The world is not flat.
The trail system in Musquodoboit is.
My first impression upon arriving at the 4th race in the MEC 2017 series is the amount of run club participants. It was great to see so many people coming together and running as a club. One of the many benefits of taking up running is the like minded individuals you can meet. Joining a run club is not like joining a gym. There is no competition, there is no sweaty equipment and no ‘gym rules’, you just show up and are immediately welcomed in with open arms. Joining a run club is intimidating but in reality there is always someone there who goes your pace and there is no other fitness club that is as friendly and welcoming as a running club.
The MEC series #4 race was very well organized. Plenty of parking available across the street from the entrance. Plenty of refreshments and washroom facilities. One trick I have learned is to get in the washroom lineup long before you have to go, by the time you get to the front of the line, you will need it.
The race began with a staggered start. The 15k’ers went first followed by what I’m going to assume is the 10k’ers then the 5’s. I can only assume because I was part of the 15k group. They had 3 water stations set up, each at each of the turn around points; 2.5k, 5k and 7.5k. This was very helpful not only for notating when you were supposed to turn around, but also having this many water stops along the route made it much easier to make it the full 15k. The weather was perfect, but it was a tad muggy so having access to 5 water stations was very much appreciated.
I love trail running for the scenery aspect alone. Not much to see on this trail though, once you’ve seen one tree, you’ve seen them all. I also like runs that are a bit more challenging. I like the odd hill thrown in the mix. What goes up must come down. I like it when I can engage those glutes. This route is flat. Flatter than flat. I have never ran a route so flat. I think I actually zoned out and took a nap just before the turn around point. I could have easily PR’d on this one had I not just completed the MRW ½ the weekend before. Unfortunately for me I petered out at kilometer 10. I still finished with an average pace of 7.28/k, but prior to that I was sticking steady at a 6.5/k pace. That was the fastest I have run a 10 in years. Might seem like very super slow to most, but for me, it’s nuclear!
I missed race #1 due to illness, but I still say that the 2nd race in the series, the Citadel, is my favorite to date. I liked the Salt Marsh Trail one, it was challenging at points and the scenery was stunning but it was way too hot and they ran out of water or they cleaned it up before I got there, either way, it was a crappy day for a 10k. This one was nice, it’s a great PR race for someone who is concentrated on those things. The staggered start was perfect and the trail was super wide giving more than enough room for the back of the packers like myself and the head of the pack 5 and 10k racers coming up behind. The refreshments were plentiful and the atmosphere was jovial.
I’m anxiously awaiting what the final MEC series #5 will bring.
Pirates, Beer, a wedding, new records and a new trail run is what made this years Maritime Race Weekend the most epic yet!
After I failed miserably last year at the Sole Sisters ½ marathon, I vowed I would NEVER, EVER, NEVER sign up for another ½ marathon. The training alone was much more difficult than I ever expected. Hours upon hours of grueling run after grueling run. Logging hundreds of miles yet seeming like I’m getting nowhere. Then the big day came and at mile 8 I hit the wall with such ferocity that I thought I would never make it. I walked the remaining 5 miles. I finished that race 3rd from last and vowed at that time I would never do something so obviously unachievable again. It was in November of last year that I signed up to do the Maritime Race Weekend ½. Yep. Never, Ever, Never actually means, probably not tomorrow.
I think I began training for this ½ in January. H2H 5k Co-Race Director and running buddy James Penny and I started taking things really seriously in June. Right after the Hillside 2 Haiti 5k finished, our training for MRW ½ ramped up. It was also around that time that I went jogging with my favorite running buddy (my dog Joe). We were about a K into the run when he decided to stop suddenly, run in front of me and throw me butt over tea-kettle (if you know what I mean). Who knew I could do a triple salchow? I can! I can’t land it, but I can certainly do it! I got up, dusted myself off and continued on with my run. I injured myself that day. I didn’t realize it, but I’m pretty sure that was the day my ankle decided it was done with the whole running thing. I took a few weeks off, tried to recuperate, nothing was working. A quick visit to the walk in and the Doc told me that my running days were pretty much over. He confirmed that I had fractured my ankle and needed an x-ray. He told me not to run. My redemption ½ goals, crushed. Luckily for me, the x-ray indicated no fractures. I still have no idea what is wrong with my ankle, but it gets better every day and I almost have full range of motion back. Long story short, I got a brace and continued on training. My training partner and I finished this ½ in 2:39. Probably not the best time, but considering my ankle gave out at the 18 k mark, I’m definitely putting this in the WINNERS category. I was literally crying, limping, sweating and possibly swearing but I didn’t stop. I didn’t stop until I crossed that line and knowing that I did it, no matter what the clock said is a feat I’m pretty darn proud of.
On to my review;
Michelle Kempton does an incredible job with this race every year. As a race director for the H2H 5k I can truly appreciate all the work that goes into planning events. I can’t even for one second wrap my head around how she manages to do such an amazing job on the MRW. 2 days, 5 races, swag for days and medals that are so creative and fun who wouldn’t want to have them all? I barely keep it together for 1 race, never mind 5!
Lets talk about the routes;
The sunset 5k is completely flat and incredibly scenic. Racers go along shore road which just as the name suggests is a road along the shore. The scenery is beautiful. I didn’t sign up for this race so I can’t really give it a review, but I have run this route numerous times as the sun was going down so I can attest to the fact that it is definitely one you want to do if you’re looking for a 5k.
The 10k. Again, although this is not the race I did, I have run this route as well a number of times. It begins at Fisherman’s Cove. The nice thing about this one is that you start with all the racers! The ½ and the Marathoners. It’s amazing to see everyone lined up and ready to roll! Seeing so many people out to the event is a real energy boost! Much like the 5k, you begin your route along the Shore Road, up Caldwell, turn around behind the senior center (this is a great route addition because the residents come out and really enjoy watching the runners stop for water and cheer them on) then back to Shore road, up to the Golf course and back to FC. Along the route there were plenty of water stops, a number of residents cheering on the runners and plenty of entertainment provided by live musicians! I was told there was even a sprinkler set up on a home owners lawn that was a welcome treat as it was spraying over some of the racers as they went by. It was pretty hot on Saturday!
The ½ marathon. Wow! What can I say? This is my 2nd ½ marathon and I’m already thinking about signing up for the Tartan Trio next year. (The Tartan Trio is the Sunset 5k, the Sunrise 10 Saturday morning and the 15k trail run Saturday evening… 30k 2 days!) LOVE LOVE LOVE! I’m not going to sugar coat it though. This is not an easy route. It starts at fisherman’s cove where everyone starts, travels down shore road, up Caldwell (UP UP UP)… then UP UP UP again to Dyke Road and UP UP UP again to what the locals call “The Moose Loop”. Then it’s a series of 4 ups and 4 downs. This is a very hilly route. I’m not going to lie, it’s tough. However, with that said, if there are that many ups, then there are just as many downs. The scenery alone is enough to take your mind off the fact that you are running uphill. When you finally catch your breath that was taken by the scenery you are already on your way down. To be honest, the hardest part of this route for me was the long steady incline that greets you between Buffalo Club to the Cow Bay Road/Dyke Road fork. Once you finish that then you’re golden. On the way back it was the slow steady incline from the Buffalo Club to Caldwell, but from there it is literally all down hill.
Along the route, besides the beautiful scenery, there were plenty of water stops! I think there were probably 5 or more. Each and every water stop had amazing volunteers and they were so well trained! I never spilled a single drop of water or Gatorade on myself! Speaking of which, there was PLENTY to go around as well! As a back of the pack runner, I often find myself getting the remnants of what was a massive supply. My last ½ was completely void of the sugary pick me up by the time I got there, not this ½, this ½ had enough for me AND a small village!
At the top of the 2nd hill around the Moose Loop there was a skittles station! Like are you kidding me? That was AWESOME! I do love me some Skittles and let me tell you, a mouth full of pure sugar really powered me through the next 2 hills. Following the Cow Bay Moose, there was a sponge station. I was so happy to see that! Ice cold sponges! Wonderful idea! On a day like Saturday where even my fingerprints were melting, being able to press an ice cold sponge to my head was like winning the lottery. It felt amazing and refreshing and really gave me the second wind I was so desperately seeking after the Moose Loop. As with all the stations, there was plenty to go around, even for the back of the packers like myself. It’s this attention to detail that really makes me want to keep coming back, over and over!
The Full Marathon;
Although I’d like to say that this is a race I will complete someday, I’m pretty sure that is just one long pipe dream. The route is beautiful again, It is pretty much the ½ marathon route with the added joy of going through the Shearwater Flyer Trail and adding Bissett Road to the mix. I’m all about trail running but sadly I just don’t see me ever doing this one. I’ll leave that review to the real pro’s J
The Tidal Trail 15k;
I am so stoked to sign up for the Tartan Trio next year. This race is billed as pancake flat and I can attest to the fact that the “Salt Marsh Trail” portion of the tidal trail is “pancake flat”, the Heritage trail portion is anything but. I would say prepare yourself for that fact if this is something you are going to go for. I know this because ½ of the Hillside 2 Haiti 5k takes part on this very portion of the Heritage trail. There is one saving grace though, the Tidal Trail 15k does start and finish a bit further up the trail so you are cutting out 2 large long hilly portions (for Hillside 2 Haiti 5k runners you know what I’m referring to), but there are still quite a few hilly spots that you want to make sure you are prepared for so you don’t start out too fast and end up hitting the wall on the way back. As for the view, well, I can tell you that this view is the absolute best of all the races at Maritime Race Weekend. You are basically running over the water. I can’t explain it, it’s something you want to see for yourself!
Well, that’s it. If you haven’t tried a race at MRW, you have to. Pick one, pick 2 (sunset 5k, sunrise 10k), pick 3 (The Tartan Trio) or do all 5! (crazy fool!) The distance is up to you, the experience and swag are like none I’ve ever seen! As my initial sentence read, every racer was able to enjoy a free post race beer! Ok, I’m not a big beer drinker but that one did certainly taste great! It was chilling in a canoe full of ice! There was a wedding at the finish line of the Tidal Trail 15k. (pics and story can be found online) and all the previous MRW records were smashed! (story online).
See you next year!
The smile of a "runners high" and a Personal Record bell ring to boot!
really not sure why this is saying playback on other websites is disabled... if anyone knows how I can fix this, let me know... tech savvy I am NOT. it's just a short clip of some of the obstacles.
Despite the frigid temperatures for the beginning of September, it didn't take long for us to warm up to all the fun that Foam Fest 2017 had to offer.
If I were to compare Foam Fest to Mud Hero, I have to give the win to Mud Hero. I had a ton of fun at Foam Fest and it was the first time I was able to run a race with my daughter so that made it even that much more special.
We chose the 2nd heat of the day to run in. I was quite shocked by the very small crowd that formed at the starting line for our heat. I really expected a lot more people. I do hope that more people become involved in events like these. They are family friendly, fun and really get you excited about being fit and truth be told, you don't even have to be fit to try one of these events.
The course itself was not fit for running in my opinion. I think that if Foam Fest is going to stake it's claim on Nova Scotia they are really going to have to try and find a different option than the Windsor Exhibition. The trail (if you can call it a trail) was full of divots and not at all suitable for someone who wants to give'er. The possibility of rolling an ankle and putting an abrupt end to your racing calendar was imminent. The exit from the exhibition to the train tracks was about the only place someone could run as it was a dirt road, other than that, navigating across very bumpy terrain and broken rotted train tracks was a serious accident just waiting to happen. There were 3 water stations along the route, which is nice to see for a 5k, however, the fact that the course wasn't at all fit for running and the temps were not at all warm, I didn't really need to hydrate.
The obstacles were completely do-able. There were a couple that I had to take a pause because they sure looked intimidating, but once I got over the initial anxiety completion was much easier than I anticipated. The only obstacle I chose not to do was the giant waterslide. I was almost going up when someone was coming down, the scream that escaped the lungs from that woman was enough to raise the dead and enough to solidify my decision to walk around. Mad props to my 56 year old hubby though, he took that slide like a champ! (although he did spread his arms and legs in an effort to somehow slow himself down... I'm shocked he didn't rip off a limb to be honest)
The Foam Fest is definitely more of a FUN family race to do, it's not a test your fitness kind of event. It wasn't timed, and the obstacles were very family friendly. If you are looking for an event to enjoy some family fitness and have a great mud slinging and foam slipping bonding session then this event is for you. If you are looking to brag about your fitness abilities, and give yourself a slap on the back for killing a true mud dripping, shoe sticking, gruelling sweat dripping timed event, then stick with Mud Hero, this race is just for fun.
I began my running journey in March of 2009. I began my journey of faith in September of 2012. Running releases stress from my body while my new found faith releases stress from my mind.