Trail Running

Gear Review: Running and lifting in Swiftwick Socks

A few months ago, the nice people at Swiftwick sent me three pairs of their running socks to test out and review. Because you can only get a good feel for workout clothes — and socks in particular — by wearing them during all kinds of workouts in all kinds of weather and conditions, I took my time putting each pair through their paces. Also, I’ve only been running once or twice a week, so I wanted to make sure I got a good feel for each pair as they are all a bit different in terms of material, cushioning and compression.

Yes, socks can be as custom as running shoes are these days! (more…)

Race Review: Vancouver Island Trail Running Series Race #1 – Cobble Hill

I wasn’t planning on actually running much of the hilly 12 km short course at the first race in the Vancouver Island Trail Running Series (VITRS) this past Saturday since I haven’t been running much lately and wasn’t feeling good this past week, but I couldn’t help myself after I started to descend after the first of many steep climbs.

The course follows a fun network of hiking and mountain biking trails around Cobble Hill, and I LOVE running on twisty-turny downhills that aren’t too steep. Once I get into that downhill flow on the trails — you know the kind when you expertly navigate every rock and root with minimal effort and feel like you could run forever — I can’t be stopped.

The Cobble Hill race, held on Saturday, April 8, was the first event in the VITRS. It featured a long course (18km) and a short course (12km), as well as a kid’s race. Even though the weather was rather gloomy, there was a great turn out at this sold out race. (more…)

Tone It Up Bikini Series 2016: Week 4 update (and what happened when I went off the nutrition plan this past weekend)

Week 4 RecapHappy almost Friday, friends! Sorry for the lack of blog posts and engagement lately — I’ve been trying to pack in more freelance articles (two more for AskMen.com!) during the week to keep my weekends free and clear for fun activities… like camping!

I doubled-down on my Tone It Up Bikini Series workouts this past week and took some measurements at the three week mark to see how I was doing. I definitely felt better and less bloated, but it was great to see a wee half-inch drop all around (except for the booty!) and the 4 lbs I gained livin’ it up at Disneyland and Vegas in February absent from the scale. To celebrate, I #ateallthethings when I went camping this past weekend and paid the price.  (more…)

Why analytical thinkers and problem solvers make the best ultramarathoners

barkleysI don’t think it’s a coincidence that the Barkley Marathons finishers are typically scientists, physicists or engineers. I feel like you need to have a certain mindset or way of thinking to handle the physical and mental demands of an ultra endurance race like that.

This past weekend I was glued to Twitter following the 30th running of the Barkley Marathons—the only resource for live updates on the famously enigmatic 100-ish mile race—and constantly refreshing the #BM100 hashtag feed to find out how Canadians Gary Robbins and Rhonda-Marie Avery (who was the race’s first blind participant – yes, blind) were faring on the race’s unforgiving course. Rhonda-Marie and her guide gave a valiant effort, dropping out after getting lost on the first loop, while Gary completed four and a half loops (out of five) before getting turned around and losing time, which forced him to drop out about five hours from the cut-off time.

According to sources on the course, Gary was hallucinating bad—something that ultrarunners often experience when attempting 100+ mile races on little to no sleep. I’ve heard of runners seeing things in the trees, feeling like the forest was caving in on them, hearing voices and experiencing other wild visions when they start to lose mental footing during a race. Even this year’s winner (who is the race’s first-ever three-time finisher) Jared Campbell mentioned he was hearing voices in the tunnel on the course. I can’t imagine the mental fortitude it would take to ground yourself and keep pushing on when your that emotionally, mentally and physically exhausted.   (more…)

Five things Friday: Getting strong, crappy runs and my new home office!

five thingsHappy almost Saturday, friends! And happy April Fool’s, I suppose?

I was hoping to post more this week, but with moving and unpacking and freelance work taking up the majority of my “free” time right now, I just haven’t felt motivated to sit down and write. I still don’t, so I’m going to make this short and sweet 🙂

1. I’m starting to get some upper body strength/definition back thanks to my new strength training program. I’ve been pretty consistent with it since I got back from vacation in early March, and will continue it for another month until I mix up the reps, sets and weight a bit.

2. I’ve only done a handful of 5 km runs since the marathon, and they’ve been pretty sloggy — I can tell it’s time to go running shoe shopping (I’m way overdue as I’ve run two marathons in this pair that I’ve had since October). It also doesn’t help that pollen is literally coating EVERYTHING in sight right now and I’m having a hard time breathing outside. The only good things about my runs lately are that it’s light out enough after work to hit the trails, the weather has been beautiful and I’m treated to scenery like this: (more…)

Why you don’t need to get lost to find yourself

wilditwasWhy do we sometimes feel the need to get lost to find ourselves?

Where did we go?

Are our comfortable, 9-to-5 lives with practically the whole wide world available at our finger tips so bad?

We bask in the glow of our tech products instead of the warm light of the sunrise. We go to a big room full of sweaty humans and various sizes of black iron and rubber objects and machines with levers and pulleys for a few hours each week in order to maintain our physiques instead of chopping wood, tilling the ground and playing outside. We go to warehouses stocked full of delicious and nutritious food from around the world located just minutes from our homes — most of the time we don’t even have to walk to get there. We’re not under constant threat of predators, we don’t go to bed hungry wondering where our next meal is going to come from, and we can generally fair okay in the elements.

Boy, do we have it easy.

So why are we so depressed? So anxious? Why do we feel the need to abuse substances to feel okay? Do the 27 percent of adults in the U.S. who suffer from mental health disorders all need to sell their belongings and go into the woods for a long hike to find themselves, too, like Cheryl Strayed? (more…)

Race Review: Finlayson Arm 25K trail race

We weren't last!

We weren’t last!

Okay, so it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be.

Despite the typical burning quads, achy knees, extreme fatigue, unquenchable thirst and mild headache I usually experience during trail races, I had a really great race on Saturday at the Finlayson Arm 25K (actually 28K) trail race.

The thing I love about trail races as opposed to any road race is that you get to make friends out on the trail. You’re going slow enough and you’re out there for long enough that you can actually chat with other runners for a few hours, which makes the time go by quicker and makes the race far more enjoyable. That, and I find trail runners are far more friendly in general on the course than road runners are. Even the lead racer who passed me somewhere around the 13 km point said “great job” as he flew by. And words of encouragement were exchanged by every single runner after that.

Since Debbie and I ran the course two weeks ago, I generally knew what to expect. I’ve run these routes and hiked Mt. Finlayson many times, so I was well prepared to tackle the elevation  challenges on the course. I wasn’t sure how it was going to be after Holmes Peak to Jocelyn Hill, but it wasn’t as bad as I remembered. (more…)

Sunday Runday: Finlayson Arm 25K course preview

IMG_6912Even though I haven’t run more than 23 km on the trails in over a month (or anything more than a 10 km road run a few times a week, for that matter), Debbie and I decided to tackle part of the Finlayson Arm 25K race course (which is actually 28 km… why not just call it the Finlayson Arm 28K???) this Sunday just so we knew what to expect for the race coming up in two weeks. Even though we got some awesome written directions from race director Myke LaBelle, we still managed to get lost at least 10 times, including for about 10 minutes at the start trying to figure out if we were supposed to cross a river (if we had stopped to read Myke’s directions that said to cross east to west we could have saved ourselves running the route with soggy socks and shoes yesterday — turns out you just follow along one side of the river under the first tunnel, not cross to the other side… whoops). (more…)

How I’m changing up my fitness routine for fall

In three weeks I’ll be running 28 km of rock and root-covered trails with 4,000 feet of vertical for the Finlayson Arm 50. But I’ve barely been out of the trails lately, let alone done much running. My last long trail run was about a month ago when I did 23 km. Then I took a week of vacation. Then got sick. Then helped Matt move. I did manage to go for a  2.5 hour hike this Sunday… but now I’m sick again. Ugh.

This weekend will be our longest run, where we’re actually going to run the entire race course. I’m going to do it, but it’s not going to be pretty. Although this race was just supposed to be something fun for me to do with my running buddies and to keep me moving and motivated during the summer, I’m looking forward to changing up my fitness routine for fall to something more manageable. Especially considering both my personal training business and freelance writing have picked up considerably these last few weeks, which is awesome, but makes hitting the trails for 3+ hours on the weekend a bit tricky. (more…)

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