victoria

Hate running? Then don’t do it.

Gunner Shaw 14That’s right, you heard me.

If pulling on your sweat-wicking threads, lacing up your flashy, minimalistic running shoes and pounding the pavement with Daft Punk blasting through your ear buds for 40 minutes or so isn’t your idea of a good time, then don’t do it.

And equally, if huffing and puffing your way up a steep and muddy single-track trail through forest while your quads turn to jelly is your idea of torture, then don’t do that, either.

Also, if sweating all over the floor and looking super unattractive while you lift heavy weights sounds downright deplorable, then feel free to give it a miss. (more…)

7 Trails to Run Before You Die: 7. Matheson Lake in Metchosin

photo 1(1)After almost eight months, I finally mapped the last trail I wanted to feature in my “7 Trails to Run Before You Die – Vancouver Island Edition” series. I was thinking about featuring Elk/Beaver Lake, but it didn’t quite meet my twisty-windy-fun-trail-with-nice-views criteria. It’s a great place for long, easy runs, but I find I get bored when I run on flat trails that don’t twist and turn through the trees. The trails around Matheson Lake, however, are anything but flat and boring. The trail loop isn’t very long (about 4 km), but you can tack on another 2.5 km by starting at the parking lot right off Rocky Point Road and doing a nice warm-up run down the Goose.

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7 Trails to Run Before You Die: 6. Mt. Doug Park in Saanich

mtdougtopA “Top 7 Trail Runs on Southern Vancouver Island” list wouldn’t be complete without including at least one trail in Saanich. Although the Westshore and Sooke are home to some of my most favourite trails, Mt. Doug Park is edging it’s way up there as one of the best places to run in Victoria (in my opinion).

I usually come here on the weekend with my boyfriend and our dogs for a hike, and had never actually ran the trails until a few weekends ago. I was trying to find a good 8 k or hour-long route that incorporated some views, but ended up forgetting to restart my Garmin (ughhhh…) and we took a route back to where we parked that wasn’t quite long enough. The following weekend we set out sans dogs and iPhone camera and ran the same route (with a few more ks tacked on at the end) so I could map it properly. It turned out to be a great run–it was the perfect combination of distance, elevation, effort and scenery. Lucky for us, both days we chose to run it were beautiful and sunny.

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7 Trails to Run Before You Die: 5. Coast Trail in East Sooke Park

coasttrailinletThe Coast Trail in East Sooke Park is probably my favourite trail on Vancouver Island. I love its incredible ocean views, that fresh smell of salty-ocean-meets-rainforest lingering in the air, its many points of interest (deep water caverns, old fish trap cabins, ancient petroglyphs and soaring eagles, just to name a few) and its challenging terrain. I first ran this trail in the summer of 2009 when I wasn’t really doing much running; in fact, I had never entered a race or run farther than 10 km when I tackled this trail for the first time. I definitely think this trail made me fall in love with running; trail running, in particular. So if you’re a runner and you haven’t clamoured over its rocky, seashell speckled terrain, I highly suggested you do! And if you’re a non-runner, you might find yourself signing up for your first 10 km trail race after spending a few hours in one of the prettiest parks in the world. (more…)

7 Trails to Run Before You Die: 4. Mt. Quimper in Sooke

Top of Mt. Quimper

Top of Mt. Quimper

Sooke trails are hard to beat. In fact, I could probably come up with enough epic trail run routes to complete this blog series just in Sooke alone. But, since Sooke is a 40 minute drive from downtown Victoria, I decided to feature two of my Sooke favourites: the Coast Trail in East Sooke Park and Mt. Quimper in the Sooke Hills. This weekend we opted for Quimper as the weather wasn’t that great, and the Coast Trail can get dangerously slick in the rain.

You can take a few different routes to get to the summit, but the easiest to find (and the only one we’ve run) takes about 50 minutes to an hour to get the the top, and about 30-40 minutes to get back¬† down again.

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7 Trails to Run Before You Die: 3. Thetis Lake to Stewart Mountain

madeitIt took us two tries, but we finally made it to the top of Stewart Mountain, the next trail run I wanted to feature in this series.

This trail route was tough to find, especially for a couple of directionally challenged trail runners like Debbie and me. I had run this route once a few years ago going in the opposite direction for a race, and thought I might be able to recall where the trail to the summit was. Nope. Not only did we miss the turn off for the summit twice yesterday, but also on our first attempt we took another trail all together — “Look, those white arrows are pointing that way. Let’s go the other way!” Thank goodness for iPhones and Google Maps. (more…)

7 Trails to Run Before You Die: 2. Trestle Run in Goldstream Park

trestleThis week, I’m going to feature another amazing West Shore run: the Goldstream-campground-past-the-gold-mine-to-the-trestle run, or to put it simply, the Trestle Run.

This route is usually about 7 km, but of course, I forgot to restart my Garmin after stopping for a photo op, so my map and time for the run was off…. ugh! Luckily my friend Debbie kindly gave me her Garmin info for this post, although she ended up adding on an extra kilometre as the group took a wrong turn. But either way works! It’s nice to have so many options for routes and loops in this park. (more…)

7 Trails to Run Before You Die (on Vancouver Island): 1. Gowlland Todd

debrunLast week, I stumbled upon this post on Shape.com. After browsing through a few, I decided that the trails I run regularly in Victoria could definitely give those suggestions a run for their money. I mean, how many places in the world have this many well-maintained, amazing and beautiful trails, all within an hours drive of the capital city? Probably not too many. And I’m sure there are many other spectacular trails that can rival these (Inca Trail, anyone?), but for accessibility’s sake, I’d take my moss-covered, root-entangled, winding west coast trails over almost-urban gravel trails any day.

My criteria for the best trails to run: Everyone has their own preference when it comes to trails — some like them to be hilly, others don’t. Some prefer roots and rocks, others feel they are too clumsy to navigate that kind of terrain and might prefer flat chip trails. I think we can all collectively agree, though, that the more scenic the trails are, the better. (more…)

My 2013 non-New Year’s resolution post!

Winter run at Gowlland Todd

Winter run at Gowlland Todd

Well… I didn’t really meet the 2012 goals I set out in last year’s non-New Year’s resolution post, partly due to work/life factors, and partly because I didn’t follow my own advice of setting small, weekly goals for yourself as you work towards your larger goals.

I didn’t end up competing in any triathlons in 2012 because I was crazy busy organizing the majority of the triathlons I probably would have participated in. I did get back in the pool for a little bit, but was sick of everything triathlon by the end of summer and lost my passion for it slightly. I didn’t do a marathon in 2012 so I didn’t get my sub 4-hour PB, but I did manage a super fast half marathon time, beating my previous best by five minutes. With all things considered, I still had a great 2012 fitness-wise. And I know 2013 is going to be even better. (more…)

Twitter, runners and cancer research

Miss May in the Van Island Runners for Cancer calendar. Photo credit: Will Winter Photography

I have to say I’ve met some super awesome runners and fellow endurance sport enthusiasts through social media.

This group of Victoria-area and social media-savvy runners of all ages, levels and abilities came together under the #yyjrun hashtag on Twitter a few years ago. We get psyched for races together, cheer each other on and support each others’ goals, offer tips and training advice, run together, suffer through injuries, training road-blocks and taper madness together, race together, and have coffee and dinner together. And most recently, we’ve come together to raise funds for a cause close to all of us. (more…)

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