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.

image

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.

image

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.

image

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.

Zoolander-Featured-669x272

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.

image
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.

image

image

image

image

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.

image

image

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.

 

 

How Far are We Running Today, Dad?

Daughter #2 (13 years old): How far are we running today, Dad?

Me: Maybe 4km?

300m later

Her: I didn’t do my long run this weekend. We should run further today.

Me: Well, okay, we could do 5km

200m later

Her: How about we turn around at 3.5km?

Me: Noncommittal “Hmmm”

Her: I really should be running 8km for a long run. Her half marathon is coming up in 3 months and I admit that she needs to boost her consistent long runs a little.

a couple km later

Me: Here’s a good turn around point. It looks like we’ve done 4 km but it will probably be a shorter way back

Her: disappointed “Awww”

at 6 km mark

Me: I’m guessing it will be about 7.5km today

Her: We have to at least make it even. We’re doing 8km.

Me: Okay, we’ll go an extra block here.

at 7km mark

Me: It looks like it will be about 8.4km

Her: We can’t leave it at 8.4km. That would only be 50 minutes. I need to mark down 1 hour because 50 minutes isn’t a round enough number.

Me: We’re not doing 10 km. We were only going to do 4 km and you need to get to bed.

Her: Okay, okay, let’s do 9 km.

Me: Sure, OK

300m sprint finish with me lagging behind

Me: That was a great run

Her: Yeah, but my legs are sore. Oh well. You know, we should have run longer.

total run = 9.3 km in 53 minutes. 

image

What have I created? I won’t be able to keep pace for much longer.

Not-quite-Spring-yet trail run

I can’t wait for spring trail running in the mountains so I gave it a shot today. And I discovered that although it was sunny and warm, it is definitely not fully spring yet. This is really not surprising for end of February, but it has been unseasonably warm lately, making it feel much more like April. The ice was treacherous and covered about 90% of the length of the trail, making it absolutely necessary to have yak traks or other ice grips. I had to really keep it slow and walk carefully on most of the up and downhills.

The other indicator that trail running or hiking in the mountains in February is not that popular (or not that safe) is that in two hours of running, I only came across one hiker and his dog. Otherwise it was a very quiet run. I love those quiet runs, but I was wondering if anyone would come across me if I ran into trouble. I was trying not to think about bears waking up from hibernation a couple months early due to the warm weather, or the warning signs about cougars, or the cliffs immediately adjacent to the trail. But alas, it was a quite uneventful run.

image

image

image

This trail was the Montagne Trail, a single track rolling trail on the north side of Canmore, Alberta. It skirted above the golf course but stayed off the steep parts of Lady McDonald mountain. I will have to head back out here to do the Lady McDonald trail to the peak in the summer sometime.

From what I remember, I think this is a very popular trail in the summer. I have heard it mentioned quite a bit but this is the first time I have been here.

image

image

image

image

I had a great view on this sunny day of the mountains across the valley beyond the town site. I was inspired to do some peak bagging just as soon as the trail conditions improve – which is probably not before mid-June.

Just as I got to the car, a storm blew in with new snow. Good thing I didn’t start half an hour later. It would have been pretty miserable. But maybe the trails will be in better condition by the time I have a chance to head back out there for another trail run. Either more snow, or no ice would be great, thank you very much.

image

image
Maybe I will aim for the peaks when summer hits. They look enticing

Montagne Trail in Canmore, Alberta. 1 hour west of Calgary, just outside the Banff National Park gates.

11 km, 1:45 hours – This sounds slow, but the ice made it tough going.

There’s ton’s of trail running in the Canadian Rockies. Check out this post

 

When do You Wave?

Running etiquette usually involves acknowledging other runners. Everyone does it differently. But how do you do it properly?

Some people do small waves, some do big waves. Some flick their wrists. Some nod their heads. Some shout something cheery. Some mumble something under their breath. Some look others directly in the eye, and others do everything possible to avoid eye contact. Some smile.

article-2212729-1557EE17000005DC-243_964x995

That all applies if you are running toward each other. But what if you are passing someone, or they are passing you? Wave as we’re passing? That can be awkward. Mumble something encouraging?

And how does a race situation change it? On an out-and-back race, rarely do the fastest runners acknowledge the rest of us coming the other way. But those not quite as competitive are more apt to be encouraging and friendly.

I have learned that runners definitely do not wave at cyclists. And if you are cycling, you do not wave at runners. This is especially hard to remember if you are training for a triathlon. Back when I was switching my running and biking every day and not fully conscious which sport I was doing that day, I occasionally had to swallow a wave (pretend there was a mosquito) to keep from looking foolish.

I suppose it is a cultural thing too. Different countries would develop different ways to appropriately acknowledge each other. It would be different for urban versus smaller town folks. City versus trail runners. I haven’t studied this in depth but I’ve passed a lot of runners. I’d love to know if anyone has any insight.

When I am doing my speed work I am more focused and less likely to acknowledge others. When I am on a lonely trail I am more likely to acknowledge someone than when I am on a busy urban pathway.

Does anyone have any rules of etiquette to share around?

Which are the friendliest cities to run in?

That Sinking Feeling

You know that sinking feeling when you suddenly are aware of a niggle, a sore spot, or a pain that wasn’t there 5 minutes ago. Oh well it’ll go away, you say. Then it doesn’t go away. You only become more aware of it. Is it getting worse, or am I only noticing it more? Then 5 minutes later and you are quite sure it is getting worse. That blister is growing, that muscle is stretched too far, that knee is overused. Do you turn back? Do you push through it? Do you slow down for a bit? Do you take off your sock mid-run to analyze the situation?

My lunch run on Tuesday started out very well. The sun was shining. I was aiming for 10 km along the beautiful river. But at just over 1 km in, I started feeling a tightening of one calf. “What, my calf? Since when do I have calf problems? I never have calf problems.” Within 200m the tightening turned to pain, and the pain caused me to slow down. 500m later I turned around. I knew I would never make 10 km. In fact I walked part of the way back.

Panic set in. How did I get into this? How is this going to affect my training plan?

Well I was smart enough not to run the next day. And the day after, I only did 3 km. I essentially took the whole week off. It helped that the week was super busy anyway and I wasn’t in a critical phase of my training plan.

That was two weeks ago. So I took the one week off because I was injured. Then I got “lucky” enough to get the flu and a deep chest cold for a week. So I essentially took 2 weeks off, almost completely without running.

So my calves seem much better. I haven’t even noticed them on my two inaugural runs since then.

image

So the lesson learned is that if you are going to get injured, do it well before an event so that you can easily convince yourself to take it easy, and not have to worry about training. And then after you think you are injury free, take another week off, just to be sure.

Unfortunately, this is WAY easier said than done. No one ever does this of their own volition. Do they?

Train smart!

Sun and Ice

After a long weekend of standing on my feet exhibiting at a conference, I was able to get out alone in the woods to be by myself in the quiet and go for a run.

It was a recovery run. Recovery from a weekend of talking, socializing, and people-time.

image

Nature, trees, trails. I love the therapy it provides.

And being a Monday afternoon when everyone else was at work or school, I got the place mostly to myself.

img_20160222_131030478-1600x900.jpg
It looks like soft snow, but disappointingly it really is crusty packed ice that is great at twisting ankles. 

 

image
The sand over the ice should have made it less slippery, except in the places where I couldn’t tell where the sand stopped and the ice started

Now I need to go to work, even though it is still sunny. And then I need to go on another run.

 

Should I Run Today? – Decision Tool

To run or not to run today, that is the question.

Have you ever had trouble deciding if you should go for a run? Well you aren’t alone. We all have those indecisive days.

Introducing this FREE simple tool to help you decide if you should run today.

Just input 7 factors including the weather (from “perfect” to “hurricane”), how you feel (“not feeling it” to “awesome”), how long ago your last date was, and the importance of the other things you could be doing instead of running.

The tool makes the decision for you.

lunchtimeshoes

Bonus feature: This tool can be used as ammunition to prove to your loved ones that yes indeed you do need to go on another run. “It says so, right here”

And it is fast enough that if you are lying in bed at 4:30AM trying to decide whether to get out on that run, you can find out in mere minutes before your brain kicks in.

So why not get started with these 7 simple questions.

Step 1) Click here to enter the decision factors.

Step 2) Come back to this blog page and refresh this post to find out below if you should run today.

We can’t leave these important decisions to our own hapless selves. Let a computer do it for you.

%d bloggers like this: