One of the greatest surprises for me on this running journey has been Edmonton. I didn’t have high hopes about the city and where I would be running when I first rolled into town but boy was I taken aback but the amount of amazing running trails in and around town.
I learned while I was in Edmonton that in 2001, the city hosted the World Track and Field Championships and World Triathlon Championships. Running is a big deal in the city. There are more kilometers of forest-in-the-city running trails here than in any other urban area in the world. Who knew? This is why my running journey across the country has been such a great learning experience. I always learn something new about each city I travel to.
Like a handful of other cities, a lot of their running trails are located on the waterfront. Edmonton is beautifully located on a bluff situated on the North Saskatchewan River Valley.
There are trails located on both side of the river and there are more than 25-miles of trails that connect two dozen parks. It’s the perfect mix of waterfront trails, park trails, neighborhood trails and deep-woods trails. Most of the trails I ran on were paved but they also have some trails that are dirt and packed gravel.
The proximity to downtown is a major plus, it’s super easy to get in and out of the trails and go back to wherever you’re staying or living in the city. Once again, the river makes it easy to reorient yourself along the way so that if you decide to cut the run short or make it longer, you won’t get lost.
I started my run at Dawson Park via the parking lot and went all the way to Capital City Recreation Park for a good 10 km run. Got to see some beautiful views of the river, downtown and also beautiful homes along the way. One of my favorite runs on this tour!
Last year, Nike organized a bunch of outdoor events leading up to the beginning of winter and this year, they’ve upped the ante with the launch of the Nike.com‘s online shop in Canada. Not only do they now ship to Canada but you can even design your very own custom pair of NikeiD shoes right here in Toronto. Furthermore, they also provide 1 on 1 coaching with some of Toronto’s best running and fitness trainers.
Their new #GETOUTHERE events have been the perfect mix of running and high energy training.
That said, when I can’t train as a group, I’ve been getting back into the N+TC app, who’s workouts are constantly evolving. I love that I have so many different styles of workouts, workout lengths, etc. to choose from. Right now, I’m really digging Betina Gozo’s Fresh Hit 14min workout on the app. The drop squat and lateral jumps are some of the moves that she’ll make you do.
Angelica Bengtsson’s Abs and Arms Workout is also one of my current favorites. I like that I can use a park bench as a prop for some dips!
If you would like to obtain more info or would like to sign up for some of the classes offered by Nike, go here.
Winter is just around the corner so I’m making all the necessary adjustments to my home and closet to make sure that I’m ready for what’s bound to begin any moment now.
Last year, I decided to adopt a more positive attitude towards winter. Though I still dislike it very much, I’m trying to embrace the snow and the colder temperatures a lot more. The best way I’ve found to do so is by being outdoors and having fun in the elements.
The one thing that is an absolute must in order to fully enjoy the outdoors, is a good pair of boots. Because I’m always freezing, the warmer they are the better and they’ve got to be waterproof. So this winter, I’ll be giving the KEEN “Elsa” boot a try.
I took my “Elsa” boots with me to Whistler two weeks ago because I knew there was a good chance that there would be snow on the ground or that we’d get hit with a snowstorm while we were there. And just as I had predicted, the day we went ziplining on the mountain in Whistler Blackcomb, the station received their first real snowstorm of the season. I was beyond stoked to have those boots on my feet for my outdoor adventures.
They kept my feet nice and toasty during the three hours we were out and about going across from one peak of the mountain to another. More importantly, they also kept my feet dry! The Elsa boots are super lightweight and not as clunky as other boots I’ve worn before. And added bonus, the boots look super cute, so I was really happy to have them in-tow.
I’m now definitely more #KEENForWinter! Check my Instagram today @melsays for your chance to win a pair of KEEN boots!
I spent lot’s of time in Vancouver during the last two weeks and those who know Vancouver know that in the fall, it’s bound to rain. I’m not usually a fan of rain but the rain in Vancouver is quite magical. I’m not sure if it’s the mountains around the city, the low clouds or the ocean that makes the rain more romantic for me but it definitely makes me feel different than in Toronto.
The one feeling that I do get whenever it rains, is that I want to cuddle up, be warm, read a book, drink tea and snuggle by a fireplace (if only I had access to one more often!). Feeling cozy in what I’m wearing is also super important. I couldn’t think of a better dress to wear on a rainy day in Vancouver than Bench‘s Takeback Dress.
It was the perfect thing to wear on my stroll across the city to explore the Davie Street Village, which was right by where we were staying last weekend. I also got to see the Bute and Davie St. rainbow-coloured crosswalk that was unveiled for Vancouver’s Pride Week celebrations two years ago. What a great idea to have a permanent rainbow crosswalk, the first in Canada and one with so much meaning. Props to Vancouver for being the first ones to do that.
It was my first time visiting Saskatoon last month. Though I had been to Regina a couple of times, my travels had yet to take me to “The City of Bridges” as some people call it.
The first thing I noticed about the city was that their food scene was on point! For a small city of 250 000 people, they have many amazing restaurants, cafés, juice bars, etc. I’ll be talking about these in a future travel post. That said, eating well made it even more motivating for me to explore their local running trails.
I loved running on some of the different bridges that cross the South Saskatchewan River. There are lots of great trails that follow the waterfront in Saskatoon. The Meewasin Trail is by far the most popular in the area. It’s a paved and dirt trail that spans more than 40 kms in length across the city.
The trail is easily accessible and there are several parking lots around the waterfront such as the one located at 33 St E. and Spadina Crescent E., right beside the train bridge.
I started my run by crossing the train bridge and then by running along the waterfront on the University of Saskatchewan campus. I went further north to then take the Circle Drive bridge back to the other side. What’s great about this trail is that you can easily access downtown and also customize your routes according to how you’re feeling without really getting lost. It’s easy to use the river as your guide while running.
It was a quiet and relaxing run. Though many people use the trail, the advantage of being in a small city is that it isn’t overcrowded. You’re also really close to nature, which makes for a very scenic run.
To get a full map of the Meewasin Trail, click here.
What I’m wearing:Nike Air Zoom Elite 8 (get them here), Nike Legendary Engineered Waterfall Women’s Training Tights (get them here)
Prince Edward Island is the land of Anne of Green Gables, a haven for redheads. PEI has always held a special place in my heart for obvious reasons. My first visit to PEI dates back to my childhood, I was 11 to be exact. I spent two weeks on the beautiful island during my grade 5 summer vacation. I had been wanting to return to this magical island for a while now and finally got to do so this fall. There are so many amazing things to do on the island, so here are a few recommendations.
1) Visit Tea Cup rock – Located on the North Shore of PEI, this little known wonder of is a few kms walk from the Twin Shores Campground in Darnley. To get to the rock, you’ll have to walk a good 15-20 mins on Darnley beach. The walk to the rock is absolutely stunning, the wild beaches of PEI are quiet and peaceful. You’ll cross a lighthouse and walk passed several sand dunes. The Tea Cup rock itself is best seen when the tide is low and the water is calm. The entire area is incredibly picturesque. It was my discovery of the trip.
2) Grab a juice from Rawsome Juice Bar – This small local juicery is located right in downtown Charlottetown, just off the main strip. You’ll find the Juice Bar at the back of a yoga/fitness studio in a small local. This is where they make all of their juices and also smoothies. Everyone that works at Rawsome is incredibly kind. In addition to juices and smoothies, they also offer cleanses. If you can’t make it to their shop, you can find some of their juices at different retailers across the island. The “Wakeup” Juice was without a doubt my favorite!
3) Eat at Terre Rouge – This Charlottetown bistro is at the top of everyone’s best restaurant list in the area. The restaurant’s motto – use local products and support local producers. Their farm-to-table menu is refreshing and unique to the area. In addition to being a bistro, Terre Rouge also serves as a marché where people can come in and buy bread, artisanal cheese, organic vegetables, charcuterie, etc. Everything we ate at the restaurant was delicious. My favorite dish was their cheese platter.
4) Grab a coffee from The Kettle Black – Located on Queen St. in Charlottetown, Kettle Black is the perfect place to grab coffee, read a book or work on your laptop in a cozy setting. They’ve got a great selection of teas, coffee and homemade snacks. I spent a couple of afternoons there while I was in the city because it was so inviting.
5) Explore the island – Though Charlottetown is the island’s main attraction, there are so many other amazing places to explore on the island. If you’re a fan of Anne of Green Gables, you’ll want to make your way to Cavendish to visit the famous Anne of Green Gables house from the movies. If you’re a fan of Road to Avonlea, you can also explore the Avonlea by the Sea area and see one of the houses from the 90s CBC television series. The Argyle Shores south of the island are also breathtaking. Though the parks are closed after summer, the beaches are still accessible by foot. There is also the Malpeque area, home of the popular Oyster Barn and the local fishing village.
I spent the past two weeks exploring beautiful British Columbia. What makes BC so special is that they’ve got it all. They have the mountains, the ocean, nature, the city and also small villages. It’s a truly stunning place to spend time in. Just on this trip, I saw whales, seals, sealions, bald eagles, countless birds, etc.
After having spent the past two months traveling non-stop across the country, it was nice to finally get some time off in BC to explore nature and get away from the bustle.
I’m thrilled to share with you in the coming weeks, a series of travel and fitness blogs on this magnificent province.
As I write this post, I’m waiting for my flight back to Toronto and I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t going to seriously miss this place. I hope I won’t have to wait another 3 years before heading back to beautiful British Columbia!
Running through Winnipeg last month gave me a whole new perspective on the city. I would be lying if I said that Winnipeg is one of my favorite cities in Canada. That said, running is a great way to discover new things about a city and my run in Winnipeg allowed me to do just that.
While I was in town, I ran through The Forks. I started at the Manitoba Legislative Building and ran on the trail along the Assiniboine River, crossed the market and went all the way downtown. Since I was looking for a longer run, I also made my way back and kept going east from the trail through the Wolseley and Minto neighborhoods. I don’t usually like to run on sidewalks but these streets were calm, the row of houses were stunning and the trees looked magnificent with their multicoloured foliage.
Having only really visited the downtown core, this run enabled me to get familiarized with some really cute areas in the city. It made me realize that there is a lot more to Winnipeg than what meets the eye. If you look around and search outside of the downtown core, there is lot’s to discover.
My run in Winnipeg was a memorable one because I really felt alive and motivated while running. Some runs, I find myself lacking energy or dreading getting up to the 10k mark, but with the beautiful surroundings and the sun shining, it couldn’t have been a better experience.
To find out more about the Winnipeg running trails, go here.
Thunder Bay, has an important relationship with running. In 1980, Canadian athlete and humanitarian, Terry Fox embarked on a cross-Canada run to raise money and awareness for cancer research. After running for 143 days and 5,373 kilometres, he was forced to abandon his run just outside of Thunder Bay when cancer spread to his lungs. Over the years, Terry Fox’s accomplishments and bravery have turned him into a Canadian hero.
I had the chance to visit his monument while I was in Thunder Bay and was really moved by his story again. Growing up in Canada, you always hear of Terry Fox but researching and finding out more about his story on this trip, inspired me even more to keep running.
Prior to this trip, I had only been to Thunder Bay once in my life and didn’t know too much about the city. Not only is Thunder Bay extremely beautiful, the people in the city are also very active.
There are a lot of places to run in and around Thunder Bay, so I chose to run around Boulevard Lake. It’s a paved trail around Boulevard Lake that goes in and out of the woods. The trail will take you to the lake lookout as well as the dam, giving you a beautiful view of the city and the waterfront. There is available parking at Algoma St and Lyon Blvd. It’s a popular spot for people to also walk their dogs, play tennis and disc golf.
The Boulevard Lake trail is only a 5k loop, so I decided to run it more than once. If you’re looking for a longer trail, I recommend checking out the trails that go from the corner of John Street to Junot Avenue to the corner of Arthur Street and Riverview Drive. That run will be around 10k.
To see a map of all Thunder Bay recreational trails, go here.
1) Visit the Arts District – The Downtown Los Angeles Arts District is an amazing hub for young professionals, up and coming artists and creatives. The mix of warehouses and new condos/lofts makes it an interesting place to visit. In the Arts District, you’ll find beautiful murals, stunning buildings, stylish galleries, cute boutiques, hype coffee shops and also a ton of delicious restaurants. The approximate neighborhood limits are Second Street to Seventh Street and Alameda Street and the LA River. If you’re a fan of the series New Girl on Fox, you may also recognize some buildings from the show. The famous apartment in the tv series can be found in the Arts District. When in the area, another famous spot to visit is the L.A. River. Finding the entrance can be a bit tricky but it’s worth the trek and exploration. As soon as you get there, you’ll recognize it from countless movies, music videos, photoshoots, etc.
2) Make a stop at California Donuts – Those who know me know that I have a serious thing for donuts. Thanks to Instagram, I heard of the infamous California Donuts shop, where they make the most colorful and unique donuts I’ve ever seen. Whether they’d be shaped like a panda, covered in cereal, cookies, peanut butter cups, etc, these donuts are beautiful to look at and most importantly super tasty! One of the coolest things they make are letter donuts that you can custom order for any special occasion. If you also have a thing for donuts, you’ll want to follow them on Instagram.
3) Explore Marina Del Rey’s fisherman’s village – If you’re looking for a cute spot to ride a bike or for a leisurely stroll, the fisherman’s village is a great spot to spend time at. You can rent kayaks or SUPs and paddle around the different channels, you can also go for a boat ride or go fishing. It’s a great place to have an afternoon snack or beverage. Watching the sunset from the village is never a bad time either. It may feel a little touristy in the summer but during the rest of the year, it’s actually pretty quiet. They’ve also got a handful of shops (which I personally don’t care for) that could interest those looking for a local souvenir. But if you were to ask me what the best thing about the area is… I’d tell you that it’s looking for seals. They’re all over the place. I guarantee you’ll see them either propped up on a pier or swimming around the marina. They’re really the funniest to watch!
4) Rent a surfboard from Malibu Surf Shack – The Malibu Surf Shack is a local institution in, you guessed it, Malibu. Located right across the PCH from the Malibu Pier, this shop has been around since 1972. They rent a great selection of longboards, shortboards, softops and also for those not into surfing, kayaks, SUPs, Body Boards as well as wetsuits. They also give lessons and tours of the area. The shop is located right beside the Surfrider Beach, the perfect spot if you want to longboard and spend the day at the ocean.
5) Go for a trail run – There are so many great places to go running in and around Los Angeles. If you’re looking for a group run, you can join the Nike Running Club (NRC) in either Santa Monica, at The Grove in Beverly Hills or Pasadena for a guided run evenings and weekends. If you’re looking for a flat run, take the Marvin Braude Bike Trail, it’s a 22-mile trail that you can find right along the beach in Venice, Santa Monica and Pacific Palisades. If you’re looking for more of an incline, you can choose from a variety of trails such as Runyon Canyon, Griffith Park, etc. If you’re looking for a track, the Drake Stadium at UCLA, is a 9-lane 400-meter track that you can use if none of their local teams are training. There are so many other places to run in and around the city, but these are some of my favorites.