Grassi Lakes – Places to Run

Grassi Lakes Park in Canmore makes for a great hike and a tough run. The main loop is 4 km starting at the parking lot with a lot of elevation gain – maybe several hundred meters or so. At the far end of the loop are these two incredibly clear small shallow lakes. They are a great place to take a snack break as you wonder at the beauty.

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Near the start of the trail is a fork with a sign for “easy” and “more difficult”, both going to the same location. If you do the loop you would take one up and the other down. I definitely recommend the more difficult for at least one direction. There are waterfalls, views of the townsite and lots of steep stone steps. If you take the easy route you get views too but not nearly as good. We took the difficult route up and the easy route down.

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The trail was way too popular and crowded on the spring Saturday that we were out there so the going was a bit tough. So wait a few weeks into summer, go early in the morning, or go on a weekday for a quieter route.

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To get there go south of Canmore, head past the nordic center for 2 km and park next to the lake.

At the top end of the loop, if you go past Grassi lake (south) you will go past a very popular cliff climbing area as you ascend more stairs up to Spray Lake for another amazing view.

If you head east from Grassi lake you get onto to the High Line trail that follows the mountain range. This is definitely a must-run. We didn’t do that one today but I fully recommend it.

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

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.

 

 

Out and back, then back and out

Tonight I ran downstream along the river, returned home, then ran upstream along the river. Why downstream first? I have no idea. But it seemed right. Sunset views all the way both downstream and upstream. Perfect timing.

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I got home early from work so I was able to run mostly before dark. That doesn’t happen very often these days. But I will take it when I can get it. It was a whole lot better than yesterday when I ran near downtown on the sidewalks with the eerie streetlights in a strange area.

So today was 6 km + 6 km with a 2 minute break in the middle.

My weekly mileage is hopefully going to slowly creep up for the next few months in anticipation of another big spring and summer of running.

Happy trails.

Bow River Run

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We live in a beautiful winter setting. This run was right out my back yard.
13 km on the single track snow covered trails right next to the Bow River.

On New Years Day morning there were a whole lot of other runners all seemingly in a great mood. It was a great day for a run.

The geese and the ducks were huddled in the hundreds trying to ride out the winter in the icy river.

This run streak won’t last more than a couple more days since my normal schedule will jerk me back to reality. But in the meantime I am still counting.

Day 42 running streak

Happy New Years!

Edworthy Park Trails – Places to Run

The paved pathways at Edworthy Park in Calgary are is a go-to for most all running groups in the area. But there is so much more than just paved pathways. But it seems few people are discovering the gems found right in the city.

There is a whole bunch of single track too. You just need to step of the pavement and head several meters closer to the river and you will find some great trails. They aren’t as long as you might want want wilderness running, and there are no hills on the north side of the river. But they are much quieter than the alternative hard surface. This morning I found almost no runners and I couldn’t hear the nearby road. And if you go to the south side of the river the trails are more than you’d expect. Lots to explore.

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My run this morning was the 10km loop between the two pedestrian bridges plus the 4 km run to get to and from the park. I ran counter clockwise which obviously was against the flow of most other runners. Either way works for me.

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There seems to have been construction at least somewhere on this loop for the last 8 years I have been running it. Between upgrades, park renovations, and river flooding, there is always something to work on, it seems. But the city prioritizes the pathway for commuters leaving it mostly open most of the time.

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These trails are some of my most run trails because of how easy it is to get there from home, and how nice it is to run along a river.

Fish Creek Park – places to run

One of the classic linear parks around here follows a creek for the entire width of the city. I would guess the park is maybe 20 km long by 1 km wide.

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One of the access points to Fish Creek Park is at Votiers Flats near the center of the park. From here you can go either west or east. I chose West. Maybe next time I will go East. It should be quite similar.

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You can follow the paved pathway along the entire length but I chose to follow the lesser trails mostly right along the waters edge and deeper in the trees.

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Corduroy trails in a couple spots

Most of the trails are bike friendly so I had to keep paying attention. I ran into the same biker three times over about half an hour. Each time he was obviously trying to work up some adrenaline by going very fast on narrow trails. Keep your head up!

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Some friendly spectators

The water was hardly moving since we have barely had rain this month (or last month).

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These photos are from last weekend and as you can see winter hadn’t shown it’s face much. But as I write this a week later, snow has blanketed our city of Calgary and the temperature has dropped to well below freezing. So that run may have been my last snow free run in a while.

My run was about 13 km. I was able to run mostly on one side of the creek going west and the other on the return. And I was able to stay off the pavement for the most part.

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.

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.

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.