Running Playlist – 2013 Edition

It’s that time of year again – Ottawa Race Weekend is just two weeks away. After being too injured to run the half marathon that I trained for last year, I decided to sign up for the 10K. The really long runs were just too much of a grind, so I thought the 10K would be a nice change.

But I just haven’t been into it this year and I haven’t been training properly. I’m not expecting to be happy with my time and I’m even considering not running after all. I’ll see how it goes.

Regardless though, a good playlist makes a run. So back by popular demand (ha), I’m posting for you my most favourite songs to run to. This list is guaranteed to shave a few minutes off anyone’s time. This year’s playlist will be shorter than usual because it’s geared for a 10K instead of a half-marathon. There’s almost an hour and a half of music here.

As always, I will caution you. If you’re looking for Lady Gaga, you haven’t been paying attention.

Finola’s 10K Playlist

Save it for Later by The English Beat
Your English is Good by Tokyo Police Club
Save Tonight by Eagle Eye Cherry
We Dance to Yesterday by Hawksley Workman
Closing Time by Semisonic
There is a Light that Never Goes Out by The Smiths (you can SO run to The Smiths)
Pretty in Pink by The Psychedelic Furs
A New Day by Mary Margaret O’Hara
Ruby Soho by Rancid
Blister in the Sun by Violent Femmes
Vampire Weekend by A-Punk
Closer to Fine by The Indigo Girls
A Girl Like You by Edwin Collins
Punk Rock Girl by The Dead Milkmen
Boys Don’t Cry by The Cure (you can SO run to The Cure)
Supernatural Superserious by R.E.M.
The Passenger by Siouxsie and the Banshees
Ho Hey by The Lumineers
Let It In by Sam Roberts
Little Talks by Of Monsters and Men (You will want to do heel kicks to this one. Be careful, don’t fall)
Give Me One Reason by Tracy Chapman
There She Goes by The La’s
Echo Beach by Martha and the Muffins
Blitzkrieg Bop by the Ramones
Laid by James

Happy Trails!

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Spring Post

My mother has told me it’s time for me to blog again so here I am (hi Mom!)

There has been so much going on, but most of it I can’t write about. It doesn’t matter, the sun is finally starting to shine and the feeling of heaviness is lifting. It was a very long winter. Now it’s time to focus on some things for myself, like writing and being outside, and training for the 10K at the end of May. I have a lot to catch up on and I’m ready to go.

Two small things to tell you about to ease back in. First, Beatrice turned nine last weekend. NINE!

A lot of her friends have birthdays this time of year, and she was invited to a party on her own actual birthday day. We let her decide what she wanted to do. At first she thought she didn’t want to go, but she isn’t one to pass up a party (clearly she doesn’t get that from me). She went and I loved that she chose to go and celebrate someone else’s birthday on her own special day. I am so proud of that kid. NINE!

Second, I was home sick today and in the middle of the morning I got a call from the school about 11-year-old Niamh’s absence. Ack, what?? She had gone to school as usual. I was put on hold while they called down to her classroom to check. Sheer utter panic while I waited. I started getting dressed, hanging on to the phone, stomach in my throat. When the voice came back on the line I knew right away that everything was ok. I think I squeaked some nervous relief over the phone but I don’t even know what I said.

All the little things that have been difficult lately don’t actually matter that much after all.

I hope you’re having a nice start to the drinks-on-the-patio season. It’s time.


What a great chair but why is the wine glass so empty?

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Flu and Peppers

It’s been another doozie of a week around here. Both girls caught Tony’s plague, though thankfully not as severely as he had it. Still, days on end of fevers in the high 38s and 39s meant they were home from school for three days last week, and are missing most of their activities this weekend too. They have been troopers though and I can see that they are finally turning the corner.

I played the ‘I have a new job‘ and ‘you’re still sick and shouldn’t be going to work anyway‘ cards, so I only missed a half day of work over the course of the week. Due to the unexpected absence of a colleague, it was a really busy time at work, and I was thrown into a few things without really knowing what I was doing. It was a bit crazy, but nothing has blown up (yet), so I’m going to call the work week a win.

And hope that things get more normal now both at home and work.


Last week when I wrote about the curry I made, I forgot to tell you about the Thai red chili peppers that the recipe called for. The local MegaStore didn’t have them, but I was able to find them at a fresh food store nearby. I had a lovely chat with someone who worked in the store about just how hot they would be. I needed three for my recipe, but since I was cooking for a crowd I didn’t want the meal to be too spicy. He seemed knowledgeable about his peppers, and I decided to buy just two and go light on the hot.

The posted sign listed the peppers at just over $50 per pound. I was at a complete loss as to what the final price would be because I have no idea how to estimate anything in pounds…at least anything at the grocery store. Of course I still know my weight in pounds, but THAT is another blog post entirely.

The peppers were just wee things so I wasn’t too concerned about breaking the bank, and I needed them, so off I went to the cash, pulling a $20 bill out of my purse on the way.

I loaded my peppers onto the scale and waited. 25 cents, was the total. I laughed and fished out a quarter and wandered home with my peppers.

So were they good? Was my curry too hot because of them? I have no idea because didn’t I forget to put the little suckers in and they shrivelled away on my kitchen counter and  they have now been laid to rest in my green bin. I’ll let you know the next time.


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It was a long week

I started a new job last Monday and it’s going to be a lot more intense than my last job. Interesting, but intense. Starting new things is hard on me and it takes me a lot longer than most people to get into my comfort zone. New people, procedures, culture, and work take a lot out of me, and on Monday evening I found myself going to bed at 7:00pm. And I slept through until 6:00am. The rest of the week found me exhausted too, waking up in the wee hours of the morning with my mind whirling. Sometimes I would catch a few more winks, but often that was it for the day.

With a busy first week, I would normally try to keep my evenings quiet, but I had two events that were must-attends. The first was on Wednesday when I went to the book launch for Peggy Blair’s second novel The Poisoned Pawn. I first heard of Peggy when I listened to her read from her first novel The Beggar’s Opera at (the now sadly closed) Collected Works bookstore – one of the last few indie bookstores in Ottawa. I bought her book after her reading and I completely enjoyed it. I’m looking forward to reading the second in the series which got a favourable review in the Globe and Mail. How fabulous to see a local author doing well. It’s very inspiring.

The second event was also a must-attend because it was at my house. I was hosting my book club, with my book choice being Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie. This book has been on my ‘to read’ list for years but somehow never made it to the top of my reading pile, and choosing it made me finally read it. It’s a long one, astoundingly written, and with sentences that I could only ever dream of constructing. It was a heavy book but I did like it very much, and others in my group seemed to like it too.

Tradition for my book club is that the host prepares the main course and then everyone else brings appetizers, salads and desserts. If you have been following along, you know that I’m not the cook in our house, and I may even be a little bit afraid of my kitchen. I had picked out the curry recipe in this blog post and had all the ingredients on hand, and was strongly counting on guidance and advice from Tony in the preparation of the meal. His phone call at noon struck panic – he had been invited to the hockey game by an important client. Could he go?

Could I say no? I wanted to.

Of course I couldn’t.

So I was on my own and made this:


And it was good! Even though Paul M said it looked like it was glowing.

And eight-year-old Beatrice was a huge help in setting the table and getting other things ready for the evening. She was super helpful and without her I would have been scrambling to be ready in time. It’s a new stage when kids help you with something and it actually makes things easier rather than making the task take longer. It was a bit of a milestone and I was so grateful.

I really enjoyed the evening, even though no one brought dessert. Normally it just works out, with all the parts of the meal being supplied without too much prior planning. Last time I hosted there were no appetizers, so it seems I may need to organize a bit better in future. Since we’re trying to watch what eat around here, I had nothing at all sweet to serve. Wine glass fill-ups did the trick.

So after a crazy week, I was looking forward to some quiet time this weekend. But then –  plague hit Tony on Friday and so I spent the weekend handling all the weekend activities too. Tony is not one to give in to the sick, so for him to concede to illness means he probably should be in the hospital. I’m only exaggerating slightly. If anyone gets a man cold around here it’s me.

Now I love that my daughters have a lot of interests and are well-rounded people, but I found myself dismayed at the sheer busy-ness of the weekend after a long week. Three basketball events, badminton, and a full day of downhill skiing for the girls has meant we have been on the run all weekend. In between that I was doing laundry and all the other chores that need to get done on the weekend.

But right now, I am sitting in the ski lodge and this is my view.


It took me a while to figure out which of the skiers were my kids because everyone has a blue jacket it would seem, but I knew they were flying down the hill and having a perfect day.

So I’m happy.

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RunBlog 2013 Update #1

I had such a hard time deciding whether to sign up for the half marathon or the 10K in this May’s Ottawa Race Weekend. If you’ve been following along with this blog, you know that I did the half in 2010 and 2011, then signed up and trained for the half last year too.  Unfortunately injuries meant that I had to withdraw from the race at the last minute, and I was so disappointed because I was on track to be faster than each of the previous years.

Race weekend sells out fast. As of today the half-marathon and 10K are sold out, and the 5K and full marathon are almost there too. You need to move now if you still want in.

I registered for the 10K.

I decided on the 10K because I didn’t want to injure myself again, plus the long run training days on weekends become a slog last year and would eat up a chunk of weekend time that I just don’t want to give up right now. Maybe I’ll try again when my daughters are a little older and want to go off on their own a bit more, but right now weekend hours with them are precious and that won’t be the case for much longer. They are growing up alarmingly fast.

I can already run 10K now, and have done so a number of times since Christmas. Now I just need to work on meeting my goal of finishing in under an hour. I’m slow right now so speedwork will be important. The happy part is that I could run this race tomorrow and finish it.

I had missed a couple of weeks of running due to vacation and inertia, but today I am back on track. For this weekend’s run, I did a 1K shuffle to warm up, then another 6K starting at 9 km/hr and gradually speeding up to 9.5 km/hr. For my eighth kilometer I pushed myself, bumping up the speed so that my last 100 m was at 11.5 km/hr. It was a sprint to the finish, and I finished first – on my basement treadmill, it really wasn’t that hard.

So here’s a recommendation for a running tune for your playlist. Little Talks by Of Monsters and Men. I’ll warn you though, you will want to do a heel click jump when you hit the “Hey”s. I don’t recommend it though.

Happy Trails!

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In a Rut

This is the worst writing rut I’ve hit in a long while. I haven’t been blogging and I haven’t been writing anything else either. I miss it. I was hoping my writing would get kick-started again this week with a writing class that I had signed up for, but I got a message last week that my class was cancelled due to low enrolment. I am so disappointed.

In other news I’m changing jobs in a couple of weeks and I’m quite excited about it. It’s a lateral move, and I will still be a government minion in the same department, but I’m ready for something new. Of course change is always scary but I think I’m dealing better with it as I get older. I just need to make sure that I take for myself lots of down time, coffee and maybe a hug or two, I should be all right.

And we just got back from a week in Florida, staying with my Dad and Roberta. I think they saw our droopy shoulders and tired eyes when we arrived, and they spoiled us even more than usual. We have a lot to be grateful for to be given a week away in the sun each year. I have came back with my head up a little higher and a bit more of a spring in my step after a difficult couple of months. Thank you so much Dad and Bobbie!! 


Spot the Canadians

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Owning It

Christmas time is pretty hard on we introverts (or is it ‘us introverts’? I’m normally good at grammar  but this one always gets me). Anyhow…there are parties, gatherings, shopping in busy stores, too much chaos and much too much to do. 

The good part is that I’m learning to own my introversion. This means that I give myself permission to turn down events if I need my downtime. That I don’t have to say yes to everything. I can hibernate a little if I need to.

Owning my introversion. It’s my one and only New Year’s resolution.




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Happy 2013

So December and January were doozies around here, but I do want to take a moment to wish you all the very best in 2013. I’m honoured that you come by to read.

Thank you so much.


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I Had Better Get this Post Up While it’s Still November

A couple of weeks ago I went to my daughters’ school to watch their Remembrance Day assembly. Beatrice in grade 3 was singing in the choir. Niamh in grade 5 read a poem that she had written.


I feel like I am lying in a field of flowers. My life is perfect right now. People are cheering and celebrating. The war is done. My father will be coming home soon. I taste sugar; finally we will be able to have it. I smell the sweet smell of peace. I see everyone celebrating. I hear people sing as sweet as angels. I feel happiness all over me.

*Written to be read aloud

The assembly was sombre, with no applauding, photographing or videotaping allowed. The children did a wonderful job of sitting still and being serious. The choir was lovely and the sound of children singing never fails to make me cry.

After the assembly was over, I left through the back door of the school and turned the corner to start walking back to work. As I walked past the school yard, Beatrice’s class came tearing out the side of the building, running towards their portable. They were shouting, jumping and laughing. Having been quiet and subdued for a whole entire hour, it was clear they needed to let their energy out. They were free and happy children enjoying an unseasonably warm fall day.

I just loved the contrast.

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Oak Trees and Allergies

So full disclosure. I have a daughter who is allergic to nuts and peanuts. 

You have probably heard the story of a mother who is asking that acorn-dropping oak trees in her daughter’s school yard be cut down to protect children with allergies to nuts. If you haven’t, here it is.

This woman is being massacred in the popular media. She has been called a nut-job, a narcissist, crazy, insane and a lunatic,

She has been told to shut up.

She has been told to pull her kids out of school and home-school them.

She has been told to move.

One person suggested that she be tied to an oak tree.

A number of people commented that mothers are responsible for causing their children’s food allergies because they keep their kids in bubble wrap.* 

Some scoffed at the idea that bullies will use the acorns to frighten children with nut allergies.


To me it sounds like a whole lot of people are bullying a mom who is just worried about her child. It’s OK to disagree with her and think she is overreacting, but people! These comments are just vile.

So yeah, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if the children of some of these commentators are bullying other kids with acorns. And maybe all this helps to explain why bullying won’t go away. 

Everyone will pay lip-service to the idea that bullying is bad, but then they see a person that they disagree with and it brings forth a nasty torrent of mean-spiritedness. 

Well, then. She obviously deserved it.

* One theory as to why food allergies are on the rise is that children is the hygiene hypothesis where it is proposed that allergies arise because children are not exposed to enough dirt growing up. I can assure that my housekeeping skills are nowhere near good enough to cause my daughter’s allergy so you can stop blaming me now.

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