Snowshoe Running

A few months ago we took a run through the old Rockliffe base. There are no buildings there anymore, the last of them may have been the school which burned down in 2012, or perhaps the remaining structures were demolished after the fire as a safety precaution. At any rate, all that remains on the property is a swing set (no swings), a basketball hoop (no net) and a small gazebo. It’s also interesting to run around here because there are signs such as ‘Area 16’, ‘Area 28’, etc. It’s a pretty eery place, so I keep looking for ‘Area 51’. The land has been sold for development which is expected to begin in the next year or two, we decided to take advantage of the land along with the dog walkers.

Now that Ottawa got winterized (and walloped with several snow storms with more than 30CM in one day – one even surpassed 50cm!) we hauled out the running snowshoes.

Atlas Run Snowshoe Image
Altas Run Snowshoes

Continue reading “Snowshoe Running”

The day I fell. On my face.

We were having such a beautiful summer – the weather was beyond perfect, it was warm and sunny, and the running was excellent. It was July 25th, and Sylvie and I went out to run some ‘new to us’ trails in the Gatineau Park. We parked at Gamelin and ran the path up, which turns out to be paved for the first several kms. I’d forgotten about that! We turned off the path the first chance we got to get on the trails, just before Pink Lake.

We were having a great time, as we always do. We bumped into our friend Mélanie and asked her about her cute speakers (post on that coming later!). We ran to the end of the path, turned around and decided to stop in at Mackenzie King Estate. We explored for a bit – Sylvie had never been! It was a lot of fun.

Good times image
Good times!

Continue reading “The day I fell. On my face.”

MEC Fell Race Report

MEC Race 4. Oh boy. The course description:

Experienced: A race of close to 10km and approx. +465m / -470m elevation change.
The tough one! Start with a short sharp ascent and decent on open hill before looping the steepest North East ski slopes (including the frankly terrifying 28% slopes of Heggtveit!), the route then ascends the Slalom slope (almost as steep as Hegg), descends back down to hit some single track under the high ropes and aerials course, a loop around the biathlon track and shooting range before ascending again up and down Brian’s Trail on some classic flowing single track.

I can do this right? That’s what I thought when I signed up. You only live once!

So Steve and I trained for it. We did quite a bit of trail running and then it was time to run parts of the course. Here I am looking at the ski hill map. My posture reads confidence right?

MEC Fell Training Image
MEC Fell Training

I know everyone says ‘it looks a lot steeper in person’ but it does. Really.

We started with a little warm up and then started to climb the hill.  Holy Mother of God. I was terrified at times. We were full on crawling at times and couldn’t stand for fear of falling back. And when you think you’ve cresed the top? False flat! Wooo! We did make it to the top, my Garmin stopped at some points because I was going so slow, but we made it. Next was the descent, and we chose the next hill because it was less steep, and wouldn’t you know it, with 10 feet to the bottom I slip and slide on my rear. Steve heard the gravel and turned around to see me sitting there in the rain. He shouts ‘what the heck are you doing?’. I couldn’t get up for laughing.

On to race day!

July 5th and there are a lot more people at this race than I ever thought would show up. Our friend Dave came in from Toronto do run this race. It was going to be great! We get a little pep talk from Chris the RD from MEC Ottawa, and off we go. Straight up. It was pretty slow going single file, but I was totally fine with that since I knew what was coming. Well we all did because we drove by it to get to the race site, but I’d crawled it once. On the way down the first down I passed some girls racing who were singing and picking flowers and putting them in their hair. I was gasping for air and they had all the energy in the world. Loved them!! After another small up and down there she was – Heiggtveit. Again we were single file, but that was fine with me. I wore gloves this time to help me grapple the rocks and grasses to keep me from falling backwards. I passed a few people, some I was a little worried about to be frank, but I kept my eye on them and advised the first aid folks when I got to the top. But I’m skipping ahead because I had yet to get to the top. This was humbling to say the least because it was really tough. There was no stopping because people were behind you. I stuck with my pack and made friends with Bob. I was so grateful to get to the top. I screamed a bit when the photographer walked out of the woods because I didn’t see him. Turns out there was a bear right near us – I never saw that either. #oxygendeprivation.

Bob and I were chatting as we were running along the road at the top, then down and up another hill (the photo below is me at the bottom of that hill) then all we had left was Brian’s trail. And that sucker is FUN. I came through the finish smiling, Steve and friends were waiting for me. What a blast! I’ll definitely do this race again next year!

MEC Fell Race
Only 2k to go!

Women’s Trail Running Festival

A unique event was held in the Ottawa/Gatineau area on June 14th – the first annual Women’s Trail Running Festival. The event was held at Camp Fortune, a local ski centre nestled in the Gatineau Park in Chelsea, QC and sponsored by MEC Ottawa, XCzoneTV and Natural Fitness Lab.

The event went like this – show up, meet a ton of trail friends, meet their friends, meet some strangers who are trail runners or trail runner newbies, and boom, it’s a party. There were several speakers with extensive knowledge (and passion) of the sport, discussing topics such as coaching and training philosophy, running related injury prevention and trail racing and competition.

Dave McMahon and Lise Meloche presented a trailer for their (then soon to be released) film Oxygen. That certainly was the icing on the cake and set tone for what was to come – we were pumped.

Outside we went and did some drills, then split up into groups to practice on the trails. One pic (courtesy of Dave McMahon):

Trail Running Clinic
Here we come!

Yeah that’s me in the burgundy, behind my great friend Sylvie!

We went for a trail run after this, and Dave captured this little beauty of me:

Muddy Run! Image
There was a bit of mud

And I didn’t lose my shoe!

Also of note, there were some terrific door prizes: Gait Analysis from Clinique podiatrique de l’Outaouais, compression socks from the amazing crew at SoleFit, shorts from Oiselle, entries from Derrick Spafford for snowshoe races and Greco Colonnade for the 1 week trial for participating.

Big thanks also to Phil Armstrong, for giving us all generous samples of his Strong Bars, which are locally made and delicious! We bought several packages afterwards and regularly use them in our training. YUM.