Lost on the Muddy Trails

Our treat on our Saturday trail run was to see a moose come check us out and then cruise away. Those guys can sure run fast.

These trails are inside the city limits of Calgary so we really don’t have to go far to get this nature. We feel pretty lucky.

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The trails had frozen solid overnight but were thawing quickly by the time we got there at 11. So we had a lot of mud, both the sloppy kind, and the frozen kind that was filled with footprints from the hikers (and moose) the previous day. The deep frozen footprints were pretty tough to run without twisting ankles. The ice patches kept us guessing whether we were going to break through any given section and get wet feet or if we would slide out of control.

But mud can be fun. We had fun splattered all over us.

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Yeah, we couldn’t see the trail here either

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We got lost a couple times and did one of the loops twice. Good thing we had a gps map to consult

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12 km in Weaselhead flats along Glenmore Reservoir in Calgary

We love these trails. And they are only 20 minutes from home.

As spring comes these wet areas become mosquito havens making it almost intolerable. So this season is definitely the best for these trails.

Expections vs Reality in the Maritimes

We naively expected sunshine and beautiful oceanside running trails for our few days in Halifax, Moncton and PEI, but given the time of year we perhaps had set our sights too high. We got some sunshine, but the wind, the snow, the ice, and the rain storms made for some miserable conditions on this particular weekend. We did get out for a couple runs but the hotel treadmills got their share of use too.

This must be an amazing place to spend time outdoors. The fresh ocean air, ocean views, and rustic trails along the coast would be amazing.

We got to see the sights but mostly from the car windows because we couldn’t stand being outside very long in the cold.

I ran this morning from the hotel along a trail by the highway, and once in Polly’s Cove (near the famed Peggy’s Cove lighthouse). I got the Polly’s Cove recommendation from someone’s blog and we definitely enjoyed ourselves, but it was much too short. We would have gone longer but the trail petered out after 1 km and we didn’t really know where we were going after that. It looked like it went right down to the water and then along the water but we didn’t want to venture that far off the main trail.

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There were a lot of locals out running this morning in the cold. Those must be very hardy runners. If you were one of them, be proud of yourself for sticking it out.

We missed one of the local races because we were already booked on Sunday morning by the time we found out about the race. It looked like it could have been a good one. It was a 25km relay called the Moose Run near Halifax. My two daughters and I would have teamed up. As it was, it was a miserable rainy morning and I’m not sure we had brought the right running clothes for it.

Next time I come here, I will have to try harder to make sure it is a little closer to summer.

Checking Out Maritime Running

I’ve never been to the Maritime’s before and I am looking forward to the running. Even though it is not the best season to visit, running is the best way to see the sights.

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This is from Google but I am sure it won't be this nice at this time of year
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Google again. This is what they show the tourists to entice them. We will see what March looks like.

I have a bunch of work stuff to do first, and I do have my family along, but I think I can squeeze in some trails on the 3 days after the conference.

I’ve googled a little and found a few running groups and where they run. Although I won’t be able to join them, I have some hints on where to find the trails.

Wish me luck finding some good running routes.

On the Trails

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“Can we go this way?”

That meant along the trail instead of the paved pathway. At this time of year you don’t know what you’re going to get on the trail.

We found a lot of mud and ice. And very slippery mud and ice. And mud that stuck to our shoes.  On the hills it was a little treacherous. We weren’t out for timed run, just to get in our 4 km on something a little more difficult that would get our heart up a little higher.

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We love this trail that leads out from our back yard but usually we have to wait until later in the spring. We probably should have waited a little longer and maybe we will wait another month or so considering what we encountered.

Since we were flying the next day I had to hose down my shoes before packing them. To make sure they were dry I put them over the furnace vent over night and they were quite dry. But they sure stunk the next day. So I found some deodorizer spray and some baking soda. But I had to put them in my carry on. I could smell my shoes all day on both flights. Some of it was my imagination but much of it was not. Hopefully the other passengers didn’t figure out where the smell was coming from.

The joys of traveling with not quite clean running gear. I think I will be searching out some Lysol before heading home in a week.

We are looking forward to finding some new trails on our travels.

Lunges at the Airport

It was going to be a long weekend at a conference. So as I was planning my running and exercise for the weekend I was starting to despair that I wouldn’t even have time to stretch my legs let alone keep my training going. But I promised myself I world give it my best shot. There was a window on Sunday afternoon when I could get a run in but otherwise I was pretty booked from my early Friday morning flight to the early Monday morning flight on the return.

At the first airport: 20 lunges. This provoked some stares but nothing I wasn’t used to. I refrained from the push-ups because that might be going overboard. I made a point of staying on my feet as much as possible while waiting. I don’t know if that counts as “more time on your feet” advice that endurance runners receive constantly.

In the airplane: nothing. It’s pretty hard to even stretch your legs in economy class.

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Airport #2: Walk. Well maybe it was strolling and window shopping. Does that count for anything? But I did skip the moving sidewalk. And it was a 2.5 hour layover.

Saturday at the conference: For 16 hours I wore my running socks (mostly covered with my formal slacks). Does that count?

Sunday: In between lunch and dinner at friends I got my long run in. The sun was shining, snow was melting and I couldn’t NOT go for a run. So a big day -24km.

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Monday flight home: Likely it will be not much to report.

But overall my legs are tied both from standing for 2 days straight and from my long run.

Verdict: success given the hardship

Running the River

Running along our local river is as good as it gets when I need a run that starts at my house.

I can choose the busy paved pathway, the quiet paved pathway on the other side, or the single track through the trees (but only on one side of the river). There’s bridges every couple kilometres so whatever distance I am running that day doesn’t mean I have to come back on the same side.

There is a 10 km or 15km loop going upstream and 6km or 14km downstream if you start at my house. Starting at the ice cream shop is a great place to meetup for those that have to drive to the trail head. You can always treat yourself after the run. It’s a very popular starting point for some reason, hmmm.

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There are vitually no lights in the linear park except when the pathway is near the road, so I need to wear my headlamp for most winter evening runs.

Last year as I was training for my mountain ultra race, I frequented the trails to get in a little elevation and trail experience on each of my runs.

When I am looking for speed work I stick to the paved trails. There’s even markings on the pavement at 800m intervals if I am feeling so inclined to see what I am made of.

Winter running is usually on the paved pathways since the trails are too treacherous with ice.

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We could use some water fountains in this Park. There’s some at the ice cream store but a few more wouldn’t hurt. And any time before May and after September the fountains are shut off because they’re frozen. I guess that’s life around here.

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Spring is just around the corner so the number of bikes and families on the trail is increasing everyday, especially when the sun is out and especially on weekends. Pretty soon I will have to head for the quieter trails until the weather cools off again in the Fall. But either way, the runs are immediately adjacent to the river.

Places to run: Edworthy Park in Calgary
Seen on my run: Bow River at sunset

The Run Commuter

I just chanced upon a website and it has inspired me again to pick up commuting to work by running. I know it sounds like a crazy idea, but sometimes when you need to get all your mileage in on a busy week, these crazy ideas seem to crop up.

Many of the articles on the website are on the logistics such as the No Shower Cleanup – Mens Edition (lots of steps but it would seem to be very comprehensive and would leave no one guessing that you had just run to work). Unless you want people to know you ran to work, then you just have to skip a couple steps.

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And of course there’s women’s edition too but I don’t have an opinion on how well that one works.

There’s articles on how to get in the right frame of mind to run to work in the morning.

There’s how to plan a route which is important if you want to incorporate it into your training, or you want to skip the traffic fumes.

And of course there’s lots of advice and reviews on clothes, lights, backpack, bringing your clothes to work wrinkle-free, etc.

Check it all out at http://theruncommuter.com/

As this site says “Live to run, run to work

And we’ll see you (maybe) running on the road or trail commuting to work.

Race Volunteering

We had a lot of fun stuffing race packages last night and handing them out today for the upcoming local St. Patrick’s Day race.

I really enjoy racing but I am starting to also enjoy the coordinating and volunteering for races.

Sure there is a lot of time to put into meetings, setting up, and tearing down, but seeing so many people benefit from your contributions makes it worthwhile.
One of the deals when we signed up for the organizing committee was that we couldn’t race on race day because there was so much other work to do. The organizing isn’t really that much work if you have a great organised race director like we have. She is a veteran at these things.

This year, not only do I not get to run it, but I have double booked myself and now I can’t even volunteer on race day. I put all this effort in and all I will get out of it is seeing the smiles on the photos of the finishers.

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This one armed mannequin may look like one of the volunteers but most of us wear out hats straight

But I’ll get pictures. And the photos are always great especially with the costume contest. Hopefully I will remember to post some of the best ones here next week.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day this weekend. Have a great run. Wear green.

Another Sunny #Runch in Calgary

It felt like everyone had vacated the Calgary downtown towers at lunch today and were out for a run or walk. Me included. The pathways were packed. It’s great to see so many people getting some fresh air, stretching their legs, and getting energized for another afternoon in a cubicle again.

I sure needed the run. I had skipped two days in a row, even with the nice weather because of … well… life. Life just gets in the way sometimes.

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The economy is slow around here so many people don’t have the workload pressures they have in past years. So I guess that means more and longer lunch hour runs for a lot of people. It probably means longer lunches on the outdoor restaurant patios too, but I’m not in that scene. I just whiz past them.

It is a long way from spring yet, but the temperature was up, the sun was out and the ice along the river was melting fast.

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Looking at how many pictures I took on one run, I am now wondering whether it was a hard enough run. But it was a fun run, at least.

This weather, and the thousands of other runners are a great inspiration for the spring races coming up.

See you out there for a #runch sometime.

 

 

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