My niece Izzy Baehr (a round-about race blog)

I remember the exact moment that I heard of Izzy's entry into the world. On May 18 1996, I was staying in a little cottage outside Edmonton. My host stood on the tiny balcony under a grey grey sky and announced unceremoniously "you have a niece and her name is Isolde." Back then, our photos were not stored digitally so I don't have any baby shots. Plus I didn't meet her until she was 9 months old and her way to Hong Kong - where she lived on and off (but mostly on) until she came to university at UBC.

Izzy and her brother Max were both born in Newfoundland (like her mother and me) but spent almost all of their childhoods in Hong Hong.

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There she played hockey and did some Canadian things but mostly she was raised as an ex-pat.

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The big exception is that the whole family decamped for Trinity Bay, Newfoundland every summer.

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As soon as Izzy was old enough to fly on her own, Lynne and I brought her over for Christmas for a couple of years running. I guess that is when I really started to get to know Izzy.


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She is a funny bunny.


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And loved Capes.

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She made Christmas,well, Christmas.

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She and Max started to go to Big Cove Camp in Nova Scotia when they were in their late teens. They both became counsellors but Izzy was Max's boss (at camp anyway).


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This summer Izzy told me that she had started running seriously and had signed up for a 14 km race. There were lots of times in the past that I hadn't been able to do things with Izzy so I knew that I had to be with her on this race. We were on for the Coho Run in Vancouver on September 11, 2016.




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It didn't start well as it turns out that there are not many buses at 730 am on Sunday in Vancouver. Lynne and I stood around for a while waiting for Izzy. No Izzy. Turns out that she was waiting at UBC bus loop for buses that only run every 40 minutes… and we had exactly 40 minutes until race start so I jumped in our truck and found her outside Gage Hall.

Izzy had our race bibs and we were set.


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Somehow she didn't die of embarrassment when I started stretching in my geeky ultra vest (but she did comment on my weird maximalist trail shoes - which I bought specially for the road).

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We were off.

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And we chugged along for 14 km. A few observations about Izzy and our run:

1) She was a ROCK. This was the farthest that she had ever run (a 40% increase) but she just settled in and kept running.
2) Izzy is wise. She did not give into the urge to start fast and then die.
3) She was not going to tolerate any talking. As soon as we started, she plugged in her ear buds and we retreated to our own private worlds. Honestly, i don't like talking while running anyway.
4) Izzy was patient. Lynne was 30 minutes late picking us up (miscommunication not a roadie failure; I thought we would take longer than we did).

Anyway, 1:35 later, we rolled into Ambleside feeling pretty fresh (well I was tired from 90 minutes in zone 3). Izzy was totally cool about waiting on the beach starving while I frantically messaged Lynne (who had turned off her phone).

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We were middle of the pack:

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Izzy has an amazing eye for photography and has historically taken some of the best pictures of Lynne and me. And didd again on the day.

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I had promised Izzy breakfast at a fancy restaurant. Long story short: Hector had had a scary episode of seizures and panting the day before so we had brought him with us. No restaurant would let us in with him in tow - not even onto the balcony so we wandered around West Van for a while before settling on Whole Foods (which happily accepted Hector in the outside eating area). By then, Izzy and I were both starving and it was an anticlimax. But she rallied (Thanks Izzy).

As we sat outside Whole Foods, Izzy was scrolling through possible half marathons on her phone :).