Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro

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After having spent a great week with the Toyota Rav4 Hybrid this winter, I was thrilled to have the possibility to try out the new Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro for the very first time on my recent travels to Oregon.

The Toyota Tacoma is one of the most coveted trucks on the market, especially out in British Columbia, as this has become the go-to truck for outdoor enthusiasts in the area. With 4×2 and 4×4 models to choose from plus the option of choosing your own engine and transmission combinations, cab and bed sizes, there’s definitely a model for everyone!

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What I was immediately surprised by is the vehicle’s ability to handle the road as well as its interior comfort. Not only do you have an incredible view point from the driver’s seat but you also have access to a wide variety of accessories, that makes your drive the most pleasant. Things like the Cruise Control, Navigation, 7″ Display Screen, Bluetooth Capability, AM/FM CD with MP3/WMA Player, Audio Auxiliary Input Jack, USB Audio Input, 6 Speakers and Advanced Voice Recognition, allow you to relax while enjoying the road. They’ve also added a GoPro mount right at the top of the windshield, thus being the first to include that in the market.

The Toyota Tacoma‘s versatility is also a key feature. All 2017 Tacoma models include an independent front suspension of double-wishbone design with stabilizer bars and multi-leaf spring rear suspension. TRD SPORT models feature sport-tuned suspensions, while TRD OFF-ROAD models are equipped with Bilstein shock absorbers, so that whichever terrain you wish to venture out on, you can have full confidence that the truck will be able to handle it.

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The Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro edition comes equipped with a 3.5 Litre, 6 Cylinder Engine, 6-Speed, Automatic transmission, Super Electronically Controlled Transmission (Super ECT) and Lock Up Torque Converter. For those more mechanically inclined, the truck also features Active Traction Control (A-TRAC), 4-Wheel Crawl Control, Multi-Terrain Select, Hill-start Assist Control (HAC), Trailer Sway Control, One-Touch 4WD, Vehicle Stability Control, thus making it the ideal vehicle if you want to pull an RV or trailer for your expeditions.

Toyota is also renown for its top of the line safety features. The truck provides a total of 8 Airbags, Seatbelt Anchor Height Adjusters, Front Seatbelt Pre-Tensioners and Force Limiters, Assist Grip, Front Tow Hook, Active Front Headrests with Whiplash Protection just to name a few significant items.

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The truck’s roomy and cozy interior as well as its bold and stylish exterior, will make truck enthusiasts and new passengers enviable.

In summary, the Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro was the ideal companion for my adventures out in Oregon. Below is a short recap video of my adventures with the truck! For more info on the Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro, go here.

adidas Teams Up with Parley to Create Shoes with Recycled Ocean Plastic

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adidas by Stella McCartney White Parley Ultra Boost X shoe

I felt compelled to write about the new collection that adidas just launched this week as it is a step towards trying to find solutions to eliminate all the plastic waste that is slowly engulfing our oceans.

Plastic waste is one of the biggest environmental issues the earth is currently facing. If you haven’t already, make sure you watch the documentary called A Plastic Ocean, as this is incredibly eye-opening. Most of us don’t realize the impact that our plastic use (especially single plastic use – straws, food containers, plastic water bottles, etc.) is having on the planet (including myself up until I watched the doc!). So when big global brands like adidas, partner up with Parley (an organization where creators, thinkers and leaders, come together to raise awareness for the beauty and fragility of our oceans and collaborate on projects that can end their destruction), it gives me hope that we can find solutions to recycle this plastic pollution and turn it into something good.

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Made with Parley Ocean Plastic™, adidas launched new editions of their signature UltraBOOST, UltraBOOST X and UltraBOOST Uncaged. Parley uses marine plastic debris and turns it into a shoe. By implementing the Parley A.I.R Strategy – which consists in avoiding virgin plastic, intercepting plastic waste, and redesigning new alternatives; they are making a difference one step at a time.

Each shoe reuses on average 11 plastic bottles, that are used to create laces, heel webbing, heel lining, and sock liner covers, which are made from recycled PET material.

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Also, as part of their commitment to create a global movement, adidas is calling on its global community to join the adidas x Parley Run for the Oceans digital event – hosted by Runtastic, and taking place around World Oceans Day 2017 (June 5-11). Runners are invited to show their commitment to the cause by joining the run – from the city streets, to the beach, or wherever they happen to be during that week.

I hope more global brands will follow adidas‘ initiatives and find ways to use up-cycled marine plastic and transform it into products we can use. I think we all have a responsibility whether we like it or not to preserve our oceans and the planet, if we want to keep enjoying it!

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For more information on the adidas x Parley collection, go here.

New Balance and Sport Chek collaborate on Women’s Only Space

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Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to visit New Balance and Sport Chek‘s brand new Women’s Only Space at the store in Richmond, BC. This brand collaboration is rolling out across the country. You can already find these women-focused spaces in 18 stores nationwide.

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What’s great about this collaboration is that they provide not only running gear but also training and also lifestyle pieces for athletes, fitness enthusiasts or even just fans of the brand.

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I had the pleasure of being accompanied by one of New Balance‘s ambassadors, Gemma Slaughter (who finished 10th female overall at this past weekend’s BMO Vancouver Half Marathon, no big deal!), who showed me some of the brand’s new styles and features for this upcoming summer season.

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In addition to offering a wide variety of prints and designs, New Balance‘s latest collection features state of the art technology and pays close attention to detail thus creating a line that is not only affordable, but also comfortable and practical!

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Thanks to the help and pro running tips from Gemma, I was able to pick out a few key pieces for this current race season and my next half marathon, that is less than a month away in San Diego.

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Together Gemma and I picked out, the Reflective Lite Pack Jacket, which is super light and easy for me to bring on my travels and great for running at night.

I also grabbed an Ice Tank, with intuitive cooling fabric, which allows for sweat-activated cooling and 2-way air circulation for fast drying, thus being perfect for hot summer runs. I also couldn’t resist the Accelerate 2.5 Short, vintage-looking and ultra light. These mid-rise shorts will sit right where I want them and aren’t too tight, which should avoid any kind of chaffing while I run. To top it off, an ultra soft Run Viz Longsleeve Top that glows in the dark!

She also recommended the Pulse Bra for a secure feel and fit and most importantly comfort while running.

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We completed the ensemble, with a pair of new runners, the Vazee Pace, version 2, for a combination of speed and high performance. These shoes are some of Gemma’s favourites for races and training. I can see why, after giving them a try, they’re incredibly supportive and resilient while also not compromising comfort.

Did I mention that my entire outfit is volt? Gemma says that bright colours allow you to run faster, so coming from someone who runs a half marathon in 1h22mins, I will take her word for it!

A big thank you to Gemma Slaughter for coming to shop with me and for the serious running inspiration. The New Balance Women’s Only Space at Sport Chek in Vancouver is located at 6551 No 3 Rd in Richmond, BC.

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This post is sponsored by New Balance Canada as part of the New Balance Women’s Only Flex Spaces by Sport Chek. In exchange for this post, I have received perks in the form of products and/or compensation. All opinions on this blog are my own.

Finding your #Fitspiration in California

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California is without a doubt one of the most popular destinations for fitness and outdoor adventure enthusiasts. Whether it’s the ocean, the mountains or the desert, there are plenty of landscapes to explore and be active in. You can also find some of the best fitness studios in all of North America.

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On my latest Californian adventure, I was able to try out some of the area’s latest and greatest fitness activities thanks to Visit California. With a state that is so rich in fitness, the activities below were only a little taste of what you can actually do while traveling to the area.

1) Aerial Yoga – Looking to spice up your yoga classes? Why not try an aerial yoga session on a rooftop in beautiful La Jolla. Located just a few minutes from downtown San Diego, Trilogy Sanctuary offers a fun variety of yoga and aerial arts classes for all skill levels. Their holistic approach to the activity allows you to have the most enjoyable and relaxing experience while also savouring their beautiful beach city views. Added bonus, they also have a vegan café that is perfect for a post-workout treat.

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2) Beach Spin – Indoor spin has got nothing on this one-of-a-kind beach fitness experience. The Del Coronado Hotel is the one responsible for creating this unique class on their luxurious waterfront property. Each spin bike is equipped with Beats by Dr. Dre® headphones that are loaded with high energy music. The hotel’s instructors will lead you through a 50-minute full-body workout that will make you burn 500+ calories. And if you’re lucky, you may even catch dolphins or marine life while pedalling away on your bike!

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3) Kayaking Tour – The rad folks over at Everyday California, located in La Jolla, offer a wide variety of ocean-related adventures. Their 2hr kayak tour is not only a great workout but also a fun way to learn about the local history, environment and marine life. Their knowledgeable guides will take you out across the La Jolla ecological reserve for some fun in the sun. If you’re lucky, you may even get to see some local residents – the La Jolla sea lions and also kayak surf back in!

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4) WERQ – Located in Huntington Beach, Studio Fusion offers a handful of fun fitness and dance classes for all-ages. Their signature class WERQ, puts their own unique twist on dance fitness as we know it, by combining cardiovascular and strength endurance dance moves to the hottest Top 40 Pop, Rock and Hip Hop music. This class is was a ton of fun and also a great way to sweat!

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5) Surfing – Sure, it’s a well known fact that the entire state of California offers pristine surfing conditions but if you’re looking for a great school to learn with or to perfect your surfing chops, check out Toes on the Nose Adventure. They offer small group surf expeditions in Huntington Beach with some great local surf teachers. They’ll take you out just in front of their shop and teach you all the skills necessary to get up on a wave and have a great time while doing so!

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6) Beach Yoga – If you’re looking to unwind after a busy week of fitness activities, try make sure you give beach yoga a try. This is one of the most relaxing experiences you’ll ever have on the beach. Also organized by Toes on the Nose Adventure, this small group yoga session is tailored to your individual needs and skill level.

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photo: codmorse.com

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Watch the little recap video of my trip below! For more #fitspiration, go to Visit California‘s website here.

Coming Full Circle

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Do you recall transitory moments in your life? Moments when things really changed for you? There have been a lot of transitory moments in my life and a lot of those have occurred during the time I was in Toronto.

A very big moment in my adult life happened over two and a half years ago, when I got back into fitness. I don’t know if it directly coincided with the fact that I had just turned 30, or the inspiration I got from a friend (the beautiful Sosasha!), but it was a big life-changer. It was the moment, when I started being active again. It didn’t really come as a sudden decision but rather was a slow progression from a relatively unhealthy and pretty inactive lifestyle to becoming the person I am today.

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Therefore, it was quite a strange feeling being back in Toronto this past week and visiting some of the many places I had worked out in and also seeing my “fitness family”, the men and especially the women that have supported me on my fitness journey.

Toronto is without a doubt the reason why I am so active today. Though I grew up being SUPER sporty and partaking in all sorts of sports, Toronto gave me a newfound love for leading a healthy lifestyle. The city’s many gyms, trails, parks, fitness studios, etc. as well as trainers and fitness enthusiasts really pushed me to reach new goals and challenge myself in ways I never thought possible. People hustle hard here and also work out really hard.

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While I lived in Toronto for almost 10 years, I battled with some anxiety due to an extremely stressful and toxic work environment, crappy relationships, etc., so I turned to fitness as a way to help me cope with it all. Fitness has helped me so much that I was inspired to obtain my personal training certification in the fall with NASM, in order to be able to help others with their own fitness journeys.

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Coming back to Toronto after being away for more than 8 months this past week, really made things come full circle for me. Not only did I get to refuel by doing some of my favorite workouts in the city, I also got to chat with some of those who inspired me along the way. I’m now leaving my hometown feeling even more inspired to keep moving forward on this fitness journey and can’t wait to see what’s next!

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Photos & hair by: Cabello by Carolina

What I’m wearing: Hyba Solid-Coloured Crop Legging (get it here), Hyba Printed Medium-Impact Sports Bra (get it here).

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

Rexall Opens New Flagship Store in Toronto’s Historic Brunswick House

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It’s rare these days to see the heritage of properties and venues across the city of Toronto being preserved. However, when Rexall decided to open up their new flagship store in Toronto’s iconic Brunswick House, they made sure to not only preserve but also celebrate the venue’s musical past.

The Brunswick House is without a doubt one of the coolest landmarks in Toronto. What initially started off as a saloon in 1874, evolved into many things over the years including a hotel, a dance hall, a jazz and blues place as well as a concert venue and bar more recently.

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I have a personal connection with this iconic place, as Brunswick was the first street I lived on when I first moved to Toronto back in 2009. I frequented the Brunswick House on several occasions for drinks and to watch hockey games during my first couple of years in the city. What I did not know is just how much musical history there was in that building.

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“The Brunny” as locals like to call, served as a concert venue for heavy hitters such as Etta James, Buddy Guy, Gordon Lightfoot and even Canadian guitarist Jeff Healey. Artifacts, instruments and old gig posters from these concerts are all featured in the music exhibit and memorabilia collection currently on display inside the Rexall.

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In addition to preserving these items, Rexall worked closely with the City of Toronto’s Heritage Preservation Service to restore the building’s outdoor façade and many interior elements that made this place so unique, such as the chandeliers, the tin ceiling, signage and the infamous keg barrel bar. All have been included in the drugstore’s new design.

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Rexall‘s new flagship store will offer residents of the Harbord Village and surrounding area high-quality health services and personalized health experiences. There will also be a health centre, which will include a family physician and walk-in clinic in addition to providing drugstore and pharmacy products all under one roof.

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Make your way over to the new Rexall store to check out the Rexall Brunswick House Music Artifacts Exhibition before it moves to its permanent home at Calgary’s Studio Bell in 2018.

The new Rexall flagship is located at 481 Bloor St. West in Toronto.

This article was written in collaboration with Rexall but all opinions are my own. 

5 Things to do in Portland

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Thinking of visiting Portland, Oregon this spring? Whether you love the outdoors, craft beer, vegan food, running or art, Portland’s got something for you. Check out some of the things that make the city one the coolest and most diverse places to visit!

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1) Visit Powell’s Books. If you’re looking for inspiration to start reading again, then look no further. Powell’s Books is without a doubt the most beautiful and biggest bookstore I’ve ever been to in my entire life! It’s easy to get lost in all of the different rooms of books and end up spending several hours looking for the perfect read. They’ve also got a great coffee shop and tons of spots that you can just sit down at and get inspired.

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2) Go for a run. With Nike, originating in Portland and with there being so many great outdoor apparel brands coming out of the area, it’s no surprise that Portland is a great running town. There are a handful of beautiful trails located right downtown that cross the Willamette River and allow you to explore some of the city’s best neighborhoods. You know you’re in a running town when every runner that passes you by, throws you a peace sign or a wave. The running views in Portland are just dreamy.

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3) Hit the coast. It’s super easy to hit the coast from the city. With it only being a 90-minute drive, there are tons of really cute beach towns and beautiful scenery to explore. Little areas like Lincoln City offer not only super cute accommodations and coffee shops but also great scenic views, surf spots and more.

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4) Hike waterfalls. There are a handful of waterfalls that are located just a few minutes from downtown Portland. Some of them are located in the Columbia River Gorge Scenic Area, just east of the city, an area that protects more than 77 waterfalls. The most popular being Multnomah Falls, can be reached along with four others on Route 30, Historic Columbia River Highway. It’s a great place to go for a hike and get your nature fix.

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5) Visit Alberta Arts district. If you’re more of a city dweller, there are tons of cute and unique neighborhoods to visit while you’re in Portland ranging from the very popular Pearl District to also the Alberta Arts District, my personal favorite. The reason why this strip is so special is because of all the independent shops, coffee stores and restaurants that are located on Alberta St. The area is also adorned with beautiful murals and super colorful buildings, making it the perfect spot for a stroll!

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Don’t miss my fun Portland recap video coming later this week on my YouTube channel!

World Ski & Snowboard Festival with CLIF Bar

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The World Ski & Snowboard Festival is now in full swing at Whistler Blackcomb. For the next ten days, some of the best skiers and snowboarders from around the world will be in town for some epic shredding, concerts and special events.

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CLIF Bar invited a small group of media up to their Basecamp this past weekend for an adventure packed VIP weekend at the mountain.

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The basecamp was located just a few minutes from the slopes. It had everything a rider could need including a hot tub, sauna, steam room, fire place, movie screening room and deluxe rooms. The basecamp’s bright red kitchen was also very on-brand, a total coincidence they assured us.

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In addition to the small group of media, CLIF Bar had also invited some of their ambassadors to come join us. Our host for the weekend was CLIF Bar ambassador, pro-snowboarder, environmentalist and founder of the organization Beyond BoardingTamo Campos. Spending the weekend with him was so incredibly inspiring!

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We kicked off the weekend with a private dinner at Stonesedge Whistler, a local favourite that serves delicious dishes made from local and organic ingredients.  We spent the first night at the launch of the State of the ART, a beautiful exhibit of local artistic talent at the Whistler Conference Centre.

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The next morning started off with a fun build-a-bar workshop with CLIF’s registered dietician Tara Dellolacono Thies, who is also an ultra runner and amazing athlete. We got to create our own custom bars, which I can’t wait to receive! We also got to try out some of CLIF Bar‘s latest products, including my new favorite bar, the organic Nut Butter Filled organic peanut butter bar, yum!

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We then hit the slopes with local mountain guides. We got to spend the entire day riding outdoors before enjoying a VIP après-ski at GLC, on their heated outdoor patio while listening to Walk Off The Earth sing one hit song after another on WSSF’s main stage. Like if that wasn’t enough, we also got to enjoy a professional massage at the Basecamp before chowing down on some delicious healthy eats and watching some of Tamo’s films, which included a very powerful doc he recently released that I highly recommend checking out called A Last Stand for Lelu.

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On Sunday, we got up at the crack of dawn to enjoy an energizing yoga session led by one of the media guests, who also happens to be a yoga teacher. Then it was back to the Whistler Village to go up the mountain to then take the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola all the way to Christine’s restaurant on the top of Blackcomb. The panoramic views from the restaurant were absolutely mind-blowing, it cleared up just in time for our 3-course lunch. The food served at Christine’s is topnotch, the perfect setting for a five-star snack.

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One of the best parts of the entire weekend was attending MULTIPLICITY, a TEDTalk-like event, which featured some of the most inspiring personalities in the mountain world. The sold-out event left me so incredibly inspired by everyone’s stories. Some of the speakers included professional Freeride MTB Hall of Famer Brett Tippie, National Geographic photographer Aaron Huey and his son Haweye Huey and our Basecamp host Tamo Campos, just to name a few.

The weekend spent at the WSSF with CLIF Bar was one of the best weekends I’ve had in a long time. The entire CLIF Bar team was so incredibly kind and really made this adventure-packed weekend, one to remember.

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For more information on how to #FeedYourAdventure with CLIF Bar, go here.

Spring Running Essentials

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Photo: Chris Thorn (christhornphotography.com)

With race season already underway, I thought I would share some of my latest go-to running essentials for spring. I’m eagerly awaiting my half-marathon debut and clocking a lot of miles, so these essentials have been keeping me on track (no pun intended!).

1) Stance Run Fuel Crew Socks – These lightweight reflective socks are perfect for running with a reinforced toe and heel, engineered arch support and also breathable mesh. These Stance socks stay on your feet without moving around, they will never slide off and also look super fly. The entire Stance Run collection is so fun! My new favorite thing is to run races in these wild performance socks.

 

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2) Nike Free RN Distance 2 – The latest edition of the RN Distance shoe is a great new addition to my running gear. I have been using them for my 8-10 km runs because they are very lightweight and also very flexible. The shoe’s outsole has hexagonal flex grooves that allow for greater flexibility of the foot while you run. Additionally, the Lunarlon cushioning supports my feet during these longer distances and so do the Flywire cables that are integrated with the laces, in order to wrap my arch and provide an even more supportive fit.

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3) Ciele FSTCap – With spring comes warmer temperatures and higher chances of running in the sun (hopefully!). I always cover my head when running during the warmer months because it could potentially prevent heatstrokes and at the same time, keeps my hair in place. This Ciele cap is super lightweight, UPF +40 protection, easy to bring travel with and machine washable.

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4) Spibelt With Waterproof Accessory – This Spibelt is an absolute must for my runs, races and also all of the obstacle courses I’ve been doing. Not only does it keep my belongings dry and clean but it’s also sturdy while not being bothersome when I run. I use the larger belt to stash anything like keys, ID card, money, phone and also gels while I run.

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5) Strava Run App – Whether you’re training for a half-marathon like myself, a trail race, a triathlon, a cycling race or just want to keep tabs on your fitness activities every week, the Strava App is a super handy tool! Not only is it a great activity tracker but also a fun and encouraging social platform.

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6) Clif Shot Energy Gel – Longer runs often require a little boost of energy so I have been trying out some gels these past couple of weeks as I’ve been clocking more miles to see how my body reacted. Thus far, the Clif energy shot has been my favorite in terms of flavour and also ingredients.

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7) Urbanears Humlan headphones – These have been my go-to for running for the past two years. This particular Urbanears model is machine washable, has a tangle-free cord as well as built-in mic that allows you to also be able to chat on the phone if you so desire.

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8) Consonant Sunscreen – With the temperatures on the rise, it’s important to wear sunscreen especially when going out for a longer run. The Consonant sunscreen is one of my favorites because it is clean and 100% natural. The cream uses uniquely micronized (non-nano particle) Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide minerals to block the sun’s damaging UVA and UVB rays. The cream is also water and sweat resistant!

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5 Questions With: Alex Mazerolle of Girlvana

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If you’re part of the fitness community here in Vancouver, then you’ve probably heard of Alex Mazerolle or @allymaz on social media. She is an inspiring entrepreneur who co-owns Distrikt Movement in North Vancouver and who also founded both Ladyvana and Girlvana Yoga. The work she does with teen girls through Girlvana has had an incredibly positive impact on girls and women here out west. She was kind enough to take a few minutes out of her busy training and travel schedule to share more about what she does with Girlvana.

What is Girlvana and what inspired you to start this program?

Girlvana is a global movement empowering girls through yoga, meditation and mentorship. I started the program because of the way yoga had changed my life in my early twenties. I knew that if girls had access to the powerful tools of mindfulness at a younger age, it could drastically shift the way they viewed themselves and their bodies. Beyond yoga classes and events that happen in different cities, we also bring teenage girls together from all over the world for week long yoga retreats that dive deeply into self reflection and self love supported by a team of women that can relate and support lovingly. For us, it is all about creating safe space for girls to be heard and seen without any fear of judgement. Our goal is to let girls be who they are, exactly as they are and have them truly see their value and worth.

What are some of the things you offer and teach teen girls about in the program?

We talk about real life and the rawness of what it means to be female. The topics can range anywhere form depression, anxiety, stress, consent, bullying, equality etc. Being a teen girl can be very tough as you navigate through your body changing, hormonal shifts, the pressure to look a certain way and to choose your path post high school. We find giving girls the tools to connect with their own voice and intuition through yoga, meditation and mentorship can make these years go a lot smoother. We use the mindfulness aspects to get girls centred and at ease and then our dialogue and writing portions to get girls to share and open up to other girls. We create support networks and connection so girls don’t have to feel so alone. 

Who were some of your female mentors growing up and how did they positively affect your life?

I did’t have a lot female mentors growing up and this is one of the reasons why Girlvana exists. I had dance teachers who taught me to dance but not a lot of guidance was there in terms of life. My mom was as incredible listener and did so much for me but at the end of the day what 15 year old really listens to her mom? I find as Girlvana mentors and teachers we bridge that gap offering wisdom and advice from an unbiased and non judgemental place. 

Why do you think Girlvana is important for teen girls in 2017?

I think it’s always been relevant but now more than ever given the political climate and where the world is at.  It is a powerful time for girls to find their voice and now we have such a powerful medium to express it. Inequality, rape, lack of education for girls in developing countries are still such prevalent issues and the more we empower girls and women the more global change we will see. 

What have you learned about yourself through your journey with Girlvana?

I have learned to stay accountable to the way I love, care and listen to myself. Empowering girls keeps me true to my own path of finding deeper acceptance and honesty with myself. I can’t tell girls to love themselves if I am still at war with my own body and mind. I have had the privilege to listen to so many girls share their stories with me which reminds me how precious this one life is. That we are all dealt a hand that we had no control over and its our job to elevate and evolve. There is such beauty in exchanges like these. I have learned to live for these moments. These raw and true moments where the essence of a young woman comes through unbounded by who society or her parents want her to be. There is so much power in listening to another’s story and truly hearing and seeing from your heart.

Where would you like to see Girlvana in 5 years time?

World domination. Girlvana programs all over the world. I’d like to write a lot more books. A retreat center that houses 20 plus retreats a year. Thousands of Girlvana teachers worldwide. I would like to have a seat at some pretty important tables having pretty important discussions about girl’s education and rights. 

 For more info on Girlvana Yoga, go here.