MELSAYS PODCAST – EP. 15 – Courtney Burt of Run Like a Girl

Celebrating the end of 2018 with a brand new podcast!

My guest for this episode is Courtney Burt, she is the co-founder of Run Like A Girl. She is a BC-based long-distance runner who has run races anywhere from 50 to 250 kilometers long. Courtney runs all the behind the scenes stuff at Run Like A Girl and also leads some of their retreats. I’m thrilled to have her share more about this awesome community that she has helped create. So without further a due, here’s my chat with Courtney.

Thanks so much for all of your support with my first year of podcasting! I hope you’ve enjoyed the episodes that I released in 2018 and hopefully were inspired by the women that I spoke with, I know I was! Hope you’ll join me in the new year for tons more!

Happy 2019!

MELSAYS PODCAST – EP. 13 – Jen Segger

Photo credit: Hilary Matheson

Stoked to be releasing a new episode of the podcast today!

My guest for this episode is Jen Segger, she is a global endurance coach, an adventure athlete, an expedition run guide and the head coach for Run Like A Girl. She is a badass athlete and incredibly successful coach based out of Squamish, British Columbia. Thrilled to have her on the podcast today, she recently completed the Primal Quest Expedition Adventure Race in British Columbia earlier this fall and placed 2nd with her team. Let’s find out more about her story.

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.

MELSAYS PODCAST – EP. 10 – Kelsey Serwa

Thrilled to have already reached the 10th podcast mark!

My guest for this 10th episode is Kelsey Serwa. She is a Canadian freestyle skier that just recently won, a gold medal at the 2018 Olympics, in ski cross. This is the British Columbia native’s 3rd Olympic games and 2nd Olympic medal, she had won silver at the 2014 Sochi games. I got to speak to her a couple of weeks ago, just a few hours after landing in Vancouver, post-Olympics. So without further a due, here’s Kelsey Serwa.

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.

5 Best Running Trails in Vancouver

There are so many incredible trails located in and around Vancouver. With that said, it was hard to pick only five but here are some of my go-to’s in the area.

1) North Shore Spirit Trail (North Vancouver) – If you’re looking for a multipurpose trail for road running with minimal elevation and that is not nearly as busy as all the trails in Vancouver, you must go for a run on the Spirit Trail. Created in collaboration with the City of North Vancouver and the local Squamish Nation First Nations community, this trail offers up a mix of city, park, mountain and ocean views. You can run from Lower Lonsdale all the way past Ambleside Park and well into West Vancouver.

2) Lynn Loop (North Vancouver) – Is the perfect terrain for someone who is just getting into trail running. There’s very minimal elevation and the packed gravel make it easy on your feet. You also get the most gorgeous views of the forest and feeling completely immersed in nature. Plus if you’re feeling good after the loop, the trail connects to a handful of other trails, so there’s always the option of extending your run if you’d like.

3) Buntzen Lake (Port Moody) – Located just 30 mins from Vancouver, this lakeside trail offers something a little bit more challenging with uneven terrain, roots, rocks and some elevation. This trail is always super quiet and easy to access through their parking lot or even through Sasmat Lake and the Belcarra Regional Park (you can prolong your run really easily and add a ton more elevation to it if you follow the Sasmat Lake Loop, the Diez Vistas or Buntzen Ridge Trail).

4) Baden Powell Trail (North Vancouver) – Though a very popular trail, I’ve often found myself completely alone for most of my runs on the Baden Powell Trail. The Baden Powell Trail can take you either all the way up to Grouse Mountain or down to Deep Cove. There are definitely some more advanced portions like the switchbacks that make up the Pipeline Crossing but all the trails are clearly marked and beautiful.

5) Lighthouse Park (West Vancouver) – A shorter trail than most in the area as the longest distance you can run is a 6k loop. However, the views from Eagle Point or Shore Shine Point are magnificent. On a clear day you can see the Washington Mountains, the islands, Howe Sound, etc. plus you’re running around in a lush forest. The park tends to get crowded on the weekends or during the summer so plan accordingly if you don’t want to be surrounded by people the entire time.

Looking for more trail ideas? I love checking out the Vancouver Trails website or even just going on Strava and looking up popular routes in the area.

Discovering the New 2018 FORD F-150 Lariat

I love getting to test drive new vehicles, especially when I’m allowed to go adventure with them.

This past week, I got to try out the 2018 FORD F-150 Lariat. Though I’ve test driven some of FORD‘s vehicles before, I’ve never had the opportunity to try out one of the most popular vehicles to date, the F-150. Out here in BC, these trucks are everywhere and after spending a week driving around in one, I totally understand why the truck is so popular.

LOOK

The Lariat is one of 7 models that you can choose from in the F-150 family. It comes in a variety of colours including “Race Red“, which is a definite eye-catcher when driving around. The Lariat comes with a chrome front and back bumper, halogen headlights and fog lamps, same colour handles for the doors and tailgate, 18-inch machined-aluminum wheels, as well as a Chrome Two-Bar Style with Four Minor Bars grille that has black surround and background mesh, making the truck look powerful yet also high-class. The inside is incredibly spacious allowing for 3 people to sit very comfortably at the back with ample leg room. The driver’s seat can be adjusted electronically in all planes, allowing for pleasant long drives like the ones I did this week. Other details worth mentioning are the cargo box hooks that allow you to easily tie down things such as motorcycles, sleds, etc. in the truck bed as well as two front tow hooks. The model that I was driving also had the super luxurious Twin panel Moonroof (SuperCrew), which allowed for so much additional light in the truck and perfect for viewing the night sky and the beautiful outdoor BC scenery.

SAFETY

The F-150 is equipped with all the state of the art safety accessories one would want. From the Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) to Curve Control – which helps slow down the vehicle when going too fast on a curve, to the 360 camera with split-view display that allows you the driver to get added support on the road. This truck also has rear view camera Dynamic hitch assist, so that if you’re wanting to carry a trailer (or even a tiny house!) you can easily direct your hitch ball to the trailer. ABS breaks as well as driver and front passenger airbags plus side curtain airbags are also included in the vehicle’s basic package.

PERFORMANCE

The F-150 is great for driving in all sorts of conditions. There was a huge snowstorm this past week in BC yet I was able to drive the truck around with peace of mind. I was so happy that I was able to switch to 4WD during my snowy and icy travels. The truck comes with an electronic 10-speed Transmission with Tow/Haul, Snow/Wet, EcoSelect and Sport Modes. I love that it has automatic start and stop engine technology, which is a big plus for people like myself who are very conscious of their emissions. The 2.7L EcoBoost engine is according to FORD 30% better on fuel efficiency and emits 15% fewer greenhouse emissions. The estimated fuel consumption is 11.9L/100 KM for city driving and 9L/100 KM for highway driving. In a full week of back and forth driving from North Vancouver to Downtown Vancouver, Squamish and back and then all the way out to Joffre Lakes, Pemberton, Whistler and finally Sasamat Lake, I couldn’t believe that it only took me 1 full tank of gas!

TECHNOLOGY

This is probably one of my favourite parts about testing new cars. I love checking out all the new features that come with vehicles these days. From the aforementioned 360 cameras on the truck to the heated seats and steering wheel and the SYNC 3 – which is an 8-inch LCD touchscreen system that allows you to control navigation, audio, climate, etc. With this system you can easily connect your iPhone (which is what I did as soon as I received my new iPhone X this past week), allowing you to use Bluetooth, play Spotify wirelessly (or SiriusXM Satellite Radio which comes with the vehicle!), receive/send text messages, etc. The system also allows you to perform voice commands and you can also use the No-Extra-Charge 911 Assist in case of an accident or roadside emergency. All this technology makes it possible for you to keep both hands on the wheel at all times.

RECAP

All in all, driving around in this vehicle made me feel safe, comfortable and gave me all the little luxury items that I could ever want in an adventure vehicle. No matter where I went, it was easy to maneuver, park and drive. I think it’s the perfect adventure vehicle especially for someone like myself who always has so much gear and wants to go absolutely everywhere, no matter the terrain. Whether I want to bring my surfboard, bike, snowboard or even if I were to want to carry a motocross bike or my motorcycle in the future, this truck would be able to handle it all. Looking forward to more road trips with the F-150 Lariat in the future!

For more information on the F-150, go here.

Video shot entirely with GoPro Hero 6 + Karma Grip, thanks to Sport Chek and GoPro.
Big thanks to Tourism Vancouver, TAG Whistler and also MEC for their support!

MELSAYS PODCAST – EP. 7 – Kaitlyn Burke

The 7th episode of the MELSAYS PODCAST is now live!

My guest for this episode is Kaitlyn Burke, she is the founder of the New Heights Basketball Academy in Vancouver. It is the only female focused basketball academy in British Columbia, whose goal is not only to develop female athletes through the sport of basketball but also empower them to become strong leaders in the classroom, on the court and in the community. 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.

MELSAYS PODCAST – EP. 4 – Genevieve Arnaud

Happy New Year everyone! Took a little break over the holidays but I’m back with a brand new podcast episode and I’ve got tons of new content coming up in 2018!

Excited to share with you today the fourth episode of the MELSAYS PODCAST.

This week, I chat with Genevieve Arnaud. She is the founder Atwell Health, plant-based nutritional counselling and mental health coaching, out of Squamish, British Columbia. In addition to running her private practice, she is also a trail runner and the volunteer coordinator for the Coast Mountain Trail Series out here in BC.

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.

Riding Through Winter

Though winter hasn’t officially begun, I’ve been feeling major wintery vibes since I landed during a snowstorm in Quebec last week.

My winter season started extra early last month in BC when I took my board and skis to two local mountains on their respective opening day. Since moving to BC, one of my winter goals has been to ride more and get better at snowboarding, especially in powder. Growing up out east, I never got to ski or ride in powder so this has become an important objective of mine.

Having access to world-class skiing and snowboarding resorts and conditions just make me that much more excited about getting out there and doing it as much as possible for the next couple of months. I’m also hoping to do my first ever AVI course later this winter so that I can have the most knowledge and be the safest when riding on this new terrain.

Skiing and riding in BC has lots of advantages compared to the east. Not only is the terrain a lot bigger, the fresh powder is unreal and the weather is always a little warmer. That said, having the right gear for playing in the snow is so key! With the help of Sport Chek, I was able to pick a bunch of accessories that will make my skiing and riding season that much more enjoyable. From a warm Helly Hansen base layer, to new Burton gloves and Spy Optics goggles, they have all of the winter essentials you may need.

Leaving Quebec tomorrow and headed to Europe and the Alps for some epic riding. Can’t wait to bring these accessories along with me for the ride!

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

Running Through Winter in BC

Running through winter means you need to be prepared for all the elements, especially in BC. There are three key things that I look for when choosing my running gear for winter. All of my running gear needs to be:

1 – Waterproof – because rain is definitely often in the forecast during the winter in BC so you don’t want to be running and feeling completely drenched.

2 – Reflective – because the sun goes down so early every night, reflective stripes or designs on your gear are so crucial so that cars and other pedestrians or cyclists can see you when you’re running.

3 – Warm – because even if the weather doesn’t get to be that cold in BC, it’s still important to pick pieces that will keep you warm especially during your longer runs.

I like shopping for my running gear at Sport Chek because they always have such a great variety of products. I’ve definitely been a big Nike Running fan for the last couple of years. They’ve got great technical pieces that not only fit really nicely but that work well. My latest running finds include the Nike Air Zoom Pegagus 34 Shield Running Shoes, Nike Women Power Epic Lux Flash Running Tights and Nike Women’s Essential Flash Running Jacket. These items will be perfect to keep me dry, visible and warm for the next couple of months training in BC for upcoming races!

Photos by: @Offner

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

5 Winter Getaway Ideas in BC

1) Go on a Food and Drink excursion in Kelowna. The region of Kelowna is well-known in the summer for its amazing wineries, but winter is as good of a time as any to visit the Okanagan Valley. Most of the wineries and wine trails are open all-year-round plus there are now tons of awesome local breweries popping up all over town, making it a great destination for wine and beer enthusiasts. Farm to Table is also a huge trend in Kelowna and the valley. Local farmers and chefs take pride in serving locally grown food from the neighbourhood farms. While you’re in the area, you can even take a self-guided farm tour to visit the local food growers and learn more about what the area can produce.

2) Go surfing in Tofino – Winter or the shoulder season are truly the best times to visit Tofino. Yes, the water will be cold but you get to avoid all the crowds and madness that you get during the summer. There are lots of great surf shops open all-year-round (Long Beach Surf Shop, Surf Sister, Pacific Surf School, etc.) and tons of spots to get surf lessons from if you’re new to the sport. Plus, the après-surf is that much more enjoyable when you’re sitting fireside with a warm beverage either at a nice Airbnb, an oceanfront cabin (check out Ocean Village Resort!) or even in your van. Van life is very much alive and well all-throughout the year in Tofino!

3) Go Hiking in Nelson – The Nelson Kootenay region offers a handful of amazing hiking options for those looking to spend some time outdoors this winter. Whether you’re looking for a quick jaunt like the 1.6k Pulpit Rock or something more grandiose like the spectacular Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park, Nelson has all sorts of hikes that can be explored throughout the winter season with either regular hiking boots, crampons or even snowshoes.

4) Visit Halcyon Hot Springs – Open 365 days a year, these beautiful hot springs are located right on the waterfront of Upper Arrow Lake. While relaxing in the restorative and healing waters, you get to enjoy the beautiful views of the Monashee Mountains. The hot springs are just over an hour away from Revelstoke, making it the perfect après-ski relaxation spot. You can spend the entire weekend at the Halcyon Hot Springs exploring the area and renting out one of the chalets or cabins on property.

5) Go explore the backcountry in Whistler. Chances are, if you’ve visited BC in the winter time or your reside here, you’ve probably already gone skiing or riding up in Whistler. But have you explore the amazing backcountry before? There are lots of great local touring companies (Extremely Canadian, Altus Mountain Guides) that offer AST courses, clinics and tours for mountain enthusiasts of all levels. You can also purchase some backcountry tickets for Whistler Blackcomb, that are more than half the price of the regular lift tickets.

Happy winter adventuring friends!