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!
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.
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?
Looking for a wellness-filled weekend? May I suggest heading to Victoria, BC?
Victoria is just a quick 30-minute flight away from downtown Vancouver via Harbour Air. Harbour Air is without a doubt the loveliest and most convenient way to travel to the island. With a quick check-in process, a relaxing lounge where you can obtain free coffee, tea and pastries, traveling with this local company always makes you feel VIP. The flight views are also comparable to none. On this most recent trip to Victoria, it had just snowed for the first time this year, allowing for the most stunning views of the islands and surrounding mountains.
Once in Victoria, there is such a wide-variety of things to enjoy for wellness enthusiasts.
Discover some of the most amazing local trails and scenery with Rainforest Tours, a local touring company operated by the lovely Toni Chalk. She is the most insightful and knowledgeable tour guide, who will pack you an amazing lunch and take you on some incredible expeditions. The Mystic Beach hike on the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail is a great way to get introduced to the many kms of trails along the coast.
Another great area for outdoor adventuring is around the Westin Bear Mountain Resort. The resort offers a Hiker’s Reprieve Experience, which combines a guided hike through the Goldstream Provincial Park (where Canada’s mountain bike team trains!) followed by their signature Elements Mountain Massage at the Sante Spa Victoria. The treatment includes a clearing sage smudge, foot scrub and purifying foot bath before getting a full-body massage with B.C. Jade stones and essential oils. Truly the most relaxing and soothing experience. Following the massage, you can use the spa’s facilities – steam room, sauna and mineral pool at your leisure. They also offer snacks, tea and water plus there’s a full food menu to choose from after your treatment.
After all of this adventuring, it’s important to be able to retreat to a calm and quiet place. The Inn at Laurel Point is located right on the waterfront in downtown Victoria. It is the only carbon neutral hotel in British Columbia and one of only a handful across Canada. The hotel has luxurious amenities including beautiful decks for each room, you also have access to their outdoor gardens, fitness room and pool. Their restaurant AURA serves up local and organic dishes. Their hotel rooms are spacious, inviting and beautifully designed. The marble bathroom and soak tub is a perfect spot to relax after a busy day of exploring.
The city of Victoria is one of the best cities in the entire country for healthy eats. They have so much choice when it comes to plant-based restaurants or general healthy eating. Local must-visits include Be Love, Superbaba, JUSU, Rebar, Bliss and Nourish. Nourish has become a recent favourite thanks to the meticulously crafted dishes they serve at brunch, lunch and dinner. It’s impossible to not fall in love with this cute restaurant and café, located in a Victorian house in downtown Victoria.
There are tons of other wellness-inspired things to do in and around Victoria, whether it’s going for tea at the Terroir Tea Salon, going on a bike tour with The Pedaler or simply walking around downtown and in some of their beautiful parks by the waterfront. It’s so incredibly easy to have a wellness-packed weekend while in Victoria. You will go home feeling energized and ready to take on whatever the week throws at you!
A big thank you to Tourism Victoria for setting up this visit. I hope you’ll enjoy the little recap video of my wellness adventures below!
Last fall, when we decided to leave Toronto, we sold all of our things, not knowing how long we would be travelling for or where we would end up eventually.
Fast forward almost one year later, after having spent months travelling across Europe, living in a van in the US and then deciding to give British Columbia a shot, we finally put our suitcases down and found a permanent, or at least semi-permanent home, in North Vancouver.
We have really enjoyed exploring British Columbia these past couple of months, getting to know the province that is so far from home, that much better. There are just so many things to do here, so many adventures to be had and so many outdoor activities to pursue. Because I’m all about experiences and exploring, I have quickly realized that in order to keep discovering my new province and new backyard,
getting a vehicle would be necessary. While I lived in Toronto, it was never something I considered getting but because there are so many great activities to do out here, it has become something I can no longer avoid. Therefore, it has become my goal to save up for a car in the next couple of months.
Luckily, Scotiabank just recently launched their Scotiabank Momentum PLUS Savings Account, an innovative new digital savings account and the first-of- its-kind in Canada, that enables Canadians like myself, to save for one or multiple goals in just one account. The longer we save, the higher the interest rate. For deposits between now and December 29, 2017, you can earn a bonus interest rate of up to 2.30% on those funds until February 28, 2018. This is the highest daily interest rate on a retail savings
account amongst Canada’s Big 5 Banks. All with no minimum balance or monthly fee.
So I stopped by my local Scotiabank branch in Lower Lonsdale to set up my account and also discuss my savings goal for a car. In addition to the account’s annual interest rate of 0.70%, you can also obtain Premium Interest between 0.75% to 0.90%, depending on the savings period selected. So we planned out a 180-day savings Premium Period (you can also choose 90, 270 or 360-day Premium Period) for the
car. With this Momentum PLUS Savings Account, a longer Premium Period will allow me to earn a higher Premium Interest Rate, with regular interest paid monthly and the Premium Interest paid at the end of the Premium Period. What’s great about this account is that no matter how I choose to save up for the car, my money will always be accessible, so that if ever I reach my goal before the end of my savings goal period, I can always go out and buy the vehicle immediately (although that would mean we forgo the premium interest rate).
My goal for the next 180-day period is to save up to $5,000 CAD in order to buy a second hand vehicle to keep exploring more of my beautiful new province. Though this is quite a large goal for someone like myself who is now a full-time freelancer, I believe that with the help of this new Scotiabank Momentum PLUS Savings Account, I will be able to attain my short-term goal. I will also be able to monitor my progress online and re-adjust the amount of money I put aside for my savings period as the months go by.
You can follow my #SavingsJourney progress on Instagram and check back in a few months to see whether or not I have been able to attain my goal of finally purchasing a car for BC!
This post was written in collaboration with Scotiabank, but all opinions are my own.
I think I can officially call myself a BC girl. I’ve been in British Columbia for just over 8 months now and have without a doubt come to embrace the province’s beauty and lifestyle. It was a hard adaptation period at first when we moved but since the month of May (I credit the epic summer we just had!), I’ve felt more and more at home here in British Columbia. Being on the west coast has changed me in many ways and I seem to not be the only one who thinks so. During recent family visits, they were quick to point out how much of an outdoor and adventure enthusiast I had become. I’ve always had a love for nature and spending time outside prior to moving to BC but living here has only made my passion and excitement for it increase 10x more!
Here are the five reasons why I think I’ve become a BC girl:
1) Rain – I’ve come to appreciate the rain. After a couple of months of non-stop sun, the rain has allowed me to hunker down and actually work on a lot of projects that I was postponing due to the fact that I wanted to be outdoors every single minute of every day. It’s also a really nice feeling to go for a run or a hike in the rain because the hot shower or post-activity tea and warm socks are just that much more appreciated. There’s also something kind of romantic and very moody that I now like about rainy days. That said, talk to me again in a few months… I may have changed my mind!!
2) Yoga – Yes it’s totally a cliché but I now practice yoga and am so glad that I do. It has helped me tremendously not only heal from injuries but also prevent future injuries as well as helped me with some of my anxiety. Like I’ve mentioned in some recent posts, it’s all about finding the right yoga that works for you.
3) Hiking – I’ve always been into adventuring but had never really hiked much until I moved to BC. I remember thinking about a 5 or 7k hike made me nervous. Recently, I did two back to back 16-18k hikes and felt pretty incredible afterwards. I’ve still got a long ways to go but with so many mountains around, I’m itching to summit and explore as many places as possible.
4) Personal Style – It has definitely evolved since moving out west. I’ve definitely embraced outdoor and activewear a lot more since moving to BC, especially since I’ve been spending so much time in the wilderness. I’ve been loving rain boots, warm socks and cozy sweaters. But! My rocker and minimalist black and white look remains, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to lose that no matter how hard I try!
5) Relaxed Vibes – Living in Toronto for 10 years, it was always go, go go! But I realized not too long after moving to BC, that it doesn’t have to be business and stress all the time. People take more time to get back to your emails or are slower at getting some things done and I finally get why. It’s important to sometimes take a step back or take more time with things so I’ve definitely embraced those more relaxed vibes since moving out to BC. Even the thought of being right downtown in a big city like Toronto non-stop, now gives me anxiety. Who knew?!
Oh yea! Added bonus since moving out here, having the opportunity to collaborate with so many new and incredibly talented individuals like Britney Gill. I’ve always crushed hard on her photography, so am thrilled we could collaborate on some photos for this post. Check her out here.
The sunshine coast is an incredibly beautiful area of British Columbia. Located just a short ferry ride away from Vancouver, it’s popularity with locals comes as no surprise with it’s beautiful beaches, array of lakes and pristine nature.
The Backeddy Resort & Marina is located in Egmont, which is just under 3hrs away from Vancouver. It is a beautiful and secluded property that offers all sorts of lodging and activity options for visitors. Their latest and most Instagram-worthy accommodations are their new Geodesic Domes. These unique glamping-like domes are located right on the waterfront.
The 5 domes come complete with a bay window, a queen sized bed, small indoor sitting area (perfect for your morning breakfast!) as well as blankets and heaters for the colder months. There is also an outdoor sitting area and table to enjoy a snack or relax while sipping a glass of wine or cold beer and letting the beautiful sights sink in.
You also have access to the resort’s bathroom and showers located just a few short steps away from the domes.
In addition to their domes, they also offer vintage cabins, waterfront cabins as well as Inn rooms and waterfront RV sites, so something for everyone!
On-property, you can also find a delicious restaurant and pub called the Backeddy Pub that serves up tasty food from local suppliers, prepared daily by their chef.
If you’re into exploring and adventuring, there are lots to do right at the resort. They offer, SUP, kayak and even bike rentals. They also offer a handful of guided tours with Metta Eco-Experiences, such as a Harbour Seal Tour, an Inlet Explorer Tour, Harmony Islands Tour as well as a Bioluminescence Tour in the evening.
There are tons of local hiking and running trails located nearby, the main attraction being the Skookumchuk Narrows Provincial Park, where twice a day, you can hike to the Skookumchuk Narrows observation points to watch the waves and whirlpools. It’s an easy 45 minute hike there and back. There is lots of incredible sea life to see while at the Narrows.
Their friendly staff is available at all-times to give you all of the local recommendations you’ll need during your stay. There are lots of other activities that are a short walk or drive away from the resort, so enough to keep you busy for a couple of days. Plus, if you’re just looking for a quiet area to retreat to, this is THE place to do it!
For more info on the Backeddy Resort & Marina or their Geodesic Domes, go here.
I had the pleasure of spending the last couple of weeks adventuring around British Columbia with Toyota‘s brand new car, the 2018 C-HR. It was the perfect vehicle for both city and nature discoveries. Its ultra-sleek and unique design combined with Toyota’s best safety features, made it a reliable and fun car to drive, in all driving conditions.
Its two-toned colourful exterior turned heads everywhere I went. This car is without a doubt one of the coolest looking vehicles on the market with its modern design. Toyota did a great job imagining a car that stood out from the pack and pushed the envelop on a design standpoint. The vehicle’s standard 17″ alloy wheels and also diamond-cut lines, make it very pleasing to the eyes.
Toyota is renown for its top of the line safety standards and features. The Toyota Safety Sense P system includes lane departure alerts, pre-collision system with pedestrian and dynamic radar cruise control, just to name a few. The vehicle also comes equipped with 10 airbags, a monitoring system that alerts you if you have low fuel or washer fluid, an ajar door, etc. Moreover, the vehicle also offers the Toyota Star Safety System that features Brake Assist, Traction Control, Vehicle Stability Control and more! All of these safety features gave me peace of mind while exploring through the city and mountains and allowed for the safest driving conditions.
Performance enthusiasts will be happy to know that the C-HR contains a 144-hp, 2.0L, 4-cyl VALVEMATIC and a continuously variable transmission. You also have the ability to choose Sportmode, which transforms the vehicle in a simulated 7-speed sequential Shiftmatic transmission, making it that much more fun to drive. But with speed comes the need for a reliable breaking system, something that Toyota has not overlooked. The car’s braking system works with front and rear discs and an Anti-lock braking system, braking assist and electronic brake force distribution, which allows you to keep control of the vehicle no matter what situation may arise.
It’s impossible to talk about the vehicle without noting some of its great tech features such as the backup camera that comes up in the electrochromic rearview mirror, the rear cross traffic alert with blind spot monitor as well as the Smart Key system, allowing you to start the car with just the push of a button. And for avid music fans like myself, the car boasts an impressive sound system and all the jacks you could need to play your favourite playlists or albums while on the road.
All in all, my time driving around with the 2018 Toyota C-HR was very pleasant. It allowed me to discover new parts of British Columbia and drive through windy country roads, mountainous areas, the beach as well as the crowded streets of Vancouver. The C-HR is a car that has all the modern features a driver wants, a spacious interior and trunk for longer trips while never compromising safety or comfort for the driver and passengers of the car.
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 Flavoursupplies 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 15kin 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 as long as I can remember, I have always been fascinated by marine life. There was even a period of time in my life where I considered studying marine biology, but that ambition quickly faded when I reached high school, due to my poor grades in science. That said, my passion for all-things water-related, has remained over the years.
So when I heard of the Subsea Retreat, out of Sidney, British Columbia, I immediately contacted them. This family-run eco-tour allows ocean enthusiasts like myself, to realize their lifelong dreams of snorkeling or even scuba diving with local seals and other marine creatures. The retreat is run by Jack Madro, who has over 35-years of scuba diving and tour organization experience, Pam and also his daughter Amanda Madro, who is a biochemist, a boat captain and an all-around inspiring woman who is passionate about ocean wildlife. Each bring their many years of diverse experience together to create not only a fun and safe retreat but also give you a ton of information on the area and the local marine life.
What’s great about the Subsea Retreat is that they offer different types of excursions for people of all-ages as well as skill levels. I had personally never gone scuba diving before, hence why I opted for snorkeling. Additionally, they have all the gear necessary for their excursions, so you don’t have to worry about bringing anything with you. You will be able to try on all the equipment with Jack by your side. The family will then bring you out on the water with their own private boat and make sure you are fully comfortable the entire duration of the excursion.
Sidney, is just a short ferry ride away from Vancouver (only 1h40 mins, and the retreat is a 5min drive from the ferry terminal!) or a quick 30min drive from Victoria. While you’re out in Sidney, you’ll be able to stay at their beautiful home that contains several private rooms, a large dining room and living room as well as outdoor deck, BBQ and pool, all located on a beautiful and quiet property. In between excursions, you can really kick-back and relax, you may also see hummingbirds, eagles or even deer while you’re lounging outside.
In addition to snorkeling or scuba diving, there are tons of other activities you can do while you’re staying at the Subsea Retreat such as hiking, SUPing, swimming, there are also lots of cafés, restaurants, farms and even wineries to check out in the area. The family gives great local tips on where to go, if you’re on the hunt for some additional activities.
I couldn’t believe that in just one afternoon, I got to cross two things off of my bucket list: I snorkeled with seals and also got to see a local pod of transient killer whales swim by the boat. I had such a wonderful time with the family that I’m already planning my return. Below is a little recap vlog of my adventures at the Subsea Retreat.
For more information on the Subsea Retreat, go here.
A major thank you to Toyota Canada, for allowing me to test out the 2018 Toyota C-HR during this trip!