Revelstoke!

A few years ago I went to a cocktail event here in Victoria and tried a fun pecan whiskey that was called Revelstoke because they wanted to ‘Stoke the Revel’ and man, it made me laugh every time I thought of it!

So naturally we went to Revelstoke to really get into the party scene 😉

Ok not really but after Christina Lake, we wanted to get some hiking in and my husband is a trip-planner extraordinaire (I am terrible at it, just awful) so we had something different to do and enjoy in each place. We camped for 1 night after an extremely long and kind of tough travel day (avoid Hwy 30…it’s 100km of freaking dirt road and can get very shifty for about 30kms and takes FOREVER)…. We camped at a site just outside the bridge and apparently next to the train, ha.

Marmots blend in really well to the rocks.

Not a restful night, really. Plus Gidget decided she hated camping and her max was 2 days, so she was in a deflated snit about it all day and night, refusing to eat, moping around, just nothing. Argh, dogs! The campsite was pretty lame, sites so close you could peer into your neighbours tent but it had excellent clean and nice washrooms with great showers, so no complaints there!

Ok for one night, no thanks for more- particularly if you are Gidget!

We then stayed at the Stoked Hotel and man the rooms were hilariously small- basically like a closet? Oh wait, no closet though, lol. Oh well Gidget was happy to be in a room again at last, where she belongs like a princess 🙂

Wild strawberries!

We did a small loop the first day of hiking at Revelstoke Mountain National Park (up to Inspiration Loop) and found SO many berries- it was amazing!! Thimbleberries, black huckleberries, blueberries, strawberries and wild raspberries. Lucky us! And…lucky for the bears, because we promptly walked into one on the trail. It stood up briefly, but we shouted as we walked back down the trail and it left us alone, thank god. I had Gidget in a backpack, so I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of a bear encounter…Eeek.

Yes there was snow! It was a sub-alpine lake we were heading to. Eva Lake.

We then went up to the ski jump and that is a cool 1km straight uphill, hot hot hot! Did some great strawberry picking on the way though.

We had a selection of great restaurants and bakeries to go to, so awesome. We took some bakery items hiking with us for a quick lunch, and it was delicious! That night we went out to the Craft Beer restaurant for some sweet beers, mac and cheese and a lame salad (ok the salad tasted great but the dressing was non-existent?!!) So a bit of a miss there.

View from the ski jump. Steeeeep

The next day we set out for a real hike and could leave Gidget in the room. We chose a very accessible loop at the Park, and it cost $20 to drive up and hike there. It was nice to be able to like drive 30 mins to the top of the mountain and hike from there- sooo easy to access, great for hikers like us who are not serious and don’t want to spend two days doing it.

The loop was about 6m, took us to two beautiful lakes, NO bears and three marmots were sighted!!! So amazing. We walk-ran it (I am still recovering from multiple leg injuries 6 months ago) and it was pretty rocky and tough in some spots. I also tripped as I am running in shoes that are no way appropriate for hiking and almost bailed face-first into a rock. Phew!!

It was beautiful to see and a great way to spend the day. We cruised back, chatted with the Park Rangers, and they suggested another short loop to read more about the Indigenous Peoples who lived on the land. It was an informative and fun little loop (1k?) and after that, a short run back to the car for another KM and we were done!

By that time it was getting very smoky. Unfortunately there are serious wildfires and one started up at Sicamous quite close to Revelstoke when we landed there. The smoke started blocking out the sun 😦 We had the great fortune to only be there for 1 really smoky day and then we were off to Kelowna to visit my family.

We enjoyed a new restaurant that night too- the Taco Club! I can highly recommend, good but pricey margaritas with some unusual twists, and I had the burrito bowl and NO WAY could I finish it- my husband had to. Too much food! Always a good thing 😉

You think it’s like this but really it’s like this

I hate Mother’s Day. Hate it. I do not have a great relationship with my family for a variety of reasons, and also it just…Sucks. It is performative and angsty and I have little tolerance now for the demands ($$$$$) my mother likes to place on us for her birthday, M-Day, Xmas anyways…Just hate it.

So what do you do when you hate that day? Make it better, and make it your own 🙂

We had our own fun day and it did help relieve some of that existential pressure I felt seeing everyone with happier families and sincerity that I do not have. Ian came with me to the barn and helped me do a jump school! I haven’t done one on my own yet since he has recovered from his injury, so it felt pretty big to me, yay! Plus we have to miss our regularly scheduled Tuesday lesson because Oats has a dentist appointment, so I wanted to do a little something on our spare time, to keep sharp.

Oats was a star, a good boy and the bestest pony. Nothing fancy, just hopping over a few fences and calling it a day. Nothing better, I think!

We then took our dog out for a walk to the water, and then swung by Moon Under Water brewery for a beer on the patio. I was FREEZING. Ha. Not patio weather here, basically ever?

We then headed home and had lunch and then went to play some kick-around soccer at the park. We both failed miserably at ball juggling hahaha and it got frustrating so we gave it up and played goalie instead. My husband said he admires the fact that I am not afraid to hammer the ball home from 1 ft away…Not really intentional, I swear it!

It’s a nice way to make what is traditionally a miserable, pressure/stressful day for me even better. Plus it makes you feel happier going into the (extremely busy) work week!

SKOOKUM!

Wow what a blast. So much so that it took me a week to process it! (ha, ok but true, things were crazy at work and I ran out of time/energy to do much more than work and ride last week. Life stuff, man..).

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Friday:

I went up on the Friday and my awesome friend picked me up at the ferry and we went to stay with my other equally amazing friend at her place in Vancouver. We prepared by having lunch, pre-drinking and then heading out to see the evening Friday lineup.

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Sitting on friend’s shoulders at Chromeo!

We were NOT disappointed. Highlights include Chromeo (sooo fun!!) and Matt Mays. Wowza, he can rock! The Arkells were the headliner of the night and they were ok but to be honest I’m kind of spoiled now and I have seen them so many times it doesn’t feel as special anymore??

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Things that were dumb about the festival- no food allowed in? WTF? So we of course snuck granola bars in, and then went to The Nam for a 1am dinner. It took FOREVER! I was falling asleep in my Dragon Bowl! Hahahahha.

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Saturday:

We sat around in the apartment until like…2pm. We were tired. Plus my husband was meeting us, so we wanted to go down to Stanley Park with him. We  hit up happy hour dtown when he came and it was pretty good! Then we bought some drinks for the road (walk) to Stanley Park and rocked out in the park. Standouts include…

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  • Metric – good but I don’t love her new stuff.
  • St. Vincent- rocking it with a translucent pantsuit?? Wow.
  • The War on Drugs- alt psychedelic rock. Slowjam, all smooth. Loved it!
  • Headliners Florence + The Machines were so awesome. She seems just like the loveliest person!

Evening it rained on and off, but not enough to chill the mood! We went to pizza-by-the-slice at 12am or so, ha.

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Sunday: We did NOT get up early, yet again. These late nights are killer, haha. Speaking of which, this was the lineup not to be missed!!! We did our usual get up late, play videogames, and then straggle downtown to happy hour (and it did NOT disappoint!) and the grab some drinks for the road for our walk to Stanley Park.

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The lineup was incredible, just stacked:

  • Whitehorse- great, but I wanted them to play a few songs that they didn’t! bummer.
  • Greta Van Fleet- wow. these kids could rock!!
  • The Bahamas- amazing. Just the chillest guy, and when he came onstage and was like, ok we’re going to have a chill time you guys…I was thinking- yesss this guy gets it!
  • Mother Mother- Now I have seen these guys a few times and they’re always fun. Did not disappoint.
  • Father John Misty- the only disappointing thing about his set? TOO short!
  • The Killers- WOW. Brought the house down. Just a blast, all around!!
  • Blue Rodeo- Only caught a few songs, because there were too many other good acts on at  the same time- oh poor me eh? ha. IMG_0709

Night time, we went back and gorged on snacks at my friends apartment.

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Hug from a spaceman.

A great time with great people.

 

Guest post: Finlayson Arm 28k 2017 Race Recap!

Courtesy of my husband who bravely undertook this insane race last weekend! Without further ado:

The good memories of the 28k Finlayson Arm race are overshadowed by my evolution through intensifying stages of discomfort. This constant pain was punctuated by bursts of sunlight piercing magically down between treetops, a stunning vista or two and little reminders that this amazing network of trails is in my own backyard. There was also the reminder that I had volunteered for this little jaunt through the woods and that no one would sympathize with my agony.

A few weeks before the race, I had decided that four hours was the longest it would take me – the rough number to beat. I figured that was setting expectations so low that I was sure to finish with a smile. There was even some pre-race training for me, complete with my brand new water-bladder on my back and getting lost for an hour or two in the trails behind Thetis Lake. I felt sure-footed and strong. This was a race I could do. All I needed to do was power through some tough hills and keep moving. In a sense, that’s exactly how things turned out.

It was a chilly morning when we set out – cool and clear over night – but the forecast was sunny. The 50k and (suicidal) 100k racers had finished the day before in the rain. As if their punishment was not enough. I went quick off the start as I anticipated getting bottlenecked later on the narrow single-track. After a kilometer I was established near the top 10. Then we hit the creek. Anyone who has been to Goldstream Park will notice how a four-lane highway rips through the middle with no safe way to get from one side to the other. You either need to dodge cars or get your feet wet (and maybe your legs and maybe your ass depending on how nimble you are). A rope strung across helped the crossing not be complete madness, but it was a gritty way to start a race.

With wet feet I carried up through the rolling side hill on the west side of the highway. This is a really nice section of trail that I will have to remember to check out when I’m not racing. It was a time to flex out your legs, find your pace and your seeding, a bit of a free pass before you hit the real hills. Looking back I wonder if I went too fast in this section, maybe blowing too much gas.

About five kilometers in, we were back under the highway (luckily through a dry stream bed this time) and through the main park, eerily deserted in the still early morning. I already had a pain in my leg, a nagging injury that I’m learning to live with, so I started to run a bit more cautiously.

Next it was on to the main event of the first half of the race, up the face of Mt Finlayson. There’s a slow build to remind you that this is a serious climb, to check your pace and your ambition. Then it gets steeper. Then the trail kinda takes a break and you start scrambling over rock, open to the sky. I should mention at this point all the volunteers and signage to keep you on track. There is plenty of both and I always felt like I knew where I needed to go. They seemed to anticipate in these early sections where you might go astray and had people there to point. On the mountain there were more guides. It’s the kind of climb where there is the very real possibility of running off a cliff into thin air so I’m glad they were there to point the best way.

At the top of the hill I felt pretty good. Well, not good. My legs were burning. But there was a lift in getting over what I knew was the hardest section of trail and I had kept my pace and not been passed. It was this feeling that propelled me down the backside, not too steep (which was nice) and into trail that I had never seen before. Just before we popped out on asphalt (a surprise) I was passed by someone with a bit more lift than me, but I stayed on his heels as we ran along the short section of road towards the first aid station.

The station could not come soon enough. Almost two hours into the run, I suddenly felt depleted. I wanted to stop and sit and eat some cookies, but my new nemesis just cruised on through. I grabbed a cookie and a banana piece anyway and set off on the next leg, back into trail. This is where my memory of the route got a bit hazy. What kilometre were we at? How far to the turnaround? Basically, the race had moved solidly into ‘not-fun-anymore’ territory and I was doing some mental math on how much longer I would have to move. At two hours the footsteps behind me turned into people passing me. I tried my best to make sure they weren’t increasing their lead on me, but I found myself slowing on every little hill, my flow completely evaporating.

There is a long hill in this section that, mentally, nearly did me in. Where was the bloody turnaround? The trail was also quite technical, with loose rocks and big steps up in places. Then I saw the front runners coming back down and couldn’t decide if I was elated or destroyed. It meant the end must be near but also put the necessary route back home into perspective. At least they were giving shout outs to keep me going: “Almost there!” I hoped they were right. Finally there were more people coming back down towards me – people I recognized! Hey, you’re only a bit ahead of me! And there were the volunteers, a photographer snapping a picture of my grimaced face, and the end of the ‘out’ – it was time for the ‘back.’ (Side note: one of the volunteers or spectators or whatever was announcing ‘halfway there’ and I thought that was a bit cruel. Maybe most didn’t hear or didn’t care, but I was a believer for a moment. Could this truly be only halfway?)

I was so happy to be heading home (and downhill to boot) that I even passed who I would later find out was my trail buddy. I swung my bag around and took out my gel pack. Time to take in some energy and get going. Things were looking good. Now it was my turn to dish out enthusiasm to those still on the grind to the top – “keep going,” and “almost there” I kept saying even as it became less true the further I went. And there were so many people behind me. I was doing well! Then all of a sudden I wasn’t.

I was coming undone, step by step.

After three hours of “running” I did not have the strength to keep my pace, or any pace. I was passed, then passed again. I knew the aid station would be coming back up again but I needed it now. As I popped out of the woods back into the daylight I was passed by another three. But I had to take a moment. I grabbed another gel pack, a banana and squashed a cookie in my mouth. The volunteers were asking if I needed to fill my pack, something to drink. I shook my head and imagined the madness in my eyes. I muttered something about wanting to use up what I had. Maybe I had filled my pack too full as well. Then I was off for the final few kilometers and my once measured race became an unhinged stumble to the end.

The return route did not go back over Mt Finlayson, but skirted along one side. It was a rolling bit of trail that took a lot of focus. Right in front of me was the aforementioned Trail Buddy – temporary companions in suffering. It felt reassuring to keep pace with someone. Those who had passed us seemed to have extra energy to tap and were pulling away, but we were hanging in there, moving forward. I knew the end could not be too far off, but looking at my watch I began to wonder if I would get in under four hours. More importantly, would I be able to stand on my feet for that long? We rounded the mountain and rejoined the steep trail up from before – this time heading down. My legs – knees, shins – could not handle the steep downhill. I grimaced with every step. Up or down would not do; I needed flat, please.

Down and down we went and we were passed again. My world got smaller as I narrowed my focus on foot placement without collapsing or catapulting downhill.

Next was a split off to the left, in the direction of end/start. I could hear the highway again. I was picturing a mental map of the park and where we were in relation to salvation. The end could be around any bend, I told myself after every bend. Out of nowhere this guy in his sixties came up on us, hooting and and maniacally urging us along. “C’mon boys, let’s give ‘em hell” he shouted as if we were heading over the top of the trenches or storming Normandy. I put on a face and groaned some more. The crazy old man disappeared whooping and skipping along. Maybe I imagined the whole thing.

Then at about the same time that I decided my legs were finished, I spotted spectators ahead. There was a volunteer with a clipboard, calling ahead with my number, the sound of fans and a PA system blurting out names and congratulations. And then I heard my name, a mix-up, before I shot out onto the grass and over the finish, some prize pack thrust into my hands, the buzz of activity all around. There was my run buddy (he beat me in the end) with a high five and then food, glorious food.

For the next 45 minutes or so, I paced around in agony in between vigorous stuffing of burgers and beer. I could not decide whether to sit, stand, walk, or crawl into the bushes for a little nap. It was agony, but I had done it. And I never had to do it again.

I stayed on to cheer some others as they came across. A seventy year old, a guy who had finished the 100k yesterday was doing the ‘double-double,’ some others who I recognized from races past. Were they fast, was I slow? Did we all do “alright?” I cared a little. As much as this race was an experiment, you want to do well. Or well enough for your expectations.

I got in at 3 hours and 51 minutes, somehow just inside my (soft) target. I might as well have run a marathon. It’s the slowest 28 kilometers I’ll likely ever run yet certainly one to remember.

Hopoxia!!! 2017 Edition

This weekend was BUSY with a capital ‘B’ but hey, I knew that about June 2017 and I am totally loving it!!

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Saturday, I knew I was on a tight(er) timeline- I was trying to fit in a run (long), a ride & pack and clean up horse for the dressage show on Sunday, and a walk to Phillips Brewery for their Hopoxia beer fest!

I started with the run- 18km. It was absolutely horrible. I had terrible asthma, making my chest/lungs constrict in a super frightening and unpleasant way. I was gasping and clutching my chest. Hm, maybe I should have used my puffer, or at least carried it with me…It’s becoming very clear that I have either allergy-induced or exercise-induced asthma (or both!!) and it’s pretty nightmarish to try and run with it.

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Anyways, that was frighting and sucky and I hated it, but I did it. I did have to listen to my body and walk when I started gasping for breath, so be it. I did it! And went home to a great breakfast courtesy of my great husband, and then it was off to ride & pack up my stuff and give Oats a bath!

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I tried to go as quick as I could, and zipped home (note- I only showered on Sunday, after allllll of my events were over. Good choice or bad choice?? ha).

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We walked to Hopoxia, and I had a fab time there! We tried so many awesome beers, chatted with a friend/colleague and I really enjoyed the chance to try some super cool and unique flavours- standouts include a bunch of really sour ‘sours’, and the ‘A day off your life’ beer that was like 11.5%!?!!

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A great time was had by all 🙂

Setbacks and Advancements: Weekend Recap

Weekend recap:

Friday night: Had a great (and mostly free!!) time at Lighthouse Brewery’s open house BBQ- got tix for a free beer and a burger, and the rest of the beers were $4…So no reason not to have more, haha. AND their new rhubarb beer is amazing, I had it twice. Good food, good beer and good friends- who could want more?

Seems legit.

Seems legit.

I even won a door prize- $10 to Hanks BBQ joint downtown. Hilarious eh? I did question if it was real…

Saturday: Woke up feeling less than spectacular. Apparently more beers don’t really agree with me anymore, particularly when I have a jumping lesson! I felt so draggy and tired and out of it. Lucky for me, Oats brought his A-game and was a star! We worked on the gymnastic line (not set high though, prob only to 2’4” or 2’6” ish) and then added on to the course, which I wanted to bail after once because, hello, tired…But then took a break and did it again, even better! Go us!

Sunday: Rode Oats in the morning and he was good! We did a fair amount of cantering, circles, large, more circles, and I was quite pleased with him. I then jogged downtown with my husband to go watch our friend in his dragonboat race- we missed the race but managed to catch up with him later, so that was a win! We even got some free pizza slices courtesy of Dr. Oetker’s travelling van, and it was sooo good. Wrapped up the afternoon by running out to Songhees and back, and then home…And my knee didn’t make it.

Shit shit shit

I couldn’t run anymore, and we ended up having to walk home. I could feel pressure building under my kneecap and my kneecap was shifting too much and it hurt quite a bit. ARGH. Setbacks…

I hope it is temporary! I iced my knee at home, and worked through my exercises. I have also made another appt. to talk about it with my knee doctor.

We then headed out to pick some blackberries and it was significantly less joyous than it has been- the blackberries seemed to be out for blood! And they were either overripe or red on one side. Gah!

But, we finished the day with a lovely dinner, and I really enjoyed my weekend of not blasting off to another race or travelling to anywhere. Sometimes you just need a weekend at home, I guess!