On a recent dash out to Calgary – en route to Canmore for a long weekend of celebrating the nuptials of a dear old friend – I had the opportunity to enjoy an early morning run along the Bow River. The sun was shining, the birds were chirping and I was running with one of my best friends in the whole world – it was absolute bliss.
Those of you who follow me, know of my LOVE for discovering a new city on foot. There’s nothing like waking up before the sun’s up to unlock what lies behind the tourist scene; watching people open their stores, what kind of transport they take, and scoping out all the good coffee shops as the scent of freshly baked goodness floods my, what is by then, very receptive nostrils.
It’s not a big surprise that these runs normally end with me in one of these coffee shops, drink in hand and pastry crammed into mouth. After all, I run because I really, really, really like desserts. Ergo, early morning run = right to enjoy foreign pastries. While I’ve been fortunate enough to literally run into some delicious coffee joints, I recently discovered a new favourite, which currently has locations solely throughout Western Canada, and will henceforth be known as “The Best in the West”.
Good Earth Coffee House and Bakery is a delicious chain of coffee shops with a dedication the creation of killer coffee and delicious pastries. After months, possibly years of not eating muffins, I dug my teeth into a delicious zucchini barley muffin… twice. As much as I hate myself for saying this, all I could focus on was how moist it was. God, I hate that word. But that’s exactly what it was; unbelievably and inexplicably moist. With chunks of berry in between every bite, it became a morning ritual I could definitely get used to (of course, at 300 calories each, I’d have to add an additional 5k to the run, but it would be so, so worth it).
My drink of choice? A Skinny Earl Grey Tea Latte. Skim milk and sugar-free. No love – or flavour lost. Enjoy!
It comes as no surprise that my favourite way to see a city is to get up at the crack of dawn and give it the runaround. There’s simply nothing quite like waking up alongside a city; whether it’s skirting around delivery vans dropping off fresh baked goods for the start of day, or darting businessmen and women hustling to get to work on time, taking an early-morning run while traveling is by far my favourite way to discover a city. You never know what you’ll see before the sun creeps up! Rising early to hit the pavement has led me to discover a Canadian cemetery in the North of Wales, and accidentally join a 5km while spending an anniversary weekend in Pittsburgh and been yelled at by a fellow hostel guest in Geneva who must have dreamed her alarm went off and blamed it on the early risers, or, I suppose I should say runners.
While I’ve had my fair share of fabulous runs to kick-start my travels around the world, here are my top 5! If you’re ever in the area, don’t miss out on the chance to take in the fresh air, the beautiful landscape and hit the ground running:
1. Stanley Park, Vancouver, B.C
Starting at Canada Place and ending at English Bay, the approximately 12 kilometer run through Stanley Park is the most amazing and memorable runs I have done to date (the fact that I ran it alongside one of my best friends was totally just the icing on the cake). Next to cyclists, joggers and walkers galore, you’ll weave in-between greenery set directly net to a never-ending coast-line in one of the most beautiful parks in the world. Check out more about Stanley Park and other things to see an do in Vancouver in my blog series on Beautiful British Columbia.
So, I figure since I’ve started running a bunch of different races in a bunch of different places, I might as well start doing a small write-up post-race so fellow runners and followers of this energetic giraffe, can get a feel for runs that are worth it, and runs that can definitely be skipped. I’ll have to write a few retrospectively, but to kick things off, here is a short review of the Oasis Zoo Run 2014!
From all the runs held in and around Toronto, this was the one I had always regretted not running. So, earlier this year, as I mapped out my post-baby “get your butt back into shape” plan, I signed myself up. I’d signed up for the 10km but an unprecedented ankle injury left me with aches and pains leading up to race day, so I sucked up my pride and made the switch. Having had to back out of the Toronto Yonge Street 10km already this season due to a nasty cold, I was pretty bummed but still stoked to hit the pavement feet first. Continue reading “Race review: The Oasis Zoo Run 2014”→