Category Archives: Dog

Long weekend & more mountain biking

It was Victoria Day long weekend, which meant no work yesterday!

We hoped to go camping in Jasper (it’s been way too long) but the forecast for the mountains wasn’t very nice. We opted to stay home instead, and it was a beautiful weekend in the city!

I spent almost every minute of Saturday outside including a strength workout in the back yard, a visit with my niece, and reading (Anatomy for Runners by Jay Dicharry again) by the fire while Kelly worked on bikes. (He’s an awesome bike mechanic!)


On Sunday Kelly and I went for another long mountain bike ride. I was so tired by the end it felt like I was back in Ironman training!

We rode for almost four hours again and I think I did a lot better on the trails. We took wider and easier ones, but on the singletrack I felt more confident!

Here are four things I worked on improving from last week but still have a ways to go.

  • Look ahead – look down the trail for obstacles, roots, ruts, turns, etc. so I can react to them before I reach them.
  • Don’t hesitate – if I pause, I stop and then it’s even harder to make myself go down a steep hill or keep pedaling up. I was at the top of a steep downhill on Saturday, hesitated, and stopped. A lady and her husband were walking up it and gave me the encouragement I needed to ride down!
  • Learn to shift my weight – this point kind of goes with the hesitation. I need to work on shifting my weight back (butt behind seat) downhill and pushing my hips forward when I climb. (oh, and to shifts gears before I reach a hill!)
  • Stand when going over bumpy terrain or logs – I learned this the hard way after hurting my nether region from staying sitting!

I’ve really enjoyed mountain biking with Kelly the last couple weekends. The trails are such a peaceful place to be without traffic or much wind.

On Monday I took Harold to the river valley to enjoy the trails again. I wanted to run a little, but we ended up walking almost the whole time. I thought I was out of shape, but Harold definitely needs spring training before he can go on long hikes in the mountains this summer!!

How was your weekend? Do you prefer to walk, run, or bike on trails?

Work Free Wednesday movement

I’m thinking of starting a movement: Work Free Wednesday.

I took a Wednesday off from work a few weeks ago. I got 10 hours of much-needed sleep and woke up refreshed. I had an awesome workout followed by a healthy breakfast (that I had time to enjoy). Then I went for groceries and ran a couple errands.

Once I got home, Harold and I went out for a lovely hour-long walk in the sunshine. I followed that up with baking cookies, making treats for Harold, and a little house cleaning.


Harold’s dehydrated sweet potato treats

After Kelly got home from work and went for a run, I had a delicious and nutritious dinner cooked and waiting. I also made our lunches for Thursday during this time.


Lastly, we took Harold for another walk, I did 20 minutes of relaxation yoga, and had time to read.

I felt refreshed and ready to put my all into work and everything else for the rest of the week.

I have zero science or research to back it, but I swear employees would be more productive, homes would be cleaner, relationships would be stronger, and people would be healthier if Wednesday’s were work free!

I think I’d even choose four, 10-hour workdays to get every Wednesday off!

Are you in?! Do you work Monday to Friday or a different schedule? 

Highlights from our California Coast adventure

We drove 7,165 km (4,452 miles) through eight states and two provinces, stayed in nine places and four states, and were gone for 28 days.

Our jaunt down the California Coast was our best holiday yet.  I spent over three weeks by the beach with my husband and dog- who can complain about that?


We decided to power through Washington and Oregon since we’ve been a couple times and get to California. We hopped on the Redwood Highway in Grant’s Pass, Oregon, which is where our holiday truly began!



Here’s a list of all the places we visited with asterisks by where we stayed overnight:

  • Tacoma, Washington (travel night)
  • Crescent City
  • Eureka*
  • Avenue of Giants
  • San Francisco*
  • Santa Cruz
  • Carmel*
  • Monterrey
  • Santa Monica
  • Hollywood and LA
  • Newport Beach*
  • Huntington Beach
  • Laguna Beach*
  • Del Mar*
  • La Jolla
  • San Diego
  • Las Vegas*
  • Great Falls, Montana (travel night)


Nothing I write (nor the photos we took) will do the trip justice, so I thought I’d highlight some special places.

San Francisco
It was fun to drive the iconic Golden Gate to kick off a fun couple days in San Francisco.

We scored an awesome dog-friendly hotel a block from Pier 39. We walked countless miles over our two days and stuck to the tourist spots: Pier 39, Fisherman’s Wharf, the Embarcadero, Ferry Building, Chinatown, the crookedest street, Union Square, and Golden Gate Park.


And what’s a trip to SF without Ghiradelli’s? I ate a delicious sundae and have been craving their marshmallow topping ever since!


Carmel by the Sea
We heard that Carmel was one of the most dog-friendly places in North America (thanks, Mary!), and it certainly lived up to its reputation.


Carmel is an upscale village with European architecture, art galleries aplenty, and a beautiful beach.

Everyone we met in Carmel, from store workers to people who wanted to meet Harold, was incredibly friendly. We loved to walk on the beach and take in the town.


Laguna Beach
We ended up spending 13 nights in Laguna Beach, seven our first stop and six on our second. It was our favourite stop.


We fell in love with the area. It had a small town feel, the beach was dog-friendly, the ocean was perfect to SUP, and there was amazing Mexican food! We both had fantastic runs here on the road, Crystal Cove State Beach, and the trails. (see my previous post about keeping fit on our holiday including a race in Del Mar.)

Del Mar
Del Mar is in San Diego County. We weren’t sure where to stay in the SD area, but Nicole gave us some great tips! We chose Del Mar because dogs are allowed on their beach any time of day, it has a nice laid-back vibe, and there was perfect surf. Kelly surfed there every day we were in town!


I also had a chance to meet Nicole! It was my first blogger meet up and I loved talking to her in real life.

Huntington Beach
We didn’t stay in Huntington but did spend two days there. It was a fun place and we had a blast cruising on the beach sidewalk.


Kelly also surfed; after all it is called Surf City USA for a reason!

Cruising California’s iconic highway
It was the first holiday since we backpacked in 2004 that we didn’t have a real itinerary or plans other than a date we wanted to be home. We booked hotels the day of or the night before and decided on our next destination a couple days before we moved along.


Santa Monica

While driving the 101, we’d pull over if we saw anything that caught our eye.


Mavericks on an extremely calm day!

I absolutely loved a driving holiday and would highly recommend the California Coast to anyone! It was nice to go in the off-season. It enabled us to book accommodations late notice, and we still had fantastic weather. (It only rained half a day throughout our entire trip and was hot in Southern California!)


A driving holiday also allowed us to take Harold, our dog. We love camping with him in summer, and have had him with us on various trips to British Columbia and a couple times in Oregon. It was wonderful to include him on our winter holiday this year.


My favourite thing about travelling with Harold is spending so much time outside. With him we generally get take out (Mexican!) and eat on the beach. We would time it right and caught dozens of gorgeous Pacific sunsets.


I must admit, we’ve talked about doing California again for next year’s winter getaway!

What’s your favourite road trip? Do you like to have a holiday planned out or play it by ear?

Friday faves – version three

This week went by super fast since it was only four days! But I must admit I am more than ready for the weekend!

Here are a few things making me smile lately.

Fat lump – Harold’s biopsy results came back and it was just a fat lump! I’m so happy he’s a healthy pup! (However, none of us are happy about the cone for another week until his incision is healed!) They also told us it will likely grow back and with age he’ll probably get more. Good to know before I panic about other lumps.


Fall weather – We have had a fabulous fall so far: crisp days, sunny blue skies, and beautiful leaves. By this time last year we had snow that stuck around until spring! I’m celebrating each nice fall day with a run on Edmonton’s incredible trails, a long walk with the pup, or just a quick breath of fresh air at lunch time.

Taken on Wednesday's trial run

Taken on Wednesday’s trial run

Ski season – I just said I’m happy about fall and the lack of snow so far, but…I’m also really looking forward to ski season (both cross-country and downhill)! We didn’t downhill ski once last year so are going to make an effort to get out at least a couple times this season. I also can’t wait to cross-country ski again as part of my training!


National Geographic’s adventure blogBeyond the Edge is an awesome read. I especially love the cycling Alaska’s Lost Coast series but have been awestruck by almost every post from big wave surfing to skiing and exploration.

Toughen Up Tuesdays – I worked us hard this past Tuesday. Both Kelly’s and my legs were shaking by our last set of exercises. I’m still loving the change of pace from our regular workout routines!

What are some things you’re loving lately?

Who is racing this weekend? Good luck!

Thankful – Thanksgiving 2013

Canadians celebrated Thanksgiving this weekend. Of course it’s nice to have a long weekend from work, but it’s also nice to stop and appreciate all you have to be thankful for.

Plaid nerds

Plaid nerds

I was lucky enough to have four days off (very thankful for that!) and spent the first two taking care of our little man.


He had his teeth cleaned and a lump removed so is sentenced to the cone and some pain medication. I quite enjoyed having an excuse to laze around, sit on the couch, and watch lots of movies!

On Saturday I spent hours watching the Ironman World Championships. I am in awe of all the athletes and their incredible feats, especially Mirinda Carfrae’s run, which was the third fastest of the day—out of men and women.

Kelly and I went for an amazing trail run on Sunday.


We ran trails that were new to us, crunched on fallen leaves, and enjoyed the peaceful morning.


From there I ate my weight in cabbage rolls at my grandma’s house!

I looked back at my Thanksgiving post from last year and I can basically say I am thankful for all the same things: my husband and Harold, an incredibly supportive family (both mine and Kelly’s), health, and travel.

This year I’m also going to add in warmth. I am so thankful to be able to flip a switch to turn on our fireplace or turn up our furnace. Being perpetually cold, I realize this is a gift many people in this world aren’t given.

Happy Thanksgiving! How did you/do you celebrate, and what are you thankful for?

Change the pace – hiking with Harold

It’s no secret we love our dog and try to include him in some of our adventures. Harold loves trails and loves to camp, so it’s only fitting to take him hiking.


Although he’s not a large dog, he charges up mountains leaving me trailing behind in his dust!

Here are some tips if you want to take your dog hiking:

  1. Check park regulations. We generally hike in Jasper National Park in the Rocky Mountains of Alberta. Dogs are allowed in the park, on a leash. However, there are some trails where they aren’t allowed due to wildlife. Read up before you go and follow the park rules.
  2. Choose a trail that matches their ability. Know your dog’s fitness and activity level before choosing a hike. Take them on longer walks, up and down hills, and on various terrains before heading out.SAM_0106
  3. Read up about dangers in the area. Are there tics, snakes, poison ivy or other dangers to dogs? If so, what can you do protect your pet? Jasper has tics in summer, so we give Harold medicine before we go.
  4. Carry first aid tools. We take a pet first aid book with us that covers most topics. It’s also wise to take a mini first aid kit that can double for both humans and canines!DSCF1424
  5. Take food and water. You need to hydrate and fuel on a hike, and so does your pet! Take a collapsible bowl or a bottle with a large lid so your dog can easily drink.
  6. Understand wildlife in the area. Read up about local wildlife and their patterns. Jasper National Park posts bear activity on their website, and there are warnings posted at trailheads if there has been animal activity. It’s also good to know about the animals- where are bears more likely to be in spring versus autumn, when are elk calving and more aggressive, etc?
  7. Take the proper gear. Along with leashing your pet, make sure you have the proper gear. Will there be inclement weather and will they need a sweater, jacket or boots? Consider using a pet pack so they can carry some of their food and gear. (Be sure to start with a light pack and have them wear it a few times before a big hike.)WinterHike

We have only taken Harold on day hikes, so that’s what this list is geared towards. Next summer we hope to take him on an overnight hike!

Do you take your pet hiking? What tips do you have to offer?