Morning Walk, Breakfast w/ Emma at Birds & the Beet, lululemon Lab
I awoke this morning to having the basement apartment to myself as Tierra left early to hit up a bootcamp class before work. I took my time getting ready and was easing into my morning as the weather was rainy and left me wanting to stay in bed a little longer. I made my way out into the day and took a walk along the quant residential street with my umbrella out and destined for the The Mighty Oak down the road in search of a coffee to tied me over before my breakfast with Emma. Stepping into the small coffee shop that my roomie raves about I was greeted by the owner who was quick to serve me a hot coffee and even offered to top it up with some leftover steamed milk. The gentleman who owns this local spot is a retiree from the area, I wish I had time to make it back before I left the neighbourhood to try a sandwich. If you’re every in the area be sure to pay them a visit.
I was off this morning to Gastown to a new spot called The Birds & the Beets, a recommendation from my friend Emma who I was meeting for breakfast, coffee and a catch up on life + her new business. The Birds & the Beets is a new edition to the ever evolving Powell Street gentrification as Gastown continues to inch further down with edition of new shops and eateries. The menu is quite simple and at breakfast they offer a selection of Toast options on their in-house freshly baked bread. Emma opted for the Avocado & Slow Poached Egg Brioche Toast with a Latte and I treated myself to a special of the day consisting of Ricotta & Preserves on Brioche Toast with a house brewed Iced Tea. I have to say the food here was divine, not only was it so fresh but it was just so simple and balanced so well – for toast!
I was very excited to catch up with Emma, I first met her at a VEGA event last summer as she was transitioning out of her role of Nutrition Director at VEGA to open her own business which has since taken off and is providing such a necessary service to the Health & Wellness industry. The Pineapple Collective is, “is an education and content strategy agency that works to provide natural health and wellness brands with the resources they need to captivate, educate and excite their consumers.” Both Emma and her Co-Founder Lynsey have Nutrition + Wellness backgrounds and together they are pooling their knowledge and experience to help other brands captivate consumers in this competitive space.
Emma and I chatted about work, life, training, racing, injuries, nutrition/wellness and upcoming projects non-stop. Work chat was filled with the strides we’ve made over the past year, hearing about the success of her first her in business and what is to come in the future for The Pineapple Collective crew. When it comes to training, racing and injuries it’s so good to have a healthy discussion about all of the feels and emotions that come along with this #runlife. Emma recently had been dealing with an injury and it’s beneficial to me to understand how different athletes – especially those doing this much longer than me – deal with this blips in their journey and how you work forward from them without letting them mentally affect you too much. Emma is also a guru when it comes to Nutrition so I was eager to pick her brain about changes I can make in my routine to better my everyday health, as well as my success on the pavement.
After breakfast + chats it was off to the BRAND NEW lululemon Lab just across the street to check out the new space just a few weeks old. the lululemon Lab crew relocated to Powell Street from Broadway to allow for more space to enhance the Design Team’s area to create the latest pieces and test the newest fabrics for the brand. As well as, an increased retail space to allow for more of the collection to be shown in a way that is inspiring and easy for the customer to explore.
Running Errands, Downtown Adventures, Save on Meats
With hitting the trails of the table I took advantage of this time in the city to run some errands, check out the Holt Renfrew Vancouver store, visit some of my favourite shops and pick-up some flowers for my awesome host who had allowed me to stay with her the past few nights. While I was hoping to be out in the back country I couldn’t help but think about how this opportunity to slow down and enjoy the city at a leisurely pace was the universe’s way of telling me to slow down a little and take some time to ease my pace before things ramped up for the SeaWheeze weekend.
After running some errands and exploring Gastown I walked over to Save on Meats – it’s a little gem just north of Gastown which is part butcher shop + part diner that specializes in you guess it MEAT! I haven’t been since my first time in the city and since I was craving a burger I thought I’d pop in to treat myself as my last cheat meal before I cleaned up my eating for the remainder of the trip ahead of the half marathon in 4 days. One of my favourite things about Save on Meats – besides the amazing food – is the Token Program that has helped feed 916,458 folks to date! The Token Program, “Redeemable for a breakfast sandwich either at the front take-out window or inside the diner, tokens are purchased for $2.25 and handed out to those in need. The act of giving a token to someone is meant to be a conversation-starter, a front-line personal interaction with our neighbours in Vancouver.” It’s a feel good addition you can add to any bill post meal and you can buy one token or a few tokens which helps folks in the community who need a meal, it’s also such a great experience to see these tokens redeemed while you’re eating at the diner bar.
Dinner w/ Gemma at Nuba & Passenger Live at St. James Hall
After my day downtown I headed back to Tierra’s place for a bit of a break, drop off some items and to give my feet a bit of a rest. I had been chatting with Gemma – a fellow Toronto fierce female runner – who had been in town since the week prior visiting friends and family. Even though we are both from Toronto it’s hard in the summer to connect among training, races and life events so we were going to make a point of ensuring we took some time to catch up while we were on the west coast. Being her bad ass self, Gemma had spent the day – since 4 am – running one of the hardest trails north of the city and we decided to connect for dinner in Kits after she’d arrived back. Gemma suggested we meet-up a Nuba, a restaurant I had heard nothing but good things about, so I booked a reservation and headed to the beach to meet this lady for dinner.
Specializing in fresh, healthy Lebanese cuisine I was eager to sit down over some fantastic, fresh and healthy food and catch up with Gemma. I think we were both craving a healthy, home cooked meal being in the depths of training and racing, while vacation eating had been getting the best of us. We started by splitting Najib’s Special (Crispy cauliflower tossed with lemon and sea salt, served with tahini) and then both ordered a protein based main to indulge in while we caught up in life with each other. Gemma had the Market Fish Special of pistachio crusted tuna steak with a fresh spring salad and I had Grilled Chicken (Fraser Valley half-chicken marinated with pepper, yoghurt, garlic, lemon, and herbs, served with batata harra and roasted seasonal vegetables) and I think we agreed after dinner that both of our bodies were grateful for the nourishing meal this evening.
Catching up with Gemma was so good, although we constantly comment and like one another’s posts + achievements on social media it’s always nice to sit down and catch up with someone face-to-face. When we get together it isn’t just running talk, we talk about life to and our adventures in Vancouver but each time I connect with one of these women from the community I can’t help but be grateful my paths have crossed with them and so many others who continue to have such an impact on my growth + development as both a runner and a woman.
I’m a sucker for acoustic musician, singer/song writers and it helps it they are also from the UK. I started listening to Passenger when Let Her Go debut and then saw him live on his small tour with Stu Larsen, my cousin by my side. Passenger aka Michael David Rosenberg has shot to stardom over the past few years, his music speaks to generations and his simple stage presence of just him and his guitar is something so few have the confidence to do.
I knew that Passenger would be in town during my time in Vancouver since early this spring. When tickets went on sale it was a bit of a secret and I wasn’t able to get one, I looked for weeks online to try to grab on from somewhere – even though I really despise scalpers – I knew that this show in such a small intimate venue would be truly a once in a life time experience. When I arrived in Vancouver I had replied to a few posts on Craigslist with no luck. On Tuesday afternoon Gemma and I were discussing going for dinner and at that point I had accepted the fact that I would not see Passenger while he was in town, that was until the restaurant Gemma suggested for dinner was just down the street.
Before dinner I walked down to St. James Hall to see if anyone was selling tickets and inquire if tickets would be sold at the door, a line-up was already forming of folks excited to get in early to stand at the stage for this show and I headed to dinner knowing I likely wouldn’t join them. After a fantastic dinner with Gemma and catching up on our lives + running we parted ways as she was off for ice cream and with no plans myself I decided to wander down the block one last time to see if any stragglers were trying to off load some tickets. When I arrived at the church the show had already began, I assumed that the opening act had arrived as they were scheduled to be on from 8-9pm. As I inched my way closer to the entrance I noticed that it was Passenger who was already on stage, at 8:15! There was a man standing in the entrance to the foyer which lead to the church hall, the man looked up and asked if he could help me, I responded that I was just in the area and thought I would see if anyone was looking to sell a ticket as I was hoping to see the show tonight. As I turned to walk away the man asked me to wait a moment, he proceeded to open the door to the hall, peer in and then turn back to me. What he said next left me speechless, “it’s pretty damn hot in there, no AC, but if you really want a ticket I’ll sell you one.” WTF was happening, was I really getting this lucky and going to get to see this artist? I had no idea how many people were inside but I quickly paid the man – thank gosh I had cash on hand – and headed inside the venue.
Upon entering the church I was shocked to see about 50 folks seated in the upper deck and maybe another 50 on the floor at the back, ahead of me was maybe 200 hundred people huddled around the small stage and there performing was an artist who’s music had been a soundtrack to key parts of my life story over the past few years. I couldn’t believe that I had managed to get a ticket and even though it was about 150 degrees in the room I was SO grateful to be in the presence of these fans and this musician. The show was almost two hours in length, he started by playing some newer music from his album that was just being released and the one prior, then he unplugged and in a ritual he used to perform before he started playing bigger venues he played one song on the floor in the middle of the crowd. What I was so in awe of – besides the music – was the fact that the crowd was made up of a mixture of all ages, but everyone was being respectful of one another and no one was getting particularly rowdy or screaming. The night continued with Mike taking requests of old songs and covers, before he wound us all up with a few of his sing-along numbers. He closed with Scare Away the Dark, but when the song came to a close the crowd wasn’t ready for it to be over as they all continue to sing the one verse together in unison while we stood together in the pitch black church hall. Within moments Passenger had returned to the stage for a few more songs and the final moments of this show were something magical as all of these strangers sang together at the top of their lungs, dancing, clapping and cheering as we were all unified by the music.
After an unexpectedly amazing night I headed back to Tierra’s place to relax for a bit, catch up with her and get to bed at a semi-decent time to get up at the crack of dawn with my roomie so we could meet up with the rest of the November Project YVR crew for the Wednesday morning workout. If today was any indication as to what this city has in-store for me over the next six days, then I can say with confidence that it’s going to be pretty spectacular!