As I mentioned in last week’s update I am in the midst of a two week vacation which has meant a much less structured training plan. Week #8 was a full week on vacation (in Parksville and Vancouver, British Columbia.) Being on vacation has basically meant a reduction in volume in terms of length of runs for two reasons – one is that I have less time I am willing to go running for when it means missing activities with my family, and the other is that I have been doing some shorter distance runs with much more climbing (thus less distance). I figured since it isn’t often I get to be somewhere with actual elevation, I should take advantage of it. I was satisfied with how much running I actually did in week #8 as it would have been easy to just blow off some workouts and relax.
One of these big climbing days (in a relative sense for my Ontario legs!) was on Monday. I ran a trail near Arrowsmith Mountain west of Qualicum Beach. I have written much more detail about it here, but it was definitely an awesome afternoon. It was just over 15 km in just under 3 hours (with a bunch of photo stops, and few route corrections included. The trail climbed over 1000m and then I went back down the same way. My quads were destroyed for a couple of days after that run.
I gave my legs a chance to recover on Tuesday. On Wednesday I ran some trails nearby our rented cottage, and finished off on the tidal flats where my wife and kids were playing. An awesome way to finish a run! This one was 14 km in 1:10.
Thursday was another trail I had researched and knew would offer some good climbing and descending. I followed one of the many routes up Mt. Benson in Nanaimo. The route up was very steep and I ended up power hiking a significant chunk of it that wasn’t really runnable. I made it to the summit and was rewarded with some great views. The route I took down was much more runnable and if I went again, I would have taken it up. My run was just under 7km, but took me just over 1:30 (again with lots of photo stops). This one was just over 700m of gain.
On Friday I had some time so I ran the trails along Englishman River near our cottage. It was great having a decent network of trails right out our door. The excitement this day was a bear spotting. As I ran down an old logging road, I glanced off to an old widening and saw a big black bear amble out of the woods (15-20 feet away). I stopped, the bear stopped, and we had about 3 seconds to realize what we were seeing. The bear turned and started back into the woods and I yelled “GET OUT OF HERE” and that got it moving. I have seen a lot of black bears in my lifetime but this was definitely the closest I have come to one in its natural habitat. Thankfully it wasn’t interested in me and there was nothing to worry about.
Saturday was a travel day (rest day) back to the mainland for our second week’s stay in Vancouver. Again this week, I have a couple of runs on my wishlist and will try to get in some km’s around the place we are staying when I can. I am hoping to get out and do the Grouse Grind (a super popular staircase run up a ski hill nearby). I’m not expecting it to be the most stimulating run, but something I always hear about so I want to see what its all about. I also plan to get out for a few hours on one of the many trails in North Vancouver.
As always, thanks for reading and I’ll keep you posted on how vacation week #2 goes!