Weasel Head Flats – places to run

During most months of the summer this park is swarming with mosquitos which ensures you don’t take walk breaks. The bugs are relentless.

Weasel head flats is an nature preserve in a wetlands area in SW Calgary. Today as the last day of October, it was threatening rain but definitely no bugs and almost no mud.

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Sometimes the trails can be very muddy. Today they were a little wet in a few places but my shoes didn’t even get muddy.

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One reason this area was very quiet was because of construction. It actually was a long detour (couple kms) to get to the parking lot, so the parking lot was mostly empty. Construction lasts all winter so this might be a nice quiet place to run until then.

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From the parking lot there is about 1km of paved pathway to get to the trail head. The trail goes down to the river edge maybe 30m vertical on steep trail. After that it is mostly dead flat on gravel and dirt trails.

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I zigzagged through this park and made it a 10 km route but it was tough not to double back to get in the mileage. It really isn’t that big a place on the east side of the river.

The trails can get pretty small, to the point that it is impossible to run with all the branches in your face. The trails right along the river are meant for walking slowly due to the numerous zigzags. So the best trails are the straightest ones, and the ones with the least amount of gravel. I like to stay on the non-improved trails as much as possible, but it wasn’t always possible in this park.

Great trail system for a quiet run right in the city, as long as it is a bug free season.

Running the city

Nice long run on Friday after work. The sky was threatening rain but it was the wind that worried me most. But I think it was stronger against my back on the way out and it must have calmed down by the time I turned around.

I ran along the top of a ridge so I got some nice vistas of the downtown. 

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On one residential block we counted 47 pumpkins on people’s porches. The decorations are definitely out in full force this Halloween. Unbelievable how much time people put into decorations. But then again it is unbelievable how much time people (me included) put into running.

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This one was 15 km mostly on river pathways.

One Year of Blogging (& Running)

I love sharing photos of the places I run, hoping to inspire others to keep up this crazy addiction we can running.

Over this last year I have enjoyed sharing my running adventures and along the way I learned a lot about blogging and writing in general.

It has also been a good record of my running journey. Keeping track of it this way is a whole lot better than just a bunch of stats of my times and distances.

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Here is one photo from each of the 12 months of blogging that was taken while I was out running. It was pretty hard to pick out just one good one.

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August 2015 – Ironlegs 50 miler, Kananaskis, Canadian Rockies
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July 2015 – Lots of hills training in the Rockies

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Blogging stats for year one:

8000 views on WP over the year plus the unrecorded “tons” of viewers by email, rss feeds, Facebook and G+

By far the most popular post 328 views РSurviving the whole half which was my race report of the half marathon with my 14 year old daughter

Second most popular 240 views – Trail Running in the Canadian Rockies. Places to run. Inspiration for anyone who lives the mountain trails.

My first blog post (short and sweet) that kicked it all off: Too Many Trails, Too Little Time.

Running while blogging: 3300 km over 12 months in 4 countries

Thanks for joining me on this journey. We’re not done yet.

Lost in Griffith’s Woods

Trails with NO HILLS!  That doesn’t happen very often around here.

Griffith Woods is a city park in Calgary with lots of trail types but notably no elevation change. It follows the wetlands adjacent to Elbow River so some trails can get wet.

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The entrance to the park seemed a little ominous to me with signage like this. Especially on the week before Halloween. Good thing it wasn’t getting dark yet.

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I intended to stay off the paved trail and this was possible. And then I determined to stick to single track. That’s where it got a little wild since the single track seemed quite aimless in direction.

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I got lost here. Well not exactly lost but the trail didn’t go in the direction I wanted. I should have stayed to a more main trail. There was this linear pond that I was trying to get around and there was only a deer trail along the waters edge. Lots of thistles too.

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The route I took was not very direct as I noticed from my Strava map after the run. It ended up being 10k taking just over an hour.

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Lots of other walkers out on the main trail but I stayed off that.

Overall it was a great run and I will have to head that way again.

A Stair-ful Run

Stairs are horrible. They make you give more than you intended

Stairs are amazing. They make you give more than you intended.

Love-hate.

Up, down, up, down

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15km with 300m elevation gain on city park stairs and trails.

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And the view from the top.

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The view from the top was worth it. I saw this view a few times on my run this evening.

An Hour Along the River

A one hour run along the river right out my back door. It’s an amazing place we live in.

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My running time suffered today because of all the photos I took but it was some good just me time. Just me and the trails and the river. I love that river. And that trail. I supposed it’s not hard to tell.

Tangled or Free?

My current ear buds have been doing very well for me. They are the over-the-ear kind and they sit comfortably. I am quite happy with them.

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Well I was quite happy with them until I got a gift card from Best Buy and started looking at the wireless ear buds. I am very tempted to get them but I am hesitant.

Apparently the sound quality is not as good over bluetooth. But while running would you notice anyway, and most of what I listen to are podcasts, so I’m not concerned about sound quality so much.

The lack of wires would be a defnite plus. I get tangled in my wires on almost every run.

The remote volume and fast forwarding on the ear piece would be very convenient. I could leave my phone in my pocket or backpack and not have to fumble with it midrun.

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But the cheapest ones are $100!! and the one I already have wouldn’t cost me anything.

Has anyone picked up the wireless ones? What do you think? Is it worth it? What brand did you buy?

I’d love your input.

PS about one week after this post I picked up some Jabra wireless ease buds. Not the ones with the in ear heart beat sensor. But they work great! I am still getting used to having to turn them on, then turning on the Bluetooth before starting music otherwise everyone can hear. The audio jacks were more seamless that way.

Changing It Up a Bit

My Saturday run was full of starts and stops. I had decided to do some geocaching while doing my semi long weekend run.

If you don’t know, geocaching involves going to certain coordinates and looking for hidden containers in order to sign a log book. In the urban area I was running there was a geocache every 400 – 800m. So I would run for 2-5 minutes, search for the cache for 5 minutes, then move on whether I had found it or not.

This easily doubled the length of time on my run. But I was never out of breath for very long. And I had a different goal in mind besides my time or just getting in the distance. I got off the beaten track, exercised my brain, and got my run in (sort of).

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Stopping a little more often allows you to see some of nature that otherwise you would just whiz by

I don’t recommend this type of running for any kind of training period. But I do this once in a long while when I am between serious phases of training and I just need to change it up and keep it interesting for a while so I don’t burn out.

It can be a great opportunity to discover rabbit trails instead of only people trails. And you can notice your surroundings a little more.

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Maybe not a running trail but a geocaching trail can be runnable too sometimes
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All the squiggles are where i am looking for geocaches and not making much progress on my run

Adding Some Spice into XC

Today we introduced 4 youngish (middle school) runners to the world of cross country. Sure they had run cross country in middle school, but this race put much more “country” into the racing. There were live creek crossings where you seriously got wet. And there were some serious hills you had to slog up. It was a relay so we were all in it as a team instead of the pressure of individual efforts. They all came out of it with with huge smiles and promises to do it again in a couple weeks. That’s what we were hoping for.

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Building running confidence into these kids can hopefully fuel a life long desire to keep challenging themselves to see what they are made of.

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Podcast Spotlight – Trail Runner Nation

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Trail Runner Nation is a fun witty podcast with two Californians who just love trails and going long. If you want a light hearted, often funny conversation these are your guys.

A couple of their last podcasts were titled “How bad do you want it?” and “Why don’t we quit when it hurts?” Just by those names you know they take their sport seriously and wonder out loud about their sanity.

They have over 11,000 likes on FB. They have quite a following.

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Check out http://trailrunnernation.com/ to take them for a spin.

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