In 2014 I had a remarkable year of both personal and professional developments and many of these changes I can credit to running. Last year I beat medical odds and smashed my Nike Women San Francisco race goal and along the way I met some amazing women. In case you missed out in December, I announced my #OnTheRunTO series (the winter series can be viewed here), which will be shared here each quarter. The goal of this project is to introduce you to some fabulous ladies to keep the cycle of inspiration going amongst our community. Here you will learn a bit about the women featured, how we got connected and the pieces from the current Nike collection we are running and training in.
After a miserably cold winter where runners were challenged to run in the most extreme of conditions outdoors, we couldn’t be happier to welcome spring. In addition to the excitement of warmer weather on the horizon, the city’s running community has been buzzing since Nike’s announcement that Toronto will be on the list of cities to host a Nike Women Series race (you can learn more and register here before March 29th 2015, if you haven’t already done so). We got a bit of a head start on prepping for the outdoor run season and began testing out Nike Women’s spring running and training items, which are designed to help you push yourself in comfort and style. last month at Toronto’s Forme Fitness facility.
Meet Vanessa Cesario: My initial encounter with Vanessa was actually not through running but within the fashion and blogging circles here in Toronto. Although we’ve known each other for almost two years, it wasn’t until last year that we discovered we shared a love of fitness and running. This young lady frequently surprises me, literally revealing a new talent every time I connect with her. Vanessa, a recent Humber Media Studies graduate and Freelance Creative Contributor, has also worked in the public relations field and is the stylish Creative Director of one of Canada’s leading fashion blogs, The Brunette Salad. If this isn’t enough, she has been developing her photography skills over the past year, has shot numerous social media campaigns for some national fashion brands and recently shot me for a designer fitness collaboration campaign.
Why Vanessa Loves Running: “Honestly, my whole life until about two years ago was a constant weight struggle for me. I went up, down, up, down…and always looked at exercise merely as a way to burn calories. And I have to admit – running was always my least favourite aspect of physical activity. After changing my whole outlook on my body, diet and health in general, I started to look to exercise as a means of well being – for not only my body, but my mind as well. I tend to get nervous very easily, and came to realize that running was hands down the best way to blow off steam and de-stress. Running time is ‘me time’, where I can clear my mind while doing good for my body.”
Her Fave Items: Choosing my favourite items when it comes to Nike is hard. My personal style is very athletic inspired, so when actual workout clothes are as stylish as this, my heart just sings. If I had to narrow down my go-to pieces from the spring collection, I’d say the Legendary Lava Tights; they are so comfy, super flattering, and the high waisted design ensures that you don’t reveal too much while performing certain moves while training or doing yoga – not to mention that insane print, in addition to the Nike Free TR 5 shoes for training. For running, I’ve been rolling in comfort in the Nike Air Max 2015 and happy to have been one of the first to trial the shoes here in Canada. They provide the right amount of support and cushioning that I need for the distance I currently run. My Epic Lux Printed Running Capris are great because the Dri-Fit fabric makes sure I stay dry during running. They also have more spandex content than most running tights which makes them more supportive and helps keep them in place.
Meet Melanie Botswain-Watson: If you’re immersed in Toronto’s run community or attend any of the Nike NTC consumer classes, this is not a face you’re seeing for the first time. A Communications Officer at the Toronto Public Library by day who also moonlights as a model for Nike Canada seasonal campaigns, this lady probably burns more fuel points than anyone I know. If you’re looking for a new workout to try here in the city, Mel is the girl you need to talk to. She has tried just out about every single club, group fitness class and run group in the 6, often times doing two workouts a day!
Why Melanie Loves Running: “Running is a really important part of the mix of things I do to keep fit, healthy, sunny and social. For me, its all about balance and variety. I’m positive that my running has improved because of the training I also do at the gym, yoga studio, spin class, pool and whatever other space is hosting the next crazy workout I’m eager to try. I find real strength in running with a group. I run with various run crews; Parkdale Road Runners for instance and I love to drop in on runs with other groups such as the Nike Run Club and Tribe Fitness. Having a bunch of supportive, inspiring people, many of whom became mentors that I look forward to seeing, is the best kind of motivation. I hope that my journey inspires other people to incorporate fitness and healthy choices in their daily lives”
Her Fave Pieces: The Epic Lux Running Tights are perfect because they feel like second skin. They offer full leg coverage, great for temperamental spring weather, but have sheer panels behind the knees and down the legs for ventilation and added style. I also love that these tights have understated, but always important reflective detailing…plus not only one, but three pockets for necessities such as ID, phone and fuel. My Dri-Fit Knit Long Sleeve is also an essential piece because of it’s versatility. It can be layered with other pieces on cooler days or just worn on it’s own. The phrase “Run Fast Live Fearless” is cleverly hidden on the inside of the shirt’s hem and I expect this powerful reminder will help me through the difficult runs. The Woven Bliss Pants are also fun and functional. A cool alternative to tights for training, which are now a vital piece in my workout wardrobe.
When I first started running I was doing it to help battle my pain related issues with fibromyalgia and rare kidney disease. However, over the last 6 months I have noticed a bit of a shift. I realized that running has impacted more than just my life. Through this sport, I have been able to connect with other people from all over the world and has given me the unique opportunity to motivate and enhance the lives of those around me – most importantly those who also face challenges due to illness. I am shocked every day at the feedback I get from people on social media, who have the same ailments as me or suffering from something completely different. Knowing that I have shown them that they too can reclaim a bit of their life back from mental or physical illnesses through consistent exercise is huge! Ironically, although they say that I am empowering and motivating them, their comments push me to keep going, especially on the days I find it difficult to get out of bed due to pain in the morning.
My Fave Items: Yes, all of Nike’s products are insanely amazing and no matter how many things I receive – to be honest I always want more. My non-running workouts have increased as of late due to my partnership with Equinox, so it’s important to have training gear that not only provides support, but also comfortable enough to perform. The Pro 3″ Core Compression Training Tights is ideally what I wear. I feel most free having my legs bare when I workout. Although they are short, I never have issues with them riding up exposing areas that shouldn’t be seen. In regards to footwear for training, it’s really important to have the right shoe that can accommodate the type of workout you’re doing. The Free TR 4 Training Shoe is ideal for my cardio, boxing and strength training. They are lightweight but still provide dynamic support, plus they look great. Based on my gait analysis, the Air Zoom Structure 18 Running Shoe is suited for the way I run and will be the shoe I race in this season most likely. The new firmer foam along the heel in this updated version helps to reduce my pronation and the responsive cushioning is perfect for distance running.
I am a sucker for bold tights. In my personal opinion, If you look good…you run good. I’ve had my eye on the colourful Epic Luxe Printed Tights since the Nike Women Showcase in New York back in the Fall. The fit ensures that I am comfortable during long runs, I never have to worry about them sliding down or getting baggy in odd areas, taking away my concentration during training and storage in three separate places. The mesh panels will definitely come in handy during warm weather runs this season.
Photography by Nathalia Allen www.amillionminds.ca (@amillionminds)
For more information on the above mentioned products or to view the full collection, head to Nike.com/Women. All featured products in this post are available for purchase online (excluding Canada), Nike retail locations, in addition to Sport Chek and Sporting Life in Canada. Special thank you to the generous team at Forme Fitness, the ladies involved in this edition of #OnTheRunTO, Photographer Nathalia Allen and of course Nike Canada. For additional info on Forme Fitness’ unique training facility and their small group training classes, head to FormeFitness.com.