Tuesday, August 3, 2010

July: A month of first's

It has been almost a month since my last post. A number of minor accomplishments have occurred since then, so I think this is a good time for an update.

Trail Run
Joanne and I spent a week of our summer vacation in the beautiful Parc national du Mont-Orford. Located in the Province of Quebec’s Eastern Townships, the park offers wonderful hiking and cycling in the summer and amazing cross country and downhill skiing in the winter. The area is part of the Appalachian chain which runs 2400km starting in the north on the Island of Newfoundland and running south Alabama.

My first run was along mostly hard pack (stone) trails and when I was done I knew I was hooked to trail running. The second run and one I want to highlight here was a run along the Mont-Chauve trail. This is essentially a hike up to the summit and back down loop and was easily accessible right from our campsite. The trail is listed as taking a hiker 3.5 to 3.45hrs. (As a comparison, Joanne and I did the trail a few days later and took 3hours to do the loop.) Below is a profile (taken from my Garmin 305) of the elevation of the run as well as a map.

The run stats are as follows:
Distance: 9.84km
Elevation Gain: 350m
Moving time: 1:35:55 (I took a small break on the summit for photos)
Avg Moving Pace 9:44min/km

Overall I felt really good on the run. I decided to do the loop section in a clockwise direction which meant I would be running (or more appropriately scrambling) up the steeper side and have the more gentle part of the loop for the run back. This turned out to be a wise decision and unless you are a part mountain goat I would suggest that the loop should always be run clockwise for safety reasons.

These two photos show first the trail and the view from the summit.

I did not expect to get back to the campground feeling as well as I did. No sore muscles, no cramping. So I think the general view that trail running may be less hard on the body as compared to road running may hold water.

A second memorable trail run during the week occurred when I made an error in route finding and ended up doubling the total distance of the run. My total planned distance had been 8km but when I finally got back to the campsite I had run almost 15km with a total elevation gain of 328m. This run was a combination of 3 trails but the best one was the section on the Sentier du Pekan (formally the ‘z’ trail) This section of the run was through a beautiful pine forest and the heat of the afternoon created the most amazing smell. The following photo (I got to run this twice to set up the shot) shows this part of the run but really doesn’t do the place justice.

The run stats are as follows:
Distance: 14.75km
Elevation Gain: 328m
Moving time: 1:59:12
Avg Moving Pace 8:04min/km

The final bit accomplishment for the month was completing a run of 42.3km on July 25. I felt really good at the end and feel confident that running longer distances will be possible.
The run stats are as follows:
Distance: 42.30km
Elevation Gain: 103m
Moving time: 4:59:16
Avg Moving Pace 7:04min/km

So that is where things are right now. I had a short 12km run on Sunday and because I was feeling a little sore in the achilles on the right foot I decided not to do any runs for the week and give my body a bit of a rest. Since keeping records of my runs (thanks in no small part to the Garmin 305 – March 27, 2010) I have logged 66 runs for a total of 793km or 93hrs 26minutes.

One final item. Joanne and I hiked Les Cretes trail. This is, in my opinion, one of the more challenging day hikes in eastern Canada. I have included the profile below as well as a couple of photos just to give you a taste of this fantastic trail. In total we were out for almost 8 hours with a total elevation gain of 836m. In time I hope to go back and run this same trail!!!

Mt Orford in the distance - our destination for the hike

Joanne and me at pic de l'ours