Trail Running

How preparing for labour and delivery is like training for an ultramarathon

With only 6 weeks left until my due date, I’ve started to think more about to birth experience and what, if anything, I should be doing now to prepare for labour and delivery. Since about week 32 I’ve been reading articles about labour and birth, listening to podcasts, watching YouTube videos of actual births, and read Ina May Gaskin’s Guild to Childbirth. So far nothing about birth is freaking me out or making me feel like I can’t do it; I find the more informed I am, the better I feel about what my body is going to go through.

I think I’m sitting in the middle of how most women feel about birth – some have detailed birth plans and want the experience to be as natural and calm as possible, others just want to get the baby out and have no issues taking all the pain interventions offered. My feeling about it is I want to go as long as possible without intervention (I seem to have a high pain tolerance), but obviously if the baby is in distress or my health is in danger, I’ll be telling them to cut me open and get him out asap.

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The Best Hiking Trails on Vancouver Island: Devonian Park, Metchosin BC

Back in 2013 when Debbie and I were super fit and fast, we started mapping some of the best trails to run on Southern Vancouver Island in a series we called “7 Trails to Run Before You Die, Vancouver Island Edition“. Although we’ve been hiking more than running lately (I haven’t run since September 2018 for reasons I’m sure you are aware of), we still map trails and take photos of our adventures. 

Yesterday we did a short hike at Devonian Regional Park in Metchosin, located about a 40-minute drive from Victoria. Debbie, being a Metchosinite, has been here many times before but for some reason I’ve never been (well, at least that I can remember) to this little gem of a park.

There are a few trails you can take in the park, but we took the main one down to Taylor Beach. It’s not a very big park, so any route you go I’m sure you’d end up at the beach.

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The Best Hiking Trails on Vancouver Island: Broom Hill in Sooke, BC

Back in 2013 when Debbie and I were super fit and fast, we started mapping some of the best trails to run on Southern Vancouver Island in a series we called “7 Trails to Run Before You Die, Vancouver Island Edition“. Although we’ve been hiking more than running lately (well, Debbie is still running but I’m taking a break), we still map trails and take photos of our adventures. I’ve been meaning to get this trail up for awhile since we couldn’t find a good route map online. Also, the signage on this trail is awful and wrong, so clearer directions and photos means more people can enjoy the beautiful views at the top! (more…)

Race review: Vancouver Island Trail Running Series race #2: Mt. Tzouhalem

I don’t think I’ve ever been so unprepared for a race as I was for Mt. Tzouhalem, the second race in Vancouver Island Trail Running Series.

Not in a physical, that-took-a-huge-toll-on-my-body-and-mind-and-I-almost-died kind of way, but in a I-don’t-even-know-what-race-I’m-running kind of way.

Usually when I have a race or event I get everything packed the night before: I decide what I’m going to wear, lay out my running clothes, pack gels or a banana and water, pack a spare change of clothes, and charge my Garmin.

On Saturday, I looked up where I was supposed to be about 2 hours before the race started (I knew it was in Duncan but I didn’t know where), got changed out of my pajamas and into running gear about 30 minutes before I had to leave, threw some stuff in a bag (but not my Garmin because it was almost dead), decided to grab my handheld water bottle last minute even though I thought I was only running 7 km, and headed out the door.

I arrived at Providence Farm in Duncan—which is a beautiful spot, by the way—about an hour before the race was scheduled to start. When I checked in, I discovered I was still registered for the long course distance of 13 km instead of the short course distance of 7 km. I thought I had switched, but I forgot to confirm. Oops!  (more…)

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…)

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