Goals (from last week): 3 weeks till Sulphur Springs. That means 2 good weeks of training to go. Let’s get big milage on the trails: 50km+ of trails next week, 80km+ overall, and a long run over 25km. 1 hill workout. 6+3.
Monday, 5/5: 13km pavement, Easy, strides. Upper body at gym.
Easy 12.5 along the standard route plus 5 strides at Churchill park. I stopped for a bit to watch a couple guys pull a big carp out of the channel. There is a fish sanctuary at this far west end of Lake Ontario, Cootes’ Paradise, and since Carp, especially Asian Carp, are an invasive species here (pretty much everywhere else, too, I guess), there is an underwater fence of sorts to keep the habitat-destroying Carp out of the estuary and protect the native species. Further, there’s a narrow channel underneath York St. along the Waterfront Trail where fish are effectively funnelled and rejected. For some reason people really like fishing there. Fishing for Carp. I don’t get it. I guess they’re big, and put up a fight, but it’s not like they’re tough to hook or prestigious or anything.
Tuesday, 5/6, 23km trail, Easy, “174m” elevation.
The weather was beautiful so I decided to go and get some trail kms. My plan was to run out on the Hamilton-Brantford Rail Trail to Little John Park (or Little something Park) and join Monarch Trail. Then Monarch Trail to Sulphur Creek, around the Main Loop in DVCA, and back. This was my first real run with the Nikes.
My legs were still sore from Sunday’s race, and so I took a couple stops in the first few km to stretch. Monarch Trail was MAF (muddy as fuck), then HAF (hilly as…). There’s a big climb on Arteban road that thankfully the Sulphur Springs route does not cover. Monarch trail headed West is a climb, then a big downhill, then right back up. I took a pretty nice spill on Sulphur Creek Trail bombing down a hill a few km later. The bulk of the trail was a mud pit and I figured if I stepped in it at downhill speed I would surely bail, so I hopped over some roots on the elevated left side of the trail. No biggie most of the time. But this time I clipped a toe and went down. Luckily I did a kind of army roll thing and landed on the meaty part of my arm, though my left hand (with waterbottle) got scrapped up a bit. My knees were bloody but I wasn’t really hurt at all… Just kind of shocked, I haven’t fallen down in a long time. Like a real fall. I suspect (kind of hope) that it won’t be the only time I fall on the trails this summer.
Trails are tough man. All the elevation changes and footing struggles takes more out of you than you think, and really slows the pace. I think the elevation from Garmin and Strava is somewhat off in these parts.
Wednesday, 5/7: Off, lower body at gym.
Thursday, 5/8: 12km pavement, Easy. Upper body gym.
Easy 12km along the standard route. Trying to recover from Tuesday’s effort and Wednesday’s gym session.
Friday, 5/9: 17-18km trails, Easy pace, “320m” elevation.
Another warm day so I decided to run the Sulphur Springs course in it’s entirety. I biked the 9km to the DVCA trailhead- the race starts in Ancaster, but there’s an access point at DVCA. My legs were complaining from the start so I took it fairly easy. The race guide says there is 580m of elevation along the route, and that’s more accurately measured than Garmin/Strava data. I didn’t run the entire 20km loop- I wussed out of the Monarch-Spring Creek trail section that I covered on Tuesday. I knew I’d be back out on Sunday and figured that ~18km was enough.
This was the first day I was actually hot on a run this year. Like, ‘hey, I’m fucking hot. And thirsty. And out of water.’ I had to stop a couple times to find the route, but that’s more or less expected when I’m looking for new routes or trying to follow specific ones.
Saturday, 5/10: Off.
Sunday, 5/11: 20km trails, Easy effort, “420m” elevation (580 actual)
I biked out to the trailhead Sunday morning and ran the full 20km loop. I wanted to get 25 but I skipped breakfast to get outside in a hurry before it got hot and was running out of gas. I guess I could have taken a gel, but that seems like a wuss move on a 25km run.
Gorgeous morning for running: 20C, sunny, clear sky, nice breeze. Probably the most perfect weather day we’ll have all year. I had to double back to find the course near Lookout Trail and did some walking on the last couple climbs on Sulphur Creek Trail. The race starts/ends at the top of a pretty monster hill up Martin rd. to Ancaster Community Centre, and there is a pretty tough climb (‘The Three Sisters’ I think they call it) about 5-7km from the end of the loop. The Three Sisters are followed by an extended downhill so I think I’m going to try and take them at a pace that will let me keep running at the top and blow down the hill. Hopefully there will be enough room for some recovery before taking the final climb. I feel for the 50mi/100mi guys and gals. Trails are tough, huge respect to those folks.
Totals: 85km, “1024m” elevation (at least 1200m actually), 7h51min. About 60km of that on trails.
Thoughts: My ankles are feeling better. I’m lucky I didn’t get hurt worse on that spill- pick up your feet! Lots of hills and trails this week. Kinda bummed that I didn’t get a 25+km run in. Next weekend get 25+ along the race route. 5 runs, 3 lifts. I’m ok with 5 runs instead of 6. I got my milage and the rest day was well needed/earned.
Goals for next week: At least 2 trail runs, one over 25km. 6+3. More mobility work and foam rolling.