As I sit here in Ohio, with 2 days until our big marathon, I am thinking about all the places we have been since our last big race in Minnesota. Our plan after SwimRun Minnesota was to head north to Canada to visit our friends, Debbie and Cory, in Gravenhurst, Ontario. We started north after IGNITE Minnesota and stopped at Tettegouche State Park.
Tettegouche is located on the north shore of Lake Superior. There are 23 miles of hiking trails with high cliffs, shoreline and waterfalls. It is a beautiful location in Northern Minnesota and no where near a big city. Usually this would be a plus, but as we quickly found out, it is not easy to find a place for an Amazon delivery in a remote region. Unfortunately, while in northern Minnesota our solar panel controller shorted out, a wire came loose, which meant we only had the power that the batteries had stored. This meant the refrigerator had to be turned off and the power had to be limited to only those things that were absolutely necessary. We were able to order the control panel and found a co-op for delivery, but that would take several days. During that time, we took advantage of the state park, hiking the trails and exploring the shoreline. The delivery was delayed and the weather turned to rain so we decided to splurge and got a hotel room for a night. We took advantage of warm showers and air conditioning which granted us a little reprieve from the heat, humidity and bugs of Northern Minnesota.
We finally received our control panel and were able to get our solar up and running again. Prior to departing the area we got a break in the weather and went for a beautiful run along the lake where we discovered these enormous Adirondack chairs.
Once we were able to get back on the road, we entered into Canada with no issues. We skirted the shores of Lake Superior and stopped to explore Lake Superior Provincial Park, for an afternoon. The park is a diverse landscape of forested hills, clear lakes, streams and rivers, and a Lake Superior shoreline with features ranging from cliffs to long stretches of beach. We spent several hours exploring the park and all it has to offer.
After our small set back, we were finally able to make it to Gravenhurst, a few days later than we anticipated, but a place we would spend the next 2 weeks, running, swimming, racing and just relaxing in the company of our good friends Debbie and Cory. They live on Lake Muldrew in the Muskoka region, a beautiful, clear lake that allowed us to get plenty of open water swimming, some kayaking and just some plain old fun.
Cory was signed up for an Olympic distance triathlon while we were visiting, so since we love to race, we signed up for a sprint SwimRun (750m swim, 5k run) on Saturday and offered to volunteer for a full day on Sunday. There were only 4 people racing the SwimRun so we were guaranteed to score a podium spot! The race was short but we both pushed ourselves and we were happy with our results. Sunday started out early with parking cars and managing traffic in and out of the park followed by directing and cheering on the run course. It was a hot day and we were both lucky enough to find some shade. We had a great time volunteering, it is always good to give back to a sport we love and we both know the race can’t happen without the help of all the volunteers.
After 2 amazing weeks in Gravenhurst, we went south toward Toronto for a trail race. This would be our last really long run before the marathon. The Iroquois Trail Test 34K was most certainly a test. It was a 3 loop course of mostly single track trail with mud, rocks and roots, with a little double track thrown in to make it more runnable! It was a challenge and humbling and required focus and concentration to remain upright. Fortunately, I did not take any spills on the course, David, on the other hand, took what he called 2 1/2 falls but with no serious consequences. Despite the difficult level of this race, I surprisingly found myself in 1st place for age group 36-50.
From Toronto we continued east, with the town of Sutton, Quebec being our next big stop. I have been fortunate enough to have landed a part time position with an amazing company, Hyland’s Homeopathic, and had some training to attend in Sutton. We had a few days so we were able to take our time and stop along the way. We decided to make a stop at Presqu’ile Provincial Park on the shores of Lake Ontario. It is a peninsula which sits in Lake Ontario with 1.5 miles of beach, 10 miles of trails and paths along shorelines and through woodlands and meadows, a nature center and historic lighthouse. We spent several days here training on the flat roads, working out on the shoreline and watching the kite surfers.
We pulled into Sutton and spent 3 nights. I had 2 full days of informative training which will set me up for success in this new position. The Hyland’s employees were welcoming and friendly and excited to have me join the Hyland’s family. Of course, we made time for some running and gym workouts as well as a nice hike one evening.
At the conclusion of my training we set off, heading back to the US and toward Ohio to visit Aunt Nancy and Phyl. Most of the time we are in no rush so we try not to drive more than about 4-5 hours a day. We made it to a lovely secluded spot in the Finger Lakes region of New York. We stayed there one night and then moved on to the Rochester area where we spent the night in my cousin’s driveway and ran along the river to Lake Erie. From there we continued along the lake, stopping at Presque Isle State Park, the location of the Erie Marathon, to scout the course. We made it to Ohio and got a huge warm welcome from Aunt Nancy and Phyl.
We planned on visiting with Nancy and Phyl for about 2 weeks, until just prior to the Erie Marathon. It has been a wonderful visit, catching up, assisting in their move, training, hiking, relaxing and discovering all that Ohio has to offer. We were surprised to find out that this area of Ohio is the home to the Goodyear blimp. We were able to witness the christening of the newest blimp, the Wingfoot III, watch it emerge from the hanger and take off. It was christened on August 30th by Shaesta Waiz, the youngest woman to fly solo around the world in a single engine aircraft. This date is exactly 89 years to the day that aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart christened a Goodyear blimp in 1929.
We were also surprised at the outdoor opportunities that this region provides. There is a path that runs along the Ohio and Erie Canal called the Towpath Trail. This trail will cover approximately 110 miles from Lake Erie in Cleveland to New Philadelphia, when it is completed (currently there are some unfinished sections). We were able to take advantage of this nicely paved and hard packed gravel trail for some good training miles as it is flat and shaded. We were also able to visit the only National Park in Ohio, Cuyahoga National Park. It has over 125 miles of hiking trails, 5 major bicycle trails, canoeing, kayaking and historic train rides, a hidden gem in the middle of Ohio.
Our time here in Ohio has been more about visiting family than anything else, but we are delighted that we were able to enjoy the little gems that this state has to offer.
As I look through all our photos, reminisce about where we have been and as we prepare to leave for our next adventure, our hearts our full, with gratitude for the people in our lives and the love, support and comfort they surround us with.