just because it’s Christmas

I’ve returned from a quick trip to Montreal and despite the lack of snow, it was lovely and festive. I am so #blessed to get to go on an annual pilgrimage to my old stomping ground for both work and play!

But, as much as I love Montreal, I am a forever and always an East Coast girl. So whenever I visit my co-workers, I get the usual “something smells fishy” and “Say ‘I took my Carrrrr to the Barrrrr and ate a Beaaaaygel’ ” banter. Je les aime. Actually, I think they’re a little envious because they know deep down, the East Coast is the best coast (especially when it comes to music), and with this in mind, I made a mix CD for my office Secret Santa exchange: IMG_4044East Coast Christmas CD-Inside Christmas is for giving so I am giving you chance to win one!

Leave a message and tell me what your favourite Christmas song is. Mine is Oh Holy Night but it’s a toss up between Mariah Carey and Anne Murray for best rendition. Winner will be picked on FRIDAY.

IMG_4070office party… they’re not usually this classy but I love them
IMG_4087#Ihaveathingwithfloors : Lionel Groulx metro station, Montreal
IMG_4090My alma mater
IMG_4091I can not pass up a chance for the vegetarian pita at Boustan
IMG_4092best.job.ever.
IMG_4093A must-see at Christmas time in Montreal. The window at Ogilvy’s
IMG_4097At night with lights and snow, this is a showstopper
IMG_4101Get them while they’re hot, St. Viateur Bagels
IMG_4104Our home on rue Gauthier…
IMG_4108Bright lights of Montreal
IMG_4110Me and Jess
IMG_4111Khyber Pass – Cuisine Afghane, Duluth Street Montreal. Amazing.

Just because it’s Christmas (and at Christmas you tell the truth), to me, you are perfect.

psst. If you like what you’re reading, please subscribe and share. xomeg

three’s a charm. right?

I have finally decided to give the full marathon another go. It has been eight years and a lot has changed. Like, when I did marathon’s 1 and 2, I lived in Montreal, I didn’t have a kid, I didn’t have a dog*, I didn’t have any major commitments, I would go for a 3 hour run and no one really noticed (Mike was often still sleeping), I didn’t have GPS (I would make Mike drive around the city the night before a long run calculating distances with the car’s odometer. Actually, one of the only things that remains the same since that last time I ran a marathon is the car. Go VW!

I am now +8 years older and although my life is not thaaaat hectic (I mean really, I only have 1 kid and 1 dog and a supportive husband who lets me run as much as I want) it is still hard to fit in all of the training. I have kept up with running and enjoy doing a bunch of races every year but it’s been on my mind to do another full. Yes, it will be hard and yes I may will curse many times during the 42 kilometres but I get a t-shirt and chocolate milk at the finish line so I think it’s worth it.

Marathon 1 was epic. Philadelphia. Mike, my sister and my brother-in-law came for support and my parents and aunt surprised me by driving all the way from Nova Scotia to cheer me on. There is no better way to see a new city than run around it for four hours. Long story short, I finished in 4 hours and 16 minutes and mustered just enough energy to stumble up the Rocky stairs at the finish line for a fist pump. Marathon 2 was not so epic. Montreal. Mike and Henry cheered from what was literally our backyard. It was a course I had run almost every day and I was recovering from an ankle injury. I managed to finish in 4 hours 9 minutes and the highlight was the last 500 metres… we finished by running into the Olympic Stadium. The closest I will get to Olympic glory.

So what will marathon 3 bring? Well, I should start by registering. All talk no action. The plan is PEI – a little sentimental because it’s where I ran my first half. I know some others who plan to run but sadly, I am doing the full alone. I have been told to expect rolling hills and lonely trails. I really hope ‘rolling’ is an exaggeration and that my summer of HHH Training (Halifax’s Hellish Hills) will pay off. I am also hoping the wind will be much tamer than a certain red head we all know!

Now, as for goals… I have decided to set 5… the most realistic goals are listed first.

  1. Register
  2. Finish
  3. Finish in 4 hours and 30 minutes
  4. Get a personal best of 4 hours and 8 minutes
  5. Finish under 4 hours

Okay, #5 is pushing it for me… and I know that but I think it is important to aim high as you never know what you are capable of… and speaking of… I don’t win often… actually, I’ve never won before, but I did and now you can too! Wanna score a copy of Runner’s World Training Journal? I won a copy but I don’t think I need it. If someone out there wants to put it to use, please send me a message. I am addicted to my Nike+ Running and Runner’s World Smart Coach apps so I will just stick to using those.

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And one final thing. I am working on a playlist. I try to pick songs that are fun, upbeat, nostalgic a little trendy and a lot cheesy. So here is what I have so far… Full disclosure: I don’t usually listen to most of this stuff but I do like it. Yes, even Pitbull! If you have any suggestions, I am eager to hear them as this playlist will start repeating before I finish. And don’t worry, Eye of the Tiger will be added for race day.

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Hopefully all will go well with the last month of training and I can make it to the start so I can get to the finish. Good luck if you have a race coming up too!

psst. If you are reading this and are thinking, gee i’d love to join Meghan for a 42 km tour of potato island, please join me! I’d love a buddy. I’ll even buy you a chocolate milkshake at the finish line in Charlottetown.

psst. If you like what you’re reading, please subscribe and share. xomeg

*Henry (the dog) was around for marathon 2 and was actually a great training companion. He now prefers sniffing and walking more than running. 

la belle province

I once spent a full day flying from Montreal to Montreal. (Long story short: The weather in Halifax prevented a full touch-down and we were diverted to Boston then back to Montreal.) Whenever I return to Montreal, it kind of feels the same way – leaving home to go home. I lived in Montreal twice – the first being as a university student living life to its fullest and the second time was four years post-graduation when I joined Mike on his job transfer. We were newly engaged/married, young, hardworking and child-free.

I always say I have a love-hate relationship with the city – mostly love, but like any relationship, it can kick you in the butt and make you cry. Halifax is the lovely little sister to Montreal – she’s easy going and can lack oomph but she is not as jerky as her big sister. There were many days when I woke up loving Montreal, only to hate her later on when a person forgot to say merci when you held the door open. Or even worse, when you sheepishly attempted to speak french to a store clerk and they replied back in english with a snarky french accent.

Mais, Montreal is beautiful – full amazing things. I know the city like the back of my hand. I lived in NDG, downtown and on le plateau. I once spent a day driving the metro and stopping at every station just for fun. I trained for two full marathons while living there and ran the Montreal marathon so have covered many streets by foot. I worked in Saint Laurent and have friends as far as Hudson. I once bought a rug at Ikea and carried it down the highway and on the bus to rue Saint Marc. I have toured the city numerous times with visiting family and friends and often joke with my co-workers that I know the city better than them!

This weekend we are driving back for my friend’s wedding. To say I am excited is an understatement. Some of my favourite people, places, restaurants and memories are in this city and it is going to be an epic end to the summer. -xomeg

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our back patio on rue gauthier

Top 5 favourite MONTREAL things to eat (according to me)

  1. Montreal Bagels
  2. Poutine
  3. Killer Tomato sandwich from Café Santropol 
  4. Vegetarian club at Restaurant L’Anecdote
  5. Indian vegetarian at Pushaps

Top 5 favourite MONTREAL things to see (according to me)

  1. Mont Royal
  2. Habitat 67
  3. Parc la fontaine and le plateau
  4. An early morning run in Old Montreal (very quiet!)
  5. My favourite spot downtown between a church and a office tower

Top 5 memories

  1. Getting engaged in Old Montreal
  2. Buying our first house on Rue Gauthier
  3. Finishing a marathon inside the Olympic Stadium
  4. First pub crawl , first cab ride and hearing that Princess Diana died (all on one night)
  5. First apartment and roommates

Top 5 things I miss

  1. Being only a shortish drive from Erin, the States, Ottawa and other pretty french places
  2. Riding the metro
  3. Spending a cold winter day walking downtown but never stepping outside
  4. Buying stuff to make supper from the little fruiterie on the walk home from the metro station
  5. Hearing french

Top 5 things I do not miss

  1. Smog and the smell of the city in the sumer (salt air is much better)
  2. Bone-dry winters
  3. Using up all of my vacation time to travel home
  4. The lack oceans
  5. Concorida University Hall Building

I am not going to name my top 5 quebecois because that’s just mean but you know who you are (wink wink).