My 2018 Running Goals

Taking some time to reflect on this past year and some of the running goals that I’ve accomplished.

It wasn’t a perfect year health-wise but was pretty good all-in-all. I was taken out of training for just two months and have been battling a little injury for the last couple of weeks but otherwise, I’m pretty happy with this past year and what I’ve been able to do. I ran my first ever half-marathon in the spring, started trail running, started a run club called RUNDISTRIKT, then PB’ed on my second half-marathon and recently started doing some trail races as well. The last one was just this past weekend in North Vancouver and let me tell you, it’s a whole other ball game. Trail races are no joke! The 13k race I did last weekend was hands down the hardest race I’ve ever done.

So as 2017 draws to an end and I start planning my goals for 2018, I know that trail running and even alpine running are going to be quite high on my list of running goals. Call me crazy but I’ve already started a list of races I’m interested in participating in, a lot of them being out here on the west coast. I love adding some travels to the mix, so whenever possible I make it a destination run as well.

In addition to doing some more trail and alpine races in 2018, I want to compete in my first ever SWIMRUN event. I’ve never been a big cycling enthusiast so having the opportunity to skip that discipline altogether, sounds right up my alley. The first one in British Columbia is happening next August in Victoria. I also hope to have the run club partake in more events and represent them at the races I’ll be doing in the new year.

My one hope for this upcoming year is that I’m as healthy as can be! Injuries are the worst, especially when you have races lined up so I’m putting all the chances on my side to have a successful 2018. Lots of yoga, swimming, cross-training, healthy eats and self-care!

What are your running goals for next year? Will I be seeing you at a race?

Photos by: @Offner

What I’m wearing: Hyba Windproof Jacket (get it here), Hyba Printed Mesh Leggings (get it here), Hyba Colourblock Training T-Shirt (get it here).

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

Tips on How to Stay Active while Traveling with Reebok

Staying active while on the road is easy. All it takes is just a little extra planning ahead and organization. Over the last little while I’ve come up with a simple formula and a few simple tips that can help you also keep moving while you’re on the go.

1) Whenever I know I have a trip coming up, I always make some time either the night before I leave or even at the airport the morning of (because we all know we spend lots of time doing nothing at the airport), to look up local running routes in advance that are close to where I’ll be traveling to and evening staying. I will then map out a few different runs or at least some key points of interests that I want to visit while I’m running and make a quick list on my phone. I sometimes even record the actual route itself on my phone via one of my running apps so that I am ready to go when I arrive.

2) I always pack my Reebok Floatride Run shoes with me so that I can easily take them out of my suitcase when I get to my hotel room or Airbnb. After a long flight or long day of travel, I’ll usually go for a run immediately when I get to my new destination. The Reebok Floatride Run shoe is cushioning without compromise, it is soft and also responsive, making me feel like I’m floating through my runs. The new shoe comes in new colour options and combines performance and aesthetic all into one.

3) I try to find unique local run clubs or even fitness studios to book some drop-in classes. I make sure to mark off some time in my schedule, even if it’s just 30 minutes to work out and also meet new people. Traveling gives you access to different workouts you may not even have at home as well as a whole new crew of people to meet, which is awesome!

4) If I don’t have the chance to make it out anywhere, I will use the environment around me; so either the gym in my hotel, my hotel room or even a nearby park to get a little workout or some drills in. It’s easy to just take your phone with you and either write down a few exercises or follow a video or an app.

5) If I know I’ll be traveling with friends or going to see family, I try to get them to take me out for a run or organize a little workout together. It makes it that much more of a fun experience for everyone and great memories to share while on the road.

Running and being active has become my first priority while traveling and as a result I’ve seen so many benefits in both my overall mood, stress levels and well-being while away from home. Therefore, I highly recommend giving these tips a try!

The Reebok Floatride Run shoe is available exclusively at Running Room and Reebok.ca.

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

Fueling my Recovery with CLIF

One’s journey back to any sport after an injury is always a challenging one. It requires patience and a whole lot of dedication to make sure you get back to the same level of conditioning as before and that you become stronger than ever, while also carefully monitoring your injury to make sure everything is on track.

This is my second comeback to running after being injured twice in the past two years, so I’m being extra smart this time around and putting all the chances on my side for a successful recovery. One of the things that is key during training is making sure you fuel your body right. I have always loved bringing along some CLIF snacks with me no matter what adventure I get up to and this is especially true when I go running.

CLIF just released some brand new organic BLOKS that come in 33-calorie cubes that are easy to bring along in my running pouch. These cubes supply me with energy during long runs, sprint workouts at the track or even races. Since I’ve been ramping up my training again, leading up to my next race at the end of October, I’ve been bringing these along. The chews provide the perfect combination of carbohydrates and electrolytes yet without any of the garbage. There are no partially hydrogenated oils, no high fructose corn syrup, no synthetic preservatives and no artificial flavours. CLIF’s new Salted Watermelon Flavour supplies you with even extra sodium that helps counter muscle cramps and gives you even more electrolytes when your body needs it the most. The BLOKS come in 9 different flavours including Tropical Punch, which is also flavoured with caffeine, for those needing that extra little boost.

I have used BLOKS in races before, it was my go-to snack during my first ever race over two years ago at the Nike Women’s 15k in Toronto and I have stuck to this winning formula since. I like that you can easily calculate portions while running and that they aren’t too sweet, so they won’t make you feel nauseous or heavy while running.

Since I’m now training primarily in British Columbia, I’ve been including more and more hikes and trail runs into my regimen. Making use of the beautiful scenery and mountains that are right at my doorstep. For hikes, I always pack CLIF Nut Butter Filled Energy Bar because I know that I’ll want a healthy and filling snack along the way. My favourite flavour is the creamy Peanut Butter bar. These bars are great because they are 100% plant-based (made with nut butter, brown rice and peas), certified organic, non-GMO, contain less than 10g of sugar, and are free of hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup and artificial flavours. They’re the perfect blend of carbohydrates, protein and fat that will keep me going throughout my hikes.

I feel good bringing these products along with me because I know CLIF has my best interest at heart as an athlete. This family and employee-owned company is not only committed to providing the best sports nutrition to their consumers but also committed to supporting the community of athletes and adventure seekers out there through a variety of initiatives.

Now that I’m back, I’m excited to see where my journey will take me while making sure I fuel my body right along the way. #FEEDYOURADVENTURE

For more information on CLIF, visit: http://www.clifbar.ca/

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.

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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Get Race Ready

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This year, I’m holding myself accountable for the goals I’ve set for myself and the things I want to accomplish. In order to be successful, there are lots of things I need to take into consideration and take care of. Though some goals are harder to achieve, when you have all the tools necessary and have the right mindset, you can accomplish just about anything. Proper preparation is absolutely key to get race ready.

My main running goal this year is to run my first half marathon, so I’m taking the necessary steps to make sure I can achieve this goal injury-free. Here are some tips and things I’ve learned that could also potentially help you along the way to achieve the goals you’ve set out for yourself.

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1) Train properly.  The one thing I’ve learned from last year’s injury is to make sure you train the right way for the goal you’ve set for yourself. That means, if you’re planning on doing a run, make sure you also cross-train, do some weight-lifting, incorporate yoga or swimming into your weekly practice or other activities that will complement your training and will strengthen other parts of your body. Additionally, it’s important to have a running plan that increases distance, changes pace, terrain, etc. the proper way. Increasing distance more than 10% a week can have a negative effect on your body, so take a calendar and plan the weeks/months leading up to your sporting event. Also, pre and post-workout stretching and foam rolling are just as important as the workout itself.

2) Eat right. This may be obvious but it’s easy to get off track. Make sure you have some carbs and protein 30-60 mins post-workout in order to facilitate the replenishment of muscle glycogen and muscle repair. Making sure you eat clean as much as possible is also key. Being a vegetarian (borderline vegan), I have to watch my protein intake and make sure I don’t develop any vitamin or mineral deficiencies. If you don’t have time to make your own meals, look into getting a meal prep service, there are so many great ones available today.

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3) Go for tune-ups. The one thing I omitted to do last year was going for tune-ups when I started training heavily. Whether it’s visiting a physiotherapist, acupuncturist, RMT, chiropractor or even nutritionist, these people will have a positive impact on your training and can also help prevent injuries or further injuries in the future. These professionals will be able to give you some stretching tips, make sure you’re training properly, getting the right nutrition, etc.

4) Get into the right mindset. You can’t achieve what you set out to do if you’re not in the right mindset. If that means downloading the Headspace app, or signing up for meditation classes, going to see a therapist, whatever you have to do, do it! You need to feel confident, comfortable and in tune with your body and mind in order to accomplish your goals. There’s no shame in taking care of your mind as it is just important as your body.

Now go ahead and crush those goals!

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Photos by: @Offner

What I’m wearing: Nike Run Tear Women’s Tank (get it here), Nike Power Legend Brush Women’s All Over Print Capri Tight (get it here), New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 Women’s Running Shoes (get them here).

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

5 Questions With: Craig Slagel of RunGo App

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I love combining technology with running. Over the past two years, running apps have been key in documenting my progress as a runner and also keeping tabs on the runs that I have done when I travel. I recently heard of the running app RunGo, which was developed by Vacouverite Craig Slagel. Since I’ve been spending time running around Vancouver, I thought it would be interesting to find out more about this local startup.

1) What is the inspiration behind the RunGo app?

RunGo was inspired by Dynasty, my retired guide dog who I adopted in 2012 just after starting the company. As a runner and frequent traveler, I often had the issue not knowing where to run or getting lost when I tried to explore. When I adopted Dynasty, my friends joked I should use her to guide me and that sparked the idea of RunGo.

2) What separates this app from other running apps currently on the market?

RunGo works like other running apps but also offers voice guided turn-by-turn directions for your runs. With a library of over 50,000 routes worldwide, including running tours and runs curated by local running communities, RunGo is great for traveling and allows you to re-discover your own cities by trying different routes. RunGo also provides all the usual statistics such as distance, pace, calories burned and provides a logbook to store your results. The app navigates you offline, and only requires data or wifi when you add runs to your library. After that, you can use RunGo to guide you, without any data or wifi.

3) You had the opportunity to present your app on Dragon’s Den, why are shows like that and Shark Tank important for startups?

Apps can be very hard to market, especially since there are some really big players in the market who have very big budgets. As a startup we have limited resources and are constantly looking for creative ways to expose ourselves. Dragons’ Den has over 1 million views so being on the show can be a great way to promote your startup as long as you have a good idea and don’t embarrass yourself. It was also great for us as a company – as we prepped our pitch, we really went back to make sure we understood our business, brand, and numbers. It was a great experience and you can see our pitch on February 15th on CBC.

4) Where is your favourite place to run in the world and why?

That’s a tough one – I’ve run in so many amazing places around the world! I love trail running and we are lucky to have amazing trails in Vancouver, BC. But if I had to pick, I think my favourite place would be Marin headlands in the San Francisco Bay Area. It is where I started running so it feels like my running home. The Headlands Run that took you from Crissy Field, over the Golden Gate bridge and up into the Headlands onto a peak with a panoramic view (on a clear day) was probably my most memorable run when I lived in the city.

5) What would you like to accomplish with the app in the next five years?

There is so much I’d love to accomplish in the next five years on top of being one of the leading running apps by then. It’s often said that the best way to explore a city is by foot and our ultimate goal is to give as many runners worldwide as possible, the freedom and confidence to discover all the amazing running routes around them. I was in Dublin just over a year ago and was able to explore the city by running a different route every day. The feeling of completely immersing myself in the city was amazing as I explored routes created by a local running store. It was a completely different experience from when I used to travel for business years ago and was usually recommended to run up and down the river bank by the hotel.

For more information on the RunGo app, go here.

Moving Forward

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Ever felt stuck in a rut or stuck on a path that you didn’t want to be on? Prior to leaving my full-time television gig at the end of the summer, I really felt stuck in a situation and world that I no longer wanted to be in. Moving forward in life is something that isn’t easy to do but is necessary in order to find happiness and fulfillment. I’ve learned over time that when situations become unbearable, it’s better to break free and move forward and that goes not only for your professional life but also for your personal life (health, wellness, etc.).

Moving forward in my career isn’t the only obstacle I’ve had to overcome this year. My recent back injury totally made me feel stuck and powerless especially as months went on and I was seeing no improvement. I felt like I wasn’t getting better or getting myself out of this situation. I thought on several occasions that I was on a path of healing and change only to be stopped dead in my tracks and have to start over.

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2016 has taught me that moving forward isn’t easy but super necessary both personally and professionally. So I wanted to share with you today some of the things I’ve learned from this experience.

My 5 tips for moving forward: 

1) Figure out what’s stopping you from moving forward and making that change in your life. Take time to reassess your goals and aspirations and use that as a motivator to help yourself to get “unstuck”.

2) Stop listening to everyone else. When I went to leave my steady job, everyone was questioning why, trying to scare me by telling me I wouldn’t get another steady paycheck, that there were no jobs on the market at the moment, etc. Same went with my injury, I was told healing could take forever, that I may never run again, etc. The key to moving forward was blocking out all the noise around me.

3) Spread positivity. Surrounding myself with positive thoughts and people helped me focus on the goal at hand and helped me conquer my fears of moving forward. I made sure to celebrate little progress I made with my injury and focus on the pros of leaving my full-time job.

4) It won’t be easy. Whether it was having to cut down on spending after leaving my job or dealing with not being active, both were incredibly hard things to deal with or adjust to. There will be days where you will doubt yourself or days where you question your decision, but it’s important to persevere throughout the process.

5) The end result will be worth it. Once you realize that you control your destiny, that taking risks always pay off and that if you focus on what makes you happy and overcome the speed bumps along the way, you will be successful in your transition! You will be able to get yourself out of that situation that you no longer want to be in. Though I’m not by any means making a killing as a freelancer, I’m a lot happier, calmer and fulfilled than I was prior to leaving my job. Also, finally being able to be active again has motivated me beyond belief. I’ve never been so excited to pursue a sport in my entire life. I can’t wait to see what I can accomplish now that I have moved forward!

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Photos & hair by: Cabello by Carolina

What I’m wearing: Hyba Printed Winter Legging (get it here), Hyba Long Sleeve Boot Camp Tee (get it here), Hyba Mixed Media Vest (get it here).

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

Fall Goals

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Fall is a great time to re-asses a lot of things in life including your health. Because fall is synonymous with change, it’s a great time to make a few adjustments or improvements in your life. It’s also a great time of year to set new goals.

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My main fitness goal this year was to run a half-marathon but unfortunately that goal will not become a realization due to some unforeseen circumstances. That said, I am not giving up on my goal. Instead, I am using these next few weeks to come up with a plan of action regarding how I can make this a reality in the next couple of months.

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Cross-training and building slowly will be key, so will doing some proper core strengthening exercises and making sure I eat right. Since I will be traveling for the next couple of months, these are all things that need to be implemented in my daily and weekly routine so that I can keep on track without having a regular schedule. Making my health and training my priority will be the only way that I can achieve this goal or any goal for that matter.

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I’ve found it incredibly inspiring these past couple of months to follow athletes on social media, read articles about goal-setting and also surrounding myself with positive people. All of these can aid with achieving a specific goal.

There’s no better time than now to look into new goals and start planning on how you’re going to make them happen. What goals are you setting for yourself this fall?

Photos by: @Offner

What I’m wearing: Hyba Fast Track Geometric Legging (get them here), Hyba Space Dye Low-Impact Sports Bra (get it here), Hyba Fitness Belt (similar one here).

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

How to Return to Running

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Because injuries while training or competing are quite common I wanted to get some tips from the super inspiring Coach Inge from the Nike+ Run Club in Toronto. She always has a super positive outlook on things and is a great motivator and excellent runner so I figured she would be a great person to get advice from on how to get back into running after being injured.

Coach Inge’s 3 things to remember:

  • Listen to your doctor. Listen to your chiropractor and follow what their recommendations.
  • Be patient after an injury. Since you haven’t been running, your mobility and those muscles have decreased. Cross-training is so important to do. If you can swim, swimming is great for cardio. That said, your body is pumping the blood horizontally whereas when you’re running the blood is pumping vertically. Swimmers and runners are both great endurance athletes but we need to make sure that the blood knows how to pump up so pool jogging is great because it’s lightweight.
  • Go back to basics. Come to sessions like Ready, Set, Go., where we’ll be watching your gait, because injuries can often cause muscle imbalances. Sessions like Ready, Set, Go, will allow us to watch you a little more carefully to make sure that you’re keeping everything equal on both sides.

Coach Inge’s goal setting post-injury:

  • Pick a race. Make sure that it’s at least 16 weeks away and get back to basics to build a base. The Nike+ Running app is great for getting you back into running. It has coaching levels that you can go through and pick where you are. Even if you don’t feel like a beginner it’s best to start back at the beginning so that it’s just not too much, too soon because you could risk getting injured again. Don’t increase distance more than 10-15% a week. Don’t compare yourself to others but focus on yourself because everyone has a different story. Use the community as fuel to rebuild.
  • Use the Nike+ Training app, look for some flexibility or mobility training workouts. Also, H.I.T. & Run workouts are great when you’re 100% better.
  • Be smart. Running is a lifelong thing, the races will always be there. So you can keep the same goals but just make sure that you ease back into it.

Thanks Coach Inge! I can’t wait to get cleared to hit the pavement again!