Not a Runner to… wha… a Runner!

RunBabyRunExactly one year ago today I set a goal. On December 22, 2011, I told myself I would run a half-marathon. Not because I knew how far a half-marathon was… not because I knew how far 10K was… just because I knew it would be good for my mind.

On January 18, 2012 {such a procrastinator}, I ran for the first time in my life — and on January 22, 2012, I completed my first race. Woop!

Since then it’s been a wild ride. I’ve completed 15 races:

… and ran somewhere between 600-700 km. Not exactly sure as I wasn’t always neurotic with my Nike+ GPS app. ;)

DNF: Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon Seattle — injured!

Body: No major injuries, but adductor issues mid-year and my right ankle has been bothering me the last few months. Lost 1 toenail — very close to losing another.

Trained in: Vancouver, BC; Salt Spring Island, BC; Victoria, BC; Santa Teresa, Costa Rica

Raced in: Vancouver, BC; Abbotsford, BC; Victoria, BC

Favourite race: Lululemon Seawheeze!

Personal Bests:

  • 1K: 4:11 {August 2012}
  • 1 mile: 7:23  {August 2012}
  • 5K: 24:51 {December 2012}
  • 8K: 43:57 {December 2012}
  • 10K: 56:53 {September 2012}
  • 15K: 1:35:10 {May 2012}
  • 23K: 2:20:17 {August 2012}

So there you have it, 11 months of running — BOOM — officially a runner! :) Running has been hands down the best thing that has happened to me this year. For the first time in my life, I feel strong. I have never ever seen strength in my body — when I check out my arms in the mirror {let’s be honest, guys aren’t the only ones who check themselves out} or to see a picture of these lean legs — I think whoa…! Remember when you were a stick thing Jillian Walker? Remember when?!

Those days are over. Strong is the new skinny.

Strength coupled with breath {and mental sanity} has been my saving grace this year. Looking forward to continuing the journey in 2013 — and celebrating my run anniversary with Monique in San Diego in January!

Thank you to Haley, Derek, Reagan, Pete, Michelle, Jen, Katie, Kate, Kittima, Clare — and the #RunCrew for the encouragement and advice this past year. Meant the world. xo

Strong Faces Unite

Yesterday morning I made a video {took 10 hours to upload ha ha} about how the West Coast needs to represent in Saucony Canada’s ‘Show Us Your STRONG Face’ Contest. That was before I fell behind 150 votes… heh.

Check it out:

So, whatta you know… today is the LAST DAY {thank goodness, eh!} to vote. Voting closes at 10pm EST / 7pm PST.

So get on it…


Thank you, thank you! Make sure to let me know what I owe you hehe. xoxo

PS – Hope you enjoyed the Mexican tunes ha ha — a Rdio playlist made that happen {a will work on my audio skillz next time}. ;)

Find Your Strong

Since entering Saucony Canada’s “Show us Your STRONG Face” contest — I’ve been stalking them online learning more about out their #FindYourStrong campaign.

Today I stumbled upon this…

… and now I’m totally in love with Dorothy Beal. Crazy inspirational — she’s a total dynamo!

In addition to being a momma to 3 and running 20+ marathons… Dorothy was just featured on the cover of Women’s Running magazine for November/December {um, hello babe!!} — and she has an awesome blog, Mile Posts.

“You find yourself. You find what you’re made of.” – Dorothy Beal

Life works in mysterious ways. Giving myself a high five for stumbling upon Saucony Canada’s contest, then stalking them online and now finding Dorothy ha ha. Can’t wait to introduce Runcouver’s #RunCrew to her!

West Coast Represent

Since starting Runcouver, I’ve become way more  tapped into the running shoe community (they probably have a more formal name than that)… anyways you know who I mean…. Saucony, Mizuno, New Balance and the like. I read their blogs, pay attention to their tweets and learn about how they engage with the community.

Last week Saucony Canada’s “Show Us Your STRONG Face” contest came across my feed and I did a big — ooooo, ahhhhh. Many of you know about the running shoe ordeal / nightmare / blah blah I went through this Spring trying to find THE shoe. I had been running in a pair of crappy runners from 10 years ago and my toes were turning black and blue on every run. I set out to find THE shoe and it took me an absolute eternity. After trying on (and running in) about 10  pairs, I landed on the Saucony Kinvara 3. The folks at Running Room on Denman told me they were light, had enough support and would make me a speedy demon on the pavement.

Well they were bang on.

I’ve been running in them since Spring and I haven’t thought twice about switching. I have thought about buying a second pair though!

Saucony called out to runners across Canada — they wanted to see our definition of STRONG. What did you have to do? Just submit a photo of you running strong with a tagline, then voting would begin and 3 people would win new runners!

So I entered (how could I not, let’s be real)!

My submission:

“Running has given me strength that I didn’t know was possible. For the first time in my life, I feel mentally and physically strong — like I could take on the world. Running through pink fairy dust and dominating a race? No big deal.”

The photo was taken at Color Me Rad (a 5K race that took place at UBC Thunderbird Stadium in August). It could also be known as the most colourful run in the city — they spray paint on you at every kilometre. :) Such a fun race — and definitely one that Kate, Meridith and I powered through!

31 people entered — with only a few from the West Coast (and only one other from Vancouver! High five Andrew!). I already love you to the moon and back — but I would love you to MARS and back if you would support the contest (and my entry hehe!).

This girl needs a new pair of Kinvaras. :)

The nitty gritty:

  • Voting ends November 28th at 10:00pm EST (that’s 7:00pm PST folks!)
  • Twitter hashtag is #FindYourStrong

It’s super easy.

All you gotta do is click below to cast your vote on the best STRONG face in Canada!

Voting began yesterday and we hit 52 votes! Woop woop! Thank you friends. 5 days to go.


Running Gear

Since starting Runcouver and launching the #RunCrew, I’ve been asked lots — “So, what do you wear?” … well, well, well I could go on and on about my massive wish list, but instead let’s stick to the basics:

  • Shoes: Saucony Kinvara 3’s for the pavement and the Peregrine for the trails. I love that the Kinvara 3’s are speedy demons.
  • Socks: I’m not that picky as long as they breathe and also have heel coverage {no one likes blisters!}. I generally wear Lululemon’s Padded Run Sock or CEP’s compression socks.
  • Crops: When the weather is chilly I run in Lululemon’s Run Inspire Crop and I race in Lululemon’s Marathon Crop.
  • Shorts: I’m a big fan of wearing as little as possible when I’m running. TNA’s Shorty Shorts do the trick.
  • Jackets: I only wear a jacket when it’s pouring with rain! I have an older Lululemon rain jacket with a hood that works like a charm– or I’ll wear my light Lululemon Nothing But Run jacket.
  • Long Sleeve: The perfect pre-race {and first 4K warm up} is Lululemon’s Swiftly Long Sleeve.
  • Tank: My go-to tank is always Lululemon’s Cool Racerback!
  • Sports Bra: I love Lululemon’s Flow Y Bra — but often switch it out with their Free to Be Bra. Not big busted, so not really an issue. ;)
  • Headbands: In the spring/summer, I wear Lululemon’s super cute Satin Pirouette Headband and in the fall/winter, the Brisk Run Headband {covers your ears!}.
  • Gloves: I was gifted Lululemon’s Brisk Run Gloves from my sister a few years ago {yes, when I wasn’t running}… anyways they are fantastic because you can still use your iPhone with them on and they have a pocket for your keys!
  • Music: iPod Nano {classic}, Snuggbugs {found them at Rock n’ Roll Seattle Race Expo — LOVE} and if I run with my iPhone, I listen to my running playlists on!

I have a lot of Lululemon gear  — because 1) it fits me oh so well, and 2) I love luon. I would love to be able to run in Nike but I don’t fit into their smallest size. If someone wants to make me a custom Nike “Running Sucks” t-shirt, I’d totally love you forever.

Note: No one told me to write this post… no one pays for my running gear… {no, not even a sugar daddy}.

Running is Awesome

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THE ONLY THING MORE BEAUTIFUL than Vancouver in the sun is Vancouver in the rain. And there’s no better way to celebrate our rainy, beautiful city than to go for a run in it. This week, I’m introducing you to Vancouver’s newest online running community and training crew: Runcouver.PLACE: Wherever you can run your heart out 

LOCATION: Vancouver.  

Have suggestions for UNPLUGGED this fall? Tweet me @amberturnau.

Running is a like a life transfusion. The gentle sounds of your breathe and running shoes hitting the pavement or forest floor. The pitter pattering of rain on your waterproof jacket. The silence and focus that allows you to calm your mind and just be in the moment. Now, Vancouver’s running community will have place to gather online to share this passion. Meet Runcouver: an online community for local runners. The motto: ”The only requirement is that you gotta love our city to the moon and back.”

I’m always amazed by go-getters. They have so much motivation and energy and they live with their hearts on their sleeves. Jillian Walker, an HR professional and outdoors enthusiast, is one of those people. You might know her as @JillianWalker on Twitter.  She founded Runcouver with the goal of bringing like-minded Vancouver-loving, run crushing people together to build the community.

Since January, Jillian has completed 14 races in both Vancouver and Victoria, including her first half marathon. But, it hasn’t always been that way for her.

“I was always stick skinny and used that as an excuse not to be active,” says Jillian. “Over the last 10 years, I have learned a lot about healthy body, healthy mind.”

Jillian has only been running for a year, but it’s changed her life.

“Everyday I am out there I am grateful for my health (Scoliosis included) and that I live in this beautiful city,” Jillian muses. “It is absolutely motivating and inspiring to be pounding the pavement or frolicking through the trails. Running has taught me to be way more patient — both personally and professionally.”

Now, Jillian is sharing her passion for pounding the pavement and Vancouver. Not only does Runcouver have a fast-growing Facebook and Twitter community, but will be updating the blog and newsletter frequently with race info, running tips and more. Jillian is also taking on a 2012/2013 Run Crew. These 10 enthusiastic women will work towards their half-marathon goal as a troupe; learning the importance of mental and physical strength and building body awareness.  The crew is already seeing interest from sponsors and the run goal will be Lululemon’s SeaWheeze race in August 2013.

“For the first time in my life, I feel strong. Strength is an incredible feeling. Your mind becomes clear and you feel ready to conquer to the world,” adds Jillian. “I look forward to working with the “Run Crew” in achieving their run goals and challenging the status quo. They are all incredible young women and I feel blessed to have the opportunity to coach them to success.”

Ahh… gratitude. Thank you to all the young women who have come forward to be part of this community. Thank you to Amber Turnau for getting to know what we’re up to at Runcouver and to Vancouver is Awesome for profiling my latest project.

To learn more about Runcouver:

Introducing… Runcouver!

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been brainstorming, planning — maybe even scheming.

Yesterday I {randomly} announced the launch of Runcouver!

Back the train… whaatttt? :) I’m not very good at surprises, but for whatever reason, I was this time! Over Thanksgiving weekend, I had the opportunity to meet with two young women in Victoria. We went for brunch and had the opportunity to discuss everything from university life to community involvement to travel — and running.

Running has hugely changed my life. A year ago I wasn’t a runner… and I also didn’t have a clue about running shoes or the seawall. Since then I’ve learned so much about myself and the Vancouver community. I’ve learned to breathe — whoa, life isn’t only about work or school! I’ve learned to run — 20k, no problem {…most of the time}! And most importantly, I’ve learned what it feels like to be strong — both in mind and body.

Throughout my running journey, I’ve been continually been asked — How did you start running? How do I start running? Can you get me started? etc etc. — After a conversation with the girls in Victoria, I decided that I would package up my commitment to running and passion for education into a coaching program. My goal is to unite a group of young women in realizing their potential. I want to help them crush goals and become comfortable in their own skin, while soaking up this beautiful city and having a whole pile of fun.

Runcouver is twofold — a community and a run crew.

Run Community: 

Runcouver aims to connect all levels of pavement crushers and trail dominators, into one positive, motivating, goal crushing community. The only requirement is that you gotta love our city to the moon and back. 

Run Crew:

The 2012/2013 pilot of the run crew is comprised of young women who are committed to striving high and kicking some serious ass as they bust towards run goals. 

It is an opportunity for girls to unite together on a mission to improve themselves. The crew will be working towards one big goal (running a half marathon in beautiful Vancouver), but the adventure will also be about continually improving mind – body – soul and getting in some good ol’ fabulous self-development.

In addition to the Run Crew, my hope is that Runcouver becomes a community of people who are passionate about running in this beautiful city. I expect it to be a source of information for runners, an inspiration for those wanting to learn how to run and a support group when the sideways rain is coming down in December and we all know we need to put in 11k. ;)

Thank you to everyone for your support over the last day — I am extremely grateful for the high fives and fist pumps. If you’re interested in the #RunCrew, make sure to read the Quick &  Dirty intro to the program here and then drop me a line at!

I can’t wait to meet the young women who will be part of the #RunCrew and see how Runcouver evolves over the next year.

With all the run love in the world. xo