I was just watching a comedy sketch in which the comedian mocked how much people run around in November saying, “Can you believe it’s November? Can YOU BELIEVE it’s NOVEMBER?” Like, ‘yeah,’ the comedian said, it happens every year. That’s how the months work. It’s funny because it’s true. I am completely guilty of doing the same thing. Particularly throughout the entire last two months of the year I walk around in shock that it’s the end of the year, as if the 10 months leading up to it weren’t supposed to be preparing me for this.
That was all just a really random way to start off my ‘year in review’ chat. Grab a coffee, or a glass of Hoyne Brewing Dark Matters (my latest favourite brew), and let’s take a look at what I was up to over the last twelve months. I am grateful for every single moment of the last year – the people and places, the memories – everything that has brought me to writing this where I have to literally cut pieces out because readers tend not to want to take 2 hours to read a post.
January began with an announcement of partnerships with two incredible companies – PRO Compression and Nuun. I learned early in my social media life that writing and talking about companies you aren’t passionate about completely ruins your credibility and how important it is to be truthful about the partners you wish to work with. I am happy to be back with PRO Compression and Nuun in 2018, which is good because I have some pretty big goals this year for training.
I was able to spend part of early 2017 with family – and the family that I don’t get to see every week. For all of my life, I have lived away from extended family. It’s just been the four of us, my mom and dad and my brother living provinces away from all cousins, grandparents, and aunts and uncles, so it’s always exciting to visit the rest of my family in Manitoba. I was visiting just in time to celebrate my cousin Mackenzie’s birthday with her!
February centred around one trip to the mountains. I was finally able to convince one of my good friends James to come visit me in Alberta, so we decided to make it a ski weekend in Banff. It’s surprisingly tough to try and convince a BC kid to visit Alberta… in the winter… when it’s casually -20C most days. Shocking. We had a really fun weekend and I hit the slopes after a skiing hiatus of YEARS. Turns out it’s very much like riding a bike, just with more fear, falling, and frostbite. We spent two days skiing at Sunshine, then the rest of our long weekend was spent exploring Lake Louise, eating incredible food in Canmore, and hitting up downtown Calgary.
MY BIRTHDAY MONTH. When is one supposed to get less excited about their birthday? I turned 24 this year, celebrating with family and friends at my parents’ home, and for the first time in my entire life, I got my hair dyed. It’s blown my mind how long this hair colour has lasted and while I think I was about 14 months too late for the ombre trend, I still love it.
Find yourself a life partner that looks at you the way I look at dessert.
After my birthday party my mom and I hit the road to Calgary for a girls weekend. We went shopping, beer drinking, spent the day in the mountains, and went to a Rumble class. Sounds like the perfect weekend to me! I think we need to repeat that weekend for my 25th birthday.
In April, after the boxing class at Rumble Boxing in Calgary, I tried to keep it going with workouts in my friends’ basement using her heavy bag. Every time I box, whether in Calgary at Rumble, with my personal trainer friend Pete, or just in my friends’ basement, I think ‘I should do this more often.’ It should be no surprise how excited I am for Champs Boxing to open in Edmonton, just 9 blocks from my house.
My parents went to Manitoba for Easter and my brother and I spent Easter dinner with our extended family – our friends in Alberta – and we were tasked with bringing dessert. Naturally, we turned it into a sibling competition. I whipped up some brownies (that were supposed to look like a carrot garden) and tried to go for the aesthetic win because if you’ve ever seen my brother’s Instagram, you know he kills it with baking and desserts. This weekend made me so very thankful for the family we’ve created in Alberta, the people that are always there to help, lend you a hand when you need it, and invite you for dinner.
An exciting investment was made this month – I bought a kayak! After spending the previous summer debating it and then discovering a sale at Costco, I bit the bullet and finally purchased a recreational kayak. One of the best things about buying this kayak has been reconnecting with water. It sounds lame, but kayaking around a bunch of lakes over the summer allowed me to feel like I was back in BC where water was just part of the landscape, it was just where we lived and how we lived. It’s not the same in Alberta with our algae-covered lakes and questionable ponds, but kayaking gets me a little closer to that peace you find on the water.
One of my favourite spots to throw my kayak in and paddle around has been Astotin Lake at Elk Island National Park. It’s just the perfect size – not too big that there are huge waves when it’s windy but big enough that it gets challenging if you try and cut across the middle and takes about two hours to leisurely paddle around close to the shore. If you get there at the right time, before the rentals open up, you have the lake practically to yourself. Plus, some days it looks like this…
I ran one of the only races I did in 2017 this month as well, the Shoppers Run for Women. It was a fantastic event (Thank you for sponsoring me to be there!) and I can’t say enough great things about the race itself. It starts at Kinsmen Park and as I participated in the 10K, I had a lovely loop around the river valley trails before heading back to the park for more snacks, treats, and swag than I thought possible.
My little brother is apparently not so little anymore. This month my family and I celebrated his graduation from University. It was such a nice afternoon in which he picked up his convocation gown, we took super classy photos in an alley near Whyte Avenue, we ditched his convocation ceremony and instead went for beer, then returned his gown and picked up his degree. I love my family.
As it was Father’s Day this month, I volun-told my dad that he would be doing a 10K with me in Red Deer to celebrate. Once he heard that it was the Troubled Monk Brewery race, in which participants start and finish at the brewery, get brewery swag and free beer, he was all in. We drove down to Red Deer, walked the 10K together, enjoyed our beer at the brewery, then checked out Blindman Brewing to fill up another growler and had lunch in Lacombe at Cilantro & Chive. It was one of the most fun father-daughter days!
June also means that mountain adventures begin to pick up. As the snow melts and hiking trails open up, I find myself itching to get the season going and so I headed to Jasper for a solo escape. I spent one night camping by myself just outside Jasper and hiked a few new-to-me trails including Bald Hills near Maligne Lake. I am so excited to go back to this area this summer and attempt the Skyline Trail. This was such a fantastic way to kick off a summer of adventures!
The summer months get very tricky to ‘recap.’ We get a few months of sunny, warm weather in Alberta and my goal was simply to take advantage of it. I had so many great adventures this month, starting with my first obstacle adventure race – Foam Fest 5K in Leduc. We participated as a team and it was SO FUN. The race was on Canada Day so we dressed up in white and red, then got down and dirty on the very muddy and foamy race course.
I think after Canada Day I headed to the mountains every single weekend. The first adventure was the hike Mount Baldy (the North face) with Jo and Nick. It was a great hike, with only a couple of tricky sections and scrambling at the top, but with spectacular views. Once you’re at the top you can see north towards Highway 1 and south across the mountain ranges of Kananaskis. We met a fun guy up there who was just doing this as a quick little workout before meeting friends later that day.
Later in the month I met up with Jo and Nick again to hike with them and see them while they camped at Abraham Lake, near Nordegg. I think this is going to be a much more frequented adventure spot for my this year as it’s one of the closest places to me with tons of hiking gems and gorgeous views. We hit up Vision Quest for a lung-bursting heart-pounding climb.
I can never get over the colour of Abraham Lake, it’s breathtaking. Once we completed the hike we headed back to where they had set up camp on the shores of the lake so we could relax and splash around in the waves. It was absolutely freezing but a great recovery method from the hike!
In the second last weekend, my mom and I and a few of our friends participated in the Moose is Loose trail race in Edmonton. My mom and friend walked the half marathon while the three of us ran the 10K. I paced for a sub-60 10K and it was nice to have such a fun relaxing run in my own backyard.
Finally, during the last weekend of July, my friend Robin and I went camping in Waterton. We actually ended up staying just outside the Park in a quiet, lakeside campground, and it was perfect. We went hiking each day we were there, tackling Bear’s Hump and Crypt Lake, and we shared more laughs than I thought possible in a weekend. It was such a fun camping trip and the memories we have from Waterton made it even more devastating to watch it become engulfed in wildfire just a few weeks later.
One of my favourite trips of the year has to be the camping trip I took with my brother to Yoho National Park. We hadn’t been camping together in YEARS, despite having grown up going on family camping trips every single summer. It’s funny how my memory of this trip is nothing but laughing, hiking, and cooking together at our campsites. I had forgotten the wildfire smoke, the sleepless nights trying to get shuteye in +30C, and the tough climbs we tackled together. For what it’s worth, this trip was such a fun way to spend my vacation and I’m so happy that my brother was able to come with me.
During my second week of vacation in August, I took a less wilderness-y trip with my mom and brother to the Kootenays. We used to live in Kimberley, BC as a family, for six years between the ages of 3 to 9. I have always remembered it as one of my favourite places to live, and I was slightly worried about going back because sometimes those cherished pristine memories are best left unchecked, but the trip was like a walk down memory lane and I left leaving more attached to the area than ever. I’ve actually looked up several jobs there in the last few months because I felt such a strong pull to go back.
During the long weekend, my family was asked if we wanted to stay in a family friends’ house in Jasper as it would be vacant for a few days while they took a vacation of their own. We jumped at the opportunity and spent a couple nights in Jasper, exploring Maligne Canyon and hiking Whistler’s summit. The neat thing about Jasper is that just behind the two main streets that parallel the highway and are crowded with tourists, is a quiet, quaint, typical Canadian small town. Our hike up to Whistler’s summit was foiled by a summer storm and sub-zero temperatures that forced us to take the gondola down!
One of my greatest fitness accomplishments this year was completing the Canmore Triple Crown. The Triple Crown is a single day attempt at completing three summits: Lady MacDonald, East End of Rundle, and Ha Ling. It was such a fun and exhausting day and actually not as difficult as I thought it would be. I mean, I couldn’t walk for days after, but that’s to be expected!
After my dad missed out on our nostalgic trip to the Kootenays in August, we roadtripped there together in September, with plans to summit Fisher Peak. The Kootenays had been riddled with wildfire and smoke all summer and there was a window of about a day and a half between the smoke clearing and the snow arriving. We unfortunately missed that window and only made it about 2/3 of the way to the summit, but regardless we had a great trip!
As I was writing the adventures from September, I scrolled to October and thought, ‘I don’t think I went to the mountains again right after that,’ but I was wrong. My family and I took a trip to Calgary for an extended family weekend at my Aunt’s house in Airdrie. We had lots of food and fun with my dad’s cousins and sister and my dad, brother and I were able to escape on the Saturday for a quick trip to the mountains. We were seeking snow and an easy hike so we wound up at Boom Lake. It was a picturesque day, with fresh snow, blue sky, crisp air, and moose tracks to follow through the trees. My brother took some incredible photos to preserve these memories.
November and December were months of staying at home, getting cozy, and enjoying the twinkling lights that take over the city at this time of year. I think it’s safe to say I had my fair share of mountain time and it makes sense that as the days grew shorter, I was ready to hibernate a bit before the end of the year. I did a lot of outdoor running with friends and made a lot of new connections in the running community. I don’t know many people who would happily run 16km with you early on a frigid Saturday morning, but those who would are gems of human beings.
With all of the running I tackled in October and November, I spent the final week of November and most of December avoiding a stress fracture and trying to rid myself of some tricky shin splints. It was my body’s cue to slow down, take it easy, and a great reminder for 2018 to not overdo it.
Alas, we’ve reached December, a month of more close-to-home fun, celebrate my mom and brothers’ birthdays and the holiday season. I took my brother to Banff for his birthday weekend. We froze our asses off, ate amazing Mexican food at Magpie & Stump, drank too much at Banff Brewing Co., and did some of our Christmas shopping along the gorgeous mountain town streets of Banff and Canmore.
The next weekend it was time to celebrate my mom’s birthday and boy did we celebrate. It was a perfect way to kick off the holidays and spend time with our Alberta family – all of the friends we have made nearby who treat us like family. We enjoyed the rest of the holidays by sticking around town and bundling up for the -30C that stuck around for the last half of the month.
If you’ve made it this far, congratulations. These posts always wind up being very long and this one seems exceptionally so. It’s hard to even narrow down my favourite moments of the year and so it turns into me rewriting all of my blog posts from each month. I am so appreciative of YOU, reading this blog, and all of my friends and family who made this year what it was. Wishing you the happiest of New Years and I will be back in a few days to share my goals for 2018.