The Juan de Fuca Trail- China Beach to Bear Beach

So every Sunday my husband and I do ‘Sunday Funday’ and pick a location to do a mega run/hike/trail run at. We have gone up island to Duncan to run Maple Mountain, Mt. Tzouhalem, to Courtenay/Comox to run to Cumberland, and locally, the Galloping Goose in Sooke to the Malahat run. We have been all over!

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You cross a lot of small creeks/waterfalls.

Last weekend I ran solo, a few loops of Elk Lake, which is a pleasant solo run because you can run to your car to get water (there are no water fountains open anymore because of COVID19 and I guess no hand sanitizer in the washrooms/outhouses anymore either, to my extreme displeasure).

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It got hot, but it was ok.

This weekend we went somewhere a little different- the trek out to the Juan de Fuca trail! We are very familiar with the 1 beach- China beach, but we wanted to trail run from China beach to Bear Beach. It’s not that far- about 7km- but can be quite wet, muddy and rugged. And boy, it was!

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We ran the 2km to China beach and it was PACKED with people. Every available square spot to park in was taken. People were crawling everywhere. I really didn’t like that- it’s just too busy now, the new Thetis Lake or East Sooke Park or something?

So it was a lot of stop and go.

We got to the beach and it had a ton of people on it too. A nice day (rare for us, we don’t really get nice weather anymore in the summer) and I guess literally everyone wanted in.

So we went down the beach and picked up the Bear beach trail and continued that way. It had far fewer people, but for a quite narrow and technical trail, it was very busy with camp hikers coming back. One guy even gave us licorice, haha. Of course I accepted it! 😉

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We splashed, climbed and scrambled our way to Bear beach, which was completely deserted. So that was worth it! It was a gorgeous day. I picked a bunch of Salmon berries, we enjoyed our Lara bars (protein ones, I don’t like the blueberry-lemon, ick I think it tastes like lemon Pledge, but the Apple Cobbler are good), and took some photos, and then ran back. On our way back we saw a mink!!! Just a zip of brown and he was gone, into the rocks to the ocean. Wish I could have seen him up close and for longer.

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The cliffside was really cool! 

It was WET! My legs got covered in mud, hahah. Big splashes everywhere!! I gave in and gave up and just went for it hahahahhaha.

By the end of the run, even my toenails had mud embedded in them, hahaha. A good adventure and a lovely day, to make up for how miserable and craptacular I was feeling on Saturday.

Victoria Day long weekend in Port Renfrew!

And now for something entirely different- we went camping in Port Renfrew for Victoria Day. I desperately needed to get away from my personal horse drama (that continued the week after, no thank you rotten Oats), and what better place to reconnect than the quietness of Port Renfrew.

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Ripe salmonberries

Unfortunately, everyone else on the entire island had the same idea. Port Renfrew is a hidden gem no longer. It was very busy on the campsite at Pacheedat, and we practically had a party/disco going on full blast around a km up the beach. I’m NOT kidding- it was nuts! They had generators powering huge speakers on stands, disco lights, about 50 tents in the area, and more than 100 people.

Sheeeeeesh.

Well, we tried hard not to let that ruin our weekend away. We had a good campfire going, and it was just me, my husband and our dog. A nice time. We even picked salmon berries and those were ripe already and totally awesome, if you can believe it. We roasted weenies, drank beers and just had a nice time.

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Camp-style

Do I kind of wish we’d done more? Maybe. But I was kind of fried and burned out, so it came at a great time. The next day we checked out Botanical Beach, got stuck on some rocks that led to us clambering around on them for wayyy too long (ha) and then wrapped up the day by grabbing burgers in Lake Cowichan.

A good long weekend and well-deserved break from reality.

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Dog-eye view of the campsite

Race success! MEC Race #1- The Rust Buster 10k recap

I know, racing again so soon? Am I crazy? But hear me out- there’s a method to my madness. I had/have a very aggressive time goal (45 minutes) for my 10k, so I have to work hard to get there. Racing is hard. Racing is also more fun than just training, sooooo I sign up for races as ‘training’ to help me get there!

With me so far?

This was a new race to me- I had never heard of MEC races before last spring. But this year I signed up for alllll the MEC races. They’re cheap, easy to sign up for, and no-frills. Perfect. They are also normally very low-key, but apparently didn’t get the memo this year as they had over 500 runners?! WHA?

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More gaping mouth photos, but hey at least I’m running! Photo courtesy of Ian.

My legs didn’t feel amazing last week. I have a very hard time not using them (sounds funny I know), and before I knew it, I’d find myself on the stair stepper, or on the leg machine, legs aching, looking around being like WTF am I doing? So, a bit tired, not as good at recovery as I thought I would be.

So, for this 10k I had humbler goals- try for under 5:00 minute kms. Maybe 4:45?

We got to the staging area and it was a freaking zoo! The wind was bananas, it was raining, there were tons and tons of people waiting in the bib pickup line, I had to go to the bathroom (more lineups) and I was not sure if I’d get my bib in time! Ian had even dropped me off to park the car to give me more time, that I spent…stuck in the bib pickup line. GAH!!!

So, I was feeling a bit frantic and worried. I shouldn’t have worried though–it worked out fine. He came back, I waited in the bathroom line, came back and he was still in line, and I got my bib. Highlight of the day: running into my colleague who was running the 5k- and her time was no slouch either! Yay!! We were even able to shout to each other on course! 🙂

We started and the first loop was very blahhh. I didn’t love it. It was a bit hilly, the weather kind of sucked, and I wasn’t in the groove. We looped around back to the school and began our very lengthy out-and-back. I started getting into it more and looking at my watch- I was on target for a reasonable 4:34 or so? Wow!

I bargained with myself- “Ok you can check your watch at every KM but not before. It is tempting, but wait for the KM beep!” I sort of kept my promise to myself. I was holding strong, even though at 4km I kind of wanted to fade…But I remembered I’m better at the 5+ km’s than the first 5kms. So I hauled on!

We hit the bridge and things got ugly. It was surreal, the wind was so strong and we were getting blasted sideways, with rain. I saw the 5km runners and they looked absolutely miserable. I could only think, that’s me next then! And it was….rough. This was my slowest km by 15 seconds, no surprise there.

A teenager wearing a tanktop and I played leapfrog the whole time. It was interesting to be challenged like that. I didn’t really pass many people, and at that point they weren’t passing me- except for the teen. She ended up smoking me in the last few 100m, and beating me by like 10 secs…Ha, shoot!

Ian was able to take a pic of me,  yes!! And then it was all over! And I had met my so-far goal of 45:XX…with my best time so far of 45:35 (gun) and 45:30 (net). YESS!!!! And best of all, I actually felt like a competent runner–not dying/gasping/choking. Sweet!

Snacks after and my stomach was killing me! But my day wasn’t over yet…Stay tuned for more excitement tomorrow, as I wrapped up my race day with a visit with a friend to Sea Cider’s Wassail event!