The North Face M-AX Board Short

M-AX Board Short The North Face M-AX board short

Tested out the M-ax board shorts from the Mountain Athletics collection for Cross Fit and Trail Running.
Loved the fit for both sports. The shorts were easily worn as is (for a looser fit) or fold the top down (for a more snug fit). Liked the colour – nice to have something that wasn’t black!
Enjoyed the light/breathable fabric for my work outs and trail runs.
Only downside: they were see thru. I wore bright underwear and had fun with it!
Would definitely recommend these shorts to friends.

– product review by Jennifer Thibault – Kamloops, BC


The North Face Thermoball Reactor Hoodie

The North Face ThermoBall™ Hybrid HoodieTNF Thermoball Hybrid Hoodie images

The Hybrid Hoodie so far has been used for walks with the dog, hiking, easy runs and a weekend at a friend’s cabin.

After first picking it up, I was immediately impressed about how incredibly light the jacket felt. The arms, shoulders and sides of the jacket incorporate a stretchy light weight material that provides a snug fit but gives the arms both warm and unrestricted movement. An elasticized hood is also sewn into the jacket providing great protection from the wind and rain. What I liked best was the generous sleeve length of the jacket, which generally I’ve found usually to be too short for my build. The zippered pockets are great for storing keys, cell phones and other items which are prone to get lost on the trail.

It has exceeded my expectations and I was surprised by the amount of core warm it provided. The jacket is very resilient on its own but needs to be paired with a waterproof shell to keep you completely dry during those wet, windy outings as it’s not waterproof on its own. It’s perfect for spring & fall temperatures and also those colder summer nights when the temperature drops at higher elevations. I’d definitely recommend it to friends and have been complemented on its stylish looks.

Review by Steve Brown – Kamloops, BC.


Rundles Revenge 50km

rundle 1After the finish to our 2014 season with a 100 miler we decided this year it was time to slow things down a bit and train for some shorter races. First up on our list of races was Rundles Revenge a 50km trail race in Canmore Alberta at the Nordic center. We have a great history with racing at the Nordic Center and know the trails very well there thanks to multiple 24 Hours of Adrenalin races while we lived in Calgary. However nothing could prepare us for what was to come this year.

We arrived a few days early so that we were not rushed and we would be able to get everything sorted out and ensure we were ready to go for race day. This would be the first time the arriving early so that we did not have to rush to get ready would be detrimental to our race. The temperatures in Canmore that weekend were unbelievable. Canmore can get hot during the summer but most of the time it cools down at night. For these four days it did not. The temperatures during the day were over 30 and at night did not cool down below 20 degrees. We roasted for 3 days we could not get a handle on our hydration as most places in Canmore do not have Air Conditioning we were unable to get cooled down.

Rundle 4The morning of the race we arrived nice and early and had everything set we had a friend coming up to take care of Pickles. We setup a cooler and a bin full of food in the transition area and we were ready to go. Our goal was to run a smart race it was 4 loops of a 12.5km course so we did not want to go out to fast but I was also concerned that as the day went on the heat was going to take its toll.

Lap 1 went well probably too fast but I at least did not feel that I have pushed my body to hard. The course was a fun course made up of quite a bit of single track connected with double track and gravel tracks. I tripped on a root at one point and thought I was going down. I usually don’t have a problem with falling however this could have been a major problem as I put my hands out to catch myself and in my right hand was my mandatory Bear Spray. This freaked me out as if I hit the ground with the bear spray first there could be a great chance of puncturing the canister and being covered with bear spray. With this in mind I fought hard to not hit the deck and pulled out of the fall. I made a mental note of that location to ensure on future laps I would be more careful.

Lap 1 was 1:16:06. I was happy with that I felt it was going to leave me sitting in a good position to have a strong finish on this race. As lap 2 started so did the heat. The start of the lap heads up a nice technical section of trail called killer bees, this area has a lot of exposure to the sun and allows racers to bake nicely. As I got going I quickly realized that this lap was not going to be as quick as my first one. I pushed hard running as much of the course as possible. I got to the aid station at 1/2 way right on my predicted time. I was still moving well and still feeling good. I pushed out of there right away and headed into the second half of the course. As I came into the final technical section of the course I remembered the root I had tripped on in lap 1. I recognized the bridge the was right after it and once again proceeded to trip on the root. Again I did not fall however I jammed my toes pretty good and realized I was going to loose a toe nail or two from the race.

Rundle 2I finished off lap 2 1:31:21 pissed off with the fact that two laps down and tripped on the same root in both laps. I put this behind me and got out there for the 3rd lap. I was really feeling the heat now and started walking many of the ups. I could not get enough drink in me and I was having trouble getting my food down, I was just too hot. I pushed as hard as I could for the aid station so that I could get some more liquid when I got there I saw my split and new this was going to be a long hard last half to this race if I even got it done. I refueled and headed out onto the last half of lap 3. Heading along the trail to the section called the oven I could already feel the heat. The section called the oven is a beautiful piece of trail where there is zero tree coverage and the sun starts hitting it first thing in the morning and stays on it all day. By the time I got there is was crazy hot but I pushed thru. I found my nemesis the dreaded root that I had tripped on twice already in the race. I slowed down and walked over the root knowing full well that if I tripped on it again there would be a good chance that I would hit the deck this time.

With lap 3 almost behind me I was trying to figure out how I was going to get enough liquid in me for lap 4. As I came into transition I saw some friends hanging out at our cooler and food bin. Sweet I now have a support crew who wants to help get me geared up and back out there. This is perfect as I was pretty brain dead by this point and probably would have forgotten most of my gear for lap 4. I got them also to run some of my Eload bottles down to the Aid Station so that I could properly refuel halfway into this lap also.

Lap 3 was a bismal time of 1:59:36.  knowing that I needed to get my act together to finish this I made sure to run as hard as I could and as much as I could in the shaded areas on this course. It was going to be my only way to salvage a decent finish on this race. Lap 4 was a tough go. The heat and technical nature of the trail made it tough to keep pushing. I finally made it to the Aid Station and got my second set of fuel. I left the aid station happy and excited that the end was near. I only had 6.5 km to go and then it was all over. I got lucky some of the sections on the last half the I was dreading due to the beating sun now had some shade on the sides from the trees. I was able to run along the edge of the double track trail and get out of the blazing sun. This helped me to make up time and start to feel better. I hit the section in the trees where my friendly little root resided. I saw it lifted up my foot to ensure I would clear the root and as luck would have it I caught the front of my foot on that very same root. Down I went hands and bear spray first. I hit the deck pretty hard but fortunately did not break the bear spray or anything else. I got up dusted myself off and continued up the path towards the final climb to the finish lap 4 2:06:36 . I got in just under the 7 hour mark. finishing in 6:53:41 for a 7th place finish in my category. Happy with the time considering what mother nature had thrown at us that day and sat down to enjoy a beer and wait to see Grace cross the line.

rundle 3As I saw Grace coming to the finish line I ran out to get a few pics of her coming to the line. She looked like she had also had a rough day out in the trenches. It was not until after she crossed the line that I would find out how rough it actually was. She had apparently needed to puke since somewhere in lap 2 or 3. In lap 4 just after the aid station she got it done, in her words “I family guy puked right after the aid station. Then I could finally run again” needless to say she did not tell me this until after I had given her a kiss.

Another Ultra done and we live to see another day!!!



Rio Del Lago 100 mile re-cap Part 3

The Rio Del Lago 100 mile race re-cap it’s taken a long time to post not sure why I guess I wasn’t sure if I wanted to share it. But now starting to look at race options for 2015 – this was written soon after the race so we will see what it says 🙂

Rio Del Lago 100 mile race – who’s at the race – Grace and Phil Hiom are running the race and support team is Annette Hiom (from Naniamo), Deanna Stout (from Kamloops) and Paulo Medina (local runner)

Where are we Folsom Lake California – East of Sacramento!

The day before!

November 8th, 2015

3:24AM? What have I done? It’s time to wake up! What was I thinking this is super early. Need to eat some food before the big 100 mile race starts at 5am. Yummy – granola, berries and yogurt.

The run started at 5am heading out on some gravel road beside a lake I guess it was a dike and we all just started to run it was like a regular night run at home. It wasn’t fast it was just a run. My legs felt heavy and dead but I thought the first 3-5km can just be a warm up and hopefully it feels better.

Around 9km I found myself behind a train of people who were walking any little inclines that came along – I like running! So there I was walking and it was dark which made it hard to get past. This slower pace started to bother my calf. When I did finally pass I imagined they thought this was my first 100 miler and don’t you know you should walk? As the sun came up it was amazingly beautiful and I finally got passed everyone in this line and was able to do my own run. Not faster just more consistent!

This part of the trail was rolling hills with big roots and steps a little harder to run it’s referred to as the ‘meat grinder’ by the locals.

The next hill that was a bit steeper and harder was called Cardiac hill with many switchbacks to the top of somewhere. Our local support guy Paulo met up with me here he was out for a run seeing how were we were doing this was awesome to see a familiar face. At the top there was a nice water canal that we followed. I really wanted to dunk my head in as it was super hot out and the running water looked so amazing!

Reaching Auburn lookout (36km) a few kilometres earlier then expected – was super exciting!! Now it was apparently downhill to No Hands Bridge – a famous bridge! Well it wasn’t really downhill never believe anyone 🙂 Reaching the bridge – it was super beautiful! But now we had to ascend K2. I filled my flask with coke – this was a steep section of the trail. Super steep and hot. Every step was painful my right calf was trying to cramp but I just turned my foot out and pushed on up the hill. It shortly levelled out and was able to make better time. The coke in the flask kept fizzing out the top maybe not my best idea! Next stop is 50km!!

Tough go!
Tough go!

Reaching the Cool fire station in under 7 hours was a welcome site at 50k. Ok now 2 loops of 12km then head back. Fuelled up grabbed my other watch and off I went. I could see Phil out in front of me – Go Phil Go! My pace is now around 14mins per km – ‘why am I so slow’ it was 7 mins/km why am I so slow now?? And the kilometres were taking forever to go by people were passing me. What happened I was doing so well – maybe it was the 2km of road that slowed me down man it was super disappointing. I was counting the km’s and calculating my time to finish and it seemed so long. At about 7km in I finally realized that my watch was in miles not kilometres – ugh!

Back at Cool, CA – it was hot!! Another loop to go!

2nd loop done it was hot, tough and my leg was killing me! Now you need to go thru a medical check. So I weighed in and my weight is the same – Sweet!! I walked over to Phil who hasn’t left yet and I have a complete meltdown – I started to cry, I don’t know why I just cried. Phil left and I got my sh*t together and was on my way. 6km to No Hand Bridge – I cried on and off the whole way but it’s hard to see the trail through tears.

As I reached the bridge around 4pm at 75km I could see Phil crossing the bridge – Yeah Phil!! A quick washroom break where I thought the inflatable arch was the washroom – ha ha! Picked up my headlamp as the sun was almost down. And off I go!

About 10 minutes later I hear “GRACE!!!” what Deanna is running after me – why? I’m yelling what, what, – she can’t hear me because the river is too loud! She catches me and says, “Phil said you should take the poles” what? No I can’t use them, as my hands are full with my handheld bottle and a Ziploc bag of food but thanks for running after me.

It’s now DARK! And there seems to be some snapping cockroaches or I thought that’s what they were. The leaves looked like cockroaches and there was this snapping sound for the next 5km. Animals were rustling in the trees, branches would break once and awhile. I would shine my lights in the direction of the noise hoping the brightness of my light would scare them away!

Yeah!! Reaching the Auburn Overlook just over Half Way (86km) it was maybe around 7pm. My leg was now really sore and I really wanted to ask Phil how to tape the back of knee if he was still there. He was there I did ask but the tape wouldn’t stick. Aw SNAP! I also asked a complete stranger that I thought was Phil but he didn’t know either. It was so hot out but I took my gloves in case it cooled off.

Now time for some downhill on Cardiac Hill it was steep and technical be very, very careful!

Amazing Support Team!
Amazing Support Team!

Next aid station was at 99km this was a huge milestone in the race and I struggled to get there. I was out of my eload drink and I hit a low spot in the run. I focused on the 2 people behind me and worked hard to stay ahead of them, that was my motivation to keep moving! Yeah! I finally reached the aid station and refilled my bottle and drank some warm chicken soup this made me feel sick. No more SOUP!

Only 60km left to go that was an awesome thought pulling into the next aid station my feet had been killing me for a while so I sat down to change my socks BIG MISTAKE my leg totally cramped up on me. Arggg! Paulo joined me for 10 minutes until my leg was working again and then he ran back. Moving along the trail in the dark I heard a hiss noise like a mountain cat so I looked over and my headlamp catches these eyes in the bushes – Whoa a mountain cat! It was only 50 feet or so up hill to the aid station so I said to aid station person “I just saw eyes” she said nothing. Hmmmm

Filled up and left quickly I need to get moving as the hard section was coming up again back into the “grinder!” 10 minutes later 2 people were coming towards me and I was wondering where they were going – they must be going the wrong way?? A few minutes later 2 more people. The girl (racer) was listing off what she wanted from the aid station. Like what gummies she wanted and coffee etc…I asked if they were going the wrong way – they didn’t answer? Maybe she forgot to stock up on food and they were going back to get more food seemed weird. Ha Ha and then it hit me it’s an out and back course and they were headed back – oh man that was funny!


I was excited to be moving at a 10 min/km pace and kept it up for the last 3km heading into Granite Bay aid station (117km). Super pumped! But I got there and couldn’t see my support crew. – Then I saw Phil wrapped up in sleeping bag oh no he can’t be done. He told me his IT bands were shot. I figured there was nothing I could do and he was crawling into the back of Paulo’s car. Hmm I hope he makes it back out and continues!



The next 8km took me back to Beals point where the race started from and Deanna joined me for this section and back to Granite Bay again (132km).


Granite Bay aid station had the best washroom it was nice and warm and cozy – I really wanted to curl up on the floor and go to sleep. There were some black round dots that seemed to be moving across the wall – Really?? I guess everyone else thought it was super disgusting and it stunk.


One more time back in to the meat grinder 10km out and 10km back – Paulo came with me for this section as a pacer! It was great to have someone out there to keep me on course and keep my pace up so I could finish the race. It was tough but when the sun finally came up my legs warmed up that was the best feeling ever. Now back at Granite Bay (153km) again with only 8km left to the finish I was super excited and so was Deanna – She was going to pace me to the finish!!


This was a poplular place for runners out on a Sunday run and the encouragement from them was awesome! Deanna kept me on track as it was a tough push but I was so happy to have reached the finish line and see Phil, Annette and Paulo cheering me in – the crew was amazing and I couldn’t have done it without them!!

Finishing time for me in this 100 mile race was 28hr 23mins wow it’s done!



Update on Phil he pulled out at 83miles after not eating or drinking for 24km and had his worst bonk ever!! We learn from our experiences and come back for more……
It was a great race, a great crew and the aid stations were amazing! I had a great time!!

I ate honey stinger gummies, eload edics, eload electrolyte drink, Pocket Fuels, Hammer Perpetuem, Powerplant bars, Pickle Juice, Coke and some Roctane!


And Yes I would do another 100mile even after you see the picture of me afterwards feeling very sick and hungry 🙂

Rio Del Lago 100 mile finish
Rio Del Lago 100 mile finish

Road to 100 Mile Race – Part 2

It’s been just over 2 weeks and it only took a week to put the 100 mile race back on the table for 2014. It seems a little crazy to think we will run 160kms in under 36 hours or at least that is the time cut-ff. If we can finish in sub -30 hours we receive a finishers jacket! There are 2 races that are in consideration first one is in Louisiana on December 6th called the Cajun Coyote and the 2nd one is just outside of Sacramento November 8th called the Rio Del Lago.

The Cajun Coyote sounds like a cool race to do and Louisana would be a great place to go visit. This race is a 20 mile loop and you have to complete 5 laps and the elevation profile is pretty calm. The Rio Del Lago is on trails in the Sierra Nevada Foothills which offers some amazing scenery but also includes more elevation. Either way we will have to start training again soon. Follow us on our journey to our 100 mile run. Next training run is the High Rim trail from Vernon to Kelowna BC – 50km point to point.

Here’s a video of the Rio Del Lago race.
Fast Tube by Casper


Road to 100 miler or not? – Part 1

Sun Mountain 5o mile (80km) race – May 18th, 2014

Sun Mountain has always been a place we wanted to explore for many years and now was a great opportunity to go for a long run…… Training for this run was tough with nagging injures for January and February and then it seemed like the snow would never melt finally in March we were able to nail down a training program. It was not as long as recommended

but Grace says “I’d rather go into a race undertrained than injured the mental game will have to do the rest” The orignal training program was 18 weeks long that was supposed to start Jan 13th, well March 10th the training started to come together and went strong for about 8 weeks. The longest run completed was 34km which didn’t really seem long enough to finish a 80km race but it’s what we had time for without ramping up our milege to quickly and seeing more injuries. It would have been great to get 40-45km completed before the race.

This was our first 50 mile race although we did complete the Canadian Death Race last year at 125km it seemed like that was a long time ago. These are all stepping stones to see what’s next. A 100 mile race was something on the agenda for 2014 but we will see what happens.

The Sun Mountain race was great although a hot day which was unexpected and not really planned for… Phil and Grace made the same hydration mistake  – at the 3rd aid station where our crew was waiting for us neither of us took 2 handhelds not realizing until we ran out of water at 37km and the next aid station was at 42km. That 5km was tough on a hot day with an empty bottle. Reaching the aid station and drinking as much as possible it was a good choice this time to take 2 handhelds and add some more salt pills to the elood we were taking in. Grace was suffering with shin pain and quads cramping and Phil was feeling the dehydration. The next part of the run offered a little more shade and some downhill running which was super appreciated! Phil was about 25 minutes ahead of Grace. Along the course Grace was thinking why can’t we just run shorter distances and not take on these crazy painful races?

Reaching Homesteader aid station at about 52km into the race hydration was key and getting some food of any form into us was super important. It was about 6.5hrs into the run and it was still a bright shiny day. The watches we used only have about 8 hours of life it was time to switch out the watch and start all over again. After climbing up to the top of Sun Mountain sickness set it nausea for Phil and cramping for Grace but we knew we just had to make ourselves run because if you run then you get to the finish that much sooner 🙂

Coming upon the last aid station it wasn’t where we had expected it but it was still a blessing that it was a few kilometres closer. It was great to hydrate and overcome the nausea and get going to the finish. Our crew hiked in all of our stuff a ways to make sure had everything we might need. The last stretch to the finish – UGG! one more climb to go!! The Patterson

Climb which is an out and back where Phil and Grace finally met up on the trail Phil was headed down and Grace still climbing. It was pure beauty on top of the mountain overlooking Patterson Lake. Coming down off the mountain running along the road it was great as people were leaving the race they all cheered and waved as they past. Hearing the finish line nearby was so exciting we just had to push it to the end. Phil finished at 10:25:20 and Grace close behind at 10:34:13. Phil’s goal is to not let Grace catch him and Grace’s goal is to catch Phil not sure what will happen if Grace ever catches???

“50 miler done! 100 miler is off the table” – Grace says to Gary Robbins as he mentions the next training plan.

Our crew of Deanna Stout, Lindsey Austin and Jesse Winkiewicz really saved the day for us seeing them at all the aid stations helped us out HUGE!!

The day before on the Saturday May 17th Deanna Stout took on the 25km and she crushed it! We had the opportunity to crew for her on her first 25km trail run. She was cruising pretty good when we saw her at 8km and then at the aid station at 14km and again at 21km. She was always smiling and having fun even when she crossed the finish line. Deanna stuck to her training plan and finished strong at 2:36:58!

A solid performance by everyone and we hope to be back to Sun Mountain Soon!! Is the 100 miler going to happen if it does it will be in Nov or Dec of 2014 – Our goals for this summer is the run the High Rim Trail – Vernon to Kelowna 50km and to run the West Coast Trail – 80km in 1 Day!

Phil and Grace Hiom from Dirty Feet Trail Run Series in BC, Canada. Racers designing trail races!


The North Face Hyper-Track Guide

My newest shoe and the shoe I used for the first 1/2 of my first 40 mile ultra trail race. The North Face Hyper-Track Guide took me 2 runs to get used to, which is a long time for me, I usually love shoes right out the box. My first run in these shoes felt heavy and unresponsive however I took them for another spin 1 week later and fell in love. The shoes feel light and fast under my feet now. They are very responsive and have a large toe box allowing for your toes to have some space and movement over longer runs. I have used the shoes now for a couple of months as one of my 3 pairs of go to shoes. I have used them for long runs over 20km and shorter runs of 5km and like them for both, they have enough cushioning for the longer runs yet feel light and fast enough to blast out a 5km run. If you are looking for new shoes I would definitely give these guys a try they may just become your new favorite shoe!!


Fun Ride In Bend, OR

Riding in Bend, Oregon!

Arriving into Bend it was a great day we checked out some running stores and many bike stores and then headed to Phil’s trail to rip it up. The trails were smooth rolling single track and some flying fast downhill. It was great. That night we found a campground and they had a yurt available which was awesome as it was pretty cold that night for camping. Next post will be about the 40 mile trail race and some great pics from the race!!


Trip to Oregon!

Trip to Oregon – a quest for 40 miles of trail running……

Heading to Oregon we met up with our friends Lindsey and Jesse from Kelowna and travelled down together. Crossing the border near Osoyoos was an interesting start stopping at a gas station on the other side of the border to eat some food and what do you think was beside our car? A hand gun…..yup just sitting there looking like it fell out of our car which it didn’t so what do we do?? Take some pictures and then we leave. Continuing our way to Bend the wind was unreal especially around Soap Lake…. It was insane. As we were following Lindsey and Jesse and all of a sudden the bikes on their roof rack float into the air. Oh My God there bike race has broken off!! Thankfully the bikes didn’t come off and the back half of the rack stayed in tack – Aaaaaak!! Quick thinking we put the bikes in our Element and our gear in their car and crisis averted. We camped in Yakima maybe they sell bike racks? It was a beautiful drive down to Bend with great weather – next post will be riding in Bend!


Runners Glove

My latest running glove and now my go to glove for most things. This glove is very simple in its design there is no velcro to get caught up on your other technical apparel. This glove is recommended as a 3 season glove, I would have to agree but the 3 seasons I think are different for the Okanagan area than for what everybody else is thinking. These gloves will be great for winter running as long as you have either warm hands or some handwarms snuck into the the back of the glove. The backs of the gloves are made out of  TNF™ Apex ClimateBlock soft shell fabric  to help protect your hands from the elements while you get the miles in. The mesh palm helps to cool off your hands allowing you to shed some of that extra heat you may be generating. I however find they will be too warm for summer running and personally have not found a reason for a summer glove as of yet.  I also really love the electronic friendly finger tips allowing you to easily use whatever gadget you may need to use mine is my is the Bevel on my Garmin Watch. If you are looking for a good running glove check out the Runners Glove from The North Face either online at or at your local Wild Mountain Store.

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