WHOA lansi

francophile, oenophile, logophile, turophile

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Spring Hiking: Barrier Lake Lookout

Barrier Lake Lookout
We kicked off our 2017 hiking season with Odin’s first hike, in honour of his first birthday. We’d been told to wait until around a year before taking him up any mountains, to help prevent any future issues with hips & other joints. I think part of the fun of having a spunky pup is taking them on adventures, so we’d been looking forward to this day since we first started looking into getting a dog.

I knew I wanted to include as much of our family as we could, so we’d originally planned an easy climb up Sulfur Mountain. We’d take the gondola back down afterwards as it’s free in the off season. We’d done it a few winter’s ago with my brother in law’s dog. It was a great little season opener. Unfortunately, a few days before the hike, I found out the Banff Gondola no longer allows dogs due to some negative experiences. I turned to some other doodle owners for suggestions & we landed on Barrier Lake Lookout, also known as Prairie View. It looked like a relatively easy, rewarding climb.

Barrier Lake Lookout

Not bad, Kananaskis, not bad.

Barrier Lake Lookout

Trail Head

Barrier Lake Lookout

Barrier Lake Lookout

We met our hiking group in the parking lot around 10:30 am & headed out. Walking along the lake at the start of the trail, it seemed like we might be in for a cold, windy day. As soon as we got into the trees though, our entire group shed most of their layers.

The trail is south facing, so I hadn’t expected to see much snow, however, it didn’t take long for us to run into some icy patches. None of us were wearing spikes, so it got challenging pretty quickly. My mom was only in runners so her & my dad had to bail about halfway up. The rest of us continued on, despite some pretty sketchy sections on the way up. Yay for spring hiking!

Barrier Lake Lookout

Icy patches on the way up

Barrier Lake Lookout

We made it to the first lookout area & stopped for a few pictures. We were pretty close to the summit at this point, & planned to continue, but a combination of congestion & a steep, slippery section caused us to re-evaluate. We decide to stop for lunch with a view, & call it a day.

Barrier Lake Lookout

Barrier Lake Lookout

Views from the first lookout

Barrier Lake Lookout

Barrier Lake Lookout

Family Photo!

Barrier Lake Lookout

Looking for scraps

Mud pup lunch stop

Barrier Lake Lookout

Lunch views

We had braced ourselves for a treacherous climb down, but were treated to a fairly easy descent. The icy sections has softened up, which made a huge difference. It’s definitely something to keep in mind if you plan to hike this in the early spring – either go later in the day or bring spikes.

Despite the early season conditions, the trail was quite busy. I imagine it’s even more so in the summer, so I think I’d stick to shoulder season unless you like hiking in crowds. We saw lots of other dogs too, many off-leash despite signs stating that dogs must be on one.

Barrier Lake Lookout

Barrier Lake

Back at the base after our hike

Overall, it was a great day. We got lots of sunshine, enjoyed some beautiful views, & great company. I’m hoping to get out to the mountains lots with Odin, so any other dog friendly hike suggestions are more than welcome. We’re on the hunt for our first real summit!

Gymnastics Fun

As a child, I remember spending an entire summer learning to do a cartwheel, & then practicing every single chance I got in order to perfect it. I think that kind of dedication is pretty common in children. Many of my favourite activities involved functional types of fitness like this.  No one thought of it as fitness though so it remained fun. Recently, we’ve gotten back to those roots.

I read about Kyle Shewfelt’s latest gymnastics classes in the Herald this summer. They’ve offered non-competitive gymnastics classes for kids since they opened their doors, but last spring they added a few adult options. I immediately knew this was something I would love to do, & told N about it. When my birthday rolled around, he gifted me a class. I was ecstatic! Unfortunately, I wasn’t the only one who thought this would be an amazing opportunity & the class was full before I had a chance to register. Members get first dibs so I missed the winter session as well. A coworker of mine did get in, however (the only non-member to make it!), & convinced N & I to come down for Open Gym after his class a couple weeks ago.

Open gym gives you supervised access to the amazing facility. We tumbled, swung, climbed, jumped, & flipped our bodies around for an hour & a half. You couldn’t wipe the goofy grin off my face the whole evening. It’s a little bit like being a kid again. Tanis teaches the Adult Gymnastics class from 6:30 – 8:00 pm followed by the Open Gym session.

The gym features a tumble track, ring, uneven bars, parallel bars, beams, a plyo floor, foam pit, vaults, & tons of different shaped mats like octagons & wedges. We’ve been to two sessions so far & I already feel like I’ve learned so much, all while getting great workouts. I only wish I’d started going sooner! My coworker has brought his Go Pro & recorded some of the stuff we’ve done. You can follow him to see more but I’ve posted a couple of my favourite videos below. I’m excited to see how we improve as time goes on (N & I both have 10x drop-in passes now).
Donkey kicks & a flip by me:

Nathan flips:

My coworker:

As someone who wants to get into an adult class, it probably isn’t the best idea to blog about this fun new workout find, but I couldn’t resist sharing. If you’re looking to try something new & challenging, while feeling a bit like a kid again, I highly recommend checking out Kyle Shewfelt Gymnastics!

This Land is my Land

We went hiking this weekend in Kananaskis Country. There are so many hikes I want to do that chosing one can be really tough sometimes, but we eventually settled on Grizzly Peak. I’d seen some photos from a friend of a friend and it looked like a great hike. You can’t beat the view you get from the mountains in Kananaskis and you get the added bonus of not needing a park pass.

The very beginning of the trail
N and I hoped in the car and picked up a friend early Saturday morning. After unsuccessfully trying to get coffee at three independent coffee places, we gave in to Starbucks and headed West for the Rockies. 
Grizzly Peak is an unmarked trail between Grizzly Creek and Hood Creek. It was relatively easy to find using the landmarks described in online guides. We parked in the ditch on the side of the highway, changed into our hiking boots, and started up the trail. You could distinctly see it running beside the creek from the beginning, despite it being an unmarked trail. 

It started climbing pretty quickly right from the start. We weren’t going to get much of a break on this hike, it seemed.It was so steep that it took us over an hour to cover the first kilometre. I’m sure the boys could have climbed faster, but they had to wait for me and I’m just a little bit slower.

T being….T
Right from the beginning, there were some great views and fun obstacles. There was a little point where we had to scramble and carefully hug the side of the mountain. It looks a lot more difficult than what it is. 


The trail as pretty distinct until we got about three quarters of the way up, when we hit a bunch of scree. You could tell people had made different decisions as to which route to take and there wasn’t a clear trail. We continued to scramble up and then decided to take the steep grassy route up to the saddle instead of scrambling up some interesting rock and creek. It was steep and tough, but definitely better than the alternative.

Let’s take the grassy route…
The saddle itself was pretty amazing. I wasn’t expecting to find a beautiful clearing up there, surrounded my mountains. It was so peaceful and seemed like a great spot to take a lunch break. We found a nice little spot and hunkered down for some food. It was gorgeous. 

Finding a lunch spot

From the saddle, it was an easy 15 minutes to the summit. We really lucked out with the weather and it was gorgeous when we reached the top. Most summits are pretty windy so we took advantage of the stillness and hung out for a while, enjoying the view and chatting. It was breathtaking.

Thanks for an amazing day as always, Kananaskis Country! I highly recommend Grizzly Peak if you’re looking for a new day hike to try. The views are incredible right from the start, the saddle is beautiful and peaceful, and it makes for a great day!

Summer To-Do List

Columbia Lake
Considering yesterday Calgary and its surrounding communities and cities declared a state of emergency due to flooding from heavy rainfall, it’s hard to believe summer has arrived today. Inspired by a couple other bloggers and the first day of one of my favourite seasons (who am I kidding, I love them all!), I put together a little summer to-do list of some of the things I’d like to do. 
1. Enjoy cocktails with friends. I want to host a cocktail party but I envision this being outside and that’s not an option for us due to our lack of outdoor space. Elsie of A Beautiful Mess has been posting a ton of amazing sounding cocktail recipes that I am dying to try! 
2. Take advantage of the mountains. Go hiking and backpacking. The rockies are too close not to take advantage of!
3. Experience more Calgary events. Street Festivals, Food Truck Events, Fun Runs…Take advantage of some of the fun local things happening around Calgary. Play tourist at home a little bit. 
4. Take a road trip. I can’t wait for our trip to Vancouver, Portland, Seattle, and Kelowna. I love a good road trip and I love visiting new cities. 
5. Attend an outdoor concert. I bought tickets for Folk Fest. I’ve heard great things about it so it’s about time I did a full day at Prince’s Island. 
6. Nail a handstand. I’ve been practicing and I’m determined to nail a decent handstand. The summer I was nine, I had a similar goal, but with cartwheels. What I’m saying is that I’m an nine-year-old at heart.
7. Get away with the girls. Boys will be boys, so let’s leave them at home and have our own fun. I’m thinking some lake time is in order. Maybe we can kill two birds with one stone and make up some cocktails too!
8. Rock a flip flop tan and some freckles. Nothing says summer to me better than sunkissed skin and tan lines from my havaianas. Come on Calgary, bring on the sunshine!
9. Bike to work as much as possible! We live in the perfect neighbourhood to take advantage of biking to work. It’s such a great way to start the day. 
10. Spend time outside daily. Summer always flies by. I’ll save my hermitting for winter, when darkness sets in before I leave work and the ground is frozen for months. 

Enjoy the first day of summer! What do you plan to do this season?
Nashville North
Wedding Shower

Ha Ling Peak

We kicked off our hiking season by conquering Ha Ling Peak a couple weeks ago. The rain finally let up for a day so we took advantage of the sun and pilled into my car to head out to Canmore for a day in the mountains.

Ha Ling is a great beginning of season hike. It’s not too long and even with snow, it’s hike-able. They used to list it as a beginner scramble, but the word beginner throws people off. It can be daunting for an actual beginner, so they’ve since changed it to a moderate hike.

You don’t really get any breaks on Ha Ling. It’s starts out pretty steep and never really lets up the whole way. The nice thing is that it’s relatively short and the views are pretty awesome. You can see all of Canmore just before the final push to the summit. It really reminds you of how lucky we are here in Alberta. 

We started out in the late morning and took our time, pausing for lunch before the summit and taking water breaks whenever we wanted. It probably took us about 3 hours round trip. It was a great first hike of the season. Since it’s still quite early in the year, there’s lots of snow once you get past the treeline, but we managed to find a way up relatively unscathed.

The next day I wasn’t too sore but I could feel my muscles. For me, this is always a sign of a hike that I was well prepared for. It was definitely nothing like our beginning of season attempt at Middle Sister several years ago She left me waddling for days afterwards. (And yet, I still want to hike her again sometime soon. Masochist?)

I’d definitely recommend Ha Ling, even if you are a bit of beginner. Take your time and enjoy the awesome view at the top. It’s well worth the burning calf muscles!

May in Instagram

It’s already June? How did that happen? Apparently, I haven’t been very on the ball so far this month seeing as this recap is happening five days into June. Whoops! 
It feels like we got up to a lot this month. We finished out month of Paleo and no drinking (although not entirely free of grains or drinks) so we’re back to enjoying drinks from time to time and have added cheese back into our diets. We still are trying to eat primally most of the time, but we’re certainly not overly strict. Story of our lives. Enough about what I eat though. As if I don’t talk about it enough on here. On to the Instagram Recap!
Follow me on Instagram @wholansi

1. We started the month with a pizza date at Una before heading to Cirque du Soleil with my parents. Totally delicious and totally not following our supposed paleo plan. Oh well!
2. Lobsters with N’s family while his brother was in town. I’d never put one into the pot so we had to capture the moment.
3. I spent three days down at the geoConvention for work. This bird was blind in one eye, but he made for a lovely hat.
4. Treating ourselves to Peters’ milkshakes after hunting for my unjustly towed car.
5. It was N’s birthday this month and I made him this paleo smoked salmon eggs benedict (as mentioned). I’m pretty proud of it.
6. We went out to the lake for N’s birthday and even though the weather wasn’t spectacular, it’s one of my favourite places to be.
7. We had a party at our place for N’s birthday. It was a gong show.
8. Cheering at the Calgary Marathon and Half Marathon. It was a lovely day with lovely people!
9. I’ve been doing CrossFit in the park for the last few weeks. It’s been really fun and one of the coaches sometimes takes pictures. These were burpee broad jumps.

Calgary Marathon and Half Marathon

Wheelchair Marathoner coming through first thing

My alarm went off at 6 am last Sunday and one of my first thoughts was “Why am I not running this morning?”.

I’m not some crazy morning person (quite the opposite actually), but I couldn’t help wishing I was running the Calgary Half Marathon that morning. I really enjoyed running it last year and was suddenly questioning my decision to sit it out.

The lady in green had so much energy

I knew a couple people running the half and a few running the full so I decided it would be fun to go cheer them on. As a runner, I know how much it’s meant to me to see all the people cheering on the sidelines so I decided to be one of those people this year. The energy of the spectators is just awesome.

So off I went to Bridgeland for the start of the race. I knew a few people who had volunteered to marshall so I thought I’d hang out with them for a bit. I ended up hanging out until the last runners came through. It was really great! Bridgeland was one of my favourite parts of the course last year. The spectators have to get their early, but they’re some of the most energetic and motivating people of the whole race. Not to mention, it’s a trendy neighbourhood so it’s got lots of good distractions. We were about 5 km in to the race, so people are still really excited and having a good time. There were tons of smiles and lots of thanks. It was great to see.

As much as I really loved that spot for cheering, I don’t know that I’d choose it again since I didn’t manage to spot any of the friends I knew were running. Everyone is still clumped together pretty tightly so it’s hard to pick out people you know through the crowds.

After the last runners passed, I headed towards the finish to meet N and my friend’s wife. I wandered through the East Village on my way to the finish line and spotted two of my friends running the half. It was so exciting to see them and cheer them on in the last kilometres of their race, especially since I hadn’t spotted them earlier on.

The three of us found a spot near the finish where we thought we’d be visible. It’s fun to see people cross the finish line, but it gets so crowded in the Grandstand that the runners usually don’t see you. I think it’s kind of fun to choose a spot where they’ll see you and you can cheer them towards the finish line.

There were a couple Guiness World Record attempts during the race. One guy was running in full lacrosse gear. We saw him near the finish and he looked to be on the verge of collapsing. The other attempt is pictured below. Can you imagine running a marathon attached to seven other guys?

When T came by, we cheered as loud as we could and tried to snap some photos of him. Unfortunately, there were some obstacles so they’re not the best shots. Sorry, T. I tried!

It was a really long day of walking, standing, and cheering, but I’m so glad I went. Races have such a great energy. Next year is Calgary’s 50th anniversary so I will most definitely be running it. It’s funny how I always think I’m going to take a break from running and then get pulled back in to another race. I was going to take 2013 off and focus on strength training instead of running, but I’m now running the Kelowna Wine Country Half Marathon in September with N and a couple friends. So much for a year off. I guess I just can’t stay away.

June Burpee Challenge

I’ve talked a bit about the CrossFit-style workouts I organize every week at work in the past. It’s grown quite a bit since I first started it, which makes me so excited. I love that my work lets me run these Fitness Friday workouts every week. They’re really no longer than a smoke break and are significantly more healthy. It’s also expanded to include a Yoga practice what happens a few times a week already. I haven’t checked that out yet since it happens at the same time as Fitness Friday, but I definitely would like to in the future.

For June, I’ve also decided to put a Burpee Challenge out there. I sent this out not only to those on the Fitness Friday distribution, but also to our All Staff distribution list. Fitness Friday is still a relatively small group of us and I wanted to remind everyone that they are all welcome to join us anytime and also challenge them to a month of burpees. Anyone can do burpees! They’re tough, but easily modifiable to suit any level of fitness.

The challenge started today. Yes, I realize that it’s technically still May, but since this challenge is happening with coworkers, I thought it made more sense to start it on a workday. So May 31 it is. We’re starting at 5 burpees today. From there, we’ll be adding one burpee a day until June 30. That means on June 30 we’ll be doing 35 burpees. It’s pretty simple.

I’ve also added that you can break them up into sets. So when they numbers get higher, everyone can still get them done. Obviously, your fitness will improve more from doing them all in one go, but that can be a bit intimidating. I figure doing them at all is a step in the right direction, so I wanted to make it attainable.

Anyone reading this blog is also more than welcome to join us in this Burpee Challenge as well! I’ve already challenged N to it.

If you’re not sure what a burpee is, you can check out the video below. Emad’s burpees could use some work, especially towards the end, but mine are mostly ok.

The main rules are that your chest needs to touch the floor and you need to jump up at the end. In the video, I’m always jumping my feet forwards and back, but you don’t have to. You can step forwards and backwards and it still counts. You also don’t have to do a push up. You can get down the floor and then worm your way back up. Check You Tube for more variations. There are plenty out there.

I made a little calendar that makes it a bit easier to understand how the challenge works. Check it out if you’re interested and leave a comment if you’d like to participate!

Have a great weekend and Happy Burpee Month!


I’ve gone back and forth all week about whether I was going to write anything about what happened at the Boston Marathon this week. I’m sure I don’t have anything to say that hasn’t already been said. I’m also sure that there are plenty of people who will have said it much better, but I decided tonight that I’d thought about it enough to warrant posting something.

This tragedy hit home for me in a few different ways. I know that there are people who experience these types of things every year, every month, maybe even every week. I’m fortunate enough to live in a country where this isn’t my reality. For this, I am truly grateful.

Boston is a wonderful city. My roommate and I did a road trip after I graduated from the University of McGill and one of the stops was Boston. I have nothing but fond memories of the city and its people. My thoughts and prayers go out to them, their families, and their friends.

As a runner, I was shaken by the news on Monday. Boston is an iconic event. I have nothing but respect and admiration for those who endeavour to run it. I’ve qualified for Boston in my dreams although I have no intentions of ever running a Marathon in reality. For me, it’s the marathon. The one I’d love to run if I ever managed to qualify for it.

I can only imagine how awful it must have been for those who were there. I’ve run enough half marathons to know that the last mile is usually the most painful. By that point, I’m just trying to keep moving forward. Imagine getting turned away after having run 41 km of the Boston Marathon – to not officially finish the race. In my mind, those people are all finishers. And the ones who continued on to give blood at a nearby hospital are incredible heroes. I am in awe of their strength.

Even more terrifying is imagining coming down the home stretch as an explosion goes off. Or watching for your husband, wife, father, mother to finish the race and instead finding yourself in the midst of a fatal attack.

I’ve always associated running with the feeling of freedom. When I abandon it, it’s always willing to accept me back. It doesn’t judge me. It doesn’t cost me anything. It gives me time to unplug. Running gives me so much. And being a runner means being part of a community – a wonderful, welcoming, friendly community.  It’s one of the most inclusive clubs I’ve ever belonged to – it doesn’t matter if you’re fast or slow, if you run barefoot or with orthotics. All that matters is that you’re doing it.

And that might just be the worst part about this tragedy. I don’t want tragedy to taint Boston, or even worse, running in general.

Wednesday at lunch, I laced up my shoes and went for a short run by the river. There was nothing spectacular about it aside from the fact that I got out and did it. I hope that others continue to do the same. I love running and I hope to never have someone try to take it away from me.

CrossFit Open Games

I’ve blogged quite a bit about the CrossFit Open. It wasn’t something I originally had any plans to participate in, but a few of the girls at the box I go to were all doing it and talked me into it. It’ll be fun to see how you rank, they said.

I probably sound like a broken record, but I’m really glad they talked me into doing the Open. I don’t have a problem pushing myself in work outs, but I’m sure I pushed harder in the Open than I would in a normal workout. It definitely helps to have people cheering for you (or sometimes yelling).

Workout 13.3
12 min AMRAP
150 Wall Balls
90 Double Unders
30 Muscle Ups

When this workout was announced, I felt ok about the wall balls. I’d done 150 wall balls before and it had been awful, but it hadn’t taken me 12 minutes. I didn’t factor in the fact that I’d done them with less than a 14 pound med ball. On my first attempt at this workout, my shoulders gave out well before my legs did. I only got 136 reps. My legs weren’t too sore, so I decided to re-do the workout on Sunday and scored 154. From now on, I think I’ll be doing wall balls with a 16 pound ball.

Keegan and I doing Toes to Bar

Workout 13.4
7 min AMRAP
3 Clean and Jerks (95 lb.)
3 Toes to Bar
6 Clean and Jerks (95 lb.)
6 Toes to Bar
9 Clean and Jerks (95 lb.)
9 Toes to Bar
…if you complete 9, move on to 12, and so on until 7 minutes is up.

Keegan’s Clean and Jerk

This workout was pretty fun for me. Most people were worried about Toes to Bar, but those have never been something I struggle with so I was more worried about the Clean and Jerks. I’d never Clean and Jerked more than 75 pounds before. I guess I’m getting stronger because 95 pounds didn’t feel nearly as bad as I thought it would (at least at first).

Noel doing Clean and Jerks

I’d also convinced N to come take photos for us. He got lots of great shots of everyone at the gym. There were lots of people around to cheer and support. It was great!

Toes to Bar
Clean and Jerks

The coaches at CrossFit Airdrie organized a potluck to celebrate the end of 13.5. The workout got pushed a bit later and I ended up getting there a bit late, so I didn’t get photos of anyone else doing the WOD. I did bring my SLR that day though and one of the guys who’d already done it took some photos for me so I have some pretty entertaining one of myself. The faces I make while I’m lifting heavy things are pretty entertaining.

Nice Game Face

Workout 13.5 
4 min AMRAP
15 Thrusters
15 Chest to Bar Pull-ups

Thrusters hurt so bad

This workout was crazy. It’s basically an infinite Fran. Fran is one of the CrossFit benchmark WODs and is notorious. The workouts named after girls are always pretty beastly, but Fran is in a league of her own. There’s something about the combination of Thrusters and Pull-ups that just makes you want to puke. So Dave Castro took the worst set of Fran and changed the Pull-ups to Chest to Bar Pull-ups and gave elites the possibility of extending the workout. For every 90 reps completed, the workout would be extended another 4 minutes. I don’t think anyone made it into the 16 minutes range, but getting through 8 minutes is beyond impressive.

Chest to Bar Pull-ups make for hilarious photos

I got through 31 reps the first time I tried. I didn’t think I’d have as much trouble with Chest to Bar Pull-ups as I did. For someone who hasn’t mastered kipping, I’m pretty good at pull-ups. I really struggled with them though, as evidenced by my post last week. I watched tons of videos online for tips on Chest to Bar Pull-ups before re-doing it Sunday. It definitely helped, but I still hit a wall pretty quickly in the workout. My final score was 36 reps. Fran, you are one terrible lady!

Last Thruster. 

Now that the Open is over, I miss excitedly tuning in to the WOD announcements at 6 pm every Wednesday. It was really fun to watch two elite athletes go up against each other a few minutes after learning what the WOD was.

The results are all officially up on the website now. I am 657th in Western Canada and 18 426th in the World for Individual Women. It’s unbelievable how many people participated this year! I’m already looking forward to next year!

This post is ridiculously long now, but I wanted to get all my CrossFit Open talk done for this year since I know not everyone cares about the subject. Congratulations if you made it this far! I know I’m very long winded.

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