CrossFit West Regionals Trip

When the Open was over, and both Emily and team CrossFit Currie Barracks (CFCB) qualified for Regionals, I was dying to go watch them compete in Portland. Knowing that I ought to make a responsible adult decision since Dana isn’t working, I didn’t even bring it up.  I almost fell off my chair when a few weeks before Regionals, Dana suggested that Meg and I head down to Portland on a girls’ trip.

Of course I was ecstatic and so pumped to go! Meg and I immediately started hashing out a game plan and met a few days later to book an Airbnb in Portland.  Flights on that weekend were particularly ridiculous so Meg and I elected to drive down.  Calgary to Portland is about 13 hours of driving time, plus breaks.  To ease the drive on the there, we elected to stay the night in Sandpoint, ID (about 6 hours from Calgary) on Wednesday, then travel the rest of the way on the Thursday.

In Sandpoint, we stayed at the Ruby Ponderoy which was an older hotel that had been nicely updated in the right places. Perfect for us!  We took advantage of the hot tub after our long day of driving, and the fitness room the next morning.  It had a decent hotel gym!  Since we had sand slam balls and treadmills at our disposal (courtesy of Carrots N Cake):

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Evens: 16 slam balls

Odds: 16 ball squats

Then… 5 rounds for time:

400 m run

15 thrusters

12 wood choppers

(Our legs would hurt for approximately 4 days after this WOD)

The driving was mostly scenic and we either chatted or sang the majority of the way there. No naps in Meg’s Jetta apparently!  We were so relieved to have Google Maps to guide us into Portland and we found our Airbnb pretty easily.  It was a basement suite in an old home on a quiet street in the SE.  Conveniently close to great restaurants and a playground (for more WODs of course!).

Once unpacked, we wandered down to Hawthorne Blvd. to find dinner. I’d made note of a Little Big Burger there so that’s where we headed.

Delicious little burgers (lettuce-wrapped for me!) and truffle oil fries.  Nom nom nom!  We were in the mood of exploring and dessert, so started heading down Hawthorne in search of something decadent.  Perhaps because it was Thursday, most shops had closed early for the night, so we didn’t find any dessert and walked about 10,000 steps.  Funny-not-funny, we ended up back at Little Big Burger for round 2 to end our evening.

Meg put us through a ROMWOD when we got home, then we headed to bed.

On Friday, in typical Kaitlyn fashion, I wanted to head out on an exploration run of Portland.  Running is a great way to sightsee, get your bearings, and see things you wouldn’t normally.  Since my miles to kilometers conversion is apparently a little shaky, Meg and I ended up running 7 km instead of the 5 km I’d mentioned to Meg pre-run.  She did amazing though and ran the entire way!  I only took us through a few shady areas.  We ended our run at Heart coffee roasters.

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Verdict on Heart: good coffee, but slightly bitter for our taste. After getting cleaned up and fast-walking to the Moda Center (about a half-hour walk from our place), we watched crossfit and cheered on CFCB in the team events.

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For lunch, we elected to cross the Steel Bridge and head towards the Pearl District where I’d noted a few good restaurants.  Unfortunately, we found nothing to eat and a few shady characters, so were on the verge of hangry when some kind tourists finally pointed us towards a less “East Hastings” area for food.  We had some phenomenal salads at The Original then headed back for the individuals’ portion of the afternoon.  More cheering!

One of the highlights of the trip for me was standing down on the floor behind the rig to spectate during the men’s heats. I chatted with Lucas Parker’s coach, after I asked her which team she was coaching (I could see her coach’s wristband).  Pretty exciting to watch Lucas right beside his coach!

Dinner was going to be pizza after, but as we walked back in the direction of our place, a strange man (Marcel haha) from Calgary dragged us over to Burnside Brewing Co. for beverages and appies. After a few, we left for real dinner and ate at Sizzle Pie.  No shame – Meg and I devoured most of a 16” g-free pizza.  It was amazing!  One of the best things I ate the entire trip.


On the way home, we discovered an epic slide at the park near our Airbnb. So fun!  My pedometer clocked 21 km/26,000 steps that day!

Saturday, we were still silly sore from Thursday’s sand ball workout so elected to do an arm-focused playground WOD.

EMOM 10

:30 handstand hold

:30 pull-up hold

Then… 12 min AMRAP

1 min plank hold

9 bar dips

15 push-ups

21 skips (supposed to be double unders but… coordination?)

With shaky arms, we started our day. Coffee was necessary and much enjoyed from Ristretto Roasters.  Probably the best cup of the trip!

rr coffee

More cheering in the AM at the Moda and then lunch downtown at a Vietnamese place, Fresh Roll.  We’d headed to the farmers market at the University (on foot), but realized that we’d never get there in time to (a) eat lunch and (b) get back in time.  The Viet was a good compromise!  Back to Moda to cheer on Emily and the men (Lucas Parker is a personal fave).


We had dinner downtown with the Calgary crew at the Yardhouse.  Although the service was questionable, my meal was good and I enjoyed a pretty decent g-free beer.  Meg had dessert on the brain again so we wound our way home through what seemed like a happening foodie area near the Morrison Bridge, but failed to find what she was looking for.  We decided we’d head home and grab the car then look for dessert, but once our shoes were off we were done for the day.  We’d walked about 15 km so we were beat!

Sunday, we decided to do another short playground WOD since Monday we would be driving home.

20 min AMRAP

50 walking lunges

40 sit-ups

30 squats

20 step-ups/box jumps

10 burpees

We were both sufficiently sweaty and damp after that workout, since we were laying in the wet grass for part of it.

meg and kait playground wod

The last few team events in the morning were exciting to watch, and also a bit painful as two CFCB team members broke their toes. So motivating to watch my coaches kick some serious ass and be in the zone!  For lunch, we elected to keep it simple and stay at the Moda Center.  The afternoon flew by as well with some intense individual competition in order to punch a ticket to the 2016 CrossFit Games in Carson, California.  Very excited for Coach Emily, who won 2nd and will be going to Carson in July!

Meg and I headed back to the Airbnb after the awards presentation to pack as much as we could, then walked across the Morrison Bridge to head downtown for dinner with the crew. On the way, we passed the infamous Powell’s bookstore but didn’t have time to venture inside.


We met everyone at the Deschutes Brewery, which does not take large party reservations; however, our social coordinator had been promised a table if half the party arrived by 7.  Unfortunately, we ended up waiting about two hours for a table large enough for our big group.  We all inhaled our food when it came so although I can confirm it hit the spot, I can’t remember if it actually tasted good.

The conversation at least was entertaining and we enjoyed our company at the “kids table” with Cam and Coach Prime. Our one and only cab ride of the trip was on Sunday night as it was a little dark and questionable out when we left the restaurant at 11:30.  $13 well spent!  We still walked 15 km that day!

Unfortunately our trip had to end abruptly on Monday as we were driving the entire way home.  We were up at 6:30 and in the fully-loaded car by 7:04 (thanks Meg!).  We intended to grab coffee on the way out of town, alas Google Maps was too efficient and one minute we were in residential, then next we were on the Interstate headed out of Portland.  Around 8:30 we stopped at a Safeway in a little town to grab beer for the husbands and coffee for us.  I drove us the rest of the way to Spokane where we surprisingly ran into Tim and Trish from Calgary in the Chipotle.  Meg, like the hero she is, drove us all the way home from Spokane.  She is amazing!  I DJed and tried to entertain us for the remainder of the trip.  We got back to Calgary around 11 that night.  Portland to Calgary in a day is exhausting!  But worth it – 110%.


So if you’re still reading this recap (kudos to you), this trip was a combination of many of my favorite things!  I went to bed on Monday night completely beat but with a very full, happy heart.  Hilarious, fun times with a dear friend, drinking amazing coffee, eating all the things, working out, and (of course) crossfit!  Couldn’t have asked for a better trip to Portland, but I’m already plotting my return because I definitely have more to see and do in the city.  Until next time, Portland!

meg and kait spectating

PS. Check out Meg’s post for more pics and general hilarity!

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Hikes: Grotto Canyon & Lake Minnewanka

Note: Hi Mom and Donna – happy Mother’s Day to you both!  Thank you for all that you do!

Last weekend, my folks were down from Grande Prairie for a visit (and to move Haley out of her rental and into our house.)  Since Dana and I have been talking so much lately about all the hiking we’ve been doing, Mom mentioned she’d like to get out for a hike too.

Typically the only hiking we do when Mom visits Calgary is at The Bay.  To change things up a little, we took Mom and Dad out to Grotto Canyon for a little hike.  Grotto was a great pick for a warm day as the canyon walls kept us cool, and there isn’t too much elevation change.

Our only issue was getting started as we turned right too soon off the main trail and ended up bushwhacking a ways until we met up with the trail again.  Hey, just adds to the adventure.

We ate lunch part way up to the grotto at a little waterfall, near some (perhaps recently drawn) pictographs.  There are other more authentic pictographs on the hike up the canyon.

Mom and Dad were troopers and (I think?) mostly enjoyed the hike.

We turned around at the grotto, which some younger kiddos were attempting to scale.  Dana and I did not attempt the rather steep, slippery climb. Dana’s GPS watch clocked the distance from the parking lot up to the grotto at 4 km, with an elevation gain of roughly 250 m.  

Yesterday, we hiked at Lake Minnewanka with Penny.  It was a bit of an adventure driving out to Banff as traffic on Highway 1 was bumper-to-bumper and painfully slow due to construction, plus we didn’t have a Parks pass so had to wait in an enormous line at the Park gates to purchase one.  You can imagine Dana was in fine spirits driving out.  Instead of the normal hour drive out to Banff, it took us two hours yesterday.

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When we finally got out to Lake Minnewanka, we were both pleasantly surprised by all the facilities offered at the park.  There are lots of picnic tables, plus a boat launch, and even a snack shack in the summer.

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As it was about 1 o’clock by the time we got rolling, we tried to make a mile.  Luckily, Penny walks ridiculously fast for a little dog, so we kept a great pace.

The highlight of the hike for me was when Dana took Penny down to the lake’s edge for a drink.  She had been panting a lot and we agreed she needed a cool down.  She surprised us both by running right in to the water, barking at the waves in the strangest bark we’d ever heard, meanwhile wagging her tail uncontrollably with glee.  She loved the lake!  This, from the dog who hates baths.

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It was a balmy 25 degrees (at least!) and we appreciated the mostly flat trail that follows the edge of the lake.  We hiked as far as Alymer Pass Junction campground.  The trail is well-used by mountain bikers, but we ran in to lots of other hikers and a few backpackers.

Backpackers?  Yup, in the first week of May in Banff National Park.  Crazier yet, when we stopped to have a snack at the campground, people were in the lake.  One guy was swimming!  This warm weather is so, so strange (not that I’m not enjoying it!).

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We headed back to the car around 3:30.  It was about 9 km both ways, so combined with the heat of the day, we were both pretty tired on the hike back to the car.  Penny was awesome though – her energy was high the entire way back.  She and Dana hike at a pretty quick clip, so when they walked over a little garter snake and startled it, I was the one who let out a big scream.

The whole hike, Dana was scheming about getting back out to Lake Minnewanka ASAP for an early season backpack trip, but all I could think about was what felt like huge bloody blisters on multiple spots on my feet.  My heels in particular.  I was pretty (pleasantly) surprised when I pulled my socks off at the vehicle and there were actually no blisters.  Just hot spots, I guess.  Hoping to stop this reoccurring fake blister pain before the West Coast Trail, as day-in day-out pain from blisters (or even fake ones) would be awful.

I drove Dana and I home and we both basically collapsed into the couch after.  Turns out 18 kilometers in the heat is a lot.  We were both so glad we hadn’t loaded our packs with extra weight.

Today we hosted Mother’s Day lunch for Dana’s mom with the whole fam at our place.  Yes, my niece and nephew are utterly adorable.

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The babies started getting a little cranky around 3, and everyone cleared out comically fast after that.  Now Dana and I are enjoying a bit of downtime before the week begins.

Happy Sunday and happy Mother’s Day!