Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Back to Batawa

A few weeks ago I ran the 25k race at Batawa for the third time. This year they added a Bad Ass 6 Hour race to the mix of other Fat Ass distances, which was somewhat tempting. Maybe next year.

As usual I really enjoyed the trails in this area, and the event ran extremely smoothly this year despite a huge crowd showing up for the various distances. Well done to Sandy Musson of Tri and Run Sports. Thanks to all of the organizers and volunteers.

My race was fairly uneventful. Remembering last year's painful experience of starting way too hard, I kept it mellow and ran by heart rate. The trails were a quite wet on the back loop which made for some fun negotiating of deep puddles and slick mud. My C-Lites were great in the mud as usual and my feet were happy the whole time.

It was my slowest time here which was a bit disappointing considering I ran it smarter, but it wasn't by much and I wasn't too far off the two women who finished ahead of me. Plus it was a good stamina-building session as always. All good, and by running it at a better effort throughout I wasn't very sore or beat up. Part of that is that I added back plyometric training into my routine the past few months. It doesn't take much to be a big help, and I definitely felt the difference on the five big climbs and descents on this course.

Past years' race reports here (2013) and here (2012).

Same-same. Left is this year, right is last year.

On another note, I can't get the pictures from the last two days of our Provincial Parks tour because my camera died. If I ever retrieve them I'll post them. As a replacement camera, I recently inherited Derrick's hand-me-down iPhone so I opened an instagram account: instagram.com/saramontgo

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Monday, October 6, 2014

Provincial Park Tour: Day 2 Bon Echo

Bon Echo Provincial Park is home to the famous Mazinaw Rock with its steep cliff and pictographs. We ended up going to the west of Mazinaw Lake to the Abes and Essens Trail, a gorgeous backcountry trail of approximately 17 km. We were lucky to have a spell of warm, clear weather to enjoy the fall colours.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Provincial Park Tour: DAY 1 Algonquin

For a late September holiday this year, we decided to do a number of small, relatively nearby getaways. We ended up running in four different Ontario Provincial Parks, enjoying the vibrancy of the woods, better running temperatures, and the lack of deer flies.

The first park was Algonquin, where I finally got to see a moose. We ran a total of 3 hours, on the Centennial Ridges Trail and then after a short break went up to a beautiful lookout on part of the Highland Backpacking Trail via rail trail along Lake of Two Rivers and then a steep portage. I can't wait to go back and see this entire trail.

Next up, Bon Echo.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Urban Trails

I grabbed a run on some urban trails near the Ottawa airport before picking Derrick up from his Gaspe trip, and was surprised by how nice they were. They were located in the Stony Swamp section of the city's extensive Green Belt. I parked at P11 on West Hunt Club Road just east of Moodie Drive.

I was able to enjoy a 90 minute run by doing some beautiful loops, and it left me wanting to explore more areas. While I ran I got thinking about what a treasure this network is, and what qualities it had that make it a successful urban trail. First, it is very natural and travels through a variety of terrain. It winds through forests and fields, with pretty views of marshes and ponds, and an abundance of birds and small animals. The trails had all types of surfaces and were suitable for hikers, runners, and bikers. Many of the loops would be fine for strollers. There was good access via parking, bike lanes on roads, paved bike paths, and transit service. Maps are available online and also at major trailheads. Each trail intersection was well-signed with locational map and distances to the next points.

The trail network is scalable, from very short loops to larger or multiple loops, with easy connectivity to entirely different areas and the ability to connect to much longer trails like the Rideau Trail. It is easy to do one short section or loop, while always having the feeling you could 'go forever' if so inclined. It was well-maintained, with primitive but clean bathroom facilities and garbage cans and I didn't see any trash on the trails. The trails seem well-used but far from crowded. I felt like I had them to myself a lot but I also periodically came across other people which gives a feeling of safety. There were nice points of interest such as an old relic of a lime kiln and designated viewing points on boardwalks, which people can use as destinations for hikes for themselves or their families.

Here are some photos of various points on the trails I ran. The details of the route I ran are on my training log here.