Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Goodbye 2008...

The end of another year. Time to reflect upon where we have come from and to take stock of who we are and how much we have to be grateful for. And there is just so much...

2008 was another fantastic year for me and one that I managed to find more balance than I ever imagined. I devoted more time to travel, family and friends and finally started to figure out how to work smarter not just harder at ELM (although this year is shaping up to play out a bit differently- still hiring!).
I had a super race season and picked my favorite races to focus on- nailing the top 2 female spot in every race I entered (toot toot I know). 3 First place MOMARs, 2nd place in the Kusam Klimb and 1st female at the Log Train Trail Half. Best of all I cleaned up my races, shaved off time and continued to learn to race smarter. AND my body has been a superstar, taking it all in stride (with lots of care and recovery time). For this I am unimaginably grateful.

At ELM we had another wonderful year...our 7th and most fun yet! I could list highlights from each day or week of the past year but don't worry ... I won't! Instead, here is my:


1. Super Fast and Super Cool ELM Race Jerseys released!

2. Team ELM Women swipes Silver at Snow2Surf!

3. ELM Members snowshoe extravaganza at Coastal Trek Lodge!

4. ELM Women kick but at the Victoria Times Colonist 10k!

5. Sarah contributes to Canadian Running - the best new mag in Canada!

6. ELM Women West Coast Fitness Retreat (the best so far!)

7. ELM Trail Runners kick up dust at the Log Train Trail!

8. Elk River Falls trail run led by Cindy Steuart in August!

9. ELM Raises over $300 and a kitchen full of food for our Christmas Hamper!

10. Oh Yeah and Team ELM Women kick snow and score 2nd in the YETI!

??? What do YOU think was the best of ELM in 2008??? Let me know!

Best wishes for a Happy New Year...Health and Happiness in 2009!



PS See you next year:)

Monday, December 29, 2008

Realize your dreams: 'Poco a poco'

I am thoroughly enjoying this beautiful winter wonderland! We made it back to the Valley on Sunday after enjoying a great week visiting friends and family in Victoria. Check out my silly sister and I as we whiz down Beacon 'Hill' on a crazy carpet ... on a sheet of ice ... weeeee!'

"Poco a Poco" aka 'Bit by bit' en Espanol

ELM has had a real holiday but it is back to work today for me! I have missed my clients and it is great to reconnect after the time away, take stock of where they currently are and set the bar higher for the coming year. My clients all know the importance of goal setting (or at least why I think it is important!!) and setting new goals this January will be nothing new to them. Every few months or after a set of goals is realized we work on looking ahead and dangle a new carrot to chase. Not only do goals motivate us to continue putting one foot in front of the other, they challenge us to knock down self imposed limitations and blast through our own glass ceilings. Onward and upward folks!

Take some time this week to reflect on your own dreams and goals for the coming year. Dream big. Then start small. Break your goals down into action steps that will inspire you to continue moving in the right direction. Once you build some momentum your inertia will carry you to places you never dreamed. Believe me. I see it happen every day.

What are my goals for 2009? I have started to do some thinkin'...

Here are my race goals SO FAR in order:

1. Beat my time UP Mt. Kusam (sub 1hr 59 minutes).

2. Complete an expedition adventure race - tentatively Full Moon in June.

3. Kill my race times in both MOMARs.

4. Race in at least 1 XC or Marathon Mountain bike race.

The list will only grow...perhaps you have some suggestions for me???

I set goals for life, work and play cause that is just how I work. I am a list ticking, goal setting, type a (note little 'a') kinda gal. I continue to set big goals for ELM and I am super duper excited for you to be a part of them!

Stay tuned for ELM's new brand, new programs and new projects on 2009!

Cheers to bigger and better adventures in 2009!


Monday, December 22, 2008

Cruise Pics

Hurray!  Our luggage just arrived after 3 long days with my only mini toothbrush and flipflops:) I have been enjoying long snowy walks through Beacon Hill Park, along Dallas road and into town (borrowed my Uncles size 12 boots and 70s ski jacket:).  Walking is about all the fitness I have been able to achieve without my pack full of clothes.  But tomorrow I hope to get a run or spin in- I wish I had x-country ski's down here!!  

The cruise actually allowed me to follow my training program pretty closely as there was a cardio equipment stocked gym and the best outdoor 400m track on the 14th deck!  I did interval training on the track while watching the sun rise out of the sea and set the Baja on fire with golden hues.  I also pulled off some longer workouts with a combination of treadmill running, spinning and rowing in the gym on the colder/wetter days at the start and end of our cruise.  SO weird to run on a treadmill while the boat is rolling over huge swell!  And it just about killed me to run for 30 minutes on the treadmill.  It took every ounce of mental focus to keep running and not push the stop button.  I can run for 5 hours in the bush and up mountains but 30 minutes on the treadmill was complete and utter torture!  I am so lucky to live in such an outdoor paradise- the Comox Valley.  Miles of forest paths and endless scenic vistas that make 'exercise' more like 'paradise'.  

The Christmas lights and decorations are up...the holiday tunes playlist is ready to go and tomorrow we will get our Christmas dinner shopping done before the rush.  I am looking forward to a few days filled with friends, family and Christmas spirit:)  


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Not in Kansas...

Woah!  What a welcome home!  Got a real shock getting off the plane and stepping into a subzero winter wonderland!  Our timing couldn't have been better for the trip as blizzard conditions cancelled flights before and after we got off the ground in both directions.   We got into Victoria last night and I have decided not to drive up island for my 2 day work week as the forcast is for more snow and I am sure the highway is full of carnage (I drove down island last week in a blizzard doing 40kph with the rest of traffic and witnessed countless accidents).    

So here I am at my sisters home looking out at a winterscape in Beacon Hill Park...with nothing but flipflops and my lululemon pants to wear cause the airline lost our luggage!!!:))) eiyeiyeiyei...

A quick update for ya:  The cruise was a riot and we had a 'fabulous time darling'.  Never in my life did I ever imagine myself on a cruiseship but voila there I was with my 5 cousins, 2 sisters and the grandpuba of it all my grandpa on a 14 story cruiseship (along with 2400 other passengers and 1200 crew).  7 days...3 sweet days in Mexico...plenty of guacamole and margaritas...cabaret shows...gourmet meals...and plenty of memories to last us for a while:) 

So I am staying in Victoria at my sisters and the office will open up again after Christmas on the 29th.  Program registration for January adventures is ongoing so be sure to check out the website for all the details::

I hope you have a wonderful holiday season with your friends and family:)  Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Holiday Bootcamp Crew...just before sunrise this morning at the Comox Marina Park...our last Bootcamp class of 2008!

It is part of my mission to motivate and inspire you every day. But really, everyday I am inspired by YOU. Here is a letter from an ELM volunteer run leader after this weekends Jingle Bell Run...

Hi Sarah

I just wanted to drop you a line and let you know that three of our newly graduated Learn to Run ladies were at the Jingle Bell Run. They are clearly embracing their new life as a runner.

Maria and Maureen our novice runners did very well for themselves but I wanted to let you know that Danielle did so well. Her pace is really good and we did 10:1 (10:2 a couple of times) and she finished in about 56 minutes. She did such a great job and I am so proud. Kind of an emotional moment for her but now she is really spurred on to get ready for the 10K clinic in February.

What a great day for a run in the woods and we have the mud on ourselves to prove it.

Take care


I am off to Victoria tomorrow morning and then by plane, car and finally cruiseship I will make my way to Mexico for a few days of fun in the sun. Sorry...but you will need to survive without the ELM blog for 1 week...but I am sure my post cruise tales will more than make up for the break:) Search up some other blogs in your area of interest this just never know what you might find...



Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A Quote for Wednesday

Your biggest challenge isn't someone else. It's the ache in your lungs and
the burning in your legs, and the voice inside you that yells, "CAN'T", but you don't listen. You just push harder. And then you hear the voice
whisper, "can." And you discover that the person you though you were is no match for the one you really are. - Unknown

Now THAT is a quote to remember. Remember? That self talk I was blogging about? Dig in...dig deep...hang on...
I hope you are having a wonderful week! The picture above is the view from inside my biking glasses today. I snuck out for a quick ride from my house during lunch today cause...well just cause it was sooooo beautiful out AGAIN! Flying home was all downhill with a stream of mud flying in my face. Good times!
3 more sleeps until we are cruisin!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

VO2max and Lactate Testing

Audrey post test and Me just before the test (all smiles:)

Oh what fun!

On Saturday I spent half an hour running on a treadmill attached to a snorkel hose and headgear while being tortured by exercise physiologists who were taking blood from my fingertip every 3 minutes. Peak Training came from Vancouver with their mobile lab.

This was awesome actually. I have not done a VO2 lab test in about 10 years (since University) and I have never done a Lactate test for running (only cycle ergometer). V.Cool indeed. I have done VO2max tests on the treadmill and in the field while digging fire gaurd and running hose in firefighting simulating tests (all while hooked up to the snorkel, hose and wearing an O2 tank on my back:). I am an exercise phys nut and LOVE pouring over the results, spotting correlations and creating training plans with all the data. Sometimes I wish I could go back to Uni just to play in the lab:)

Anyways it was a good test and I think I was quite near my max. Funny, it wasn't my lungs or breathing that made me quit but rather my leg speed. I just didn't think I would be able to keep up the speed at the next level without falling off the back of the treadmill! SO weird to voluntarily quit! Never in my training or racing does quit enter my mind until the finish line. I am constantly pacing myself to sustain various effort levels or durations. Constantly finding the balance that will allow me to keep going. Quitting does not exist in my world. Unless of course there is an injury or illness that I am taking care of. So, to be required to pull the pin and decide when you have had enough was a very novel experience...

I kind of wish that I had known what speed someone else had done so I could have a number to try and beat. Give me a bar and I will do everything I can to raise it. But I was the last to be tested and there was no one else around. Just me and my mind. I played quite a few mental strategies/games during the test and all with instant results. I realize the direct control our thoughts have over our sense of fatigue and yesterdays test was no exception! Positive self talk is an amazing tool that you have to start training with if you aren't already. I believe that individuals who can talk themselves out of pain and fatigue are much more successful in pushing towards their genetic training limits. If you want to improve you have to train your thoughts as well as your body. Food for thought!

So the results are very cool and include: VO2Max, Lactate predicted HeartRate Zones as well as fuel usage at each intensity. This is the gold standard that all other field tests are compared against and it was a great opportunity to participate in this mobile lab. Now I must crunch numbers and incorporate all of this awesome data into my own personal plan as well as my clients training programs. Good fun!

Friday/Saturday were rest days for me this week as I will supposed to avoid intense activity for 2 days leading up to the test. Today, however, I was back on the bike and LOVING this beautiful sunny December day! Great ride in Cumby: 2andaJuice, BuggeredPig, up the road to BearBuns, OffBroadway, ShortandCurly, Soggy Biscuit, Matts and Spaace Nugget. Great ride and my bike took me down some new steep sections! Hurray!

One more week till I am cruisin...


Saturday, December 6, 2008

Holiday Kick Off!

Good Morning!
I couln't sleep in this morning and have been puttering around the house since 6am so I thought I would do a quick post and say hello to those other earlybirds!

Last night Lene from Extreme Runners and I from ELM hosted our annual joint Customer Appreciation Night at Lene's store. It was so fun! I had a great time chatting with ELM participants and it was refreshing to see everyone in street clothes- no ponytales or running tights! We had around 80? people attend the open house and it was just great to have some time to visit with everyone outside of our usual training time. And there was some serious shopping going on too! Great deals were available and everyone took advantage of the opportunity to shop for healthy fitness gear and programs whilst snacking on appies and sipping lovely wine.

I made 2 versions of my famous energy balls and they were snatched up pretty on for the recipe!

The party was a great way to kick off the holiday season. The christmas lights and tree were put up...presents were wrapped...the Christmas Hamper was overflowing with generous donations...the band was playing most excellent tunes in the background...and the true indicator of the holidays?? Baileys and Hot Chocolate were in the house! mmmmm.

Thank you to all of you who came down for a visit and made a donation to our hampers! They are full to the brim and it really is an amazing feeling to be a part of such generosity- thank you! The WINNERS of the hamper draw prizes are....drum roll....
FREE Pair of Shoes from Extreme Runners...Scott Sutherland!!! Congrats!
FREE 10 class punch card from ELM...Maureen Houlihan!!! Congrats!
Give either of us a shout to pick up your prize:)

Finally a HUGE thank you to my fearless leaders for helping out last night at the party! We had the cutest bartenders ever and Kathy was a superstar at the registration table...thank you!

TODAY: I am doing something interesting...
Peak Performance is bringing their mobile testing lab over from Vancouver and I will be participating in a personal assessment of my VO2Max and Lactate Threshold during a running treadmill test. I haven't had the opportunity to do this lab test since leaving University (many moons ago now) and I am looking forwar to it! Stay tuned to the blog for all the gorey details manana...

Have a great weekend and read on for the newest NrG balls recipe:

Energy Balls:
1cup oats,
1/2cup wheat germ,
1/8cup flaxseed,
1/4cup sesame seed,
1cup shredded coconut,
1/2 cup sunflower seeds,

1/3 cup raisins or cranberries
1/2 cup natural peanut butter,
1/4 cup honey,
1tbs molasses,

Mix altogether, Roll into balls and dip 1/2 into melted chocolate if desired.
**My favorites substitute the sunflower seeds for white chocolate and almonds!*

Thursday, December 4, 2008

My Faithful Sidekick

I have had the wonderful albeit very rare gift of running with my faithful sidekick (and hands down all time favorite running buddy- sorry!) not once but twice this week!

With a break in the clinic schedule I have taken the opportunity to hit my back 40 trails with my pooch Yuki and the weather could not have been better this week! On Monday we ran a 45 min loop from the house that included my usual time trial loop to gauge my anaerobic threshold fitness. Great and suprising news at this point in the season as I took off 25 seconds from my last 6:00min trial in January!! This was a pleasant suprise and got me psyched to put together my personal training plan for 2009 this week.
On Wednesday we snuck off for another quick loop from the house - this time with GPS in hand. I am having fun with the gps and plotting out some new trails that I hope to flag and cut this winter. Yes, this is how I like to spend my spare time:)
Yuki was a trooper and stuck by my side even though he hasn't been running in months and he is only getting older. The best running buddy:) He waits for me at the corners...He checks on me if I stop or slow down...He warns me when others are approaching...He makes me laugh by acting silly...I swear he laughs at my jokes...And I have no doubt that he would fight to the death for me if I was ever in trouble. Thank you Yuki!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Perseverance Pics Online!

Hawaiian princess Lo Lanning leads the charge across Sykes bridge before heading up Bear Buns...

The long wait is finally over...hundreds of Perseverance Trail Run pics are now posted online! Follow the link below to view them. A HUGE thank you to Aimee and Kirstin for volunteering as community race photographers! You did a wonderful job!

A Quote for Wednesday

I often find comfort and inspiration in the thoughtful words of others and wanted to share one of my favorite quotes. This one is SO true and frequently helps me put my trivial problems into perspective:

There has never been, nor will there ever be, a life free from
problems. It is not the presence of problems but how we tackle them that
determines the quality of our lives.


Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Bike Rides, Baileys and Buddies

Eagleshead. Post a comment if you know where this landmark is!

Ahhhhhh the weekend. I had a great time playing this weekend! I love that my training falls often under the header 'playing'. The weather was warm, foggy and a bit wet...the trails were slippery, greasy and full of gumboot riding buddies were joyous and full of good spirits. And on one ride my thermos was full of hotchocolate and baileys! Woah- breaking all the rules!

Here is what I was up to:
12:45pm. Pissing rain and windy. ALMOST bailed but Lene pulled me out of my moment of insanity and we rode on. Starting from Stotan falls we bike an old-turned-new trail right along the Puntledge rivers edge...Twisted Sister! Gnarly, rooty, muddy and pure greasy technical fun! We even rode through a dead fish on the trail- gross! We ended up playing and exploring new trails (to us) for about 1.5hours before having to get home and get back to work. Wet, worked and invigorated we had a great ride!

10:30am-1:30pm. Pissing rain but warm. Brad and I took off for the Comox Lake Dam to work on a 'special project'. Armed with a GPS, flagging tape, jiffy marker and a thermos full of warm your belly goodness we began our mission. Some of you may know about the mission that I have taken on this fall but some of you may not: Establish permanent kilometre markers along the Puntledge River trail network - with the dream of marking the entire 18kish loop from the Dam to Duncan Bay Main road and back. BCHydro and the Regional District have been fantastic and they have come on board with enthusiasm to support the project. So on Saturday we began the task of GPSing the kms along the river trail. We made it to Twister along the river trail and enjoyed the scenery along the way at Nymph Falls. We decided to pack away the GPS and marking gear and just RIDE the bike trails all the way back. We will complete the remainder of the route in the coming weeks with the goal of completing the project before the end of this winter! Here are some shots...

Our faithful companions...Brads super oldschool Cove hardtail(right) with those old fashioned caliper brakes and my super new tech Giant Reign...and guess who kicks my but repeatedly?

Nymph Falls fish ladder...and me enjoying a sip from the thermos:)

Beautiful fogscape at Nymph Falls....

Saturday 7:45pm-?. Went to the Waverly to see Dehli2Dublin perform! They were awesome! And the big news is I actually stayed up late enough to see them! I have wanted to hear this band for a while now but I have never been able to stay awake long enough:) Anyways, we had a great time and the house was rockin with electric fiddles and sitars. The band pumps out a fast tribal beat that combines Celtic and Bangrah (sp?) beats...super high energy! Check them out:

Sunday: 9:30am-12noon. Weekly Rat Ride. We made our way up Forbidden plateau road from Nymph Falls Park and deeked into the bush on a new connector trail that cut off a bit of the climb up to B21. Then it was all downhill on a brand new XC trail that was just amazing. It took us through dense dark forest, open rock bluffs and through forest tunnels that were once logging roads. V. fun. And we actually ran into the infamous 'Hughe' and his dog who have been working tirelessly for months and probably years on these fantastic new XC trails. It was nice to have a chance to say thank you to the man who has put in so many hours of work to create so many wonderful kms of trail! Thank you!

We spit out on the Plundge to our suprise and made our way home via Bears Bait. GOOD TIMES!

Looking forward to the week! I would LOVE to hear your adventures too! Where have YOU been playing in the woods??



Sunday, November 30, 2008

Valley View 9km Hill Run

Check out the HILLY route that our Thursday night Need for Speed! group trekked through last week! Sooooo good!


Saturday, November 29, 2008

Friday, November 28, 2008

Run Forest Run

It has been a fabulous week of fun fitness adventures for me and for my clients. And there has been plenty of quality running going on this week! Check out the pictures below for a snapshot of what we have been up to...
Monday morning crew keeps warm with side squats on a chilly mornin...

Denise and Tania striding into the finish!

Lo running so fast she is blurry!

MORE PICS BELOW - BUT FIRST! Check out this line up of winter running races in the area to keep you movin' and a shakin'. You asked and you shall receive...

Jingle Bell Run:December 7th.

Fun for the family and runners/walkers at all levels. The Jingle Bell Run is sponsored by the CVRR and entry is $5 plus one non-perishable item for the local food bank. All cash and food go directly to the food bank.As usual, it is a poker run, with participants getting a playing card at 5 different locations. Make the best hand with someone else and win a prize.Coffee, hot chocolate, lots of draw prizes, warm beverages, and holiday atmosphere. Bring along your bells to ring through the trails. Lots of fun.
Start Time: 11 AM for the 7k, 11:15 am for the 3k.
Place: Seal Bay park (Bates Road Entrance)
Registration: Day of race 10:15 - 10:45 AM
Entry; $5 and a nonperishable donation for the Food Bank
For More Information Contact: Frank Graham 250-334-7721

Sprint the Spit! 10K Run & 5K walk
What: 4th annual "Sprint to the Spit"
When: November 29th, 2008 - 10K run, 5K walk
Where: Start/Finish on Beaufort Ave by the Comox Valley Lions Club. 10:00 a.m.

YETI Snowshoe race! Saturday, January 17th on Mt Washington
Click here to register.
Mount Washington is located 25 km west of the Comox Valley, 50 km south of Campbell River and 100 km north of Nanaimo, on Vancouver Island.The Nanaimo Ferry terminals are serviced from Horseshoe Bay and Tsawwassen on the Lower Mainland. Call BC Ferries for schedules at 1-888-223-3779 or visit To view a map click here.
Check-in & Race Day Registration:
8:00 - 9:30am at the Raven Lodge
Start Time:
5km and 10km
Cat track, single track, powder sections, hiking trails and some hills.
Weds Morning Crew at sunrise...
Lo, Laurel and Tania push through a circuit...
High Fives all around after surviving the session!

Have a wonderful weekend:)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Dirt Divas

Pascale (left) and Barb at the Riding Fool Hostel bikewash in Cumberland.

What a great week! I keep saying this but...I can't believe how lucky we are with this weather! Just perfect for playing outside:) On Tuesday morning our Fall Bootcamp program wrapped up wtih a final assessment to chart the groups progress over the past 10 weeks. It was good news all around and the crew saw improvements in their overall strength, endurance and body composition. GREAT WORK! We will be carrying on next week for 2 weeks of Holiday Sunrise Bootcamp to raise $ for our annual hamper drive. We are sponsoring 2 families and every little bit adds up. Come out for 4 more workouts during December - suggested donation $10-15 per class with all proceeds going to our adopted families!
On Tuesday afternoon I took off for the XC trails of Cumberland with my good friends Pascale and Barb. We had a blast! Lot's of big mud puddles to stomp in and plenty of whoooo hoooos to shout as we made our way through the trails. We rode a fun classic loop: 2nJuice...Buggered Pig...Short and Curly...Shaker...Entrails...Soggy Biscuit...Mats...Space wash! Good times good times. After the ride I picked up some tickets for the Dehli 2 Dublin show at the Waverly this Saturday. I have always wanted to hear these guys and I think it should be a good show!
More to blog soon...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Womens Trail Running

We wrapped up our 10-week fall Womens Trail Running clinic on Monday with a fantastic run at Seal Bay Park and a Christmas cookie swap at Liz's home! We ran from the Fitzell entrance around the perimeter of the park on the Huband/Mitchell road aspect. Then it was down to the Bates road entrance and all the way home up the middle of the park. There is some great elevation loss/gain in Seal Bay and we always get a great hill climb at some point in our runs there. There are a few different entrances to the park - Hardy, Fitzell, Mitchell, Huband, Bates and more! Try starting at a new spot and you will experience the park in a completely new light!

The cookies were fantastic and we all left Liz's home with a mixed batch of Christmas treats to share with guests over the coming weeks and months. Want a real treat? Try these cranberry white chocolate and orange cookies this season...

Cranberry, Orange and White Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Preheat 350

1/4 c butter
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
grated zest of 1 orange
1 large egg
3 tbs orange juice
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour (try a mix of whole wheat and white)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup fresh or frozen (unthawed) cranberries
1/2 cup white chocolate chunks or chips

Beat butter, sugar, orange, egg, orange juice, vanilla.
Mix dry ingredients other than last 2.
Add wet to dry until almost combined then add cranberries and white chocolate untill just blended.
Drop spoonfuls on non-stick surface...Bake 10-12 minutes until barely golden. Enjoy!


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

ELM Slideshow!

I managed to get the video onto the blog!! Turn up the volume and enjoy the memories:) We have sure had some good times over the past 7 years...



Sunday, November 23, 2008

7 Years of Fun Fitness Adventures


The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. - Eleanor Roosevelt
Can you believe it? Already...7 years since I started ELM in 2001! Back then I dreamed about starting a company that allowed me to share my knowledge of fitness & health with individuals who were ready to reach for their own personal dreams. I wanted to provide that launching pad for those who wanted to reach for the stars. I wanted to motivate and inspire and ignite the spark that would light a fire big enough to burn a house down. I wanted to help you reach your dreams. And in allowing me to do so over the past 7 years I have reached my own dream. And you have motivated and inspired me every day of every year along the way- thank you! To all those who have inspired...been inspired...motivated and been motivated...and shared many fitness adventures over the past 7 years with ELM...THANK YOU!

This slideshow is dedicated to you!


Great Sunday Ride

Today was another great day. I only managed to accomplish 3 things:
1. Amazing Sunday Ride in Cumberland
2. Nap
3. Afternoon visit with friends

That's right...I didn't work...I didn't clean up after the Leader Party last night...I didn't do chores or get anything ticked off of my 'house project' list. A great day!

I was a weeee bit tired this morning after celebrating until after midnight with my wonderful leaders at the annual ELM staff partay. This year we had a fun games night at my home with a charity auction to raise $ for our adopted Christmas Hamper family. Everyone brought things from their home that they were happy to donate (read: regift ... dump run stuff ... etc) and cash to bid in the auction. 2 hours and plenty of good hard laughs later we raised over $240 for our family!!! A huge thank you to all of my wonderful leaders and their partners for coming out and supporting the cause at this years celebration. We had a great night:)

I put together a fun slideshow with music to celebrate ELM's 7 year anniversary and we got to relive some wonderful fitness adventures. I will post the video on Youtube asap and let you know when you can view it. Check back later and it should be up tonight or tomorrow.

Today's ride was great. I was late and the gang had already taken off up the road in Cumberland so I had my work cut out for me to try and catch them. I guessed that they were going all the way to the top and managed to catch them while they were taking a breather at the summit in the sunshine. What a day. What a view. What a great place we get to call home! Here is what we rode today for those of you who know the trails and want to try the route:
Up the road towards the summit...down the new Bucket of Blood (it has been rebuilt and has a slalom course with lots of table tops and little kickers:)...down Bear Buns (they connect)...across Sykes bridge...down Teapot...back up Steamdonkey...back up and over the bridge...down Broadway to the Perseverance bridge on the main logging road...down Spankers...home via Tied Knot (super fun with lots of snakes and ladders). 2 hours of fun!

I am going to be posting the January schedule this week so stay tuned for details on this Winters Fitness Adventures!

Have a wonderful week!

Friday, November 21, 2008

The End of Fall is Near

Happy Friday!

This week we started wrapping up our fall Fitness Adventures with the 10th week of Womens Learn to Run and Baby Bootcamp sessions. Next week will be our final Bootcamp and Womens Trail running classes. Today the weather is very fitting and screaming "the end of fall!" right outside my window. We have been soooo lucky with the weather this fall so we are more than due for a few storms. After lush could our beautiful Valley be without winter rain?
I am excited about a couple of things right now at this very moment:
1. We have just kicked off our annual Hamper drive for our 2 'Adopted Families' and I am excited to have the opportunity to help spread the joy of Christmas to those in need. Each year ELM and Extreme Runners team up to support 2 families in the Valley...and we need your help! Starting this week you can drop off a donation at Extreme Runners or at your ELM classes - I have posted a list below of the items that we are collecting for these families. Please help us help those in need this Christmas:) In addition, I will be offering 4 Holiday Bootcamp classes to raise funds for our hamper families. Check the elm calendar for dates and times. Suggested donation $10-15...and everyone is welcome!

Sugar 2kg
Flour 2kg
Soup assorted
Canned Vegetables
Stuffing Mix
Cranberry sauce
Canned Salmon or Tuna
Jam or Honey
Peanut Butter
Spaghetti Sauce
Snack Treats
Toilettries: toothpaste, handsoap, shampoo etc...
Paper Products: napkins, toilet paper, paper towels...
Min $40 for perishables
Homebaking is a really nice touch:)
Gifts for the children. Please mark with age and gender of child
2008 Familes:
Couple with 1 male roommate and 3 boys: 12, 15, 17 years. (#36)
Couple with 1 by: 11 years. (#191)
Thank you for joining us in Sharing the Christmas Spirit!
2. I have just gotten off phone with Jane Hay- adventure travel agent extroidinaire- and a Peru hiking guide and I am busting at the seams with excitement about a trip that we have in the works...a BIG trip....a REALLY big the trip of a LIFETIME really. Interested? Check in your inbox for a short survey...really soon. Or just email me your answers to these questions:
1. Would you be interested in joining a 14-day Womens only trip to Peru that includes 7-8 days of trekking including the Inca trail and Maccu Piccu? If yes, please continue...
2. Would you be more interested in a fall 2009 trip or a 2010 trip or no preference?
3. Would you prefer August or September or no preference?
* Note all fitness levels are welcome. The trip will include a 4-6 month training program to ensure you are more than prepared for the demands.*
I look forward to hearing from you!!!
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Weekly Commitment


Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart.

- Confucius

A huge pat on the back to all my personal training clients for digging deep, working hard and honouring your commitment to an active and vital life! Keep it up!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Biking and Baking

I am winding down from a fantastic weekend filled with buddies, biking and baking:)

I went for a great ride with Lene on Saturday out in Cumberland. We hit all the classic lower XC trails and then added a little climb up across Sykes bridge and over to the Allan Lake trails for a fantastic 'hammer' ride. On the homestretch while grinding through Spanker I hit a tree with my arm and realized that I was no longer wearing my arm pads...I had taken them off near the start of the ride to take off my jacket and left them on the trail! Ahhhhrrrr. So we rode up the road and hoped that they would still be such luck. Cursing myself, cursing the dirty thief and praying that perhaps a kind soul had actually picked them up and turned them in to the bike shop we rode out via the oh-so classic Broncos Perseverance.

We jumped into the van and were just leaving the parking lot when I spied a walker with 2 huskies and an odd leash set up... He had my arm pads wrapped around his dog leash between the 2 dogs! I JUMPED out of the van squeeling with joy and gave the dogs big pats to thank them (and the man) for bringing out my armour. Thank you hiker man! You racked up some serious karma credit that day:) I hope someone did something nice for you too:) Yippee ... lucky me!

On Sunday, today, (after a LATE Saturday night reminiscing with friends Cathy and Pete about our visit to Nicaragua last year **see footnote: rum**) I met up with my Rat buddies at Nymph for a fantastic 3.5 hour fall ride: Up Forbidden...down 2 Sheiks...Cabin Fever...Dirty Jane...back up Plunge...down Johns Trail...Cable Hill...Cliffe Ave...then through the mess of lower XC trails and home via the Bears Bait...phew! It was SUPER warm ... crazy for mid November! I had my new winter booties and winter gloves and was way overdressed (so nice ). I had a great ride for some reason...riding quite a few 'firsts' down steeps...over big logs and across skinny's. I think it is my new 'magic boots'. Well, I look like freakin Peter Pan when I wear them so there you go!

This afternoon I got to work on my Christmas baking and filled the house with the smell of chocolate gingerbread- all natural goodness! I am going on a family vacation on December 13th (think the Griswold's Mexican Christmas Cruise Vacation) so I need to get a head start...only 3 more baking weekends! Those who know me know that I love to bake and share homemade goodies with natural, fresh ingredients. I am a firm believer in Moderation...not deprivation... so go on...!

I am stoked for more riding this week (I would ride everyday if I could) and have started thinking about adding some bike races to my 2009 calendar as a way to challenge and push my riding. We shall see...this week I plan to plan my 2009 calendar...and I would love to do something new...stay tuned!

Happy Sunday:)

Friday, November 14, 2008


Hello and Happy Friday!

What a crazy beautiful day we had in the Valley yesterday! Seriously...can you believe our luck? The photo above was taken down at the Comox Marina Park right after we wrapped up our ELM Sunrise Fitness Bootcamp class. Unreal! Check out the snow on the CV Glacier...
Yesterday I awoke to a massive harvest moon hanging in the sky right out my window and the day just got better after that! An amazing sunrise, a blue sky day and dry night for our Need for Speed Running Clinic.
Last night at N4S we had Movie Night complete with popcorn! No, we weren't watching the latest blockbuster. We were reviewing our running gait analysis videos and breaking down our form piece by piece. Watching yourself in action is such a fantastic took for identifying and correcting inefficient running form. We all have room for improvement and after reviewing the videos everyone has specific form 'homework' to work on this winter. Frequently, inefficient technique is directly related to muscular imbalances that limit us in the 3 running phases (push off, flight and support). Winter is the perfect time to work on these imbalances through strength and flexibility exercises ... so that we start the 2009 running season more efficient!
How's my form?

Have a great weekend!


Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Happy Wednesday!

Last night I popped into the Ascent Physio clinic to meet the new Pre-Natal Fitness participants and snap some shots of the beaming moms to be. Kim Senechal, RPT, was leading the class through a functional circuit designed to keep moms fit and strong through their pregnancy. And even though the ladies were working hard it was smiles all around!
Pre-Natal Fitness Moms to Be!

Multi-station circuits...

Bicep Curls on the ball...

And, at last, it is stretch time...

After Kim wrapped up Pre-Natal Fitness, it was time for her to do the 'Injury Prevention Chat' for our Womens Learn to Run group. Rae Walsh and her participants had the opportunity to check out the physio clinic and ask Kim their injury prevention/treatment questions. After the chat, Rae and leader Alma led the crew through a great Comox run!

Learn to Run participants ready to rock!

Have a great week!


Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Is it Tuesday already?? Wow! My week has once again flown by me and I apologize for the lack-of-blogging! I have been working loads, playing lots and I got to spend the weekend in Victoria with my family!
One of my favorite things about staying with my sister, Dani, in Vic is that she lives right on the park (Beacon Hill that is). So, not only is her front yard a wonderfully landscaped park but she is within walking distance of pretty much everything. So, from the time I arrive until the moment I leave, my little car is parked and I am trekking around happily by foot. V. cool.
We did our usual Dallas Rd / Beacon Hill daily walks...had yummy family meals...went to my favorite restaurant Ferris'...and spent half of Saturday in the BC Museum re-kindling many childhood fun!
On Sunday I woke up to drizzle and grey skies. I had planned to make no plans for fitness over the weekend and wanted to put the focus on spending time with my family. But when I awoke my sister was still asleep along with most Victorians and so I pulled on my tights and crept out the door to see what the grey-sky-morning would bring. At first I planned to do a 30 minute loop - just enough to get my feet wet and get back home quickly before getting soaked.
I ran up to my Grams old place then around the Legislative buildings and past the Teahouse that we used to go to...and before I knew it the rain had stopped. I ran to Barbs Fish and Chips at Fishermans Wharf and around Shoal Point. I ran to Ogden Point and out to the lighthouse on the very end of the breakwater...and before I knew it the sun was rising above the clouds and a warm glow reached my face. A rave run was evolving right before my eyes!
I ran the Dallas Road path alongside a spectacular ocean and mountain view. I ran home to my sisters via the Cookstreet Village...passing many morning runners and dog walkers along the way. We all shared a secret smile - knowing that we had all enjoyed the same beautiful start to the day. Victoria IS really the most beautiful city to explore by foot...running, jogging, walking or rolling!
Stay tuned for some pics tomorrow from ELM's Pre-Natal Fitness and Learn To Run classes! I captured our womens only groups in action at Ascent physio tonight and can't wait to share the pics!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Change has been on many minds over the past days, weeks and months. This BIG word applies to our everyday lives and hovers over our goals, our passions and our dreams regardless of it's recent use as a powerful political catch phrase.

Change is a word that frightens some and excites others. The more frequently we experience change the less anxiety we seem to have about it.

Change causes a stress response in the human body- be it good or bad.

Change can be a great thing. Change takes us to a new reality and with that our human experience expands and we grow...and grow...and grow...

You can only learn so much in one place. The more
that you wait...the more time that you waste.
- From a song on my

I grew up in a life full of change. I moved more than 20 times before I graduated from high school and making new school friends every few months was fine by me- it was my reality. Change is nothing new to me and I have always found it exciting and one of life's great adventures.

But as I get older I find that change comes less often in life...and the less we experience it the less we are comfortable with it and open to it. I see now that change is actually an important part of life- one that ensures our continued growth through successes and failures alike.

Change. Try something new. Step out of the 'box'. Get out of your 'comfort zone'. Whatever you call it.

You might be scared of probably have a fear of the unknown. But you will laugh about those fears one day...once you have overcome them and reached a new plateau...climbed a new peak...crossed a new valley...or...??? Step out. Cause just never know.

Thanks for listening to my deep thoughts for the day. I don't really know where that came from but what the hell!

Happy Sunny November 5th day!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

"I feel a Need for Speeeed!"

Happy Wednesday!

I just got back from a fantastic run and I am bubbling over with inspiration and motivation. I have not run on my own in a very long while and it was a great opportunity to let my mind wander and weave with new ideas. I ran the base chip trail loop (approximately 3km) as a 3 part time trial session. During each loop a threw in a set of Pull Ups and Dips on the pre set workout stations. After 3 loops of progressively faster paces I was energized and full of workout ideas for my upcoming Need for Speed clinic!

Even though it means the end of evening trail running I am really looking forward to kicking off this annual clinic next Thursday, November 6th. I am looking forward to challenging running workouts that build speed and power. I am looking forward to hills, intervals and a good lung burn. Mostly I am looking forward to pushing my participants into new territory and watching their running fitness improve over the winter. There is nothing better than the whole body feeling of satisfaction that comes after a good hard workout!

I have lot's of ideas for running workouts that will keep things fun, interesting and motivating this winter. If you can run for 1 hour you are ready for this program. I hope you will join me!

FMI on the ELM Need for Speed program go to:
or just email me:)

Hope you are having a great week!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Perseverance Race Results!

The complete race results have been posted on the elm website. Go to : for all the details!

Have some good photos of the event? I would love to see them and publish them for the other racers to see! Please send them my way:)


Monday, October 27, 2008

Perseverance 2008 Race Report

What a day! It has been a wild ride but we all survived another great Perseverance Trail Run! Complete results will be posted on the elm website tomorrow and a link will be posted here...along with pictures from race day! Following is my race day report...
But first... A HUGE THANK YOU to the more than 35 volunteers who spent countless hours of their time preparing for, setting up, cheering on, feeding/watering, supporting and tearing down for this years race. Special thanks to the 10 members of CV Search and Rescue for spending the day keeping track of our racers from start to finish. Special thank you to Terry Lewis for designing a new course this year - after losing a large portion of the 2007 course to logging (all the more reason to support the cause). Special thanks to Andy for keeping the crowd informed and the energy up as MC.
This is a community event that comes from the people via community support and gives back to the community through fundraising dollars donated to protect and preserve the Cumberland Forest. It is a wonderful cycle and I am proud to be a part of it. The final numbers are not in but you 177 racers raised over $2500 for the CCFS. In addition a special donation of $500 was made by Zen Zero to the Forest Society. Thank you Thank you Thank you. I cannot thank you enough!
Race directors report:
We were greeted with beautiful blue sky fall day which took a huge weight off our shoulders. Something about the sun shining on your face during a sweet fall run...and not having to deal with soggy equipment and mud on everything all day. Our set up crew of volunteers arrived early and we had race central ready for action when our early bird racers began arriving at 9am. This year we developed a new fee schedule to encourage racers to sign up early and take some of the pressure off race morning. It definitely worked and we were pleased to have 100 pre-registered racers this year! But we also had 77 racers join us on race day so registration was still jumping. The girls did a great job moving 177 racers through registration and after a few hiccups (Pins anyone? A special thank you to racer 'Jordon' for riding his bmx to the mini-mart for extra pins!) everyone made their way down to the trailhead to start the race.
And they're off! The 3k crew went left and the 10k crew went right and they all hit the ground running. Both courses featured a gruelling start with incline right off the mark. A hint of things to come!
The 3k course went off without a hitch and within 15 minutes racers were flying over the bank and into the finish chute! Racers wound their way through the lower XC trails including: Matts trail, Spanker and Space Nugget. Good times were had by all! The top racers in the 3k were:

Top results on the 3k XC course were:
1KENT GILROY14:45 M 13-15

2LAURA WAYATT18:04 F 16+
3MARY ANN ROLFE 20.34 F 16+
The 10K course was a true mountain run with steep climbs up Off Broadway and Bear Buns following the Perseverance Creek and boasting amazing views into the ravine below. After a loooong ascent racers were provided with some steep relief as they made their way back to via newly rebuilt Dodge Balls, Ginger Minge and Broadway before finishing on the 3k XC course.

Top overall results in the 10k mountain run:
1CHRIS BARTH 55:05 M 20-39
2JAMES POWSEY 58:07 M 40-59
3STEVE SPIERS 58:13 M 40-59

2BEV PEAVOY 1:05:29 F 20-39
3LISA LUDWIG 1:05 35 F 20-39
For many racers this grueling distance was not enough however! Some racers took the scenic route and ran past the marked exit trail on Short and Curly...seemingly looking for more of our beautiful trails:) We learned that racers had missed the marked exit trail and ran all of Short and Curly all the way up at Allan Lake...and some even continued on and decided to pull off the 15k loop by running around the back of Allan Lake! Good lord is a 10k mountain run not enough for you?!
Of course when you learn that your 'little chicks' are running off course this is a very bad feeling. I cannot explain the actual feeling in my stomach at that moment. BUT...our wandering little chicks managed to navigate back onto the marked course and carry on with the rest of the route with ease (albeit with a few extra kms under their sneakers).
After driving up with CV Search and Rescue to check out the 'scene of the crime' we discovered that yes indeed the turn off Short and Curly was still marked well with red flagging but even so racers had missed it somehow. Just like racers, race directors learn plenty at their races. Mostly, this year we learned that we need to flag and lime the !@#$ out of that intersection next year. So next year, when you come across a crazy person wearing a race t-shirt, waving their arms and sounding a blowhorn on Short and Curly you know when to exit the trail=)
After returning to the finish area everyone seemed to have a great time and enjoyed the post race snackfest, awards and prizes. A HUGE thank you to our community food sponsors Thrifty Foods, Tim Hortons and Mudsharks Coffee for providing the food and beverages for our hungry racers.
A giant thank you to our draw prize donation sponsors:
Valhalla Pure
Riding Fool Hostel
Fitness Excellence
Ascent Physiotherapy
Comox Valley Acupuncture
Zen Zero
Hi Tech
Jim Smiley
Ecological Shop
Extreme Runners
Category winners received chocolate medals from Hot Chocolates!
Our BEST COSTUME winner, Lo Lanning received a tasty chocolate package from Darkside Chocolates in Cumberland!
A huge thank you to our community sponsors for donating time and resources to make this event a success:
ABC Printing- beautiful full colour banner!
Odlum Brown
Hitech Screen printing
Natasha Designhouse
Cumberland Recreation Centre
Village of Cumberland
We are looking forward to making next years race better than ever and hope that you will mark your calendars for another great race: Sunday, October 25th, 2009!!
Pics and results to come...

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Perseverance Trail Run Update

Lene flagging the 10k route on Friday...

Yesterday Lene, Terry Lewis and I headed to Cumberland to flag the running are going to love the route!

Only 1 more sleep until the Perseverance Trail Run in Cumberland! We have been busy bees getting all the race day preparations in order for tomorrow. There is a lot more that goes on behind the scenes of a race than I realized before taking on my own race along with Lene 3 years ago. Permits, insurance, registration, brochures, marketing, data entry, shirts, securing sponsors, gathering equipment, picking up food, creating and maintaining a trail route, securing volunteers...the list goes on! It is definately a labour of love and along with over 30 volunteers we are passionate about donating our time and energy for such a worthy fundraising cause: The Cumberland Community Forest Society! .

Over 80 racers have pre-registered and I am just heading down to Extreme Runners to check for last minute sign ups. Haven't registered yet but want to join us? No problem! Just show up in Cumberland at No 6 Mine Park behind the rec centre before 10:30am and you can join us!

When: Sunday, October 26th race start 11:00am.

Racer Check in and Registration: 9:00am-10:30am.

Where: #6 Miners Park, Cumberland. Park at Cumberland Rec Centre on Dunsmuir Ave in the big lot and walk down to Miners Park.

Fundraiser: All proceeds will go directly to the Cumberland Community Forest Society. Go to their website to learn more about their ongoing projects to protect valuable forest lands in Cumberland.

3K route : Our classic 3K route covers the same fun cross country trails as in previous years. Be prepared for some short ups and downs, tight twists and turns and look for halloween pumpkins along the course!

10K route: A new twist on an old favorite, this years 10K mountain run will take racers through a mix of old and new trails. The views will be fantastic and your legs and lungs will know that you have earned them! Enjoy the mix of climbing and downhilling through some of Cumberlands most scenic trails. After completing the mountain run portion of the route, the 10K race course will join with the 3K course and finish on the lower twisting cross country trails.

Prizes: All racers will be provided with a post race snack feast courtesy of our wonderful friends at Thrifty Foods! Chocolate medals will be awarded to the top 3 finishers in each category this year! And all racers will be eligible to win one of many fantastic draw prizes donated by this years local sponsors. Look who is on board already:
Extreme Runners
Valhalla Pure
Riding Food Hostel
Fitness Excellence
Ascent Physiotherapy
Zen Zero
Hi Tech
Darkside Chocolates
and more...

Looking forward to seeing you all on Sunday!