Tag: Barbados

Travel Swellness: The beauty of Barbados

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In December, I got to visit Barbados for a second time and it was just as beautiful and friendly as I remembered. This time, we stayed at St. Peter’s Bay, and I really liked the boutique feel of this resort. It felt very private and cozy, and there were beautiful sunset views.

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My favourite meal would have to be the Sunday brunch we enjoyed at 13°/59°. There’s live music, and sitting in the shade in the marina with upscale brunch dishes (I had lobster that was grilled perfectly) with a cold flute of champagne — it’s very chic affair.

brunch in Barbados

As much as I like enjoying a flying fish sandwich with my toes in the sand, getting dressed nicely and being whisked off in a boat to this refined brunch was just lovely.

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And I was also ready to eat all of the food on the menu as this was the brunch after I’d run the Barbados Half-marathon that morning. You can check out my race report here.

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Yes, we spotted turtles during our little boat cruise one morning! And a monkey or two during our Sunday brunch.

I loved my surf lesson at Dover Beach. The waves were manageable for me, a beginner, and the water was warm. My instructor was from Hamilton, Ontario, funny making a Canadian connection, eh? In this lesson, they taught us to pop up onto our feet (all the other lessons I’ve done we’ve been instructed to get up one foot at a time).  I managed to get up on the boatd a couple of times.

surfing in Barbados Dec 2016

 

 

I also wrote about vacationing in Barbados for VITA Daily, you can check out my story here.

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Leave a Comment April 11, 2017

Fitness Swellness: Barbados Half-marathon 2016 race recap

 

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Last Sunday, I ran the Barbados Half-marathon for the first time and I still haven’t looked up my official time. Well, that’s not entirely true. I did check that same day and they weren’t posted yet. I guess when I’m not aiming to PB the time isn’t so important for me to know, and I had a general sense of my finish time.

That lackadaisical approach, though, was very much troubling me in the hours before the race kicked off at 5 a.m. on Sunday, December 4th. I slept very little that night, awake til 1 a.m. and afraid to oversleep, I lay awake for much of those wee hours of the “morning” (really, it was nighttime). I’d always planned to do this race as a easy run. It’s in fact the least I’ve “trained” for a race, if you can even call the handful of runs I did training. I added this race to my schedule about a month ago, knowing my body is capable of running 21.1k but not racing it.

But as I lay there sleepless the morning of the race, I found myself feeling a little annoyed with myself. 21.1k is not a short distance, and to run it without a serious desire or passion or goal, it was dawning on me that I was going to have a rough time getting through 21.1k in 29 degree heat and humidity.

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My vague plan: run it comfortably, walking as much as I wished,  but trying to have fewer walk breaks than I did in the Cayman Half last December, and in the Bahamas Half in January, and given that, my rough goal time I set for myself given my lack of training and the weather conditions was 2:15.

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I got to the start a good 45 minutes ahead of time, and had to switch my bib (I’d accidentally been given a 10k bib), sat around and then used the last 20 minutes to wait in line for the portapotties. The race kicked off at about 5 a.m. (I think it was a few minutes late) without much fanfare, in fact, for about a minute I wasn’t clear if it had officially started. I don’t recall crossing a  mat at the start — so I’m unclear if it’s based on gun time, in which case I would’ve made more of an effort to not have started towards the back of the crowd.

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The route features some moderate hills (which I was not expecting), and it ventures alongside some residences, some port land, which is not the most scenic but you are rewarded with plenty of ocean views, and it’s kind of fun to start the race in the dark and have the sky brighten after about an hour (even though you don’ t have a direct view of the sun rise), all of which is what I’m looking for in a Caribbean race. Given the early start time, there is little support along the route other than the volunteers, but the few people that did cheer, I made sure to thank (along with of course the volunteers marshalling the route and handing out hydration). Entertainment-wise, one truck blasting music was in front of the elites, along with a few steel-pan drummers. The road is not entirely closed, so for awhile I found myself trailing a city bus and desperately wishing I could run faster to get ahead of it so as to not be exposed to its exhaust; there was also the occasional car or two passing us runners. The route is an out and back, and the marathoners repeat it to get their full 42.2k distance, which I think must be draining mentally.

Thankfully and surprisingly, I felt good during my run. Despite the heat and humidity, I never felt miserable and needing extra walk breaks. I roughly took a drink of water every 10 minutes or so and would walk for about a minute to do so and regroup. And I could tell early on that it was going to be a pretty decent race for me that day, which is surprising given how rough the Scotiabank Half-marathon felt recently.

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I just checked the results and I finished in 2:03:21. This is indeed gun time (which is disappointing, I’m all about chip time) because my NRC app shows 2:02 (and that’s not accurate given it took me awhile to get my sweaty screen to unlock to stop my app), but it is what it is. Faster than my Scotia half  this year, despite being in even less racing form and the harsher weather. So I’m pretty pleased with my time, considering I’d been thinking I’d be done in 2:15. I’m calling this my Caribbean half-marathon PB. With this gun time of 2:03:21, I was 109th out of 344 runners in the half (the results don’t show break down by sex and age group, unfortunately) and I’m very happy with that.

After the race, I skipped going for a dip into the bay because I didn’t want to sit in cold, wet gear for the drive back to my resort, but some runners did, and it’s a beautiful bay to do so (and this was my fave aspect of the Bahamas Half-marathon, having the race finish by the water so you could refresh right away in the ocean).

Barbados is a lovely, low-key island, which I’ll be writing about shortly for VITA Daily, so stay tuned for that, and the Run Barbados race weekend should definitely be one to consider if you’re looking for a destination race where you can enjoy some great beach time and food.

And with that, my 2016 race season comes to an end! I find out in a few days whether I’ve been drawn in the Chicago Marathon lottery for next year. It’s where I have my marathon PB from two years ago, and it’s such a fantastic city, I’m hoping to run it again!

Leave a Comment December 11, 2016

Travel Swellness: Chic beach getaways

Beach essentials

Sun and sand in your schedule? Just some of my essentials for a beach getaway:

  • Cute cheap-and-chic bikini. So many inexpensive options if you can get away with a string bikini style from shops including Asos (like the one pictured here), Walmart (I have a few from this big box store — you can get one for $12!) and Topshop.
  • Sunscreen. My routine: use an SPF moisturizer (Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration has a lovely coconutty scent and provides great hydration) post-morning shower, and then I throw a continuous spray sunscreen into my beach tote for quick reapplications throughout the day.
  • Flip flops. Just picked up new Havaianas (they truly do feel better on your feet than the cheaper flip flops on the market), but I’m coveting these ones, too.
  • iPad. Yes, I’ve been scolded to get offline when on vacay…but I think I’d just be more anxious. (OK, perhaps it’s time for another digital detox to relearn a few things!)

Still in the planning stages for your vacay? I know I’m always planning my next trip! Be sure to check out the four incredible  Caribbean boutique properties featured over on ElleCanada.com. (If you’ve been following me on Instagram or Twitter over the last few months and were wondering what lovely locales I was at, you’ll find your answer in the article.) I still dream of being back at any one of these destinations on a daily basis! Can you blame me? Check out this breathtaking view…

Pool in Riviera Maya

 

Leave a Comment May 28, 2013

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