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And she’s a yogi- nice!

RunToTheFinish’s reviews – StumbleUpon.

I was feeling pretty proud of myself and my little ole playlist until I did some research on the world wide web and discovered this blog:

This guy makes playlists for his runner wife and friends- that are timed to specific beats per minute. “Jamie” for instance has “Best Running Music- Jamie’s Mix: 140-160 BPM (for runners w/ mile pace of 9.5-10.5 minutes).” All I can say is: Wow.*

So he is pretty much ruling it in the husband department and the making playlists for runners department.

As a result, I’m now feeling insecure about my playlist. I just threw together peppy songs I like. What if the BPM’s are all wrong? Perhaps it’s the reason I’ve been running a 23 minute mile? Just kidding. I only just made this playlist, I’ve been running that slow all on my own 🙂 (Really I’m just kidding)

Clearly, I’m in need of some help. THANK GOD, WordPress offers polls! I thought it was just a kitsch reference to Heathers (remember Heathers?!), but no the Poll is an extremely useful tool that I’m certain will come in wicked handy. Too bad, the functionality doesn’t function on my computer (Note to WordPress. Macs are cool now. Why can’t we all just get along?!).

So, here I’ve got a sweet little poll inquiring about best first songs for running playlists and I can’t upload ANY of the options. What gives?!  Before it even had a chance, my poor little poll has gone from “Damn! that’s good poll!” to “Ho hum, I guess I’ll go watch the English Patient now”

So my apologies for the mundane non-multi-media-ness of this poll.

I welcome any and all musical suggestions.

* There is a treeplanting term for this kind of person and it’s “High Baller.”

Yesterday, I bumped into my friend Jackie. I knew she was into running and so we started to chat about what this running thing is all about. What she had to say was really profound.

She said; “As kids we ran all the time without even thinking about it. And then we stopped. Later, something made us put our running shoes on again. Either we were running away from something or we were running towards something.”

How’s that for being stabbed by a laser beam of insight?!

For me running has long been a way of shaking off the day. Whether it was clearing my head after a bad day or clearing my heart after an argument or let down, running was my escape.

Signing up for the Edge to Edge marathon has given my running purpose. Now I am running towards a goal. And you know what? Running towards something is really powerful stuff. Now, my sights are on more than the marathon, they are on standing up for what I believe in: opposing ill-conceived oil projects that jeopardize the interests of communities & ecosystems. I can’t help but think that a bigger event is needed. A relay race across BC the length of the proposed Enbridge pipeline (1177 km) is what I have in mind. That’s 28 people running a full marathon, 56 people running a half and so on. Aiming for early to mid September 2012. I’m just exploring the feasibility of organizing such an event right now soooo I would LOVE any insights or suggestions from you dear readers. Who feels like doing the “Save the Great Bear Run?”


Three days ago Abbotsford residents smelled a strong gas or diesel smell in their neighbourhood and lo and behold an oil spill had been discovered at Kinder Morgan’s Sumas Abbotsford.

Kinder Morgan’s reaction?

“What oil spill? Oh, that oil spill. It’s nothing, nothing at all. Um, look over there!!”

It’s an unhappy coincidence that is more like being bludgeoned over the head with the obvious truth than then reading the writing on the wall.

This spill occurred less than 2 months after the National Energy Board (NEB)* approved Kinder Morgan’s proposal (without public consultation or involvement by First Nations) to expand the amount of crude oil they are exporting from their terminal on Burrard Inlet in north Burnaby. It’s part of Kinder Morgan’s plan to twin their pipeline, and dredge the Second Narrows to allow larger oil tankers to access the terminal.

Meanwhile competing oil giant, Enbridge Inc. continues to push for the building of twin pipelines from Alberta to Kitimat (known as the Northern Gateway Pipeline) flouting the incredible advancements made in its pipeline technology and ignoring the fact that the bitumen to be carried is an incredibly abrasive substance that wears away pipes.

Enbridge also dismisses concerns that the massive Asian supertankers called Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCCs) with the capacity of 2 million barrels (about 84,000,000 gallons) or more (the length of 3.5 football fields and 200 feet wide) may have difficulty navigating the narrow and treacherous Inside Passage. These tankers will have to make several sharp turns (a maneuver that proved too difficult for the miniscule by comparison BC ferry Queen of the North that missed it’s turn, ran aground and sank in 2006. 2 passengers died) and make frequent trips.

The Northern Gateway pipeline would bring tanker traffic into the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest to the tune of 18 condensate and crude oil tankers per month, including four to five Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCCs). A potential spill would dwarf the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill that saw 10.9 million gallons spill into Prince William Sound. That spill was devastating to wildlife and damaged marine and terrestrial ecosystems, the effects of which linger today. Some of the estimated monetary figures involved in that spill are as follows.

  • The spill caused over $300 million of economic harm to more than 32 thousand people whose livelihoods depended on commercial fishing.
  • Tourism spending decreased by eight percent in south central Alaska and by 35 percent in southwest Alaska in the year after the spill.
  • There was a loss of 9,400 visitors and $5.5 million in state spending. (Source:
  • An aggregate loss of $4.9 to $7.2 billion dollars. In effect, this reflects the public’s willingness to pay to prevent another Exxon Valdez type oil spill given the scenario posed (Source:

I don’t know what those figures amount to in 2012 dollars, but they are significant and just a small percentage of what a spill associated with the proposed Enbridge or Kinder Morgan pipeline expansions would be. Bottom line, in BC, where the tourism industry plays a significant role in the economy, oil spills are bad for business.

The oil and gas industry and its political lackeys can’t deny that there is a risk of oil spills. The truth is there is significant risk- just look at their track records:

Kinder Morgan:

  • April, 2004 Suisun Marsh diesel spill (1500 barrels spilled into marshes adjacent to Suisun Bay)
  • November, 2004 Walnut Creek (gasoline fire resulting in an explosive fireball that caused the deaths, by burns, of four workers and one supervisor and the severe injury of four others. Several nearby homes were ignited and one was partially destroyed).
  • September, 2007 KMGP was convicted on six felony charges related to the Walnut Creek Explosion.
  • July, 2007 Burnaby crude oil spill (spilling 234 litres into a residential neighbourhood and ocean adjacent to Hastings St. in Burnaby. About 70,000 litres of the oil flowed into the Burrard Inlet the resulting cleanup costing more than $15-million)
  • May, 2009 Burnaby Mountain oil spill (almost 200000 litres of crude oil was spilled. Fire and hasmat teams were called to the scene and contained the spill).
  • October, 2011 three companies, two contractors and Kinder Morgan each entered guilty pleas under a 21-count indictment in Provincial Court.
  • January, 2012. Spill in Abbotsford. (Estimated 110,000 litres of crude oil spilled).



I’ve borrowed the timeline of Enbridge disasters from blogger “So What Did I Miss:”

He writes:
Enbridge: A Short History in Disaster
Between 1999 and 2008 Enbridge recorded 610 oil and gas spills.
Regarding the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline, Gina Jordan, an Enbridge spokesperson quoted a study quite casually stating the chance of a spill was “something like 1 in 15000 years, I don’t know”.  An absurd claim, given the company’s recent environmental track record.  Given the facts below, a spill near B.C.’s fragile rainforest seems almost inevitable if this pipeline is built.  In addition, the company is not financialy liable for any oil spills from oil ships on the ocean.
So there you have. Two companies with criminal backgrounds and penchants for downplaying the harm their activities cause to people and the planet. Only their profits stand to gain.
*The National Energy Board (NEB or Board) is an independent federal agency established in 1959 by the Parliament of Canada to regulate international and interprovincial aspects of the oil, gas and electric utility industries. I would think safety and contribution to public good would be pretty important things to regulate when it comes to pipelines…but it seems the NEB is good at rubber stamping proposals regardless of risks to health and safety.





It never failed. Whenever I was studying for a test, my Dad would ask me if I knew the definition of the subject. So there I would be madly cramming and stressing out about the intricacies of social contract theory or constructivism vs deconstructivism and my Dad would be like: “Do you know what politics even means?”

Um, not what I need right now, Dad.

But, I have to hand it to him; looking up the meaning of a subject provides contextual information that can come in pretty handy (and occasionally get you bonus points on exams!). So while I am all too familiar* with what a marathon is in theory- a whopping 42.195 km distance that you run, walk (or crawl)- I knew nothing of the origins of the word or history behind it until I looked it up. (Thanks Dad).

Allow me to share a little bit about this incredible tradition.

The modern Athens Marathon commemorates the run of the soldier Pheidippides from a battlefield at the site of the town of Marathon, Greece, to Athens in 490 B.C., bringing news of a Greek victory over the Persians. Legend has it that Pheidippides delivered the momentous message “Niki!” (“victory”), then collapsed and died, thereby setting a precedent for dramatic conclusions to the marathon. (Source:

Here’s hoping that my own dramatic conclusion to the race isn’t death. Although being able to exclaim “Victory!” over Enbridge and the forces that want to bring oil tankers and pipelines into the Great Bear Rainforest-one of the most pristine places on earth would be amazing.

Sadly, it feels like a marathon, though a tremendous personal goal, is not newsworthy enough to gain the  the necessary publicity. I’m starting to think I need to run a longer distance, maybe 1177 km- the same length of the proposed Enbridge pipelines? This may be a bit ambitious for my little legs. But maybe it could be done as a relay race?  30 people each running 40 km across the province of BC? Enbridge sponsors “Ride to Conquer Cancer.” This could be a “Run to Conquer Enbridge.”

I wonder if there is anyone out there who would be willing to join me? Seriously.

*Since signing up for the marathon, I feel like the number 42.2 km has been burned into my cerebral cortex. Quite frankly, I’m just in awe of running that far. My brother Derek said he was driving the other day and measured the distance.  “That’s really far!” he exclaimed. “You’re like a super hero!” Which is just about the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me.

Thank you so much for taking action to stop the smears and stop the Enbridge pipeline.

We’ve just sent your message by email to Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver, and also your MP and the opposition critics for Natural Resources. A copy of your message is attached. We will also be passing on your comments to the Joint Review Panel for the pipeline as a formal submission if you asked us to.

Now, we need your help to spread the word. We need to create a huge public outcry to show the Joint Review Panel and government that Canadians expect them to put the best interests of Canada before the private profits of powerful oil companies.

Would you please consider sending an email to anyone that you think would be interested, to ask them if they will join you in this campaign? We’ve included an email below that you can forward if you like.

Thanks again.

With hope and respect,

Matthew on behalf of the team

p.s. It will take sustained effort to protect our coast and our climate from the threat of the Enbridge pipeline. We’d like to keep you informed, but it doesn’t look like you opted in. Please click here to opt-in and we will keep you in the loop on this campaign.

Hi Supporter,

A couple of weeks ago we asked you to spread the word about the No Tankers petition after Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver launched a public relations offensive to discredit and silence Canadians opposed to Enbridge’s oil pipeline and supertanker project.

Since then, we have received more than 20,000 new signatures on our No Tankers petition and Enbridge’s oil tanker plan was national news for days on end. Thank you — this couldn’t have happened without your efforts!

Last week Prime Minister Stephen Harper entered the fray, claiming “foreigners” were “hijacking” the review process because they want to make Canada “one giant national park.” Once again, shock reverberated around the country and we received a flood of calls and e-mails from supporters asking what they could do.

In response, we’ve joined with democracy group Lead Now to let Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver know that attempts to silence us will only make us louder.

The federal government is using a misleading smear campaign to not only discredit Canadians concerned by the Enbridge’s oil tanker plans, but also to distract the thousands of people who are learning about this issue for the first time. 

Despite the massive public outcry, Oliver shows no signs of backing down. Just two days ago he ramped up the rhetoric during a speech in Calgary, claiming “abuse” by groups opposed to development of oil projects, accusing them of “gaming” the review process.

Please consider sending a message to Minister Oliver and your MP. Let’s speak out against these bullying PR tactics, and put the focus back where it belongs: stopping a reckless oil tanker and pipeline proposal that First Nations have already banned.

For the coast,

Eric, Emma, Celine, Erika and Karl

I don’t know about you, but I prefer to run alone. In my experience, running with someone entails all kinds of awkwardness. Like who gets to set the pace? Inevitably, you’re forced to run either too slowly and end up feeling resentful (or smug) or you’re forced to run faster than is comfortable which leads to eventually having to stop and apologize profusely. “No no no, you run ahead. I don’t want to slow you down!” No, no it’s fine! I always run this painfully slow. It’s all good.” It’s not all good. Everyone ends up feeling bad in this situation.

Then there’s the expectations regarding talking. I enjoy talking- on the phone, over wine, during a rousing game of “Say Anything”- but not while I’m trying to not hyperventilate. Running is a time to just run, not idly chit chat with your too fast / too slow running buddy. I think if you can talk easily while running, you’re probably walking.

And finally- the race experience. I have only had one of these in recent history- the 25 km Comfortably Numb trail race I ran in Whistler last year. It involves a 1000 metre elevation gain and a steep shale descent at the end, so it’s all kinds of fun for the knees and ankles, but mostly what sucked about it was running with a bunch of other people.* Don’t get me wrong, pre and post race everyone was nice enough, but during the race there was a competitive energy that just rubbed me the wrong way. You pass someone and you can feel them getting all bent out of shape about it and when you get passed by someone, well… you’re all bent out of shape about it.

So there you have it. I am a fiercely anti-social runner.** That being said I absolutely adore my Runny Buddy. In all fairness, Amber Cowie is pretty much my buddy in all things (she’s my life buddy :)), but this is the first time we’ve taken our friendship to the level of Running Buddydom. And so far- amazing. When I first mentioned signing up for a marathon, everyone else gave me looks that said: “Are you insane?!” Only Amber was like; “I’m insane. I’ll do it with you!”  So here we are. She supports the cause and hates oil tankers and pipelines just as much as I do. She created a training program that I’m following, and I suggested she stop eating so much candy and try eating some hemp protein instead. She sends me encouraging texts and makes sweet comments on my blog.  I tell her how she can stretch out her IT band (yoga baby). We make running playlists for each other (mine is soo going to dominate). We make jokes about bleeding out of our lungs and puking after running. We share our marathon nightmares***

AND we never run together. It’s the perfect relationship.

*Getting lost also sucked. Somehow, despite the neon pink flagging tape blocking the wrong trail, I ended up following a girl down the wrong trail, down (and then up) a steep hill- for 25 minutes! We discovered our mistake when another runner came running towards us and told us we had gone the wrong way.  This was early on in the race so super good start. Although, when I realized I’d ended up running closer to 30 km, I was like well maybe ‘”I could do a marathon….”

**With one notable exception. While living in Sierra Leone, I joined a running group called the Hash. Its a British tradition that ex-pats around the world have picked up. It involves weekly runs following a paper trail with false tracks that takes you through back alleys and courtyards, along goat paths, through rivers and along garbage heaps in the blazing heat. Everyone drinks beers afterwards and if you do 25 runs or more you get a super offensive nickname. So pretty much hilarious.

***Mine 2 nights ago: Me and Amber are going to do a practice marathon, but I end up falling asleep in the middle of a road median (?!). When I wake up I realize I’ve missed the practice run, and I frantically set off. I bump into Amber who says suuuuper casually; “Oh ya, I’m already done. It was easy.” And I’m like; “ahh, I’ve still got 4 hours to go!” and wake up a little pissed at Amber quite frankly.

Amber’s: She eats too much candy and wakes up hungry.

Tonight I cheated on my marathon. For yoga. It was a classic case of seeking out the warmth and comfort of an old friend. I should probably feel more guilty about this, but me and yoga go back a long way. I even call it “yogs” (pronounced ‘y-oh-gs’)- we’re that close.

I really did have every intention of doing my 7.5 km run today, but I should have known that it just wasn’t in the cards. You see, I started my day by going snowboarding (yup I live in the playground for grown-ups called Whistler), which was awesome except (and here’s where the whining begins), it wasn’t. For starters the wind had scoured a lot of the snow off of the mountain and second it was cold.* Even some of my guy friends were complaining about their fingers being cold, so it wasn’t just ‘girl cold,’ it was actually cold.   I was hanging with my friend Liz that I hadn’t seen in ages so we were toughing it out, but it wasn’t long before we threw in the towel. Not before consuming a beer and a cookie, which was my second indication that the run probably wasn’t going to happen.

I still hadn’t clued in when I got home though, because I proceeded to make a running playlist- for the next 3 hours. Unfortunately, thinking about running is not the same thing as actually running (sigh).

I ended up with the mother of all playlists (to be shared soon!), but found myself sitting on the couch, in my running clothes, but not running. [brace yourself for more whining]. I looked outside and noticed it was getting dark out. AND it was snowing. AND I was still kind of cold from earlier. AND there was a yoga class about to begin so…there you have it- I caved.

And damn it was soo good. It was a nice warm room and stretching the hamstrings and hips felt goood. I’m just going to chalk it up to a momentary lapse. Tomorrow is a new day.

*I should have known it was cold because my feline friend Mojo did ‘cold paws’ when I suggested he go outside to play with Bo this morning. (yup, Mojo’s best friend is named Bo, which would be super cute if it weren’t for the fact that Bo tends to beat the crap out of Mojo). Cold paws look like Mojo is trying to flick water from his paws but really are code for “brrrr, I’m not going out there. Are you crazy?! What I will do is have some tuna and sleep for the next 23 hours.”

This blog is funny informative and offers contest with prizes! I gotta look into that!

Running and Rambling.

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