On Yoga and Golden Love: Jessica Pyper Profile

The yoga and trail running retreat is filling up fast and now only a few weekends away, so we thought it high time we shared some information on our Golden local yoga instructor, Jessica Pyper.  Jessica will be working with Kristen Stuart leading the yoga classes and Elinor Fish will guide the running practise.

Tell us a bit about yourself... 

I am a yoga student and teacher. I grew up in Grimsby, ON and moved to Golden, BC in 2009 to spend more time in the mountains snowboarding and studying and I just never left. A typical day for me looks like this: wake up, do some computer work for my business (marketing, social media, planning retreats, etc.), practice yoga, eat breakfast, get outside (either snowboarding or mountain biking- seasonally dependant), garden/house work, dinner, more computer work or work at the restaurant or hang out with friends. For work, I teach yoga classes, SUP yoga classes, workshops, and retreats. I also give Reiki treatments and currently work at a restaurant in town, too. 

When did you start practising yoga?  Why?  What do you love about it - what keeps you practising?

I started practicing yoga when I was 19 - only a few classes here and there. I gradually began practicing more and more and now I aspire to practice everyday if I can. I starting practicing yoga for the physical benefits and kept developing my practice because of all the other amazing aspects of yoga. I love yoga because it centres me and makes me feel comfortable in my own skin. I have an identical twin sister, so growing up was quite a challenge for me - I never felt like I had my own sense of identity and I didn’t really like myself too much. I was always wanting to be someone else- which sounds sad, but it wasn’t, I was very loved… just not by myself. Practicing yoga has really taught me to love myself as I am- it’s the best thing in the world.

Jessica with some garden rewards.

Jessica with some garden rewards.

What do you like about teaching yoga?

My favourite part of teaching yoga is teaching my students to love themselves, teaching gratitude, and helping them release their fears. My class is very physical, too, but my biggest focus as a teacher is teaching love.

Where do you find your inspiration for your classes?

I find inspiration for my classes all over the place- usually from my students. I never plan my classes and I base my teaching on the energy level of the group and I always teach a class around the needs of the group that day. Music also inspires me a lot, whenever I create a new playlist, I get pretty excited to teach! 

Why Golden?

I like Golden because of the amazing mountains here. We have such awesome mountain biking and snowboarding- Kicking Horse is the best resort I’ve been to yet. I LOVE the small town vibes and the people here are so rad. If the mountains don’t humble you, the people here will for sure.

What do you think are the most important poses for runners to practise?

Some yoga poses I enjoy after running are hamstrings; any type of forward fold either standing or seated will stretch out your hammies and your lower back. Downward dog is great because it stretches the calves, hamstrings, and back. I also really enjoy low lunges, with the back knee on the ground; if its available, grab the back foot for a deeper thigh stretch. Lastly, legs up the wall is my favourite all-around restorative pose.

Thanks for sharing, Jessica!


The Golden Ultra is a three-day stage running race (or relay) in Golden, BC from September 18-20, 2015.  Runners may participate in all three stages as a solo or part of a relay, or may register for any single or combination of two stages separately. 

The Relay - How, What, Help!

Running is better with friends!

Running is better with friends!

So you don’t think you can run the entire Golden Ultra as a solo, but you still want to come and check out the scene for the weekend?  Grab some friends and enter a relay team.

Unlike some other running stage races, a team entry is not about running the event together: it’s about divide and conquer!  You'll need a runner that can complete each stage - one for each day.

Each team will require an individual with the stamina for the 55km “Sweat” stage, but the Blood and Tears stages are much more amenable to trail runners looking for a less-than-all-day commitment.  Consider putting in a team that can celebrate big goal achievements on each leg: first vertical KM, first ultramarathon, first 20 km.  How fun would that be?

Two-person teams (one person runs two stages) are totally legitimate and welcome, although there is no price difference between the two and three person teams.

We’ll be awarding prizes for the top all-male, all-female and mixed teams over the three days.

The Golden Ultra is a three-day stage running race (or relay) in Golden, BC from September 18-20, 2015.  Runners may participate in all three stages as a solo or part of a relay, or may register for any single or combination of two stages separately.  

Staying Safe!

(c) Darcy Monchak

(c) Darcy Monchak

Do you remember doing practise fire evacuations in public school?  I sure do - it was an opportunity to spend more time outside and it felt exciting and fun to file out of the school in a quick, orderly fashion.

Practise makes perfect and while it is very unlikely that you'd ever need to use your fire evacuation skills in school, you had them in case you needed them.  This is the concept that we're applying to the development of the Golden Ultra's event emergency management plan.  

Borne out of our Race Director's good and bad experiences in previous events and obsessive-compulsive desire to be over-prepared, the emergency response plan is designed to educate and prepare all participants, volunteers and crew in the case of a real emergency response on any scale.  The emergency response plan shows land owners and permitting authorities that the event organizers are prepared and professional, and it provides a basis upon which to develop mutual aid relationships with police, ambulance and fire response agencies for coordinated response.

The super-star team creating the Emergency Response plan was outlined in an earlier blog post.  Deborah Varley, future certified Emergency Manager studying at the University of Brandon, discovered through her research the frightening lack of literature on event emergency response.  The closest thing that she could find to a sport event emergency response plan was one from the National Park Service in Death Valley, published in spring 2015.  

What would require a response?  Pretty much anything from an aid station running out of Honey Stinger chews to wildlife on course, electrical storms, course sabotage, and more.  Part of the emergency planning process is to compile a complete list of anything that could occur, assessing the likelihood that it will occur, and then designing the appropriate preparedness plan and response.  Information and education are critical!

Interestingly and coincidentally, two major outdoor publications shared stories on emergency preparedness in the past two weeks.  Get Out There magazine published a story about the potential for wildlife interaction on the trails and how to deal with it, while Trail Runner Magazine's article focused on required gear for events.  Both of these concepts are likely to affect participants at the Golden Ultra - either at the event or as part of your training - and are worth the read.

Having an emergency response plan does not mean overabundant and stringent rules and regulations, it means having a plan, a communications strategy, and doing some practise.  This will mean that the Golden Ultra will have some gear recommendations or requirements (they'll be posted here as recommendations a month prior and you'll be updated on requirements at the meeting on Friday evening).  

Gear recommendations may change to requirements based on the race-day weather forecast, local wildlife activity, and other factors that may pose threats to participants.  We believe in choice and each individual's ability to assess their fitness and risk but we also have greater authorities to answer to, including ones that may have to rescue or recover runners from situations created by the event.

All that serious talk aside, there is a fun aspect to the emergency preparedness process, and that's the great prizes we'll have available for our orientation activities over the summer months.  Stay tuned for some educational quizzes and videos that will make you a more prepared trail runner whether here in Golden or on your trail at home!