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.

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.

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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Trail Feature – Nosehill Park Circuit

Nosehill park is a mainstay of trail running in Calgary. The view is very open as you can see in these photos but in one run the terrain can vary significantly.

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I don’t very often get out here since it is not quite close enough to home.

I like it because on a clear day you can see both the snow peaked Rockies and the downtown towers. And you can always find a lonely trail.

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It really is an odd park in that it is this huge expanse of prairie surrounded by the suburbs. It is not even close to the edge of Calgary anymore. In the 70s it was decidedly outside the city but not anymore. This city is exploding.

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On my one run today I ran on so many types of trails but mostly on single track packed dirt. There are some gravel pathways and a paved pathway around the whole thing.

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A trip around the outside of the park is at least 10km long depending on your route. My route today was 12 km with 250m of elevation gain.

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I don’t think there are moose in the park anymore but there are definitely deer and coyotes. Unfortunately I didn’t see any today. The weather was much too nice and the were too many dogs out on and off leashes.

It is a great place to almost forget you are in a city and to get a great trail run in.

Running But Not Seeing

There’s some great pictures to be had if you’re not the one running. If you are the one running, then you can just enjoy it and not worry about that perfect picture.

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We’re so busy watching out for what’s just ahead of us that we don’t take time to enjoy where we are

– Calvin & Hobbes

I feel so freed up in this current season of running that I can just run and not feel pressured to put in a certain mileage or timed intervals. I know when the New Year comes around things will change again when I restart the training but for now I feel I can slow down and smell the roses. So refreshing!

Yesterday I ran until it got dark. The day before I regularly stopped for some photos. A few days ago I ran up to the field where they were playing high school football. I stopped to watch a while then jogged home. No pressure to keep pace. No pressure to pack in the miles.

All too soon I will be training again. But for now, I am taking it easy.

Capturing some Fall Running

I was surprised at how quickly it got dark this evening. The sky and landscape had some pretty cool colours on the way out, but on the return I was wishing I had brought brighter clothes and a light. I guess 8:00 is not as early as it used to be a couple months ago.

But I caught a few photos on my evening park run before it got too dark.

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It is nice that on these shoulder months when I don’t have a serious training goal that I can slow down to take a few photos without feeling guilty about my training.

I am quite impressed by the capability of my new phone / camera. Moto X 2015. It’s a little too big to run with but for some runs, that’s okay.

Back in the Game

I have been laying pretty low lately but I am getting reinspired to up my game in this shoulder season. That is for both the running and the blogging.

– August 15 – big race
– Rest of August – family vacation
– Most of September – Led volunteer team to Africa
– End of September – hosted company VIPs and attended meetings for the week

So that was 6 weeks to get my brain off of training, racing and blogging.

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In the last week I have watched my daughters race 3 cross country races. I also rode 30 km for charity. But I have hardly run in the last 6 weeks. Well a little here and there but nothing consistent.

Yesterday I made a pact with two work colleagues to do the Pikes Peak Ascent next August in Colorado. That is a long time from now but in a way it is helping me refocus.

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So to kick start this season, this afternoon I went on a 10km trail run in the neighbouring trees. I rounded it off with some core work.

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It was a beautiful day to get out there. The leaves were falling but it wasn’t too cool out there yet. The many colours were a treat.

September is Race Month in Calgary!

The race calendar is packed full this month! September is always busy for running races. Not only is school starting again, everyone is back from vacation, but people are setting new goals. Get going on those fitness goals by signing up for a race. Maybe it’s not a goal race, but it could be a tuneup race, or your first time out there to test yourself.

Whether you’ve been running all summer, or are starting up again with new goals for the Fall, September is a great time to see what you’re made of.

And if you happen to be in Calgary or area, check out my list of Upcoming Calgary Races this month. More race details and links here.

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The weekend is almost here. Are you signed up yet?