Tag Archives: travel

Spreading the love: Liebster Award

I love to read other bloggers Q&As to learn more about them and pick up some good tips and quotes!


Two of my favourite bloggers nominated me for a Liebster Award: Erin at Sweet Sweat Life and Kristin at Sweat Courage. They’re both training for Ironmans this summer. Erin is training for her second at Wisconsin and Kristin her first at Mont Tremblant. Check them out!

I have 14 questions to answer since some of there Qs overlapped.

Without further ado, here we go:

1. What was the inspiration for your blog and its name?
I had been reading healthy living and running blogs for a few years before biting the bullet and starting one on the Runner’s World blogging platform, The Loop. After a while I decided to start a wordpress blog, so Change of Pace was born. It was named after a love of many activities and a change from running focused to triathlon. Now my focus is changing again- simple running, biking for fun, and whatever else comes my way!

I love the writing outlet and have ‘met’ so many great people.

2. What’s your favorite topic to write about?
I love to write about running and triathlon, and travel. You know I love talking about Harold, too!


My favourite posts to read are generally about people’s training!

3. What keeps you motivated?
A lot of things keep me motivated: love of running and activity, a love of eating, and challenging myself, to name a few.

4. If you could have a super power, what would it be?
Travel in the snap of a finger. I could train somewhere tropical in the middle of winter after work and be back the next morning! And the expense of travel would be cut in half.


Hiking in Hong Kong

5. What’s your biggest fitness goal, or A race, this year?
Well, since I don’t have any races planned I have to say getting a healthy body back. My left side continues to plague me, in particular my hamstring, piriformis, iliac crest, and calf. (Silver lining – for the first time in a couple years I can’t feel my knee at all!)

The only race I actually have marked on my calendar (haven’t signed up yet) is a SUP race!

SUPing in Maui

SUPing in Maui

6. Describe your perfect day.
We would be on a holiday- Jasper or somewhere tropical/beachy. I’d sleep in until about 7 then Kelly, Harold and I would go for a trail run. After that we’d grab something delicious to eat before going on an adventure- a hike, kayak, or somewhere we could sight-see.



We’d finish off the day eating supper outside while watching the sunset. Oh, and it would be hot during the day and warm in the morning and at night! And I’d eat ice cream and a nutella/strawberry/banana crepe at some point during the day!

7. Do you have a mantra, and if so, what is it?
My fitness/race mantra is You got this or Drop the hammer when the going gets tough.

8. What’s your go-to dinner?
Mexican – most likely grilled black bean burritos!

9. If you could give your 16-year-old self a piece of advice, what would it be?
(Thank you Erin for a couple of these!)
Be brave.
Travel more.
Don’t do things simply because society expects you to do them.

A much younger Kelly & Abby!

A much younger Kelly & Abby!

10. What is something that you love about yourself?
Physically I like my strong legs that have carried me thousands of miles.
Otherwise I like that I’m inquisitive and that people feel comfortable talking to me. (My girlfriends used to call me Barbara after Ms. Walters for my interview skills!)

11. If you could pick your dream career, and money wasn’t an issue, what would you do?
Travel writer!
Cycling/trail running guide in Jasper, Alberta. (Who wouldn’t want to run and ride with me there?!)
I’d also love to run a small personal training business, focused on empowering women to feel good about themselves! 


12. What are two goals you have for 2014?
Hm- this is a tough one.
Clean our spare room and donate items I haven’t used/worn in over a year.
Figure out if I’m going to use my personal training certification professionally this year or just personally and for family.

13. Where is one place you have never been that you have always wanted to go?
Brazil is on the top of my list, and Nepal is on the top of Kelly’s. I’d be happy with either! 
Lately cycling in Europe has really piqued my interest, too. (This is where my super power would come in handy!)

14. Are you going to pass the torch and nominate 11 other bloggers?
I’ve seen this on quite a few blogs lately. If you’re reading this and want to take part, consider yourself nominated!

Answer one or some of the questions above!

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?

Bon Voyage!

We’re super excited to go on our adventure! We’re leaving a little earlier than originally planned and are flying out Sunday morning.


Packing wasn’t easy, but it’s done. We’re gone for almost five weeks. And we’ll be going from +36 degree weather to potentially as cold as -10 degrees. It was tough to pack for three different climates! It’s safe to say I’ll be wearing the same clothes often!

Screen shot 2013-02-07 at 3.50.48 PM

Saying goodbye to this face for that long won’t be easy either. At least we know he’s well taken care of by Kelly’s parents and my parents.



I just wanted to stop in and say sawatdee kha and ni hao (hello) before we head out. I probably won’t post much, if at all, while we’re away. I have a couple of posts set to publish but that’s it.

I’ll miss reading your blogs and keeping up to date with your lives! Enjoy your month, stay healthy, and run happy!

You’re a mean one, {Mrs} Grinch

I enjoy the holidays. I like catching up with family I don’t see often. I like going out with friends. I like the feeling of the holidays with that buzz in the air. I think I’m one of the few people that enjoys potlucks. I even love Christmas music.

So what don’t I love? Decorating. For the last four Christmases, my mom or my sister ‘helped’ me decorate my tree, my railing, and the rest of the house. (Meaning they do it and I pretend to help.) Last year I even made a Pinterest-inspired advent calendar with mini envelopes and fun activities.


I think our house is gorgeous when it’s all done up. I just don’t love the doing part. (Don’t get me started on the dismantling of it all!)

So this year I rebelled.

I put up our mini tree that usually goes upstairs. And that’s it. I put a tree skirt around the base of the table it’s on. I dressed our chairs. And I hung our stockings.


My secret- I love it! It’s simple. And the tree has a lot of great memories. Our mini tree is full of ornaments from places we’ve travelled.

This year we added a new Jasper ornament, a new Cannon Beach ornament, and a Lake Tahoe ornament.


We don’t have ornaments from everywhere, as we sometimes forget or can’t find any.  But a few of my favourites include a kangaroo and koala ornament from Australia when we were there in 2004, a Jasper ornament from the weekend we got engaged, and a lifeguard chair from Boston from when I worked as a lifeguard in Pennsylvania in the summer of 2002.

OK- this list could be endless as I love every single ornament on there. When I look at the tree, it reminds me of all the great trips we’ve been on, all the adventures we’ve had, and all the beautiful places we’ve been fortunate enough to see.

Are you a decorator? What’s your favourite ornament?

The procrastinator’s holiday gift guide

I’m a procrastinator. I usually finish shopping on Christmas Eve and desperately try to finish wrapping gifts then, too.

This year, thanks to an awesome hubby who shopped for everyone we buy gifts for, I’m done! I finished up Kelly’s shopping on the weekend and now just have to wait for a few online purchases to be delivered.

For any other procrastinators out there, here are a few gift ideas from budget friendly to extravagant.

For the vegan





  • Adopt a farm animal from Farm Sanctuary. For Kelly’s birthday, I adopted a goat for him. He absolutely loved the gift of Miss. Hattie! The coolest part is you can visit one of their three shelters and even visit your adopted animal.


For the outdoorsman/woman


  • Dehydrated food for their long trek, or make them granola or energy bars
  • Maps of your favourite trails or trips
  • Sunscreen and mosquito repellant


  • A headlamp and case
  • Trekking poles
  • Gorillapod tripod

100_1332 High-end

  • A SPOT Satellite GPS messenger. Kelly got one of these before going on a back-country avalanche training course. Phones didn’t work and the internet was down the entire week he was gone. Thankfully, he sent me a SPOT message everyday so I knew he was safe. It also would have allowed him to contact emergency services if required.
  • Winter sports gear, like snowshoes, cross-country skis, downhill skis, or a snowboard.

Photo taken from http://www.findmespot.ca

For the runner, cyclist, or triathlete


  • Offer to go running, biking, or swimming with them.
  • Watch their kids so they can train without feeling guilty.
  • Cook a couple freezer meals they can quickly heat up during peak training.
  • Volunteer at a local race, or one they are participating in.
  • If you know how, offer free bike maintenance. If you don’t know how, find a free maintenance class offered at a bike shop and take it with them.

Mid-range – Gear of any kind! Look at their active clothes to find their fave brand and size.

Mid-range Runner

Mid-range Cyclist

Mid-range Triathlete


  • A GPS watch. I got the Garmin 910xt last year and it’s incredible.
  • A bicycle trainer
  • Registration to a race (bonus points if it’s a destination race).
  • A treadmill
  • An annual gym membership

For the traveller


  • Offer to watch their house, water their plants, mow their lawn, or shovel their snow while they’re away. (No complaining about how much it snowed!)
  • Drive them to and from the airport.


  • Get them a cute luggage tag made from a map of their favourite travels.
  • Buy a durable phone case, iPad cover, or laptop case.
  • Donate to a charity at their favourite destination.


  • Research the best activities at their destination and buy a tour package or admission to an event.
  • Sponsor a child in their name from their favourite country.

We were in Florida for my birthday a few years ago and went on the Beluga Interaction!

Have you finished your holiday shopping? What’s on your wish list?

All my bags are packed…

…I’m ready to go!

We’re leaving bright and early tomorrow morning. I must say, I’m super excited!!

My shoulder is achy and my hip feels funny, but I’m counting on those being taper pains. I was also stung in the butt by a wasp and thankfully didn’t have side effects other than an itchy rump! And I have a nasty black toenail/blood blister under one of my toenails. I left it for too long and now it’s too late to deal with it. Hopefully it stays intact for the race!

Swollen, black-toed runners feet!

Here’s what I do know: (and I’ll superstitiously knock on wood for these!)

  • My last couple runs and bikes have felt strong. My legs are ready to motor!
  • Long story short, my husband is now doing the race! I am SO happy! It doubles the excitement threshold.
  • My family and friends are incredible.
  • I’m excited to tackle a tough course and look forward to the challenge.
  • Ignorance is bliss. Everyone advises to drive the bike course beforehand. I’m standing strong and not doing it. I don’t want to be intimidated. I’ll face the hills when I’m on them.

  • The weather forecast is not hot! Last Sunday it was 34/93 degrees. Most sites show highs of 20/68 to 25/77 for race day. (Fingers crossed for no rain or hail!)
  • I’m going to try not to be bothered by things that are out of my control (like the weather).
  • There are 2,999 people registered.
  • I am number 2093 and Kelly is number 209.
  • I can’t wait for the buzzing energy around Penticton. I really can’t wait for the insane energy before the swim starts!

Thanks to all of you for your amazing encouragement. I’ll be thinking of it when I hit rough spots during the race. Send us some positive energy on Sunday!

What has gotten you through tough training sessions or races?