Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Race Recap: The 38th + Final Melissa's Road Race

In April (I think), myself and a bunch of girlfriends registered for the Melissa's Road Race - Half Marathon.  Melissa's has been around for 38 years but they eliminated the half marathon in 2010 and brought it back this year.  Unfortunately, a few days before the race they announced that this would be the final year of the race (all distances) because it was becoming harder to get permits and businesses were not happy with the road closures (rumours).  It's really too bad that this was the final one because it was a really great race!!

We rented a condo at the Lodges at Canmore and it was fantastic and really reasonably priced.  I think we paid just over $600 for 6 of us for 2 nights and that included 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, pull out couch, dining room, fully furnished kitchen with all appliances, a deck and a barbecue.  Plus it had a swimming pool and 3 hot tubs.  It was fantastic.  Our first night, we had salad and pasta and it was delicious.  I made the Caesar Salad (Minus the chicken) that I take everywhere and Shauna made some really tasty spaghetti sauce.  I am super picky when it comes to most food but especially spaghetti sauce but this was so delicious! We also partook in a beverage or two considering the start time for the race was not until 1040am.  We were all super lame or making wise choices depending on how you look at it and we were all in bed around 1030pm. 

We had a pretty decent view and you could see a mountain between the trees and there were so many trees.  Compared to how the week coming into the race had been, the morning was pretty perfect.  Normally I run half marathons and all of my training runs are done on either an empty stomach or a banana.  Now, with a race starting at 1040 this wasn't going to be possible because there was no way I could go until the race was over without eating.  I would die.  I ended up eating 2 poached eggs around 730 and a sea salt caramel chip cookie just  before we headed to Banff.  I also had a bag of honey stingers in cherry blossom flavour in my running belt just in case.  And it was a good thing I did since I ate 3 of them before I even started haha. 

Shortly afte 9am, we loaded into Shauna's vehicle and made the drive to banff to find a place to park and make our way to the start line.  My favourite thing about this photo was Shannon in the front seat with a vest on and gloves.  I have no idea why I find this so funny.  

The weather couldn't have been more perfect for a race.  The sun was shining and the sky was as clear as could be (until the end) and it was relatively warm out.  We parked behind where the Maple Leaf hotel was/is (are the closed or renovating??) and made our way to Starbucks to use the washrooms before walking to the park.  While in there, I noticed that they had Banff mugs for the You Are  Here series and I was pumped.  I declared that this would be my reward for running my worst race ever but was quickly reminded by Shannon that it would never be as bad as San Francisco hahahahah.  

Finally we made our way to the park where the race was to begin.  I didn't like that the 5km started and then the 10km started and then the half marathon started.  I think it should be the other way but that is just me (and the people I ran with haha).  I started at the very back of the pack so that I wasn't in anybody's way because I truly had no idea what kind of race I was going to have.  Right after you cross the start line there was a huge crack in the middle of the pavement and of course my left food (the one with the bad achilles) got caught in it.  The pain was intense and I nearly cried but I pushed through it and it soon went away.  Thank goodness!!  

Since I wasn't sure how long my achilles would hold out, I decided my best course of action was to run as fast as I could at the beginning so that if I had to walk it at anytime I would be far enough ahead that I would still finish ahead of the 2:50 cut off time.  The first 10km I ran ahead of the 2:30 pace bunny and behind the 2:15 one and I felt pretty good.  I started to deteriorate between 10 + 17km and I thought I was going to die between 17- 21 with 20 to the finish line being the longest 1.1km of my ENTIRE life.  Seriously, I thought I was never going to see the green inflatable finish line and then when I finally did, I thought i was never going to get there.  My pace at km 20 was 7:59 haha thats how done i was.  The final km was a bit faster at 6:46.

I crossed the line at 2:28:45 and was so freaking pumped that I did I finished so well.  I honestly had no idea that I would do as good as I did and fully accepted that.  At times the pain was so bad it brought me to tears but it didn't seem to be consistent.  In the photo I posted on Instagram, I said that this was tied with my second fastest half marathon time at 2:29 but it turns out I was wrong about the time because it only had the gun time and not the chip time.  This race was my third fastest only missing Calgary Marathon 2017 time by 24 seconds which is crazy!!

I was so nervous about this race that I made myself not sleep on Thursday night and I thought I was going to vomit on Saturday morning before we left for the race.  Not only did I have to worry about my achilles tendon on my left leg that had been plaguing me since mid July, I was also worried because Seawheeze was such a horrible race for me because I was sick for most of it.  I was worried I had lost it even though I am still not sure what "it" even was or is.  I had only ran 16.22km in September thus far and only 66.04km since the Seawheeze on August 12th so that also had me concerned but Shari, my physiotherapist I had been going to weekly since Seawheeze, told me I would be fine because my base was so good coming into this month  and she was right.  Had I not been a pillar of consistency this year with my running, there was no way I would have done as well as I had.  I am now on running hiatus which sucks but necessary for my running future.  I will take the next month off and test it on my treadmill or at bootcamp from time to time to see where I am at.  What will I do to pass the time?

I am so grateful to have run this race with these amazing ladies.  I have been fortunate to run several runs with a  few of them and that makes me so happy.  We all ran great races with so much to prove to ourselves and we were successful at it.  I can't wait for our next race together!  And to think that this is all because I randomly answered a kijiji ad for a bootcamp class 6 years ago. 

After we finished the race, we picked up our race shirts and grabbed some fruit and the best donut EVER.  Seriously it was the best thing ever.  We had a drink coupon and somehow I ended up with a  beer that I didn't like.  We were so freaking cold at that point since the sun had disappeared and the wind picked up so we decided to head back to the car but not before detouring to starbucks so we could all grab our banff starbucks mugs and get a drink to warm up and well, because I deserved it haha.  Plus, aren't these cups the cutest?

Once we were driving, we decided to get McDonald's at Canmore before we headed back to our condo.  We were hungry and didn't want to go out so this was a good option.  Or so we thought.  Unfortunately my hamburger and fries did not taste that good.  Thankfully we had a suite full of food to make up for it haha. 

We quickly changed into our bathing suits and headed to the hot tub closest to us.  We spent nearly an hour in there before I finally had to get out since the heat was starting to get to me.  And being the responsible person that I am, I only drank gatorade around the hot tub hahaha. 

After I showered and put on comfy clothes for an evening of cider, food and movies and was happy that I was able to wear this shirt that I spoke about on Friday Favourites earlier this month!!

We spent the rest of the day/evening in our comfiest clothes eating spinach dip, cheese dip, multiple kinds of chips, and an asian party pack plus an occasional beverage.  We watched How To Be Single which is one of my favourite movies to watch when I can't decide on anything else.  Watch it if you haven't yet, you can find it on netflix.  It was such a great time but again we were in bed by 11pm since we were pretty tired from the day's events!

On Sunday morning, we vegged around and drank our morning drinks from our new starbucks mugs before packing up and heading back to Calgary and real life.  As you can see, between the 6 of us, we brought a lot of stuff with me bringing the most hahahahah.  This doesn't even include all the food we managed to eat hahahaha.  

It was a beautiful day to say goodbye to the mountains and enjoy the pretty fall colors along the way. It was a fantastic weekend on all levels and I look forward to another great weekend with these ladies in the future.  I promise to bring less stuff.....haha not gonna happen!!

Friday, 22 September 2017

Friday Favourites #6

1.  So you may or may not know that I am completely obsessed with Fixer Upper on HGTV and everything Magnolia related.  I dream about a shiplap wall in my bedroom most days and I drive Greg crazy with all my fixer upper talk.  I have seen every single episode at least 2x and am dying for season 5 to come out.  Joanna Gaines uses a very similar stool and chair in a lot of her homes and even in her own home so I have been dying to get my hands on similar ones but wasn't sure where to find them or even how to search for them online.  Randomly one day in August, I received a catalogue in the mail for Structube, a furniture store based in Montreal but that had opened up stores here within the last few years.  They didn't have this stool in the catalogue but looking on their website brought me to the stools I had been coveting forever and they had them in black, grey and white.  So I immediately ordered 2 stools at $40 each. It was $90 to ship to my house or free to the store so I obviously shipped to the Structube location on 130th.  I ordered the items on August 25th and they shipped on Septmber 2nd.  I wasn't too happy that it took a week to get my stools ready to ship but whatevs.  The shipping email I got on September 2nd said it would get here on September 12th.  On September 14th, I called the customer service line where they explained to me that Montreal is on the east coast you know and that is really just a guestimate as to when it would arrive but most likely it wouldn't be in Calgary until the end of the following week.  I was annoyed that the email said it would be here on the 12th and now they were saying the 22nd at the latest but I was the most annoyed at the fact that he thought it be necessary to explain to me where Montreal was, like I was some uneducated person from Alberta.  I have never been insulted by a business like that in my life.  Anyways, on Wednesday September 20th, I finally was able to pick up my stools.  

And they are perfect.  They are everything I dreamed they would be and were worth waiting the month to get them.  These stools make me so happy, you have no idea.  And I wouldn't have been upset at them taking a month had that been what I was told when I ordered them but they told me to a week to get ready to ship and a week to get here.  To put it in perspective, I ordered items from California and Texas during a hurricane after I ordered these and they arrived within a week of ordering - and from another country no less!!  I don't think I would ever order or buy anything from Structube again but never say never right??

2.  I have been wanting a new chair for our ugly kitchen built in desk for ever but I didn't want a traditional desk chair but every chair I purchased form a store was too high or too low or had arms and I couldn't push it under the desk which is a requirement.  I was at jysk one day looking at something else when this chair caught my eye.  It was the chairs that Joanna Gaines has in her home in Waco (but in black) and the one she uses when staging the homes.  I was pumped.  The only one they had left was the one that was on display and they let me purchase it.  I really really love it in black but I wasn't sure the black would work in my kitchen space. 

This chair claims to be "white" but it is definitely not as white as my stools or kitchen chairs but it will do because I love it so much.  All i need is new cupboards and walls and my kitchen would be complete hahaha.

3. My breakfast obsession these days is definitely my breakfast maker from Tupperware.  It is hands down the best $24 I have probably ever spent.  I can make poached eggs with 3 tbsp of water in 75 seconds, scrambled eggs in 75 seconds and eggs for egg salad sandwiches in 90 seconds.  I have heard you can make french toast and brownies as well but I have not tried it yet for those items.

My breakfast and lunch almost always consists of eggs using my breakfast maker.  I highly recommend you invest in one if you want easy breakfasts in no time.  

4.  My other breakfast favourite is my pampered chef brownie pan.  I have only ever used it for brownies once but have used it for omelettes a million times as well as turkey sliders, mini pizzas and protein pancakes.   I make 12 mini omelettes for the week and keep them in my fridge.  They are great for breakfast, lunch and snacks.  Penelope also loves eating omelettes too once in awhile for breakfast so she loves these. 

Easy peasy breakfast or lunch warmed up for 30 seconds after the initial baking of them.

5.  We carpool with a girl on Finley's soccer team and one day she had wafer cookies for her snack and shared with the girls and they loved them.  They all laughed when I told them that I used to eat those all the time when I was little.  You can get them at Sobeys for $1 per package and they come in vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry.  Nobody likes the chocolate so I only buy the two below.  For my breakfast in bed on my birthday, the girls and Greg made me a smoothie with 5 strawberry wafer cookies haha.  It was delicious.!

Now when I buy them and the girls see them in their lunch bag they get super excited!!

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Classroom Re-Organization

They eliminated a grade one class and a grade 3 class and 2 other older grades that I don't have kids in so I don't know what happened there.  They were merging the kids of the eliminated classes with the 2 other grade one and three classes and then there would be a grade 1-2 split and a grade 3-4 split.  I wasn't too worried about Penelope but Finley was adamant about not wanting to be put into the split.  And on Thursday and Friday when I picked them up from school, she was so relieved to hear that I didn't get any phone calls and she would stay in her class.  She had nothing to worry about on Monday other then if her best friend would get put into her class or the other classes.  

So we thought.  

Because both kids come out different doors this year, I waited in the middle so I  could see both kids come out and they could see me.  Finley was later then usual coming out but I thought nothing of it until she came running out that she was in the 3-4 split and she would be coming out the same door as Penelope now.  I was like wait, what?? One of the parents of a kid in Finley's class the last 2 years was surprised that I didn't know that Finley was being transferred.  She said she got a call on Thursday that he would be moving into the split class and then got a call as they were driving to school Monday morning that they changed their mind and he was staying in the same class.  Finley said she and 2 boys were moved to the split class and had to pack up their desks and all of their belongings alone in front of the entire class and she said she was crying because she was so sad to leave her teacher, desk and classmates.  I asked Finley if she was ok with being in the split class since I knew she didn't want to go and she said it was ok because she did have a few of  her friends from grade 2 in there with her so that made me a little happy.  

My problem isn't necessarily that she got moved into a split class but that we were not notified that this was going to happen.  This is a lot of change for kids who are only 8 years old to have to go through and I feel had we known that this was going to happen, we could have mentally prepared Finley that she was going to move.  The classroom is divided into two with grade 3 on one side and grade 4 on the other.  Greg was in splits throughout elementary and he loved it and thinks this will be really beneficial to Finley but I have never experienced this and I really have no idea how you can teach to both grade 3 + 4's when they both should be learning different curriculum.  And if you teach half the class their stuff and then the other half theirs, won't it be distracting??  Will she learn too much this year and be bored in grade 4??  If anybody has any insight on this, I would really appreciate it.  

Thankfully, parent teacher interviews are on Friday and I can discuss this with Finley's teacher and ask why things were done how they were, why weren't notified and how they picked which students went where.  Finley said that the three smartest kids were taken from her class and put into the split class.  Not sure if that is true or if Finley is just overly confident.  

Wish us luck that this is a smooth transition short term and a successful one long term. 

Penelope was mostly unaffected by the reorganization as she gained 5 kids from another grade 2 class that was being turned into a 1 - 2 split.  

Monday, 18 September 2017

Calgary Parks + Playgrounds 2017

I was going to do a post on each one like I started to do but we were hitting up so many parks that I didn't want to be posting every day for like 2 weeks only about parks.  So I condensed them all to this post.  If you want to see my posts about other parks this summer, you can read them  HERE and HERE.

This park is located at Colonel Walker school in Inglewood at 1921 9th Ave SE.  There is ample street parking and if you go in the summer like we did, you could probably park in their parking lot although I am not sure about the rules for parking there.  This park is fantastic and is definitely the coolest school playground in Calgary.  It was a definitely what I would call an adventurer playground with ropes, slides, bridges made of rope and all other fun things.  My girls loved this playground and we will definitely be back in Summer 2018.

The natural playground in the East Village is one of our favourites.  We tend to head this way after ice cream at Village to run off all the sweetness.  The girls really love this one and one of the nice things about this playground is that there are structures for kids of all ages.  I love that it is made of natural wood and love that there is so much seating for parents to watch too.  There are no bathrooms nearby unless you head to the Simmons Building.  If you are willing to walk the short distance from Inglewood, there is plenty of free 2 hour street parking available.  This park is located at 602-634 6th Ave SE.  

After the East Village Playground, we walked along the river front to the playground located at Prince's Island Park so we could swing on the Cowboy hat structure.  It was a definite favourite.  This park is huge and is very Calgary in theme.  It has all kind of great mementos of some famous events in and around the park. It is a huge playground with picnic tables and sections for older kids and younger kids.  We had lunch here but didn't spend a whole lot of time playing since some much much older kids showed up and took over the playground portion that Finley and Penelope would have been interested in.  Any by older, I mean junior high kids so really kids who shouldn't really be at the playground.  Parking around here is in expensive, but we made a day of it and kept our car in Inglewood and just walked everywhere.  The location is not far from Eau Clair and the address is 698 Eau Clair Ave.  There is ample parking near eau clair but it is pricy especially during the day.  The closest bathrooms to this park that I could find were at Eau Clair Paddling Pool.

After lunch, we headed to the paddling pool/spray park at Eau Clair.  There are bathrooms to change in  and to use if necessary.  The water was freezing but the girls loved it.  There is a little concession place that has soft ice cream cones, packaged ice cream snacks, chips, pop, water and gatorade.  Before we left for St. Patrick's Island we had some ice cream.  This park has the same address as Prince's Island Park and parking situation is the same. 

After Eau Clair, we walked to St. Patrick's Island and finished our park hopping afternoon playing in the water.  This is one of my very favourite places to visit in Calgary and we come a lot.  You can park for free if you have a zoo pass in the official parking lot or you can park and walk in Inglewood like we did.  By this time the kids were tired so instead of going to the playground, we walked back to the car and back home.  The playground is pretty great and there are a lot of bridges to walk over and they have public washrooms too.  I highly recommend checking out this place if you haven't yet.  

On a very hot night when we didn't want to cook or clean up, we headed to Sandy Beach Park after Greg got off work and played in the water, had a picnic lunch and then went to Village Ice Cream afterwards.  Not sure why it is called Sandy Beach when the sand is few and far between haha.  There is a ton of parking down the hill so don't make the mistake that I did the first time I visited and park at the top because the walk down is terrible and the walk back up is even worse.  This was a great way to spend the dog days of summer. 

A few times we headed to Mahogany visit the Big Rock Park and it was fantastic and the kids really loved this park.  There is rock climbing and ropes to get across and on each side they have workout equipment that my kids also loved.  Both times we went, we were the only ones here and so they played while I read on the benches.  There are a few benches all around the park which is nice.  We will definitely be making a return visit next summer. 

The last cool park we visited was the Airplane Park in Currie Barrocks.  I got lost going there and leaving it but it was worth every extra minute trying to find it and trying to leave.  It was a really busy park and parking is scarce in their parking lot and it was hard to find parking that didn't require permits.  The kids loved coming here and it is another one we will return to.

Are there any hidden gems of playgrounds that you have found?? I am more interested in parks that are geared towards older kids since my kids are getting older and almost out of playground playing haha. 

Friday, 15 September 2017

Friday Favorites #5

I haven't done a Friday Favourite post in a very long time so I thought I would do one for today.

1.  I have wanted something...ok everything...from Sarah Marie Design's (you can find her on instagram) for a really long time and when I saw they were having a sale and I liked something I decided to take the plunge and purchase something.  It was a little expensive with shipping and the exchange rate and then having to pay duty when it finally arrived -  on my birthday no less!!  But so worth it.  I would love to order more but can't really justify it - I wish I could find something local or at least Canadian to purchase similar items for myself.  On an semi related note, I should make this into a possible business venture hahahahah.

I love this shirt and had plans to wear it after the Melissa's Half in Canmore next weekend but I am not sure if I am going to be able to run it although my physiotherapist still hasn't ruled it out completely (pray for me haha).  Regardless, I love it and will wear it proudly every chance I get. 

This is what was on sale and convinced me to finally make that purchase.  It fits perfectly and I do like it but my only complaint would be that when I wear it it leaves black fuzz on anything I wear underneath it which is very frustrating.  If anybody has some advice on how to make this not happen, i would be really happy!

2.  My new dishwasher is definitely a favourite!!  I got this in August and almost cried tears of joy when Greg installed it.  My dishwasher broke in May of 2016 and it was fixed for about 4 days in September 2016 and finally convinced Greg that we needed to get one no exceptions so we did.  My life just feels so much better by not having to wash dishes by hand 2 - 3x per day.  

3.  We got our compost bins at the end of June but missed the first 2 weeks of pick up when it started in the middle of July because we were gone but we used it as soon as we were home and we love it so much!  We have almost no garbage when it is picked up every other Tuesday which is fantastic and there is so much you can compost!  I purchased the larger compost bags from Walmart and can empty the litter into that each week - it's great.  We have no issue with smell or bugs and we have experienced compost in our outdoor compost bin when we went like 6 weeks with 30 degree weather.    We are very happy and obliging composers!

3.  Back in July I purchased 4 of these black chairs for $.50 and they sat in my basement for about 5 or 6 weeks.  When we bought our new set, I promised Greg no more painting but for $.50 how could I resist? especially when I really love the chair??  So I sanded them and primed them and then I went to Home Depot and bought some melamine paint in white and painted them.  

This is the finished look.  This table looks so much better with the white tables then it did with the matching birch ones.  I bought the whole thing second hand last year I think and it came with the birch chairs, I wouldn't have voluntarily done that haha. It's definitely not a perfect paint job but hands down it is the best I have ever done haha. 

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Local Eats: Klein/Harris

For my birthday this year, we headed to Klein/Harris.  It has been on my list since it opened last year and it did not disappoint.  

It is located at 110 8th Ave SW and you can make reservations on the open table app.  They are closed Sundays and have limited hours on Mondays and Saturdays but great hours the other remaining days. 

Klein/Harris prides itself on its true north dining experience and you definitely see it in their menu but especially in their decor. 

The idea of Klein/Harris is that it is Klein up front - dining and eating and Harris in the back - loungy, comfy and perfect for catching up on conversation.  I love the dark grey seating area with the mismatched pillows and tables for drinks and sharable meals.  

The dining area has very comfy seats and tables in the muted grey color family giving it a great contrast to the "bar" section of the restaurant. 

Finley's favourite part was the mirror above the kitchen area so she could watch all the prep work being done.  She watched them mince meat, plate meals and all other fun stuff.  She was in her MasterChef glory. 

Klein/Harris is one of those places were sharable plates is very recommended because there is so much good food to choose from!!!  The first plate that we received was the Beet Mosaic.  It consisted of boursin cheese (which I loved), oat crumble, baby greens and maple vinaigrette.  It was insanely delicious and probably by 2nd favourite beet salad in the city (The Bridgette Bar is better only because it has pistachios which are my favourite).  

Next was the Toast Three Ways and this was by far the most favourite of the girls and we ordered 3 more orders of toast haha.  The spreads for the toast were brown butter mushrooms, smoked onion jam and canola oil poached tomatoes.  I really loved the brown butter mushrooms and I would have had more of the smoked onion jam but I didn't love the smoked smell and the smell was strong when eating it haha. 

Then we got the Butter Leaf Wraps which was tomatoes, sour cucumber, spicy braised pork, crispy onions and garlic chips.  It was spicy but really really good.  I always make lettuce wraps with rice so the girls were kinda disappointed that there was no rice haha. 

See the toast three ways was a huge hit.  

The bartender here is famous for her bartending skills and drink making and has done the bar menu at Notable and at Raw Bar and the drinks I had that night were amazing.  I had two different ones.  The first was The Vancouver - Circa 1950, this canadian classic found popularity at the Sylvia Hotel cocktail bar in Vancouver.  Tanqueray Gin melds seamlessly together with Maiden Sweet Vermouth, a dash of benedictine and Angostura Orange bitters.  

The drink pictured above was my favourite and probably the best drink I have had in a long time.  It was called the Tiki Horse and falls under the True North category on their drink menu.  It is a house Falernum and Bittered Sling Plum + Rootbeer extracts provide the backbone of this libation.  All is combined with Alberta Dark Horse Whiskey, citric acid and peach juice.  Tiki imbibers just want to have fun.  Seriously this drink could be dangerous given the right situation, it is THAT GOOD.  Drink this when you come here. 

Next, we ordered the evening special which was wild rice, seared scallops and pork belly.  There are probably other things too that I don't remember.  This was so good.  My mouth is watering just thinking about it as I type this all out.  

Our last meal before dessert was the hangar steak which was roast butter potatoes (so good), mushrooms, thyme and garlic sauce and crispy leaks.  This was a great last plate to enjoy. 

Their dessert menu was really good and even though we were there celebrating my birthday, the girls picked donut holes with chocolate sauce and sea salt caramel which was fantastic.  It was so good.  

We had a great experience dining at Klein/Harris for my birthday dinner.  The decor was fantastic and it was very clean, the staff were really friendly and knew their menu very well and were full of recommendations and kept the toast coming for the girls haha.  I highly recommend checking this place out next time you are looking for a great place to eat.  We will definitely be back.