Wednesday, August 24, 2016

November Project SeaWheeze Pop-Up

I have always wanted to go to a November Project workout (or ninety), but with the closest tribe being in San Diego and the drive being 45-60 minutes each way I haven't been able to justify making the trip (I mean, I could technically run 10 miles in the time I would be in the car).

Errrrr, pump the breaks! Do you even know what November Project is?! Hopefully you do, but just in case you don't, let me give you a quick explanation.


Well, when I saw that there was going to be a pop-up NP workout in Vancouver for SeaWheeze I knew it was my time to throw out a verbal and #JustShowUp!


I was able to talk the hubby into joining me (he was stoked that he was going to be able to use the "F" word in a positive way and do more than 'just run'). We set our alarms for bright and early Friday morning (NP workouts start at 6:29am) and got as much rest as possible.

We were about a 25 minute walk from the Olympic Cauldron so left shortly before 6am. The sun was rising and it was a gorgeous morning (although I wish we could have left the humidity down in SoCal rather than bringing it with us).

The crew was already there when we arrived so we gave out hugs (it's a November Project "thing") and were welcomed with open arms - even though it was our very first time.


When it was time to get started the tribe leaders did a little welcome (we couldn't yell since the neighbors complained in the past so we wanted to be respectful of them and their sleep) and we made our way out for a warm-up run.

You see, the Showcase Store for SeaWheeze was set to open at 7am that morning and people had been waiting in line ALL NIGHT LONG! Like, legit, I had friends who were in line as early as 5pm (and heard that the line started as early as 10am Thursday morning). So, what's an NP tribe to do?! Run around the convention center high-fiving all of the anxious shoppers, that's what!


It was a ton of fun saying "good morning" and high-fiving all of the lulu lovers! Some of them were a bit sleep deprived and had no idea what was going on, but some were perky and getting in on the action.

Once we got in about a half mile of high-fives it was time to get down to business. The leaders let us know what the workout for the day would entail - backstreet boys push-ups, stairs, lunges, burpees to broad jumps, etc.


The workout sounded intense, especially for a runner (sure I cross-train and strength train once a week, but I would say the large majority of my workouts are straight running), but you are able to take everything at your own pace so I wasn't too terribly worried.



The first couple rounds went well, but about halfway through the workout I could tell I was going to be super sore the following day (thankfully I had already decided I was going to take it easy for the SeaWheeze Half Marathon). I mean, literally, I think I did more push-ups and burpees in those 50 minutes than in my prior 31 years of life.


The workout was awesome, but wanna know what was even better?! The camaraderie! The tribe is so encouraging and positive it is AMAZING! If you have been around these parts for long, you know I love encouraging and attempting to inspire those around me. Well, this was a whole group of people who were doing this for an entire workout! I don't know that I've ever been that stoked to do burpees and lunges in my life.


After we finished the first workout the broke into groups of three (Ryan and I added Lauren to make three) and did another quick circuit - including hollow bowls, reaching planks and running stairs.

Photo Cred: Lauren

Let's just say that although it was a blast, my body was screaming for it to be done. We worked a ton of muscles, got in a great sweat (thanks to the workout and humidity) and smiled and cheered one another on along the way.


And who doesn't love finishing a workout by running through a tunnel of love?! I mean, come on now, SERIOUSLY!

Then it was time to tag some #grassroots gear! I figured since we were in Canada I should bring some cold weather gear, so I brought a long sleeve shirt. (And I love the way the tag was perfectly split over the zipper!) Ryan didn't bring an extra shirt so decided to tag his sweaty shirt he wore to the workout (thankfully the guys tagging didn't mind... or at least they were kind enough not to mention anything about the soggy factor out loud).

Ryan and I talked about how great of a time we had at the November Project workout for days afterwards! And we both mentioned that it there was a tribe closer we would definitely make it part of our weekly routine (here's to crossing our fingers that we get a North County tribe at some point).

Even though I was sore for days after the workout, it was something that not only my body needed, but it was something my soul needed! If you ever have the opportunity to check out a November Project workout I would strongly urge you to give it a go and see what all the hype is about (because I promise you that it will go above and beyond your expectations)!

So I just have one final question, you good?

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Eating Our Way Through Vancouver

While in Vancouver we had some delicious food (both vegetarian and vegan). In case you plan on visiting the area any time soon (whether it be for a race like SeaWheeze or Rock 'N' Roll Vancouver or just a family vacation), I thought I’d share some of our favorites spots. (I also thought if I did a blog post I would be more likely to copy and paste the ‘reviews’ into Yelp so two birds, one stone ;)) PS Although these restaurants are mostly meat-free, I promise that if you stop in for a meal (or treat) you will not be disappointed or feel as though you are missing out on anything. 

**WARNING: I am NOT a food blogger. I realize that my pictures are less than stellar, but I still thought the info was worth spreading. Please don't judge me on my food pics ;) **

We were told about this restaurant by Christina. She said that last time she was in Vancouver she went to Heirloom maybe 4 or 5 times. Well, if it's that amazing, we had to give it a go! It was about a mile and a half from our hotel, so once we checked in and dropped our bags, we put our walking shoes on and made our way over to the spot.

Heirloom is an awesome restaurant with both a vegan and vegetarian menu. It is a bit pricey, but we felt as though it was worth every penny. The ambience was nice (although after just getting off of a plane and train and then walking for a mile and a half we felt slightly under-dressed).

The hubby and I started with an order of the Avocado Frites (the Yelp reviews seemed to constantly be mentioning them) and they were delish! Crispy coated avocado slices with a creamy cilantro sauce (and fresh limes to squeeze over the top). They weren't greasy or overcooked, just the perfect bit of crunch and warm to start the meal.

I ended up deciding on the Ancient Grains salad, while the hubby got Auntie's Curry (he wanted The Royale with Cheese Burger but they had sold out of the burgers prior to us arriving). Both meals were large and yummy. I ordered the half size of the salad and although I was scarfing it down it seemed to never get smaller.

We would definitely give this restaurant four thumbs up (two from each of us). If it wasn't as pricey as it was or far away from the hotel we probably would have stopped back for another meal or two.

The Templeton

While looking for something to eat near our hotel, we typed "Vegetarian" into Yelp. The Templeton popped up and it was literally right down the street so we figured we'd give it a try. We stopped in for lunch and although the inside is pretty tiny, we didn't have to wait long (but then again, we went around 2pm for lunch so we probably missed the rush). 

We loved the hometown diner feel (some of the decor was even from the 50s) and that they offered vegetarian diner food. Ryan decided on the BLT with fake bacon and I got the veggie chili dog. When we saw they had vegetarian poutine we HAD to get it (normally it is a meat-tastic brown gravy poured over a mound of fries, but for the veg-heads they make the gravy with mushrooms and although it isn't super "healthy" it was finger lickin' good!). And, OF COURSE, Ry had to start the meal with a strawberry milkshake! 

Not only were our meals delicious, but the waitress we had was amazing! She sat down with us for a while to chat it up and tell us some great spots to check out while we were in town. We love getting intel from the locals, and definitely took her up on a few of her suggestions! 

Meet in Gastown

This was hands down our favorite restaurant - so much so that we ate there twice even with multiple great restaurants to try out. It was one of the recommendations that we received while dining at The Templeton. Our waitress told us that it was the best vegan comfort food she has had (and couldn't believe it was all plant-based food) - so with a review like that we HAD TO give it a whirl!

The first time we ate there I ordered the Whiskey BBQ Caesar (I always order the dressing on the side so the greens aren't doused in it) and the hubs got the Southern BBQ Burger. Everything tasted so fresh and healthy. You left feeling satisfied, but not like you were weighed down, overly stuffed or lethargic from all of the crap you just ingested. 

The next round I ordered the Mac 'N Cheez and Ryan scarfed down the Angry Burg (but started the dining experience with a Dark & Stormy drink that had fresh ginger beer). Obviously using vegan cashew 'cheez' isn't going to taste like the Kraft stuff that you ate as a kid, but it was still yummy (although I was secretly dreaming of the salad I had the day before). The hubby loved his burger, even with the heat of the buffalo hot sauce.

PS If you can sit 'outside' we would highly recommend it. When we were in Vancouver they were having an unseasonable warm weekend (apparently summer had "ended" a couple weeks prior but came back with a vengeance when we arrived), so the patio area had an amazing breeze. PPS (or is it PSS?!) This place is not on the main street, so keep your eyes peeled and don't walk by it! 

Soft Peaks

Now who can pass up sweet treats?! The hubby obviously looked up about 'must have' ice cream while in Vancouver and with Soft Peaks being right down the street from Meet it was an obvious choice for a post-dinner dessert. 

We ordered the Snowberry, which was organic strawberry and organic strawberry agave syrup with cereal. We decided to share a regular size (but let's say deciding on the flavour was super difficult because we wanted to try them all!).

Not only was the ice cream scrum-didily-umptious, but the company does some awesome things too! They try to use all local ingredients, like a fresh piece of Okanagan and Fraser Valley honeycomb, which have been crafted for perfect pairings. All of their milk comes from Avalon Dairy, a local dairy farm known for its uncompromising quality. Their ice cream cups, spoons, and napkins are from local suppliers (some of them are also compostable). And last but definitely not least, they also support the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation by donating partial proceeds from their sales. 

Earnest Ice Cream

If you read my post about "Adventuring in Vancouver" then you saw we took a 20 mile bike ride while there (PS I would definitely suggest this as a great way to see the city). On said bike ride, we decided we had 'earned' some ice cream so made our way to Earnest Ice Cream (another one of the shops that the hubby researched and heard was amazing). 

I don't know if it was because we were warm from our ride or if the ice cream was just 'that' good, but we loved it! I had a cone of the vegan strawberry coconut and the hubby devoured his Bourbon Peach. If I didn't have a half marathon the following day I may even have went back for a second scoop because it was so yummy! It definitely hit the spot! And if we weren't riding bikes I would have easily talked Ryan into grabbing a to-go pint for the hotel freezer. 

Small Victory

If you know me, you know I'm not a coffee or tea drinker. Growing up we never had it in the house (my dad used to take two Pepsi's with him to work in the morning) and I never acquired the taste. Ryan, on the other hand, needs his coffee to wake up. He did a little research and found a coffee and bread company near the hotel that he wanted to try.

He ordered a mocha and cinnamon roll. He legit says that it was the best cinnamon roll that he has ever had. (Two weeks after the fact, he is still talking/ dreaming out it.) We took the goodies to go because we were on our way to explore the city, so I can't really comment on the seating, but I can guarantee you that if we are ever back in Vancouver this place will be a MUST on Ryan's list (he is even trying to talk me into another trip JUST FOR THE ROLL!).

Tartine Bread & Pies

Although this restaurant came up on Yelp as 'vegetarian' I would say that it is more of a coffee/ cafe shop that offers a few sandwiches (one of which that doesn't have meat on it). With that said, it was still delicious! Ryan and I both grabbed a Mini Egg (an egg salad sandwich with arugula on delicious bread). The location that we went to was the smaller of the two, so I was bummed that they didn't have the full size sandwich because it was so tasty!

Ryan also grabbed an Americano here and I was eyeballin' the pies (this post makes it seem like we get desserts or sweets all the time which is so not us {okay, it is so not me and although it is so Ryan we try to make healthy decisions 95% of the time and limit sugar intake}, but 'when in Rome...'). The one in the picture below is the Elvis (made of banana, peanut butter, chocolate, and meringue).


I mentioned this in my "Adventuring in Vancouver" post, but it bears repeating ;) While hiking the Grouse Grinder, we heard there was a pastry shop at the top called BeaverTails - with pastries that are a Canadian MUST. Well, sign us up! After sweating through our clothes and getting in quite the workout, we decided we had deserved a sweet treat.

I would consider them to be like a Canadian 'elephant ear' with toppings. Hubby went with the Reese’s option (with a Nutella spread) and I decided on Cookies & Cream. They were both super yummy (but oh so sweet!). I ended up only being able to eat about half of mine (due to the extreme sugar overload), but it did not go to waste because the hubby demolished it as soon as I offered it to him. They also have a cafeteria and a few other dining options when you get to the top of the mountain, but since we had a pretty tight schedule we scarfed our beavertails, grabbed some quick photos and made our way back down the mountain (it’s funny that it only takes the slow moving gondola 4 minutes to cover the same amount of distance as we hiked in a little over an hour, but hey, it was worth the sweat equity!).

I swear we did more than just eat on our trip to Vancouver, but this post sure doesn't make it seem that way ;) We were stoked to see so many awesome vegan and vegetarian options around Vancouver (and we didn't even begin to scratch the surface). If you are in the True North, you should definitely give a few of these locations a try!

How do you research places to eat while on vacation?

Monday, August 22, 2016

Workout Recap - Week 34

Sunday, August 14th – 6 mile run, hiked Grouse Mountain

Monday, August 15th – 8 mile run, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Tuesday, August 16th – Strength Training (abs, back, legs and arms), 5 progressive mile run, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Wednesday, August 17th – 8 mile progression run, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Thursday, August 18th –  18 mile run

Friday, August 19th – Rest Day

Saturday, August 20th – Rest Day

So my thought was, since we were going camping Thursday through Sunday, I would rather get my runs in before leaving and potentially miss a cross-training day (hence why my week was front loaded with runs). You can consider floating in the river as cross-training, right?! In the first five days of the week I climbed a mountain and ran 45 miles, so I'll consider it a win! Now it's time to catch up on all the sleep and laundry that has been neglected the past few days ;)

How were your workouts this past week?