Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Adventure Running Starts Thursday!

FYI:: The first session of the ELM 2008 Adventure Running Series begins this THURSDAY at 5:30pm!
There is still space available and we would love to see you out for this fun trail running clinic! Participants can look forward to unforgettable views (see above), fantastic trails, serious hill climbing and loads of F.U.N. There are endless trail networks to explore with new routes being added all the time. Comox Lake Dam, Cumberland and Nymph Falls are the main trailheads that we will head out from on our weekly adventures-with map and navigation skills at hand! Don't miss out on the best trail running series of 2008! Part 1::3 begins with an intro run at Seal Bay Park-Bates road entrance (main parking lot). Give us a heads up if you are going to join us last minute! Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Mount Work: Final Weekend Post...Phew


OK! So...I had the best run ever on Saturday in Victoria! With only a few opportunities left for big training sessions before my taper leading up to the Squamish MOMAR on May 10th, I was happy to hit the trails in Victoria. My sisters partner Chris and a buddy Ryan were planning to ride the mt biking trails at the base of Mt Work in Saanich on Saturday afternoon. PERFECT I thought...and asked them to bring out my bike so that I could head out early for an hour run in the trails and make a nice little brick workout of it.

So...I took off to the Hartland landfill entrance to the park-this area is also known as 'the Dump' and is the main place for mountain bikers to ride in the Victoria area. Yes these are fantastic trails-tonnes of them, heaps of variety, awesome marking and map system...but man oh man did I realize just how good we have it up here in the Valley! This is one of only two places bikers can ride in Vic...and you have to drive 30 minutes to get there...and it is understandably packed with bikers from the capital city. I shouldn't be posting this for the world to see but...we have sooooo many options of natural trail networks with so much variety in terrain and elevation! If you run into another biker out there it is cause to stop and chat! Ok. I am over it.

Anyways...I decided to try and link some of the biking trails together and practice my map reading/navigation skills combined with a few ups and downs to get the quads burning. About 30 minutes into it I got a call on my cell phone...Chris: "held up and won't be there for a couple of hours. Should I cancel the ride?" Me: "Heck no! Get out here when you can and call me when you are on your way...I will just keep running until you get here." I had plenty of snacks and water and a map so I was happy to change my route for a longer run. I was just dieing to see the view from the top of Mount Work so I turned back to the main trail and made my way to the summit trail on the other side of the park. Up Up Up! This was a fantastic climb up rocky single track with quad searing scrambles beneath climbing arbutus trees. The view from the top was unbelievable! Looking northwest on a crystal clear day I could see the malahat, Mt. Finlayson and all the way out to Swartz Bay...I only wished I had my camera to share it with you! You will have to print off the map and make this trek happen next time you are in Victoria.

I thought about running down the other side and then returning for a double summit but my better judgment kicked in and I made my way back to Hartland to meet up with the buds. Good thing I did-2.5 hours later I was back in the parking lot and they arrived about 10 minutes later. Quick shirt change (it was like 17 degrees out and I was totally drenched...loving it cause I haven't been warm in months), snack, refill of the camelback and I was enjoying the sun (reclined in my car) when they arrived. First time on the new bike was good and not so good. The GOOD: Uphill supestar! The Not So Good: Downhill beginner-trying to learn how to ride a new bike, with new geometry and the new clipless peddle system was complete information overload. I may need to take something out of the equation to take the pressure off of my attention capacity! Anyways-a added on a 1 hour ride and it was a good training combo for the quads for sure:)

Good times! More to come I am sure:)

April Chicks

This months Chicks who Click photography class was very inspiring for me. We met at the Filberg lodge teahouse on beautiful sunshiney Friday morning...just as the air was warming and the sun was climbing in the sky. I love photographing in nature and there was inspiration everywhere as the light swam amongst spring plants and flowers.

Our mission was 3 part: First we spent 15 minutes wandering the grounds looking for a view that inspired us. We listed the aspects of this spot that made it important to us on a piece of paper. Secondly we regrouped and switched spots with random classmates. Now we were to go and capture our partners spot and create a photo that represented everything which was important to them. Tuff one but very inspiring for me as I was sent along to a wonderful magnolia tree backlit by the early morning sun. Finally, we got to go to our original spot and capture it for ourselves. Here are my magnolia mission was to capture the story of a new life beginning and another close to it's end. You can check out these and my other favs in my online Picasa Chicks album too...

Cheers! Sarah


OK...what a great weekend indeed! After spending my Friday morning taking photos at the Filberg lodge with Chicks who Click...then meeting with Jane to begin planning a HUGE ELM Women adventure in PERU (more to come don't worry) I hit the road and began my journey south to Victoria-with one VERY important stop in Cobble aquire my new XC bike! (Fidgeting with anticipation the whole way of course). she is:

What started out as a custom bike frame which I won at the end of last years MOMAR series evolved into a dual suspension, lighweight machine completely macked out with high end race components. Woah. I got a little caught up in the whole experience and ended up with a screamin deal from BERG as I have been brought on board to be a BERG Bike Test Pilot! Total retail value? Do you really want to know? Lots. A BIG Thank you to BERG for taking me on as a test pilot and allowing me this excellent opportunity to ride such a quality bike:) I need to learn how to ride this machine...hmmm...and not injure myself or my pride in the process. You may laugh at the thought of 'learning' to ride a bike-but really this is a completely different geometry and style of riding for me. I am coming from a lazy boy recliner onto a bar stool...a cadillac into a mini cooper...get it? The stem height alone is 5 inches lower than I am used to. Enough. I will tame this wild beast! Less than 2 weeks until MOMAR Squamish...I will be on that bike everyday until then!

The BERG crew...Al (left)-frame builder and Chris (right) mechanic...and the cutest animal family ever had to be in the team shot!

Ok...gotta go look at my bike again...back in a minute:)



Man oh Man...what a fantastic weekend in Victoria! I have a tonne to blog about but wanted to start with the highlight:

A big CONGRATS to all the ELM Women who raced in this past weekends Times Colonist 10K in Victoria! It was amazing to be there alongside the race course as these super ladies pushed themselves to the 10K finish. Perfect cool, grey-sky day...9700 energetic racers...14 ELM Superstar Women!

My sister lives about 30 meters down from the start line-right on the race course which makes for the perfect cheering squad spot. Up goes the ELM Women sign and out we come with our mugs of hot tea to cheer on the masses!

Lynn Swift looking fresh at the very start of the race...she still had this fantastic smile on her face at the finish line! Way to go Lynn:)

Penny and Tara flying high after crossing the finish line! After cheering on the crew at the start line, I boogied my way to the finishline in front of the Parliment buildings on Wharf st. Not sure what I was thinking...there was already a sea of onlookers and I couldn't get close to the barrier to see the racers. Then I had a brainwave when I spotted a lightpost...scrambled up about 4 feet for a fantastic (albeit painful) view of the ladies! It was a full on Survivor challenge and I hung on with one arm and a friction point on my two feet-not pretty but well worth the strain to get a birds eye view:)

A few of the crew posing for a photo shoot on the lawn of the legislature...big smiles and ELM Women swirls all around! WAY TO GO! I have posted a few favorite pics on the ELM Gallery-and you will find a link there to a complete collection on my Picasa online album. Enjoy:)

And... Team ELM Women came 15th in the corporate challenge with a top 5 team average of 52 minutes and 58 seconds!! Woweee!

More weekend tales to come...


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Hurray Team ELM Women!

Hurray for a great team, a great race and a great day! The weather co-operated and we had a blue sky day for Sunday's Snow to Surf Relay. The snow was just toying with us on Saturday...

We worked out our team strategy over chili and chocolate covered strawberries the evening before..."Reach your genetic limit" was the goal...translated to our 2008 team phrase:: 'Getterdone". Good times were had by all and everything was left on the course so to speak. With a smooth race and no major gliches we worked our way to a 2nd place podium finish! Silver (chocolate) medals were had by all:) Way to go team:
Kathy Campbell...Uphill Run/Downhill Ski
Lo Lanning...XCSki
Diana Olsen...Downhill runner #1
Myra Lemelin...Downhill runner #2
Susan Muldoon...Mountain Biker
Audrey Erlandson...Road Biker
Lyse Fortin & Rani Johns...Canoe Specialists:)
More action photos to we are posing:)

Seeya next year ladies!


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Can You Imagine...

Here I am today SICK AT HOME and feeling a wee bit sorry for myself. So, I decide I deserve to take a break from my monotonous admin computer duties (and you thought I just ran around outside all day) and perk myself up a bit. Put on the kettle, bake some Survival Cookies and start brainstorming FUN stuff to do. FUN to me involves supernatural scenery, challenging myself physically, connecting with good people and, of course, eating healthy delicious food. Everyone should have a TOP 5 list of things they MUST do before it is too late. What's on my TOP 5 list you ask? Good question...I have not thought about my BIG dreams enough lately...

Although I have had many amazing experiences travelling abroad as a backpacker and exploring our own province as a firefighter for 5 years my BIG list still lingers.

My highlights so far have been:

  • Rapelling out of helicopters into fire zones in all corners of BC, Alberta and the Yukon

  • Experiencing our amazing province from the view of a helicopter-unbelievable sunsets.

  • Waking up on remote mountaintops after working hard and resting under the stars on small spot fires-where no human may have stepped before..
  • Exploring Australias east coast-diving in the Whitsundays and being chased by dingos on Fraser Island (the largest sand island in the world)

  • Backpacking in Australia, Mexico, Thailand, Malaysia, Honduras, Guatamala and Nicaragua.

  • Completing a 3 day staged Adventure Race (250kms) in Invermere and standing on top of the world with my team- Seaquinn Balls

  • Working as a DiveMaster on the Bay Islands of Honduras

  • Running downhill ( from an errupting Volcano in Guatamala

  • Driving to the tip of the Baja, Mexico

  • Learning to Surf in Todos Santos, Baja

  • Climbing a volcano and riding an old school bike around the same volcano on Ometepe Island in Nicaragua!

  • I am sure there are more...but man are those great memories!
So...what is left on my list? In no particular order I would have to say...
  • Climbing Kilimanjaro

  • Hiking the Inca Trail in Peru
  • Diving with the sealife in the Galapogos

  • Rafting/Grizzly spotting in Northern BC/Yukon

  • Hiking a Volcano & Surfing the waves in Hawaii

Once I get to the bottom of this list then the rest is all just gravy really.

That brings me to my little secret for you...My dream of hiking the Inca Trail just got one step closer...and you can do it too...stay tuned for more details...

Or perhaps you want to start with something closer to home...well this just fell into my lap yesterday! I think we should do it...
Trans Canada Trail Challenge 2008
Myra Station to Penticton Trans Canada Trail PavilionAn 80-km section of the Kettle Valley Rail Trail
Sunday, July 6
The following is an invitation to you and members of your group to participate in this year’s Trans Canada Trail Challenge event.
Trails BC, the Myra Canyon Trestle Restoration Society, the Naramata Woodwackers, and the Summerland TCT Society along with regional communities/jurisdictions are pleased to offer its 8th Trans Canada Trail Challenge. This year it will be held in conjunction with the re-opening of the Myra Canyon and the Penticton Centennial. Participants will be able to discover and explore up to 80 km of the Trans Canada Trail on the Kettle Valley Rail Trail.
You can choose to cycle, walk, run, or ride your horse in this non-competitive and personally challenging event. Cyclists can choose to ride the full 80 km while walkers along with cyclists and runners can choose to do shorter sections that include the spectacular Myra Canyon with all its re-constructed trestles. In the Myra Canyon alone there are 18 trestles and two tunnels. Equestrians will be able to combine a ride with a walk or cycle in the Myra Canyon.
If you haven’t already done so, go to our website: for more details and to register either online or by regular mail. For information about the Myra canyon and its location go to:

The couch calls...can you imagine? Kills me to not be outside riding my bike. Blow nose...repeat.


Sunday, April 13, 2008

Spring IS Here!

Hello Sunshine! Finally the Valley has started the BIG thaw and the temperature is beginning to climb.

We kicked off our first week of Spring classes with a classic April downpower at Seal Bay Park last Monday-with our womens Off Road trail running clinic. The crew had a blast regardless and we are looking forward to 10-weeks of glorious trail running on Mondays.
Our new BOOTCAMP recruits completed their group Fitness Test at Vanier on Monday night-and got a chance to push themselves and meet their new training group. It was fantastic to see how quickly everyone bonded together to encourage each other and show their support. This is the power of a work and positive energy! Vicki and I are so excited to get out and enjoy our favorite workout locations that we can't access during the dark days of winter: Kye Bay, Seal Bay, Kin Beach, Goose Spit, Macdonald Wood Park...and more 5 days per week!
Rae got our Women's Learn to Run clinic on Tuesday nights with her son, Noah, leading the crew in the 3-wheel stroller. Such a wonderful and supportive program-we are always left inspired by our new running participants. What a great time of year to start running!

Baby Bootcamp was cute as ever at the first class at the Airpark on Thursday morning. Rae put our new Mommy Recruits through their paces-everything the normal Bootcamp Recruits do PLUS pushing a stroller and child! Seriously inspiring everyone that sees them go by.

9 classes a week means there is something for everyone this Spring!

PS We are always looking for feedback from you regarding program ideas that you would like to try. Give us a shout anytime if there is something you think we should offer along with our current outdoor Fitness Adventures!
Here is my week of fitness adventures...

Mon: Trail Run SBPark with Off Road ladies...Weights
Tues: Core and REST
Weds: Weights...XCountry Bike: Pipeline to Snowtosurf biking route out and back with Sue (Team ELM!) 1.5hours...solo run 30 minutes...look at these cute flowers I spotted by the hatchery! Can you identify them for me?

Thursdsay: CORE and 500m repeats with the womens 10K clinic...awesome run!
Friday: Stretch and REST

Saturday: Paddle with Barb from the Comox Marina to the bluffs...unbelievable! The water is soooo clear right now and you can see every little detail on the shallow ocean floor off the spit...such a wonderful way to start the day!
Saturday evening was all fun and games at the annual ELM Leader Party:) Lynn, Sue, Arran and Cathy were good sports and humoured me by playing along with my silly party games at this years get together. The evening kicked off with a BIG team scavenger hunt...then there were teamwork events requiring blindfolds and croquet...and we finished off with a feast and 'Famous People' game... Here is Lynn looking for clues at the playground...

Arran and Cathy on their way to their next clue...serious competition it was!
Sunday: BIG climb on the bike up Branch 21 from the Dam...up up up until we hit the snow-can't quite get to 2 Sheiks yet but man did we try hard. Back down and entered the Downhill trails via Upper Monkeys. The rest was all downhill and not too pretty on my part...I may not be a downhill superstar but I made it back in one piece after a fun 2 hour ride in the sunshine! Then I finally recruited a partner to join me on my post-ride brick trail run and we ran Tomato Creek Hill...the best little hill run with the best view there is! All in all it was a fun week of training that really just felt like playing:)

Have a wonderful week!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

ELM Participants Bust a Gut

Way to go ELM Friends! Mary Ann Rolfe (2nd) and Cathy Clark (3rd) cleaned up on the podium in this past weekends 11km Gutbuster trail run at Royal Roads in Victoria.

Connie Walters in fine form racing the 6km course!

Other ELM racers busting a gut on Sunday include Pascale Houde, Sarah Burrell, Veronique Dion, Leo Rolfe and Chris Winkelaar. Hope you all had fun playing in the mud and skunk cabbage at the old castle! Complete results and photos by Tony Austin can be found at:

Next race: GutBuster 002 - Mt. Tzouhalem, Duncan - May 4th, 2008

Happy Trails! Sarah.

Friday, April 4, 2008


PS Today is the final day to sign up for your Spring Fitness Adventures that kick off next week! We are short numbers in the following classes and need a few more recruits to get these programs off the ground this April:
Womens Trail Running...Mondays 9:30am
Sunrise Bootcamp...Tues/Thurs 6:15am
(Daytime Bootcamp W/F 9:30am has been postponed)

Call or email ELM TODAY if you would like to add your name to the list...or spread the good word to your friends and family who would enjoy a little Adventure in their Fitness...

A Week of Training

Spring sunshine! This picture is of one of our superstar participants-Lo running on the beach from Kye Bay to Airforce beach last spring/summer. One of my fav summer shots:)

I managed to get a solid week of training in this past week...and I must admit the sunshine did help! A break between ELM Fitness Adventure sessions means more play time for me so I took advantage and got some good intense miles in.

Saturday: Mountain Run ascent/descent- 2:45hrs
Sunday: XC Bike 1.5hours & Trailrun 1hour- 2.5hrs
Monday: Resistance - 1hr
Tuesday: XC Interval Bike- 1.5hrs
Weds: Weights 1hr & Kayak- 1.5hrs -2.5hrs
Thurs: Weights 1hr & Track Intervals 1hr - 2hrs
Friday: ? Paddle or Stretch Day 1.5hrs tba...
Total : 13.75hrs

My training focus was not on total miles but on intervals and high intensity training. This week will be a bit less intense and then it is up up up with the miles as I work up to longer hours of training during the month of April...Only 1 month to go until the first MOMAR of the season!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Trouble in Paradise

Woah Nelly what a gorgeous day we had yesterday! B-E-autiful blue sky hovered over the sea in Comox where Vicki and I got out for a summer-like paddle on glassy green waters. Unreal! There was actual warmth coming off of the sun yesterday and we had a fantastic glide along the shallow waters off Point Holmes in Comox. We were playing around with power strokes and edging into turns but more than anything we were just enjoying the sunshine and enjoying close encounters with seals and seabirds:)
Snow to Surf is in 2 weeks and I am the kayaker for Team ELM so I have more incentive to get in the boat for often this spring. I will be ready team don't worry!

We were just finished basking in our beautiful evening paddle...the boats were secured to the roof...we changed out of our wet gear...when we suddenly encountered trouble in paradise! Vicki's jeep wouldn't start and we were stranded on the boat launch surrounded by the ocean...yes the tides were turning for V and I...

Our strategy of frantically turning the key 82 times did nothing. We were at a loss...

But our knight in shining armour paddled up to the ramp beside us and we were saved! Dr. Rob Hill had perfect timing and happily towed us out of the depths of danger and onto safe dry land. Hurray! We managed to avoid disaster and survived to tell the silly story. Thanks Dr. Hill for saving the day!
NOTE: there is no cell service on Rogers in the Point Holmes area. Now I know...
Paddle on,

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

And The Winner Is...

Which Clif Bar rings in as flavor champion in the unofficial in-the-field 'taste-off'? Could it be Chocolate Almond Fudge? Or perhaps Black Cherry is the winner?

Well wait a minute- I haven't actually eaten my way through ALL of these Clif Bars yet but there is a clear front runner emerging from the pack...Oatmeal Raisin Walnut (aka ohmygodgood). If you like oatmeal raisin cookies or a good bowl of steaming rolled oats for breaky then this is your bar. I am hooked. Moist, chewy, not too sweet, real oat flakes, 70% organic ingredients...what more could you ask for?

Pulling up the far rear is the forgettable Peanut Toffee Buzz...tasted like a mix of all the other bars to be honest. And really, if you are advertising Toffee-let there be delicious nuggets of toffee!

While I believe Clif bars to be the perfect (packaged) fuel for biking or hiking workouts...they can be um challenging ( to say the least) to get down during a hard effort on a run. For more intense workouts I have found a new favorite in Clif Shot Blocks (and no I am not sponsored by Clif-although I am thinking I should probably contact them:). With flavors like Margarita with Salt and Pina Colada these little cubes of jelly sound more like Friday night shooters than racing food. Actually they are fantastic little blocks of energy and electrolytes! Similar to my old favorite-Sharkies- these blocks pack a greater caloric value per gram and melt in your mouth way easier for a quick easy to digest snack on the run. Bet you can't stop at one...

Will get back to you with the final results in the coming weeks...
Munch munch munch,