is in top shape. He has never been more fit and he weighs less than me now! I'm not kidding. He's totally going to kick my butt in the race!

There are many marathon runners out there who are also parents of small children. Some times it's just the one parent who runs, which would mean the other parent could stay with the child or children. If both parents are runners, they could take turns running marathons. I think taking turns training and running the same marathon would be too time consuming since that would take twice as much time. If both parents run, the child or children have to come along for the training runs. I think that is the only simple solution. That is what we do when we go for long runs.

When we trained together for the half-marathon in Victoria last year, I thought it was hard. We were running 5km and no more than 10 or 11km to train for that. Finding time to run was hard since we are parents to Tristan and we didn't want to drag him along for running all the time. Running 10km would mean about 1 hour in the stroller for him. Luckily, we only had to do that maybe once some times twice a week and he didn't complain very much. We thought even if we wanted to, there would be no way we could possibly find time to train for anything bigger than a half-marathon. A full marathon would be totally out of the question! Sigh. When we registered for the race, we told ourselves we would worry about finding the time to train when the time came. Apparently, if there is a will, there is a way.

 Here is how we are training for our marathon with our 3.5 year old in tow:
Second Beach in Stanley Park
  • We continue to run twice a week after Jean-Louis gets home from work. We do between 8-10km during those days and as usual, we run directly to daycare to pick Tristan up. The daycare staff are used to seeing us covered in filthy sweat but so what? :)
  • Every other weekend, we go for a long run from home all the way downtown to Stanley Park. We push Tristan in our jogging stroller. For the moment, he seems okay with it. We stay mainly on the BC Parkway trail under the skytrain and then we take the river run to the park. When we arrived at the park, it's 20km. By the way, the route we take is a beautiful run going from east to west and slightly downhill along the way :) The idea is to add 2km to every weekend run until we run 30km non-stop. 30km would mean arriving at Stanley Park and then continuing to run once around it. After the 30km milestone, we go down in distance.
  • We carbo-load during the week we are scheduled for a long weekend run.
  • We take our 3.5yo out for a lot of outdoor activities like biking and playing at the water park to make up for holding him hostage in the stroller. No, it's not that bad! :) He hasn't complained much at all since we have been telling him about it in advance and have been explaining to him about our race. With Stanley Park and downtown as our destination, he is able to have fun when we're all done. The first time we ran down, he played at the playground and then at the spray park. The second time, we went to the veg festival downtown. We always skytrain back home and he loves riding the skytrain! Next time we run down, we might go to the Vancouver Aquarium at Stanley Park.
Spray park in Stanley Park
We never thought it would be possible but so far it's going well. We are very lucky to have a 3.5 year old that will sit patiently inside a stroller for over 2 hours. We bring books and snacks for him. We usually set out first thing in the morning so he eats his breakfast cereal and fruit in the stroller. We get him to drink his milk and pee before we leave the house though. Some times I feel bad for keeping him in a stroller for so long but then again, we have taken road trips where he has been in the car for even longer. I think sitting in a stroller would be more fun than sitting in a car seat anyway. Don't you agree? :)

We're no pros. We are not following any training program. Everything we do is just based on what has been working for us in the past. The list above is actually a better training plan than the one we had back when we were still in our twenties. Back then we ran races to train. Since we couldn't find any races past a 21km half-marathon, we never ran anything more than 21km before running the full marathon (42km). We did fine but it's kind of dumb now that I think about it.
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