Fave Five

I’m a creature of habit, especially when it comes to running. I genuinely love running the same routes, the same roads, the same trails. I seem to find variety in the consistency, if that makes any sense. I can usually find something different to focus on, look for or listen to, therefore I’m able to avoid boredom.

I’ve got some favourite Whistler routes I’ll share with you. Maybe you are already familiar with them and they are part of your routine; maybe I’ll introduce you to something entirely new.

1. Lost Lake 

When I worked a 9-5 Whistler gig, this place was a sanctuary for me. It offers it all: flat, hilly, wide, narrow, quiet, busy. You can link together anything from a 2km gentle, ’round the lake loop to a killer 90 minute single-track sufferfest. Taylor made for any kind of run, really.

2. FORE!

All of Whistler’s golf courses offer an opportunity to run around them. Stick to the cart paths or the surrounding valley trail and keep your head up and ears open for the tell-tale call of fore! 

Golf courses offer a unique opportunity to run some fartleks; push your pace up the hills, recover on the dips. Or do the opposite, drive your shoulders forward and work on your downhill running. If things get too hairy, you can always tuck and roll onto the green!

3. Riverside

South of Whistler Village, you’ll find a myriad of trails that can lead all over the place. I’d consider them a slightly more challenging Lost Lake-type trail system that has the option to lead one far off the beaten path, if one so chooses. Bring your camera; it’s well worth it. And maybe some kind of wildlife repellant.

4. Highway 99

Ok, so you may question my sanity here, but bear with me for a minute. If you are training for longer distances such as the marathon, the point-to-point run from Whistler to Pemberton is actually very nice. Be organized for this one: drop water along the way (or have someone do it for you) and have an end point in mind with a change of clothes, food, etc. (seems obvious, but I’ve forgotten to do so, and it was not ideal). You’ll be surprised at how different the road looks from the vantage point of your feet versus your car. Wave to the drivers who will give you funny looks!

5. Save the best for last: Singing Pass

Far and away one of the most beautiful runs in British Columbia (I’d say the world, but what do I know). Talk some friends into joining you, be prepared for all-weather eventualities, bring money for post-run, stuff your face goodness and enjoy this gem. Annually, we start at the bottom of Whistler Mountain, make our way up Singing Pass to the Musical Bumps and through the back bowls of Whistler Mountain to the Roundhouse. By the time we get there, we are daydreaming of food and drink and looking forward to a leisurely ride down the Gondola. Who knows, maybe this is the year we run down, too.

What are your top 5s?


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Everyone remembers their first…

Half marathon. Am I right?

I distinctly remember mine. It was a long time ago, and it was with 2 of the ladies I still run with to this day. We shared one gel between the 3 of us over 21.1kms. We knew nothing of pacing, splits or (evidently) nutrition. We marvelled as the Kenyan runners flew past us on their way back to the finish line.

The nerves? Oh my… the nerves. Before the start we stood on the sidewalk and scanned the horizon for the porta-potties amidst all the runners and what I remember most was the distinct belief that we were so out of place; like we didn’t deserve to be there. I said, out loud, “Look at all these super fit people!”

That’s when someone turned to me and said, “you ARE one of those super fit people.”

I frequently think back to that day when I step onto a start line and see the faces of the people taking on their first race. I feel like sometimes I’ve turned into one of those runners who thinks things like “Oh, it’s just a half…” or “I’ll just do this as a training run.” Sometimes, I don’t give the distance of the race the respect it deserves.

I’ve done enough races that I’ll often downplay the fact a half-marathon is a big deal. To some, it’s a terrifying proposition. And to many, without question, a huge accomplishment.

And you know what? It is. It absolutely is. And so the next time I’m standing on the start line, I’ll try to remember to look at one of those nervous faces and smile. And make sure that they know that they deserve to be here, and that they too are “one of the fit people”.

After all, they made it to the start line.


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No such thing as oversharing in running.

This week, I’m cheating a little bit. I’m eyeballs deep with work which seems to be sucking up all of my time, as well as any original ideas within my frazzled brain.

So for this week’s post, I thought I’d share a story with you that I’d originally written for my own blog. So it’s only 1/2 cheating… since I actually did write it myself!

If you’ve been racing for a while, I’m pretty sure you’ll be able to relate to my tale  of woe. If you’re new to racing, you’ll soon learn that, well, nothing’s sacred in running. And also? There’s a solid chance that however terrible your experience, there’s a runner out there who’s been there before and can totally relate!

So here you go. The story of what was, without question, one of my least pleasant race experiences!!

Originally Titled: You win some, you lose some.

And then there’s Comfortably Numb 2013: The Death March.

Earlier in the week, I signed up to run Comfy Numb as a last minute replacement to the Test of Metal.  I hadn’t run this race in probably 6 years, so I was looking forward to re-visiting it and besting my not-so-fast times from previous years.

Never one to shy away from looking ridiculous.

Never one to shy away from looking ridiculous.

I’d had some good runs leading up to it, and was feeling happy and relaxed about doing it.  I had no goals per se, just go out and enjoy.

Fun fun

Fun fun

Race morning I woke up a little tired but nothing out of the ordinary.  Ate some breakfast, grabbed a coffee, watched some cartoons and was on my way.

3, 2, 1 Go!  And we’re off.  The race starts straight uphill, but I like to climb so no worries there.  I settled into a nice little train of people for about the first 6K.  Once we crossed the bridge (or as I like to think of it, the point of no return) I started to feel little off.    No big deal, I thought, this happens all the time.  I drank a bit, ate something and slowed a bit.

Then the doubts started creeping in.  I mentally looked back on what I’d consumed the day before, wondering if that was the cause of my discomfort.  I couldn’t get into a rhythm and for the first time in about 8 years, I really, really wanted to quit.

This was my mental image of myself between kilometers 6-10.

This was my mental image of myself between kilometers 6-10.

BUT.  That’s the thing about Comfortably Numb.  It’s a 25k point-to-point trail and at this part of the trail, I figured it would take me as long to turn around as it would to keep going (oh hello, terrible race math.  Thanks for nothing.)

Luckily for me and unluckily for her, Marie-Anne had sprained her ankle at I caught up to her at about 11k (I know this because that’s about when I turned off Strava because seriously?  I didn’t want to know anymore).  And that was pretty much the last run step I took as things went rapidly downhill from there for me.



Thankfully, Marie-Anne stayed by my side as my stomach turned itself inside out in a variety of disgusting ways for the next 14K of misery.  We chatted, commiserated, and looked forward to seeing that finish arch… 5 hours after we started.  Never in a million years would I have ever guessed the two of us would tie for DFL at a race.

Got myself to the clinic, and 3 litres of IV fluids + heavy doses of Gravol + 12 hours of sleep means I finally feel human again.  My eyes are swollen but the upside is I don’t have any blisters and my legs don’t hurt.  There’s always an upside, right?

My ever-lasting gratitude to:

My in-laws for taking control of the situation at home and thus allowing me to care for myself.

Marie-Anne for staying with me.  If not, chances are I’d still be out there, sleeping under a tree with my race number as a blankie.

Jenny + Liz for encouraging me via text and checking up on me.

Best text conversation ever.

Best text conversation ever.

Bob for waiting for us.

Chris Colpitts and crew for not taking down the finish arch till we stumbled under it.

The staff at the Emerg in Pemberton for taking care of me and not making fun of me.  Why is it that when I’m sick it’s always super-hot-doctor guy on duty?

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The 8 minute rule

If you read my inaugural entry last week, you’ll know that I ended with a reference to a “spark”. You know… that little feeling, that desire to get out the door and run your heart out.

But let’s face it. Some days, whatever spark you may have once had feels more like a tiny fizzle. The thought of merely putting shoes on to get out out the door is overwhelming not at all appealing.

Enter the 8-minute Rule.

You aren’t feeling it. You don’t want to go. There’s a laundry list of reasons why you can’t run. But here’s the thing, and I know you’ve heard it all before: you’ll feel so much better if you do. So give yourself 8 minutes. Do whatever it takes to get yourself out there, start your mission and make a deal with yourself: run for at least 8 minutes. There’s a very good chance that after 8 minutes, you’ll be ticking along, have mostly forgotten why you didn’t want to be out here in the first place.


If, after those first 8 minutes, you still aren’t feeling it? Cut yourself some slack and give yourself permission to just call it quits. Listen to your body and to that little inner voice. Sometimes, it knows more than you do.

Take a deep breath, shake it off, walk it home.

There’s always tomorrow.



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Dual personality

March in Whistler means you never really know what sounds will greet you in the morning… will you wake to chirping birds or snowplows? Pounding rain on the roof or the sound of ski boots walking to the bus stop? Sometimes, it’s even a combination of all those things.

Such is the dual personality that is spring in a mountain town.  Embrace it! We are lucky to be offered such easy access to a multi-sport playground. Ski in the morning, bike in the afternoon? Check. Sunrise skate ski, sunset trail run? Done. See how easy that is? It’s a pretty neat feeling to get home and, if you’re like me, make sure your long underwear can double as run gear so that you can make a quick change and head back out for that post-ski run.

I have friends who make fun of me and my deeply ingrained need to continue these so-called “summer sports” all winter long. But why should I stop if, well, I don’t need to? Fill up those days, I say. Squeeze it all in!

As the days get longer and the dreaded daylight savings phenomenon comes and goes, the motivation to get out there is a little stronger, a little easier to embrace. In the back of my mind, goals and ideas start to form. I start to map out some plans for races I’d like to do… trails I want to tackle and adventures I want to talk people into. It doesn’t take much: one sunny spring day will do just fine to light that spark.

What’s got you sparked this spring?


Spring in the valley, Winter on the mountain. It’s the best of both worlds.

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Coming in hot, one week out from both events, to tell you all about some pretty incredible-looking trail races coming up in Whistler in the next week. Registration is still open for both, so if either of them pique your interest – GET IN THERE!



The scenery on the Sea to Sky Trail is just incredible

A point-to-point jaunt along the Sea to Sky Trail from Cheakamus to Brandywine Falls Provincial Park, the route for this race is mainly gravel with some single track and largely downhill (there are some minor climbs on the route) . If you’ve ever wanted to try your hand at trail races, this might be one of the prettiest and most gentle to break into with.

Being that this is on one of my favourite trails to run in Whistler I’m likely to sign up for it myself. I love the Sea to Sky Trail south of Whistler. Check out their Facebook page for more photos and up to date information about the race.

When: Sat, Sept 5 at 9:00am (rain or shine)
Where: Cheakamus Crossing
Registration: $55 at http://www.raceonline.ca/events/details/972


High Note Trail – the TOP of your journey will take you along this section (yes, that’s me).

Have you ever wanted to run UP a mountain? Here’s your chance! Whistler Blackcomb and the Salomon store are bringing one heck of a challenge to the trail running table. A “19.5 km and 1,609 m of elevation gain” kind of challenge.

There are timed cut-offs (check the race rules and regulations here), option to put in a 3-person relay team, and I promise you the views will be absolutely STUNNING.  High Note trail on a sunny day is absolute perfection.

Check out their Facebook page for more photos and up to date information about the race.

When: Sat, Sept 5, 8:30am
Where: Salomon store, Whistler village
Registration: $65 solo, $160 team http://www.whistlerblackcomb.com/valleytopeak

Never Stop Exploring ❤,

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True story

True story

The general rule of thumb is to get new shoes every 350-500 km. Or, if you’re just starting out and the shoes you currently own are a few years old, replace them even if you haven’t worn them for anything more than what would be considered “everyday use”.

Something I always recommend to anyone looking to get a new pair of runners is to get yourself fitted. Many stores out there offer free “fitting” services. This is where you go in, have your gait analyzed by the staff and are given a few options of shoes to choose from. It helps if you bring in your current pair of shoes so they can see where exactly the tread wears down when you run.

The one and only time I’ve had my gait analyzed was back in 2009 when my coach recommended I get new running shoes because the ones I was currently in were actually pushing my foot strike to the outside edge of my feet and likely were a small contributing factor to my ending up with a stress fracture in the fifth metatarsal of my left foot. I was checked out, and ended up in a brand of shoe that I have been loyal to ever since.

How do I keep track of the mileage on my shoes? Usually my knees tell me when my shoes are starting to get close to trade-in time. If my shoes are due, my knees ache after a run; sure enough, if I replace my running shoes with new ones the aches vanish. If I’m honest, though, for the most part I just guess at the number. I know when approximately I purchased my current shoes, and thanks to the magic of run-tracking programs like Garmin, Strava and Map My Run I can have a pretty accurate tally of the kms; some programs even have a place for you to record which shoes you ran in. I know some people who just write it on a piece of paper and keep that inside their shoe so they know, but to me that’s just a bit too tedious.

When it comes to dealing with my old running shoes, I donate them. Often, a quick search of the internet will turn up a list of shoe drives whereby individuals or charities are collecting used running shoes to send to countries where access to running shoes doesn’t exist. I’ll pack mine up and drop them off.

  I’m coming due for new running shoes, both for road and trail. The last pairs I purchased are about two years old now, and one of those pairs has the outside edges blown out for some reason. And I’m going to take my own advice and actually get my gait analyzed for the first time in six years. I may end up in a new brand of shoe, things have changed for me for sure so I’m keeping myself open to the possibility for change.

Never Stop Exploring ❤,

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