Thursday, 26 July 2018

Calgary Parks + Playgrounds: Rotary Park

A few Sundays ago, Penelope had a soccer game in Airdrie so we decided to meet up with some friends at a splash park in the afternoon.  We went to Rotary Park, which is located on the hill north of Memorial Drive and east of Centre Street  in the NE.  It contains an off leash area, playground and a splash park. The actual street address if you need to google map it is 617 1st Street NE.  It does have a picnic area and a bathroom/change room which is a good thing to have haha. There are also tennis courts and lawn bowling near by.  And on that note, if anybody wants to go lawn bowling let me know because I would love to try it!  The park is open until 11pm each night but I believe the spray park turns off at 9 in July and I think 7 in August.  I don`t remember how long it runs for but since it is run by the city, I am guessing it shuts down on Labor Day weekend. 


The splash park was a lot of fun for the girls.  It is a pretty decent size so there was lots for them to play with. 


This was Finley`s favorite part of the spray park.




And hiding in the bubble was Penelope`s Favorite part.  It kept her dry and warm and was fun haha.


The water was very cold though despite it being so warm outside. 


The girls also devised obstable courses that they had to go through.  It always ended here. 


The playground portion which is on the other side of the bathrooms is MASSIVE.  They have 3 different sections of the playground.  It was pretty incredible to see what they had.  The kids (and Greg) really enjoyed it. 


My only complaint about the playground is this.  The bridge just doesn`t feel safe to me and would be so easy for a little kid to fall off or over.  Perhaps I am being paranoid,  but I was so stressed out when they were on here together. 

This was the first time we have been to Rotary Park and we all really enjoyed it.  If it were closer to us, I would probably guarantee that we would be back again but it is pretty far from our house so that distance alone is the only reason why I would say that we might not be back.  If you do live near by or don`t mind the drive, go check it out.  They do have a 2 hour free parking lot.  They do have street parking but not sure  if it is park plus or timed free parking. 

Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Race Weekend Recap: Lululemon Edmonton 10K

When they announced the first Lululemon Edmonton 10K a few months ago, I was so disappointed that I had to miss out on it.  When all of my running friends were registering for it and posting that they got in on social media, I defintely was suffering from #fomo.  Greg had the last 2 weeks of July off for vacation and we were probably not going to be in town.  However, it turned out all 4 guys on Greg`s team had booked that week off and since we had no plans yet, he volunteered to move one of his weeks off to August.   Unfortunately, the race was now sold out and my friend Heather who had originally had 2 bibs and did offer it to me months ago had just sold it. I had accepted that I was going to just live vicariously through all of my friends who would be there.  


But fate worked in my way because Lululemon YYC had some extra spots available and they reached out to my friend Bre to see if she knew anybody that needed a bib.  She knew I was looking for a bib so she messaged me with the link for the registration and I was able to sucessfully register for the race!  I am so grateful for Bre and Lululemon YYC for letting me participate in this inaugral event.  

On Saturday morning, I picked up Heather and made our way to Edmonton for the race.  We had a fantastic drive with great conversation and a lot of ABBA.  It was the best.  We made it to West Edmonton and found what I think was the very last parking spot in the entire mall.  The mall was INSANE.  We somehow Lululemon which had moved since I was last there about 18 months ago.  It was so crazy in there.  This is where you picked up your packet for the race, you got 25% off with your race bib and they had a dj playing.  You could barely move haha.  I bought the Press Pause Jacket in black and now I really hope the lavendar goes on WMTM because I really need that too hahah. We had a quick stop at the new winners/homesense store and then headed on our way to our hotel.  While we were in the mall, there was a torrential downpour but we managed to miss that thank goodness!


 Instead of getting shorts like we do with the Seawheeze, we were gifted Short Sleeved Swiftly`s instead which I was pretty excited about.  I had a bright pink one that I LOVED and I lost it somewhere and have been unable to replace it.  Although this one is white, I am still loving it and probably will only wear it on short runs where my kids are not around hahaha.


 We made it without getting lost to our hotel.  Heather had booked the Westin at the special Lululemon 10k rate and it was a huge room.  We each got our own bed and our own side.  It had a massive window which I think the hotel relied on to give the hotel a lot of natural light but we both agreed that the hotel felt really dark.  Espeically the bathroom haha.  We googled restaurants in the near the Westin and decided on Local since I had been there in Vancouver and loved it and it was only 2k away.  We could have probably walked it but with all the rain in the forecast, I was not about to get caught in a rain storm walking hahaha. 


Our dinner at Local was not that great.  I loved my yam fries and the truffle lemon dip but other than that everything else was a disappointment.  Heather wasn`t too keen on hers either.  While we were in the parking lot getting in our car, i randomly looked up and saw a human showering in the apartment behind the restaurant.  The window was semi frosted but clear enough that you knew exactly what was going on.  It was pretty crazy hahah.  We went back to our hotel room with some newly purchased snacks and turned on some TLC.  Neither of us get that channel back home so we happily enjoyed our Saturday night watching Four Weddings and Say Yes To The Dress: Atlanta.  I fell asleep shortly after those ended and quite enjoyed sleeping in a bed all to myself haha.  


One of Heather`s friends was also running with us and she had come down with her husband who nicely drove us to and from the hotel.  It was only a 2k walk but it was downhill there and uphill back.  For someone who is battling with a neverending achilles injury, hills are virtually a no go.  There were 5000 people participating in the race and it was divided into 3 sections: Runners, Walkers + Baby Strollers.  The Runners were then subdivided into further colour corrals and based on my estimated finish, I should have been in the green corral but since I was late entry,  I was in the very last corral and it kinda sucked hahaha.  The race started at 730am and I was across the start line at around 7:39.


The race started at the Alberta Legislative Grounds and then went up the new Highline Bridge or whatever it was called around Saskatchewan Drive and some other streets, the University of Alberta and then back down the bridge back into the legislature grounds.  When the race started immediately going up hill, I was really worried whether or not my achilles would hold out and thankfully it did.  I thought it was only about 2 km up and then flat for 6k and down for 2k but Heather thinks it was up hill for 5 and downhill for 5.  I have no idea who is right haha.  It was really congested for what felt like forever and I was worried at that it might never spread out but I finally noticed having more room around the 4k mark.  Despite being cold and rainy at the start, it got really nice for the last half of the race before getting cold and windy again.  Also, the bridge was kinda windy going up but because there were so many people, you were blocked pretty good from it but on the way back was a whole other story.  It was insane.  One girl lost her hat but I was able to grab it for her thank goodness.  I had to turn off my podcast and put my airpods in my belt bag because I was sure that they would fly out or something.  I then ran the whole bridge with my hand on the bill of my hat so that it wouldn`t fly away.  



The community of Edmonton really embraced this race which honestly really surprised me.  Not because I thought that the folks of Edmonton wouldn`t do anything but because it was just a 10k race not a major half or full marathon.  But Edmonton, you brought it.  The amount of people out cheering was the best and I loved it.  Having only ever came to Edmonton for some shopping on the way to a concert, it was really nice to see parts of the city that I never have before.  This might have been my first race in Edmonton, but it won`t be my last that is for sure.


Once we crossed the finish line we received donuts and a coupon for Saje.  The donut was so ridiculous.  I saved it for home and I only got 2 bites out of it before Greg devoured it all.  Such a fun treat to end the race with.  They also had juice, a banana, and a kind bar as a post race snack.


There was lots to do after the race.  Think Sunset Festival meets the first post race party at the Seawheeze.  Basically less vendors and no band but still lots of other fun things to do.  They had physio booths, massage booths, saje booths, more juice and kind bars, a rep from saucony with various shoes that they had just released, there was a merchandise booth where you could have a special edition logo put on your item for an additional $10.  


My official time was 1:11: 06 and I almost cried with happiness and relief.  I honestly had zero expectatons going into this race.  I hadn`t ran well basically since the Calgary Marathon 2 months ago and bombed my Diva Half Marathon last month so really my goal was to just finish.  I was just happy to be there to be honest.  This race was exactly what I needed at just the right time.  I honestly was doubting my future in this sport and contemplating retirement after the Seawheeze.  I know right, holy melodramtic haha.  Such huge confidence booster. That`s not to say that my achilles didn`t bother me because it did but it was tolerable.  I still have a LONG way to go before Seawheeze in September but hopefully I am going in the right direction. 


Many many thanks to my good friend Heather for letting me crash her hotel and basically her whole weekend so I could make it to the race.  Greg and the girls would have came with me but it wouldn`t have been as much fun.  We had so much fun eating snacks and milkshakes, singing our heart out to Abba and The Greatest Showman, talking about everything and anything and I cannot wait to do it all again in Septembe - except via airplane haha.  Also thanks for driving my car so I didn`t have to haha.

The inaugural Lululemon Edmonton 10K was an absolute success and I hope more than anything that they bring it back next year and that I am able to attend it.  It was so much fun.  It was a stress free weekend being surrounded by 5000 other runners. It was a mini-wheeze and it was what Seawheeze should be.  Thank you Lululemon + Lululemon YEG for a super fantasitic weekend, see you next year (hopefully).






Monday, 23 July 2018

Product Review: Goodr Sunglasses

This was supposed to post tomorrow but since it was already written, I decided to use it for today`s post because I am too tired as I sit here Sunday night to write about the amazing weekend that I had so I am going to enjoy my donut from the race and watch TV with Greg instead.  The race recap should be up tomorrow instead.

If you are a runner or involved in the running community, you have probably heard of goodr.  They are the most amazing new sunglasses to hit the market for runners that actually look good but they are impossible to find in Canada.  Most specialized stores order a bunch and then sell them at their stores but otherwise, you have to order them from the US and pay the exchange, shipping and probably duty too. 


 I have longed for a pair forever but I saw a post from Strides on social media that they had some in stock at their north location and would be sending some over to the south location a few weeks ago.  I hurried over to the fish creek store so I could pick out a pair.  They have limited quantities of each colour so I really wanted to get there early and I was the first person there so I could pick from any colour i wanted.  


I really thought I would get the pink ones because lets face it, I always pick the pink if that is an option.  But I felt that these ones looked better one me and I wanted to step outside my comfort zone and so I went with teal and got the pink ones for my sister.  She is not a runner but you don`t have to be because they are THAT awesome!  The color names are also very creative and hilarious.  The colour code of mine are Nessy`s Midnight Orgy and my sisters are called flamingos on a booze cruise.  I LOVE IT ALL. 


The goodr sunglasses are crazy affordable even when the retailer ships them from the us.  They only cost $35 plus tax - that is so reasonable.  You could easily justify owning multiple colours although I still only have this one pair haha.  They are impeccably designed so that they don`t bounce when you run.  They are snug and light weight and don`t move at all.  They don`t fog up when you get all sweaty and they don`t slip or move when you get all sweaty.  I have not worn sunglasses for years - especially on my long runs in the heat because I hate how sweaty I get and then they start to fall and then I have to carry them in my hand and well that is just not fun.  Trust me, if you are a runner or outside a lot and sweat profusely, these are for you.  These could be for you even if you are not.  They are that great!  

Both Strides locations in Calgary and their location in Canmore have the goodr sunglasses.  I do know that they got a shipment in last wednesday so you could call to see if they have any left.  They are fantastic about holding a pair or two for you.  The Tech shop also got some in last week but not sure if they have any left either.  If you follow the stores on their social media accounts, they will update you when they get some in.  ALso, if you are familiar with Momentum Wraps, Strides also carries them for $25!!

Happy Shopping and Happy Running!

Friday, 20 July 2018

Calgary Attractions: Skyline Luge at WinSport

Since we were staying in Calgary for the July portion of our vacation, we decided to do some fun things and yesterday we did the Skyline Luge located at WinSport.  


It is a 40 minute drive from our house but since we went on a weekday and not during rush hour, the traffic wasn`t too bad at all.  On their website (www.skylineluge.com), they have all of their prices and different packages based on individuals and family sizes.  You have to use all of your rides in one visit and cannot carry them over to another week or anything like that. We chose the Family of Four 3 rides each package for $86.50.  The great thing about their pricing is that they are expensive enough that it`s not very busy but cheap enough to make it an annual summer event. 


To get to the start of the skyline luge, you have to take the ski lift up to there.  Penelope loved it and Finley was terrified each time.  This is a photo I took of Finley and Greg on the lift behind us. 


Penelope clearing living her best life haha.  This was her favorite part of the whole thing haha. 


Watching the lugers fly on down underneath us.  The chair lift is extremely slow so you were able to take in everything haha. 


Why it is called the Skyline Luge.  The views were absolutely amazing.  It felt like you could see the entire city and beyond.  


Getting the luges ready for us.  They have instructors at the start who are very helpful in what to do and how to sit and hold your arms to make it easier.  Once they see you can go and more importantly stop, they let you go down a little hill and you do some turns and curves and then you get checked again and then you are good to go.  They do supply you with helmets but you can bring your own as long as it is not face covering. 


Finley was a little cautious and conservative the first time she went down but she was full of confidence her other 2 runs and got faster and faster each time. 


Penelope really surprised us with the luge because the kid typically has no fear.  I don`t remember the last time she was scared of anything haha but she was terrified of this.  I stuck with her the first time and it took us forever to get down to the finish.  She said she wasn`t doing it again but after a break in the coffee market she was ready to go again.  The second time she went down, Greg went with her and one of the instructors helped her a little better so she was using her back and legs instead of just her arms.  Once she figured that out, her speed increased.  By the end, Greg was yelling at her to break as they finished haha.  The third time, I went with her again and she was much faster.  A couple times she got a little shaky which worried me but she finished all 3 runs without incident.  She is already looking forward to doing it next summer haha. 

You can kinda see Greg in the background and he loved it.  He flew down the first and last time and then went slow with Penelope in the middle.  


I was totally terrified to do this but it ended up being a lot of fun.  My only complaint was that there was like no suspension and the whole thing vibrated which made your hands vibrate on the steering wheel haha.  My second lap was definitely my fastest and the third time I stayed with Penelope which was ok by me because my arms were sore.  I would imagine my arms and shoulders will be a little sore today when I wake up haha. 

If you are looking for something fun to do in the city this summer, check this place out.  It was so much fun.  There is no cafeteria though which sucks so bring snacks or go before or after lunch.  We found that 3 runs were perfect and anything more than that would have been overkill.  Kids have to be a minimum of 110cm to ride along otherwise they have to ride with a parent.  We cannot wait to do this again next summer for sure!!!

Thursday, 19 July 2018

July Long Weekend Camping In Banff

We almost always go camping on July Long Weekend with my cousin and his family.  I look forward to it every year because it`s much more enjoyable when you do it with other people and it`s the only time that Greg is not insanely crazy about getting up and hiking early.  He doesn`t like that part of it but has come to accept it over the years hahah.  We have always been really lucky when it comes to the weather - nothing too cold, lots of warm weather and perhaps a little rain overnight or on pack up day but never a full out rainy day.  This year, however, the forecast was not promising.  But as we got closer to the weekend, it appeared to get better so we were optimistic that we would be ok.  


Despite no rain on Friday when we arrived, it was really cold.  Most of the weekend was spent wearing toques.  Mittens not so much, but definitely toques.  Also, note that she is wearing socks with her flip flops.  She is definitely her father`s daughter haha. 


Two years ago, Penelope got this awesome gift for her birthday.  It has been a staple in our camping bin and a huge hit with kids and adults alike.  I love playing this with the girls! They currently sell them at Chapters and at Mastermind and you should look into getting one because it`s a fun way to keep the kids occupied when they get bored camping. 


When we arrived at our campsite at Two Jack the mosquitos were insane.  They were probably the largest I have ever seen and the amount of them were even more insane.  SO MANY MOSQUITOS.  I had taken the bug spray out of the car and threw it in one of the soccer bags which was now inside our house in calgary and so we were left with no bug sprary when we truly needed it the most.  We hopped in our vehicle and went into town to get some and on our way home, we took the lake minnewanka loop to look for animals and then stopped for a quick view of the lake.  There are few things more prettier then a lake and a mountain in the same photo!


On our first night at our campsite, I was talking to my cousin`s wife when I looked into the green space that made our loop a loop and was like look there`s a dog and then I was like that`s not a dog, it is a bear!!  Penelope was sitting by the fire so I made her get into the car and then Finley was getting ready for bed since she was exhausted and I made her get out of the tent and into the car.  Once they were both safely in my vehicle did I stop to take photos.  Because if there are no photos, did it actually happen??  Once I got enough photos, I shut my car door and it scared him off.  The girls named him Smores The Bear.  Greg followed it out of our loop so he could tell the park ranger where the bear was going.  The bear did not look dangerous or scary and was just playing in the grass like a dog would at a park.  It looked like it wanted to lay on their back and have their belly rubbed like pizza did.  The bear already had a tag on its ear and it was known to the park rangers so most likely this bear will be relocated outside of the park.  The bear never did come back and it was the only bear we ended up seeing all weekend. 



On Saturday, we decided to do Goat Creek for a bike ride.  But we couldn`t come to an agreement on how to do the parking and biking and such so we decided to park at the spray river entrance near the Banff Springs Hotel and bike to the bridge and picnic area and turn back.  I think we did about 12 - 16k which was pretty nice.  Some hills were tough though and we did end up walking our bike up some of them  Going down the hills was fun though.  Greg and the girls and I did it a few years ago from Canmore to Banff and it twas so much fun!  It started to rain a little as we finished up but it felt kinda nice because we were so hot.


This was our turn around spot on our bike ride.  Not a bad place to have lunch. 


We went back into town and did some shopping and got some starbucks and ice cream.  It had started to rain pretty hard which is never really that much fun but at least it happened while we were not shopping and not biking or back at our campsite.  


But the best part about the rain and being on Banff Ave was that it make everybody disappear.  This was taken as I crossed the street late Saturday afternoon on a long weekend and it looks deserted!  This might be one of my most favorite photos ever of Banff Ave. The rain didn`t last into the evening so were able to sit around the fire and enjoy the evening.


Sunday morning was quite chilly so we were enjoying the morning fire and hot beverages.  Another reason I like camping with my family is because we get morning fires.  Greg has never had a morning fire when it is just us 4 camping.  It was definitely appreciated on this chilly morning.


It was starting to rain a lot on Sunday so we got a tarp up over the fire.  You would think this would be a fire hazard but other campers had been doing the same thing all weekend.  Getting to keep dry while enjoying the fire on a rainy evening in the mountains is key.  An inexepensive tarp is now going in our camping bin for things like this haha. 


On Sunday, we were originally going to hike up Tunnel Mountain but my cousin lost the pin for his bike rack so he needed to go to the Canadian Tire in Canmore to find a replacemement so we decided to Grassi Lakes instead.  This was a major parenting fail because somehow Greg and I were both prepared for the rainy cold weather but our kids left all of their stuff back at the tent. Greg is also a better parent then I am because he gave his rain coat to Finley and his umbrella and wind jacket to penelope so they would stay dry and warm.  Eventually it stopped and Greg got a jacket back because he was really cold haha.


Me standing on the edge.  Greg is afraid of heights and this stresses him out big time which is partially why I do it haha. 


Grassi Lakes is one of my favorite hikes ever.  Someone once told me it was one of the top ten geological wonders of the world and as much as I love it, I often wonder if that is true or just a Calgarian being egotistical??  Regardless I love it and the views are spectacular.  If you ever get the chance to do it, take the hard way and not the easy way.  The  hard way has the best views and is actually easier unitl you get to the top and you have to go straight up.  Take the easy way down. You can thank me later haha. Although, I do believe the road to Grassi Lakes is closed as of this past Monday for road upgrades so look before you go hike. 


Family photo # 1 of the  hike.  Nice mountain views.  Happy Birthday Canada!!  What  a fabulous place to celebrate the birth of our great country!


Seriously I LOVE ths hike.  It is so easy, it is short and the payoff is insane. 


Last photo, I promise. 


Ok I lied, there was one more but it is one of us in the caves.  Both family photos will be printed and displayed in our house if I ever get around to it haha. 


Sunday night, we headed down to the park for the FIreworks.  We got there about a half an hour before they started and listened to the live music.  Soon after this photo was taken, it got full really fast and people were dancing like crazy in front of the stage on the other stage. 


Penelope had fallen asleep from the campsite to the townsite and was really grouchy when we got there. She was wearing socks with flip flops again and refused to put on her hiking shoes or running shoes.  She got out of the car and was walking down the path and walked right through a puddle.  Her feet were now cold and wet and she was so mad so we improvised and I let her use my mitts to keep her feet warm. 


This year, Banff had a pyro light show and quiet fireworks.  Apparently the noise of the fireworks scares the wild life, which I totally understand but these were terrible.  The fireworks shot into the sky but there were no bursts.  I don`t think we would ever come back for these again if they continue this way. 

We drove back to the campsite and crawled into bed only to be woken a few hours later with Finley full on puking all over our tent.  It was literally one of the worst things that has ever happened while camping.  I don`t know how anything could be worse than that.  I really don`t.  We got it all cleaned up there and then headed back to calgary early the next morning.  And then we had to clean out the tent, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, the clothes and towels that were used to clean it all up.  It was like reliving it all over again.  So not a good way to end our weekend hahah.  Hopefully that never happens again!