11 Years of Wearing Out Running Shoes

Running my shoes off over the last 11 years.

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2005 – 400km

2006 – 1600km – Vancouver Marathon, Emporer’s Challenge (21k)

2007 – 500km

2008 – 1600km – Calgary half marathon + Footstock marathon + first triathlon

2009 – 1600km – Calgary marathon + Sylvan Lake half iron

2010 – 1600km – Vancouver marathon, Calgary marathon + Calgary half iron

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2010 Vancouver Marathon

2011 – 1600km – Calgary marathon

2012 – 2800km – Calgary marathon, 50k (Frozen A)

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First time Boston qualifier!

2013 – 3000 km – Boston marathon, Calgary marathon

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Boston Marathon

2014 – 2700 km – Lost Soul 50k, Calgary 50k

endomondo

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2015 – 3161 km (biggest year by 5%) – Iron Legs 50 Miler, Daughter’s first half, Vancouver Marathon

2015

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What a journey it has been so far. Hopefully it is far from over.

And just because I like summaries, graphs and trends…

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Oh, for Longer Socks

You know that space between the top of your socks and the bottom of your tights. It’s part of your ankle that you don’t really notice. And no one else notices it either.

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It’s not noticeable UNLESS there is a lot of snow you are trudging through. Or it is really cold out. Then you really notice that inch of skin. That inch of skin suddenly becomes the most important part of the body.

Pull your socks up higher. Pull your tights a little lower. Just frustrating.

I haven’t gotten frostbite on my ankles yet but it can be really frustrating when I pick the wrong socks for a run. I need to hide those short socks a little deeper in the drawer so they don’t come out at this time of year.

Most running socks are short. But some are even shorter. They’re designed that way for fair weather running. Not winter running.

Most of my longer socks are cotton. Not great for running in, period.

My tights are just a bit too short. I do have looser wind pants that I can wear for running that go a little lower, but I usually only pick those as a second pair to go over the tights.

Putting all the right pieces together becomes all too important when frostbite is a real threat.

Remember those leg warmers from the 80s? Well, in case you’re wondering, I’m not resorting to those. Any other ideas?

Cross-Training in the Snow

Cross-country skiing makes for great cross-training. But you’ve obviously got to have snow. And snow we have! The mountains have amazing conditions these days. And even just skiing from our house has good enough snow.

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We have headed out two days in the row (maybe we’ll make it three if tomorrow’s weather is just as good). The temperatures have only been about -10 C, so not too bad, and the sun was very sunny today (as Dr. Seuss would say). But it could have been warmer as our toes and fingers can attest to. But when you’re newbie at it, you need to live and learn when trying out different numbers of layers. Next time we’ll be one notch smarter on that one.

Yesterday we skied to our local park, and made new tracks in the fresh snow.

Today we headed to some groomed trails in the Rockies. The trailhead was packed with cars, but the extensiveness of the trails meant we were mostly skiing in solitude.

With so many people out today, we thought perhaps we could try to copy the form of the more experienced skiers. We thought of listening for people chatting in Norwegian, Swedish or Finnish, and then copying them because they are always the Olympic champions. We will have to learn a few words in these languages for next time to know that it is Norwegian and not Greek or Bulgarian.

Benefits for the runner:

Long distance cross-country skiing really can work your lungs, especially with the hills. This lung-busting is great for running. The legs also get stretched in the months when you typically don’t put on a lot of running miles. And you discover different leg muscles that have never been sore before.

You use your arms a lot more in skiing than in running. So those shoulder’s, triceps, and abs get the workout they’re missing on the runs.

And one more benefit – you can spend your afternoon outside (instead of just playing inside with all those new electronic Christmas gadgets).

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Cross-training:

For me, cross-training is absolutely necessary. I probably run way too much and under use my non-running muscles. I need to continually find opportunities to do things other than running, to keep the muscles more balanced.

I’d encourage everyone to try something new this winter, as you take a break (however slight) from running.

 

Objective: Burn Energy

We had some energy to burn on our long drive home after Christmas. It was still light so we stopped in the middle of the mountains at a rest stop and went for a run.

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Couldn’t ask for a better backdrop.

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We were eyeing up a nice virgin snow covered trail but upon closer inspection it was clearly only for skiers. Unfortunately we couldn’t see any other trails at this rest stop, so we had to go on the road. But this little side road had almost no cars on it. It was a significant uphill but that meant significant downhill all the way back.

2km completed

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This was near Field, on the road to Emerald Lake, just outside Banff National Park.

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Activity Objective: burn energy.
Objective completed.
Continue to next objective.

Running in New Snow

After a long day of skiing this run was really hard to get in. Our legs were tired, and it was dark.

But there was new snow again!

Running in new snow is the best.

Luckily we were able to scrounge a few dry items to wear after skiing.

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2.1k from the grandparents place on snow covered sidewalks.

Day 36 of the run streak

Pre-Turkey Run

Is there a better way to start off Christmas Day than to go for a run? After presents and waffles, of course. And definitely before (not after) the turkey.

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We might still head out to go sledding before dinner, but in case we don’t, at least we got some brisk winter air in with the run.

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We were pleasantly surprised at the amount of snow this Christmas.

Just a short run, from the grandparents place. But the roads were very quiet and the few other people walking were all in a good mood.

Merry Christmas!

Winter Running in the Rockies – Lake Louise

We did a quick stop on our drive through the Canadian Rockies on the way to see the relatives for Christmas. We just couldn’t help ourselves and had to get out and run a bit. Beautiful.

We followed the trails groomed for skiing in Banff National Park in the town of Lake Louise in the Canadian Rockies following the river upstream.

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I would love to get out here a bit more. Even though it is only 1.5 hours from home we don’t get here enough.

-15C, snow in shoes, wet socks, frozen fingers and nose. But super fun.

We kept it really short (2k) so we could get back to the road.

Day 33 run streak

Places to Run – Nose Creek Park

It was a beautiful day today for an afternoon run in the brisk cold air on a sunny day. I had a small window to get my run in between errands. After dropping someone off at the airport I picked a park I don’t often go to near the airport.

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This park, Nose Creek park, has mostly flat trails in a large open space but it is surrounded by subdivisions.

At this time of year the trails can be a bit tough and uneven, but I wasn’t in a hurry.

There were a bunch of dogs and their people out today but mostly it was a pretty quiet lonely trail.

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I definitely bundled up today even with no wind.
-15C and sunny.

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Nose Creek park is very popular with cyclists in the summer and walkers in the winter. Access and parking is not great since it is accessed off some big roads. But I guess that’s what keeps it a little less busy.

Today was 8.9km with 100m elevation going in and out of the small valley along the creek, mostly staying off the pavement. Trails through the fields are way more fun.

Run Streak Day 29

We are all in this together

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Gluttons for punishment. That’s what winter runners are. On icy sidewalks. In freezing fog. Blizzards. Treacherous trails. Whatever gets thrown our way.

That’s what sets us apart.

We are all in this together.

XC Race … in the fro-sty air

Lots of beautiful snow, frost, and sunny skies during the cross country race today.

I had to go back on the trail after the race for the photos so I didn’t get any runners unfortunately.

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7.5 km of single track makes for a great race.

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On this trail there was not very many passing zones so if you get stuck at the back during the race start it’s a tough slog to work your way to the front. I didn’t succeed in getting back to the front. I should have pushed harder in the first few hundred meters. I could have gained probably 20 finish places at least.

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Footprints from 100 runners.

You know you haven’t tried hard enough if you don’t at least nearly wipeout. I landed on my butt 3x during this 40 minute race.

Treacherous cross country can be a blast.

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