August 31, 2015

Weekending: Races & Road-trips

This is it: summer is coming to an end. While September can still be a nice month, summer officially feels over for me once August wraps up. I had a fabulous weekend to round off the summer though, full of good food, good friends, and lots of time outdoors!

On Friday, Becky and Liam picked up Sully and I and we headed off to Lethbridge for a 'carb-loading' dinner with a bunch of friends (and kids!) in preparation for the LRPS run Saturday morning. We all had different race distances originally planned, but we all decided to drop down to run the 5K as the smoke in the air from the fires down south were really effecting air quality. Carb-loading may have no longer been necessary, but any excuse to eat with friends is good with me!

Carb-Loading Dinner with Friends Blogging Get-together

Jim met up with Sully and I at our hotel that evening so that they could be at the finish line to cheer me on! It was so nice to have them there, even if I didn't end up running 10k like I originally had planned. After the race, we hung around while the kids had fun bouncing on the bouncy castle, took lots of after-race photos, and then headed out for post-race brunch and mimosas. (Full race recap coming soon!). Sully was getting tired and had come down with a cold overnight, so Jim stayed back at the hotel to take him swimming and then for a nap.

Post Race Family Photo Brunch at Firestone Grill Lethbridge

After we checked out of our hotel, we drove to Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump. I hadn't been there since a grade 6 field trip and Jim had never been. We decided not to go into the museum part as I just wasn't up to it with a cranky toddler. We figured a snack outdoors and walking around outside would fare us better for the rest of the drive home. We walked the entire loop outside of the interpretive centre, stopping to take in what we could see of the view. We'll be back one day to check out the indoor exhibit, but if you're ever driving through and need a place for a pit-stop, this place is great! There's lots to see and read along the walk, and you can still use the washrooms inside.

Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump

Sunday was a rest and recovery day. Jim told me to sleep in the basement so I could get a good sleep and sleep-in and I ended up sleeping till noon! Husband of the year, amiright? My body was exhausted from a poor sleep Friday night and the downhill portion of Saturday's run. We ate and lounged around the rest of the afternoon, before heading out for a little family walk before dinner.

Fish Creek Park Calgary Fish Creek Park Calgary Fish Creek Park Calgary Fish Creek Park Calgary

I'm sad to say good-bye to August, but I've got a lot of fun things coming up for the month of September, including two more races!

How did you spend the last weekend of August? 
Tell me something fun you did! 

August 27, 2015

Thinking Out Loud {2}: TV Shows, Birthday Wishing & Bad Books

It's Thursday and I'm sharing the random thoughts from my head this past week. And fair warning: it gets pretty random this week! I'm linking up with Amanda from Running With Spoons, who hosts this feature every Thursday.

1. So I'm binge watching 90210 right now (thanks to my sister), and I'm at the part where they have finally graduated from high school and are heading off to college. Which got me thinking: how come in high school TV shows, the characters NEVER go off to nursing school? What's up with that? It's always so generic or stereotypical: arts, acting, or nothing declared. BORING. Where's the engineers, teachers, nurses, dentists and doctors?

{I love me some teen drama!}

2. Has Facebook completely ruined the birthday phone call? Is wishing someone a Happy Birthday on their Facebook wall sufficient nowadays? I'm not talking about Facebook acquaintances - you know, those "friends" you don't even have the phone numbers of, but family and close friends. At what point did writing on someone's wall replace giving them a phone call or even a text? I'm not innocent in all this, I often resort to just sending a text because I really don't like talking on the phone, but I know that's not an excuse. Every year my good friend Carol calls and sings Happy Birthday to me, whether I like it or not! I think we could all take a page from her book.

{because, Leo.}

3. Hands-up from all you Bachelor in Paradise fans out there! I LOVE this show. But come on, do we really need a million "coming up next" scenes during an episode?! Is there anyone, in the history of watching this show, that goes "I don't know what's going to happen next, so I'm just going to stop watching right now…". Ya, I didn't think so. I don't invest hours of my life every week to just stop watching mid episode.

4. I can't believe summer is almost over. August has just flown by! But, with that being said, I'm looking forward to September and getting back into more of a routine. I love all the visitors, vacations, and hot, lazy summer days we've had, but the lack of consistency in our day to day lives is starting to get to me. Next month, Sully starts gymnastics (!!) and I'm so excited for it. I think he's going to love it. And once a week we are also enrolled in a Baby Bookworm class at the library near our house. I like to have a balance of scheduled activities out and days at home so I think this will be a good start.

5. I'm heading to Lethbridge in a few days to meet up with a bunch of awesome bloggers to run the annual LRPS run. I haven't been running nearly as much as I should have been, but I did get in a treadmill run at my aunt's house today. It was a brutal run, one of my worst in months. I had chest pain, trouble breathing, a stitch in my side and my left leg was really bothering me. I took way more walk breaks than I'm proud of and I'm really not sure how I will perform on Saturday. I know we all have bad run days, but this one has left me feeling less than confident.

6. Has anyone read this book or seen the movie, Me Earl and the Dying Girl? I'm listening to it on audio right and it's terrrrrible. I have a hard time DNF'ing a bad book, but an even harder time with an audiobook because I feel like I've already invested all that time listening. Makes no sense, I know. It's one of those books where it feels like it was written with a film adaptation in mind. I'm almost done torturing myself though and I've been told the movie is WAY better so I still plan on watching it.

Do you still call people (close friends and family) on their birthday?

Are you watching Bachelor in Paradise?

Have you read Me Earl and the Dying Girl? Thoughts?

What's something your looking forward to about fall?

August 26, 2015

Sullivan: 18 Months

*Sully turned 18 months on August 21, the day I wrote this letter to him* 

Sullivan Monthly

Dear Sullivan,

I know I don't write you monthly letters anymore, but since it's your half birthday today, I wanted to document the little toddler you are growing up to be. It blows my mind how much you have changed since your first birthday. On a day to day basis, the changes aren't as noticeable, but when I look back on your photos from month to month, it's hard to believe you were ever not walking, talking or throwing temper tantrums! Your little personality is developing rapidly and it is a delight getting to know you better and better. You have the best sense of humour, and neither your father or I are quite sure where it comes from, but we strongly think you take after your Papa Fraser in that field. He was quite the prankster and jokester growing up (and still is), and we see those characteristics in you more and more.

Sullivan Monthly 

You babble non-stop during the day, but the only real words you say are Dada, ball, more, buh-bye, uh-oh, and sometimes mama, but usually only when you are upset. On a whim, I started teaching you some sign language which you picked up immediately. Signing "more" is your most used and helpful sign. You use it to communicate when you want more of something you're eating, when you want something from the fridge or pantry, or when you want me to repeat something, like tickling you, or reading a book again. You can also sign "water", "grapes", "nap/bed time", and "bath".

While your vocal vocabulary is still developing, you clearly understand when we are talking to you. You can point out all your facial features, and point to specific people when asked to identify them. You will go retrieve things when asked, and you love to take things to the garbage and to the washing machine or laundry basket. You are quite the little helper when you want to be!

Sullivan Monthly Sullivan Monthly

Your appetite, for the most part, is pretty darn good. Your favourite foods are yogurt, cheese, green smoothies, olives (green and black), pickles, apple sauce, cottage cheese, green peas and grapes. Fruit is hit and miss. Some days you will devour blueberries, for example, and then the next you think they are the grossest thing ever. You still nurse 2-3x per day (morning, nap and bedtime), but if I'm not available, it's no big deal and you easily go to bed, or wake-up, without. You still aren't much of a fan of any type of milk or non-dairy milks, but you will drink the odd glass of cow's or almond milk if it's mixed with chocolate almond milk. Of course, anything from mom's or dad's plate or glass tastes 100x better than the exact same food or drink on your plate.

We haven't properly weighed or measured your height in awhile, but based on our home scale you were just over 22 pounds. For height, all I know is you are a few inches short of the minimum height requirement of 32 inches for the rides at Heritage Park! You are still sporting size 4 diapers, which I feel like you've been in forever, and mainly wear size 12-18 month clothing. Pants in the 6-12 month range still fit you better in the waist, but aren't long enough in the legs. You are my lean, and muscular little toddler!

Sullivan Monthly Sullivan Monthly 

You are still a great sleeper, and rarely wake up in the middle of the night, and if you do, you are easily settled back down if you can't do so on your own. You still wake up pretty grumpy, both in the morning and from naps, but I'm hoping that's just a phase. Naps are still a daily struggle and totally unpredictable. I'm lucky if you'll nap for 45 minutes most days, although some days you'll stretch it to an hour and a half. But I have never, ever, been granted the gift of alone time from a three hour nap! Those must be a myth. Gramma says I was the exact same growing up, so I guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

Sully, you test my patience daily, question my sanity at times, drive me bonkers, but my love for you is larger and stronger than I ever thought was humanly possible. You are my little mini-me, with the stubbornness and temper to prove it. I look at you every day and think what did I do to deserve such an adorable, spirited, loving little boy.

Sullivan Monthly 

I love you to the moon and back,
Mommy xoxo

August 24, 2015

Weekending: Birthday Edition

This past weekend we celebrated a very special half-birthday (how is my baby 18 months old?!) and my number one man's full birthday. We didn't do anything big, or even really leave the house, but sometimes those are my favourite weekends.

On Friday, it literally poured all day. And I mean poured! Luckily, Sully and I didn't have any where to be so we had a quiet day at home before picking up Jim from the train station.
18 Months Old
{18 months young!}
Saturday morning I woke up with a bit of head cold and took advantage of Jim being home to occupy Sully. Hot water with lemon and honey is my favourite go-to throat soothing drink. And this book! I'm about 3/4 of the way done and quite enjoying it. I honestly had no intentions of reading it, but it was on the front shelf at our local library, so with the moving coming out soon, I took it as a sign that I should read it. It's not my normal genre of choice, but it's not really that "sci-fi", other than it takes place on Mars. Some (ok, most) of the biology and engineering talk is over my head, but it doesn't really impact the enjoyment of the story.

The Martian by Andy Weir

Later in the morning, the sun came out so we went for a big walk around the neighbourhood. Sully loves being in the chariot as opposed to his stroller. As we were heading back to the house, we let him out so he could splash in some puddles, which is his new favourite thing to do.

Morning Walk Puddle Jumping

After nap time, I snuck out of the house to get groceries, but not before spending an hour at Winners trying on clothes. I only left with one top, but shopping without the pressure of a toddler about to explode at any second has got to be one of the best things ever, ha! Sully spent the afternoon "working" in the garage with Jim (his favourite room of the house - both of theirs), but also likes to take "breaks" and bark orders from in the chariot. I think his favourite book, The Boss Baby, is not a good influence.

Daddy's Little Helper

Sunday was Jim's birthday and we first celebrated by all sleeping in! Then Jim and Sully got in some solid block building while I cleaned up the main floor. Our friend's, Kate and Dan, and their baby, came over in the afternoon for dinner and birthday cake. We made Grilled Chili Honey Lime Chicken Thighs on the BBQ (sans the sauce), which are delicious! It was our second time making them and they were just as good as the first time. I'm not much of a baker so I went with a store bought cake, and it was a huge hit! Sully was digging in even before Jim could blow out his candle. Yes candle, singular. And it's a tea light. #wifefail

Building Blocks Birthday Dinner Birthday Cake Birthday Cake

Later in the evening an old friend of ours was in town and popped over for a visit. Sully was in heaven having all these people to entertain all day long and fell asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow (figuratively speaking, as he doesn't actually have a pillow in his crib). Some story reading before bed, then some Walking Dead for us, and just like that, another weekend has come and gone.

Bedtime Stories

Tell me something fun you got up to this weekend! 

August 21, 2015

Spartan Sprint Race Recap

I never had any intention of running the Spartan Sprint this year as I am already signed up for the Spartan Super in Red Deer in September and I didn't know anyone who was running the race in Calgary. But then I attended the Spartan Race Workout Tour a few weeks ago, and I started thinking maybe the sprint would be good "training" for the super. The sprint also happened to fall on the weekend my sister would be visiting me and it's always been my dream to do an obstacle course race with her. It just seemed like it was meant to be. And then to sweeten the deal even more, Jen and Laura were kind and generous enough to gift us their extra race entries that they weren't able to use. Laura was running the race on Sunday too, but we ran in different heats which didn't allow us to meet up afterwards.

Friday night and all day Saturday, it poured rain in Calgary. And the temperatures from the hot week we had plummeted drastically. We were scheduled to run on Sunday and we crossed our fingers all day Saturday that the rain would stop and the weather would improve. When we woke up on Sunday, the rain had finally stopped, and although the sun was out, it was still pretty chilly.

Spartan Sprint Calgary Spartan Sprint Calgary

We were scheduled to run at 10:30 and left the house at 9 a.m. so that we would have ample time to park and check our bags. We had an hour to spare once we arrived which was plenty of time. We had picked up our race packages the day before and applied our bib number tattoos to our arms before we left the house. It wasn't nearly as busy on the grounds as I expected and we were even able to watch the 10 a.m. heat start. McDonald's was on site with free coffee and while I don't usually drink coffee before a race, we gladly accepted one just to warm ourselves up! We checked our bags at the last possible minute so that we could keep our sweaters on as long as we could.

Spartan Sprint Calgary Start Line 
Spartan Sprint Calgary Before

I'm not going to lie, I was getting pretty nervous watching the competitors around the course. It was muddy as hell out there and I was so worried about being cold. But once we started running, I quickly realized that the temperature was perfect for running in. Not too hot, and not too cold. In fact, the watery-mud pits were almost refreshing! There wasn't actually a lot of running involved, or at least, not as much as I had anticipated. The paths and trails in between the obstacles were complete mud trenches and you really had to focus on where you were placing your feet. The first part of the course weaves up and down a big hill. We would half-sprint up the hills using our toes to catch grip, and then slide halfway down the next part of the hill on our bums to help eliminate bailing. It was pretty fun, but also a little nerve-wracking!

The obstacles were tough. I have weak arms, and the majority of them require a strong upper body. On the first wall we had to scale, I slipped lowering myself down on the other side and hit the top of my arm on it. I am now sporting the biggest, ugliest bruise ever! There were some obstacles we didn't even attempt, choosing to do burpees instead. Obstacles like the rope climb (why even bother - we knew we couldn't have done it even if the ropes had been dry), the spear throw (the line-up was way too long), and the monkey bars (ya right!). I tried to do the monkey bars at the park before the race and I couldn't even do one! Oh, childhood Brie, you were so much stronger, ha ha!

Spartan Sprint Cargo Climb Spartan Sprint Barbed Wire Crawl Spartan Sprint Barbed Wire Crawl 
Spartan Sprint Barbed Wire Crawl
{photos ℅ spartan race canada} 

In the days leading up to the race, I was terrified of the number of burpees I would most likely have to do. I knew from the Spartan Race Workout Tour that I couldn't do thirty burpees in a row without wanting to die, so I wasn't sure how I was going to survive them at the race. Luckily, the course marshals weren't paying very close attention and some even told us to just do "10" or "15". We basically did as many as we could and then moved on.

I think the biggest thing that surprised me about the race was how friendly the other competitors were. I was expecting everyone else that was there to be super competitive in a "get out of my way!" way. But from the moment we lined up, people were so nice. We were cracking jokes with other racers all throughout the course and random people offered to help us at every obstacle. I love when there's camaraderie at an event like this. It makes you feel like you're all in it together like one big team.

We were by no means running this race to achieve a certain finishing time. I figured it would take us about an hour, give or take, but due to the mud, we officially crossed the finish line at 1:48:59, which didn't surprise us at all! It felt like we had been out there forever! It was so incredibly awesome to cross the finish line with my sister. She has never ever ran any type of race before (despite her very active lifestyle), so it was honour to be a part of her first event!

Spartan Sprint Finisher Calgary Spartan Sprint Finisher Calgary Spartan Sprint Finisher Calgary Spartan Sprint Finisher Calgary

One of my biggest fears about running the Spartan Sprint was that it would scare me off from the Spartan Super I'm signed up for next month. But it did quite the opposite. Yes, I'm still trying to figure out how in the world I'm physically going to complete an obstacle course race that is more than double this one, but I'm really excited to push myself further than I've ever pushed myself before, and I'm also really looking forward to doing the Super Spartan with an awesome group of women! If you've never ran an obstacle course race before, Laura wrote a great post on how to prepare for your first one, but most importantly, don't be afraid! I promise you will have a great time!

Do you run obstacle course races? 
Have you ran a Spartan race before?