Hang on to your (cowboy) hats

Hang on to your hat. Your cowboy hat, that is. Because it is the Calgary Marathon pre-race week coming right up. And Calgary is known of course for its cowboys, stampede, and crazy runners.

The lineup this week is packed.

It starts off with Calgary hosting the Canadian Race Director’s Summit on Wednesday.

Then it’s package stuffing by our amazing volunteers. They will be giving up their evenings to get those goodies packaged up.

We have package pickup Thursday to Saturday with VIP speakers at the fitness expo. – Elite Runner Panel, John Stanton (Running Room), Jordan Alicandro (The Biggest Loser)

We have a Running Room friendship run at 9:00 on Saturday with John Stanton at Eau Claire

We have a social tweetup right after that at 9:30, also at Eau Claire – #RunSocialYYC

On Sunday at 6:30AM, yes, AM, we have the national half marathon championships – At the sharp end, we have Canadian Olympian Reid Coolsaet looking to take top spot. I will be in the not-so-sharp end of the field. Wish I could watch the finish line.

And we have the 50k race for those masochists out there. Back by popular demand!

And of course there is a kids run, 5k, 10k, half, full and 50k. Bring out the whole family. Enjoy the day. Cheer on the other runners.

And besides the amazing medals and t-shirts, there are 10,000 bags of potato chips waiting at the finish line. Thanks Old Dutch.

Offical Hash tag: #RunYYC


Yee Haw!

Making it Real – Running for a Cause

My two daughters and I are excited to be raising funds for charity by running next weekend in the Scotiabank Calgary Charity Challenge. My 12 year old is running the 10k and she is pretty confident she will be breaking 59:59:00. She doesn’t leave anything back when she’s running. And I am pacing my 14 year old to her first half marathon.

Let’s do this girls!

Our charity mobilizes engineers and architects to prepare quality designs for orphanages, hospitals and schools in countries like Malawi, Uganda and Haiti. Check out the organization (Engineering Ministries International) and then consider sponsoring us here as we run our legs off for those who don’t have it as good as we do.

If you know an engineer who wants to volunteer their skills overseas to make a difference, get them to check out this amazing organization.







Run for a charity. Make it real.

“Keep it real, and if the opportunity arises, step it up a notch”

– my friend Phil Chan

Long May You Run

Sneezing, spider webs, mosquitos, sun burns, and mowing the lawn. All the things we forgot about when we were wishing for Spring.

But woohoo for long-lasting days! The long runs in the morning and well into the evening that do not require head lamps.

Long may you run! – Neil Young. Click here to hear it again and go down memory lane. It’s a pretty slow tempo to listen to during normal runs, but maybe while you’re collapsing on the couch.






Mountains are made for climbing – Ha Ling Peak

On Friday, we did one of those “epic” climbs.

From the backseat: “Which mountain are we climbing?”

“Not that one? Are we?”

“We’re crazy!”

From the frontseat: “Yup, we’re crazy”

We climbed the backside of Ha Ling Peak and got right to the peak. 800m vertical over only a few km. 2.5 hours up, 1.5 hours down. 1 hour of viewing and basking in the sun at the top. There was absolutely no wind and virtually no clouds while at the top.

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There was a lot of trees to get through before there was a view. But the trail was well trodden and not too muddy. Even most of the snow and ice was gone by mid-May.

Very steep! Like 30% steep. Slow hiking for sure.

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And we got to the peak

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From the top we could check out the peaks on the other side of the valley for more inspiration (but that would have to be another day)

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So amazing to live this close to the Canadian Rocky Mountains.

The trail head is 15 minutes south of Canmore, Alberta. The town you see from the peak is Canmore. I am definitely thinking of retiring in Canmore (but that’s 20+ years away). Hopefully I can still do these hikes then.

More information on this trail here.

Other hikes we’ve done in the Rockies here

Falling into bed after a long weekend – must have been a good one

You know it has been a good long weekend, when you fall into bed utterly exhausted from the weekend’s adventures. We took Friday off making it a four day weekend. So Friday we (including daughter #2) hiked up Ha Ling Peak (800m vertical) – 5 hour round trip of slow hiking due to the steepness. Saturday I drove daughter #1 to camp for the day and then ran 26 km in the driving rain. Sunday I ran 16 km doing hill repeats, went to church, and then did errands all afternoon with daughter #1. On Monday I ran 12km with 700m of vertical in the mountains, mowed the lawn, and then went on a geocaching bike ride with daughters #1 and #2.

Then late on Monday afternoon I had a sneezing fit and sniffles that lasted much of the evening and night which exhausted whatever I had left in me.

Tuesday I kept it a little easier and even drove to work for a change. I need to rest up to prepare for next weekend so we can do it again.



Cox “Hill” Nearly Conquered

Now that was hardly what you would call a hill. More like a mountain. When you need to hike 80% of the uphill for 700m vertical in 6km it is a pretty serious climb in my books.

But we had a blast. The trail was dry at the bottom but near the top I turned around when I started post holing in 2 feet of fresh powder. The trail had abruptly ended when the people in front of me who were packing the snow trail had obviously turned around in frustration too and had left me with no tracks to follow. But I was within 200m of the top – so frustrating. It would have taken another 45 minutes in that kind of snow. There will be a next time.

Going down was fun though. It is a very rocky and had lot of roots so there was no easing off on the vigilance. But no scrapes and bruises this time around.

Cox Hill in Kananaskis, Alberta. One of the gentler mountain climbs, so they call it a hill. What were they thinking?


So, where are we going? How much are those contour intervals anyway?

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Need pictures of the maps so we can find our way back.

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The bridge was recently replaced. Looks pretty solid, but the water is rising.

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The trail looks amazing, so far. It is relentlessly uphill, but looks beautiful.

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A little snow? No problem.

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No, a lot of snow.

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Where did Spring go?

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The trail thins out near the top of the world – 700m up. Sun is still shining though.

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Top of the world, wow! That’s the Canadian Rockies for ya!

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That’s May long weekend for you in Alberta. You never know what weather you’ll get.


From the sidelines…

This last weekend, I’ve had the pleasure of cheering on my teen daughters in their races. Both Sunday and Tuesday were beautiful days to be on the sidelines. It feels weird that I’m not running also, but cheering and encouraging them is also very rewarding.

They both ran in the Calgary Mother’s Day 10k. They were supposed to take it easy in this race on Sunday so they would be fresh for the race they really wanted to do well at – their school track meet on Tuesday. However, my younger daughter PR’ed, and the older one also ran a lot harder than she should have. In addition they had both run 7km on Saturday as a warm up run for the running team they are raising money for. So having run 17k on the weekend, they weren’t quite as pain free as they wanted to be for Tuesday. But they gave it everything they had. I love seeing them put all their energies into something and then do really well. Way to go!

These last few months they have been training and staying in shape for their big goal of their running the Scotiabank Calgary Charity Run. One is doing the half and the other is doing the 10k. I’m really proud of them to set these goals and to use these races to raise funds for charity.

They must have picked up this crazy running thing from someone…hmmm. I wonder who?



Lost Soul Ultra Relived


Lost Soul Ultra (54km option – 3600 ft vertical) was the longest and toughest race I have ever done. That was back in September 2014. I’m still pretty proud of it. Since then I’ve been trying to forget the long, lonely, steep, slippery hills. Just when it was becoming a dim(mer) memory, I rediscovered this scrapbook page my wife lovingly made me to help me remember the 6.5 hours of pain. Maybe she thought my memory of it would get me to not do something like this again this year. Quite unlikely! Once the memory fades, the memory of another grueling race doesn’t seem so bad any more.

In case you’re curious, this race is in Lethbridge, Alberta. “The toughest race on the prairies”.

Rejuvenated and Refocusing – Sort of

Monday and Tuesday I lay on the couch and hobbled around like everyone else after the Vancouver Marathon. Wednesday I started to refocus so I went for a short run. It ended up being a very slow and short run. My downhill legs still had stabbing pains in them. But by Thursday I felt rejuvenated and looking forward to the next big one.

I’ve been riding my bike to work this week and it is helping to stretch out those muscles. I’ll be keeping it slow and short for a while yet, but my brain is already shifting gears. I can’t wait until the next one. (Did I already forget how awful I felt during the race? That was quick!)

This post-marathon recovery is tough. Everything hurts for way too long after. When the pain in the legs starts ebbing, you realize that other things hurt that you didn’t know were hurting. Like my shoulders. They sure were stiff on Tuesday, but I hadn’t noticed them on Sunday or Monday. I guess they wanted a little of the pity party too but had to wait until the quads and the calves calmed down a little first.

The lesson is that recovery week is not all smooth sailing. One of the keys is to have patience and to keep the feet up.

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Can’t trust every bridge, and you can’t trust every muscle during recovery week.
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Recovery is not a smooth uphill battle. Everything is trying to trip you up.

Happy Recovery!

Let’s Race! Calendar of Events in Calgary Area

Need a tune up race before the big one? Spring is always full of running races. Make sure you try out at least one this spring and earn some bling. It doesn’t have to be a big race, check out your local 5k charity run, or stretch yourself and do a trail race.

Racing seems to bring out the best in every runner.

And if you’re not going to race, volunteer at a race. You’ll love it!

Calendar of events in the Calgary area:

  • May 9th – 5 Peaks Trail Race in Fish Creek
  • May 10th – Mother’s Day Run
  • May 16th – Tri-it Espresso Run
  • May 16th – MEC Race Three – The Pace Setter
  • May 23rd – Rocky Mountain Soap Women’s Run
  • May 24th – Run for Women
  • May 31st – Scotiabank Calgary Marathon
  • June 6th – Banff Jasper Relay
  • June 6th – Hope Classic
  • June 7th – Run Bowness
  • June 13th – Millarville Run to the Farmer’s Market
  • June 13th – Run for Water
  • June 14th – Betty’s Run for ALS
  • June 14th – 5 Peaks Trail Race – Canmore

For an even more comprehensive list of Calgary area events click here.


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