When many people think of vacations, the image of relaxing on a tropical beach or sipping a cool beverage while lounging on the deck of a cruise ship come to mind. However for runners, our definition of a vacation can be a little different. For us, the perfect way to unwind while on holiday is to kick out a few miles around a scenic destination or to go for a trail run on a foreign, snow-topped mountain. Running vacations are the perfect mix of exploration, training, tourism and fun. This past weekend this is exactly what I did while visiting friends in Vancouver, BC.
Last Friday, my girlfriend Sophia and I drove north from Seattle towards the Canadian Border to meet friends in North Vancouver. Linda and Gary are both accomplished trail runners and a great couple. You know they are made for each other when a couple bonds while training for the H.U.R.T 100-Mile Endurance Run. Wow!
Neither my girlfriend or I had run in B.C. before so we were excited to get out on the trails and to have locals to show us around. After spending the night at our friend’s house in Vancouver, the four of us headed out early Saturday morning to Squamish, BC, a town filled with great outdoor opportunities about an hour drive north of Vancouver. Our plan was to run the first 26 miles of the Squamish 50-Mile Endurance Run course, a trail race Garry organizes.
After lacing on my Cascadias and Adapt Gloves, a hat and LSD Jacket into my running pack, we headed to a local cafe for and a morning snack. Once we were fueled up, we parked one of our cars at our end destination in Squamish and piled in together for a short drive in our second car to our starting point on the other side of town. This would be a point-to-point run wrapping up and over a mountain on technical trail. While I was confident with Garry’s navigation and knew we wouldn’t get lost, this was a new area for me and the weather looked cloudy and unpredictable. I didn’t know what to expect.
Luckily, the run turned out to be a fantastic tour around the scenic and beautiful Alice Lake Provincial Park, on mostly steep technical mountain bike trail, with a few miles of dirt road miles added in. We ran through gorgeous meadows, trees hanging with thick layers of moss and did a loop past The Chief, one of the most popular rock climbing faces in British Columbia.
Our running vacation was exactly what we were hoping for: we ran new trails, saw beautiful scenery and spent time with great friends. Best of all, after getting cleaned up back at the house, we all headed out for sushi in Vancouver and gorged our starved bellies on some local fare.
The following morning, our group went out on another run, this time around Stanley Park in Downtown Vancouver. After snapping photos and grabbing food at a local grocery, Sophia and I said goodbye to our friends and began the drive. While our running vacation was brief, it was exactly what we were looking for. This was the perfect running trip!
Where do you want to take a running vacation? Add a comment below.