I’m currently on AC1902 flying home after five days in Victoria, BC. The primary reason for the trip was to go visit our kid Lindsey with my mom. Lindsey moved to Victoria in September to study engineering at the University of Victoria.
While there, I took the opportunity to do some more running around the city. I planned to run every day and also wanted to do a long run to get to 70km for the week. Lindsey and I had a hiking plans too so that needed to be factored into the plans.
We arrived on Thursday and shortly after getting into our downtown Airbnb, I headed out for a short run to shake out the legs after the flight and continue my run streak. I did a triangular 5km route down to Beacon Hill Park and back up along the waterfront.
That was a nice start to the trip under sunny skies. Flights take a lot out of the legs, but it was fine and a good introduction to the hills that are part of every running route in Victoria.
At dinner on Thursday with Lindsey, we decided that it would be better to do my long run on Friday. Lindsey had classes during the day and the weather was looking rainy in the morning. That meant I could run long while Lindsey attended her classes and my mom could spend the morning checking out some of the shops and coffee places near our Airbnb.
I planned out a route with three distance options – 19km, 21km and 23.5km – so I had some options depending on how I felt out on the run. The route took me across the city straight east to the Beach Dr. in Oak Bay. From there I stuck to the water’s edge and made my way all the way back to downtown with the Salish Sea as my constant companion to my left.
The weather was fine with a little bit of rain now and then, and cloudy skies. Still, the west coast is beautiful even with some rainy days as the clouds play with the mountains and the fog and mist rolls in and out.
All in all, a super enjoyable tour despite some monster hills to climb. There was no doubt about the distance option once I got going and I could probably have tacked on another few kilometres without issues. But I had more things to do and so 23.5km was plenty.
I had a goal for the week of 70km and I was about 16km short heading into Saturday. Knowing there was going to be a tough hike on Sunday, I figured 10km would put a good dent into the deficit and leave me with a shorter Sunday morning run.
I wanted to explore some more of the Galloping Goose Trail and see a bit of the west end of the city and into Esquimalt. The route was a hilly one with lots of sights to see from the Gorge, to the Reversing Falls and then the south end of the Galloping Goose Trail and Selkirk Trestle.
The tail end of this run had me quite emotional thinking about Lindsey’s life out in Victoria as I toured through her new home. I am running strongly these days and getting out to run another 10km the day after a 23.5km run and still feeling great reminded me why I love to run.
With a really challenging hike to do, I opted to finish up my 70km week with 6km along the Songhees Trail in Victoria West. The run out to the starting point was hilly and not especially beautiful, but it was just the lead up to the better part of the run.
I made the turn down Head St. to find the start of the path along the water’s edge. The views here were stunning with the mountains of Washington across the Salish Sea and seaplanes coming and going from the harbour.
I ran into quite a few walkers and runners along this bit and thought how jealous I was of the places they could run every day. I’m sure they would think the same thing about all the great routes and spots in Toronto like the Beaches, Taylor Creek, the MGT and the Don Valley.
It was almost time to head home but not before one last run to keep the run streak going and add to the mileage total. A light drizzle was falling, but I thought that was appropriate for the last run since a good bit of the miles I put in on this trip were in the rain.
I ran down Government St. and then down to Dallas Road one more time to see the Salish Sea before heading home. Unlike the evening before, the mountains across the sea were obscured by clouds. There were more tears in my eyes as I thought about the great times we had with Lindsey over the last few days.
The run back up Government to Starbucks for a coffee was great – hurdling the puddles and heading up the hill for the last time. A tall flat white and some banana loaf was a nice reward.
I ran just over 50km in the five days we were in Victoria. I saw the Gorge, the Reversing Falls, downtown and the Victoria Harbour, Uplands, Oak Bay, Dallas Road, Beacon Hill and James Bay.
I covered quite a bit of the city from west to east and north to south in these five runs. My lifetime CityStrides map of Victoria including a few hikes and past runs adds some more.
In addition to the running, Lindsey and I enjoyed an amazing and challenging hike/scramble to the summit of Mount Finlayson. Lindsey, Mom and I checked out the views from PKOLS, and Mt. Tolmie, spent some time at Finnerty Cove, ate some great dinners, had yummy ice cream at 49Below and saw some of the many deer that just hang around in the neighbourhoods near the UVic campus.
Until next time, Victoria.