After my experience at the Kishi Bashi concert, something had started to change. I woke up that following Friday morning with a mix of apprehension, excitement, and anxiety over my upcoming girl’s trip to Vancouver.
As someone who loves to travel, it was strange to feel apprehensive about an upcoming trip. While I packed up the car and coordinated with Tasha on our expected leave time, I felt a slight wave of panic wash over me. What if I was too sick to drive? What if I couldn’t participate in any of the weekend festivities? How was I going to tell my friends the big news?
The anxiety was crazy. I was driving to Vancouver with one of my closest friends (Tasha) to celebrate another one of my best friends (Jackie) and would be surrounded by all of my long-time, close friends for a weekend of fun, girl time, and travel. But still, even knowing that, I couldn’t shake the apprehension.
Once we were in the car and en route, the nervousness had started to subside. Tasha already knew the big news so I didn’t feel like I was having to hide anything during the drive. In fact, it felt liberating to be able to joke about the constant need to snack and of course, pull over to pee. We hit endless traffic, practically the entire drive from Portland to Vancouver, making our journey north a more than 8 hour excursion. And customs took an extraordinarily long time. The customs officer asked us repeatedly whether we had alcohol in the car and we kept saying, “no.” Then he asked if we had gifts and I said, “yeah a bulldog towel for the birthday girl,” and he was like, “no alcohol? no gifts? And you’re going to throw a party? Why?” I said, “for starters, I’m pregnant…” and he turns to Tasha and asks, “what’s your excuse?” She looks at him confused and I say, “uh, we’re old?” Eventually he let us through and that exchange kept us entertained while we sat in bumper to bumper traffic.
Once we arrived and checked into our Airbnb, I started to feel even more at ease. Jackie had selected the absolute perfect getaway house. It was peaceful, beautiful, and very close to the beach – plus, the sun was shining and the city felt absolutely magical.
Tasha and I quickly decorated the house, eager to have it done before others arrived and then went out for a quick 4 mile run on the beach to shake out the travel legs. I felt surprisingly good during the run; I’m sure it was a combination of the fresh air, company, and beautiful weather.
When we got back to the house, sweaty as all hell, Jackie and Yelena were there. We gave them quick, sweaty hugs, and made our ways towards a shower so we could be ready to go when the last two arrived (Alyse and Nikki – who were stuck in monster traffic en route from Seattle).
While we waited for the other girls and caught up, I thought a lot about telling them the news. But for whatever reason, I couldn’t figure out a good way to do it. By the time Alyse and Nikki arrived (already after 8pm), we were all starving and went off in search of food. We ended up at a neighborhood pub and by this point, I was so hungry and exhausted from the long drive that I had gone into quiet mode. I didn’t want to drag everyone down but I also didn’t want to share my news in the middle of the pub, while surrounded by Jager shots. I was drinking sparkling water with lime, and everyone kept asking me why. I shrugged and said I was really tired.
Tasha and Yelena were feeling beat too so the three of us walked back to the house after dinner and the other three went out on the town. I was a little sad that I was missing out, but I knew it was for the best. The fatigue is too real.
The next morning, I couldn’t sleep. I was up by 6 am and starving. I decided I would get dressed and walk to the nearby Safeway for some provisions. I had to stop at a coffee shop on the way to Safeway for a banana just to keep the hanger from getting too intense. By the time I got back to the house, Tasha was up, and we headed back towards the coffee shop and started researching potential breakfast spots. Once Yelena and Jackie were up, we decided it was time to make moves. We ended up going to a bakery and breakfast spot walking distance from the house – Beyond Bread – and had the most delicious breakfast sandos.
While sitting outside with the girls eating breakfast sandos, I decided to finally break the news. We were only missing Alyse (who already knew), Nikki (who I planned to tell as soon as we were back at the house), and Ariana (who was arriving later that night.
Yelena was talking about her 10th anniversary party and I said, count me and my little family of 4 in! She paused, looked puzzled and said, wait…what? Jackie’s initial reaction was wait, did you guys get another puppy? I said, yep, big news, we’re pregnant!
Everyone was of course excited and I felt a huge weight lifted from being able to share the news with them. Once back at the house, Nikki and Alyse were stirring and we brought them breakfast and got organized for our adventure around Stanley Park and the Seawall. Jackie had planned a 7 mile run / bike from the house, around the Seawall and Stanley Park, eventually landing in Granville Island for lunch.
Tasha, Jackie, and I were going to run and Alyse and Yelena were hopping on the two bikes that came with our stay. Nikki had opted to sleep a bit more and meet up with us at Granville. I packed snacks in my water bottle, pockets, and in Alyse and Yelena’s backpacks and we were off.
Running still felt really good. I was feeling strong and the miles were feeling relatively easy. I was doing my best to stay hydrated as we went. It was fun to be running with the bikes and keeping track of everyone – stopping periodically for photos and directions.
That said, around mile 6, it became very clear to me that this was about to be a much longer run than 7ish miles. Somewhere around mile 8, people started to get a little hangry and tired and we were doing our best to figure out our best course of action. We had gotten a little lost and spent some time re-routing and also reconfiguring our bikes and runners situation. Probably one of the highlights of the trip was when Tasha hopped on one of the bikes to relieve her legs a little and Yelena took the backseat of Alyse’s bike. They made it a couple of miles like that – impressive!
We finally ended our run / bike excursion at just over 10 miles – we had made it to the bike ferry that would take us across to Granville. I was basically ready to eat EVERYTHING. I walked straight into the food court, found a plant based Vietnamese place called Chau. I got a massive bowl with veggies, tofu, and an egg on top and their signature coconut “milkshake.” It was nothing short of amazing.
After lunch, Jackie and I rode the bikes back to the house and the other ladies piled into the car with Nikki. We showered and made an epic cheese plate and played cards until Ariana arrived around 9pm that night. We never actually made it out for a proper dinner but had plenty of cheese and other fun things to nosh on, and then finally decided it was time to go out. I decided I needed to go out with everyone at least one of the nights and got my big girl pants on, and drove everyone to a bar in Yaletown.
The tired hit me just before 1 am and I peaced out and left the other girls dancing and having fun. I drove home, went right to bed, and woke up only briefly when I heard Alyse climbing in next to me sometime around 3am. I woke up early the next morning again and took a walk around the neighborhood, explored some little beaches, and sampled a couple of coffee shops (meaning I ate my first breakfast at one).
Once others were stirring, we went back out to the same coffee shop and I had breakfast number two. Because second breakfast is such a thing.
The next adventure was to Grouse Mountain for the Grouse Grind. I had done it before – actually just two days after I ran the Squamish 50 miler – and remembered that it was challenging…and also very crowded. When we got there, it took us almost as long to park, pee, and figure out where we needed to be as it took us to drive there.
Once on the mountain, we started climbing and I was feeling pretty good. I decided to see just how fast I could get to the top. I figured it would be a good story to tell the little one someday. I powered up the mountain, all 2,830 steps in 36:51. I felt good and strong all the way up. But admittedly a little hungry once I was perched at the top waiting for the other ladies to arrive.
We inhaled some fries and other apps while enjoying the views from the restaurant at the top and then made our way to the gondola for the ride back down the mountain. Once we got back to the house, it was already pretty late in the evening so we hustled to shower and get ready for dinner.
We ended up going to The Acorn, a very highly recommended vegetarian restaurant. We split some apps – the mushrooms being the star for me – and then I ordered the halloumi cheese dish – it was just OK. I feel like the main dishes were a little richer than they needed to be.
After dinner, everyone was exhausted and we went back to the house where most of us just ended up going to bed or staying and hanging out for a bit downstairs. I myself, was straight into bed.
I woke up early again the next morning and went out for a solo run on the beach. I figured it would help keep me feeling energized for the long drive home.
We cleaned the house, said our goodbyes, and were off again. Tasha and I stopped at Glory Juice on our way, figuring we could use a healthy meal before being on the road all day and then we spent the next nearly 9 hours in the car, fighting traffic all the way back to Portland.
Thankfully, customs was much easier re-entering the US than it was trying to get into Canada.
Have you ever been to Vancouver? What’s your favorite thing to do when you visit?
Stay sweaty friends!