A. and I both love New York, but had not yet gone to visit the city together. That alone was not enough to make the weekend getaway list-worthy. But it was enough to make for a fantastic three days. We landed bright and early and I immediately started giving A. the tour of all my favourite things in the city. After scooping up a cupcake at Magnolia (it was s’more flavoured!) we went to see PUNK: Chaos to Culture at the Met, along with a really amazing exhibit on civil war photography. Plus we ventured up to the Met’s rooftop for the first time to get a gorgeous bird’s eye view of the city. Day one also included shopping, introducing A. to the joys that are Uniqlo and Trader Joe’s and then, after a quick stop at his favourite restaurant in the city, going to Broadway to see Once. I loved it, and it was A.’s first time seeing a show on Broadway, so it was not a bad start to our NYC weekend!
Day two started off with crossing a major first off both of our lists: Running in Central Park. Of course, the New York Marathon is legendary, but since that wasn’t in the cards for us this year, we wanted to enjoy a little bit of the city’s running culture. And we loved it. We ended up running the park on two separate occasions, and there was no fear of getting hit by cars, the cyclists were pretty respectful and the other runners gave us the nod – it was awesome. Plus, great marathon training.
Day 2 also saw us hit the Chelsea Food Market, the High Line, the Staten Island Ferry and meet Zelda the turkey (a strange, but kind of amazing bonus). On our last day, we managed to squeeze in an insanely good brunch at Sarahbeth‘s and journeyed into the special whale exhibit at the Museum of Natural History before catching our flight home. While there was only one item for our list over the course of the weekend, it was also a good reminder that some things are just so great, they’re worth repeating.
One of the biggest, scariest, most daunting and time-consuming challenges on the New 52 list for this year was completing our first marathon. We trained for months, and the toll was both physical (my hips now make a really horrible cracking sound) and mental (I spent most of our taper week in tears).
But, on Sunday, we woke up early in Niagara, grateful that the skies were clear, threw our passports into clear plastic bags, like hobos, and hopped a school bus to cross the border. The only way back – and to reunite with our passports! – was to run the 26.2 miles. A little over 1,000 people completed the marathon.
Some low points: I started the marathon really cold, and it took forever for my legs to warm up. I was all nerves and spent the first 10 miles wondering whether I could really finish it, and what I would do if I wasn’t strong enough to make it to the end. There were long, long windy stretches of the race with no field teams or spectators, which was eerily quiet, a little lonely and not super encouraging. A. hit the wall around 20 miles, and, while I didn’t tell him this till much later, I was really worried that he wasn’t physically going to be able to make it to the end.
But, the highlights! Crossing the Peace Bridge back into Canada felt amazing and truly once-in-a-lifetime. Hitting the 21.2K marker to find out we were on pace to finish sub-four hours was a fantastic boost. Seeing the finish line, and then seeing A.’s mom and brother there to cheer us on was truly touching. And crossing together at 4:03, having both completed the farthest run of our lives (to date!) without stopping may be one of the biggest rushes I’ve experienced in my life. Plus the tears and congratulatory hugs when our tired legs finally got to rest. Not to mention how amazing that banana at the finish line tasted!
I’m relieved to finally have it behind me. I’m proud we did it. I feel accomplished, and I’m so proud of A. for going from a non-runner a year ago to a marathoner. I’m so appreciative that A. and I got to experience this epic first together. And I’m already thinking about someday cracking that sub-four barrier – together.
Our summer trip to Nova Scotia was pretty amazing. Time spent with my family is always a good thing, and this vacation was coupled with a truly special event: watching my baby bro get married. Not to mention some serious sea kayaking in stormy weather. And A. won’t ever forget his first donair!
But, we also got to explore my hometown of Lunenburg, including a new addition: The Ironworks Distillery.
This micro-distillery, in a heritage building that used to be a marine blacksmith’s shop, was founded in 2009, but this summer was my first chance to check out their offerings.
In addition to fruit liqueur, they also make eaux de vie, vodka and rum! We got to learn a bit about how they make the booze, and had a generous taste testing session.
It was all delicious. But our favourite was their Bluenose Rum, a typically Nova Scotian-feeling dark rum with hits of molasses. Also known as tasting like home! We followed it up with some serious seafood chowder and homemade ice cream from my favourite shop, Sweet Treasures, as well as a visit to the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic. I think A. enjoyed the full hometown tour!