Vancouver Day 2 – August 10th

November Project YVR

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There were no excuses this morning, Tierra and I got up at 5:15 to get ready to hit the pavement and run to Queen Elizabeth Park to meet up with November Project YVR! I’ve been so eager to reunite with these amazing folks who welcomed me with open arms in February and then continue to foster our friendship over the past months as I was in Toronto. I must hand it to Graham and Richard, they really take pride in ensuring you feel the love no matter how much distance separates you from the crew in Vancouver, arriving at Queen Elizabeth Park on this morning was much like anticipating a homecoming of shorts for this traverbal!

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The run to Queen Elizabeth Park was warm, the humidity was in full affect and Tierra forgot one small detail about the 2km run to the park, it was ALL uphill. I kept up with her until we reached the base of the park where there are two large inclines to get to the parking lot we all meet at, one of the fellow November Project YVR folks offers a ride and I happily accepted.

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Once in the parking lot it was a full on hug-fest, it’s incredible to think about how many of this folks I’ve built friendships with over social since my first visit in February. While we follow each other’s lives on Instagram we also take time to congratulate each other on every milestone and take time to chat when we can make the time! I felt right at home and was ready to rock this work out which would be fueled by shouts, f***-yeas, high fives and mad encouragement .

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If you’ve never been to a November Project workout then you’re missing out, besides a community of super awesome, welcoming and hardworking folks, each workout begins with an epic group jump circle that basically involves a lot of yelling + swearing, I live for it. The workouts are never the same, they are always inventive and ridiculous to an extent because they are supposed to be fun – crazy idea right? Having fun while getting your sweat on! This morning the workout was considered to be the ULTIMATE game of Rock, Paper, Scissors, you heard that right folks this morning we took it back to the playground and this was war! The morning started with a massive game of Rock, Paper, Scissors blog tag – basically you started all as individuals but whoever you lost to you became part of their team or as Richard called it their Hype Squad, the energy was high and people had their game faces on!

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After a not so traditional warm-up the workout was broken down, in 25 minutes we would be sweaty messes but we would have fun doing it. Basically you found a partner and battled them, if you won your stayed to battle someone else, if you lost you ran to one of three stations around Queen Elizabeth Park to complete the corresponding workout to the symbol you lost too. The catch was as you yelled Rock, Paper, Scissors against your opponent, you were doing jump squats with them as you held onto each other’s forearms, talk about Jello-o legs people, November Project YVR was not messing around this morning. The workout was as follows:

  • Rock: run to the designated section of the park and completed 20 Plank Jumps
  • Paper: run to the deck and complete 20 Plank + Alternating Arm/Leg Raises (I spent WAY to much time here after losing to paper)
  • Scissors: run to the designated section of the park (this section had a lot of stairs) and completed 20 per leg Alternating Jumping Lunges

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After 25 minutes of the most intense and grueling Rock, Paper, Scissors battles of my life it was time for the finish and today Richard and Graham were not messing about it was time to Bring Sally Up & Bring Sally down… This workout is familiar to me, we do it on occasion at Fuel to burn out the legs, except when we do it at Fuel we have a weighted bar on our back which just adds to the intensity of the whole experience. This morning it was all about squats and burning out those legs after 25 minutes of jump squats earlier, we all suffered together and it was an experience I’m sure many November Project YVR’ers will remember for a while.

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Like any November Project workout the morning ended on a high note, the Captains honoured folks in the crew with the November Project Positivity Award and the YVR Mountain Sexual Award. We posed for our group shot, hugged it out and then were more than ready to kill it on a Wednesday!

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After we jogged home – all downhill – from our workout Tierra and I got ready for our day, she was going to work and I was relocating to my Airbnb downtown for the remainder of my stay in Vancouver. Tierra made us an awesome post workout smoothie to tide me over to breakfast – a mix of avocado, cacao nibs, goji berries, banana, kale and almond milk. It was a fantastic treat and awesome to cheers one last time with this awesome lady who opened her home to me while I was on the west coast!

Breakfast With Linda at Glory Juice Co.

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Linda picked me up just after 8:30 to head downtown for breakfast, life chats and us meeting IRL for the FIRST time ever! My coach Heather, connected me with Linda when I was in Vancouver last summer for Linda to provide me with some details about runs in the city. I didn’t make it out to run at the time and when I was out in February we didn’t get a chance to connect as she was away. We’ve spent the last year connecting, following each other and chatting about all things running + life. I was BEYOND excited to meet up with her and finally hangout in person. Linda is a trail runner extraordinaire, with a passion for exploring the uncharted her Instagram is full of her exploring the areas of Vancouver + BC which are off the beaten path. When she’s not running for enjoyment she’s leading the Robson Run Club out of the lululemon Robson Store on Wednesday evenings and she also leads the Vancouver Run Co. – VRC Flight Crew. If you’re ever in Vancouver I HIGHLY recommend connecting with Linda for a run with one of these awesome groups!

Linda had suggested that we head to Glory Juice Co. in Kitsilano for breakfast – it offered the best of fresh juice, house made nutritious plant based treats and acai bowls. I’ve been to Glory once before but it was in passing to grab a juice while I was on the go, this time I was overwhelmed with a variety of options that were available to me for breakfast and I settled on the Housemade Granola with Almond Milk + #8 Juice (orange, lime, grapefruit). Breakfast was full of chatter, it was SO good to finally be able to sit down and catch up in person, while it’s one thing to maintain a friendship over social, it’s another thing to finally be face-to-face. I had such a fantastic morning with Linda at breakfast and checking out all of the new products at the Vancouver Run Co.! I was sad to say good-bye to her when I left for my Airbnb because I knew that I would be seeing a lot more of her in the coming days leading up to SeaWheeze.

Walking the Waterfront Post Airbnb Check-in

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After checking into my Airbnb conveniently located right downtown – a 5 minute walk to the hotel the Tribe Crew was staying at and 10 minutes from the Vancouver Convention Centre where all of the action would take place I decided to use the afternoon to run some errands, go to the Pacific Centre and have some time to relax. I may have also indulged in some Dim Sum from the track at the end of the Canada Place plaza, it’s like 4 pieces for $4 or something but it’s SO SO fresh and some of the best I’ve had. Nice little snack to have while walking through Gastown or along the Waterfront.

Holt Renfrew Vancouver

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One can’t go to Vancouver without checking in at Holt Renfrew! I was excited to stop by the store to see the renovations that have been under way since the start of the new year and of course see the much anticipated Chanel store that at been the subject to a lot of buzz in recent weeks since it’s opening.

A Late Lunch at Nicili’s Pizza

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After spending much of the afternoon walking around the city checking in at some of my favourite places I was ready to have a bite to eat to get me fueled up for my dance class at 6pm. My roommate Tierra who is a pizza aficionado highly recommended Nicili’s Pizzeria in Gastown to stop in at for lunch while I was in town. Nicili’s is Vancouver’s first VPN Certified Neapolitian Pizzeria – ” The mission of AVPN is to promote and protect, in Italy and worldwide, the “true Neapolitan pizza“, as typical product made in accordance with the rules and guidelines described in the International Regulations Book (AVPN DISCIPLINARE) in force since 1984, edited and registered by AVPN.”

I was skeptical that the pizza here would be good, let’s be honest, I’m Italian and I take my pizza seriously + I am very particular about the kind of crust I like, it’s a hard slice to find. I was also opting to come to Nicili’s over Ask for Luigi’s where I was hoping to head to for pasta, so I was banking on Tierra that this spot would be good. I was greeted, seated at the bar and I didn’t need much time to make my decision. I ordered a fresh orange rosemary soda water and a Margerita Pizza (pomodoro, grana padano, fior di latte, fresh basil). As I sipped my refreshing beverage, I anxiously awaited the arrival of my pizza, I was hungry! My pizza arrived whole, which was different for me and was accompanied by a pair of pizza sheers to cut the pizza on my own. This was a first for me, a restaurant providing me the opportunity to cut the slices to my liking which I actually really enjoyed because sometimes when a pizza is cut into quarters I find the slices a bit big which can result in my needing to cut the pieces in half or fold them.

After I finished my lunch a lady working behind the bar approached me to ask me about my meal and how I enjoyed my beverage, apparently they were new on the menu and she was looking for some feedback about the in-house syrups that they were making. While I forget the Manger’s name, my apologies we had a fantastic conversation once I told her I was front Toronto and she inquired about the pizza craze in our city. After our conversation she asked me to wait a moment as she wanted to go and get something for me, I wasn’t sure what she was up to, but in no rush I waited for her to return before I headed on my way. She returned to me with a stack of envelopes, she informed me that they were five gift cards and after hearing about being a runner who know runners who would be looking for pizza while in the city she wanted to provide me the opportunity to pay it forward and help get some of the run folks to Nicili’s for pizza. I have to say I was blown away by her kindness, I never expected that a conversation about pizza would lead to something like this, she also took the time to explain to me that the giftcard holders image was of the owner’s grandparents and the story behind them inspiring him to open the restaurant. Over the next few days I spent time handing these giftcards out to a few folks in my run life who have been so supportive and integral to me being in Vancouver for SeaWheeze, I was so grateful that Nicili’s provided me with these giftcards to help make people’s day!

Dance Class with the RSVP 33 YVR Crew

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If you follow my blog you know that I have been dancing with RSVP 33 in Toronto since its launch in the city this Spring. Coming to Vancouver I knew I had to get out on Wednesday night to dance in the spot where this all began! It was so awesome to catch up with Roman and Saschie (the masterminds behind this amazing movement + community) and get to dance to one of my favourite jams ‘Me Too’ by Meghan Trainor. The space that the RSVP 33 community gets to dance in is something else, it’s a roof top studio that has a patio space that is big enough to hold class on too! Floor to ceiling windows with a stunning view of the city is certainly a truly unique space to take class in and I couldn’t haven happier to make it out to groove with these fierce folks while I was on the west coast.

Drinks & Rants With Havana Club Don

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Havana Club Don (also known by Donnie) is a friend of mine, based in Toronto he is the Brand Ambassador for all things Havana Club Rum in Canada, only problem is him and I struggle to end up in the same place while we are in Toronto. Donnie was in town for some business in Vancouver and he invited me to an event that was holding this evening at Uva Wine & Cocktail Bar. I didn’t have any plans so after dance class I got changed, picked up a pair of shoes and headed over to Uva for some cocktails, chats and fun alongside Donnie as he manned the bar for this event. I had a great night and sampled a few standout cocktails all featuring rum, I’ll certainly be purchasing some more Havana Club for future.

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