Last weekend I had the pleasure of testing some new ethically produced, locally made yoga and running tights from Breathe Athletic here in Victoria BC. I’ve you’ve never shopped at Breathe, you must — owner Stephanie Hinton sources the most beautiful yoga, fitness and lifestyle apparel for women, all of it made in North America and/or produced ethically and sustainably where possible. Can’t get to her store? Don’t worry — she also sells her product lines online through her website at breatheathletic.com.
But on to the pants! I took this pair of tights from Some Product out for a chilly trail run.
One thing I loved right away about these pants (aside from the eye-popping “Blue Equestrian” print, made-in-Vancouver tag and gorgeous imported Italian — yes, Italian — fabric) was their slight compression-like feeling. (more…)
Living on an island off the west coast of beautiful British Columbia definitely has its perks. The ocean surrounds us, the wilderness here is beautiful, there are plenty of places to explore for hours on end without seeing another human being, and the weather here is never too extreme. That means year-round outdoor adventures and not having to spend the winter cooped up in a gym to stay fit and healthy.
Even though we hardly get any snow here at sea level and the temperature rarely drops below -1°C, outdoor enthusiasts still have to consider the elements when exercising outside during the winter months. Here are a few key pieces of apparel us northern west-coasters should add to our workout wardrobe for winter: (more…)
Debbie getting ready to “run” the MEC Big Wild Challenge.
By Debbie Preston
Some of my favourite races to run are the MEC series here on Vancouver Island. Although they might not have all the bells and whistles that other races have – some races aren’t timed, there are no medals and there aren’t always aid stations along the route – these races have the essentials: they are always affordable ($15-$20), you’re guaranteed to be challenged by a talented group of fellow racers and the entire MEC team and amazing volunteers will cheer you along the course. (more…)
Confession: I haven’t spent a whole lot of time running on trails lately, partly due to my crazy work and study schedule, and partly because I’ve actually been enjoying my urban runs and strength training workouts at home. Granted those urban runs are alongside the ocean in beautiful downtown Victoria, so they aren’t quite as mundane as your average pavement run, but I digress.
After Squamish, I didn’t hit the trails again for a long while. I wasn’t really sure if I’d even want to do an ultra again… but lately I’ve been really missing those long days out on the trails: the quiet serenity of the forest; the quad-busting, chest-burning climbs; the semi-controlled falls on technical downhills… (more…)
I don’t know why it’s taken me this long to explore this park.
Francis/King Park is only about 15 minutes from downtown Victoria, just off Munn Road near Prospect Lake. There’s a nice little trail system within the park that connects to Thetis Lake Regional Park in the Highlands, so you could easily make this run longer than the one hour-ish run Debbie and I did.
Though lacking vistas, Francis/King certainly has some beautiful single-track trails that twist and turn through old growth cedars and lush, green marshland. This would be a great place to go if you’re a trail running newbie as the trail is neither that steep nor technical. (more…)
After almost eight months, I finally mapped the last trail I wanted to feature in my “7 Trails to Run Before You Die – Vancouver Island Edition” series. I was thinking about featuring Elk/Beaver Lake, but it didn’t quite meet my twisty-windy-fun-trail-with-nice-views criteria. It’s a great place for long, easy runs, but I find I get bored when I run on flat trails that don’t twist and turn through the trees. The trails around Matheson Lake, however, are anything but flat and boring. The trail loop isn’t very long (about 4 km), but you can tack on another 2.5 km by starting at the parking lot right off Rocky Point Road and doing a nice warm-up run down the Goose.
Dirty trail shoes, which were a lot muddier before running through the lake at the end of the race.
If you’ve ever wanted to slog your way through a mud pit, splash through a smelly swamp and bound through an ice cold lake during a race–and also NOT get electrocuted/bruised shins/etc. in the process (a la Tough Mudder)–then Gunner Shaw is the race for you. Not only is it affordable with a $25 registration fee if you sign up early, Gunner Shaw is also a fun, friendly, no-frills local race that’s a blast for newbie and experienced trail runners alike. (more…)
While some athletes and regular-exerciser-type folks like to take a break from training in the winter, I tend to ramp it up. Not really sure why — I know it’s good to take a break or dial it back every six to eight weeks or so to give your body a chance to rebuild and recover properly, but I feel more motivated to work out when the temperature drops.
It could be because the cooler temperatures make easier to go out (or stay in) to break a sweat, or because less fun and awesome things are happening (like beach days, barbeques, music festivals, camping, road trips, etc.) that get in the way of training, or because there’s so much good food around during the holidays and I feel like I need to keep working hard if I want to stuff my face with all the deliciousness. Whatever it is, I’ve been doing some kind of running and resistance training routine during the winter months for the past three years now, and it seems to pay off when race season rolls around again. (more…)
That’s my “who would voluntarily sign up for that” face.
Well… that was an experience.
I think the more challenging moments of the Squamish 50 are still lingering, as I’ve yet to look back and reminisce about the beautiful mountain views, camaraderie of the other trail runners I encountered in those 11 grueling hours, and amazement that I actually finished the race relatively unscathed.
I’m pretty sure the first thing out of my mouth when I crossed the finish line was I’m never doing that again.
It was close to 30 degrees on Friday when my boyfriend and I arrived in Squamish, set up our campsite at Alice Lake and picked up my race package at the sponsor hotel. When I checked in, they gave me the option of an earlier start, which I took, thinking it’d be better to start when it was cooler in the day. I’m extremely glad I did start earlier, as I might not have made the cut-off time of 12 hours if I didn’t. (more…)
In less than two days, I’ll be running through this.
Then I’ll be spending about eight hours runking (running the flat trails and downhills, hiking the uphills… it’s my word of the day, just made it up) up and down this and in this.
Hopefully this will be me at the end. But I’ll most probably end up finishing like this, if I finish at all, that is, considering how many times I’ve eaten dirt (or come close to) on my long trail runs lately; I tend to stop picking up my feet after 5+ hours of running single-track forest trails and stumble over every rock and root in my path.
Naw, I’m pretty excited to race Squamish 50 this weekend, and feel confident I can at least finish. Since this is my first ultra, I don’t have a time goal in mind and have no idea what to expect. My goal is just to finish, relatively unscathed. (more…)