A beautiful stretch of Vancouver Island waterfront follows Dallas Road from Clover Point Park to The Breakwater at Ogden Point. This a fantastic place to run, or walk, not only for the spectacular views of the Olympic mountain range in the distance, but also for the little pieces of history peppered along the way.
First you meet Miss Marilyn Bell - the first woman and first Canadian to swim across the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Two years before this feat, she swam across Lake Ontario. Three swimmers began at the same time - all wanting to be the first person to cross.
Bell had been offered $10,000 to undertake the task to increase publicity for the Canadian National Exhibition. She declined because she thought this offer snubbed other swimmers. So what happened in this race to cross the lake - well the American, Florence Chadwick, had to forfeit due to stomach pains and vomitting, and the other woman - well not much info about her, just that she failed..... so Bell became the first person to swim this distance as well. Apparently there were crazy winds, incredibly high waves, and lampreys trying to take bites out of her...... sounds fun!! I'm serious.
The following year she became the youngest person to swim the English Channel, and the next year was her epic swim from Port Angeles to Victoria - 18.3 miles in 11 hours 35 minutes.
Along Dallas road, there is another commemorative plaque for a great Canadian - Terry Fox.
I am sure you all know the story of Terry Fox - my all-time biggest hero.... I won't go into the details of it now - perhaps a whole blog entry devoted to his inspiring life in the future.
Terry's statue if located at Mile "0" - the unofficial beginning to the Trans Canada Trail Also the end point of two other amazing runner's Al Howie and Stephen Fonyo, who both ran across Canada.
Everytime I see the Mile "0" sign, I dream about riding my bike down here from my house, and beginning my ride to Newfoundland... then down to visit Emily in Hanover, and across the states..... dreaming. No matter what I do, I will for always and ever be dreaming!
Two other interesting sites along the way are glaciar-marked rocks from about 10,000 years ago... I didn't actually find these markings...... and a memorial or sorts to a ship that sank, but no casualties. Although all this history is inspiring, interesting, educational, etc... the highlight of the run was seeing two pelicans!!!
Seemed so out of place here..... I don't know for sure, but shouldn't they be somewhere warmer than the frigid Pacific Northwest waters???!
Found myself the most wonderful park - miles and miles of trails just waiting to be explored!! I have been to Gowlland Tod Park twice now, and still feels like completely unchartered territory.
My first adventure is one I plan to take all future visitors to - it is just a short walk, maybe a couple of kilometers through the woods, to the Tod Inlet. There is the most picturesque yacht moored in the inlet amongst the fog. I mean seriously just look at it - its like out of a postcard or something.
Throughout the trail, I kept seeing signs of old houses having been here - old cement foundations with trees growing out of them, that type of thing. So I looked it up when I got home, and all it really tells me about it is that there has been a long history of people living in this area - as well, it used to be part of the property where the Vancouver Portland Cement Company was (happen to remember this from the Butchart Garden?? Also was part of the Cememnt Company).
The next time I went to the park, I explored from a different trailhead - McKenzie Bight. The first trail I picked led me downhill for about a km and a half - straight into the ocean!
The river was so high, the trail was underwater, and not just a little bit where you can just wade through, but like three feet underwater. I didn't feel like going for a swim, so I turned around and headed back up the hill.... I was running today, so it wasn't a particularly happy moment. The next trail I took - The Timberman Trail, was much better - just nice rolling hills leading up to a view over the Saanich Inlet. At this point I was out of time and had to turn back, but I think there was at least 20km of trail past that point - until next time!
For more information and to have a look at the trail maps check out:
Sorry, what's that word? Yes you read correct - the Seawheeze - Lululemon's half marathon. The first of this now annual race was this past Saturday. I have done quite a few local half's and this was probably one of the best. Not my favorite (which is the April Fool's half on the sunshine coast - mostly for sentimental reasons), but it is for sure second. The amount of preparation and little details that went into this event was incredible.
The expo the night before the race was seriously more like a party hockey players on stilts, a lovely relaxing lounge with hammocks overlooking the water, free popsicles and free manicures/pedicures. I have never heard of this at a race before!! Mind you some of those toenails will probably be falling off in the next little while, the effort might be in vain. The swag in the race package was also impressive - bottle of water, dried fruit, 15% off clothes (which of course sucks you in to buy something), free coffee voucher, flip flops (!!), and not to mention that the bag itself was one of those shoe backpacks thingies. Pretty cool (although slightly useless and likely to be thrown out).
The morning of the race kicked off with sunrise yoga (which I missed) and an incredibly long gear check line - I wasn't looking forward to picking up my gear after either. I have never seen so many spectators and people cheering at a race before - it really made a huge difference.... plus you always had to be on the lookout for quirky little touches - paddleboarders out in the water cheering, guys riding triple sized bikes along sides, a large group of drag queens, mermaids perched on rocks, a tai chi demonstration, taiko drummers, a cappella singers and witty signs saying things like "your pace or mine." (just to name a few!!) I wish I had run with my camera to capture some of this!!
The post race food was delicious - apart from the super nutrituous recovery drink... couldn't even drink it! You seem to have to worry about super-nutritious things... But wow - the waffles were amazing!!! And fruit skewers and watermelon and mini quiches... delicious - I am getting hungry just thinking about them. Also after the race was a concert (fun. and Hey Ocean) and sunset yoga on Kits beach - neither of which I stuck around for (my family was having its own beach party).
The run itself was hard! The route was challenging with lots of hills - lots, you know, being more than none. And in some stretches it got crazy hot - no breeze, no shade... just keep plodding on, feeling your skin burn. It was my slowest half marathon, and my feet are in the worst shape ever (details that may gross you out), but trust me, I'll be back next year!