Not To Be Trusted With Knives

{September 8, 2008}   My hockey muscles hurt

Latissimus dorsi.pngYesterday marked the first hockey game of the new season! It was nice to have a few weeks off to rest and, you know, shoot laser beams into my eyes. Last night’s game was an exhibition one, which we won despite a rather short bench1. The increased amount of ice time that comes along with having fewer players + a few weeks off from playing = my back is killing me! Specifically, my latissimus dorsi are killing me. This always happens when I haven’t played in a few weeks – I’m relatively certain that the only thing I ever use my latissmus dorsi for is hockey.

I’m going to be playing on two teams this year – my usual team out in Coquitlam, plus I’m playing UBC Rec once a week as well. With two games a week, my latissimus dorsi are going to be the fittest latissimus dorsi ever!

On a related note, does anyone know of a good podcast on beginner’s yoga? I found one that just shows examples of different yoga poses, but I’d prefer one that takes you through a routine.

1We have a small roster as it is, and are looking to recruit a few more players, but we had the added pressure that three of our regular players are out of the country this week, so we really didn’t have a lot of players!

Image credit: Christer Johansson, posted in Wikipedia under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.


{September 1, 2008}   My quads hurt

So, yesterday I decided to go on a little 10 km run. Just me and my friend Alicia. And a couple thousand other people.

IMG_4059 by you.

Here we are in our swanky race shirts. Nike made the brilliant marketing decision to put everyone’s number on their running shirt – instead of the usual practice of giving you a piece of paper that you pin to you shirt – thereby ensuring that everyone in the race would have to wear identical shirts. This made for some pretty spectacular photo ops of thousands of people who were clearly all there to run the same race.

I have to say that the event was a wee bit disorganized – first we were told to gather around the main stage for a warm up. But the warm up never happened. They interviewed a couple of Olympic athletes that I’d never heard of, and then told us to go line up at the start line for the warm up. Oh yes, and that they wouldn’t be starting the race until 7:15 rather than 7 p.m. So we all went to the start line, waited for a bit, and then the race started. No warm up. I suppose there is a possibility that the had a couple of people with no microphones do a very short warm up at the front of the pack, but we were in the 6th wave (for people who expected to complete in 55+ mins) and we certainly didn’t see any warm up.

Here we are about to embark on the big race:

IMG_4060 by you.

Ready, set, go!

And here’s the route we had to run:

IMG_4065 by you.

See that part where you go over the Burrard St Bridge? That map is clearly not to scale… ‘cuz that uphill on the bridge had to be at least 10 km itself. I never realized how freaking long that bridge is. And how much I hate that bridge. This ridiculously long uphill starts at the 7 km mark – just far enough into the run that you are pretty freaking tired, but still far enough from the finish that you are sure it will never end. I always find in races that there is a part where I start to think, “Why do I do this to myself? What was I thinking? I must be completely *insane* to voluntarily sign up to do something like this!” (But the end of the race I’m all “Yay! I love races! Let’s sign up for more!” but at the 7/10ths of the way mark I’m giving serious consideration to hailing a cab).

In the end, we did, in fact, manage to finish. Sure it took us more than twice as long as the winner of the race, but we really weren’t there to compete. (We weren’t there to impress Steve Nash either, but apparently he was impressed). We spent the majority of the “race” chatting as we ran, and we did our usual 10 mins of running, 1 min of walking.  And lamenting that the two women running with the baby carriage – who we decided about a quarter of the way into the race to refer to as our arch nemesis – were ahead of us.

Here’s a photo of us crossing the finish line:

Photo Not Available

We were running so fast across the finish line that no camera could catch us. No, really.

Now, I’ve complained before about the fact that the Nike+ Human Race website is a big steaming pile of crap.  It was very difficult to get the thing to work to register for the race, or figure out the race route or how much of your registration fee goes to charity.  And I have to say that there post-race additions to the website aren’t much better.  Sure, you can search your name and get a pretty graphic that tells your time:

beth by you.

alicia by you.

And you can also see your time next to the top 10 runners in your city:

beth_results2 by you.

But, you know what?  I don’t want to see my name and time, at #1799 out of some unspecified number of racers, next to the top 10 finishers.  That’s just depressing!  What I would like to know is how many people ran the race.  I’m #1799 out of how many?  1800?  4800?  Who knows!  I’ve search their site and I’ve Googled and I can’t find any hint of what the number might be.  Nor what the number of runners worldwide was.  My theory right now is that they were nowhere near their goal of having 1,000,000 people run this race in the 26 cities in which it occurred, so they are ashamed to say what the number was.  I mean, when I look myself up compared to the top 10 finishers in the world, I’m listed as number 124,119.  And I really can’t imagine that I was 124,119th out of 1 million.  Seriously. As if.

Here’s a video from some dude that happened to be skateboarding around Vancouver and discovered that this race was going on, so he decided to record it. I remember seeing a guy skateboarding along with a video camera, so I’m sure this was the same guy.

Notice at the 1 minute mark on this video, you can hear some of the “can do” messaging. I’m pretty sure that that’s the voice of Karen K from CFOX radio telling you that you’ve just cleared the Cambie bridge and have now run 1 km and only have 9 km left to go. Here’s the thing: the last thing I want to hear at that start of the race is that I still have 9 more freaking km to go. Fortunately for us, this audio was not on by the time those of us who started in the sixth wave got there. My guess is that someone heard that they’d only run 1 km, went “omg! I have to run 9 more k?” and then smashed the speakers in a rage.

{August 30, 2008}   Pimping Tanya’s Run

Tanya over at is running a half marathon in DisneyWorld with Buzz Bishop’s 95 Crave Team Diabetes on Jan 10, 2009 (that’s one day before my birthday!) to raise money for the Canadian Diabetes Association. And you should sponsor her!

Why, you ask? Well, if supporting a worthy cause1 isn’t good enough reason, how about COLD HARD CASH?

Tanya’s running a contest where you will be entered into a draw for $500 in cold hard cash if you sponsor her run (2 contest entries for every increment of $25 that you pledge) and/or blog about her campaign. Pledge before September 4, 2008 to get an extra contest entry!

Go here to sponsor Tanya!  And while you are at her blog, wish her the best of luck with her training and her race.  Do it!  Do it now!

P.S. Good luck with the fundraising, the training and the race itself, T!

1Seriously, who doesn’t know someone affected by diabetes? Personally, I have type II diabetes on both sides of my family (my mom and my paternal grandmother) and know several people who are afflicted by it. And it causes some serious health problems – blindness, amputations, and it’s a major risk factor for heart disease!

Ice cream cake sporting my hockey teams logo. Mmmm, ice cream.

Ice cream cake sporting my hockey team's logo. Mmmm, ice cream.

My hockey team had a year-end pool party this past weekend, commemorating our championship, Vegas tournament, trip to provincials in Kelowna and all around hockey good times. The party was held at team captain Karen’s parents place – they have the super awesomest backyard ever, complete with pool1, hot tub, and multiple BBQs. We were further spoiled with goalie Meghan’s husband, Chef Brian, cooking us a gourmet dinner2. And then, to top it all off – a Dairy Queen ice cream cake AND a cheescake!

We also got to see a slide show of photos from the year – in addition to professional ones we had taken of us in action on the ice, there were photos from our fundraiser pub night, Vegas and Kelowna. All of which are no-Facebook, no-Flickr, no-blog. For reasons that I’m sure you can imagine! Then there was also a presentation to one of our team members, Nancy, who retired at the end of the season after an illustrious career with the Blazing Blades. Her jersey was framed and her number (44) has now been retired in her honour. We are hoping that she’ll come back to coach us in the new season!

Speaking of which – it starts next week! I’m so stoked, because I’ve totally been missing the hockey. And now that I have my superhuman vision, I’m sure to tear up the ice this season! I’ll keep you posted, because I know you are just *dying* to hear all about it!

1Although I was technically supposed to go swimming for a full two weeks after my laser eye surgery, I went for a swim, but just made sure not to put my head under. And to go in the pool before everyone else got in so I wouldn’t risk getting splashed in the eyes. I can’t wait ’til my eyes are reading for swimming!
2And, professional chef that he is, he accommodated my vegetarian ways by making me my own special chickpea creation. Which was AWESOME!

{August 23, 2008}   Canada’s Official Sports

Everyone knows that hockey really is the sport of choice in Canada. I remember visiting out east back in 2002 – my ex and I went to upstate New York1 to go to one of his friend’s weddings, and then we spent some time visiting family & friends in southwestern Ontario.  Down in NY State, at least half the cars you drove by had American flags on them.  And, while I didn’t see any Canadian flags, at least half the cars you drove by in southwestern Ontario had a Toronto Maple Leafs flag on them. Just like back home in Vancouver, Canucks flags dominated the traffic scene. We may not be able to agree which team to cheer for, but most Canadians2 will agree that hockey rocks.

However, you often hear people say that lacrosse is “Canada’s national sport.”  Like, as if anyone plays lacrosse.  I’ve also heard that it’s just a rumour that lacrosse is “Canada’s national sport,” a rumour made up and spread by the Canadian Lacrosse Association to try to build a name for their sport.  So I decided to look it up once and for all.

As it turns out, both hockey and lacrosse were declared to be “”Canada’s national sports” in the National Sports of Canada Act in 1994.

The game commonly known as ice hockey is hereby recognized and declared to be the national winter sport of Canada and the game commonly known as lacrosse is hereby recognized and declared to be the national summer sport of Canada.

1Have you ever been to upstate New York? Don’t. Seriously, just don’t.
2Except Kalev, but he doesn’t count because he’s not a real Canadian, as all real Canadians love hockey; so, by virtue of his irrational hatred of hockey, he’s not actually Canadian.

Image credits: Photo of hockey skates by notanartist on Flickr. Photo of the lacrosse stick by downing.amanda on Flickr.  Rock on, Creative Commons licences, rock on.

{August 12, 2008}   Guess who’s running?

What are you doing on August 31?

Me? Well, me – and about a million other people – are going for a run.

On August 31, Nike is attempting to stage the largest run ever – with a million runners in 25 cities1. One of those cities is Vancouver and one of those runners will be me.

A portion of the registration fee (or, according to above screenshot some value related to every step I take during the race)2 will go to the charity of my choosing.  They are all worthy causes, making it difficult to pick, but I decided to choose the UN Refugee Agency.

I’m having a wee bit of trouble figuring out their website3, so although it says I’ve done “0 km” of training, please know that that’s not true!  I just can’t figure out where to enter my training kms.  And I think if you go here you can donate money to the UN Refugee Agency if you’d like to support my run.

1Their ads say “25 global cities,” but is there really any other kind? Were they worried we would think it was 24 cities around the world + 1 city on Mars?
2I have to say their website is less than ideal. It’s ridiculously Flash-heavy and often difficult to find the information you are looking for. For example, I can’t seem to find out what “portion” of the registration money goes to the charities!a
aThis reminds me of the Simpsons episode where they go to the newspaper factory and the PR women says that “a certain percentage” of all the paper they use is recycled; when Lisa pushes her to state how much, the woman replies “Zero. What? Zero is a percentage!”
3Because it sucks with a capital SUCK.  And they don’t even have a “Help” option. WTF, Nike??

A note to my fellow geeks: Please don’t hold it against me that this screenshot reveals I was using IE. The website was not working in Firefox when I tried to register.  I swear, it’s not my fault!

{July 27, 2008}   Hockey Highlights

Highlight of the playoffs:  Amy scoring with 4.3 seconds left in overtime to win our last playoff game today.  4.3 seconds!!

Lowlight of the playoffs: Discovering that some guy from whatever team was in our dressing room before us had taken a dump in the shower.  Seriously.

Now there is about a month off (during which I’ll be getting my laser eye surgery!).  Hopefully I’ll get out to some drop-in hockey before my surgery to work on (a) my wrist shot, (b) my stick handling, (c) pivoting and skating backwards.  The one thing I don’t need to work on: standing in the crease and shoveling in the juicy rebounds after a good player takes a shot – I’ve totally got that one covered.

Also, everyone tell Kim that she should keep playing with the team in the fall.

{June 21, 2008}   The Grouse Grind…. again.

Yesterday marked my first Grouse Grind of the year! The trail didn’t open for the season until quite recently due to the super heavy snowfall we had this past winter – they don’t open the trail until enough of the snow is gone. And apparently there was too much snow until June. Craziness.

Also craziness is the idea of climbing 2800 ft… for FUN! But that is, in fact, what Kim and I decided to do with our Friday morning.

First up, taking the requisite pictures at the start of the trail:

And then we climbed for 1.5 hrs and then took this photo.

The End.

{June 2, 2008}   She scores… again!

That would be another goal for Dr. Beth! Although not a game winner this time, tonight’s goal was scored from “the doctor’s office.” But this time, I lifted the puck up off the ice! One might even call the motion used to put the puck in the net an actual “shot” (as opposed to my usual “stuffing it in the net” with a sweeping-like motion).  I may make the NHL yet.

See Megs, I told you I’d blog it when I got home!

{May 26, 2008}   She Scores!

Last night we finally won a game in spring league hockey and guess who scored the game winning goal? Go ahead, guess. No really, guess.

If you guessed “Dr. Beth”, give yourself a gold star! We won 8-0 and the first goal was scored in my patented picking-up-the-garbage-off-a-rebound style. We’ve started calling the act of going to the net to wait for the rebound “being in the doctor’s office.”¹

Also scored this weekend were Madonna tickets! Props to my friend Rachel for getting us tix to Madonna’s Oct 30 concert in Vancouver! Yay!

¹And I just checked the league website to see if they counted my goal and it appears that they credited me not only with my own goal, but also with a goal that someone else scored. Because I don’t remember scoring a goal at 15:47 of the 2nd period, but the website says I did. Now I feel kinda bad because someone isn’t getting credited for their goal!

{May 10, 2008}   Bananagasm

Another year, another Pacific Spirit 10 km run. I was rather disappointed with my time (1:03:37.9; pace 6:22 per km¹). I really have no idea why I was so damn slow- it’s difficult to tell really how fast you are going because (a) it’s a trail run, so you are weaving all around the trails rather than running on straightaways and that makes it hard to gauge your speed, (b) there are other people all around you running at a variety of different paces, which also makes it hard to gauge your speed. I suppose the most logical explanation is that last year, I ran the half at the Vancouver International Marathon the week² before the Pacific Spirit Run, so I was at my peak fitness level; this year, I’m only partway through my training for the Scotiabank half marathon, which isn’t until the end of June, so I’m not up to the shape I’ll be in by the time the marathon comes around. Alternative hypotheses as to why I sucked at the PSR this year include:

  • I ran with Marla, my 3rd generation iPod, which is larger than the 2nd gen iPod I ran with last year. The extra weight of the larger iPod significantly weighed me down.
  • the race shirts were, inexplicably, comically large and all the extra fabric of my so-called “small” shirt weighed me down.
  • the 10 lbs I’ve gained since this time last year weighed me down.
  • my bib number was 1200. Having such a distinguishable number was too much for me and I choked under the pressure.

  • I spent too much time thinking about the fact that I was running while I was running. Usually in a race I get “in the zone” and I don’t even think (that much) about the fact that I’m running (although, quite honestly, I have no idea what I usually think about). Thinking things like “Dear god, I’ve been running for 50 minutes and I still have TWO MORE kilometres to run??” makes you really feel tired.
  • age-related sarcopenia.

On the plus side, I did beat *everyone* in the females aged 65 and over category. Take that, grannies!

I still had a great time, though, despite my sucky performance. It’s a beautiful forest to through and it’s always³ nice to see the volunteers cheering you along at every turn. But, by and large the best part of the race is the race food they give you after you cross the finish line. Sure, it’s just oranges, bananas, mini-muffins and yogurt – stuff you could eat on any given day – but after a race it is the most delicious food you’ve ever eaten in your life. Psychologists will tell you4 that one’s motivation for things is enhanced when they are in a state of deprivation – acquiring food is more gratifying when you are really, really hungry. And thus, race food is the tastiest, tastiest food you will ever eat. You’ve never had oranges so succulent, muffins so fulfilling or yogurt so divine as the ones you scarf down before you even leave the food tent. “Bananagasm” was how one of my teammates described it. After the banagasms, we went to Enigma for a team brunch, which was awesome. The food there was excellent; the coffee, doubly so6. And it’s so nice to just hang out with the team, some of whom I haven’t seen since we ran this race last year. Since we don’t all run together (everyone else on our team is *much* faster than me), having the brunch after makes it feel more like a team thing. Props to Dr. Kim for organizing the team and the brunch!

And thanks, again, to my 9 sponsors, who helped me raise $291 for dementia research (our team, as a whole, raised $1,091.00). It’s going to a great cause!

¹Compared to last year’s time of 58 minutes, 47.8 seconds (pace = 5:53 minutes per km)
²I just typed this as “weak.” Freudian slip!
³Well, except for when you hurt your foot and have to limp the last 6 km of a half marathon. Then the cheers of the volunteers saying “You are doing a great job,” even though you know you aren’t, leave a bitter taste in your mouth.
4In fact, psychologists DID tell me, at our post-race team brunch. I ran on the Brain Research Centre team, so was surrounded mostly by brain scientists. You know how people will say “it’s not brain surgery”? These guys *do* brain surgery5. I ❤ brain scientists!
5We all agreed that doing surgeries was far and away the most fun part of grad school.
6This may, of course, have been part of the bananagasm phenomenon

{May 5, 2008}   Only 5 days left…

…to sponsor my Pacific Spirit Run!

It’s for a good cause – proceeds from this year’s run will support important research and the development of care initiatives for individuals with dementia

Thanks to those who have helped me reach 72% of my fund raising goal so far.  If you are willing and able to sponsor me, you can go here to do so.

When I was in Vegas last weekend, as we drove by “Wayne Newton Blvd.” on the way to the airport, I said, “I wonder if they will name a street in Vancouver after Trevor Linden?” You see, this season was Trevor’s last in the NHL and with the Canucks not making the playoffs, Vancouver had seen his last game on Saturday night.

Trevor is well recognized for being a great hockey player, an inspirational leader and a humanitarian. I even forgive him for being born in Alberta because although, like me, he may have been born and grew up elsewhere, he is truly a Vancouverite.

I have no doubt that his number will be retired by the Canucks and I hope that he will stay on with the team in some capacity now that his playing days are over. And, as both Darren and Rebecca suggest, I’d love to see a Trevor Linden street here in our city!

Sign the petition to name a street after Trev. You know you want to.

{March 11, 2008}   Just Call Me Sporty Spice

As you know, I recently bought a sweet new pair of running shoes. I’ve gone out for a couple of runs in them and they totally rock. Just like running on a cloud.

You may also recall that last year I ran a half marathon, hurting my foot in the process, and then ran the Pacific Spirit 10K Run the next week. This year, I’m taking a different approach – using the the 10K race as a warm up for the half marathon. What a novel idea, eh? I’m hoping that having the shorter term goal of a 10K race to train for will motivate me a little more than just having the half marathon that I can just say “meh, it’s so far away, I have *lots* of time to train!” I’m running on the Brain Research Centre team again and I believe we still need a couple more runners to join our team so, if you are interested in joining us, drop me a line!

Also, since I have registered much earlier for the Pacific Spirit Run this year, I have time to do actual fundraising¹. The Pacific Spirit Run raises money for support the Tapestry Foundation for Health Care and proceeds from this year’s run will support important research and the development of care initiatives for individuals with dementia.

If you’d like to make a donation to support this worthy cause, please visit my online donations page.

¹Last year I registered very close to the race date and didn’t have time to do fundraising, so I just paid the registration fee.

{February 26, 2008}   Matt for Matt

As was expected, the Canucks did very little at the trade deadline today. The only thing we did was trade one Matt for another Matt1.

Now, as is my custom in the event of a Canucks personnel changes, I give you my in-depth analysis of the trade:

This is Matt Cooke. He was sent to Washington. This is Matt Pettinger. He plays for the Canucks now.

As we can see by having their pictures side-by-side, they are about equal levels of hotness. So it’s a pretty even trade.

Also, Matt Pettinger has 2 goals this season. *I* also have 2 goals this season. So, really, they should have just traded for me.

1But not Matt.

et cetera