I’m very excited to be starting out a feature on my blog where I interview a woman (or sometimes man) who has inspired me. I’m so excited to share their stories with you.

Stories will feature people from all different walks of life, with tales ranging from personal growth and loss, from Antarctica to Costa Rica to Thailand. I hope to celebrate these ladies accomplishments and remind everyone (myself included) that anything is possible. Passion is by far the greatest tool you have to unleash.

So to kick off my series I’m excited to introduce Hailey Van Dyk!!!

Introducing Hailey Van Dyk from run like a girl! Our first inspirational story to share!

 

I’ve selected her to be my FIRST Guest Blogger ever (it was a hard choice) because I’ve watched her journey over the past couple years and seen how she’s been able to encourage people of all different fitness levels to pursue their dreams. Hailey is one of the Founders of Run Like a Girl, what started out as a Facebook Group and has grown to a business. Their goal is to share their passion for running with the world and they have created an online Facebook group with over to 42,000 followers. Every day they share inspiration, ideas, resources and education for runners. Whether you’re looking to walk your first 5km or run an expedition race across the African desert, you’ll find likeminded individuals and inspiring quotes to encourage you every step of the way.

These crazy runners tread all around the mountains in Vancouver racking up 15 - 25 km each go!

Hailey leads by example and inspires her group by regularly running and taking photos. And when I say run, let me tell you these ladies really go. 18, 20, 30km runs are their “Sunday fun runs.” She’s an extreme running… don’t believe me? Check out her list of ultra-cool accomplishments:

May 2008 – Mind over Mountain Adventure Race Enduro 60km
September 2009 – Mind over Mountain Adventure Race Enduro 60km
May 2010 – Mind over Mountain Adventure Race Enduro 60km
September 2010 – Mind over Mountain Adventure Race Enduro 60km
August 2011 – Warrior Dash- 3rd place female in 20-25 Age Category
September 2011 – Dirty Feet Trail Half Marathon
October 2011 – Around the Lake Giver Take 16km Relay
March 2012 – Dirty Feet Trail Half Marathon
June 2012 – Tough Mudder
August 2012 – Yukon River Trail Marathon
September 2012 – Mind over Mountain Adventure Race Enduro 60km
September 2012 – Tough Mudder
October 2012 – Around the Lake Giver Take 30km –2nd place female 20-29 Age category, 7th female overall
March 2013 – Shamrock Burnaby Lake Half Marathon-1st place female overall
May 2013 – Red Bull Divide and Conquer 13km mountain run
June 2013 – Survival of the Fittest 18km trail race- 4th place female overall
August 2013 -Yukon River Trail Marathon
August 2013 -Squamish 50km trail
August 2013 -Radiant Run 5km
September 2013 – Mind over Mountain Adventure Race Enduro 60km
October 2013 – Around the Lake Give or Take 30km- 1st place female 20-29 age category, 4th female overall
October 2013 – Fight Like A Girl Run for Breast Cancer, host event
October 2013 – Grand Canyon Rim to Rim
February 2014 – Costal Challenge Costa Rica 250km race, 6 days- 4th place female overall, 1st place amateur runner. 
May 2014 – Expedition Africa, 575km expedition race, South Africa
August 2014 -Squamish 23km

Did you see those last couple items? A 250km and 575 Km race.. no, those aren’t typos.

Inspiring? Check. Let’s get to know her better!

Jami – “Tell me about yourself”

Hailey – “My name is Hailey Van Dyk and I am an adventurer. I can’t say I am just a runner because I do so much and I am up for any and every adventure and will always try something once. I am 25 years old and I am a registered nurse in the ER. This is a perfect fit for me because of the dynamic environment and high energy pace. I have a dog, Charlie, who is my partner in crime. She is always by my side running up mountains with me. I used to be really, really lazy, especially in high-school. In my first year of my nursing degree I found running as a way to decrease stress and take a break from my studying and I have been hooked ever since.”

Jami – So I did a bit more digging to learn more about Hailey and guess what, she’s even cooler than I thought! Her whole running journey started out when she was in Grade 11 and went on an international Girl Guide Trip. Any of you that know me well know I’ve been in Guiding forever and the fact that she’s was a Girl Guide and that it helped to inspire the “Run Like a Girl Movement” Well, I couldn’t have planned it better if I wrote this script myself! I guess there’s something to be said for that whole “Girl Power” movement. Good job Girl Guides! Good job Hailey!  Another amazing woman in our ranks.

 

Jami – “What do you do when you’re not running?” (I swear all she does is run)

Hailey – “I have other hobbies as well, but yes, I run a lot. When I am not running I am at work.I work 12 hour shifts, 2 days and 2 nights. I can be found at yoga, cross-training, climbing mountains, mountain biking, cycling, rock climbing, kayaking, or curled up on the couch with my fiancé watching a movie. (The last is a rarity! ;)”

You don't see this couple hanging out on the couch all that often!

Jami – “What is your favorite inspirational quote?”

Hailey – “The task ahead of you is never greater than the strength within you”. This was the first quote I really took to heart. You are always stronger than the task in front of you. You just have to tell yourself that you can do something and eliminate the negative thoughts from your mind. Negativity is very toxic and can destroy you. You have to keep your mind strong when your body starts to feel weak and tired. You are stronger than you know and there is always something left inside to finish what you’ve started.”

 

Jami – “Can you tell us about a time that you were scared?”

Hailey – “This is a really good question because I am not afraid very often. This June however I participated in an expedition race and I was terrified! I joined a team of South Africans that I had never met. In expedition races, your team is 3 men and 1 woman. I prepared for my first expedition race by myself and did not meet my team until the day before the race started. The race itself was not scary, despite being tossed by giant waves in the ocean and having a shark swim through our kayaks. For me the scariest part was when I was sitting on a bus stop bench, in the middle of a small town, in the middle of nowhere south Africa, with the worst stomach ache of my life, after traveling 100km on mountain bike, stopping to throw up, and well… you know… every 10 minutes. I knew at that moment I would get my first DNF (Did not finish)… 12 hours away from the finish line in a 6 day race. It was a hard reality but I learned so much from it. I learned that sometimes things are out of your own control. I am a much stronger person because of this experience.”

 

 

Jami – “Who inspires you? Why?”

Hailey – “So many people inspire me. Basically everyone who is getting out there and doing what they love. My friends are out there pushing through boundaries and challenging themselves and never quitting! I am going to specifically say my friend Dayna. She has been running for years, she has been a trail leader. She always runs with a smile on her face, and she NEVER leaves anyone behind! She is there for you when you are having a bad day, she would do anything for anybody. She is a very special person and I am thankful to have her in my life.”

Hailey, Dana and Courtney finish up the Coastal Challenge.

 

Jami – “What is one song that always makes you get up and dance?” 

Hailey –  “Oh man, I listen to really strange music… anything by the Chemical Brothers gets me up and dancing!”

 

Jami – “Finish this sentence, I think it’s important for children to connect with nature because…”

Nature is as much a part of us as we are a part of it. Children need to be immersed in the natural world and feel the connection so that they can grow and feel that they are a part of it. There is so much to learn from nature, about life, about yourself and the world that surrounds you. Nature provides stimulation for all the senses. You can run your hands through the cold, soft dirt. Smell the cedar. Listen to the birds. See the wind moving the branches and leafs. Taste the pureness of glacier water. This is something that computers or TV will never teach you. Take your shoes off, stand in the dirt, feel the sun on your face and embrace the beauty that is around you.

 

Jami – You host amazing Adventure Camps in Costa Rica, tell me a bit about them. What was it like after coming back from your first camp?”

Hailey – “We dreamed up our Chakra Adventure Camp… a place to challenge yourself, rejuvenate, reconnect and cleanse your soul. Women from all around the world can sign up for one of their camps where the only real requirement is that you “unplug” and enjoy the activities. (Hiking, Tree and Water Fall repelling, surfing, SUP, Daily Yoga, a service project, oh, and of course, running.) It all takes place in the middle of the mountains in beautiful Costa Rica. We wanted to share our pristine mountain retreat with our followers.

For months we all mulled over the idea of this camp, how it would go, what it would be like. The picture I painted in my head was far from the masterpiece that transpired. Originally the camp was meant to be physical and challenge everyone and while it still did that, the spiritual and mental rewards were far greater and deeper than anything physical.

I could go on and on about our camps… actually I did! Check out the blog I wrote about our first camp and the amazing experience that we had.”

6 photos from Costa Rica Adventure Camp

 

Jami – “Finish this sentence, My favorite family adventure is:”

Hailey –  “A family hike is my favourite family adventure. I do not have any of my own kids but I often see parents out hiking with their kids and the kids always love it! Pick a smaller hike where the kids can do the whole thing. Stop and look at different things in nature, mushrooms on a log, a caterpillar, a bird in a tree. Slow down and appreciate nature the way a kid does.”

 

Jami –  Finish this sentence, My favorite solo adventure is”

Hailey – “I am never alone on the trails; I always have Charlie with me. I love heading out to Buntzen Lake and running a loop, by myself. My own pace, my own time.”
Hailey Finish lines

Jami – “Now the really important question… Girl Guide Cookie Talk: Do you like the chocolate or vanilla ones best?”

Hailey –  “Oh goodness… do they still make the mint ones? Those are my favourite. I was a girl guide for 13 years.”

 

Jami – “So what can we look forward to seeing in 2015?”

Hailey – “Well,  I’ll be running my first 50 miler and the World Adventure Racing championship in Brazil. I’ve also been selected as an athlete ambassador for Hammer Nutrition for 2015 so that’s pretty exciting. Next week we’re off to a Gala supporting the Langley Forest School! So a little bit of everything and hopefully some unexpected adventures too!”

To learn more about Hailey and the run like a girl team check them out at www.runlikeagirl.ca