Whew what an amazing weekend! I had the opportunity to head to Squamish BC for the long weekend with the coach and a couple Island Striders teammates.
Our trip started Thursday with a stop in Sidney for the grand opening of Be Unique Juice Bar. Owned by a friend and fellow Island Strider, Cris makes the most delicious ‘Nice-cream’ from coconut milk. Not only is it vegan and gluten free it is also soft serve! Saying I was a happy camper is a little bit of an understatement!
Afterwards we headed to the ferry and, after a pit stop at Whole Foods to grab some grub, we arrived in Squamish shortly before 10pm.
Day 1 – Friday July 29
Today we got up bright but not too early to head out for a trail run around the beautiful Alice Lake. The views were exceptional and the terrain a little more technical than I usually run locally but oh so amazing.
We found thimble berries and bear droppings (but no bear sightings), a whole lot of up hills and down hills, and we only got a little lost once or twice 😉
After exploring the trails for about an hour we grabbed our towels and headed to the beach at Alice Lake.
A few of us took a dip and had a laydown on the beach. We lasted until our stomachs were growling and decided to go grab lunch. Because we were all on vacation mode with no agendas we brought our lunch back to the beach to rest some more and take another dip.
If you have never been there it’s a must do if you pass through the Squamish area! The trails are stunning and endless and the lake is a delightful way to cool off!
It was the perfect start to our little retreat away!
Following our beach lounging we headed into downtown Squamish to do a little shopping on the main strip. While there are not many stores there they are all pretty unique and had a ton of fun stuff to look at from neat knick-knacks and housewares to clothing to a great little chocolate shop. I popped into Zephyr Café and found it had some vegan and GF items. I had an awesome Greenhouse smoothie and a vegan/GF cookie that was kind of like an energy bar and was so good!
Dinner was at Howe Sound Brew Pub and it was super tasty! I had a grilled veggie sandwich on a GF bun with a side salad. It was stacked with eggplant, Portobello mushroom, zucchini, red pepper and sun-dried tomato pesto. It came with goat cheese and I had no problem wanting to sub avocado instead. I would definitely go back there again to eat!
Day 2 – Saturday July 30
We only had an easy 30′ shake out run today so we mimicked race morning and got up and dressed and to where the start line would be at 8:30am which would be gun time. We did a little out and back on the road along the race course to get familiar with the area.
After we finished we headed back to the hotel to get showered and ready to head back into town. We had to go to package pick up which was conveniently next to the Saturday Farmer’s Market. It was a small market but definitely a high quality one where all the booths had there own unique products and all hand made.
After we bought a few goodies we went for lunch at The Copper Coil next to the market. Most of us ordered the Kale, Squash, and Quinoa salad and it was full of flavour and exactly what I was craving!
Dinner was at The Watershed and unfortunately the food wasn’t great but the view was worth it!
It’s very much a pub and is probably a great place to go for live music and beer….just not when you are looking for a proper dinner.
It was the night before the race so we headed back to the hotel to rest, prep our gear, and get a good night sleep.
Day 3 – Sunday July 31 RACE DAY!
The alarm went off early this morning! I like to make sure I give myself about 90 minutes before I have to leave for a race. This ensures I have enough time to eat, drink coffee, drink water, do my business, and eat again. We all prepped our race gear the night before which makes for and easier morning.
I always lay out everything I will need for a race the night before. This helps because if I wake up kinda groggy I’m not going to forget anything important like my watch or gels 🙂
And we were off! On Saturday the coach had noted a route from our hotel to the race start that would be about the perfect 20 minute warm up so we left the car at the hotel and off we went!
The race went better than I expected! I have been taking it a little easy the last couple of weeks, backed off from a few workouts, and generally had lower mileage. My goal was to get in under 40 minutes. While the first two km were a bit tough finding my rhythm the next 4 went by at a pretty consistent pace and fairly unremarkable. The last two km I did find myself having to hang on pretty tight to hold pace. Coming around the corner to the finish I was pleased to see the coach and a teammate (who had already finished) waiting to cheer the rest of us on. It was just what I needed to get a final boost of energy and run strong across the finish line 🙂 I ran it as a tempo workout and managed to stay pretty consistent to my half marathon pace.
Following the race, we did our cool down back to the hotel to get ready and pack up to return home 🙁 To ease the pain of having to go back to the real world we planned to hit Park Royal mall for a bit of a shopping trip before the ferry 😉
It was a very busy weekend both on the Island and in Vancouver so we ended up on the 9:30pm ferry to Nanaimo putting us home well past bedtime and grateful Monday was a holiday!
Squamish is so beautiful and has so many amazing things to do from the trails to the lakes to mountain biking to rock climbing to camping and so much more! It was a fabulous trip and I can’t wait until we can do it again! A weekend full of running, gorgeous views, amazing weather, getting to know each other better, early bedtimes and lots of naps was exactly what I needed!