Over the next week or so I’ll be posting highlights of my summer trip to Canada’s maritime provinces with my girlfriend Kate. We had a blast, and love to have adventures and experiences in new places. This is our story of the things we did and what we thought of them.
Today is Day 6, and it’s the first of two guest posts from Kate!
Race Day! While Ryan and I were planning our roadtrip, I decided to look and see if there were any races on the east coast that worked well with our schedule. With 8 days of vacation, thousands of kilometres of driving, and races not traditionally taking place on weekdays, I knew our options were going to be limited. A lot of races on the east coast are administered by RaceRoster, so it was nice to have a database. And then I found the VP Challenge! A 5k obstacle race in Truro, Nova Scotia (about an hour north of Halifax). My 2015 race list is to complete a 5k race, a 10k race and an obstacle course race. Ryan and I have done four of the races in the MEC Toronto Race Series (and were actually missing one while on vacation!), all 5k in length. I’m recovering from an ankle injury, so I wasn’t quite ready for the Sporting Life 10k race that Ryan did back in May.
Truro was actually a great place to race, as it started our journey back to Ontario. The VP in “VP Challenge” stands for Victoria Park, a spacious park in Truro. It reminded me of Toronto’s High Park to an extent, just based on its’ size and amount of greenspace.
The race was scheduled for a 9am ADT start. This is important. We drove to Truro, and parked at the entrance to the park just after 8:30am. We spotted the race tent and picked up our race kits. We knew the race was going to be smaller than a typical Toronto race, but I think this was definitely a reminder that we weren’t in the hustle and bustle of the city. Our race bib numbers were 004 and 011. There were maybe 50 racers total between the two distance offered. When we arrived, they were still setting up some of the obstacles in the adjacent baseball diamond. Then 9 o’clock rolled around. At that point we were maybe two of about a dozen athletes there. Okay, smaller race, fewer race volunteers to get things set up…we’ll get moving soon, right? Wrong. Runners continued to trickle in a few at a time. Ryan and I went and used the washroom, drank some water, stretched… and the race still hadn’t started. At this point, I’m getting super antsy and am second guessing that I’d read the start time incorrectly. Did the website adjust the race start time when I was looking at it from home (in a different time zone)? Ryan went to the washroom while I pulled out my iPhone to look. Nope, 09:00 ADT start time. This was at 9:46.
The race started shortly after 10:00am. Friends had told me about things being a slower pace in the maritimes (“east coast lifestyle” / “east coast time”). This just wasn’t a situation where I would’ve anticipated it! The race itself was alright. We ran through the park’s trails, and did obstacles placed throughout. They included climbing over a 6 foot wall, crawling through tunnels, climbing “Jacob’s Ladder” (a 175 step wooden staircase), and a mud crawl under a net while being sprayed with a fire hose. Very basic obstacles, but good for a community race.
Ryan was definitely my rock during the race. I could tell that I was paying for my lack of running in recent weeks, especially on the hills. He went my pace, even though I know I was slowing him down. One thing I’ve definitely learned is to plan a race for the start of a vacation, rather than the end of it. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be better rested, and have eaten better in recent days.
After that we got on the road and drove to Fredericton, NB, our hub for the evening. Once in Fredericton, we drove to Science East. Science East was a blast! It’s similar to Toronto’s Ontario Science Centre, because of how hands-on it was. It was very inquiry-based, and guest-led.
Science East was built inside a former jail, which I found really interesting. The restrooms were all in former jail cells (with much better privacy, of course!). I liked that the washroom stalls all had brainteasers in them. Science East was also definitely a family friendly place, with exhibits tailored to both children and adults. One of our favourite exhibits was one about reaction time. We got to play a game to see how many lit up, moving targets we could hit in 30 seconds. Ryan and I both got better at it the more we played. It’s not important who hit more targets. We also checked out gyroscopic effect by putting me onto a rotating platform while holding a spinning bicycle tire. It was really neat, but I got so dizzy! We also checked out the basement, which focused more on the jail’s history.
We picked up dinner from a local fish and chip shop and took it back to our dorm room at St. Thomas University, since it was raining. We’ve definitely had great weather on our vacation! It poured Saturday night, but it also meant that it was easier to recharge for our long drive Sunday.