Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A Few More of My Favorite Things

Taper + Rain = Blogging

I have no run today. I have no exercise today. I have written on tapering before describing how hard it can be to sit still and do nothing. When a person is accustomed to exercising at least an hour a day at a good intensity it can be very difficult to stop. I love running and training so a taper is tough. I want to go out and do something but I also want to ensure my feet are injury free (walking around before Sun Run led to something popping in my foot and 6 weeks of limping with pain). I have also become somewhat impulsive. Today I bought a pair of very white trousers and yesterday I spent over $100 on face creams. Maybe I am trying to impress someone, not really sure.

My Favorite Runs

Arisaig, Nova Scotia: The Trunk Road to the old Arisaig Road (the sign says MacDonald Rd.). This is an infinitely long run if that is what you are looking for. Starting near the ocean this hard packed dirt road has a gradual incline as one runs into the forest and the Arisaig Back Settlement. The quality of the road gets progressively worse as one runs. After around 6 km the road becomes a V where going left will take you on a trail behind the church, Grandma's house and you eventually get to my brother's place. There is a beaver pond, a great fishing spot and some great views of the Northumberland Straight. If you go right, the road becomes a old logging road which becomes merely a path through the woods. The road climbs for approximately another 3 km until the top of the 'mountain' is reached. Once to the top of the mountain there is a grid of logging and access roads to run on. The great thing about this run is the solitude (also a risk...). Once past the V in the road there is more chance of seeing a bear/coyote/deer/moose then seeing a person. There are no power lines, no cell phone service, no cars nor trucks. The only sign of humanity is the rutted trail from 4 wheelers (AKA Quads). The only sound one can hear is the pristine brook cascading down the moss covered boulders. This is a great trail to run in summer as it has a dense cover of deciduous foliage. There are a few springs along the way as well for a quick drink of water.

Fredericton, New Brunswick: The Maryville Loop is an 8 mile loop starting in the city, crossing the St. John River, through Fredericton North and then into the beautiful St. John River Valley. With crushed gravel under foot this run offers a relief from pounding on pavement. This is a very flat loop with a very gradual ascent to the midpoint, regardless of the direction one chooses to run this loop. I must have run this loop hundreds of times. A benefit of this loop is the possibly of adding small side loops to extend a long run. I would often add an extra 7 miles by running around the city. As with most trails on the East coast it is possible to run this loop without seeing a single soul. This run always made me feel fast with it's downhill finish into the city. Returning to the city in the evening, crossing the lighted footbridge, was always very romantic (even if I was by myself...).

Hamilton, Ontario: Many people make fun of Hamilton and describe it as an industrial abomination. Those people did not bother to get out of their cars! When I was living in Hamilton I had access to hundreds of miles of crushed gravel trails which led to soft dirt and bark trails. My favorite trail (I forget the name) was a grass and mud trail in a ravine near a random sub-division. It was adjacent to the Dundas Conservation Area which was a blessing amidst the "Golden Horseshoe" concrete jungle. I was unable to get real solitude on these trails but they did allow me to feel rural within a few miles of the city.

I have yet to find a favorite run in Vancouver. I love Stanley Park though I wish there were more miles of trails. To run a long run I invariably have to retrace my steps. As much as I love Vancouver it is the only city I have lived in where I cannot run the majority of my long run on some type of unpaved trail. I enjoy running on the Sea Wall but I feel it hurts my body to run on the asphalt. I enjoy the endowment lands near UBC but do not enjoy the concrete and pavement route to get there and then get home. I have to run 30 minutes to get 20 minutes of soft trails. I would drive to the North Shore trails but I do not have a car and I find it weird to drive to run. One of the joys of running is throwing on a pair of shorts and shoes and flying out the door. Vancouver is the most beautiful city in Canada (very bold statement) but other cities in Canada, even those one may not suspect, have more access to wonderful trails for running and training.

Oh and lastly a huge shout out to the the EBTCers who competed last weekend. I enjoy singling people out as being exceptional so I will here. Huge kudos to Don Smith. Don was in Ironman Coeur d'Alene. From his race report (see link on left to Studio YVR) he was not overly pleased with his result. He is what I want to be. I could not imagine finishing one Ironman let alone all the many he has done as well as ultra marathons etc. Don inspires me although I am insanely jealous of his P2.

Happy Training!


  1. I have been reading your blog for just over a month now.
    I am a runner and am also gay.
    Having done an Ironman and 7 marathons, I am always looking for a boost of inspiration. I am not as fast of a runner as yourself, but love the sport.
    My goal is to complete the h2h ultra. Look forward to your next posting. Thanks. Don

  2. .....try the SFU trails.....when i am fit.... get hold of me and we'll take u on a hilly jaunt....