Best Trail Snack Ever: Barbie’s Divine Hurt 100 Bars

Admittedly, part of the reason why I thought the Hurt 100 trail race looked fun, was the amazing food. Volunteers make this amazing spread of easy-to-eat, delicious food from scratch, things like soft quinoa balls with asiago cheese, all kinds of different rice balls, pieces of vegetarian burrito, yams with salt, and of course, homemade baking. They literally send you on your way with a to-go bag of delicious food. How can you not want to do whatever race this is?!

Traditionally, I struggle with eating enough during a race. I struggle to chew, and when I counter that with gels, my body revolts after about 20. (Yes! I once at 25!) I try all sorts of things– pop tarts, yam fries, gels, dates, quesadillas, even baby food! But nothing has stuck, and I usually go through some period where I despise that too-sweet or too-savoury certain food more than anything!

And then, there are Barbie’s HURT 100 homemade vegan granola bars. I tried one thanks to a volunteer’s suggestion at mile 20, and I was hooked. I ate these, happily, for 28 hours straight. And I still love them, which really shows how much they worked for me. At each aid station, I would literally grab two or three and easily devour them up the climbs. They were soft, perfectly neutral tasting, and packed with energy. And if that wasn’t enough, the divine bars were perfectly wrapped for tired runners. Barbie and her friends hauled ass before the race to prepare each of the ~300 homemade bars with an easy-tear fashion for us! (Bit guilty, I probably devoured about 30 of the bars or 10% of the total available. If everyone ate them at this rate Barbie and her crew would have to make 3,000 before HURT!) I always felt great after eating these bars. It was a big part of my comeback!

I swore allegiance to these bars after HURT and Barbie was kind enough to share the recipe with me so I can continue to eat these and live happily ever after.

Barbie’s Amazing Get-You-Through Hurt 100 Bars
*with Alicia’s lazier version in brackets and italics.


  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds, toast in dry skillet; can use any seed or nut. (I toasted walnuts, pumpkin seeds and almonds. It was a near-burn save!)
  • 1/2 cup each 3 of your favourite dried fruit– things like chopped dates, raisins, dried apricots (cut up), dried cherries, or cranberries. Pulse all together on food processor or blender; will be sticky. (I didn’t bother to blend, I just cut mine real small.)
  • Melt 4 tbsp vegan butter, 1 and 1/2 cup pnut butter, 1 and 1/2 bags marshmallows, remove from heat, quickly stir in 1 cup powdered milk or 2 scoops protein powder, 1 tsp vanilla, 1/2 tsp almond extract optional. (I didn’t use any extracts, and added a bit less marshmallows. Also, I’m not vegan myself, so I added skim milk powder, and normal butter. And tons of cinnamon!)
  • Pour in nut mix, 1 cup quick oats, 7 cup rice krispies. (I forgot those, so I didn’t bother with the rice krispies.)
  • Mix quickly and pour onto rimmed cookie sheet lined with foil and press with wet hands.  Cut and enjoy!!

They are delicious, easy to eat while running, and will make all your running buds happy!


These are my version!

These are my version!

Thru-Hike the Baden Powell

Last weekend I needed a little thinking time.

On Saturday night, the idea came, and I started to get giddy with excitement. What could be better than an all-day, epic journey, from one side of Vancouver’s North Shore Mountains, to the other?

The Baden Powell (BP) trail was there, waiting.

My friend and fellow trail junkie, Sarah Carter, was able to explain a bit of the Baden Powell’s magic:

How can you not love the variety of sections this trail has to offer– up from Black Mountain, all the way down into Capilano Dam, up to Grouse Mountain, then you just get lost in the flowyness of the trail until you come into Deep Cove. So thankful to have this in our own backyard and to be able to share this dirt with several thousand others and their footsteps!

This trail is so beloved to me. When I started out trail running, the BP was the only thing I knew– and I somehow managed to get lost. The trail’s 48 technical kilometers have been the inspiration for some of my first epic running journeys, including one misguided traverse in winter, when the western part of the trail disappears to become a snowy, trail-less slope. The trail has known me from the very beginning, when I would head out with racing flats, and not much else. I’ve had many hilarious days on it, getting lost with friends or bonking and doing far less than planned. Since then, (I like to think) I’ve really grown up with the trail.

A view from the westernmost climb on the BP: Eagle Bluffs!

A view from the westernmost climb on the BP: Eagle Bluffs!

Before last weekend, I never experienced an urge to hike the trail, as opposed to running. But for once, I needed the extra time that hiking would allow, and I felt super patient. And with my dear friend Angel taking off to hike the PCT all summer, I started to enamour with the idea of pure long distance hiking. I realized that the BP would be a perfect thru-hike! And with the weird winter we’re having, it’s doable… now!

And so, I spent Sunday with the BP. Just as I expected, the trail delivered exactly what I needed. The epic day of traversing the North Shore was almost meditative, and by the end of my journey, I felt fully recharged. I even got to have friends along the way! My roommate Frank and his pup, Benji spontaneously joined for over the first half– way longer than planned– and Julien joined for the last third to the finish at Deep Cove, where we enjoyed some A&W burgers and beer.

Frank & I, and Benji! Both Frank and pup Benji joined me all the way from horseshoe bay to mosquito creek, which is past grouse!

Frank & I, and Benji! Both Frank and pup Benji joined me all the way from horseshoe bay to mosquito creek, which is past grouse! Yes, that is a Thai Girls Guides shirt. I was in Thai Girl Guides at age 7, that’s why I’m special.


The BP as a thru-hike: definitely worth doing once, even if you’re a runner and you typically run the BP– hiking it is a totally different experience! And if you can have friends join up along the journey, even better!

PS… some stats about the hike!
At a fast hiking speed, it took me 10.5 hours, which wasn’t too much longer than the running version, either.
I never got lost in the hiking version!
I never bonked in the hiking version!
I had no craving to devour gatorade at the end… just felt pretty good the whole time!
Tara, who was running the BP behind me trying to catch me, never made it.

Frank & Benji on the BP.

Frank & Benji with the BP.

Eagle Bluffs, the highest climb on the BP.

Eagle Bluffs, the highest climb on the BP. Think my camera lens was a bit sweaty here!