MELSAYS PODCAST – EP. 1 – Micayla Gatto

Thrilled to finally announce the launch of the MELSAYS PODCAST!

My goal with this podcast is to bring to life the 5 Questions With interview series from this very website and to celebrate women. I want to give a platform and a voice to some of the most amazing women out there. Whether an athlete, an entrepreneur, an artist, a community leader or a woman with a remarkable journey. I hope that these women and their stories serve as inspiration for you the listener.

My very first episode is with mountain biker and artist, Micayla Gatto. I hope you’ll enjoy our chat!

The podcast is just one click away or you can also listen to it below. If you enjoyed our chat, make sure you subscribe to the MELSAYS PODCAST here -> iTunes and Google Play.

 

Cheers!

5 Questions With: Lorna Jane

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Responsible for creating “Activewear” as we know it today, Australian designer and entrepreneur Lorna Jane has been creating inspiring gym wear for women since the late 80s. Today, she’s a force to be reckoned with in the industry. Having inspired countless women to start sweating and look great while doing so, she is someone to look up to for active and healthy living. Lorna Jane recently opened her first flagship store in Vancouver and I had the opportunity to chat with her about her brand as well as her plans for 2017.

1) What inspired you to start the Lorna Jane brand?

My inspiration was really quite simple, but I guess unusual for the time. I wanted to design activewear that would inspire women to workout. My thoughts were that if I could make my designs both fashionable and technically functional, that women would put them on in the morning and wear them all day so that when an opportunity presented itself for her to workout she was ready to go! I was working as a fitness instructor at the time and there was absolutely nothing available for women that was anywhere near feminine and fashionable. So when I started wearing my designs to the gym, the women in my classes wanted to place orders – and it grew from there. The demand was overwhelming and within a few weeks I decided to take the plunge, quit my day job and pursue designing activewear full time, and you know what? I haven’t looked back since.

2) What would you say is the biggest change in activewear since you started in the industry?

I started designing activewear before it was even a ‘category’ so I’ve always had a very strong vision for it to be something so much more than what you put on to work out!  To me, the fact that sport luxe is now such a huge global trend is true testament to just how strongly activewear complements the modern woman’s busy lifestyle – and believe me when I say this is just the beginning! I am often asked if I ever would have believed that activewear could be such a huge category and my answer is always – “you’re kidding right – I have been talking about this for 25 years!”

3) What separates Lorna Jane from other activewear brands? 

We were the first to coin the term ‘activewear’ and are the ultimate believers that wearing activewear can actually change your life! At Lorna Jane, everything we do as a brand is aimed at inspiring and empowering women with our activewear, our Active Living Philosophy and daily practice of Move Nourish Believe. We are an Authentic brand that has heart and is on a mission to empower and inspire women all over the world. We believe that activewear can’t change the world – but the women that wear it absolutely can!

4) What are some of your proudest achievements with the brand to date?

There have honestly been so many, from winning Fashion awards, Marketing awards, Retail awards opening stores around the world and even meeting Oprah. But one of the moments that will stick with me forever was as far back as 1993, we had just l opened our first retail store in Australia and my husband Bill was working in store that day, while I stayed at home to design and sew the next range. I remember Bill walking through the front door long before closing time and I panicked, asking him “what was he doing? Who is looking after the store?” and he just smiled and said to me “Lorna, we’ve sold everything”.  And we actually HAD… a woman from Malaysia had walked in to the store and taken every single thing! That was a real turning point for us and when we realised this crazy idea of ‘activewear’ was so much bigger than we ever could have imagined.

5) Can you talk us through some of the new collections you’re releasing in 2017?

2017 is an exciting year for activewear. At Lorna Jane we have a big focus on Women’s Technical Fashion and are asking women to re-think their Active wardrobe this year more than any other! We deliver 70 to 100 new Lorna Jane pieces every month, and this month (Feb) we have a huge focus on ACTIVE CORE STABILITY our trademarked technology that will seriously change the way you see yourself in tights. They come in a variety of shapes and colours (so there’s something for everyone) but believe me when I say – they are seriously life changing. They’re the most flattering tights you’ll ever own because they shape and support your curves like nothing else in the marketplace. But they’re also really functional and the perfect workout essential.  

To find out more about Lorna Jane and her active living brand, go here.

5 Steps Towards a Healthier Self in 2017

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The new year is just around the corner so I wanted to share a few tips on how to make 2017 your healthiest year yet!

1) Get Inspired. The one thing that got me motivated throughout the year, especially during my injury and throughout the winter, when it was hard to get up before the crack of dawn to go work out or when it got really cold out, was to follow some inspiring people on my social networks. I chose to follow some other ladies that were also leading a healthy lifestyle and doing some of the things I aspired to do in order to motivate myself to get out there. I followed well over 50 inspiring women who were either cross-training, running, cooking healthy meals, meditating, etc. And since I’m guilty of spending a lot of time on my phone and on social media, it was a great way to find inspiration during tougher times.

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2) Set Goals. Make a schedule with short, medium and long term goals throughout the year. Whatever you want to accomplish, you can do it easily if you break it down into smaller easier goals that you can achieve along the way. There’s a great quote that says “Without a goal, you can’t score” and I couldn’t agree more. Set yourself a few goals throughout the year, goals that can be measured, that are specific and that require concrete results and you’ll surprise yourself with what you’ll be able to accomplish.

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3) Visualize. If you want something really badly in life, make sure you visualize it, express it in your every thought and breath. Take 2 minutes each morning when you wake up to visualize your goals. Visualize what you want for yourself, what you want to achieve and how you want to do it. The more you believe in what you visualize, the more it’ll manifest itself and you will get it. It may sound phoney but it really truly works.

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4) Make it fun. Find new buddies to work out with, have people over to make recipes as a group or look up cool new workouts in your area. The only way you’ll become healthier, fitter and happier is if you’re having fun while doing so. Don’t make it a chore, make it something you’re excited about. Break up your routine, keep yourself interested, entertained and you’ll stick with it.

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5) Make yourself your number 1 priority. My injury late this year was a major reminder to make myself my number 1 priority ALWAYS. We often forget to take to take time for ourselves every day and as a result things can happen. I would make up excuses as to why I didn’t need to take the time to stretch pre and post-workout and as a result, I paid for it and had to be out for a longer period of time than if I would have taken those few minutes each day to help myself. There really are no excuses. Make sure to take time for yourself every day in order to make 2017 your healthiest year yet!

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Photos by: @Offner

What I’m wearing: Hyba Lettered Tank (get it here), Hyba Lettered Leggings (get them here).

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

5 Questions With: Rosie MacLennan

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Photo: The Canadian Press

It was with great enthusiasm that I followed the Rio Summer Olympics a few months ago. Team Canada did such an exceptional job not only representing the country but also showing their talents to the rest of the world. It was such a proud moment to see young Canadian athletes top the podium in so many different disciplines. Seeing Rosie MacLennan top the podium in trampoline for the second time in a row, was incredibly inspiring to watch. I recently had the chance to ask her a few questions at the Toronto Biosteel Women’s Training Day a few weeks back. Hope you’ll enjoy my 5 Questions With: Rosie MacLennan.

1) What drew you to the sport of trampoline?

When I was a kid, I tried a ton of different sports. My parents wanted to make sure we were really active. Then when my older siblings switched from gymnastics to trampoline I tagged along. It was their favorite part of gymnastics and I got hooked pretty quickly.

2) What would you say is the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome thus far in your career and how were you able to overcome it?

My biggest challenge would have probably been the concussion I got last summer and the uncertainty that came with it. It’s not like a broken bone that takes 6 weeks and then you’re back. So it actually drew out until about 3 weeks before the World Championships and I didn’t know if I would be able to compete at Worlds and that’s our Olympic qualification. So just with that anxiety and then even going back and having issues with spatial awareness and just trying to figure all of that out, was probably one of the biggest challenges I’ve faced before. 

I had a really great support system in my family, my boyfriend and my friends. I also had a really great team of people surrounding me health-wise so they were making sure that I was exploring every possible thing to help. But I think just that dream and that drive because I love the sport, I think it also allowed me to reconnect with that love of sport because at the end of the day, all I wanted to do was to get back on that trampoline and jump, regardless of what that meant for the Olympics. 

3) You are the first woman ever to win back to back gold medals in trampoline at the Olympic games and the first Canadian ever to defend their olympic title in an individual sport a the summer Olympics, what do these achievements mean to you? What goals do you want to achieve next?

It means the world and to me. It really represents the journey and everyone that has helped me get there. It really was a process and I think my favorite part of the whole experience was the day before the competition, just being in that room with the 16 other girls and training under the Olympic rings. That moment was so special. As for now, I just started training again so I will definitely go for another season but I don’t know beyond that. There are some rule changes that I want to explore and what that means but I want to get back into it.

4) What’s your favorite place to travel to and why?

I love competing in Switzerland, partly because I’ve done well there and partly because it’s a beautiful country. We compete in the mountains so it’s really hard to wake up in a bad mood when you wake up with such an incredible view. The other thing is that with the altitude we actually jump higher because there’s less air resistance so I like that.

5) I know you work with a lot with a lot of children and always want to inspire the next generation. What kind of message do you want to share with them?

I think it’s important because I want to empower them to explore different opportunities and explore something they’re really passionate about and connect them to something in sport and health specifically because it’s a journey. I’m really passionate about health and activity and if you can inspire that in kids at a young age, then you can hopefully inspire a healthy active lifestyle. 

For more information on Biosteel, go here.

5 Things I’ll Miss Most About Toronto

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Photo by Cabello by Carolina

7 years ago this month, I moved to Toronto. In less than 3 weeks, I packed up my life and left everything behind to go find myself. And find myself did I ever! It was the best decision I’ve ever made. The past 7 years have been undoubtedly the BEST years of my life. I’ve learned so much and accomplished so much, I’m truly proud of how far I’ve come.

Two months ago, I decided to leave my full-time network television job after 5 seasons in pursuit of the next life adventure. I’ve always dreamed of spending several months traveling but those who work full-time jobs will know that these kinds of adventures are almost impossible to get when you’re working for someone else. So I decided to pursue this website endeavour full-time and also a few other creative projects (some of which will be revealed to you soon, can’t wait!!) in order to fulfill this dream of going on a great travel adventure. With travel comes uncertainty, risk, the unknown, lack of funds, etc. So my husband and I have decided to give up our apartment, put everything into storage and see where these travels take us. Because you never know what the future is made of, I’ve decided to write a little post today on some of the things I love most about the amazing city of Toronto. I know I will be back but knowing I will be away for a little while, I figured this would be an appropriate farewell for the next couple of months. I am forever grateful to the city of Toronto for the past 7 years and am excited about future adventures in the city in 2017! In the meantime, here are the 5 things I’ll miss most while I’m away!

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1) Parkdale – Ah Parkdale… I could write a novel about this neighbourhood. It’s with a lot of pride that I called Parkdale my home for the last four years. I LOVE Parkdale. It is a real example of a little tight-knit community in a big metropolitan city. You can stay just in Parkdale and find everything you need. Parkdale has character and personality. Parkdale is a little rough around the edges but it has charm. When I first moved, the area wasn’t so sought after but over the past couple of years, it has become one of the city’s hotbeds for new restaurants and bars, young entrepreneurs, artists and creatives that are pursuing their dreams in the big city. Through the years, I got to meet so many incredible people in the neighbourhood and lend a helping hand to those who are less fortunate. Parkdale residents look out for each other and help each other out. Some of the things I will miss most about the neighbourhood is The Abbott, the West End Food Coop, the Cadillac Lounge, Electric Mud BBQ, Grand Electric, Tempered Room, Public Butter, etc. No matter where I end up, Parkdale will always be a part of me. It made me fall even deeper in love with the city.

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Photo by Tobias Wang

2) The amazing fitness community – For the past two years, I’ve had the opportunity to really become acquainted with the amazing people in the fitness community in Toronto. Through my website, I was able to work out at some of the raddest gyms, studios, with some of the nicest and most supportive crews. Whether it would be the Nike Running Club, Nike Training Club, Spokehaus, Misfitstudio, Big Hit Studio, Academy of Lions, Black Toe Running, Greco Toronto, etc. all of these amazing crews all share their passion and love for sport and being active. Through being surrounded by such inspiring people on a weekly basis, it has helped me become the healthiest and best version of myself. It has inspired me to starting running races, lead a healthier lifestyle and take care of myself, something I had never really taken the time to do prior joining all these groups. What’s also amazing is that no matter the activity you want to do, there’s always someone that will be up for a cycle session, a run, a training session, etc. The women in the fitness community here in Toronto are all incredibly supportive and push you to accomplish goals you’d never thought possible. People like Nike Master Trainer Eva Redpath, Nike Running Club Coach Inge, Adidas Running Club coach Rejean Chiasson, are just some of the inspiring people that I’ve had the opportunity to learn from. They have taught me more than I would have ever thought. All the pacers, volunteers, race organizers, gym leaders, instructors, etc. in Toronto have all had a positive impact on my health and am so grateful to them all!

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3) The vegetarian food – Toronto is vegetarian and vegan heaven. When I first moved here I had high hopes, leaving a very meat-heavy city like Montreal, all I wanted to find was amazing vegan food and that I did! Some early favorites were Sadie’s Diner (RIP!), LIVE, Hogtown Vegan and Urban Herbivore. Now there’s also Doomie’s, Fresh, Kupfert & Kim, and the list goes on. Toronto knows their vegetarian and vegan food! Plus almost all restaurants in the city also offer delicious vegan or vegetarian options on their menus. I now definitely hold higher standards for vegan and vegetarian cuisine, thanks to Toronto’s topnotch restaurants. I definitely need to get my Toronto vegan fix before I leave on my adventures…

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4) The waterfront – I love nature and if it wasn’t for beautiful Lake Ontario located right at the foot of the city, I’m not sure if I would have loved Toronto as much. Luckily, I had the opportunity to live right by the waterfront for the past couple of years and it has allowed me to find peace and solitude in times when things in the city got a little too crazy. The vastness of Lake Ontario, the beautiful parks on the waterfront, the islands, etc. are all aspects of Toronto that I love the most. Running on the waterfront several times a week became my meditation, my getaway and a huge stress relief.

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Photo by Tobias Wang

5) Friends – When I moved to Toronto, I didn’t know anyone in the city. I moved on a whim, in less than 3 weeks, with a car packed with the few belongings that I owned. It’s one of the proudest moments of my life. A lot of people are afraid to just pick up and leave, to move away from familiarity, from friends and family. Though a little scary, I just couldn’t ignore the voice inside my head that told me I had to go. Though I was afraid that I would end up alone in this big new city, I was lucky to meet some of the most incredible people over the past 7 years here. Some people came and went but some of the friends I’ve made in the city have become family. Making friends seems easy as a kid or when you’re in school but when you become an adult, it’s always a little more challenging. Luckily, half of the people that reside in Toronto also come from somewhere else and therefore are open to making new friends. I’m so grateful to all those who have had such a positive impact on me in this city, who have inspired me and bettered me and no matter where I end up, I know we will always remain close. Thank you!

SUMMER GETAWAY – Bruce County

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This week I wrap up my Ontario Summer Getaway series with a trip to Bruce County, another destination I had been wanting to cross off my bucket list for quite some time now.

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For my weekend’s adventures, I had the opportunity to test drive the brand new Ford Focus. This car has come a long way over the years so I was happy to try out the latest and greatest model. The first thing that I noticed while in the Focus was how easy it is to drive around in and how quickly it reacts on the road. The car’s sleek design and spacious interior made the 3 hr drive to the county very pleasant. The trunk also offered the perfect amount of space for all of our gear and luggage for the weekend. In the Focus, you’ll also find some signature Ford features such as the standard rearview camera, available active park assist, Available Blind Spot Information System (BLIS®), the SYNC® 3 – which was definitely a highlight for me in every car I drove because it was a huge help with navigation, providing me with a great soundtrack (thank goodness for Sirius XM Radio!) as well as keeping my drives safe with my two hands on the wheel.

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Bruce County is a big region to explore so I made the most of the 48 hrs that I was there to see as much as I could. I started my weekend off with a trip to Sauble Beach, a cute little oceanfront community that offers great food, entertainment and beach fun. The place reminded me of Grand Bend or other family-friendly towns. A must while you’re in town – the Casero Taco Bus, for great and cheap Mexican food made from scratch! Also, if you’re a fan of the water like I am, you’ll love the super long strip of beach and the warm water.

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Another must-visit is Lion’s Head. This small waterfront community is located halfway up the Bruce Peninsula’s Georgian Bay coast. What’s great about Lion’s Head is that it’s super quiet and quaint, away from a lot of the tourists that flock to the area. The mix of sandy and rocky beaches are absolutely stunning. They’ve got a small marina and harbour that neighbors the town’s main street. In the summer, you’ll find a farmers market right at the beach on Saturday mornings and live music on Friday nights.

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You can’t go to Bruce County without at least spending a couple of hours in Tobermory. Tobermory is known for many things including all the shipwrecks located in the area. It’s one of Canada’s top scuba diving destinations. Instead of getting on board one of their many guided tour boats to visit some of the wrecks, we opted for a more DIY approach and rented a canoe at a nearby marina and went exploring on our own. We couldn’t have gotten more up close and personal with the wrecks as you’ll see in the video below. It was quite a surreal experience!

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Accommodations in the area come in all shapes and sizes. For this last getaway, we opted for something a little more remote and unique. We rented a cabin at one of the many campgrounds in the area. I loved having our own BBQ, picnic table and fire pit while also being right by a dock and the water. Nothing like staying in a place with no reception or wifi and just one general store nearby. It’s nice to disconnect and be off the grid once in a while!

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All in all, a memorable last weekend getaway with the Ford Focus in Bruce County. I hope you enjoyed these travel posts and videos.

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For more information on the area go here.

#LikeAGirl

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Growing up, I never missed out on an opportunity to be active and play sports. I was the kid that played sports at lunch and every night after school. Whether it was being on the swim team, skipping, skiing, figure skating, karate, playing soccer, volleyball, or even dancing, I was always encouraged to throw myself into sports.

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During a skipping competition in elementary school.

When I hit adolescence, a lot of my friends stopped being active, for a variety of reasons. Unfortunately, this is a phenomenon that is quite common. More than half of girls drop out of sports by the time they end puberty. Instead of following in their footsteps, I decided to dedicate myself even more to sports.

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My mom always encouraged me to be active from a very young age.

Sports are without a doubt what helped me deal with all the changes I was experiencing both physically and psychologically. Like many girls, I experienced a drop in confidence during puberty. But, as I began to compete in karate and also dance semi-professionally, I felt stronger both physically and mentally. Both of these activities kept me busy and focused. Every time I would partake in a competition or even perform at a dance show, I felt a big sense of accomplishment. Luckily, I had a mom who encouraged me to pursue my passion for sports and did everything she could to keep me active. Her support and understanding was key in me continuing to pursue athletics well into my adult life.

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First time surfing in Mexico in my late teens.

I am a true believer that being involved in sports growing up is key in building one’s self-esteem and confidence, especially during adolescence. It definitely did for me.

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I’m thrilled to see a brand like Always championing girls’ confidence on a global level and right here in Canada. Via their campaign, they have transformed the simple sentence #LikeAGirl to mean powerful and amazing things. Their mission is to help stop the drop in confidence among girls and they want everyone to show the world how they can Keep Playing #LikeAGirl.

How do you Keep Playing #LikeAGirl? Share a photo on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag to show how you keep playing!

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

Mobile Travel

CaptureBeing an avid traveller, I am always interested in finding out some of the latest travel trends for Canadians.

Hotels.com recently released a brand new survey called the Mobile Travel Tracker they conducted across 31 countries and 9,200 travellers. One of the survey’s most interesting findings was that Canadians would rather travel with their phones and leave their loved ones at home. It’s no surprise to me that our mobile devices have become the most important travel companion in the past couple of years.

There are a lot of other great findings in this survey such as:

Secret Bed-Bookers – Nearly 1 in 5 Canadians admit to booking a hotel while between the sheets

Staying social – Nearly 70% of Canadians spend at least two hours a day connecting on social media while travelling

Spontaneous Stayers – 37% of Canadians have made a same-day hotel booking thanks to mobile, with 9% even booking their hotel in the airport departure lounge.

I can without a doubt say that I’ve done all of these before. Just last week, I booked a last minute hotel the day prior to my arrival in LA.

Travelling with a mobile device has completely changed the way I travel. Whether it is for bookings, to find a particular location, for transportation, connecting to social media, texting, taking photos, etc. I heavily rely on my mobile device whenever I travel.

I am excited to see just how much more we will be using our devices for travel in the future!

13 Cities, 13 Runs – Halifax

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Destination #2 of this running series is Halifax, NS. I had only been to Halifax once prior to going on this trip but got really familiar with the city very rapidly. While I was in town, I saw a whole lot of people going for runs, which was really nice to see.

If you’re a runner in Halifax, there is no shortage of running routes for you to discover.

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If you like hills and looking to run downtown, The Citadel will be just what you need. A lot of local runners hit up this spot for hill sprints, interval running or just an incline run. I ran at The Citadel when I was in town in June and let me tell you, it was quite challenging.

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If you prefer scenic water views and don’t mind running in crowded areas, the Harbourwalk right on the waterfront will be your running destination. The 3.8km boardwalk stretches from Pier 21 to Casino Nova Scotia. On your run, you will see a mix of shops, restaurants, museums and historic boats.

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There are also a handful of parks in and around downtown Halifax where you can run.

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On this particular trip, I spent a lot of time in Dartmouth, so opted to also explore the running trails in that area as well. Port Wallace and the entire region around Lake Charles and Lake Micmac, has tons of great running trails in the woods, on the sand and by the water. Many locals go walk their dogs on these trails but they’re pretty unoccupied. What I particularly liked about these trails is that they varied in difficulty and incline. I rarely get to run in the woods, so this was a nice treat. The trails are easy to access and you can find parking in different areas including Shubie Park. Another added bonus, in the summer, you can even go for a swim at the Swimming Beach on Lake Charles to cool off after your run.

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Nike Air Zoom Elite 8 (get them here)

Nike Dri-FIT Knit Long-Sleeve (get it here)

Nike Epic Lux Women’s Running Capris (get them here)

13 Cities, 13 Runs – Fredericton

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I’m happy to introduce a brand new series on my blog this fall called 13 Cities, 13 Runs. Since I’m currently on a road trip across Canada, I figured this would be the perfect occasion to share with you some of my favorite running trails that I’ve discovered as I travel through the country from East to West.

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This week, I’m sharing with you the running trails that I discovered while I was in Fredericton, New Brunswick just a few days ago. To my utmost surprise, Fredericton has TONS of running trails. The city is all about running, cycling and walking.

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The city offers more than 80 kms of multi-purpose trails all around the city. You’ll find trails on the waterfront by Saint John River, close the lighthouse, on the old train bridge that connects the north and south sides of the city, in parks and in the woods.

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While I was in town, I decided to run along the river and did the Old Train Bridge Trail (0.6km), Northside Trail (10km) and the Lincoln Trail (8.8km). I loved the mix of urban setting, the scenic views on the waterfront and the woodland. The paved trail made it easy to run on. Also, I noticed that cars really respect runners, pedestrians and cyclists in Fredericton. The few spots where I had to cross the road to continue onto the trail, cars immediately stopped at the sight of me running.

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It was an incredibly enjoyable run. Their running trail diversity made me love the city so much more. There’s really no better way to explore a city you’ve never been in than via their multi-purpose paths.

The city of Fredericton lists all of their amazing trails on their website. You can check them all out here. One thing’s for sure, if you’re planning a trip to Fredericton, there is no shortage of options for running around the city!

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Nike Air Zoom Elite 8 (get them here)

Nike Pro Logo 3″ Women’s Training Shorts (get them here)

Nike Pro Classic Padded Giraffe Sports Bra (get it here)