30 Good Things Before 30: #23 – Waterfalls of New Brunswick map

So it’s 11 p.m. on a Tuesday. That officially makes this the latest I’ve ever sat down to write a blog.

Why so late?

Well, because I spent the evening taking in Bard in the Barracks’ performance of Romeo and Juliet. After bad weather cancelled several shows, Mother Nature finally cooperated and offered up a mild, clear evening that made a perfect setting for this tale of star-crossed lovers.

An awesome night out in a beautiful setting, and, as expected, the company did not disappoint. There is one final showing of Romeo and Juliet happening on Thursday, July 2.

Not to mention several more shows of Hamlet in Odell Park, which I’ll be seeing this weekend. When I purchased my tickets at Westminster Books, the sales clerk raved about it. Can’t wait to see for myself. Full details for both of the shows here.

(Wondering what Bard in the Barracks is all about? It was #18 on my 30 Good Things Before 30. Learn why here.)

30-good-things-before-30Anyhow, because it’s getting close to an ungodly hour, I have no clever segue. I’m just gonna go ahead and get to my good thing for today.

It was inspired by a coffee table book at my aunt’s house. #23 on my list of 30 Good Things Before 30 is:

Waterfalls of New Brunswick map

Since moving back to my home province from BC, my husband and I have been collecting NB waterfalls. We saw a lot of natural beauty across the country, and it really inspired us to want to explore more of what lies in our own backyards.

This included frozen waterfalls…

Frozen Hays Falls

Frozen Hays Falls

That would later become running waterfalls…

Hays Falls in the summer

Hays Falls in the summer

As well as falls in well-traveled national parks…

Dickson Falls in Fundy National Park

Dickson Falls in Fundy National Park

And falls in lesser known rural areas…

Midland Ice Caves

Midland Ice Caves

We’d come across these usually by word-of-mouth. An acquaintaince would ask if we’d ever been to such-and-such falls. They’d give us some directions and we’d spent a Sunday hunting it down.

While staying at my aunt’s this weekend, I browsed her copy of Nicholas Guitard’s Waterfalls of New Brunswick. His collection of stunning photos made me realize how few of the waterfalls I’d actually visited. And how long it would take to find them all relying on recommendations from people we meet.

And then, lo and behold, via the miracle of Facebook, someone shared a link to this map of New Brunswick’s waterfalls. It’s incomplete, say the creators, but it looks pretty darn comprehensive to me.

Exploring NB’s hidden treasures just got easier.

Which means we’ve got a summer full of exploring to get to. Can’t wait! 🙂

30 Good Things Before 30: #18 – Bard in the Barracks

Is your summer shaping up to be as busy as mine?

Between meeting up with my running group three times a week, getting in two more weekly solo runs on top of that, attempting to establish the veggie gardens, and the celebrations that are quickly booking up our weekends, I’m already panicking about the summer getting away from me.

30-good-things-before-30It seems like fall will be here before we know it if we don’t reach out, grab a hold of something fun, and force time to slow down a little bit so we can just sit back and enjoy it.

Which brings me to #18 on my list of 30 Good Things Before 30:

Bard in the Barracks

Bard in the Barracks is a non-profit theatre company based in Fredericton. It was founded in 2006 with a mandate to  “produce innovative and entertaining site-specific outdoor productions of the plays of William Shakespeare.”11149683_799923410092040_8330965087357849064_o

Simply put, they make Shakespeare interesting.

They derive the “barracks” part of their name from the fact that they got their start in downtown Fredericton’s Barracks Square. From 2006 to 2008, they staged their plays in this little national historic site named for the 3.5-storey structure it houses. The barracks, built by the British Army in 1827, once accommodated more than 200 soldiers. (Yep, I Googled that.)

In 2009, they (the company, not the soldiers) moved to Odell Park — the crowning jewel in my city’s parklands — where they stepped up the innovation big-time. Scenes were staged in different areas of the wooded park and the audience walked from scene to scene.

In 2010, I saw their production of Macbeth and became the company’s biggest fan. I will never, ever forget the trio of witches lurking in the woods, scaring the bejesus out of the audience as we navigated the trails.

I’ve been attending every year since (with the exception of last year when Tropical Storm Arthur brought Fredericton to its knees and cut short the company’s run of Hamlet). It’s a summer tradition. An evening out that the husband and I look forward to.

Now, I’m not a Shakespeare buff. Not by a long shot.

I studied a few of his plays in high school and university. Turns out I was much more enchanted with the idea of reading Shakespeare than with the stuff the guy actually wrote.

However, Bard in the Barracks always manages to capture my interest with their unique costume and staging concepts and talented cast members that infuse every line with way more meaning than I could ever hope to get off the page.

This year, to celebrate their 10th anniversary, Bard in the Barracks is staging two plays: a return to their roots with Romeo and Juliet in the barracks and another shot at Hamlet in Odell Park. You can find full show details on their site over here.

Their advertsiing is also totally on-point. This was waiting for me on the sidewalk outside the Running Room after my 6k tempo run tonight.

Their advertising is also totally on-point. This was waiting for me on the sidewalk outside the Running Room after my 6k tempo run tonight.

We’re picking up tickets for both shows tomorrow. Summer is busy, sure, but Bard in the Barracks is worth slowing down for.

30 Good Things Before 30: #14 – Group Runs

It’s not quite 11 a.m. on a Sunday morning as I’m starting to write this. There’s not yet a stir from my husband or my furbaby. (My husband is making the most of the one day of the week he can sleep in; Kenzy is content having some company for her regular sleeping in routine.)

And me? Well, I’m just sitting back with a strawberry-banana smoothie, a cup of coffee, and a bottle of water (I think it’s best to have at least three beverages on the go at all times). I’m freshly showered, snug inside my office, watching tree branches wave under the rain.

Not a bad way to spend a Sunday morning.

Even better? My 10k long run is already done.

For me, that’s unheard of. When I have a long run on my training schedule, I always preface it with several hours of moping around the house, debating if I’ve had enough to eat or drink, wondering what I should wear, what I should listen to, and where I should go. The general rule of thumb is that I do this for approximately30-good-things-before-30 three times as long as it will take me to complete the actual run. Which means I’m always late getting out.

So what’s up with me today? No, I’m not suddenly some super-motivated version of myself. I can chalk it all up to #14 on my list of 30 Good Things Before 30:

Group Runs

Up until this week, I’ve been a lone wolf when it came to running. I’d run with a friend on the rare occasion, but 99.9% of the time, it was just me out there. Alone. With my thoughts. (And often zombies.)

I’d heard about running groups, knew that the Running Room offered free group runs a couple times a week, even met their little running posses on occasion when I was just a one-woman wolf-pack taking on the trails.

And while I always wondered what that would be like, thought it looked like fun, and figured it would be a great way to stay motivated, I held back because:

  1. What if no one talks to me?
  2. What if while they’re all ignoring me, they’re also all running way faster than me?

I ran my first group run on Thursday, the first night of my 18-week marathon training clinic. It. Was. Awesome!

First-ever group run!

First-ever group run!

Today, was my second group run, and guess what? Every. Bit. As. Awesome!

Second-ever group run

Second-ever group run

It’s funny how our minds can work in the face of uncertainty, coming up with worst case scenarios that, when examined under a logical lens, just don’t hold up. For example:

  1. “What if no one talks to me?” Really? Have you ever known runners as a group to be anything other than incredibly upbeat, supportive and friendly? Case in point, this smiling group from my local store’s Learn to Run spring clinic:
  2. “What if they’re all faster than me?” Within five minutes of us arriving for our first run on Thursday night, one of the ladies in the group asked “Are you guys fast?” To which we all simultaneously smiled and shook our heads. Everyone thinks they’re slow, regardless of their PRs! And even if you are the slowest one, so what? This article from Women’s Running sums it up well:

“Chances are there is always going to be someone faster than you. Fast is relative. I get it. You run 12 or 15 minutes per mile and are embarrassed to call yourself a runner because a lot of people are faster. Here’s a secret: ‘fast’ runners feel the same way.”

In my group runs, there were definitely a variety of speeds but no one ran alone. We’d find a buddy, match their pace, carry on a conversation and let the miles speed by. I’ve never ran a 10k that seemed so short!

My only regret about running with a group? That I didn’t start sooner.

So all you lone-wolf runners out there? Take it from me and give a group run a try. I think you’ll be glad you did.

The Fredericton Running Room has free group runs, open to anyone, on Wednesdays at 6 p.m. and Sunday at 8:30 a.m. See you then!

30 Good Things Before 30: #12 – The Seed Library

I know I’ve pretty much written a love letter to my city already this week with my shout-out to our amazing trail system, but I’m keeping it local again today.

30-good-things-before-30This time, I’m sending virtual high-fives to NB Community Harvest Inc., a local non-profit with a vision to “grow food, grow minds and grow community,” for an amazing initiative they introduced last month at my city’s public library.

It’s simple, but inspirational and just so happens to be #12 on my list of 30 Good Things Before 30:

The Seed Library

I first heard about the seed library via Instagram photos from the lovely Ms. Health-Esteem:


(Ms. Health-Esteem, by the way, is a wellness advocate and blogger whose experience with Graves Disease has led her on a journey of wellness. She’s into whole foods, natural remedies and self-love, and her Instagram and blog are both full of great ideas and inspiration. You should follow her. Go ahead. I’ll wait.)

When I saw that photo, I thought: “Wow, what a cool idea!” Then I was probably distracted by something shiny and totally forgot about it. Until I saw this news story today.

The concept is simple: NB Community Harvest has filled an old card catalogue at the Fredericton Public Library with a collection of fruit, vegetable and herb seeds — all selected with newbie gardeners in mind.

Library-goers are welcome to pick out up to six varieties and given information sheets to help them make the best of their library loans.

I use the word “loans” very intentionally: part of the initiative’s design is asking people to gather seeds from their plants and return them to the library for the next eager gardener. And so the cycle continues.

I can’t say enough good things about the seed library. Anything that gets people more in touch with where their food comes from is stellar, and this is such a nice, gentle way to engage someone who may have always been curious about gardening but unsure of where to start.

I also love the direction the Fredericton Public Library is taking as host of this seed library. The way people are learning is changing; libraries need to change with them. This initiative shows a commitment to embracing new ideas about all the things libraries can be for their communities.

Grow food. Grow minds. Grow communities. Here’s hoping for an abundant crop!

30 Good Things Before 30: #10 – Fredericton Trail System

Hold up.

Before I write another word, can we just take a minute to recognize that I am now in the double-digits of my 30 Good Things Before 30?!?

That means this is the 10th consecutive day I’ve written here. If you’ve been hanging out around these parts for any time at all, you’ll understand that is 100% unprecedented for this blogger.

High fives, all around!

30-good-things-before-30There. Now that that’s taken care of, we can get down to the business at hand.

And the business at hand today is focusing on good things we take for granted. In fact, #10 on my list of 30 Good Things Before 30 is 80+ km of taken for granted:

Fredericton Trail System

I moved to Fredericton for university at 18. With the exception of a quick two-year stint on the other side of the country, I’ve been here ever since.

There’s a lot to love about Fredericton:

  • It’s big, but not too big (I can do all my Christmas shopping here, but don’t need a traffic report to negotiate rush hour).
  • There’s always lots to do, even on the cheap (free outdoor concerts all summer, free ice skating in the winter, lots of parks to explore all year-round).
  • It’s hella scenic, known for its towering oaks and the beautiful Saint John River cutting through it.

I love Fredericton for all of these reasons, but perhaps most of all because of its trail system.

Fredericton boasts more than 80 km of multi-use trails. As a runner and a dogmom, I’m on them almost every day. So much so, it’s pretty easy to take them for granted.

When my husband and I took Kenzy for a walk on the Valley Trail today, we made an effort to really take in our surroundings.

Words don’t suffice. So we took lots of pictures.

Just keep walking

Sunshine dog walk
A river runs through it

What I love most about the trails is that they’re always is use. No matter the time of day, the weather, or the season, you’ll always meet a fellow resident out there.

There’s something wonderful about that.


My name is Kenzy and I approve this message.