3 Things I’ve Learned about Yoga

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Yoga was never really my thing. I have practiced yoga on and off for almost ten years now. I’ve tried countless studios, methods, teachers, but it never really stuck. I even tried going with friends or my mom at a point in time to be more motivated but it never really clicked until I moved to Vancouver. As cliché as it may sound, moving to Vancouver really made me discover yoga for the first time. Though I’m by no means a yogi, I’ve come to appreciate a 1-2 x a week yoga practice. It’s a great way to switch up my work out routine, increase flexibility, workout a few kinks and also allows for some quiet and down time. There are several things I’ve learned about yoga in the past couple of months but here are the most important.

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1) You don’t have to be flexible. When I look at videos of people doing yoga or even in classes, I used to think that you absolutely needed to be flexible to be able to do yoga properly. The thing that I didn’t realize was that practicing yoga itself would actually make me more flexible. Growing up, I used to dance and used to be quite flexible, but I was never one of those girls that could do the splits both ways and had the longest jumps or jettés (hence why I opted to specialize in hip hop and tap!). But as an adult, my flexibility decreased dramatically (like real badly!) so yoga has always been somewhat of a “painful” hobby for me. What I’ve been realizing, just like with anything, is that the more you practice the better you get at it.

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2) Find the right instructor that works for you. This is probably the most important thing that I’ve learned about yoga. Just like with anything else in life, there will be yoga teachers that will not vibe with you, that you won’t like, that will not inspire you and will not make you want to come back to class time and time again. That just means, you haven’t found the right person. It may take quite a bit of time to find the yoga teacher that offers a class that connects with you. So far, I’ve found two teachers in the city of Vancouver (Betty Meng @ Yyoga and Ally Maz @ The Distrikt), both offer different practices but I immediately feel welcome whenever I’m in their class. They offer a no judgement zone and help people no matter where they are in their yoga journey.

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3) You do you. The thing I had always found with yoga was that it always intimidating. I always felt insecure to go to a yoga studio, worried what people would think, that I wasn’t advanced enough, that I wouldn’t get the moves right and that my practice wasn’t developed enough. But then I realized, no one really cares. As long as you do you, you focus on your own practice, yoga can be quite magical.

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What are your thoughts on yoga?

Photos by: @Offner

What I’m wearing: Hyba sculptor biker shorts (get them here), Hyba printed bra tank (get it here), Always x Always yoga mat (get it here).

This post was written in collaboration with Hyba but all opinions are my own.

5 Questions With: Steph Corker

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Photo by: Jon Chiang

A few weeks ago, I was invited to attend a really interesting panel organized by InnerVoice.Life in Vancouver, on storytelling and inspiration from endurance athletes. This is where I first heard of Steph Corker, a Vancouver athlete, business owner and all-around inspiring woman. She shared her incredible journey with everyone present in the room and I was immediately drawn to her no-bullshit #realtalk attitude. So I got in touch with her following the panel to find out more about her story and what led her to start up The Corker Co. as well as her thoughts on being the current Ironman Canada title holder.

1) What first got you interested in competing in Ironman and why?

Ironman was a super bucket list item — I wanted to finish my first IM by the time I was 60, because I thought it would take a full life time to build up to that crazy distance! When I moved west from Toronto, I immediately fell in love with watching IM Canada in Penticton, BC. I guess you could say the rest was history…

2) After finishing 16 Ironman races as an amateur athlete, you decided to go pro this year for the very first time. Why was it important for you to make that transition? How much has it changed your life as an athlete?

I took up the sport of triathlon as I like to call myself — a tri-hard! I wasn’t very great at riding or running, but did have a swimming background. So I would swim relatively well and then spend the rest of the day “trying-hard!” It was through some great races and many not great races that took me to the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii. Truth be told, I haven’t yet had an awesome race in Hawaii — it is sort of the elusive goal of many of us. However, I thought I could continue to race at the top of the amateur field and continue working toward Hawaii, or I could take a super leap of faith and see what trying hard with the pro girls was like. This transition was important to me because I’m a raging feminist in all things – business, sport and life. I think we owe it to each other to show up – win or lose – and be a female on the start line! 

In terms of changing my life as an athlete, I do think my training intensity/volume has gone up this year — because, it has to in order to compete with the full time athletes that I now race with. Yet more importantly, it has me eating humble pie every darn day. My first pro race, I finished last (as a pro). I mean, I guess there is only one place to go from there, right? 🙂

3) You are the current title holder of Ironman Canada, what does a typical week of training look like for you? How do you balance training with owning your own business? 

I did win the amateur race at Ironman Canada in 2016, however, there was no female pro field. So 2017 is going to be a really sweet return with such a large and awesome group of pro women. My training is rather intense leading up to an IM race — I swim nearly every day, I log 2 long bike rides each week and run 3-4x/week. To be honest, it is not the training that requires as much balance as the sleeping, eating, maintaining daily necessities that consumes time in my life. I’m not sure I really balance anything particularly well, instead I think I’m ruthlessly focused and only allow so many things to be in my life at one point in time. I start work 4 days a week at 10AM and try really hard to get to bed early — that is the best version of balance I have found in work and sport.

4) What has been the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome in your career as an athlete and how were you able to overcome it?

I don’t think this is spoken about enough and I’m happy to be at the front of this conversation — but body image is a really big deal to me. I do not look like 90% of the triathletes in the sport. And I especially do not look like a runner. This can be really easy to hold onto as dead weight (no pun intended!) and feel really inferior on the start line. My biggest practice has been in ensuring that the food I eat gives me fuel and the self-talk I tell myself gives me wings! Women come in many different shapes and sizes, and my work, my obstacle has been to remind myself that no one can see the size of my heart or the guts of my mental fortitude. Most importantly, my work is to surround myself by the people who believe in possibility….regardless of how we look.

5) How has support for women in the sport evolved over the last couple of years? Are there more women partaking in the sport nowadays?

Ahh, I’m so passionate about this topic yet to be honest, I’m not super well versed in the true stats behind it. If anything, I’d say it appears there is a decline in women participation, yet I could be so wrong about that. My first race of the year there were 20% females/ 80% males – if that is any indication, I just wish the numbers were skewed differently. 

I think it is really important that women show up to sport to encourage more women to also show up — I think we like to see examples of what’s possible and then ask ourselves: could that be me one day? I hope so!

You can follow Steph’s journey and upcoming races on Instagram and on her website.

Summer Travel Essentials

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Today I share some of my favorite summer accessories for the active traveler out there. If you’re hitting the beach or plan on going on a surf trip, you may want to add these items to your suitcase!

1) Wander Wet Bag – This is the perfect accessory for your bathing suit this summer! Wander Wet Bags is a local company based out of Encinitas, California. Each wet bag is made 100% in the United States and all the materials used from the bag are also local. The creator of Wander, Eileen, has come up with a beautiful variety of prints and colours. It’s the ideal bag to throw in your bathing suit after a day at the beach, swimming or even surfing!

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2) Colorescience Sunscreen – Want a quick and easy solution for makeup and UV protection while you travel? Try out Colorescience‘s Daily UV Protector. This lightweight, non-greasy and water-resistant cream blurs imperfections and also protects the skin from environmental stressors. It’s an easy foundation to use under makeup or even wear alone.

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3) Bikini Village Bathing SuitBikini Village is back with fun new bathing suits this summer. They have really stepped up the ante with the collections that are available in stores and online. Whether you’re looking for a bikini, a one-piece suit, a tankini, boy shorts and more, they’ve got you covered. Bikini Village offers 50 + brands to choose from for classic, trendy or more sophisticated beach and summer looks.

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4) Reef Escape Sandals – Flip flops are a must in your suitcase this summer! Reef has released a series of cute printed luxury sandals that are easy to pair with a bathing suit or a cute summer outfit. The sandals are water friendly, free of PVC (which is better for the environment!) and also provide arch support for added stability and comfort while you explore.

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5) Rip Curl Hooded Towel – This towel is an absolute must for surfers and swimmers who are looking for a great way to keep warm and dry after going in the water. The Rip Curl Wettie Gift Hooded Towel is also an easy way to change at the beach, without having to find a change room or toilet. It’s lightweight and easy to roll up in your suitcase.

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Staying Active During Your Period

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SUP or Stand Up Paddle Boarding is one of the sports I’m hoping to do a lot more of now that I am based on the west coast. Having access to the ocean and with so many lakes nearby, it’s a great opportunity to improve on my balance and also my paddling skills.

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Since I’m a firm believer in challenging myself, I decided to venture off on a SUP excursion last week that departed from beautiful Granville Island and had me paddling all the way through False Creek and to Science World. It was a great way to not only enjoy the warm weather but also work on my SUP skills.

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As someone who is constantly in movement and who trains 5-6 days a week, I’m always looking for products that keep up with me and help me perform no matter the time of month. So I was curious to try out the new U by Kotex FITNESS line that was specifically designed for active people, like myself. Whether you prefer pads, liners or tampons, the new series of U by Kotex FITNESS products were engineered to move with your body during any workout or sport. In my case, SUP!

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Here are the top 4 things I loved about the new line:

Convenient Packaging: The pads and liners come in a drawstring package so they stayed put in my bag all day and I didn’t have to worry about them falling out, especially as I was constantly grabbing my sunscreen or water bottle. It’s just one less thing I have to worry about when I’m on-the- go.

FitPak* Case: Each box of tampons come with a FitPak* case, a small and discreet pack that protects the product in my bag. This is so important to me since I’m always finding and tossing damaged tampons at the bottom of my bag.

Design: The pads and liners are designed to be more flexible and actually move with your body while you’re active. I tried the liners during the excursion and they stayed perfectly in place. I forgot that I was wearing them!

Comfort: Since I’m always on-the- move, whether it’s working out or travelling, I love that the pads are fast-absorbing and keep me dry. They aren’t stiff or bulky at all. Knowing that the product I was using would keep me protected while I was out on the water gave me peace of mind so that I could give it my all and fully enjoy the beautiful views during my SUP session!

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For more information on the new U by Kotex FITNESS line, visit ubykotex.ca. Use this coupon when you purchase any of the new FITNESS products!

5 Questions With: Simone De La Rue of Body By Simone

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Photo by: Tony Felgueiras for WINNERS

Dance and fitness are two of the things I love most. Most people don’t know, but dancing was a huge part of my life growing up. I started dancing at the age of 2 and danced for 23 years, even teaching dancing and doing a bunch of dance contracts as a professional dancer throughout my teens and early life. So when I found out that celebrity dance fitness trainer Simone De La Rue was coming to Canada, I had to chat with her about her ultra popular method called Body by Simone

1) What inspired you to start up your own training method – Body By Simone?

After 18 years of a professional dance career, I was ready to move on and the question I always got was: how to get a dancer’s body? It’s simple, the answer is: dance!

Years of dancing gave me an understanding the body and anatomy, which brought me to the fitness world. I had a desire to bring dance to the everyday woman and help her achieve a dancer’s physique. Hence Body By Simone was born five years ago!

2) What would you say is the main component that separates your method from other dance-cardio fitness classes?

Our dance cardio features interval training and the choreography is more athletic so it appeals to even the most uncoordinated of clients.

3) What are your thoughts on the current state of the fitness industry and particularly the focus on women’s fitness these days?

I think we are really moving into boutique fitness. People are stepping away from traditional gym workouts towards group classes. People want to spin on Monday, do BBS on Tuesday, Yoga on Wednesday.

It’s great for your body and helps keep your mind and body stimulated so you won’t plateau. I think that particularly for women who might be intimidated by traditional gyms and machines, classes like BBS are accessible and appealing because they only require your own body weight.

4) What are some of your favourite songs to dance to at the moment?

  • Show me love 2015-Orignal Mix By Sean Finn
  • Pony (Jump On It) Sick Individual’s Remix By Tough Love
  • Needs to 136 BBM or more!

5) Over the years, you have worked with a handful of high-profile and celebrity clients, what has been the most rewarding part of your journey thus far?

The most rewarding part is working with clients towards a goal, like a movie premiere or red carpet for the Grammys, Oscars etc. It’s really wonderful to see them on film and see our hard work come to life (and my name come up on the screen!). I started off with 5 clients and to see that grow to 5,000 is thrilling!

For more information on Body By Simone, go here. Thank you to Winners Canada for setting up this interview.

Cultivate Wellness

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Mark your calendars! On June 25th, The Habit Project will be organizing an incredible day of wellness in Chilliwack, BC called Cultivate Wellness to raise money for the BC Cancer Foundation’s Workout to Conquer Cancer. If you aren’t familiar with The Habit Project already, they’re a wellness company created by two families that make delicious cold-pressed juices and nut mylks. Danielle and Mariah, took a few minutes out of their busy schedules to share more about what they do at The Habit Project and what people can expect to experience at the Cultivate Wellness retreat in June!

Can you explain what the Cultivate Wellness event is all about? 

Cultivate Wellness is a collaborative wellness mini-retreat benefiting the BC Cancer Foundation’s Workout to Conquer Cancer.  We are so excited to gather participants from Vancouver to Chilliwack to take part in this event. 

What are some of the things that people attending will be able to experience?

Participants will be guided through a series of fitness workshops: featuring boxing with All City Athletics, the Class by Taryn Toomey led by Turf, yoga with Studio B and meditation by Moment Meditation. Our sweaty morning will be complimented by inspirational wellness and nutrition discussions by Mariah Vermeer of The HABIT Project, Kate Horsman and Katrina Vanderveen of Fortify Natural Wellness. Our retreat is designed to educate, inspire and provide space for individuals to take time for themselves and to forge new relationships with like minded community members.  A nutritious brunch will be provided by Faspa and Co, coffee by Jack Coffee and cold-pressed juice by The Habit Project. 

View More: http://yingerdesign.pass.us/cultivate2016

Why was it important for you to put together an event for physical and mental wellbeing? How does that tie into your mission at The Habit Project?

We believe habits are powerful and that everyone has the ability to take small steps in their daily lives to incorporate more balance and wellness habitually.  It is our sincere belief that with a focus on quality, balance and intention, we can all create healthy habits that benefit our day to day lives immensely.

We grew up here in Chilliwack on a small farm where we sold bags of apples on the side of the road.  Our parents instilled in us a passion for agriculture and took the time to show us the importance of eating and cooking with whole, natural foods.  In an era where the art of farming and the understanding of where your food comes from has been lost, we would like to continue this path of education and agricultural awareness.

We feel privileged to have the space to host such an event at our family farm, The Chilliwack Corn Maze.  We met Genieve last year at Cultivate, our long table dinner, and were immediately drawn to her motivation to inspire individuals to holistic living.  From there, Cultivate wellness was envisioned and a dream team came together to put on this amazing event.   

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In addition to being an event, this day is also a fundraiser for Workout to Conquer Cancer, why did you want to work with this organization?

Everyone has been touched by cancer in some way or another.  We can all relate to it’s power over our lives.  We wanted to work with an organization who focused not only on the research but also preventative health.  Work out to Conquer Cancer is a month long movement in pursuit in raising awareness and crucial funds for the BC Cancer foundation.  These funds fuel ground breaking cancer research and care at the provinces 6 BC cancer agency locations.  Funds raised towards Work Out to Conquer Cancer will support research initiatives for all cancer including breast, ovarian, lymphoid to name a few where researchers are making major advancements into early diagnosis treatment and prevention of these diseases.

After we had already chosen to work with Work Out BC, we hired someone at HABIT who we later found out battled cancer for three years.  Katrina Vanderveen is going to speak at our event for the very first time about her experience and journey through this difficult time.  She is strong and extremely inspiring and sure to touch everyone she meets.  She passionate about healthy living and has recently completed her Nutrition certification and ready to help guide others with cancer prevention.  She started Fortify Natural Wellness under which she will provide nutritional consulting for individuals as well as a granola line.  It’s really the best granola you’ve ever had!!!  We just adore, Katrina.

How important is community for what you do at The Habit Project?

Community is a core value of our company.  We want to be more than just a juice company.  We want to inspire people to reach their goals and build each other up along the way.  We hope to create a HABIT community; a group of people passionate about creating healthy habits and a life made better by wellness.  We hope that in enjoying our products people will feel nourished as well as supported on their own wellness journey by a community of people bound together by kindness and strength.

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There are only a few tickets left for the Cultivate Wellness event taking place on June 25th in Chilliwack, BC. All participants will be receiving a free Lululemon yoga mat at the event and have the opportunity to win some amazing raffle prizes. For more info or to get your tickets, go here. Hope to see you there!

5 Food Discoveries in Portland

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1) Harlow – This vegetarian heaven is located in the SE Hawthorne district of Portland, a very vibrant and lively area of the city. Harlow is a great place for brunch or lunch, as they serve a variety of fresh sandwiches, salads and bowls just to name a few key items. They also have an amazing variety of juices, smoothies and healthy drinks to choose from. They offer a nice laid back dining atmosphere.

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2) Ned Ludd – This restaurant is unlike any other in the city. Everything on the menu at Ned Ludd is made from scratch using fresh and seasonal ingredients from local farms and cooked in their brick faced, wood fired oven. They serve up colourful and tasty plates that celebrate the bounty of Oregon. The restaurant is decorated with wooden stumps, old pots and historical kitchen artifacts that gives it a nice homey and ancient feel.

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3) Lu Lac – One of the most sought after restaurants in Portland, this hip joint is situated right in downtown. Lu Lac produces Vietnamese dishes with a modern twist. Whether you’re a fan of Pho, bowls, rice dishes or even Banh Mi, this restaurant has it all.

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4) Greenleaf Juicery – Looking for your green juice fix or healthy vegan eats? Greenleaf Juicery is a 100% organic juice and smoothie bar. They have several locations around Portland and serve a wide variety of acai bowls, granola bowls, cold-pressed juices, soups, nut milks and more. The perfect grab and go spot while you’re in town.

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5) Bison Coffeehouse – This is the only cafe run by a member of a Native American tribe, the Shoshone Bannock tribes of Fort Hall, Idaho. The Bison Coffeehouse offers delicious baked goods, coffee and even buffalo jerky from her tribe. This spot is incredibly unique

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Summer Fitness Bucket List

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Summer is officially here on the west coast! It has been nothing but blue skies this past week, which is very welcome after a series of rainy months. Since this is my first summer out west there are a lot of things that I want to do while the sun is shinning. So I have decided to create a summer fitness bucket list!

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Topping my list is this summer is training for several half marathons. I did my first ever half in May and loved it so much that I decided to register for a few more down the road. I am taking full advantage of the fact that I’m out west to pick races in beautiful destinations that showcases some of the best Pacific Northwest scenery.

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Obstacle course races are also high on my bucket list. There are so many great events being held across British Columbia that I want to hit up as many as possible. So I’ve been doing a lot more strength training and training with weights to get in the best shape possible in order to be a strong competitor for these races. I’ve always lacked upper body strength so it’s something that I’m really working on.

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Races aren’t the only thing that are on my summer fitness bucket list. I’m also hoping to do more trail running, outdoor cycling, hiking, open water swimming and rock climbing. Basically, I want to be outside as much as possible and be as active as possible for the next couple of months!

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What is on your summer fitness bucket list?

Photos by: @Offner

What I’m wearing: Hyba Racerback Low-Impact Sports Bra (get it here), Hyba Printed Fast Track Cropped Legging (get it here).

This post was written in collaboration with Hyba but all opinions are my own.

AC Hotel in Downtown Portland

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Looking for a place to stay in the heart of Portland? Look no further than the AC Hotel, located right in downtown.

This brand new modern hotel offers travellers state of the art lodging in a stylish and contemporary setting. When you check into the AC Hotel, you immediately feel at home. Everyone on staff is friendly and very helpful making the arrival process smooth and stress-free.

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The hotel lobby is equipped with a brand new office space, which allows hotel guests to stay in touch with loved ones, print out itineraries, work, etc. In the lobby, patrons will also have access to the sophisticated AC Lounge, a beautiful area that can be used to sit and read a book, catch up on work or sip on a cocktail and enjoy tapas-style snacks from local suppliers.

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Adjacent to the lobby is the AC Kitchen, the location for the hotel’s European-inspired breakfast buffet. Each morning, the hotel serves up delicious and wholesome breakfast options for guests, which also include’s coffee from Portland’s own Water Avenue Coffee.

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Each guest room at the AC Hotel in Portland has been carefully designed having in mind the guests’ comfort. All the rooms are smoke-free and offer either downtown, mountain or waterfront views. Each room features platform beds, topnotch linens, an ultramodern bathroom, complimentary high-speed internet as well as USB ports and plugs bedside. There’s also space in the room to create a satellite office for those away on business.

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The hotel carefully selected art from local Portland artists for decoration throughout the building. The sleek and European-influenced design features natural colour pallets and elements.

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Some of the city’s top attractions are just a few short minutes away. It’s easy to walk to the waterfront or to the very trendy Pearl District from the hotel. You also have access to local transit, which is just a stone’s throw away.

All in all, the AC Hotel in downtown Portland is an urban gem that allows visitors to enjoy the buzz of the city while also retreating to a quiet and luxurious room after a busy day of exploration.

For more information on the AC Hotel in downtown Portland, go here.

Trail Running

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Trail Running has always been on my bucket list of things to try out. Having recently moved to British Columbia, I thought that this would be the perfect occasion to finally give it a try. There are so many great trails located just a few minutes from downtown like the Grouse Grind, Lynn Headwaters Regional Park, Stanley Park, Rice Lake, etc.

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Last week, with the help of a local friend, I did my first ever trail run. Trail running is unlike any sport I’ve done before. It’s one of the few activities that requires you to be 100% in the present moment, it’s like a meditation of sorts. It’s an activity that forces you to focus and work on your feet and eye coordination. You have to make split-second decisions about which way you’re going down and where to put your feet at all times. Also, because you are running up and down the entire time, it really gets your heart rate up and forces you to work on controlling your breathing.

davThe thing about it that I loved so much, was that unlike road running, you get completely lost in nature. You get to not only see some of the most beautiful viewpoints but also breathe in clean and fresh air and hear little to no noise.

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Having good gear is key when trail running. You want to make sure you have the proper footwear that will support your feet and provide you with the right amount of traction. Wearing breathable fabrics and bringing with you some form of hydration and even a snack are key. Experienced trail runners will often go out on their own but it’s never a bad thing to be accompanied by someone who knows the area, if you’re going out for the first time. Other things like having a whistle, compass, phone, etc. are all great, as you never know what could happen while you’re out in the wild.

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So if you’re like me and just easing into the sport, I recommend checking out MEC‘s website (here!) as they have run meet-ups, clinics and many races across all of Canada this spring, summer and fall. I am really looking forward to doing my first ever trail race this summer!

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Outfit provided by: MEC. Photos by: Chris Thorn.