Saturday, July 16, 2011
Running in Hubbards, Nova Scotia
During the summer, J-A and I like to spend time in Hubbards, a small community on the south shore of the province. My family has a trailer there on a piece of property that has been in the family since the early 1800s. The trailer is totally cozy and has a lovely view of the cove. It makes a nice getaway from the city.
The running in Hubbards is great. I’ve got two primary routes that I use. Most often, I’ll run on the rails-to-trails route – this is an old railway line that used to go from Halifax to Yarmouth. When they tore up the tracks in the 90s, they improved the rail bed – flattened it out and put down crushed gravel – and opened it up as a mixed-use trail. It’s a real gem. It’s relatively flat and has beautiful views of St. Margaret’s Bay at many points. I’ve seen all sorts of deer and foxes and rabbits and the like while running. And the smells of spruce and wild flowers are amazing. I do a lot of my easy runs (10-16k) on this route and a lot of my long runs too (20-25k). I used to do workouts on the trail, but I find that I prefer the road for faster running – where there’s no gravel slip to slow the pace.
The other route I love is the Aspotogan highway. I take the beautiful Fox Point Front Road out of Hubbards and run along highway 329 towards Blandford. The views of the Bay in places are stunning – but what I really love about this route is how challenging it is. The hills are awesome, so when I’m looking for a long run or workout to make me stronger, this is definitely the route to take. The only problem with it is the traffic. It’s a rural road, so the traffic isn’t like the city or anything, but there’s enough summer traffic from Bayswater Beach and the like to make running treacherous at times. Cars come ripping around corners – and sometimes there’s very little shoulder to retreat to. I’ve had some close calls. But it’s worth it – and if I can drag my butt out of bed for an early morning run, I usually have the road mostly to myself.
My friend Leah, who spends lots of time in Chester just down the road, thinks the Aspotogan route would make a great Ultra Marathon. I think it would too. I’m not sure exactly how far it is around the peninsula, but I think it’s a little over 50k. It would be beautiful and challenging.
For shorter stuff, I’ll take the back road to Queensland – but I rarely do runs short enough to make use of this area anymore. There’s a hill back there that I’m fond of, though – it was a hill that I couldn’t run all the way up back when I started running, so I used it as a kind of marker of my progress. I can still remember the first time I made it all the way up without stopping. Good times.
Running in Hubbards is a treat, and lots of my miles over the past few weeks have been done there. Hopefully, they’ll translate into a strong half marathon next weekend!