victoria bc

Phoenix marathon training update: What it’s like to train for a warm destination race marathon during the winter on Vancouver Island

winter runningHave I mentioned how strongly I dislike training for a marathon during the winter?

As a chronically cold person, I much prefer warmer climes when running outside for long periods of time; I’d take sweating it out on a hot and muggy three-hour run to trying to stay warm during a gloomy and damp three-hour run ANY day. Even though I don’t have to deal with snow and 20 below temperatures here on the west coast, I struggle to get warm no matter how many layers I wear, both when I’m running outside and when I’m just sitting around inside. And when you’re sitting there freezing before you need to go outside to run at 6 a.m. in even COLDER temperatures, getting up and out the door is a real struggle.   (more…)

Tales from the run: The curmudgeonly old bird man

runlightApparently I am an ignorant runner.

I know this because the curmudgeonly old man in the trucker hat who often walks my seaside running route with a squawking parrot on his poop-covered shoulder told me so the other day as I ran by during a tempo run.

And on my way back, he heard me coming and fully turned around with his arms extended in an attempt to stop me, his parrot wildly flapping its wings. “STOP! I need to talk to you!” he shouted as I flew by.

“Sorry, I need to see where I’m going! Safety first!”

He may have shouted a few profanities at me but I couldn’t quite hear him.

Stop during a tempo run? Sorry mister. I’m marathon training.

So what is curmudgeonly bird man so curmudgeonly about?

My headlamp. He doesn’t like my 80 lumen headlamp that barely lights the road in front of me because for that whole five seconds when I pass him by once or twice a week, it is “too bright in his eyes”. (more…)

West coast fall and winter workout gear essentials

wcwwgeLiving 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…)

So I ran another marathon without training…

Coming down the home stretch at the 2015 Goodlife Fitness Victoria Marathon!

Coming down the home stretch at the 2015 Goodlife Fitness Victoria Marathon! Photo credit: Dave Preston

I don’t know if it was the prospect of stuffing my face with a big, delicious (and guilt-free) Thanksgiving dinner this weekend; the fact that a half marathon didn’t feel like enough of a challenge for me after my 28K trail race near the end of summer; or that I didn’t want to miss out on running another race with Debbie (it’s Thanksgiving tradition, after all!) that compelled me to sign up to run the full marathon instead of the half at the Goodlife Fitness Marathon on Sunday. I’m happy to say I ran 42.2 km without any issues, other than my calves cramping up pretty bad near the end — they were probably wondering why I was running so far on pavement when I spent the entire summer on the trails. Ouch.

I finished the race in about 3:51, which I was happy with considering my only “training” run was the Finlayson Arm 28K. The only other runs I did since September were a few slow 7-8km runs on top of weight training for 4 days a week. But since my base cardio was good, I knew I could run the distance. It was just a matter of going slow enough to NOT hurt myself. (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…)

Guest Post: Behind the lens – What it’s like to be a race day photographer

Behind the lens at the 2015 Hatley 8km

Behind the lens at the 2015 Hatley 8km

Today I’ve got a great guest post for you from my running buddy and owner of Penny Lane Photography (who took my awesome headshot, by the way) Debbie Preston about what it’s like to be behind to camera on race day, capturing our moments of pain and pride as we run to the finish line (for free cookies). 

I can remember my first race like it was yesterday; the Times Colonist 10km race in Victoria on April 29, 2012. So not quite yesterday, but it was a memorable one. I had just started running seven months prior because I was determined to be a fit person and fit people ran, therefore I was determined to be a runner. I had a few friends who were these fit runner types who talked me into racing the TC 10km with promises of free chocolate milk and runners highs (they had me at the chocolate milk). These kind, runner friends of mine held my hand (not literally) as I tackled my first few 10km training runs around Elk and Beaver Lake. A month or so later I was as ready as I was going to be for race day, the starting gun sounded and I enjoyed every second of it (although I vowed to never run another 10km again… but that’s another story for another time). After crossing that first finish line I knew it wasn’t going to be my last race, and sure enough over the next 12 months I ran in about 10 different races and had worked my way up to a full marathon by May 2013. I had done it; I was a runner. (more…)

7 things you might not know about me

Secretly a hippy at heart.

Secretly a hippy at heart. Photo by Penny Lane Photography.

Last week, I was tagged by the lovely Jill of jillconyers.com to share seven things you might not know about me to help wrap up the #7daystretch challenge with prAna and Sweat Pink.

Since I’m coming off a busy long weekend and have no idea what to post on the blog so far this week, here are 7 things you might not know about me:

  • I am [wildly/strangely/obviously] obsessed with: dark chocolate and peanut butter. But you already knew that, I’m sure.
  • I have a collection of: Beach pebbles and sea glass. I pick something up every time I’m at the beach, and put it in my jacket pocket. Sometimes I forget they’re there and get confused when I stick my hand in my pocket only to pull out a handful of stones. When I remember to take them out, I put them in a meditation bowl or in the glass vase with my bamboo plant.
  • I secretly (not so secretly): Want to be a minimalist hippy living in a tiny house by the sea growing my own food, writing a novel and taking in rescue animals.
  • When I was 7, I wanted to be: Jane Goodall and a children’s book author.
  • If I could do one thing today, it would be: Get on a plane to an exotic country to explore and relax for a bit.
  • I’ve always dreamt of: Hiking Machu Picchu.
  • My favorite way to travel is: By car or train, even thought it takes longer. I love looking out the window and stopping in small towns you wouldn’t normally get to experience.

Your turn! Answer one or more of the seven things listed above in the comments or on your own blog.

How to beat the post-marathon blues

Debbie and me just before the race on Oct. 13.

Debbie and me just before the marathon last year where I BQ’ed

You would think if you ran a marathon after 17 long weeks of training, hit a PR and achieved your goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon without getting injured, you would be happy. Thrilled. Satisfied. It’s time to take it easy and go on living life, right?

Yes… but no.

It’s not that easy when you’re a runner. You have that day-after elation (or crushing sadness) of achieving (or not achieving) your goal. You tweet, Facebook and blog about your race and respond to messages like these for days: “Congrats! Well done!” or “You made the right choice to DNF, I’ve been there, it’s okay,” or “Heal up quickly! You’ll come back stronger!” After that, you get an email from the marathon photography company notifying you that your race photos are ready and you laugh/reminisce while browsing through them online (“that must have been near the end, look at my face! And what am I doing with my hands? I would never pay $50 for these!”). (more…)

Why you don’t need to lose weight

DON'TI often tell my clients not to let numbers define them. Not their age, not their basal metabolic rate, not how many kilometres they can run, not how many reps they can do in a set, not their weight.

Numbers are arbitrary, and I think most of us know by now that even though weight can be considered as a small, measurable factor in the bigger picture of your health, it does not define you. It’s only a small piece of a larger, more complex puzzle, and a number on a scale should not be a milestone to reach in an effort to be your best self. It’s fine to have aesthetic goals, but I always ask my clients to choose non-aesthetic goals as well, such as their energy levels, how they feel, how flexible they are, if they can easily keep up with their kids, etc., in order to measure their success. (more…)

How to choose the perfect trail running shoe

IMG_5305Thinking about taking your running off-road this summer? If you plan to stick to relatively flat dirt or gravel trails, your road runners will be sufficient enough to handle the terrain. However, if you plan to traverse rocky, single-track trails through the mountains, you will want some trail-specific running shoes. Aside from having better grip for all-terrain running, a good pair of trail shoes will help prevent falls, stubbed toes and other perils involved with running in the wild. Perils aside, the scenery, views and exhilaration you experience when flying through the trees over a single-track trail (in the perfect trail running shoe) is worth it.

If an off-road adventure is in your future, consider the following criteria when shopping for a pair of trail shoes: (more…)

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