Saturday, August 30, 2008

Galatea the Reward !

The greater the risk, the greater the reward and today’s reward of Galatea was well worth the risk!

Due to a footnote on the Kananaskis Country website "BEAR CAUTION", we picked a possible alternative hike and made a quick stop to chat with the Ranger with regards to the warnings. You know when you have your heart set on something...well my friend R and I both had our hearts set on seeing Galatea so we heeded the Ranger’s advice, stood our ground, and stuck with attacking our original plan.

Our trek started at 10:00, it felt fresh, cool, damp, perfect hiking conditions, my thermometer showed 12 degrees, our choice of shorts was wise.

The first 400 meters of elevation took us across 10 bridges crossing back and forth over the creek as we ascended narrow winding paths, muddy in spots, some steep sections, lots of wild flowers still, lush green in color and after two and a half hours of this, we arrived at Lillian Lake.
This was a perfect spot to refuel for what lay ahead! I think of you Mom when I am here! (My Mom’s name was Lillian). I have never seen a lake so green in color. It felt peaceful and calm and serene as we sat savouring our sandwiches. With that mysterious listeriosis issue with Maple Leaf meats, I copied R whose sandwiches consist of bread and butter. No taking chances here!
Time to carry on with attacking our plan! We tackle the next kilometer which has an elevation of an additional 250 meters on top of the 400 we already completed. We take the switch backs up a lightly-treed avalanche slope and turn around numerous times to take in the view of Lillian Lake down below and the surrounding mountain range.
This is where the risk pay off is starting to pay off! We know along this last part of the path, behind these trees in front of us and at the base of that mountain ahead, will be the reward!

The reward! Galatea Lake! It is hard to imagine there can be such a beautiful lake close to a kilometer up a mountain. Here it is! We spent a little time here taking photos, enjoying the scenery, feeling so close to the sun, and munching on oatmeal cookies and those little two bite brownies.

At 2:15 we began our descent. It’s always quicker coming down on the return. Different from the increasing heart rate on the way up, we now feel the knee stress, the weaker ankles, the toes pushing against the fronts of our boots. We feel the sun warm up as it peaks through the trees and around the mountains.

At 5:00 we arrive back at the parking lot feeling exhausted. Every stiffness, very ache, every yawn, every tightness was all worth it! Taking chances and pushing limits pays off big time!

Today's Destination

The plan of attack for today is to reach Galatea Lake! According to Gem Trek maps it is a total round trip distance of 13 kilometers with an elevation gain of 650 meters. The first 6.4 km should get us to Lillian Lake and from there we will make a decision whether or not to forge on. Once again hiking takes us out along the Kananaskis Highway 40. I remember there use to be a large sign at the start of the highway that said "Life begins at highway 40"! Stayed tuned!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Friday! My Day!

Hi Ho Hi Ho it’s off to play I go!

Today was all about pushing on my bike for pretty much all of the 48 kilometers I packed in. I’m really feeling comfortable on it and stronger too. Parts of the path I had to myself, so on the straight stretches I kicked it up a notch to see how fast I could go. I was feeling a significant breeze through my helmet.

The grasshoppers were plentiful along the path near Nose Creek. I dinged my bell in the middle of a back swing, just because! The course was busy this afternoon. I know the runners’ nod, and have experience with the bikers wave. I wonder what the etiquette is for acknowledging other cyclists!

Every time I ride, I am able to make it further and further up that last hill. I’m still not able to make it all the way up yet but I feel it’s inevitable any day now!

My Book Report

This one is called "Jogging", it was published in 1967, was written by William J. Bowerman a track coach and W.E. Harris a heart specialist, both gentleman are from Oregon. The official price on the top right corner says $1.00 although a non-running friend only paid $0.25 for it at a flea market. Oh how times have changed! Running has come a long way since this book was written over 40 years ago. Yet still, much as stayed the same. Parts of this little book were hilarious to read and I imagine as the years go on and I check back, it will be even more so.

The book included many photos and here are just a sample! I look at the outfits from head to toe and can’t imagine the uncomfortableness they must have felt. The sport was certainly not about fashion, but then again, maybe they thought they "were all that"!

The writers talk about "What’s In It For You?" and their points are timeless:

improves the heart and lungs
you look and feel better
helps you loose weight
builds endurance and confidence
jog alone or with others

Other points they discuss shows where times have changed:

no special equipment
it’s free
jogging is thrifty
no food fads
any informal outfit is appropriate
wear a light sweater over a t-shirt

I shared this book with my running friends who got just as many laughs out of it as I did and each one of them returned it to me with their own funny comments written on little yellow sticky notes stuck to the pictures! They made me laugh even more!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Blazing On My Bike

I passed a couple of hours this afternoon out on my bike! You should have seen me, blazing the trial! That only happens when the wind is at my back and boy was it there in full force today. It was rather quiet on the paths, which is what I expected for a Thursday afternoon and which I enjoyed! Not a whole lot of reasons to be ringing my bell! I did ring my bell at a fellow who looked familiar from behind, as I have seen him running before and I recognize his form. Our Mayor was out running. I heard he was at a meeting this afternoon so I wonder if this was to gear up for the meeting or a wind down from it.

I got to try out my new toys! I really like the padded palm cycling gloves and my blue bottle works just fine. They are both keepers!There was lots of construction along certain parts of the path system which was nice to see. Some paths were being widened, some new ones were being built, some were receiving new fences to line them and others were having trees cleared from their sides.

The bike ride back home was tough! No blazing here as I was fighting the wind. At times the wind pushed me to the side almost into the ditch and at times my speedometer read 4.9 miles/hour, I was almost at a stand still. I could feel the struggle in my knees and even thought I heard them scream!

In total I did 31 kilometers. Tomorrow I hope to double that!

11 Days to Play

Off to work while I play!
That's what I like to see, everyone else is heading off to work while I get to play!
Today's Run
my Canadian Tire route
out the door at 6:55 am
+7 Degrees Celcius
cool and clear
This morning's run confirmed to me that I do much better with the cooler temperatures then the hotter ones. I like running at this time of year because it is still warm enough for shorts and a short sleeve shirt but cool enough that you don't sweat or overheat. Although I hate to kiss summer goodbye, this morning's air truly made it feel like a beautiful crisp autumn day. This is the start of 11 play days for me! WooHoo! My goal is to put miles on my runners, mountains on my hikers, and paths on my bikers (well, it should be bike but bikers fits better)!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sensational Scenic Sunday

This is where my friend R and I ended up today!
Chester Lake is a favourite of mine to snowshoe to in the dead of winter! I always wondered what was underneath all that snow. Today it was revealed! Waterfalls, reflections, wide open alpine meadows, wild flowers galore, gigantic rocks called the Elephant Rocks and groomed trails, all these captured my attention like a wide eyed child! Gem Trek Maps rates this hike at a moderate level with a distance of 10.2 km round trip and an elevation gain of 300 meters. The drive to the trail head from the city is longer then the hike up to the Lake but taking time to dine on the lake's edge then venture to visit the Elephant Rocks makes the drive worthwhile. We just had to tack on the mountain sheep-like-trek along the scree at the back of the lake as part of the day's journey.
It was nice to see construction signs at the trail head because we knew then that the area was receiving attention and being upgraded. It's not just the city that is being developed. We were surprised to even see a little plow along a newly clearly path. I could not resist hopping on and taking it for a spin!!! Wild flowers were still in abundance even nearing the end of August. I can only imagine what these alpine meadows must look like in early July when it is peak season for the flowers. I will have to return next year for that! Bear berries were untouched, I felt that was a good thing! Chip was looking for Dale! This little baby grouse was startled still by us, we stayed still and quiet so it could go on it's merry way.
On the return part of the hike, for most of the journey, this was our view! Only realizing we missed it on the way up as we forged forward with eyes on the trail and the view ahead. The mountain views never fail to amaze me.

Thank you R for sharing today's hike with me! The time goes by quickly with so much to chat about. I look forward to conquering another slope with you!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Working It Out !

Lots of time to think, plan, organize!
Today's Run
18 km
to Shouldice and return
+8 Degrees to start +21 Degrees at finish
slight breeze and sunny
Today's run felt great from the beginnng all the way through to the end! Thank you for that! I first looked at my watch at 32 minutes and the minutes seemed to quickly pass as did the miles. Thank you for that too! It was my longest run since the half on July 6th and afforded me lots of time to work things out.
I know what I will bring for lunch hiking tomorrow and that I better not forget those delicious Two Bite Brownies. I know too, what I will ode to the Olympics! Murrietta's will be a nice place for lunch when relatives pass through Calgary on September 25th. I will need to leave Calgary at 6:45 to get to Canmore an hour before the race starts to allow myself enough time so I am not needlessly racing around before I need to race around. I would like to do a winery tour when I am in Kelowna. I want to figure out how to add a list to the side of the blogs that I read. I figured all those things out, but I could not figure out who the lady was that was doing a distance measure for tomorrow's Robert Hamilton race, she looked so familiar!
Got my weekend run in now bring on the hike!

Tomorrow's Destination

Tomorrow's destination is Chester Lake!
There is what it looked like the last time I was there which was New Year's Eve!

This will be my first time seeing it in the summer!

I wonder what is under all that snow!

Stayed tuned!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Thankful for at Thanksgiving Time Kelowna Bound

Today's cold and rain pulled my thinking in a direction that I really shouldn’t be heading to yet in one way, but late in heading to in another way.

I began thinking about Thanksgiving Time, the October long weekend, when cool and crisp can fill the Calgary air. It can be a beautiful time of year! It’s a long weekend that I don’t want to just past by and have nothing to show for it. I want to have something to be thankful for this Thanksgiving weekend.

I want to be thankful for my health and fitness which allows me to do the things I love. I want to be thankful I can finish a race upright with a smile on my face! I don’t mean to rush summer, but yet, I didn’t want to be left high and dry! It’s about planning, organizing, anticipation!

Sooo......I entered the BMO Okanagan Half Marathon in Kelowna on October 12th. YES! I’m going to Kelowna! I have my plane ticket (decent deal on that), I booked a room (all the good ones are taken because I left this a little late), my name is on the confirmation list!

I spent a day in Kelowna 8 years ago, but don’t remember much. I have not run there so this will be a new experience.

The countdown is on!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

On The List

It's official! I put money down! I'm confirmed! I'm on the list!

I finally bit the bullet and entered the Canmore Rocky Mountain Half Marathon! Canmore is about 110 kms west of Calgary and just east of Banff National Park. This town is famous for it's Three Sisters, as seen above and also for the Nordic events of the 1988 Winter Olympics. The town was officially named in 1884 by an employee of the Canadian Pacific Railway. Much of the area to the North-East of Canmore is located in a critical wildlife corridor. (I wonder will we be running there?) This will be my first time for running a half marathon in the Rockies. I am feeling a bit intimidated! I have done Melissa's 10km in Banff a hand full of times and I did some very short trail runs (4 km) at the Canmore Nordic Center a few years back. Also included in my list of running in the Rockies was the 8km Canmore Rocky Mountain Run (it's a 10km now). My memories that stand out for that race are that there was a snowfall the night before, I had my camera in my belt and because the scenery was so awesome, I ended up stopping and taking photos along the way. Needless to say, it was not my fastest 8 km, but I could not resist the scenery. The other memory is that the start times were delayed about 45 minutes because a bear was on the route for the half marathon runners. They needed to clear him out of the way before the race started. With less than three weeks to go, I'm beginning to feel the anticipation, the excitement, the intimidation!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

When You Least Expect It

I didn't really expect anything great today!

Today’s Run

15 km
out and back to Edworthy
+17 to start +23 at finish

Taking into consideration yesterday’s hike, a lack of sleep, the hot temperatures, I was surprised and delighted with this mornings run. The rhythm came within 10 minutes of starting, the miles passed by quickly, I was finished before I knew it! Could hiking and biking be beneficial cross trainers? Not to get cocky, but this is giving me the confidence that I should be ready for a half marathon in three weeks.

Only one problem! Just when I have my toes looking respectable again, I have this to deal with! I got it hiking yesterday! Geesh! What the heck is that all about!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Loop the Lake

What this hike lacked in elevation, it made up for in scenery!

Today we were 9 in total. They say bears will never confront a group of 4 or more hikers, so there was safety in our number. Although, I don’t trust that a bear will take the time to stop and count us, then make his decision on whether to charge or not!

The full loop of the Upper Kananaskis Lake is measured at 16.5 km. We did it in a clock-wise direction. It seemed the majority of hikers preferred the counter clock-wise direction. We passed large numbers heading that way, who were also taking advantage of this beautiful hot day. My thermometer measured +23 degrees at the start of the hike and +30 degrees five hours later when we arrived back at the parking lot. This was a good day to be in shade, to be near water, to be catching the spray of cold, fast, thundering, waterfalls.

The feast for our eyes consisted of a variety of land formations. It started with the wide openness where we saw the size of the lake. As we carried on we passed over bridge covered waterfalls and found ourselves walking through what felt like a lush humid rain forecast. Most of the early trail was in shade. It opened up halfway into the hike to a scene of vivid green growth with hundreds of gray tree stumps sticking out.

We realized at this point, that the counter clock-wise hikers were the smart ones, they did the open part of the trail before the heat of the day. We trekked on through a massive avalanche rock area. I would not want to have been there when this happened, which would have been years ago I assume as there was a well worn forged trail through the rocks.

Even though the wild flower season is closing in, we were left with a hint of fushia as we looked down onto this massive lake. This was the view we got to take away with us at the end of today’s hike!

I did this hike about 11 years ago but only a very tiny portion of it looked familar. It seemed brand new to me today. Speaking of brand new, my camelbak is a keeper! It will be a permanent fixture in my backpack. I am now thinking of what my next hike might be and even though I don't know which one it will be, I am looking forward to it already!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Tomorrow’s Destination

On what is forecast to be our hottest day so far this year, you will find me hitting the hiking trails, yet once again. Tomorrow’s trek will be the 16.5 km route around the Upper Kananaskis Lake. This hike is considered moderate only for its distance as there is not much elevation at all to speak of. It makes up in beauty what it lacks in elevation!

My new toy for hiking is a camelbak. My backpack is built to hold one, so why not have one. The majority of hikers last weekend had either a camelbak or a platypus. I had two water bottles, one in each pocket on either side of my pack. The location of the pockets does not allow for the easiest access to hydration. For that reason, I found I was not drinking as much as I should. With tomorrow’s forecast of +31 degrees, hydration will be important!

My new toy will be even more handy come snowshoe season. But that is a long long long way off!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Another Play Day

6 km
+ 14 degrees

21 km
+ 23 degrees


Sunday, August 10, 2008

Simple Solitude

lost in the kilometers

Today's Run

12 kms
out west and back from Eau Claire
+14 degrees and overcast

Mere grins and positive nods replaced the spoken "good morning" on my part and on theirs! The majority of runners out this morning appeared to be lost in their solitary run just like me! This was my time to plan, calculate, relive, test.

I should soon decide if I want to do the Canmore Rocky Mountain Half Marathon. I still have not entered. It's on September 7th, so three weekends left to get the mileage up to a respectable distance. It's doable! But do I want to do it! I find I am becoming somewhat of a weekend warrior. I want to run, hike and bike plus get everything else done that needs to be done. I need more vacation time, I need it to be an 8 day week, not 7! I need the seasons to be longer!

I saw the new Nike commerical for the first time today! I like it!
"I got soul but I'm not a soldier! Just do it!"

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Glacier Gliding

Can you even comprehend doing that?
I did it today on Rae Glacier!
Elbow Lake was our first destination. Being only 1.5 km in at an elevation gain of 150 m, we came upon it in a very short time frame. It was definately a photo oppourtunity stop and drink stop. I get such fulfillment from a hike! There is something about it, that does something for me, that nothing else in my life could even come close to doing! For the reason that I can hardly ever find a friend to accompany me on adventures like these, I decided to join a local group that partakes in activities regularly. The main destination for today was Rae Glacier. There were 11 of us for this hike, three of us on our first outting with the group. Very shortly into the hike, I knew this was to be a great day. The pace was fine, and the folks were friendly. I belonged! After leaving Elbow Lake, we wound around the campsites and the lake to the other end and then started our trek upwards.

At times I found it grueling, but over the years I have done this enough to know that grueling equals amazing! It definately was that today! It was another 4 km and 400 m beyond the Lake to the Glacier. Our maximum elevation gain was approximately 550 m to a height of 2438 m.
At the base of the Glacier was a perfect place to set up to dine. The eleven of us spread out over the rocks, feeling the sun beat down, yet the coolness of the snow around us. It was serene and peaceful. Having set a good pace on the way up, that left us plenty of time to play after dining. Four of us did! Including me! You will notice the dots on the rocks in the above photo, those are my hiking buddies!
Imagine...the dog days of summer, +27 degrees, dressed in shorts and t-shirt, high in the mountains, so high the snow does not melt! We layed on our jackets, I on my rain cape, and went sliding down the side of the glacier! I call it "Glacier Gliding"! I did it four times! I experienced my third childhood! The second was a few years back at Disneyland.

Right now it's 10:15 pm! I've been home since 5:00 and I still feel high on life! It was a leap for me to go with strangers, a little beyond my comfort zone but I am so thankful I took that leap and I know I will leap many more times to come!

Where I'm Going Today

Stay tuned!

Friday, August 8, 2008

We were reaching out for relief today! A place where we could go to escape the heat of the concrete jungle!

Ms M and I landed in Cochrane! Land of the famous ice cream! Mine matched the colors of the flower and the flower pot shown here! It tasted as delicious as the colors look!

We found a babbling brook meandering through the trees. The sound of the water trickling over the rocks gave a sense of fresh and cool. Every now and then we felt the breeze! It was glorious!

A visit to Cochrane would not be complete without a stroll along the pathway by the Bow River. The water was warm to the touch! Nice for our feet!

Heading back to the vehicle, we found a mural which depicts what this little town is all about!


Feeling Lucky?
I am!

Today's Run

my Canadian Tire route
at 6:05 am
sunny +14 degrees
a slight beautiful breeze

That was my kick off to the Olympics run! The way I felt this morning, in my mind, I would be able to keep pace with any of those athletes competing in the running events! It's all about being positive, right!

Another day of no work all play for me!
My afternoon treat...

Thursday, August 7, 2008

No Work, All Play!

Oh how I love not working on a beautiful day! I could so get use to this but I realize this is not a reality for me at this point in my life!

Today’s Ride

My bike ride had a real purpose today. I needed to bring it in for a tune up. My plan was to ride for a few hours then drop if off.

I left home at 9:30 am. I was a little nervous, as I knew all the biker commuters were already sitting at their desks at work and the pathway would be quiet. I never use to feel this way, but it’s a new world and my nerves let me know they exist.

Just like my last ride, the people population count was low on the long path out, but picked up the closer in I got. About ½ km from the Zoo, I saw a uniformed lady walking and gawking with what looked like a purpose. As I approached her I saw her badge, it read "Calgary Zoo". My imagination started to swirl! I wondered what animal got loose that she needed to capture. I will check the news tonight to see if any zoo residents had some freedom today.

Just past the Zoo near the SE part of the city, HAWKS was hoovering and hoovering and hoovering! Geesh! Are they looking for a loose animal too? I didn’t know whether to feel safe or scared! A short distance down the path I came upon a ruckus. Three big burly city’s finest just tackled a fellow to the ground. Maybe HAWKS was part of this! I didn’t care about speed rules, I put my gears in fast mode and peddled out of there like there was no tomorrow! UGH! So many less fortunates, down and outs, less desirables and unsavories. I have never seen them in such high numbers!

After all this excitement, things were rather uneventful from here on it. I made my way to Shouldice to check out the car pool site for Saturday’s event. Four hours after leaving home, I arrived at Kensington to drop off my bike. Then hopped Transit for a ride as close to home as I could get then walked from there.

I am without my bike until Tuesday at 5:00 pm but that is O.K. I have lots of other plans of running and hiking to keep me out of trouble!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

My New Book

"I Run Therefore I Am Nuts" was a gift from my running friend D Mo! The back of the book says the author pokes fun at the idiosyncratic personalities of runners and the strange and hilarious situations they encounter! It also says whether you fall in the middle of the pack, up near the front of the pack, or so from any semblance of a pack that you're wondering if everyone went home already, you will find plenty to laugh about in this book. Just flipping through the pages has me laughing already! Each chapter starts with a comic! Here are a couple that I can totally relate to!

Monday, August 4, 2008

August Rush

This long weekend topper was a three hour fun bike ride and what a great day for it!

I was surprised not to see many folks along the Nose Creek Pathway but as I got closer in, the numbers picked up dramatically. Instead of heading west from the Zoo, this time I hung a left, not knowing where I would end up.

I happened upon Fort Calgary so thought I would pay Ms M a visit. There she was, doing what she loves to do! I think I surprised her! Along the route I needed directions, so questioned an older then me biking fellow. He had a police half marathon shirt on so not only did I ask for directions I also asked if he ran that race. He did in 1980! I checked some info when I got home, 1980 was the first year for the race! He doesn’t run anymore but does very well with his biking!

I wore my new ironman socks and JE if you read this, thank you very much! They were a treat for my feet! I don’t know my mileage because I was not able to attach my new Incite i8 computer and all it’s little pieces. I have a date on Thursday for a service check on my bike, as the newness is coming out of it and some adjustments need to be made, they will attach my new gadget and get it running for me at the same time.

What a trio long weekend! Saturday Sunday Monday...running hiking biking! What a rush!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Radiant Rawson

We found a piece of paradise today nestled high above surrounded by forests and mountain peaks!

Rawson Lake it was!
Radiant is was!

Today’s hike, going and coming, was a great way to get caught up on each other’s comings and goings with my friend R who I have not seen in about a year. There was lots of catching up to do, so much to chat about, it made the day go by quick but we still savored the scenery.

Both of us had been to Rawson Lake before but today that did not diminish the sense of enjoyment that being in a place like this brings on. It still invokes that lost for words feeling! In chatting, we realized that over the years we have experienced Rawson in all seasons. I have even been there in the dead of winter.

The trail was busy but not overwhelming. We felt safe in the numbers! As R said, no self respecting bear would make an appearance in this neck of the woods this day! Even though it is not prime time for the wild flowers, they still put on a show for us, as did the picas, squirrels, chipmunks and moles. The fishermen were casting, the lake trout jumping, the parks visitor center rep patrolling and the ridge walkers could be seen way off in the distance...lots happening to catch our attention!

It was such an enjoyable day! Thank you for sharing it with me! I look forward to hiking again with you!

Maybe Buller will be Beautiful, or Lillian will be Luscious, or Galatea will be Gorgeous!