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francophile, oenophile, logophile, turophile

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Pregnancy \\ Third Trimester Recap

Well, that was quite the break! I started this post July 12, & then I got preoccupied with the waiting game. For some reason, I could not motivate myself to finish writing this post. So, here we go, over 4 months late. Let’s take a trip back in time & look at my third trimester.

Third Trimester

Weeks 29 to 41
IMPORTANT MILESTONES
  • Week 29 – May 7, 2018: Baby Moon! I flew down to SF to meet Nathan and pack up his condo. I was lucky to be able to work from home that week, & enjoy a final week of California living. I went to 2 NPSF workouts & an East Bay Free Fitness one too (they’re now officially NP Oakland!). We said goodbye to all our favourite spots & spent time with his wonderful coworkers. It was a really lovely final week in the Bay.
  • Week 30 – May 14, 2018: Baby moon! We road-tripped home from California. Highlights: Mendocino, Avenue of the Giants, Oregon Dunes, Oregon Coast, Cannon Beach, Portland, Vancouver. I love this drive. I’ll do a recap of it sometime. I have so much to share.
  • Week 32 – June 3, 2018: My Baby Shower. My best friend, Danel, & my mom hosted my shower at my parent’s house. It was an incredible shower. They put so much work into it & I couldn’t have imagined a more perfect afternoon. My Nana flew in from Vernon, which was the best surprise & baby & I felt so incredibly loved.
  • Week 33 – June 7, 2018: My midwife thought baby might be breech so we scheduled an ultrasound. We learned that baby had flipped & that it has a lot of hair, which is rare at this stage. They estimated that baby is about 5 lbs, which is in the 75th percentile. Everything else was normal, which is a huge relief.
  • Week 34 – June 13, 2018: First birth & babies class. It was a really great class. Our instructor was great & we learned a lot about the pelvis which was really interesting. Most of us are due between July 21 & 23, & delivering at the Foothills.
  • Week 34 – June 14, 2018: Dr for Moms Chiropractic adjustment. I had such an amazing & informative first appointment with Dr. Hort. My back felt so much better right afterwards & she did some other adjustments that will hopefully help make labour go smoothly.
  • Week 36 – June 29, 2018: Last day of work!
  • Week 40 – July 23, 2018: Due date! & my birthday! Went for lunch with my SIL & MIL & then my brother’s girlfriend took me for ice cream. No signs of baby.
  • Week 40 – July 24, 2018: Membrane sweep at midwife appointment. Baby was in a good position, but it didn’t do much. I went to acupuncture after, which was really relaxing. I definitely fell asleep.
  • Week 41 – July 30, 2018: Non Stress Test at Foothills. I was scheduled for this routine NST as I was one week overdue. It went really well, but (spoiler alert!) babe had other plans for us, so this marks the end of the third trimester for me. I’ll share more with my birth story.
CHANGES

I was expecting to feel huge in my final month of pregnancy, but I was still surprised by how massive I felt. I still managed to get out & do a lot, but I had to slow down & do less, especially in July when it was also really hot. The only shoes that fit me by then were my Birkenstocks.

I stopped working at the end of 36 weeks, which gave me plenty of time to prep meals, wash all of babies clothes, & do all the things you feel like you should get done beforehand. It should have also given me ample time to finish this blog post, but instead, I watched a lot of Netflix, took long walks with Odin, met up with friends, agonized over possible labour symptoms, & ate my weight in dates.

SYMPTOMS

I felt great up until about 37 weeks. & even then, I felt pretty good, just huge & hot & swollen. I wasn’t sleeping great since I was constantly thinking about baby or labour or…god knows what, & getting up to pee 1000x a night. I was feeling very ready to not be pregnant anymore, anxious to meet baby, & scared for labour.

Energy: My energy was all over the place. Sometimes I felt great & went on a cooking/cleaning spree. More often, I napped a lot to make up for my increasingly broken night time sleep.

Lower Back Pain: Although it was a lot better thanks to Dr Hort, it was still there. It was hard to find a comfortable position to sleep in & I think that really contributed to my back pain.

Foot Pain: My arches were still bugging me (although, I was no longer running) & my feet also got quite swollen in the final weeks.

Swelling: My hands, my feet, my face. I stopped being able to wear my rings in mid June (around 32 weeks) & by the end, even my bracelets were snug. My feet were definitely the worst. I could get my runners on, but they looked pretty comical so I mostly wore my Birkenstocks. I had to loosen the buckles several holes. I thought I’d be able to wear flip flops, but my feet seemed to almost spill out of them. V attractive.

FOOD: AVERSIONS & CRAVINGS

I was still craving all those quick carbs & sugar. I fear my love of sugar might be here to stay now, which I’m still finding quite strange. I was loving pizza, burgers, french fries. Someone told me that greasy food sometimes puts people into labour, so I took advantage of that & felt no guilt eating Wendy’s or Taco Time in those final weeks. I also craved caesar salad (which is a very normal craving of mine, actually) & chili chicken a couple days before I was induced. Random!

DECISIONS

There weren’t too many big decisions left to make by the third trimester. The biggest ones had to do with labour. I had planned a pretty low intervention, hospital birth. It seemed like the best of both worlds. Ideally, I wanted to go into labour on my own & see how things went. If everything was going well & I was managing the pain, I didn’t want an epidural. My midwives were both on board with this & really supportive of everything on my “wish list”. It’s funny how much you really get to know them & how they’re such a huge part of this short period in your life, & then you don’t really see them again. (That’s a bit of a tangent, but it’s weird!)

I had decided to see a Chiropractor who specializes in helping moms. She was amazing & I definitely felt she made a big difference in my back pain. She also did a lot to make sure my pelvis was in the right position. I’m not sure if I’d have had issues if I hadn’t seen her, but I’m happy I did since everything went well!

Once I hit 40 weeks, I decided to also do acupuncture to try & help move things along. I’d never been before so I had no idea what to expect, but I ended up really enjoying it. It was mostly just nice & relaxing. I got some sleep & just chilled out. It was wonderful.

a last photo of our little family of 3
FAVOURITE PART OF THE TRIMESTER

My baby shower. It was incredible. I felt so loved. My mom & bestie put so much care into planning & organizing it. I felt so lucky to have so many kind, generous, loving people in my life, & so many people who already love our little person.

LEAST FAVOURITE PART OF THE TRIMESTER

Waiting! & the heat. I normally love summer & the heat, but it was tough to handle while pregnant. & I am pretty impatient, so it probably comes as no surprise that I hate waiting for my due date to come (& go) with no baby. I had thought I might be early (for no real reason, honestly), so that made it all the more difficult. & as someone who really likes to plan things, it’s hard having no control over this huge event in your life. I suppose it’s good practice for when you actually have a baby, but it’s definitely a struggle.

I hope you’ve enjoyed getting a little insight into this stage of pregnancy. Thanks to Cassy Joy from Fed + Fit for the great idea – I so loved following along with her recaps. You can expect a birth story soon (I actually already have it all written as I didn’t want to forget) & perhaps a 4th trimester recap, since we’re done with that as well. & I swear I’m still working on many non-pregnancy posts as well, or at least, I’d like to get back to more blogging of that nature.

xo,

A

Travel \\ Munich

I can’t believe it’s been over a year since this trip. I certainly didn’t mean for these posts to get so far behind, but I’ve had a different set of priorities lately. Google photos sends me a flood of photos every week though & I love looking back on our time in Europe last year. Munich was another must revisit for both N & I, but especially for N who found his overnight stay (the shortest of the whole tour) during Contiki far too short. I’d had a few days to explore the city, but was eager to revisit my favourites & find some new ones.  Here’s what I loved most about our visit this time around.

Traditional Bavarian Experiences

Travel planning & research has gotten so much easier even since my first visit to Munich in 2009. There’s just so much great information online, & while it can be overwhelming, I love pouring over different articles & blog posts & making a big plan. Going into this trip, I felt I had a much better grasp on Munich than I did even after my first visit. While I love the eclectic mix of modernity, grit, & multiculturalism you find in Berlin, I’m more at home in laid-back Munich (however, it’s unfair to play favourites with either of these great German cities, if you ask me). The juxtaposition of high-tech with traditionalism that you find in Munich is such an interesting contrast. I really love it!

Traditional breakfast in Munich is a must, if you ask me. I’d read a fair bit about it before our visit, but I was still skeptical before we went. When we woke up a little groggy from a few too many steins the night before, I really wasn’t sure I was up for it. Luckily Munich is pretty compact so even though we needed to get an early start, it didn’t take too long to get from our hotel near the Englischer Garten to the city center. & I’m so glad we didn’t end up skipping it. It wound up being one of my favourite memories from the city.

So what exactly is a traditional Bavarian Breakfast? Most people we told about it were not into the idea of starting their day with beer & sausage, & I was honestly pretty skeptical, but it actually really works. & once you’re there among locals, who are ordering the same with their morning paper, it seems totally normal. The wheat beer (weissbier) is quite refreshing. I read a lot of reviews about where to go & we settled on Schneider Bräuhaus for our Weisswurst Frühstück. Breakfast included the beer, boiled sausages served with loads of sweet mustard, and freshly baked pretzels. The sausages come in pairs & are served in a pot of hot water to keep them warm. You’re supposed to remove the skin by cutting the sausage lengthwise and then roll the meat from the skin with a fork (apparently eating the casing gives you away as a tourist, not that we were fooling anyone).

Traditional Bavarian Breakfast

The sausages arrive in hot water to keep them warm.

Traditional Bavarian Breakfast

Beer, Pretzels, Sausage, & Mustard. Don’t knock it til you try it.

Last time I was in Munich, I didn’t quite have the funds for a dirndl, the traditional Bavarian dress for women. I’ve often thought about how I should have just gone for it since then though, so I was resolved to buy one this time around. I looked up a few tracht stores in the city center beforehand & we found one that seemed to have reasonably priced dirndls. It was fun to try all the different patterns & combinations on. I found one I really love & wore it out that night. You certainly don’t need one to enjoy the beer gardens or other Bavarian traditions, but I love mine & got so many compliments on it all night in the beer halls!

Traditional Bavarian Tracht

In my dirndl at the
Hofbräuhaus

Beer Gardens

They’re everywhere in Munich &, for us at least, an essential part of any stay in the area. They’re all a little different, but most of my favourites have a great outdoor space. I think what really makes the Bavarian Beer Garden so special is the seating. Don’t expect to have a table all to yourself. Half the fun is making friends with the other people at your table.

We went to quite a few biergartens over the course of our stay. On our first night, we headed over to one of my personal favourites: Augustiner-Keller. We started in the restaurant for dinner with my brother & his girlfriend before heading over to the biergarten for another stein. Even my brother’s girlfriend ordered a 1L stein, & she’s not usually a big beer drinker. There’s something contagious in that atmosphere, whether it’s the garden setting, the twinkling overhead lights, or the sounds of other parties enjoying the warm summer air. The beer at Augustiner also has a great reputation, combined with its central location & charming garden, it’s a busy favourite for many.

Augustiner-Keller

My brother & his girlfriend

Augustiner-Keller

N & I

Augustiner-Keller

Augustiner-Keller

Beer Gardens

Another favourite of mine is the beer garden at the Viktualienmarkt. It’s mostly self-service, so you’ll definitely find yourself cosying up to other groups, especially during prime market hours. I love this aspect of it. I’m a sucker for a market, so the opportunity to gather a variety of lunch options before finding a table & grabbing a couple steins is my idea of the perfect afternoon. A unique feature of this particular beer garden is the beer itself. Every six weeks, a different beer from one of Munich’s famous breweries is served on tap. They alternate through Augustiner, Hacker-Pschorr, Löwenbräu, Hofbräu, Paulaner and Spaten.

Viktualienmarkt

Viktualienmarkt

Viktualienmarkt

Lunch & Steins at the Viktualienmarkt biergarden

Viktualienmarkt

Crowded Saturday in the biergardens

Viktualienmarkt

Tables of new friends & old friends

Viktualienmarkt

Rounding out my top picks is the biergarten at the Chinesischen Turm in the English Garden. No visit to Munich is complete without some time in this huge park, & I think the biergarten here is an equally worthwhile stop. Bands play beneath the huge wooden pagoda in the summer, & its proximity to the University draws in a younger crowd. On a sunny day, it’s the perfect spot for a break. We joined my parents here for a drink on Canada day, before continuing into the city center for dinner.

Chinesischer Turm

Chinesischer Turm beer garden

Chinesischer Turm

Chinesischer Turm

Prost!

Chinesischer Turm

Ready to ring in Canada Day, Munich Style

Food

As always, this is probably the most important piece of research for me when planning a trip. I essentially plan all my sightseeing around the food I want to eat, & Munich was, of course, no exception. I’ve already mentioned traditional Bavarian breakfast as a must, but there were definitely a few more gems during our stay.

Much like our previous stop, Bavarian food is pretty heavy. It’s definitely a style I personally love (there’s a reason why grandma’s food can be so comforting!). Expect big portions & lots of meat, although you can certainly find a diverse array of food from other cultures as well. I just gravitate to some of the more Bavarian options.

The restaurant at Augustiner-Keller is a great spot to sample some Bavarian specialties. N & I both went for the pork knuckle with potato dumpling & red cabbage. It is a huge serving, but it was so good that I would order it again in a heartbeat (& we did in fact during a stop over in a small German town during the cruise!)

Augustiner-Keller

Pork Knuckle at Augustiner-Keller

The following night, I had made a reservation for dinner at Spezlwirtschaft for dinner. They do a modern take on German comfort food. We shared a trio of cheese dips to start & then I went for the homemade käsespätzle topped with crispy fried onions (a regional version of mac & cheese which did not disappoint). Everything was delicious, the atmosphere was trendy & younger, & it was just down the street from our next stop: the infamous Hofbräuhaus.

Spezlwirtschaft

Trio of cheese dips

Spezlwirtschaft

Bavarian mac & cheese

Of course, no “gastronomic” tour of Munich would be complete without a stop at the Viktualienmarkt in the heart of the city center. It’s a pleasant place to stroll, pick up lunch, or find a table in the biergarden to enjoy a few steins. We stopped by on a Saturday & did exactly that, picking up an array of items from a few of the hundred or so vendors in the market before joining fellow beer lovers at one of the crowded tables.

Viktualienmarkt

Viktualienmarkt

One of the many many stalls

Viktualienmarkt

Always a sucker for a pickle at the market.

Viktualienmarkt

Finally, if you’re looking for one of the best sandwiches you’ll possibly ever eat, head over to Haxnbauer. You have two options when you enter, left for the restaurant (which I hear is also great, however, make a reservation & prepare to spend a fair bit) or right for your to go options. You’ll usually have two choices of grilled meats for your Haxensemmel, which is a ciabatta bun with the most tender & delicious sliced grilled meat & coleslaw. We ate ours outside at the Viktualienmarkt (under one of the tents as it was a rainy Sunday & the market had already closed for the day). It was perfect.

haxn

Haxn in the rain.

Wander

One of the best things about Munich, in my opinion, is its relatively compact center. It’s easy to spend the morning doing a free walking tour to get your bearings, grab lunch & explore the Viktualienmarkt, & then head up to the University & English Gardens for the afternoon. You’ll still have time to change into the dirndl you purchased earlier that day before dinner & drinks back in the center & hit the beer gardens or halls for a great night out. In fact, that’s exactly how we spent Canada Day on our trip.

Marienplatz

Marienplatz: touring the center

Munich

the Devil’s footprint

Munich Munich

Munich

Old City Gate

The different approaches to Holocaust memorials are most striking if you get the chance to visit both Munich & Berlin. Where in Berlin, the designs are meant to inspire reflection & are generally hard to miss, Munich has taken a much more conservative approach, in an attempt to avoid devaluing them. Neither of them is wrong, but I think it certainly showcases the huge different between both cities. In Munich, you will likely miss the two main memorials I’m aware of unless you’re looking for them. I believe the idea is that you’re meant to stumble upon them unexpectedly, in every day life, but I think it may be just as much a response to what is perceived to be an over the top memorialization in Berlin.

Both are interesting stops as you wander the city center. You’ll find the first in an alley near the Feldherrnhalle. When Hitler came to power, he installed a plaque in this square to commemorate the failed attempt to take over the city in the 1923 Beer Hall Putsch. Passersby were expected to perform a Nazi salute, however, opponents of this Regime would cut through the alley in order to avoid passing it. If caught, they were arrested. Today, you can follow their path along Viscardigasse (or Dodger’s Alley), memorialized in bronze cobblestones to commemorate their bravery in this act of passive resistance.

Munich Memorials

Dodger’s Alley Memorial

The second is up near the University, a great stop on your way to the English Gardens, & another floor memorial. These bronze pamphlets are meant to resemble those distributed by the White Rose Resistance & are dedicated to two key members, Hans & Sophie Scholl, who were subsequently caught & sentenced to death for denouncing Hitler & the Third Reich.

Munich Memorials

White Rose Memorial

Munich Memorials

Afterwards, grab a couple beers from a convenience store (drinking in public is allowed in Germany, & you’ll likely be thirsty from your walk) & head for the English Gardens. Head over the Eisbach, a small man made river where surfers have been catching waves since the 70s. It’s pretty cool to watch them surf for a while or if you happen to be there on a hot day, cool off with a dip in the river a little further down from the waves. As one of Europe’s biggest parks, you could easily spend an entire day wandering this park, stopping for food & drinks at the tea house or beer gardens, or packing your own picnic to enjoy.

English Garden

Park drinks

English Garden

Eisbach surfers

English Garden English Garden

This just barely scratches the surface for Munich. We easily filled two days with great food, drinks, & sights. It’s certainly a smaller scale than the sights of Berlin, but I think that might be what draws me to it. If you have some extra time to kill, we also enjoyed a rainy afternoon at the well designed BMW Museum, or you can get out of town & tour one of the many nearby castles.

Munich Olympic Stadium

Always a sucker for an Olympic Stadium

BMW Welt

BMW Welt

Still very much love my first car, a 1997 BMW that looked similar to this one.

BMW Welt BMW Welt

BMW Welt

Wouldn’t this be fun to drive?

This was the last stop on our Europe Beer Road Trip. My brother & his girlfriend were on a flight home to Calgary & the rest of us flew to our next stop: Copenhagen!

Pregnancy \\ Second Trimester Recap

Second Trimester Bumpdate

It’s hard to believe I’m in the third trimester of pregnancy. On the one hand, I feel like I found out I was pregnant in another lifetime. On the other, it feels like it was only just yesterday. Time is bizarre. It passes both so slowly & so quickly. I’ve continued to journal pretty often, which is pretty much the only reason a post like this is possible. There’s no way I’d remember many of these details otherwise. I’m so glad I’ve kept it up – I’ve always loved reading recaps like this.  Hope you enjoy this little second trimester recap!

Second Trimester

Weeks 13 to 28
Important Milestones
  • Week 13 – Jan 15, 2018: Nuchal Translucency/First Trimester Scan. N had to fly out that afternoon, so we got there early in hopes that N might get to see baby for the first time. It did seem to work, although they somehow didn’t have my bloodwork so we didn’t get any results. It was so cool to see how much babe had grown though & seemed to be flipping around & covering its face with its arms. So cool to see!
  • Week 14 – Jan 22, 2018: Calgary Midwife Collective appointment. First appointment with CMC. I met one of my two midwives, Jamie, & we got my file transferred. She also checked baby’s heart rate, which was still a pretty big novelty for me. It measured around 150 bpm.
  • Week 14 – Jan 23, 2018: Announced to both work & social media. I emailed a photo to the ladies in my department after telling my boss & it was fun to watch them figure it out. They were really excited & happy for us. We also got so many congratulations from social media, & a few surprise revelations as well.
  • Week 14 – Jan 25, 2018: We got the FTS report in the mail & even though I had talked to my GP earlier in the week & knew the results were fine, it was reassuring to see it in writing.
  • Week 18 – Feb 20, 2018: Felt some tiny baby movements for the first time! It was hard to know for sure at first since they’re pretty subtle in the beginning, but this was the first time I felt certain it was the baby.
  • Week 19 – Feb 26, 2018: Anatomy Scan. We were able to book a morning appointment this time so N didn’t have to rush off to the airport, which was nice. Baby looked much more human this time around, aside from its lack of body fat. Ten fingers, ten toes, a stubborn personality like its mom & dad. They weren’t able to get everything they needed, so I had to schedule another appointment (I ended up having two more to get it all). Heart rate was 144 & we got a CD of photos as a keepsake.
  • Week 26 – April 19, 2018: Glucose Test. Given my newfound love for all things carbs & sugar, I was a little worried about this Gestational Diabetes Test. The orange drank didn’t taste as bad as I expected, but made me feel a bit nauseous. It’s mostly just an odd consistency. Everything came back normal at my midwife appointment the following week, so I’m in the clear for GD, it seems!

 

Bachelorette party at 26 weeks

26 weeks

4 pregos go to a Baby Shower

It’s fun being pregnant with a bunch of friends!

Changes

It seems funny now to think about how felt like there were so many physical changes in my first trimester. The second was definitely filled with significantly more changes, especially in terms of baby bump. Mine really seemed to pop around the halfway point, but others really took notice while I was visiting N in California at 22 weeks. Now, at 28 weeks, it’s now impossible to deny I look pregnant, as expected.

22 weeks

22 weeks: visiting N in California was the first time others took notice of the bump.

Workout Gear Progress: 19 weeks & 26 weeks

Grey Dress Progressions: 21 weeks & 27 weeks

For the most part, I’m just incredibly fascinated by all the changes. It’s by far the strangest experience of my life. Seeing the baby grow with each checkup & feeling its kicks get stronger from week to week – it’s hard to put into words how magical it all seems. Baby is getting so active lately. I can see my stomach moving sometimes now. It’s all very strange.

Odin & Mom: 25 weeks

16 weeks, 19 weeks, & 27 weeks

Symptoms

The second trimester feels like a bit of a free pass in terms of symptoms. It took a bit longer than I expected for the exhausted phase to pass, but once my energy returned the whole pregnancy thing seemed pretty fun. There are definitely mild annoyances here & there, but overall I feel extremely fortunate to feel so good. I’ve had a really easy pregnancy so far, & I know that’s not the case for everyone so I’m feeling extra grateful.

Energy: My energy levels returned to mostly normal a few weeks into my second trimester. I still find I’m more tired than my pre-pregnancy self ever was, but I’m not accidentally dozing off at my desk every afternoon like I was in my first trimester.

Lower Back Pain: I’ve never really had back pain, & luckily it’s super mild. I can’t really complain too much. I’m loving my heating pad & find I’ve made extremely good use of the Runner’s Relief roller oils I’ve gotten for finishing the last two SeaWheeze runs. That Peppermint Halo is addictive!

Foot Pain: I haven’t had much real foot pain from running in years, but it seems to be back in this trimester. I first experienced it while training for my first half & ended up getting orthotics. They helped the issue to a point, & I got through training, but afterwards, I looked for some other solutions. I found strengthening my foot muscles really helped me to run pain free for the last 5 years. I think if I were more diligent about keeping up with those strengthening exercises now, it wouldn’t be as much of an issue for me, but I also think with all the other changes in my body, some discomfort is to be expected. Luckily, it’s pretty mild & I’m managing ok by wearing slightly more supportive shoes than my usual minimal choice. Overall, I’m happy to still get out for runs!

embarrassed Odin

Embarrassing Odin pre-workout

Leakage: This definitely falls under the category of things I never thought I’d share with an online community, but wish I’d been a bit more aware of before. So, TMI, but I’m sharing anyway. Buy some kind of pad/panty liner when you get pregnant. As things progresses, there’s significantly more going on & it’s just awkward otherwise. For you, for others, for your pants. It’s so much easier to swap out a liner than your pants.

I’m not usually very sneezy when I get sick, but I caught a cold in March & was sneezing excessively for about a week. Like upwards of 20 times a day. It was bizarre. & I was so grateful I’d started wearing liners. They come in handy when you’re not sick though too. The joys. 

Food: Aversions & Cravings

I’ve gotten better about eating more veggies in the second trimester, but I still primarily crave sugar, whether in the form of carbs or treats. I guess baby wants that quick energy! I’ve been loving anything with melted cheese, bread, cupcakes, & ice cream. Nutritious! I try to balance it out with veggie bowls or smoothies, but I try not to worry too much about it.

Excessive Ice Cream consumption continues

Decisions

As I mentioned in my First Trimester Recap, we decided to do the First Trimester Scan. This non-invasive scan combines an ultrasound with bloodwork to determine your baby’s risk for a few specific chromosomal issues. Depending on the results, more invasive testing may be warranted. While this test is just a screen & doesn’t guarantee these chromosomal issues are not present, it does help ease some of the worry, & is much less invasive than a diagnostic test like the CVS or amnio.

Due to a mix up with my bloodwork, I didn’t actually get my results at our ultrasound, like you’re supposed to, & had to redo my bloodwork. Our doctor also always says no news is good news, which I had a hard time with since I didn’t know for sure when she’d actually get my lab results (or if she’d get them at all given that they’d already screwed up once). I called a few days after & was told that everything looked good, but it was still a huge relief to get the results in the mail another few days later. Since our results showed a low risk, we decided not to do any further testing.

More bloodwork

This trimester we also started thinking about some fun things, or at least I think they’re fun! My mom & my best friend are planning a baby shower for me in June, so I got to make a few decisions about that before they took over planning. I’m excited to see what they’ve got up their sleeves.

I also spent a significant amount of time researching baby items. There is so much stuff out there. I’ve mostly decided to start with a lot of good quality basics & go from there. It seems like there are many “nice to have” things that take up a lot of space & are only useful for a short time. I’m trying to avoid those.

baby box

Odin approves of free baby items

Favourite Part of the Trimester

Feeling kicks & movement scores high on the list here. It’s reassuring and wonderful, while also being the strangest thing I’ve ever experienced, especially as their strength & frequency has increased.

I’ve also loved getting to a stage where I had a real bump & didn’t just look like I’d been eating too many crave cupcakes (although I 100% have been. Cravalicious if you’re wondering.)  I seem to be in a bit of a sweet spot where my bump still looks mostly cute & I don’t feel too huge yet, so I’m trying to embrace that before things get uncomfortable. I’m so glad the weather has been warmer & I can wear more dresses. I’ve just never really been a pants girl. 

H & A baby bumps

H is due 3 weeks after me. It’s so great having a close friend pregnant at the same time as you.

27 weeks & 5 days

27 weeks & 5 days

Least Favourite Part of the Trimester

The unwanted advice or negative comments. This hasn’t been terrible, but I knew it was going to be my least favourite part & they definitely ramped up once we announced I was pregnant. There are so many comments about why you aren’t ready or how big you’re getting. I mostly just try smile & shrug, but it definitely gets on my nerves. No, our nursery isn’t ready. Yes, we’ve decided on a stroller, but we don’t have it yet. Yes, I know babies come early sometimes. No, I’m not worrying about the possibility of going into labour during our road trip. & no I’m not going to entertain your questions about my weight gain, size, diet, etc. Sorry (not sorry)!

Bumpin in SFO at 22 weeks

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed getting a little insight into this stage of pregnancy. Thanks to Cassy Joy from Fed + Fit for the great idea – I so loved following along with her recaps. You can expect a final recap for my 3rd trimester (& maybe the 4th?) & I swear I’m still working on many non-pregnancy posts as well. As usual, I have far too much to write about & not nearly as much time to do it as I’d like.

xo,

A

Poutine with Purpose

Poutine Week 2018

Oh My Curd – my favourite food week is upon us! Lucky for me, I’ve already had my stretchy pants on for weeks. Talk about perfect timing to be pregnant! If you follow me on social media, you may have noticed a lot of posts about poutine; I’m an official Poutine Pusher for #PoutineWeekYYC again this year!

Calgary’s Poutine Week is the seven days of the year you can eat poutine guilt-free! Why?  Every poutine sold at participating restaurants provides a meal to a youth in need thanks to Mealshare YYC! Last year, 8,000 poutines were sold over the course of the week, providing 8,000 meals to those in need. We’re looking to break that record for 2018, & with 85 amazing restaurants participating in the cause, we have high hopes!

It’s easy to get involved:

  1. Find a restaurant or poutine you want to try at poutinewithpurpose.com
  2. Eat poutine.
  3. Provide a meal to youth in need
  4. Tell everyone!

This week, I tested 5 of those 85 poutines. If you need some help narrowing down the list, here are my thoughts on the five poutines I tried.

Calcutta Cricket Club

I’d been meaning to get to Calcutta Cricket Club since they opened, so when I saw them on the list, they were my first pick. I’d been hearing rave reviews about this 17th ave spot since they opened this summer.

CCC has two options on the menu this week. Both include curry in place of the usual gravy, either butter masala or fenugreek-cream. As I think you’d expect from a Indian-inspired poutines, they’re spicy & full of flavour. The fries are seasoned with Kashmiri spices & would stand up on their own as a fantastic snack over cocktails. I’ve been obsessed with fenugreek lately, so I immediately feel in love with the fenugreek-cream curry. It’s to die for! & the Butter Masala has a hint of that Butter Chicken flavour that’s so popular, but stands on it’s own. To top it all off, they brought in some seriously legitimate cheese curds. (Honestly, these were the most authentic curds I tasted all week – the squeak!) They didn’t cut any corners with these dishes & it showed in each beautifully executed component.

Calcutta Cricket Club

Calcutta Cricket Club

If you like spicy Indian flavours, I think you’ll be hard pressed to find a better poutine option this week. I couldn’t get enough of either option & definitely struggled to put down my fork. My only regret is not asking to take the leftovers home with me.

On top of the delicious food, both the ambience & service are spot on. I’m already planning my next visit – I think I need to try the rest of the sharing-friendly menu, & hopefully enjoy one of their fantastic-sounding cocktails post-baby.

Calcutta Cricket Club

Butter Masala Poutine

Calcutta Cricket Club

Fenugreek – Cream Poutine

Calcutta Cricket Club

Wine Bar Kensington

My next stop was Wine Bar Kensington, a hidden gem & sister restaurant to Brasserie & Container Bar. I think Brasserie is one of the best kept secrets in the city, & my personal go-to spot for fantastic brunch without a wait. Now that I’ve given away my personal brunch secrets, let’s talk about the Not-So-Traditional Poutine from @winebarkensi .

Featuring duck gravy, pickle-brined shoestring fries, Alberta cheese curds, chives, radishes, & a lovely side of house-made pickles, it’s delicious. I thought this one was the perfect combination of rich, comforting, & flavourful, all while not putting me into a total food coma.

Winebar Kensington

Poutine Prep

Winebar Kensington

Their intimate downstairs space is perfect for a date night, or catching up with some girlfriends over wine & cheese (or poutine!)

Winebar Kensington

the Not-So-Traditional Poutine

I’m honestly not usually a fan of shoestring fries, but they worked so well here. The dish comes with the gravy on the bottom, so the chef suggested I mix the shoestring fries into it. I think this is the key to the success of the shoestring fries as they don’t get soggy from having the gravy on them from the start. The chives & radishes serve to balance the richness of the duck gravy, which is exactly what the dish needs. I’m always a sucker for a side of pickles, especially when they’re as delicious as Wine Bar’s, so they were the perfect accompaniment to a well-executed poutine.

Cleaver

Third on my personal poutine week tour was Cleaver. My friend, Heather, joined me for dinner Friday evening & we started the evening with their AMASIAN duck & pickle poutine.

This one has a lot going on, in all the right ways: double dipped duck fat fries with confit duck leg, topped with teriyaki gravy, pickled zucchini, pickled onion, Gochujang aioli, & Montreal cheese curds.

Cleaver

AMASIAN duck & pickle poutine

Cleaver

The promise of pickles, duck, & Gochujang were what immediately drew me to this one when I saw it on the roster. Despite these heavy hitting flavours, it’s somehow both balanced & complex. We both really enjoyed each varied bite. & I even learned something new, pickled zucchini is delicious! Before tasting this one, I was a bit worried it might have too many competing elements, but they all really worked together.

During our meal, our server shared a fun fact about how they landed on this particular poutine as their entry for the competition. They held an in-house competition amongst their staff a few weeks ago & it came out on top! How’s that for an ingenious way to come up with a creative new dish?

Royale

After a weekend of bachelorette activities, my best friend & I decided to grab a late lunch at Royale on Sunday. If you haven’t been since this space was Melrose, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how bright, open, & beautiful it is inside. It’s the perfect spot for a boozy brunch with girlfriends or a romantic date night. The service was friendly & welcoming & we never once felt rushed. It was a beautiful spot for a lazy afternoon catch up.

Royale YYC

The gorgeous bar at Royale

Royale YYC

I love this beautiful mirror & the giant skylight . Such a pretty spot.

The menu at Royale is French-inspired, so they went with some pretty classic flavours: duck leg con fit, cheese curds, & pan gravy. This is not a poutine for the faint of heart; it’s huge! If you’re not the biggest duck lover, I would probably advise trying a different poutine this week. This is a true homage to the bird. There is so much rich, duck flavour in every bite. Even with two of us, we couldn’t get halfway through this one. Bring friends. Order some fun drinks. Sample a couple other things from their delicious menu. That’s how I would do it. 😉

Royale YYC

I’m not sure if the photos truly do the size of this thing justice.

Royale YYC

It’s massive!

Royale YYC

4th Spot

My last stop is a neighbourhood favourite. I made a reservation for lunch at 4th Spot this week, hoping the weather would cooperate & I could walk over with Odin & enjoy their patio. I couldn’t have planned it any better. We had the perfect day. I found a quiet spot at the edge of the patio in the sun, where I could pay attention to the doggo while enjoying my lunch. I think he might have stolen the show for everyone else on that patio though, with that adorable mug. He has a real knack for winning people over.

4th Spot YYC

My patio poutine partner in crime.

On to the poutine, though! This was another monster serving. 4th Spot is doing a BBQ Burnt Ends Poutine this week. Their hand cut kennebec fries are topped with Quebec cheese curds, brisket burnt ends, crispy jalapeños, crispy onion strings, & covered in homemade gravy & BBQ sauce drizzle.

4th Spot YYC

BBQ Burnt Ends Poutine

4th Spot YYC 4th Spot YYC

My favourite part of this poutine was the crispy jalapeños. I could not finish this one, but I made sure to eat every last jalapeño. They were battered & fried, & so addictive. All of the flavours are fantastic, but it is very heavy. I was glad to have a walk home afterwards! If I didn’t love the crispiness of the jalapeños so much, I might suggest they be fresh, just to offer a counterbalance to the heaviness. Then again, poutine is supposed to be heavy, so I can’t hold that against it.

After a week of sampling poutines, I’d like to be able to say that my cheese cravings are satisfied, but pregnancy doesn’t seem to care that I’ve consumed enough to last me a few weeks. I am looking forward to some lighter meals over the next week, but with so many delicious options out there still, I’m having a hard time not finding an excuse to grab another Mealshare poutine. It’s for a good cause, right?

As always, thanks to Karen for organizing this amazing event & thinking of me again this year. I always love being part of Poutine Week, & the fact that it’s turned into such a great opportunity to give back to our community, with the help of Mealshare, may just be the best part. Thank you also to all the restaurants who hosted me & were so open to chatting about their creations this week – you guys have been so awesome & accommodating! I can’t wait to find out who are overall winner is!

Happy Poutine Week, friends!

(I unfortunately had to miss my favourite event of poutine week – the Gravy Bowl – which was a huge success! Anju took home first place in the competition this year. Congrats to Roy & his awesome team! Find my previous year’s posts here, including my first Poutine Crawl experience way back in 2014! I can’t believe this is my 5th year of poutine-ing!)

Pregnancy \\ First Trimester Recap

I’ve been meaning to do a first trimester recap since we announced we were pregnant. I love reading pregnancy recaps, especially now, & hearing about how things went for different women. Every pregnancy is so different & it’s so fascinating!

I’ve been keeping track of my thoughts & feelings in both my bullet journal & on the Nurture App, although I’ve fallen away from the app more recently. I’d still much prefer to write things down than log them on my phone.

In order to keep some sort of order to my thoughts, I’m going to answer the same questions for all three recaps. If you’re curious about something, leave me a comment or send me a message. If I’m getting a lot of the same questions, I’ll think about adding an FAQ or something. Let’s get into it though!

First Trimester

Weeks 1 to 13
Important Milestones
  • Week 3.6 – Nov 11, 2017: Positive test result on a home pregnancy test! As I mentioned in our announcement post, N was down in California so I told him over skype. This would have been the first day of my cycle & I’d held off taking a test as long as I could. I felt like I’d been on an emotional rollercoaster all week (think crying on the bus listening to TAL) so I had a strong suspicions that the test would come back positive, but I still had butterflies as I waiting for the result.
  • Week 9 – Dec 18, 2017: Dating Ultrasound. We weren’t originally going to have this ultrasound, but when I booked our 14 week one, they suggested I do it. It was so cool (& such a relief) to see the little heartbeat on the monitor.
  • Weeks 9 – 12 – Dec 2017: We started telling people just before my dating ultrasound. We told our parents the weekend before & let friends figure it out as they noticed me not drinking at various Christmas parties.
  • Week 12 – Jan 8, 2018: First appointment with the Low Risk Maternity Group my doctor referred me to. I didn’t really know what to expect from this appointment, but it was great. We went through medical history with the nurse and then she found baby’s heartbeat (152, if you’re curious). I wasn’t expecting it to work since my GP hadn’t been successful the week before so it was the best surprise!
  • Week 12 – Jan 8, 2018: The day got even better when I got an email from a Midwife group about setting up an initial appointment for mid-January. I had applied as soon as we’d found out we were pregnant, but hadn’t heard back yet. They’re in high demand here. We still plan to deliver in a hospital.

A very high quality photo of our dating ultrasound photo

Changes

Unsurprisingly, I took a lot of photos of myself throughout the first trimester. I felt  silly taking them at first, but they’re really nice to have now. I wouldn’t have thought there was much change otherwise, especially in those first couple months. I wasn’t showing, by any stretch of the imagination, but when you compare photos, it’s easier to notice slight changes. I also thought it might be nice for N to have these photos, since he isn’t here most of the time.

Of course, I feel like I progressively filled out everywhere, but the most remarkable changes were in my midsection & boobs. The only word I can think of to describe my torso is “thicker”. Although that seems like a negative description, I don’t mean it that way at all.

As things progress, I’m more & more fascinated by all the changes my body is going through. Towards the end of the first trimester, I found it became increasingly frustrating to find things to wear. & since I hadn’t told my boss yet, I was trying to keep anyone from guessing I was pregnant. It really amplified my perception of how different I looked.

Subtle changes from 4 weeks, 6 weeks, & 12 weeks

Symptoms

I feel pretty lucky to have experienced very mild nausea in those first months. Mostly, I’d just feel off. It seems funny that everyone refers to it as morning sickness – I felt nauseous maybe twice in the morning. If I did feel slightly nauseous, it was most likely in the afternoon or before bed.

The biggest change for me was how much sleep I felt I needed. I was exhausted! I’m used to feeling great after 6 or 7 hours of sleep, but found myself needing at least 8 hours to even function. I also unintentionally napped all the time. I’d literally fall asleep sitting up. I found it frustrating – I just wanted to go to my usual early morning workouts or make it through the day without falling asleep. I’ve finally gotten some energy back now, but it was a tough adjustment for this night owl.

As for food aversions & cravings, my likes & dislikes have shifted significantly. I usually reach for salty snacks over sweets, but I’ve been loving the sweets since day one. I also crave melted cheese in all forms: pizza, nachos, grilled cheese, all the really healthy stuff. Surprisingly, the hardest thing for me has been vegetables. I have a bit of an aversion to them, which is so bizarre since I love veggies! I’ve been tricking myself into eating them by hiding them in smoothies & making delicious veggie bowls (with lots of sauce). In general, I’m reaching for bland carbs (bread, potatoes), cheese, & protein. It has certainly not been my most nutritious few months, but I’m trying not to overthink it too much.

Decisions

We haven’t had to make a lot of decisions yet, however, we did decide to do a First Trimester Scan. I’ll talk more about it in my Second Trimester Recap though since I did mine pretty late in order to accomodate N’s schedule.

As I mentioned above, we also decided to go with a midwife practice. I think the decision to go this route, or not, is extremely personal. For me, I like the more personal feel of my appointments & that I will meet both of the two potential midwives who will be there at my delivery. With the maternity group, there were 17 possible doctors, so the likelihood of meeting the one who would be on call was pretty slim. This midwife practice also does three at-home visits after delivery, in addition to the usual check-ups in their clinic. There are many factors that go into this decision, & I don’t think there is a right answer. This is what I decided was best for us.

Although we’re going the midwife route, I am still planning to deliver in a hospital. Again, this is an extremely personal decision, & everyone should do what they feel most comfortable with. I wanted the reassurance that we were in a facility designed to handle a scary complication (heaven forbid). I know there are great birthing centers, & have many friends who have gone that route, but I think this is the best decision for us.

Favourite Part of the Trimester

Telling friends & family! It was so honestly so fun. My two best friends knew as soon as I did, but otherwise, we kept it a secret until 9 weeks in. We had two Christmas events with friends where we let them figure it out & I won’t forget their reactions any time soon. There was so much excitement from everyone we told – it was so heartwarming to see how loved this baby will be.

Christmas gifts

First little onesie gift, & my fav Montreal bagels & a new book. <3

Least Favourite Part of the Trimester

The exhaustion! I’d heard it could be bad, but I still wasn’t expecting it to hit me quite as hard as it did. It was so frustrating.

I hope you’ve enjoyed getting a little insight into my first few months of pregnancy. Thanks to Cassy Joy from Fed + Fit for the great idea – I so loved following along with her recaps. You can expect another recap for my 2nd & 3rd trimesters, but I promise there will be non-pregnancy posts in the mix as well if that’s just not your thing.

xo,

A

Travel \\ Berlin to Prague Road Trip

For our travel between Berlin, Prague, & Munich this summer, my dad had rented a vehicle. While I love train travel, one of the perks of a road trip is the ability to stop wherever you’d like. We decided to make the most of this, & scheduled a few extra sights along the way. The first of these was Weesenstein Castle, just south of Dresden.

Halfway between Berlin & Prague, it was the perfect spot to stop for lunch & stretch our legs. This impressive castle features beautiful gardens, medieval rooms, & a microbrewery. Due to construction delays on the trip down, food was our top priority, so we headed straight to a cute little restaurant at the base of the castle. They had a lovely patio out back, which we took advantage of. They didn’t have English menus, but our server did a great job of translating for us, despite feeling her English wasn’t very good. (She spoke very well, in reality. & none of us speak German very well, so we couldn’t have been more grateful for the help!)

weesenstein

adorable town across the river

weesenstein

the castle

weesenstein

patio beers

weesenstein

lunch!

weesenstein

I love these homes

weesenstein

After lunch, we wandered up the hill to the castle. Since we’d arrived in the early afternoon, we essentially had the whole place to ourselves. The only downside to driving was that we’d already had beer with lunch, so we didn’t try any from the microbrewery. If you make a stop, save yourself some time to sample them! It’s a very cool spot.

weesenstein weesenstein

weesenstein

Built right into the rock

weesenstein

weesenstein

Beautiful gardens & surrounding forest

weesenstein

weesenstein

Copper tanks & bottles

weesenstein

Microbrewery

The grounds are small enough to tour in under an hour, making it the perfect spot to stop mid roadtrip. Feeling refreshed, we were ready to get back in the car & hit the road for Prague!

October in Instagram

It’s winter. A week into November & winter has hit us full force. Last week, it snowed for a few days & with temperatures sticking in the -15C range, it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. It almost seems like I was playing fetch on the beach with Odin & N in a different life. Was I really living in California a month ago? Anyway, here’s what we got up to in October according to Instagram.

Oct 2017 IG

  1. I still can’t get over this perfect little town. Carmel, & the Happy Landing Inn, might have been a dream. The view out the front door of our suite made me so happy.
  2. A final visit to my favourite Bay Area brewery: Fieldwork. Odin, N, & I spent many happy afternoons on their patio. Their beers are fantastic & it’s the most dog friendly spot in the Bay. I can’t recommend it enough (& their shirts & hoodies are SO soft. I may have a little collection…).
  3. A lot of my time in the Bay Area was spent seeking out a view. There are no shortage of amazing ones in the area. This one, from Ina Coolbrith Park, on Russian Hill is definitely worth the steep trek up Vallejo Street.
  4. Back in Canada! My mom & I drove from California to BC in two days so we could spent the weekend at the lake. Fall walks with this view are good for my soul, I think (& Odin loves running free up here too).
  5. The boys playing on Stinson Beach. Odin loved running free at the beaches in California. This was the most time Nathan’s ever spent with our pup, uninterrupted. I love watching them together & am so grateful we got the chance to spend a couple months together in Richmond.
  6. Castle Mountain guiding me home. I always know we’re almost there when I see this view.
  7. My Finnish wool socks are already coming in handy, & I can never get enough puppy cuddles.
  8. Our friends decided to do a house crawl this year for Halloween, which was a really fun idea. There were three stops, each with a signature cocktail & some snacks. We got hit with some nasty weather on our way to the final house, but it was still such a fun evening.
  9. Odin’s day care, Pawsitively Pooched, had an open house to show off the renovations to the facility & he got the chance to go for a little swim. He was a little skittish getting in, but once he was wet he had a blast. I think he’d fetch all day if he could!

Follow along with more of our adventures on instagram @whoalansi.

#metoo

Prison

In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein allegations & this #metoo movement flooding my social media feeds, I’ve done a lot of thinking. None of it is overly original or groundbreaking, but I wanted to share a little nonetheless.

Like so many, I posted a #metoo status a couple weeks ago without elaborating on the who or the why or the what. I posted only these two simple words to my social media. I had a few reasons for this, & I wanted to talk a little bit about them.

Let me start my saying, I don’t think I or anyone else needs to shed light on any of the reasons for posting this status. In some ways, there are too many uncomfortable examples of misogyny, harassment, & worse, abuse, in every woman I know’s life. We’ve all felt threatened at some point. We’ve all had to think of a possible terrible outcome that many men are lucky to have never considered. That’s the everyday reality for women. I don’t feel that I need to highlight examples of this in my own life, & I don’t want to validate them by doing so. So I didn’t.

The bigger reason I hesitated to post anything though is that it didn’t feel bad enough. I lead a fantastic life. I’m extremely lucky & immeasurably privileged. I know many women who have suffered so much, & I don’t feel that I have. So at first, I felt silly posting anything at all. How many times have we heard that in the last few weeks? How many times have we to listened to someone downplaying the harassment they’ve faced, because “it really could be a whole lot worse”? But that’s what we do. That’s what society has honestly taught so many of us. It’s not that bad. Others have it worse. Maybe it’s even partially a coping mechanism. I don’t know.

Talking about these things and shedding light on the problem doesn’t take away from anything that’s happened to someone else. It doesn’t make it less. Truthfully, I think it raises more awareness about what is ok & what isn’t.

We’re all stronger together. & I hope someday I’m not still having this conversation with my children. I’m leaving this post with more questions than answers, but also with the hope that by starting a conversation, we’re heading in the right direction.

the final week

Here I am again, feeling the familiar mix of emotions I experience every time I’m about to head home. On the one hand, I love my home. Alberta is an amazing province, full of my favourite people. On the other hand, I’m sad to say goodbye to this place I’ve come to know over the last couple months. It’s a little bittersweet.

I’ve lived in several different cities in my 32 years, & I’ve loved them all in different ways. The funny thing about California is I didn’t expect to feel at home here. I really didn’t. Maybe that’s strange to some people, but I never once considered the US as somewhere I’d live. Nothing against American or the US in general – I have plenty of perfectly lovely American friends & I’ve spent time in many great cities in this country. I just never expected to feel this way about the US, especially in light of recent politics.

But here I am, absolutely loving California, & feeling a bit silly. I mean, what’s not to love? Beautiful weather, decadent dining options, & an impressive array of sights. Add a healthy dose of the loveliest people, & you’ve got the recipe that makes this place so enchanting. Honestly, Californians are wonderful.

I thought two months would feel like a long time, but it truly flew by. & with good reason – we did A LOT. We tried to cram as much into my stay as time would allow. I think we did a pretty good job, & if you look at my Instagram from the last couple months, I think it will tell that same story. Here are a few of my favourite moments from this September, according to my IG feed.

Sept 2017 IG

  1. N’s sister came down to visit with her boyfriend & we had the best week showing them around SF & the area. We saw the Giants win a baseball game, rode cable cars, wine tasted our way through Sonoma, biked the Golden Gate bridge, saw SF from the ferry, & toured the East Bay.
  2. Bagel stop at Beauty’s with N on a lazy Saturday in Oakland. I’ve barely put a dent in my restaurant list for the East Bay, never mind SF. There are some seriously incredible places to eat here!
  3. We witnessed another win for the home team at the Cal State vs Ole Miss game. They weren’t expected to bring home a win, so it was especially exciting.
  4. Exploring pockets of Berkeley with the Path Wanderers Association one evening. Such a cool way to see the city.
  5. The boys enjoying an afternoon at Muir Beach. Odin loves going to the beach & chasing his dad around, & we love watching how happy it makes him.
  6. I’ve been going to November Project SF for the last month & it’s been so fun getting to know this tribe, especially my friends in the East Bay.
  7. The view from Alcatraz is so cool. We had a great time exploring the island & touring the prison.
  8. N’s coworker sent us home with an amazing bounty of fresh produce from his garden. This is just one small example of the generosity we’ve experienced down here.
  9. We spent part of our last weekend in Carmel, touring around Big Sur. It’s an incredible place. We loved it so much, we stayed an extra night. We just weren’t ready to leave.

SeaWheeze 2017

SeaWheeze 2017

As you well know at this point, I was one of the lucky 10,000 people to score tickets to this year’s SeaWheeze Half Marathon. This race is by far the fastest selling I’ve ever run. The morning tickets go on sale is always a bit stressful, & there’s always a little drama afterwards. This year was no exception.

Fortunately, I actually had a lot of friends score tickets this year, which made it really fun to share in the excitement surrounding the whole weekend. Half the race is about Lululemon (the swag, the gear, the festival that follows the race…) & the other half is about the actual run. I understand that gear is more of a factor for many people who sign up, but even as a huge lulu fan myself, it’s a little much for me.

Last year, I opted to wait in the crazy line for exclusive SeaWheeze gear, available only to registered runners. This year, I was still in Vernon, BC when the store opened & missed a lot of the pre-Wheeze stuff. I just wasn’t willing to spend the extra time & money to be in Vancouver for an extra day. Instead, I met up with my friend Zoe at the expo, did a quick lap, grabbed my race package, & headed to our hostel to drop my bags.

SeaWheeze Expo

The only photo I took at the expo

We then decided food was more important than anything else & headed to my favourite sushi spot in Van, Kadoya, where we fueled up for the run with an obscene amount of sushi & a pitcher of beer. Not exactly your optimal pre-race meal.  I was going into this race injured though so I figured I couldn’t really do much more harm. Expectations were low.

Kadoya Sushi

We really did order a pitcher

Kadoya Sushi

My sushi rolls (just mine). Salmon Sashimi not pictured.

Zo & I are both members of November Project in our respective cities so when NP Van announced they were doing a pre-race Crate Escape, we knew we had to go. I’m so glad we did. It’s such a cool event! We both figured we might not have the opportunity to attend another one (although, I did manage to make it to SF’s last week!).

Crate Escape is a travelling storytelling series,  hosted in different NP cities all over the world. They’re usually in the evening so it’s a great intro to NP if you’re not sure you’re ready to take that early morning plunge.

NP Van Crate Escape

Richard starting off Crate Escape!

The next morning came pretty early. We’d laid out all our stuff for the race so we wouldn’t wake our dorm mates, but I still felt pretty guilty. They’d both had late nights. Last year, there were four of us so we could turn on the lights without fear of being terrible roommates, but this year it was just the two of us. Everyone else stayed in more adult accommodations. We’re cheap. It works. (Although we discussed that we may need to spring for a hotel room next year.) The kitchen only opened at 6 am, which was just early enough for us to quickly devour the food we’d picked up the night before & walk to the race.

Walking to the start line is always such a fun experience, as you run into different people running it as well. Generally, no one else is out wandering the streets that early except the participants & their cheering section. We got there early enough to check our gear & got in line for the port-o-potties. That lasted all of 10 seconds before we decided to try the Fairmont Pacific Rim. Best. Decision. Ever. There was a line at the main floor washrooms, but a helpful concierge told us to head upstairs & use the conference washrooms. Swankiest pre-race pee of my life. We obviously took a lot of selfies.

Pac Rim Bathroom Selfies

Swanky Pre-Race Pee at the Pac Rim

Happy dance!

Happy Dance! Zo just straight laughing at me, but she actually felt so happy too.

We decided to pass this tip on to a few of the ladies in the port-o-potty line before heading to the corrals, where we easily found a few of our November Project friends. I can only assume it was the good karma from our washroom tip off & not the fact that Brogan is easily the tallest & loudest person I’ve ever met. 😉 (I mean that in the best way possible. It was super cool to meet one of the founders of November Project!)

Pre-race selfie

Pre-race selfie

SeaWheeze Startline

SeaWheeze Startline

Bright Brogan

As you can see, it would be really hard to spot Brogan in a crowd…

NP Crew

NP YYC Co-leader Kyle is ready to race!

SeaWheeze Start

Our corral heading out from the start

We seeded ourselves in the second corral with our friends & the 2 hour pace beavers. I was thinking this might be a bit fast for me considering my lack of training, but I went for it anyway. Zoe wanted to break 2 hours for the first time. Meanwhile, I was telling myself I needed to be happy just to finish. (Fat chance! I’m far too competitive to be happy with that!)

The start itself is always such a rush- you’re running with so many other people, everyone still feels great, there’s a crazy energy! Looking back, we took it out pretty fast. The weather was perfect for running & we were clearly feeling good. I swear sea level does wonders when you’re used to training at altitude. Thanks, Calgary. (Or maybe sushi &  beer is just the perfect pre-race meal?)

Go!

Off we go!

First Cheer Station

First Cheer Station

Zoe & I were chatting on & off, enjoying the run, when we hit the Burrard Street Bridge. Zo wanted to stick to the inside, which was separated from runners making their way back across the bridge (already?! SO FAST!) by a line of traffic cones. As I was enjoying the view from the bridge, my foot caught on a piece of unmarked cone & I went down pretty hard. Luckily, I bounced back up pretty quick, but I’d scratched my dad’s Go Pro (that I was holding), ripped a hole in my new lulus, & scraped my hand pretty badly. The GU Gel in my pocked had also exploded down the side of my pants, so my other hand was a sticky mess from this discovery. Zo asked me if I wanted to stop at a first aid tent, but that was the last thing I wanted. This sounds pretty stupid in hindsight, but I was more concerned with how much time it would add to my race. There was a water station as soon as we got off the bridge where I managed to clean off my hands a bit & keep going.

I somehow managed to keep up with Zoe’s awesome pace until halfway up the bridge on the way back. I was still trying to decide how much damage running would do to my already injured knee so I opted not to push to catch up & ran my own race.

Go Zo

Sorry my SeaWheeze posts are always of your butt.

Go Zo

Go Zo Go! This is about where I lost her.

My fall ended up being a bit of a blessing though as it distracted me from the pain of the actual run. At one point, I was toying with the idea of stopping, thinking I was at 10 km & couldn’t run another 10+. I checked my phone for the first time in the race & was actually at almost 15 km! I’d zoned out for a solid 5 km. It was just the push I needed to keep going.

Fire Cheer

Fire Fighters are a pretty good distraction too

Sea Wall

The whole course is gorgeous, but I especially love the sea wall

YVR Sea Wall

This race was full of firsts for me, actually. First time not checking my phone or watch for my pace, first time not walking except at water stations, first time not doing an insane sprint to the finish, first time not checking the clock at the finish.

So many great cheer stations!

These Go Pro captures honestly don’t do it justice

Amazing!

Let’s talk about that last point. I always know my finishing time. Always. This year, I crossed that finish line in a half sprint, assumed I’d run around a 2:15 or a 2:20 & went to find Zoe. When I found her, I immediately asked if she broke 2 hours & she said she did. I couldn’t have been happier for her! I gave her the biggest sweatiest hug I could muster.

At this point, I still hadn’t thought of looking at my time. As we walked up the ramp collecting your various swag, I texted friends & family to tell them about the fall (& the race, I guess). We ate breakfast, I got first aid, & I still hadn’t checked. It wasn’t until Zoe looked up her official time that I thought to check mine. I couldn’t even get it to work so it was her who told me I’d officially ran a 2:02. A 2:02?! What?! I guess there’s something to be said for experience.

Race Finish Line

Race Finish Line

DONE

DONE!

SeaWheeze Injury

Burrard Street Bridge Injury

Amazing Lululemon

Lululemon seriously made my day by replacing the pants that I ripped with some limited edition SeaWheeze ones. THANK YOU!

I couldn’t be happier with my run this year. It was definitely an unforgettable experience, & that’s saying a lot coming from someone who got engaged at the end of a race once. Mostly, I’m in awe of what our bodies are capable of. I’m so proud of my body for accomplishing what it did. I truly didn’t do anything to help it out, besides having run several half marathons in my life. So way to go, body! You’re pretty incredible.

That’s it for my 2017 SeaWheeze Race Recap. Writing this post has me excited for SeaWheeze 2018 again – I know I’ll try to register again. Sorry, Future Alanna.

I also ran with my dad’s Go Pro. Unfortunately, I just carried it so all of my footage is terribly shaky. Until I edit it better, I created a quick video using Go Pro’s new Quik App. It’s not great, but it gives you a glimpse into my race!

 

 

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