Running Buddies

Trail Embassy establishing social network

Embassy of Trail Embassy

By Chris Welner

There are thousands of trail runners in every corner of the world and most are addicted to discovering their next great route. Enter Trail Embassy, a social network designed to connect runners around the world.

“Trail Embassy is out to create a global network of passionate trail runners who will host and guide each other on trail runs as we travel abroad or stay local,” says Trail Embassy founder Brett Sharkey. “I have had the good fortune to be hosted and guide other runners and can truly say they are equally rewarding.”

Sharkey took South African couple Bev and Gavin Grobelaar to Moose Mountain west of Calgary. “It was so gratifying to introduce them to a local gem and watch as they marvelled at the view from the top.” Trail Embassy boasts members around the world, from Singapore to Switzerland, Australia to Costa Rica.

Thanks to Impact Magazine for the Shout Out!

Supplements for Runners

by Amy Bondar, Nutritional Therapist

STAY HEALTHY – organ donation call from Doctor

Supplements, also referred to as “therapeutic foods”, are an important part of your nutritional lifestyle. The truth is we don’t receive all of our nutrients at optimum levels from food alone. Nutrient depleted soils don’t offer us all we need to ensure our cells are functioning optimally. Living with daily stress and in a toxic environment also deplete our nutrients and can contribute to cellular or systemic inflammation in the body, which is believed to be the precursor to rapid aging and chronic disease. Working out and running regularly can also delete our nutrients and put stress on our bodies, so supplements are a key player in prevention and optimum health and ensuring you are supporting and replenishing your body.

Everybody is unique and not everyone does well on the same supplements. Just like food is medicine in one’s body and poison in another, we can say the same for supplements.  It is important then, to work with a qualified nutritionist that can help you determine your personal supplement requirements. In saying that, however, there are 3 supplements that can be very beneficial for runners: multi-mineral, omega 3 fish oil and electrolytes.


Cramps, muscle pains, stiff joints, muscular weakness, slow recovery, frequent injuries, anxiety, dry hair, nails and skin, are all common signs of mineral deficiency.

Minerals are essential for the body to function. They are key players is every metabolic process in the body. They lubricate and support the tissues, joints and muscles and they also help to create alkalinity in the body. Since running puts strain on our joints and muscles it is important to replenish the body with minerals. We can all benefit from taking a high quality multi-mineral supplement (Innate, Mega Foods and AOR are a few examples of brand names that can be found at your local health-food or vitamin store)

Omega 3 Fish Oil 

Essential Fatty Acids are essential for the body, they feed and fuel the brain, they produce all the hormones in the body, they lubricate the joints, support muscle and joint recovery and repair, they balance insulin, nourish the skin, hair and nails and are essential for many biochemical processes in the body. Omega 3 fats in particular help to turn down inflammation in the body.

Essential fatty acid deficiency is very common and can contribute to dryness, constipation, eczema, aches and pains in the body, edema and tissue inflammation. As a runner you want fluid movement, and to prevent stiffness and aches and pains in the body. Taking a high quality fish oil can be very helpful in supporting the body and preventing injury and inflammation. (Carlson’s Cod Liver Oil, Nutra Sea and Norwegian Fish Oil are good brands that can be found at your local health-food or vitamin store).


Electrolytes are the trace minerals that we sweat out during exercise (sodium, potassium, magnesium, etc.). For runners, electrolyte replacement is important to ensure intracellular hydration which prevents edema – swelling of hands and feet, to prevent cramps, the “trots” and to keep the body hydrated.

Many people use sport drinks as an electrolyte replacer but they are often filled with high-fructose corn syrup, sugar, food dyes and artificial flavors. It is best to use a supplement (Trace Elements by Health Solute is a good brand) that you can easily drop into your water bottle. You can also purchase Coconut Water which has a high concentration of electrolytes.

We run to feel and look good, to be healthy, to get that runner’s high, to strengthen our bodies and to be in nature. Along the way though, we can get injured, deplete our bodies, get stiff and sore and create fatigue. This is where supplements can play a key role in prevention and optimization. So pick up these 3 supplements and start to see if you notice a difference in your running performance and recovery.

Exercise and Food – How do you do it?

By Amy Bondar, Nutritional Therapist

Do you exercise to feel good and be healthy or do you exercise so you can eat whatever you want?

Food clock with vegetables and fruits

Recently while on holidays, I saw a couple working out in the resort gym and then shortly after that, spotted them at the poolside snack bar eating a plate of onion rings. I laughed and said while pointing to their food, “didn’t you just workout?!” The woman responded, “we exercise so we can eat whatever we want.” Really?? I thought to myself.

I recall a similar incident after doing a Hot Yoga class, I overheard a girl in the change room say, “I could totally go for McDonalds right now.” Really?? I thought to myself.

In both cases I was so surprised that they would want to eat junk food right after they exercised. It baffled me as to why somebody would want to put such unhealthy food into their body after they just did something so good for themselves. What would their body say if it could talk? “Thanx man, after all I just did for you, this is how you repay me?” Or “Perfect, you just fed me the building blocks to help make you fat, toxic and age quickly!”

Personally, I exercise because I enjoy it, it contributes to my health, it helps me maintain my body weight and most importantly, it makes me feel really good – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. The first thing I want to do is thank my body with high quality, nutrient dense food. My body worked hard for me and secreted some serious feel-good hormones, boosted my metabolism, helped sweat out some toxins, got my blood flowing, my heart pumping, helped clear my mind, resolved some stress, and so much more. I just want to give it back all the essential building blocks it would need to reenergize, repair, rebuild and resume its infinite tasks.

Each time we exercise we have a perfect opportunity to give back to our bodies. To take a moment and say, “thank you.” To appreciate all it has done to try to make us feel better and healthier. Nourishing it with whole, vibrant, colorful, tasty and fresh food is the best way we can do that.

If you are one of those people who exercise so you can eat whatever you want, that’s okay too, but don’t expect your body to feel or look better than the food you are giving it. Perhaps consider that your workouts may even feel better, less hard, less of a challenge and a drag to get through if you fed your body with kinder food. Maybe, just maybe, before you go to the junk, you nourish your body with a little love first, especially right after it worked so hard for you. Take a moment, to embody, to listen to what your body (not your mind) is asking for – would it be a glass of water, a refreshing smoothie, an omelet? Or would it really be asking you for a beer and a plate of deep-fried food?

Brett Sharkey, founder of Trail Embassy, says, “I am guilty of that ice cold beer after a 4 hour mountain run! Here’s my trick – I tell my body its full of loving calories!” There is wisdom in Brett’s way too!

Visit Amy Bondar’s Site to Learn more About Holistic Nutrition

Shake and Bake

Kick Up These Clean, Yet Decadent, Treats With Protein Powder

Treats with Protein Powder

By Heidi Cannon
Photography By Randy Dicken, Skazka Images

Eating clean is a wonderful lifestyle. You feel better, have more energy and your health improves. But sometimes I miss my sweets — an occasional chocolate bar, a cookie or a cupcake.

I started to think about how my favourite sweet treats could be made clean, yet tasty, so I got my protein powder out and off I went, baking up a storm. Two years later and I haven’t stopped. None of my recipes contain sugar, white flour or butter. Many recipes are gluten-free and lactose-free and I load all of them onto my food app, Mrs. Cannons Baking.

The app gets reloaded bi-weekly with new recipes, which include calorie breakdown, fat, carbs and protein.

Here are three of my recipes to try:


Makes 18 cupcakes

Cupcake Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup vanilla protein powder
  • 1 cup mashed yam
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 4 packs Trivia sweetener


Blend ingredients with mixer and pour into non-stick muffin tins. Bake at 350F for about 25-30 minutes, or until lightly brown on top.

Frosting Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. peanut butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup low fat cream cheese


Blend with mixer and spread on top of cooled cupcakes.

Nutritional info per cupcake (including frosting):

Calories, 125.8; Fats, 5.42g; Carbs, 21.06g; Protein, 8.97g


Makes 8 Muffins


  • 3 bananas
  • 3/4 cup of fruit of choice (try blackberries/strawberries)
  • 1 apple
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 3 Tbsp. walnuts
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup vanilla protein powder


Blend with mixer and pour into non-stick baking tins. Bake at 350F for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

Nutritional info per muffin:
Calories, 108; Fats, 3.2g; Carbs, 14.2g; Protein, 5.1g


Find this one over at Impact Magazine


The Ultimate Jornet

Extraordinary Mountain Runner Plants His Flag Atop World’s Highest Peaks



Clad in talus, snow fences and bare rock, Montana’s Lone Peak looks more suited for skiing down than running up. But the 300 people who start in the dark this September morning look underdressed for skiing. Their mission for the next two days is chasing Kilian Jornet Burgada up and down this mountain to see who can capture second place.

Jornet, 27, is the world’s foremost endurance athlete: a running, skiing, mountain man with a gentle smile and the ability to race trail like no other human. A Spaniard, Jornet is a seven-time Sky Running world champion and certainly at home on the rocks and ridges of the Rut. He holds countless records running up mountains such as Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Denali in Alaska and he is planning an assault on Everest.

At the Rut, the vertical kilometre presents a simple proposition: run from base area to the summit on a course that begins on a road, flows uphill on downhill bike trails then crawls onto the exposed east shoulder. Jornet clocks 46 minutes, a modest 14 seconds faster than runner-up Rickey Gates and about half the time it took me to complete the course. The 50K course pushes further, counting two sections so narrow that the course directors installed hand lines. The next day, Jornet wins the ultra in 5:09, 11 minutes faster than American trail running icon Sage Canaday.

After two days of gruelling racing, you would think the last thing a runner wants to face is a mechanical bull. Yet, here is Jornet, costumed in a felt policewoman’s outfit and blue wig, taking hold of the cowhide and rubber handle. Half a minute later, one violent swing casts him off. Jornet comes up smiling, the athletic grace that propelled him up and over Lone Peak twice in two days evident even in the lazy glare of nightclub lights.

Don’t let the costume fool you. Between the trail shoes and the wig is a man of contrasts. Before and during the race, he’s focused on running — there’s a determination on his face. But after the vertical kilometre, his playful spirit emerges when he asks a group at the summit of Lone Peak, “Who wants to run down?” Because of rockfall risks, the course directors nix this plan and all head down on the tram. Once at the bottom station, he asks again: “Does anyone want to run down now?” And when nobody volunteers, he tightens his shoes and heads off toward the base area.

Kilian Jornet travels the world and competes almost every weekend on skis or in his Salomon trail shoes in the most spectacular settings. He has no coach, no formal training regimen, just pure passion for being in the outdoors. He runs for fun, for the joy of mingling with nature.

When asked about his training, Jornet explains: “I really like a polyvalence, to do different things in the mountains every day: a vertical kilometre, a 100-mile race and a technical summit, or a steep ski downhill. In each you find different feelings, meet different persons, have different opportunities to learn and improve. And I think racing is a perfect place to train and to improve.”

His perspective on racing shows wisdom gained from years in the mountains. During the Hardrock 100 in Colorado last July, Jornet had amassed a decent lead with about half the race to go. Instead of forging ahead, he waited at the aid station for the second place finisher to arrive so he’d have someone to talk to as they continued along.

“Winning is good for the ego temporarily; losing is good for the soul and for learning. What you learn stays with you longer than what your ego can say,” he says.

Jornet’s balance carries over into his non-traditional approach to nutrition. In his first book, Run or Die, Jornet catalogues a cornucopia of trail food: “At Sierre-Zinal, there’s a large plateful of gnocchi and cookies soaked in tea.” When he crossed the Pyrenees, covering more than 850K and nearly 40,000 metres of vertical gain in 10 days: “Two wonderful rolls filled with tomato, ham and goat cheese . . . cookies and energy bars are the desserts to round out our meal.”

Read the full article here:

What Every Runner Needs To Know About An Alkaline Diet

Balancing the body with food for energy


To meet energy and oxygen demands, both lactic acid and carbon dioxide accumulate in the body. An alkaline diet helps your body create a neutral environment to stabilize and combat the amount of acid build-up. An increased level of acidity in the body has been connected with muscle pain and fatigue. It also decreases your body’s metabolic rate.

New research has shown a diet rich in alkaline foods can not only buffer the acid created by food and exercise, but it can also stop the body from pulling out nutrients from our bones. An alkaline-rich diet preserves muscle mass, reduces calcium loss and boosts metabolism. Simple actions like eating more greens, drinking lemon water and avoiding processed foods can help you improve as a runner.

The alkaline diet is equally important for older runners, since with age, the body’s ability to make muscle protein in the form of nitrogen is significantly reduced. With an alkaline-based diet, nitrogen levels are consistently balanced in the body, leaving muscle mass less affected.

Read the full article here:

Tune-In Runcasts

Great Podcasts to Entertain, Inspire and Train You on the Run


Why run alone when you can run with friends? If you are looking for extra motivation during your runs, strap on your earbuds and hit play.

Podcasts are a great way to learn about running, get motivated, keep up with the latest running news and fight boredom. They are free, easy to download and the choices are endless. Here are eight great podcasts to get you started.

Endurance Planet

Triathlete Tawnee Prazak hosts this show that focuses on endurance running, cycling, swimming and adventure racing. She has experience as a triathlon/endurance sports coach, strength and conditioning coach/personal trainer and exercise physiologist. This knowledge base shines through as she holds weekly shows with coach Ben Greenfield on sports nutrition, ultrarunner Tim Wagoneer on ultrarunning and coaching and a variety of other endurance focused topics.

Tune in if you want to hone your skills as a triathlete, ultrarunner or get your nutritional needs on track.

Marathon Training Academy

This podcast’s mission statement is: “to inspire and empower everyday people to live healthier lives, achieve fitness goals and reach new milestones by tapping into their marathon potential.”
Hosts Angie and Trevor Spencer accomplish this as they share stories and marathon running tips. The podcast has been downloaded more than 1.7 million times and was featured as top marathon podcast by iTunes. How could that many listeners be wrong?
Download this one to get on track to running your first marathon.

Trail Runner Nation

Whether you are a beginner or pro, this podcast will get you pumped to run the trails. Scott Warr, Don Freeman and Faith Goss keep things light and entertaining, while interviewing some of the top trail runners and authorities about running form, hydration, barefoot running and altitude training. Listen in to learn more about what is going on in the trail running scene and be motivated to trade in the pavement for trail.


You never know who will show up on this ultra-centric podcast. Past shows have featured famed ultraunners Ray Zahab, Dean Karnazes and Scott Jurek. Along with the legends of the sport, hosts Scotty Sandow and Eric Schranz interview a variety of experts in nutrition, training and injury management. There is never a dull moment as they dive into interviews with ultrarunners of all personality types and calibres. Don’t miss an episode if you are considering running your first ultra. This podcast will get you through the training runs leading up to it.

Read the full article here:

Rock The House Run

Trail Embassy was proud to sponsor it’s first water station at the 2015 Rock The House Run. The signature event raised over a quarter of a million dollars for Ronald McDonald House Southern Alberta.

Trail Embassy’s co-founder Pete Estabrooks gets the crowd rocking at Ronald McDonald House Southern Alberta’s ‘Rock The House Run’ in a high spirited pre-race warm up.