Captain’s log, rungate 201601.24

This week has flown by in an absolute blur.

On Thursday I did my first comedy show of the year and it was a gas. Sold out crowd, great energy, huge laughs – it was everything you can possibly ever hope for, stand-up wise.

Stand-up is weird, because there really is no middle ground. You either kill, or you want to be killed, so whenever I leave a show with a light heart and a smile on my face it’s such a fab feeling. Luckily I haven’t had too many shows defined by the latter, but believe you me, it’s wretched as hell.

Anyway, I ran every morning this week, save Friday (the morning after a show can be a little sluggish) and I was feeling great coming out of my first 30 kilometer run from last Saturday.

I am also trying to do more cross-training, because as much as I love just Forrest Gumping about the place, I find that sometimes such a singular focus can be more of a detriment than benefit.

So in this vein, yesterday Marc and I sped-hiked the Diez Vistas and Buntzen Lake trails over in Port Moody.

Now, for those of you who have never conquered these trails, I heartily recommend that you rectify this post-haste. DV is one of my absolute favourite hikes here in the Lower Mainland, and is one of the few places that, at this time of year especially, is completely free of snow.

Rootin’ around.

There was quite a bit of run-off in some places, but nothing crazy or scary. Just a few sections that required me to really stretch my legs.

DV is a good workout, with a strong elevation gain and all of the switchbacks you can eat. There are some parts that have you feeling positively mountain goat-esque, minus the beard (for me) and incessant bleating (for both Marc and I, thank goodness.)

The best parts truly about this trail are the marvelous views afforded to you along the way. There is something incredibly humbling and awesome just standing there, overlooking the entirety of the city – from UBC to Port Coquitlam, and all the way up Indian Arm. With the fog hung so low in parts, you might swear that you could reach out and grab a tuft, while below, each solitary boat marks its individual passage up the inlet, carving a delicate V in its wake.

Forever sky.

Buntzen Lake trail is equally great, though very different. With way less elevation and a more even path, it’s pretty much the perfect place for short, mid-length, or long training runs. Next weekend I think I am going to venture back with just my runners and try for a three-loop 24 km.

(I figure writing this out to 2,400+ people will keep me honest. Right? RIGHT?)

The only fly in the ointment for us yesterday was the fact that I forgot all of our sandwich provisions, and Marc was incredibly disappointed to learn that he would have to wait to get back to the car for his peppercorn turkey breast.

The last 3 kilometers may have been a little quieter and a lot quicker than normal.

Only when I had answered his riddles three, did this guy let me pass.

In my defense (which is weak as hell, truly), there is something to be said for sitting in the trunk of your vehicle, legs dangling off of the edge, cramming bread, cheese, and meat into your face, laughing about the last four hours, and silently wondering, “Is the nail on my right big toe coming off?”

(Answer: not yet, but soon. See below. I also cracked my knee pretty hard on a cleverly disguised tree trunk and collected an eclectic assortment of miscellaneous bruises and scratches along the way – such is my life as an transparently-skinned outdoorswoman).

Gollum feet.

This morning my butt was sore as heck but everything else was feeling very good. I thought briefly about running a longer run, but everything in my body was screaming for a fast sprint. So I flew down to New West’s waterfront. The weather was all but balmy, and I immediately regretted my choice to wear I toque. I keep telling myself that I need to start training wearing so much less clothing, but for some reason I am terrified of being too cold and never know when to leave well enough alone.

It’s (I’m) a work in progress.

I am also still trying to digest the fact (pun intended) that I really need to learn how to eat and drink on the run – literally. My running guru John (Hi John!) who hence forth when I blog about him will be know as Obi-John Kenobi, has put the fear into me (by not being scary at all, only considerate and helpful about these things.)

But regardless of this!

Urgh. No thank you.

(Help! Me!)

Looking forward to this week, I am going to run before and after work on both Tuesday and Thursday, rain or shine.

Because let’s be real here dudes, we’re closing in on the three month marker until the BMO, and I know with the rate that life is speeding by, I’ll probably sleep a little too long in February and miss the race entirely.

So stay tuned!

Together we’ll boldly go, where I’ve never gone before.



Sunday Night Confessions

1. It’s completely ridiculous how much I love this music video.

Which has me a little worried.

Because it seems as though the older I get, the more my musical tastes regress.


Now, I’m no scientist, but I feel like I used to have some pretty some solid street cred when it came to my everyday jams, and then I turned twenty-five and everything started to go to pot, and now I use terms like “my everyday jams.”

And now, with every passing year, I find myself more and more, drawn to manufactured, heavily-produced sugary schlock.

And by schlock I mean SOLID GOLD.

God I love this stuff so much it feels criminal.

(I probably listened to this song thirty times on loop this morning. Half the time lip-synching like a fiend, and the other half dancing about like a madwoman.)

At least when it comes to Tom Hanks, my love for him will never die, nor shall I ever be ashamed to proclaim this affection.

It doesn’t matter how many terrible movies he makes, or how many times he doesn’t get the hilarious jokes in a Tina Fey and Amy Poehler Golden Globes opening monologue – the power of A League of Their Own, The Burbs, That Thing you Do, and Forrest Gump will live on, ad infinitum.

At least, scientifically speaking.

Tom Hanks

2. One of my first major celebrity crushes was on Jeremy Taggart, the drummer from Our Lady Peace.


This probably means little to most of you reading this blog, but those Canadians who remember our country’s late nineties music scene, or at the very least spent some portion of their lives watching Much Music, are all probably thinking, “Really!? Him?”

Yes, yes, we all know that Mr. Rain Maida was the sulky, skulking sexy frontman (of what had to be one of the best representations of what we now think of as a “90s band”) but even as a fourteen year-old I was always one to buck aesthetic trends, and go for the outliers.

I mean what can I say? The guy had one set of rocking nerd glasses!

My teenage hormones never stood a fighting chance.

3. I always weirdly hoped that Britney Spears and Kevin Federline would make it.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

4. I was quite sick last weekend and couldn’t run for about a week. The first time out after being laid-up by illness, I always concoct insane survival scenarios, and pretend that I’m in an Armageddon action movie, wherein I have to run as fast as I can to the secret CIA bunker because I am the last remaining top-secret operative trained in nuclear bomb disarmament.

The survival of the entire western seaboard is contingent on my success!

Normally this leads to me running so hard I feel as though my lungs are on fire and the only way I can put out the flames is by ralphing them right up.

(My lungs that is.)

But goodness knows I always make it to that bomb.

Just in the nick of time.

5. Spring is in the air.


I can feel it in my heart.

See more snaps of my madcap adventures on my new Instagram! Follow me @Vanessaisrunning.

A late night’s pictures and dreams

Some things of note (if you will) –

I. The funniest Kids in the Hall sketch:

II. If you read John Cleese’s book “So, Anyway…”, and are even a modest fan of the man and his works, you’ll have the pleasant bonus of finding yourself reading the entire thing in his voice. It’s like having Basil Fawlty as your personal narrator (although to be fair, I am more of an Archie Leech woman, myself.) I finished reading this book approximately twenty minutes ago and found it incredibly enjoyable. I laughed out loud on many, many occasions, and found myself giggling so hard on public transit that a women standing just off to my right turned to me, tapped my shoulder, and told me that I was an “absolute delight”, before confiding that she couldn’t wait to dive into her copy the minute she returned home.

I told her to piss off and mind her own business.


I blushed like a mad thing and told her that I was just excited for her as she.

III. My masked self:


IV. Disclaimer: This next point will resonate solely with individuals who either live in British Columbia’s Lower Mainland, or have spent enough time in Vancouver and its surrounding environs to know of which I write.

Chiefly, the utter madness that is Kingsway, and how lucky I feel whenever I manage to navigate this utterly insane stretch of road and emerge (relatively) unscathed – neither crumpled up inside my severely mangled automobile, nor having run over a rogue, clueless pedestrian (nay, pedestrians), nor having witnessed any sort of monumental crash-cum-pile-up due to another driver’s last minute decision to make a left turn on a red light an run ramrod straight into on-coming traffic.

That road is a bloody death trap.

And five hours later, my nerves are still shot.

V. Fashionable pantaloons:


I recently bought these sweet running pants from Mountain Equipment Co-op. I love them because they make me feel as though I am wearing a patchwork of old movie stills, even though the pattern is actually beautiful abstract black and white shapes.

For the uninitiated, MEC is the outdoor gear MECca (har har) of every pseudo-mountain person (and to be fair, every hardcore survivor man/woman) this town has to offer.

The place is basically Whole Foods for purveyors of hatchets, kayaks, and tents. Everything is fair trade and organic (including your rage when you realize that you could have purchased the exact same sleeping bag for thirty percent cheaper at one of the other stores just down the road had you exercised one iota of free will and not succumbed to the tractor beam pull of this ridiculous outdoor monolith. But I digress.)

The reason that I was able to purchase these amazing pants in the first place was because my sister and brother in-law bought me another sweet pair at Christmas that were very unfortunately too big and needed to be exchanged. With the store credit I was able to procure these cool duds and now I feel like a right superstar every time I put them on.

(A real 1930’s dynamo, as you please.)

VI. Sun cat:



Sometimes I eavesdrop. Sometimes.

“I have always wanted to go to France.”

“I was in France once. I was in Normandy. On the beach.”

“Wow! I can only imagine how beautiful that must have been.”

“It was D-Day. Juno.”

“I want to make him admit that he wants me too. I want to hear that he wants to fuck me. I want him to admit that he wants to fuck me as much as I want to fuck him.”

“Have you asked him if he’s married?”

“No. I thought that would be inappropriate.”

“Did you know that ducks rape?”

“What!? No they don’t.”

“Oh yes they do. I saw it happen.”


“I – [leans in closer] I witnessed a duck gang rape. I witnessed a gang rape!”

[Waitress walks by]


“You are so beautiful.”

[Pretending] “I am sorry…I – I don’t understand.”

[Moves closer, touches her waist] “You, you are remarkable.”

“I – I don’t speak English…”

“You are S-E-X-Y. Where are you from?”

“I – um – Francais? I am French.”

“I saw this band before they were big. In Ontario last year.”


[Shouting, slowly] “This band! I saw them! Last…year.”

[Shakes head]

“That seemed a lot cooler in my head.”


“You are so sexy.” [Shakes head sadly, brushes her breasts as he walks away.]

“You know how they said dudes go through sexual maturity at 18?”


“And how they say dudes feel the need to spread their semen around to make babies and continue their lineage?”

“Um. Yeah.”

“Well, I kind of feel like that. Only I don’t want to spread the lineage. I just want dudes to want me.”

“I get it.”

“You feel the same way?”

“No. But I get why you would. You’re fucking hot.”

“I like Taylor Swift.”


“She’s got great lipstick. And I dance to her songs.”


“She’s killing me man.”


“She wears her tights up to her boobs.”


“No for real. Sometimes I swear they double as a bra.”

“What? Her tights?”

“It’s not a sexy look.”

“I’m afraid nobody respects me.”

“Well that’s crap. Everybody thinks you’re extraordinary.”

“I cry. I cry at all of the beauty.”

“Can I ask you a question?”


“Do you go looking for this beauty? Or you does it come to you naturally? Intrinsically?”

[Thinks] “Both. But mostly I am overwhelmed. Every day.”

[Thinks] “I wish I could do this.”

[Takes hand] “You can.”

“The guy WAS Stalin.”



“I love you.”

“I love you too.”


Say yes, and then make it all up

Last Friday, Marc and I co-lead our first high school improv club meeting.

One of his students had approached him at the beginning of October to tell him that he was interested in starting the club, but in order to do so he would need a teacher sponsor.

Marc is amazingly involved at his school – he coaches soccer and rugby, and also leads the games and homework club – and he was more than happy to get involved, especially with how enthusiastic this young man was to get a group together to work on their improvisational skills.

Knowing that I did a ton of improv in high school and university and that I absolutely love to work with young people on all things theatre, he asked me if I was interested in helping him out.

It was all I could do not to jump up and down with my excitement.

(Okay, there may have been quite a bit of jumping up and down.)

These kind of opportunities are just so important for teenagers in terms of self-confidence and teamwork. My best friends in high school were my improv teammates, and we were all theatre kids who loved to perform and make ourselves out to be as silly as possible.

It would be my wish that every young person who is interested in trying out the performing arts to have this chance.

So if I can help make it happen, I will help make it happen.

I arrived at the school a little after the final bell had run for the day.

Man, you definitely forget how crazy high school is once you’ve been outside of those hallowed corridors for over eleven years!

The buzz of excitement, of nerves, of vulnerability, and silliness, of drama, and anticipation – the place just seems like an ever-seasoning soup, cooking in the craziest of cauldrons!

I went to the office to check-in and grab my visitor’s pass, before sitting down to wait for Marc to come and get me.

While I sat there, I marvelled at the seemingly unending stream of students that filtered in and out, either chattering to each other, or texting on their cellphones. Most of them were decked out in their Halloween finery, and many were munching on the mini chocolate bars being passed out by the student council in the main atrium.

Marc then came and got me and we walked to the auditorium.

There, seated on or around the stage, was a group of about twelve students, ranging from grade eight to grade twelve. Some of them were chatting away, while others looked a little nervous or shy about their decision to show up.

I asked them all to join me in a circle and we spent the first ten minutes learning each other’s name, by ascribing an adjective to ourselves that had to begin with the first letter of our first name, and then acting out the adjective. The next person would act out the previous person’s name, before doing the same for themselves.

The majority of the session was then spent getting the kids to become comfortable with saying “YES!” and supporting their fellow improvisers.

Improv is all about going with suggestions – whether they be from the actors with whom you are performing, or the ideas you get from the audience. A scene will go nowhere if someone says, “Ah, isn’t this an amazing day at the beach!” and their co-improviser counters with, “We’re not at the beach.”

Talk about killing the energy on the stage!

I am so proud to say that the group really bonded together and took this rule to heart. They were all super supportive of one another, and worked hard to make the scenes work, as well as make each other laugh.

And they even kept the inappropriate humour to a minimum!

(Although I am happy to report that the word “threesome” still absolutely destroys a group of teenagers. May this please, never, ever change!)

Honestly, it was just the best way to spend a Friday afternoon.

I cannot wait to go back and work with them again; I so badly want to ensure that these students have the opportunity to keep each other in stiches.

Because together, they’re sewing something great.