I’ve been doing a lot of road running recently in preparation for the Vancouver marathon on May 1st. However this weekend both of my buddies who I’ve been running with couldn’t make the long run on Sunday. I decided to hit some technical trails and do a solo run on the North Shore.
Having signed up for the Dirty Duo next weekend was also a good motivator to get at least one run on the Shore before the race. I’ve done a few runs through Pacific Spirit Park during my marathon training but those trails don’t compare to the ones on Vancouver’s North Shore.
The weather was spectacular today so it was a perfect day to start getting my trail legs back. I wanted to run at least 2.5 hours so I planned on a rough figure 8 route around Lynn Valley and the Lower Seymour Demo Forest (I still can’t get used to calling it by the “new” name).
According to my Garmin 305 I ended up doing 13.2 miles in 2:37:33. Here’s an aerial view of my route:
I know that seems pretty slow. But I was working pretty hard during some spots; my average heart rate was 163 bpm, hitting a max HR of 179. I tried not going too far past my upper aerobic zone limit of 172 but some of the climbs got the old ticker beating a little faster.
Did I mention the 13.2 miles included a total of 3,174 feet of elevation gain and 3,182 feet of elevation loss for a total of 6,356 feet of elevation change?
I know that’s not huge compared to some runs you can do on the Shore but it was good enough for me. I tried to choose trails with runnable uphills as I wanted to work on my hill climbing efficiency so I avoided any seriously long or extremely technical climbs.
That said the snow and ice on certain parts of the trail added a nice challenge. The section around the short Lynn Loop was particularly slick. The snow was hard packed and slippery and you couldn’t get good traction on a lot of the downhill sections. It made some parts of the trail a bit hairy as the trail had a bit of side slope to it leading to a 80 degree drop-off to my left side. Since I was running alone I thought I’d keep my pace in check to ensure I stayed on route.
Even with the slick sections and a few steep climbs I had a fantastic run. I downed my recovery drink as soon as I got back to the car. I had run out of my Hammer Heed at about the 2 hour mark so the last 40 minutes was run without any water or calories. I also ran without eating breakfast as I do for all my long runs so I was pretty thirsty and hungry by the finish. I should have brought another bottle of HEED to run with. But still, a great day to be back on the North Shore trails.
I’m looking forward to running the Dirty Duo next weekend. I’m also stoked to have made the cut in the Knee Knacker entrance lottery this week. This is one of my favourite races and I’m thrilled to begin training for it again.