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!
Our July vacation was full of firsts. The first time A. visited my family in Nova Scotia and his first chance to experience where I grew up. His first time meeting much of my extended family. His (and my) first time in a double kayak. A. discovered the Nova Scotia tradition of the wedding turkey dinner (apparently, they don’t do that in Upper Canada!) and heard Fishin’ in the Dark for the first time. He even got to try his first donair! But, perhaps the biggest first for us was the once in a lifetime experience of attending my baby bro’s wedding and busting a few celebratory moves on the dance floor.
The setting was totally gorgeous, and of course, there wasn’t a dry eye in sight. The wedding at Liscombe Lodge was a fantastic reflection of the couple – from the outdoor ceremony and the heartfelt and funny speeches (including one by yours truly) to the photo booth, candy bar and surprise fireworks display. We had a wonderful time celebrating the couple with family and friends – and will certainly always remember the fantastic weekend. The photographer may have even caught proof that I still remember all the dance moves to the Spice Girl’s Stop as well as the Macarena. Those photos, however, are best left off Instagram.
So, the first thing you may notice about this post is that in the photo we are most certainly not in a kayak. (And I kind of doubt that the owners of Theodore Tugboat would let us take him for a spin).
It was a shame to leave this list item undocumented, but, alas, the day of our sea kayaking adventure outside of Halifax left a little bit to be desired weather-wise. Actually, a lot to be desired. Pouring rain, gusts of wind and relatively chilly temps meant leaving the smartphone cameras safely at home. So as not to sound like a drama queen, I’ll point out that even our guide was impressed that our group – A., myself, my baby bro and my parents – persevered!
When we booked this, obviously we’d hoped for sunny skies and clear views. But it is Nova Scotia, so that just wasn’t in the cards!
What we did get was a four-hour tour of nearby islands, a great family outing, a pretty good workout cutting through the waves and our first time in a double kayak! (No one even fell in). While the scenery looked like something out of a horror movie, it was also really pretty in an eerie way. The downpour even let up long enough for us to have a cute little picnic on the beach. I’d love to go back sometime and give it a go in nice weather!
We love our west end hood. Close to transit, friends and killer running routes, we really can’t complain. Plus, we’ve got great restaurants, bars and multiple fabulous neighbourhoods all within a short walk: Roncy, Bloor West Village and the Junction. But, as much as we spend time running through these streets, we haven’t really shown much community pride. We ooh and ah at the shop windows and the crowds at the farmer’s market, but thanks to long workdays and trying to squeeze in marathon training, our timing is always off. So, this summer, we were thrilled to finally made it out to one of the great events in the hood: The Junction Flea.
Even better, we were able to attend on a Saturday night, as part of the neighbourhood festival. So, we got to ride a ferris wheel, watch a belly dancing demonstration, then get our vintage shop on. Plus buy some nice iced coffee and score some freshly toasted s’mores. How cool is that?
It was great to see all the regulars mingling and some familiar faces, as well as finally discover what all the hype was about. There were great vintage finds, cool prints, fascinating retro fashions and some seriously covetable terrariums. We didn’t manage to line up in time for the famous ice pops, but we’ll definitely be back again soon. After all, we’re still looking for the perfect vintage typewriter to adorn our console.