The Book Gift Guide (from a non-reader runner)

Let me preface this post with the fact that I’m not a big reader. I enjoy reading but it’s not something I usually make time for. I value reading and appreciated it but I don’t always love it. Unbeknownst to me, this past year I’ve read more books then ever.

I thought I would share with you some of the books I read as they all are great books (and great gift ideas for the holidays). This is not a sponsored post, nor was I asked to promote these books. I either bought the book or went to my local library and loaned it out. Most of these books I saw through social media shares from people I follow as recommendations. You know what they say about like minded people? Well, you tend to like the same things.

Fitness Junkie: I’ve seen this book time and time again on social media and figured I’d give it a go. My local library didn’t have it in stock so they ordered it and I was the first one to read it. Nothing like cracking open a book from the library for the first time. It’s a funny read about the fitness world and all the crazy (yeah, crazy) trends out there and the length people will go to obtain “the look”. It’s a fun and easy read that I think anyone would enjoy. 

Strong – Kara Goucher. This is one book I will use and reuse year after year. I’m only half way through it but I can see how it can be used over and over again. It’s a very goal-oriented, motivational tool you can have in your back pocket as a runner. But also, not just as a runner. I think any sport / athlete could use this book to help you set goals and reach them. 

I highly recommend reading it and taking the time to sit down to write out your goals. When I read it on my car ride to the city last weekend, my mind was popping out goals and ideas for next year with excitement. Since 2019 is approaching fast, now’s a great time to set you goals for next year! I’ve started to set mine because of reading this book. Some are lofty goals but ones I want to reach as a runner.

North – Scott Jurek. I was able to snag the audio book this summer from my local library. Over a period of three weeks, I listened to the book while driving around to meetings. Sometimes, I’d be in my car for 1-2 hours one way, so it was easy to listen to the book and get through the chapters. 

This book is an amazing story to read (listen) to. It’s about Scott finding his way while running along the Appalachian Trail, along with his wife being his support crew. He tells it like it is, honest, funny and engaging. I loved that his wife…Jenny was part of the storytelling. It brought a whole other perspective when hearing a female voice telling her part of their story. To be honest, it was “their” story that was told.  I’d love to buy the actual book and read but really enjoyed listening to the audio book. I’d really recommend the audio book as a nice change and a bonus to hear their actual voices tell their story. 

Redefining Realistic – Heather Moyse. Nothing better then reading a motivational book from a “local” Olympian. By local, I mean from the Maritimes, not Nova Scotia.

Heather is an extremely inspiring Olympian (bobsled) but successful in other sports: rugby and track cycling. Her book dives into redefining your realistic perspective, your potential and how to own your story. It’s the kind of book you feel like your just having a conversation with her and learning about her life experiences and how they brought her to where she is now – in a realistic kinda of way. I liked hearing about the impact people made on her life – whether is was good or bad. It’s not just for the athlete, her knowledge can apply to anyone.

Sweet Ride by Ann Barry. Now this is local! It’s a really cute book about these four women who ride their bikes from the South Shore in Nova Scotia to Prince Edward Island and back again through the Annapolis Valley back in the 1943 (World War II). Not an easy trek by any means. 

It shares their story along with some adventures and challenges they faced. I enjoyed reading about their adventures but also knowing the routes they took and the communities they road through and places they stopped. If you are from Nova Scotia, are a cyclist or just enjoy local authors, this is a great little book to read. 

If you are like me and don’t always love to read but kinda enjoy it and want to read more, give one of these books a try. I’m hoping my new interest in reading this past year will continue to grow and I may actually love it one day. I’m always looking for book suggestions so feel free to leave me one of your favourite books in the comments. 

What are you reading right now?

What’s the number one book you’d recommend right now?

Any favourite local books you want to share?

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Maritime Race Weekend 10k Recap

It’s been a while since I’ve done a proper race recap, so I thought I’d do one from this weekend. I ran the Maritime Race Weekend 10k Saturday. Though I’m training for the PEI Marathon (HALF marathon – Oct 14th), this 10k didn’t actually fit into my training plan…..but I made it work anyway.

In previous years, I go in Friday night and run the Tartan Twosome (5k sunset, 5/10/half/full sunrise Saturday) race but with both of my girls in school and my husband working, I just couldn’t pull it off this year. It’s hard getting to the city with two kids and a dog after working/school all day. This year, I decided 10k Saturday would be enough. I’m not going to lie – I missed running the 5k sunset but I quite enjoyed not stressing out about getting into the city on time!

I had a horrible sleep the night before at my parents place, basically awake every hour and one my daughters woke up with a night terror – yeah, those still happen. I got up early and was out the door by 6:10 to get over to the race about 30 minutes away. It was smooth sailing over and I got a decent parking spot which is about 1 km away from the race line.

Fisherman’s Cove fog!

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I met up with my running buddy, Krystol and we hit up the extremely long yet fast moving porta-potty line. I saw lots of people I knew but didn’t get a chance to say Hi to everyone. The fog was HEAVY but the sun was trying to blast through and it sure did. In a matter of minutes it was hot and humid – like hot summer running.

Happy runners!

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The gun went off and off we went with the rest of the crowd of runners. My first km was around 6:26 and that’s a faster start then I would do for a longer run but also felt in control sandwiched in-between runners. In the past, I’d likely get frustrated running with so many people close by and unable to move around them but this year I just didn’t feel rushed to get out there. I zigged zagged when I could around runners and eventually felt comfortable running.

Just before the 3km mark, you start running up this hill. It’s the hill that never ends and almost doesn’t look like it’s a hill until you get to mid way and then you start working really hard. I don’t dislike it but I definitely worked hard getting up it. I thought I’d have to walk at the top but was able to recover enough to keep my feet running.

As I hit the second water station before coming down that big hill, I grabbed a water, took a sip and then poured the rest over my head. I figured if it was this hot now, I’d be super hot towards the end of my run. I repeated this at every water station – minus the time I was given Gatorade. The cold water felt wonderful on my head. I cruised down the hill, rather fast and got going into a pace the felt really good. I was running around 5:45 – 6:00/km. Not going to lie – I was shocked at how fast I was running for me.

At the bottom of the hill you turn left and run along a very flat road beside the ocean. It was super bright as the sun was shining directly at us. I enjoyed seeing friends pass on the other side and high-fiving them along the way. I was working really hard and pulled off a few decent paces: 5:52/km, 5:59/km and 6:01;km (km 5 – 7) then I started to slow down.

At the turn around point all I could remember is how beautiful it was. The warm sun on my back and the beautiful blue ocean to my left and I remembered why I really loved this race – the views! I was on a bit of a struggle bus in trying to keep that 6 min per km pace and just couldn’t do it. I just kept putting one foot in front of the other knowing that after the race I still had to run another 6k.

As I was nearing the finish I thought I could make an attempt at a sub 60 but it was just too far out of my reach. I was trying to push hard but it just felt like it wasn’t there until I turned the last hairpin corner and passed a handful of people to the finish line. My whole body hurt and I thought you could see if all over my face. I was lucky enough to finish 2 minutes or so behind Krystol who captured my finish.

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I really love this race and will do it again and again! Great job to Michelle (Race Director) and all her volunteers! Krystol and I hung around for a bit, grabbed a yummy bagel, tones of water to hydrate and took a few photos along the way.

10k Finsher at Fisherman’s Cove – sunshiny day!

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I left Fisherman’s Cove around 11am and headed back towards my parents house to run my next 6k. I’ll be honest, I didn’t want to do it and almost backed out. I’m not sure what inside of me made me do it but off I went to run another 6k. I had changed out of my sweaty clothing and ran along the COLTA trail (Chain of Lakes Trail Association). It was such a beautiful place to run and so many bikers and walkers! I think I was the only crazy one running in the HEAT of the day. Good lord it was H-O-T!!!

This run was much slower with paces of 6:52 to 6:11/km. I think towards the end of my run I just wanted to be done and picked up my pace somehow! It was a hard run but I was able to jump in my parents pool to cool off with my girls – so worth it! We also snuck in a trip over to Peggy’s Cove – so beautiful!

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I had to look up my race etc today as I didn’t look after the race. My chip time was 1:01:27, gun time was 1:02:38, 50th in my age group (out of 187). Not too bad!

How was your weekend?

Anyone race?

Have you done a double day run on race day before?

 

Johnny Miles Half Marathon Recap 2017

Just like that, another half marathon done! It’s been a full year since I’ve run a half so it was kinda nice running the same race/course again. It was great, it was hard, it got a little ugly but got better again and I finished!

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Pre Race

Since it was a family trip, we took our time getting on the road Saturday and left just after lunch. It was raining and the girls weren’t loving the 2.5 hour drive but we only had a handful of “are were there yet?”. My friend picked up my race kit so I didn’t go to the expo. We went directly to the hotel, had birthday cake as Krystol’s son was turning 7. We went down to the pool and swam and hung out in the hot tub with all of the kids – three families, 7 kids. No photo’s were taken at the pool but I’m pretty sure the THREE DAD’s had more fun then the kids did on the twisted slide! (They went back Sunday morning too…with the kids).

We had dinner and tried to take it easy that evening but with bunk beds and a tv in their room it was a much later night for the girls then we wanted. I had a horrible sleep – not sure why but that’s just life sometimes.

Morning of Race

I went and had breakfast with Krystol and Melissa, who were running the half and 10k, respectively. My husband and girls came down after and then we left for our race around 8am. This was probably the best weather a runner could ask for! It was cool but about 18c with an overcast sky. The marathon started at 7 am (lucky!!!) and we started at 9:05.

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Half Marathon

The first 10k was really awesome! My pace was better then I expected (6:20 – 6:57)/km, I felt really good and I was enjoying the course. My plan was to run and walk when I have to. It was a 10k loop, so I had to run it twice and since I ran it last year I felt good about it. I knew where the hills were, where the trail was covered in shade and when I would be in direct sunlight.  The humidity started to increase around 13k which didn’t help me.

stats jmm

I want to say the wheels started to fall off between 10-13k but they didn’t really fall off. I just felt like I didn’t have anything left in me to give. There were a few moments of “I hate this”, “I’m NEVER running a full marathon”, to “I hate the half marathon distance” but also many moments that I loved.

The times I loved: when I wasn’t expecting to see a friend of mine at the race but she passed me on the route and we quickly chatted. Or the time when an older guy passed me coming in the opposite direction. When he saw me, he put on this big smile and I smiled back. He reminded me that I do love running, that I can love running during hard times and that I’m lucky that I can run right now. It was a good reality check.

From there, I didn’t care if I walked or ran. I powered up all the hills so strong I’d make anyone proud. However, after I’d get past the top and try to recover I struggled so much. I walked on straight stretches feeling a little sour that I was choosing to walk and that I didn’t come here to walk the race…so I’d run again.

I also saw another friend who was volunteering at a water station so it was fun to quickly chat with him and run on. After 15, I was kinda done. I drank my Nuun in between water stations, grabbed Gatorade and a glass of water as well at each aid station. I’d take a swig of water and poor the rest over my head to cool down – relief! Gu’s, chew’s and even a fruit to go bar made it’s way into my mouth over the course.

 

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I noticed a blister forming on my left pinky toe (and later my right) and that wasn’t really all that fun. It’s pretty big (I’ll spare you a photo) but from 15k onwards that pain of a blister forming was zapping me in the toe. (I normally don’t blister).

I wasn’t give up but I surely was done by 17k so I just kept thinking that I only had four more kilometres to go. Then 3k. Then 2k. As you ran, you would see people on the other side of the road – essentially ahead of you. There was so many people saying “great job”, “way to go” and I was saying it back as well. There is something about the running community that can lift you up when you need it OR, you can lift someone else up.

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I had the finish line to myself. There was no one in front of me and I don’t remember anyone behind me. It was kinda fun running in by yourself and hearing them call your name. I was happy and relieved I finished. High fives and hugs from strangers – you know, those people who volunteer at races are awesome people! They hug you when you are extremely sweaty 😉 But seriously, thank you to all those who volunteer!

I finished the race in 2:27:11 and was happy it was under 2:30. Was I disappointed with my time, hell no. I finished a race 12 weeks after a winter car accident with no pain. It was great, it was hard, it was was ugly and I finished 🙂 After finishing, we made our way back to the hotel were the girls were enjoying father’s day with Saï. We eventually made our way home but not before lunch at Subway and then ice cream sundae’s and a milkshake for me!

Happy kids!

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Today (Monday), my thighs hurt the most and I’m really hating stairs. All stairs. They – Are – Everywhere! I’m hoping to get in a short shake out run but that’s on the fence as soccer season starts for both girls tonight and Saï is on shift. Even if I walk around the field tonight for a walk, I’ll consider that a win!

How was your weekend?

Anyone race?

Did you enjoy Father’s Day?

Today, I’m linking up with HoHo Runs, MissSippiPiddlin and Run & Live Happy. Don’t forget to check out their blogs!

WWGuest-Tara

 

 

 

 

 

How to Run During Winter in Canada

Winter running has lots of challenges. What do you wear? How do you layer? What should you wear on your feet? How long should you run in the cold? Why do your lungs BURN?!?!

Yes, all those thoughts go through my mind when winter temperatures start gracing us in Nova Scotia. It usually only takes one run to (rudely) remind me of what piece of gear I was missing in order to make it a good run. I was recently asked what I wear on my runs to stay warm/safe. These are only my opinions, please share your tips in the comments.

Running in Winter in Eastern Canada

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Keep Your Feet Happy

We can have lots of snow in the winter but our conditions are always changing. If the roads are clear (sidewalks included), I usually just wear my normal running sneakers. However, don’t expect them to last after the winter months as the salt from the roads can take a toll on them.

I also have a pair of “gator” liners that you wear like socks. They keep your feet extremely warm and dry if you have to run through slush. I feel like I’m putting on a wet suit for my feet.

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Last year (or the year before), I invested in a really good pair of Yak Tracks for running on the snow and ice. Yes, sometimes we run on ice folks! You need some kind of traction under your sneakers for snow and ice, otherwise you’ll end up on your butt and/or injured. I’ve yet to try spikes in my sneakers but I plan to get a set to try out soon.

Warm Legs

It’s never fun running with cold legs. I wear anything from running tights to thermal running tights. If it is extremely cold, I wear a wicking base layer  (merino wool long underwear) under my thermal tights. My thighs get really cold in the winter and stay cold for hours after a run so I’ve got to layer up.

Keep Your Core Warm

I also have two options for my core. Right now (0c to -15c) I usually wear three layers. A thank top, a long sleeve base layer and then, a jacket. Any colder (think adding on windchill to those temps), I wear a long sleeved base layer, VEST for my core, then a jacket. I want to keep my core warm when I run.

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Neck Up

I wear anything from a Buff to ski/neck warmer that covers up to my nose. Honestly, if I have to cover my face that badly during a run, I’m really pushing it and I should just get on my treadmill. I also wear my sunglasses as I find the when the sun hits the snow it can be blinding.

I wear a running hat and reflective gear. I have a pair of running gloves that I wear however, on really cold days I double up and wear a pair of mittens over top.

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Some Tips & Tricks to a Good Winter Run

  • Pee before you run. Your body tries to keep your urine warm, therefore heat is being taking away from your extremities (hands, feet). An empty bladder means warmer extremities. This is a winter camping trick that I use all the time.
  • The first few km/miles of your run are going to be cold while you warm up. Keep running, it will get better. If it doesn’t, call it a day.
  • Dress in enough layers but not too many – this can be tricky.
  • Test out your run. Take your first kilometre close to home or where you park your car. That way, if you are still cold after 5-6 minutes, you can add on another layer.
  • Cut your run short if you have to. No shame.
  • Don’t worry about your pace, focus on just running.

So, here’s to lots of great winter runs, warm hands and feet and good km/miles in your running shoes!

What’s your best winter tip you have?

What’s your favourite piece of WINTER running gear?

What’s the coldest temps you’ll run in?

Quick conversions: +5C = 41F  /   0C = 32 F  /  -5C = 23F   / -10C =  32F   /   -15C =  5F

 

Valley Harvest Marathon 10k Recap 2016

It seems as if the Valley Harvest Marathon is now becoming a tradition during Thanksgiving weekend. I’ve run it six times! I’ve ran the half in 2014 (my PB), paced the 10k (1:10 finish) in 2015 and this year’s 10k. In 2013, I ran the 5k, I skipped it in 2012 as I was very pregnant with Hilary. In 2011, I ran the 5k and in 2010, I ran the 10k four months postpartum after Lilly. I only have one distance I haven’t completed….yet.

2016

Sunday morning I got up at 5:30 otherwise known as stupid-early o’clock and left the house at 6:28am. Acadia University is only a 15 minutes for me on a good day and I had no problems with traffic or road construction. I ran into some friends, hit up the washroom one last time and met up with Krystol who was running her 10th half marathon! I really miss running the long distances right now so I tried not to think about what distance I was doing. At 7:45 the half marathoners took off and then us at 8 am.

Traditional pre-race photo & Krystol finishing her half marathon.

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Before the race, I got to meet some  people from Instagram {teamaldred, fit_pedagogue and newshell73), some during the run as they passed by and then after as well. It’s always nice to put a real personality to a face from IG/Twitter and having a conversations beyond 140 characters or “heart likes”.

I stood by Matthew, the 1:05 pace bunny from White Rabbit Pacing. They are awesome and I felt a little disappointed in myself that I wasn’t pacing this race again. It was on my list of things to do this year but being injured and having an unreliable pace, I couldn’t commit. It wouldn’t be fair to the runners if I couldn’t keep up the pace. I didn’t see the 1:10 pace bunny so decided while waiting for the gun to go off, that I’d keep with the 1:05 (6:30/km) pace bunny however that didn’t last long.

My main goal was to run a steady race and don’t give up. Obviously, I know I could do the distance but with little training and motivation lately, my confidence was rather low. My Green Garmin beeped at the 1k mark 6:24…not bad. Comfortable. My stiff ankle was to be expected and that feeling went away after the first k. I hadn’t gone out too fast, as I have before at the beginning of a race. I was just where I wanted to be. 🙂

I was keeping my pace relativity consistent and had the 1:05 pace bunny behind me somewhere. I kept looking forward as I didn’t want to know how close I was with him. Then kilometre two hit: 6:16 – that felt nice even with the hills where people passed me right and left. My goal wasn’t to be fast, it was to race smart and steady…forget about everyone else passing you. Sometimes that’s hard to do!

As kilometre three hit we neared a long downhill where I tried to just glide down it easily. I grabbed some water took a sip and put the rest on my head and neck as the humidity was starting to increase a bit. The first place male was approaching us FAST and I was amazed by his speed. I then saw the first female! The next little stretch was flat so I picked up my pace a little more during kilometres four and five {see below}.

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I felt really good but knew I still had another 4k to go and didn’t want to push it too early. I hit the turn around spot and took a short walking break and was back at it.  Sometimes I find this long stretch of road very daunting and was trying to focus on other people running in the other direction.Occasionally I would find someone to catch up to and pick them off one by one – I’ve never done that before.

I saw Kendra who was running fast shout “stay strong”.  After the straight stretched we approached another hill, near the Irving station (for those that now the area). I slowly moved up the hill passing people walking and heard a women saying “great job, looking strong pushing up the hill” which gave me a little boost. I then had to stop at the top of the hill to catch my breath. I conquered the hill but knew my limits and took a good walking break which is reflected in kilometre seven {6:46}.

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As I approached 8k, running downhill then up another my fitness level or lack of started to show. Taking 6-7 weeks off consistent running really takes a told on your body. Though I was active by cycling, yoga and swimming it wasn’t enough to keep me in running shape. This is when I just kept thinking “one foot in front of the other” with a few brief walking breaks. This was a rough patch.

I had nothing left but a long incline with lots of people watching everyone finish. As I approached Raymond field (track), I was just done. That last little incline or what felt like a long incline took the last bit of energy out of me. As the group of people bottle-necked the entrance to the track, I took short steps and slowed down enough to catch my breath again. It felt relieving. As I ran on the soft track underneath my feet my body felt happy and I was able to pick up my pace. It felt nice finishing strong around the track and turning off my Green Garmin at 1:03:59. Not a PB but such a great run for me right now. I couldn’t have asked for a better run/race and time. Though I’m still a good 8-9 minutes off a PB, it felt great.

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My ankle felt great post run which was also a key piece to this run. The Physiotherapy and exercises are working. I saw lots of friends and chatted with them before I realised Krystol would soon be finishin. I decided to walk the track backwards so I wouldn’t miss her and saw her approaching the finish with the clock ticking 1:59:xx ….she made it under 2 hours! I was a little concerned for her as she came across the finish line not looking great so I immediately got her attention and met up at the end of the chute. She was 2 seconds off a PB and has been dealing with Achilles pain for a month now.

Another great run/race done! No regrets, no complaints, no “what ifs”. I ran into more people who successfully grained new PB’s which is always awesome. Thank you Valley Harvest Marathon committee for a great event, it’s greatly appreciated. And thank you to all the awesome pace bunnies from White Rabbit Pacing.

That was a long post…thanks for sticking around. After my run, we drove to the city for Thanksgiving dinner with my family and had such a great visit and I ate all the food!

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I think that is my last official race of the year! I’m hoping to run a Santa Shuffle in December but that’s it for big races. My head is spinning for next year but I need to focus on my PT and some good cross training to avoid injuries next year.

Anyone race last weekend?

Do you use pace bunnies?

Canadians – how was your thanksgiving weekend?

Have any holiday races planned in the coming months?

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Wish I Was….

On this beach with my husband and girls……….

Brackley Beach in Prince Edward Island.

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or this one……

Basin View Provincial Park, Souris {PEI}

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OR hanging/running on the boardwalk in Charlotteown {PEI}.

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Or eating Cow’s Ice Cream and hanging with this guy…

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OR listening to this song on repeat while driving in the car together.

Basically, I wish I was still on vacation with them 🙂

Have you taken a summer vacation yet?

What did you do? 

What’s your favourite thing to do on vacation?

Summer Fun List 2015

This past winter, I never would have thought we’d see the hot summer days ever again! Man, we got blasted with snow storm after snow storm from the end of January to the end of March. IT.WAS.NUTS!

That being said, I’ve been writing down things I wanted to do this summer with our girls. It’s now turned into a summer fun list. These are very specific to Nova Scotia (where I live) and hopefully lead to a lot of great adventures:

Bridgetown Playground

  • Strawberry pickingdone.
  • Go to the Bridgetown Natural Playground (pic above) and have a picnic
  • Swim at Lumsden’s Beach
  • Hike the trails near our house/play in the stream
  • Trip to Prince Edward Island
  • Hit up a beach on the South Shore of Nova Scotia (1.5 hours or so away)
  • Girls – weekend with Grandparents & Me – weekend with my girlfriend who’s expecting in Sept.
  • Camp in the backyard with my family (or camp site if time permits)
  • Go paddling with my family
  • Swim in a lakedone once already.
  • Go to the drive-in theatre – probably sans kiddo’s
  • Complete all my long runs
  • And of course…snuggle with a new niece or nephew later in the summer 🙂

There are more things I want to do this summer with the fam, but I’m keeping it to this list for now.

What’s on your summer fun list?

Traveling far or staying local this summer?

Hope you enjoy your summer!

Cheers, Piper 🙂