running europe

Back in September, we took an incredible, memorable vacation to Europe. Although we had a fantastic trip to the UK back in 2016 (where I had the chance to run in London, Yorkshire and Edinburgh), this was our first visit to ‘continental’ Europe. We did a loop, taking us from the Netherlands to Belgium to Germany and back again to Amsterdam.

Most of the trip was dedicated to sightseeing, and we clocked 15-20km just sightseeing pretty much every day. Despite this, I made an effort to run a little bit in each country, and I loved the experience of Running Europe!

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I have to admit I won’t be sad to see the end of 2019. Although lots of good things happened, the year as a whole took its toll on me personally and professionally. An all-consuming work project demanded a significant amount of time through until the end of August (although, on the upside, I got a new job out of it!). Big changes with my family meant several unscheduled visits back to Ontario – blessedly, things are now settled and everyone is happy.

As a result of all this, my blog suffered and I didn’t keep up the consistent writing I generally aspire to. Once I had run a race, I just didn’t have the energy to report on it. I was tired, I was uninspired. I felt bad about it, but not bad enough to get down to business. So, as the year draws to a close, I’m going to briefly summarize each of the races that I ‘missed’ reporting on this year!

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Dawg Dash

A few years ago, we took a trip to Seattle over a long weekend in October to visit some good friends. When they asked why we had Monday off, they learned all about Canadian Thanksgiving! In fact, they pulled together an inpromptu Thanksgiving dinner for us to celebrate. It was really special.

So when we got invited down to Seattle to ‘formally’ celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving this year, how could we resist? Once the plans were made, our host Wendy registered the whole family for that weekend’s race…the University of Washington Dawg Dash!

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Three years ago was the first and only time I’d run Gunner Shaw. For the following two years, I was deathly ill *dramatic sigh* and unable to participate. Despite the fact that I might have enjoyed my post-birthday celebrations a wee bit too much the previous night, I was excited to once again run the Gunner Shaw Cross Country 5K this year, making it my final race of the 2010’s.

Since I hadn’t signed up ahead of time (because I didn’t want to jinx things and get sick again), I had to arrive early enough to register. As I was driving over Lions Gate Bridge, I couldn’t help but notice that I could barely see the city for the fog and misty rain. This is the stuff of good cross country races – damp, muddy conditions that make you wonder what you’ve gotten yourself into.

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north van run

After returning from nearly two weeks in Europe, I honestly wasn’t feeling in the mood to tackle a race. Sure, I did a bit of running while travelling, but let’s be honest – those were runs combined with sightseeing and photo ops: hardly what could be considered training! On top of it all – jetlag!

Photo Credit: Bee Vee

But I knew a whole bunch of people running this year’s North Van Run and heck, I live in North Van! So Sunday morning, it was off to the races!

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Revel Chilliwack

The REVEL Race Series is known across the US for creating fast downhill courses, usually held in more remote, mountainous locations. So when their inaugural race in Canada – REVEL Chilliwack – was announced back in the spring, I decided to check it out. I read a few reviews, which spoke to their great organization and quality medals – and decided to register. My legs are sore but my heart is happy after doing this race!

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5 peaks cypress

After nearly a year living on the North Shore, I thought I was better at hills. I learned my lesson at 5 Peaks Cypress on the Enduro course…I’m not. As we were waiting in the corral, Race Director Solana told us the hills were ‘soul crushing’. She didn’t lie. Rocks and trees and fog and a bit of rain and oh-so-many hills ensured that we had a brutally fantastic race day experience, where time and distance lose all meaning and it’s just you and the trail…

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Hot on the heels of the small but mighty Shaughnessy 8K comes the first ‘summer’ run – the aptly named West Van Run Summer! With a total of three races this year, including the long-standing tradition of the Ambleside Mile, the 5K and – for the first time ever – the Kids’ Mile, West Van Run Summer has something for everyone. The biggest change for 2019 was the new courses, which only served to make the event even better!

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