east vs. west

Not one but several people warned me that if I go West, I will never come back. I am sure this comes from my love for all things California but I am here to say, I went West and I did come back.

Did I love it? Yes! Was it beautiful? Yes! Is it the best coast? Not sure.

Don’t get me wrong… every place we visited, we imagined ourselves living there (Oak Bay, Victoria… I’m talking about you). So active. So green. So many mountains! They have it all and the people were really friendly. We had a great time but as much as I loved the West Coast, I still think there are some amazing things about living over here, next to the Atlantic. All of Canada is beautiful and I am certain, as long as I am near a coast, I will be happy.

Here are some pictures of the trip: 6 Days. 5 Ferries. 4 great runs. 3 awesome hikes. 2 countries. 1 wedding and 0 whale sightings…

Day 1: We flew in and out of Seattle mostly because airfare was muuuch cheaper and partly because we really wanted to see Seattle. It’s lovely – like a mini San Francisco or a big Halifax (although Halifax has a better waterfront (just saying)). Our flight left Halifax at 5:20 am (that’s 1:20 am Seattle time) so when we arrived at 10:30 am Seattle time it was feeling like 2:30 pm Halifax time. We were sleepy, not sleepless, but made the most of the 24 hours and took full advantage of their caffeine supply. We didn’t crash until 10:00 pm Seattle time (which felt like 2:00 am Halifax time)! dsc_0295Seattle has a monorail which takes you from the Space Needle to downtown. Totally touristy, totally worth the $2.50.img_6305We had lunch downtown in Westlake Park at The People’s Burger food truck – my portobello mushroom burger was amazing. We then walked down the Pike Street to Pike Place Market and found the Pike Street Starbucks and the original Starbucks. There was fish throwing and salt water taffy but I was most impressed with the price of flowers.img_6308img_6310dsc_0297img_6313img_6314img_6315img_6316After an afternoon downtown, I dragged Mike to University Village… which is in a kind of attached to the University of Washington but actually just a big outdoor mall full of really nice stores. The drive around the campus was beautiful and I was so excited to go to Oiselle. When I arrived, I was surprised to see Kate Grace was in the store doing a talk about her Olympic experience (she’s sponsored by Oiselle and I had cheered for both her and our Melissa Bishop in the 800m final). I happily listened to her but I’m not going to lie… I was more interested in trying on the running clothes! As soon as the autographs started, I weaved in and out and all around the fans, trying to decided how many tanks and shorts I was allowed to smuggle across the border! (“kidding” D.T.)img_6320Day 2: The next morning, fully on Seattle time, I went for a run around the city and then we left via ferry #1 (Bainbridge Island) North to Port Angeles. I am really glad we chose this route because it was a chance to see more of Washington – it’s a beautiful state. We arrived in Victoria at 7:20 pm – just in time for Mike to hook up with his friend. dsc_0305img_6328img_6332dsc_0306dsc_0307dsc_0309Before hopping on ferry #2 which took us across the border to Victoria, we spent some time in the Port Angeles area including Olympic National Park. Sorry, I forgot to photograph my fish taco.dsc_0315dsc_0316dsc_0320Hey Mike, stop so I can take your picture next to the tall trees…dsc_0321Hey Mike, pretend you’re excited! dsc_0322dsc_0324G’bye America, hello beautiful British Columbia – I can’t believe it has taken me this long to see you!img_6334Day 3: While Mike was recovering from the night out with his friend, I went for a beautiful run all around Victoria. It’s the best way to see a city because I was up before all the tourists (how else to you get pictures without people in your way?)… Victoria is unbelievable – there is a waterfront trail that wraps around the city that I ran along which was so fantastic – along the way I found MILE 0 of the Trans Canada and the Terry Fox memorial, and then a castle!?!img_6341img_6352img_6353img_6354img_6358We then spent a few hours roaming around the city and had lunch at Rebar. (I bought the cookbook and made the carrot cake but would love to test out some more recipes on friends). On our way out of the city, I took Mike on a drive of my morning running route so he could see all the beautiful highlights.dsc_0341dsc_0342dsc_0344img_6362That afternoon we drove up to Bear Mountain and hiked to the top of Mount Finlayson before having a lovely 10-year anniversary dinner. img_6365img_6370img_6371Day 4: Although Bear Mountain is meant for golfing, there are great trails and I took Mike on his first trail run the next day. Holy hills!img_6374img_6375img_6376After our run, we packed up and set off for ferry #3 – Nanaimo to Horseshoe Bay. On our way, we stopped for lunch at this lovely coffee shop in Cobble Hill and ate a Nanaimo bar (and Nanaimo bar ice cream) while waiting to board the ferry in Nanaimo (as they say, when in Rome…).dsc_0375img_6382img_6384From Horseshoe Bay, we u-turned and got on ferry #4 to Roberts Creek on the Sunshine Coast. We went straight to a cottage for a rehearsal dinner. It was dark and stormy (but wine for me) and you could hear the ocean.

Day 5: Ironically, the only time we had rain was while on the Sunshine Coast however it was so beautiful! At the rehearsal dinner the night before, the brother of the bride offered to take me on a 17 km run. Even in the pouring rain, it was such a great route and we ended right in front of Molly’s Reach just in time for breakfast! (As a CBC Canadian kid who didn’t have cable until the age of 12, The Beachcombers is a big deal). The sun came out just in time for a lovely wedding!img_6387img_6392img_6393img_6396Hello sunshine! Hello Sunshine Coast!img_6399Day 6: After a wild wedding night and brunch, we jumped on ferry #5 back to Horseshoe Bay. Despite the shenanigans of last night, we managed to haul our butts up The Grouse Grind which was a fun way to sweat all of the tequila out of the system. The view from the top was totally worth it. Once we descended, via the skyline, we headed back to Seattle. Since we are coming back to B.C. in February, we drove straight through Vancouver (got a little sneak peek) and waited for the longest time ever at the border. Our flight was at 6:00 am the next morning. img_6406img_6407img_6408img_6411I know, I wrote beautiful eight times!!! Sorry, not sorry. The West Coast is stunning and I took way more photos of the ocean and mountains than I am showing here. I can not wait to go back and see more but until then, I will enjoy the East! dsc_0386

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golden girls

Saturday was the Rum Runners Relay – which is my favourite sporting event of the year.

Robyn put together a great team of 10 strong and speedy girls and in the end… after 10 legs… from Halifax to Lunenburg… the Fundy Dippers won top ALL FEMALE TEAM!img_6464

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But lets rewinds…

> The Fundy Dippers (not Diapers) came about almost a year ago after the 2015 Rum Runners Relay – we had a great mixed team but it was decided to try for an all-female team and see where we’d place.IMG_3577> Team-wear: After a strong showing on the roadways of the Cabot Trail, we decided to go with a long sleeve tee.RumRunners Tee_5 reference.eps> If you can’t run with music, make a team playlist. We blast each runner’s song from the support cars during their leg.screen-shot-2016-09-27-at-9-11-26-am> And what’s a race without signage! Any excuse for cutting, pasting and glitter glue.photo-2016-09-12-9-24-29-pm* * *

We had great day with great performances, tenfold. Here are a few random pics from the day!

> Robyn tackled leg 1, which started at 6:30 am. img_6447 img_6446 img_6449> Cheering / dancing for Erica on leg 2 – who’s a super mama – nursing a 3 month old 5 minutes before her start! 14485025_10101852197204477_8590867637579038469_n 14449761_10101852197174537_4164652168537448840_n img_6452 img_645014469492_10101852164365287_5933439043454846240_n> I missed most of Steph’s leg 3 because I was prepping for leg 4 (i.e. standing in line at a porta potty) but she did awesome! (sorry)

> Not going to lie, I was a little intimidated by the runners at my start14424924_10154513079138582_7918706439114028639_o> My leg ended at Queensland Beach… yes, I went in knee deepimg_6455> Andrea (“I’m not a runner” but finished with a 4:45 average pace) killed leg 514449064_10101852162793437_3170715317584808517_n> Oh holy hill at the start of leg 6. Elissa had no problemimg_6456 img_6457> Kristin finished the very hilly leg 7img_6461> Amy breezed though leg 814481914_10154513104838582_4205791758828086084_o> Amélie crushed leg 9 (injured) 14380071_10154513110358582_1666279205527321213_o> And Sabrina brought us home, smiling!14445021_10154513115803582_3704117670599872582_o

After leg 10, we drove back to Halifax for a celebratory dinner – proud of our accompaniments regardless of our standing because we didn’t know who the other all-female teams were and how they did.

Then the next day, there was this:img_6482And now we’re all like this:giphy

Cheers! img_6483

So that’s that. My goal was five race this summer and they are all done (Bluenose Half Marathon, Cabot Trail Relay, Natal Day 6 Miler, Not Since Moses 10km and the Rum Runners Relay) – now it’s fall – and the only good thing about fall is fall running when the temperatures are perfect. Lets hope for 6 more weeks of wonderful marathon training weather!

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our tenacious team

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. And when your team doesn’t get in to the Cabot Trail Relay Race lottery, fake it.

Introducing #team71CTRR16_Team71 TeeLast weekend was the 29th annual Cabot Trail Relay Race. A relay run around the Cabot Trail in beautiful Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. “70” teams. 17 legs. 185 miles. ~24 hrs.

It was supposed to be our team’s third year – and with the CTRR being a live and learn kind of event we were excited to put our veteran experience to use.  However, when we found out we didn’t make it in, we were bummed. Luckily we all found other teams to join and here’s a peak at the weekend.

But first, how to prepare for the CTRR

  1. Training: Run a few races (like the Hypothermic half and Bluenose) and run hills because there are no shortage of hills on the Cabot Trail.
    CTRR16_train1 CTRR16_train2 CTRR16_train3
  2. Uniforms: If you are not really a team, it’s best to look like a team so other will know you are not a team but still are. If that makes sense. I designed team shirts which we had printed by Fresh Prints.
    CTRR16_T-Shirts
    And Robyn & Steph made team buffs (see peacock green below)
    CTRR16_ameliedrum
  3. Signage: Who doesn’t love an opportunity for a good craft & wine night? Plus, roadside signage support is crucial for running events.
    CTRR16_poster
  4. Music: Because you are not allowed to run with music during the CTRR, for the second year, we made a mix of all our Power Songs – which can be heard from the support car as you run by.
    CTRR16_MusicOur team also rented drums and entertained runners with their pop-up drum sessions on the road.
    CTRR16_drum

Back to the weekend…

Amelié and I caught a ride up with Kristin and her family Friday night and because Kristin and I were not running until the early hours of Sunday morning. We spent Saturday in Baddeck – hiking then relaxing on the patio of the B&B.CTRR16_driveCTRR16_hikeCTRR16_k&mThe others set off and conquered the Saturday legs and on Sunday morning, the alarm went off at 2:00 am, and we drove an hour up to Margaree. My leg (14) was 19.81 km at 3:45 am and I must say it was lovely. Although it was dark, I could hear the Atlantic Ocean and spring peepers and then the sun came up as we ran inland. Despite feeling a little pukey, I managed to finish with a 5:03 min/km average pace (1:39:53) but only placed 35 out 0f 70 (sad face emoji) Note: The pace at the CTRR feels a lot faster than an average race and if you don’t keep under a 6:00 minute/km pace, the finish line moves on to the next leg and your time is +5 minutes of the last runner across the mat. Our fellow Miramichi Lucky Charms teammate Hughie ran leg 15, followed by Kristin who ran leg 16 and then we rushed back to Baddeck to cheer in the finishers in at the end of leg 17.CTRR16_kristinCTRR16_finish4

Team 71 – not all present and accounted for. L-R: Duncan, Joe, Erica, Robyn, Mike, Steph, Grahme, Marcel and Jenna (and Liam). Missing: Jon, Josh, Amelié, Kristin, Greg and Me.CTRR16_team CTRR16_LegDescriptionsHappy trails!

More on this year’s CTRR : CTV Atlantic News – ‘It’s just completely different’: Cabot Trail Relay Race wraps up in Baddeck

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psst. I checked three things off my 100 Days Of Summer list including # 20, 62 and 74

5 things

I’m tired. Too tired to recap the Eco-Challenge so here’s a little update on other business to hold you over. It’s been a while since I’ve done a five things report.

  1. $30 later, I am blending! (way cheaper than a Vitamix) A few weeks ago I mentioned my blender woes and asked for some shopping advice. Thanks for all of your recommendations! In the end, Cameron, Malcolm and Erin saved the day by convincing me to search for parts for my Breville. Well it wasn’t easy – she’s been discontinued for years – but, I found a part and voila! I am making smoothies again baby!
    IMG_5401
  2. Speaking of Erin… Congratulations! She sent me a letter (snail mail style) all they way from Cole Harbour and has won some stationery treats!
    IMG_5423
  3. Jill sent my Uuni love story to Uuni and I made their Facebook page. The love is mutual! #swoon.
    IMG_5364
  4. Who’s still planking? Day 68. I am not going to lie – I forgot to plank two times. The first time I actually woke up at 3:00am in a semi-induced panic-attack because I forgot to plank. I almost jumped out of bed to plank and then realized the time. It was too late. A new day. Doomed. On a side note, I did not miss one single day of running until yesterday! I walked 20 hours straight and was too tired to run so that’s it. Steak over. I’m okay with ending it – May is quite active with the Eco-Challenge, Bluenose half marathon and a 3:45 am leg start at the Cabot Trail Relay so I think I need to take rest days more seriously.
    plank
  5. I have baby names on my mind (nope, not pregnant!)… When I saw this tweet I puked a little in my mouth. Really? This can’t be real. I will talk more about the name game later. Like wearing PJs in public, I am a total unauthorized judgy snob about names.
    IMG_5399

That’s all. It’s Monday. Damnnnn

Have a good one!

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how do you like them apples?

Go BIG or go home in the BIG APPLE!

If all goes well for the next 242 days, I will be one of 50,000 running all 5 boroughs of the Big Apple on November 6, 2016 at the New York City Marathon.Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 10.24.43 AM

I’m relieved to say, it was actually Mike who convinced me to register… After the excitement of Chicago, I thought I’d chill-out this year but the NYC marathon has been on my running bucket list so Mike said what’s the harm in trying? (Like Chicago and other big races, it’s a lottery which I tried and failed at three times before so I think he assumed it was not going to happen). Hah! I’m in.

Convo with Mike:
Me: I got in! This will make 2 out of 6 for the World Marathon Majors
M: Awesome, what are the 6?
Me: Chicago, New York, London, Berlin, Tokyo and Boston … (Boston you qualify based on time, it’s not a lottery)
M: Well, you can at least try for the first 5…

* * *

No plans have been set in place but I am pretty excited! Marathon five + five boroughs = dreamy.

What about you – have you singed up for anything lately?

psst. Sadly, the NYC marathon lottery closed so I can not invite you to run with me however it is not too late for Chicago. Best.Race.Ever. I found this video yesterday of last year’s race and it gave me goosebumps… I was there!

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