Barcelona – Madrid – Lisbon

I’m finally back from my 12-day trip to Europe! I should probably state as a disclaimer that this post won’t entirely be about running, but rather a combination of highlights from my trip and fitness-y things that we did.


The Hotel: We stayed at the Hotel Fira Congress in the L’Hospitalet de Llobregat area of Barcelona. The room was HUGE and had a fairly unobstructed view of the Olympic Stadium. Although we weren’t right downtown, we were only a few blocks from a metro station which could get us there in just under 30 minutes.

Total Miles Ran: Very little, haha. I decided to convert what was supposed to be an interval run into a more casual run near our hotel so we could explore a bit. Therefore, I only ran 2.5 miles while in Barcelona. That being said, I got to experience their running trail system which is leagues infront of Toronto. The only thing I wish I could change about my running in Barcelona, is that apparently there’s a pretty clear path to the Olympic Stadium from our hotel so it would’ve been nice to run up there. Next time!

Barcelona Run

Post Run. Definitely humid out there!

Cool Things We Did: La Sagrada Familia

La Sagrada Familia

A really awesome paella cooking class in the Gothic Quarter

Go to the beach, (which is 9km long – I also got my bag stolen on the beach with all of our money, ID, credit cards, and phones but a random man who was also on the beach saw who stole it and GOT IT BACK FOR ME! THANK YOU RANDOM GUY (I wished I remembered his name).

Favourite Restaurant: There’s this restaurant called La Pampa on the main strip leading up to the beach. SO GOOD. They have the best skirt steak and sangria ever. I actually watched a video on Facebook with Gordon Ramsay in it right before we left that was talking about how skirt steak his is favourite cut of steak because of how juicy it is. He didn’t disappoint. This restaurant also had the best sangria I had all trip, so this by far is my favourite restaurant. Daniel also had some really good duck breast at La Pampa and said it was his favourite meal as well.


The Hotel: We stayed at Ayre Gran Hotel Colon in the Estrella neighbourhood of Madrid. Again, it was the same kind of set up with the hotel not being downtown but close to a metro station. The only downside with not being in downtown Madrid, was that they observe Siesta (basically, the whole city shuts down from approximately 2:00PM-8:00PM). There are restaurants and shops that remain open during Siesta, however they tend to be in more touristy areas, (downtown), so it was a little bit of a pain to have to commute for something a little as a latte. We were only in Madrid for one night and two days since we were using it as a midway point to get to Lisbon. I definitely didn’t see as much as I wanted to, so I totally want to go back.

Total Miles Ran: 0. This was actually intentional though; two days really wasn’t enough time to squeeze in a run, especially if we were trying to cram in as much site seeing as possible. That being said, we did do a bike tour of the city which was AMAZING. The bike tour went along the Manzanares; creating a paradise for runners and cyclists alike. The tour stopped at most of the historical landmarks around Madrid and had a halfway point at a cute pub called Sagas Farmers Cooks & Co. We munched on some pinchos and had the most delicious beer I’ve ever had – I don’t even like beer, so that speaks volumes. If you want to include the mileage on the bike, it was 7.8mi

Sagas Farmers Cooks & Co

Pinchos y Clara.


The Hotel: We stayed at a hotel called Hotel Dom Afonso Henriques. Daniel and I both agree that this was probably our least favourite hotel. The room was smaller than advertised and had a not-so-nice front desk woman who was working the day we check in. Since we were taking an overnight train, we knew checking in wouldn’t be possible so we just wanted to leave our bags and go get a coffee/explore. She begrudgingly took our bags and wouldn’t give us a city map or any recommendations of what to do to fill our six and a half hours until check in. It was decently close to the metro though and was also on the same metro line as the airport.

Favourite Restaurant: Does dessert count as a meal? If so, Fabrica de Natas is by far my favourite. Who doesn’t love fresh pastel de natas and americanos.

Total Miles Ran: 6.73mi. This was actually supposed to be a long run (10mi), however I ran out of water 3.5mi before I was supposed to finish. Normally, I could’ve toughed it out, however I was running in the middle of a heat wave (40°C)…nuff said. The hills in Lisbon are insane, especially in combination with the cobblestones. Kudos to any runners/cyclists in Lisbon! I have no idea how you do it.


Beautiful view I found while on my run of the Tagus River.

Cool Things We Did: Sunset Boat Cruise – super romantic, would definitely do again.

Tagus River Cruise

All smiles.

Ocenario Lisbon – Europe’s biggest aquarium.

Surfing in Peniche!!  – this was my “must do” for the trip. I never thought surfing would be so challenging. It takes quite a bit of energy just walk/swim out far enough to get a decent wave, but then to actually ride the wave after exerting all that energy is even more challenging. I stood up once, but Daniel was a pro and stood up six times! I swear, that guy excels at everything.

Although I’m extremely saddened by what’s happened in Barcelona, it’s a BEAUTIFUL city and I would 100% go back there in a heartbeat.


-Running Fast, Lifting Heavy

Treetop Trekking Long Weekend Date

Since Daniel had the day off on Monday for Victoria Day (a holiday in Canada), we made it our mission to do our activity of the month that day. Daniel surprised me and took me to Treetop Trekking (the Brampton location), which was about a half hour drive from our house. For those of you who don’t know what treetop trekking is, it’s essentially what it sounds like; you spend most of your time trekking up trees in a variety of different ways with a zip line component sandwiched in there somewhere. The courses can vary in difficulty but no matter what, you’re always harnessed in.

Treetop Trekking 1

A brief snippet of what Treetop Trekking looked like…the photo doesn’t do it justice!

Our day began with pulling up to the Heart Lake Conservation Area gates and receiving directions as to where to go. Parking was plentiful and there weren’t really any stressors there. The rates were really affordable, and the bonus here is that there are student rates. Yay for having a valid student card! After going to a tiny welcome desk, we signed some waivers, got a wristband with our start time on it, and then made our way over to the equipment.

Treetop Trekking

Daniel after he got all suited-up.

The guy who helped us get into our equipment turned out to be one of the guides that were floating around the course. He was pretty thorough with explaining how to put stuff on, however since Daniel and I have both been rock climbing recently, it was more of a refresher than anything. Suited up in our harnesses and helmets, we made our way to the start of the course, which was in the forest and more removed from the waiting area. Here, our guide taught us how to safely lip ourselves to the trees, and how to safely zipline. After that, we were free to climb!

I’m not one that’s afraid of heights, but some of these obstacles were pretty high! They tested not only my balance, but they tested my teamwork with Daniel as well. Since Daniel went first through every obstacle, he would yell back to me what he did and if he thought it worked or not. Due to Daniel blazing the trail, I didn’t fall! The most challenging course was probably Kingfisher, which is advertised by the guides as “higher, harder, longer”. Boy were they spot on with that. You even have to sign an additional waiver which says that you as a climber acknowledge that it’s a harder course than the rest of the courses. The ladders seemed harder to climb on this course and the landing platforms could barely fit two people. So challenging, but so rewarding. The icing on the cake is that for an extra $17, could take a final zipline across Heart Lake at the end of Kingfisher and take in some pretty nice views.

I LOVED this date. It was amazing and challenging and super hard all at the same time. I will 100% be going back…especially since I won two VIP passes for taking the best photo that week.

Treetop Trekking 2

The winning selfie!


-Running Fast, Lifting Heavy

A Reflection on the Past Year and What’s to Come

As the year draws to a close, I’m starting to think about my fitness journey and how far I’ve come. Not to toot my own horn, but I went from only being able to run a few miles at a time, to competing in my first 10k and 8k races. That’s something to be proud of, right? I’m definitely not done yet either. There are some improvements that I would like to make though:

-Faster times! I would kill for some sub 10:00/mi times.

-Making my health a priority: I want to feel good all the time. I want to run/weight lift consistently, remember to book my massages, and do more yoga! I also want to get my weight under control, which I’ve talked about in previous blogs.

So far, I have two races lined up: the Mississauga Marathon (I’m running the half-marathon distance), and the Goodlife CityChase (part obstacle course, part scavenger hunt). I’m thinking about doing a full marathon in the fall, pending my results from my half marathon and some 5/10ks sprinkled in there.


Does anyone have any Fitness New Years Resolutions? What are they?


-Running Fast, Lifting Heavy