I hate road running. I mean, I HATE road running. Normally, I'd rather do just about anything rather than run on the road. That "in the zone" "zoned out" feeling road runners seem to love? I can't stand it. My brain is like "WTF are we doing this for?"
Whenever possible, if I'm going to run, it's on a trail somewhere with hills and a view, and preferably without bears...LOL. The challenge of the terrain and having to watch my footing keeps my brain switched on and totally engaged in the moment. You can't really "phone it in" on the trails, because the trails can bite back, as my ankle will attest.
Problem is, this time of year here it is pretty wet and grim out, and the kinds of trails I like to run are often just muddy disasters, just like the kind I broke my ankle on. So, the responsible wage earner in me says that the risk of running those trails is not worth the reward right now.
But I have some goals to hit for next year. I currently have at least twelve races planned (6 trail races, 4 Spartan Races of various distances, and 2 sprint triathlons), and after a "just focus on finishing uninjured" kind of year in 2017, I want to really go for it in 2018 and see what my body is capable of. So, I need to increase my training through the winter to get my body prepared, and in particular my running mileage on hills (also my swimming so I don't drown in the lake during my first triathlon, but that's another story...LOL).
So, to the roads I went. The 10K "Big Loop Plus" run loop starts at The BTG Garage on Champlain Drive heading south, turns left up Everett Drive, then left on Marshall Road, onto Timberlane Drive, right onto Boley Street, left on Mountain Drive, right on Marshall Road, left on Graystone Drive, right on Stonecroft Drive, left on Regal Parkway, left on Goodbrand Drive, left on Eagle Mountain Drive, right on Old Yale Road, past the Abbotsford Rec Centre, left on Guilford Drive, left on Blatchford Way, right on McMillan Road, left on Champlain Crescent, and back up to The BTG Garage. It's an almost exactly 10 km loop, with 248 m / 813 ft. of elevation gain along the course.
The stretch from the bottom of Graystone Drive up to the crest halfway along Goodbrand Drive is a particularly unrelenting, nearly 1 km stretch of uphill, gaining an average of 1 m of elevation for every 10 m of distance right in the middle of the run. Not long after that, you then start the 1.6 km / 140 m descent down Eagle Mountain Drive. The finish is no picnic either, with 51 m of elevation gain in the last 1.1 km of the route.
So, good news - it's challenging enough for now that my brain didn't get totally bored. Surprising thing was that my legs didn't feel too terrible at the end, so I opted to tack on The BTG 2K Run Test loop as well, for another 2.03 km / 44 m of elevation.
I didn't "love" it by any stretch of the imagination...but I didn't totally hate it either. So I'm doing it again tomorrow...