Sunday, June 29, 2008

Freedom Ride

Today's ride took us along
secondary highways, long and winding roads,
the Trans Canada, passes and village streets
approximately 500km
8 hours 30 minutes
+23 degrees to start, +31 degrees at finish
(good thing for this kind of ride you don’t add 10 degrees
to the current temperature like you do for running)

If you’ve read previous posts, you will agree that today’s ride brings a whole new meaning for me to the term "biker babe"! Today I was the "biker babe on the back"!

I couldn’t have hoped for anything more to make today’s adventure any more amazing then it was. My friend J made sure of that. I got to be the biker babe on the back of his brand new Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Classic. With his knowledge and experience, I felt this was a safe place to go. J mapped out a route that would take us all over creation, where it can only be confirmed we live in a beautiful part of the country. His plan of attack included a belly, bulging, brunch and several, scenic, stop, spots.

Part of feeling a belonging to this biker community is to acknowledge fellow bikers by correctly gesturing with the biker wave. This wave is a tad bit different than the runner wave, so I needed a lesson, then gave a few practice rounds and finally I got it down pact.

I have hiked up mountains, snowshoed to the top of some but seeing them from the back of a motorcycle opened my senses to something new. It was a much more enjoyable experience then sitting behind the glass windows of an automobile. The mountains and rivers felt that much closer, the air that much more fragrant. It brought a sense of freedom for the soul and a feeling of vulnerability to our surroundings.

The higher we went the cooler it got (cooler being a relative term) only to see snow still on tops and in crevasses. It’s not that new, white glistening snow, but never-the-less, snow. The air did bring a refreshing break.

If I had to pick a high lite, it would be the Highwood Pass. This is the highest point in Canada at 7239 feet/2206 meters, that can be reached by a paved road. I was already on a natural high! Could I get any higher? I tried!

Thank you for today's adventure and for sharing a passion of yours with me!

Saturday, June 28, 2008


Relaxing Residential Run

That’s what today’s run was!

Along, in & around, off & on 4th St. N.W.
10 km
Sunny +12 Degrees Celsius
A change of scenery, a change of pace, a change of spirit!
What a great little run this morning.

Birds & Balloons

I have experienced with past runs, the feeling of being a cat with nine lives trying to dodge and defend myself from half asleep, inattentive motorists. This morning I had to defend myself again! This time from very aware, very awake, very attentive robins. I can only assume these two red breasted robins were vicious because they were protecting their special treasure tucked away in a bush or a tree close by.

I had company upon my return run home. A trio of hot air balloons floated along hoovering over the house tops and tree tops. My run felt reflective of the way they smoothly float in the sky!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

17 / 5

17 kilometers in 5 days! A cinch! A breeze! No problemo! Accomplish that and I will have run 500 km in the first half of this year. That’s just one of my 50 New Years Resolutions! Come Monday, June 30th I will have the opportunity to make another one of those backwards left-handed check marks that I so love to make. They mean much more than just a check mark to me!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Manipulate to Motivate

I no more felt like running this evening but I knew I had to, I knew I should! I didn’t want to screw up my program plan when I have come so far and the Stampede Half Marathon is just days away. I like to meet goals that I set for myself. I had no legitimate reason for not wanting to run, I just felt down right lazy!

The left side of my brain was very powerful the whole commute home from work. If you could hear the self talk that was taking place in my head you would be amazed that one person could talk so much! When I finally got home, it was time to mentally micro manage...take one step at a time.

...put the running cloths on put your sneakers on
...go into the bathroom and tie up your hair
...O.K. head downstairs
...go get a glass of water better head to the door, go out the door
...good, O.K. start the watch

I did and I was so much better off for it!

Manipulating my mind moves me move!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

East Coast Salt & Clams

Today’s Run

...was a reminder of one of the reasons I don’t miss living in my native land of New Scotland!

17km Round Trip

To Bow View Manor and Back
+16 Degrees Celsius to Start (+26 in my books)
+23 Degrees Celsius at Finish (+33 in my books)
Cloud, Clear, Sun, Showers (what Calgary is known for)

Salt and clams belongs in the kitchen! This morning felt unusually humid for Calgary. It brought out the salty gritty feeling to the touch and it brought on that clammy feeling. No amount of fluid intake would dissipate that sensation. This could bring on that homesickness feeling to most Bluenosers, but not me! Because high humidity does not occur often in Calgary is one of the reasons I love it here!

The bone, joint, muscle melding minute didn’t happen until 27:11 into the run! Lots later than any time before, but I sure was glad it did happen! Better late than never! After that, it was smooth sailing until docking time.

Then it was time to head home, hit the kitchen and prepare a brew of salty clam chowder!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Bevy of Bikes

I would have to say that anyone who owns a bike must have been out on it today! It was a great day to ride!

My route took me along the Nose Creek Pathway for about 15km then onto the Bow River Path all the way to Edworthy. My guesstimate would be that I covered 45km to 50km in total.

There was lots to distract along the way which heightened my level of curiosity. I caught the zoo animals before they retired for their after lunch nap. The bears seemed unusually close to the bike path. They must be in a temporary home or maybe even a new one. The aroma of the lilacs was intoxicating...wish I could attach the fragrance to my blog or post a scratch and sniff. Alberta’s wild roses were plentiful, peeking out from everywhere in their vibrant shade of pink. It’s that time of year when the Bow beckons, enticing the rafters. Final preparations were taking place for Richard Branson’s Virgin Musical Festival at Ft. Calgary. It appeared and sounded as if it was due to start any minute. I couldn’t get near the place, blockades were in place along the bike path leading to it. I wonder what was behind the Police Line Do Not Cross tape. I will have to watch the news tonight!

I’m getting use to the bike gears and know what it takes to get up the long steep hills. Even though, I still had to walk her up the last long one which was 10 minutes out from home.

My new biker bottoms are keepers as is my shebeest jersey. Now I just have to have a helmet that matches my bike color. I think along with the proper helmet color, new cycling gloves and a nice new sporty watch, I would be capable of riding faster and further!

Friday, June 20, 2008

World of Difference

They were only two days apart! The time of day was roughly on par! The route and distance were to be the same! The weather conditions were quite identical! How could there be the world of difference between my Wednesday run and what was to be my run today when all the ingredients were pretty much smack similar?

Wednesday’s run was passed with flying colors! I felt strong and light on my feet. The breathing came easily with nothing of note laboring-wise! It was quick and I was putting the key in the keyhole to unlock when it felt like a few minutes earlier I was putting the key in the keyhole to lock!

I had to salvage out of today’s run what I could! I needed it to be a positive experience! After seven minutes of running, I felt like I was bonking! My feet scuffed along the pavement, I could feel my heart pounding and I had a heck of a time staying upright and pushing forward. I remember this feeling, it was the feeling I felt getting close to the finish line of a marathon. Maybe I started out way too swiftly! I took two minutes to walk it out, get the heart rate down and obtain a steady level of breathing. Then it was time to run again! Now only two minutes into it, I felt like I was bonking! Actually, I think I did bonk!

I had to call it a day for my run but I refuse to return home on that note. I veered off my running route, down a trail onto the Nose Creek Pathway and had a most mind-clearing, perking-up, soul-rejuvenating walk! I listened to the birds singing, I brushed the tops of the tall grass with the tips of my fingers, I smelled the wildflower-filled air, took long strides stretching my legs, made head circles, shoulder circles, arm circles! Returning home an hour or so later, I remember putting the key in the keyhole to unlock, slipping off my sneakers and stretching on my sofa!

Tomorrow is another day!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Footstomp in Foothills at Footstock

How fortunate we were at 8:00am today, as we stood at the "Footstart" line, for the clouds to roll away, the wind to die down and the temperature to scoot up a few degrees. When only 20 minutes prior, I was questioning myself if I would be fine in shorts and a short sleeve shirt. I’m still learning not to second guess myself. I stuck with my original plan and was happy I did.

Before the start of the race, I met up with a fellow blogger "Runner Leana" for a few minutes. We made introductions, chatted and shared our thoughts on our goals for the day. We extended to each other what was in order for the day "well wishes for a good run" and then headed off to seed ourselves accordingly. Be sure to check out her point of view of today's race!

I have to admit, I thoroughly enjoy the atmosphere and the scenery of small town races especially when they are nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains like Cochrane is. Today’s 21.1km had us foot stomping on just about everything except sand. For my feet it was a treat to run on the red shale bike path that meandered along the river for a few miles. Then onto a short stint of pavement through a well manicured residential district which was a delete to the treat for the feet but I still much preferred this over the kilometers of loose gravel, which happened to go on and on and on and on and on and which also happened to be all uphill. We were on a back-country road that went on forever and I could see forever in all directions. I have no idea where we were! My only solace was we would have a long long long long downhill stretch on the way back.

Wow! What a long long long long downhill stretch! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! That was my saving grace! I felt like a bird flying, like a boat sailing, like a duck swimming, like a plane zooming, like a..., oh enough! In other words, it was easy, effortless, smooth, quick.

To pass the multitude of minutes of running, I thanked volunteers (without them where would us runners be), I high-fived children and costumed I don’t know whats, thought of a blog title for today’s post, took in the scenery, sipped my drink, gulped my gels, calculated my minutes per kilometer at each marker, thought about the Stampede Half and even mulled over doing the Canmore Half in September. That’s what I thought about, I wonder what others ponder along the way?

I was in better control of my emotions this time as I drew close to the finish! Could be do to the fact I’ve done three half-marathons in seven weeks, I becoming immuned to them! The finish was in sight but it seemed to take forever to get there. It was a tease! As I picked up the pace down the home stretch, I lengthened my stride. I felt like I still had a bit more to give and was in disbelief as I crossed the "Footstop" line that I had taken 5 minutes of my Police Half and Red Deer times.

A youngster presented me with my medal. I wonder when she sees the look of joy and exhilaration in the eyes of the finishers, will she want that some day! Dream Big! Set Goals! Achieve!

Friday, June 13, 2008

no Shot of Shirt to Share

Because I was a "late entry" I did not receive a shirt at race pack pick-up today! That’s O.K., a medal beats a shirt any day! I will just have to buy a new running shirt as my reward afterwards!

Speaking of reward, I want to wear my Red Deer reward for tomorrow’s Footstock Half Marathon. If the forecast stands as it is posted right now (+4 mainly sunny at 8:00am and +10 sunny at 10:00am) that outfit will be just fine and dandy, remembering to add 10 degrees to the current temperature because that’s what it feels like when you run.

I plan to take stock at foot stock! My time for the May18th half was 15 seconds faster then my time for the April 27th half which amounts to a 1 second difference in overall average pace of min/km. In other words, they were pretty much identical races. I’m not so sure I could have managed that outcome if I planned for it! My goal has always been to finish upright and healthy with a smile on my face, how ever long or short it takes. I tend not to push, for fear of bonking or causing injury. If I want to have a positive difference of more than 15 seconds, I better do something!

Race day is not the time to be a smart ass and alter your race plan but it will be a time to take stock. Then it will be time to stop playing it safe, kick it up a notch, go outside the comfort zone and create a little sweat! Because...the Stampede Half is looming!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Blame it on the Rain!

The first thing that comes to my mind when I hear those words "blame it on the rain" is the song by that infamous duo Milli Vanilli! Cheaters, scammers, nothing good to say about them. Well, that is actually how I feel about all the rain at this point.

My Canadian Tire route run this evening was completed in cold, wind and torrential rain. I completed this run with an unnatural running form, one hand was tucked in my shorts, the other hand wrapped in the bottom of my top...this was to prevent frost bite! I have never run in such heavy rain before, I was absolutely drenched. I wanted this run overwith, I wanted to get home where it was warm and dry. I would like to report that I did complete this Canadian Tire route run in my fastest time ever. I guess I can "blame it on the rain!"

A little side note: Before making my daring dash out the door at the end of my work day, I checked a few websites for information. I was curious about a friendly fellows finishing time in the Red Deer Half Marathon. I checked to see the confirmation number so far for the Cochrane Footstock Races. I also checked out the site for the Canmore Rocky Mountain Half Marathon in September. As I sprinted for the elevator door, another co-worker making a daring dash inquired if I had any races lined up! For the life of me, I could not think where I was going for the race this Saturday! I only knew I was doing a race and it wasn’t here in Calgary! Can’t blame that on the rain! What can I blame it on?

Sunday, June 8, 2008

She Walked the Talk

...that's the Goddess of Weather who did...
she gave what she forecasted

Today's Run

to Bow View Manor and back
Cold, Wind, Rain
at the start and at the finish
and every minute in between

I did't let her get the best of me, I did what I have learned to do, tough through it!

What was with that hissing squirrel and the horn music coming from the Parkdale pathway bush!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Weather Window Woes

Time for a shout-out and a prayer to the weather Goddess!

All I ask is for a two hour window of respectable running weather for Sunday morning! I have to do an 18km run and don’t want to do it in the rain! Been there done that! I won’t be picky and ask for warmth and sunshine. I will take cloud, wind, sprinkles if that is the best you can serve up.

This is my last long run before next weeks half marathon in Cochrane and I would like it to be an enjoyable, quality training session.

Please take my plea into consideration!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Tagged on the Run!

I was tagged by Rachel.

Here are the rules and my reply.
* Just copy the following onto your post.
* The rules of the game are posted at the start of your blog post.
* I'm asking you five questions about running.

* Each player answers the five questions on their own blog.
* At the end of your post you tag other people and post their names.
* Go to their blogs, leave a note saying they've been tagged then to look at your blog for details.
* When they've answered the questions on their own blog, they come back to yours to tell you.

1. How would you describe your running 10 years ago?

Ten years ago at the age of 40 was when I started running. The running consisted of 5kms filled with lots of walk breaks.
2. What is your best and worst run/race experience? My best experience was crossing the finish line of my first marathon. My worst experience was running a half marathon after suffering from a migrane headache the night before.
3. Why do you run? I run because I love how it makes me feel physically and mentally. I enjoy the social aspect of it.
4. What is the best or worst piece of advice you've been given about running? The best advice I received was "you will run again" while recovering from my very first injury. Also, add 10 degrees on to the current temperature and dress for those conditions. The worst advice I received was don't run in the cold because your lungs will freeze.
5. Tell us something surprising about yourself that not many people would know.
I survived a grizzly bear encounter. I paid my way through university by building Michelin tires.

I tag
Runner Leana
Kelly's Running Blog
These are local runners whose blogs I find entertaining, informative and inspirational.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Best for Biking

SO! Biker Babe bought biker bottoms! These bottoms are plain, black, nothing fancy, from a local sporting store on 10th Ave SW. I thought I was all set until I tried them on with some of my technical tops. The look just wasn’t working for me. I like to have nice, bright, fun looking sporty numbers and nothing but the best cause they make me feel the best!

SO! Biker Babe better buy biker blouse! Well, not really a blouse but that word fit in best with my exclamation of "B" words. I paid a visit to a local cycle shop on 10th St NW. As I entered the front door, I heard a call out "take me home" coming from my left. Every now and then I hear those words and it’s always when I’m browsing the stores.

SO! As I glanced to my left, right before my eyes was a vision of beauty! It screamed out bright, fun, nice! It was my size, my color, it had my name on it "Shebeest"! I grabbed the cycling jersey off the rack and held it close! I browsed the store!

SO! While I was there, I moseyed around, seeing as I had the time. I saw accessories I needed to have! Love accessories! I picked a bottle cage and a pannier and held those close with the jersey. I see other necessities biker babe better buy but those will have to wait to be held close another time.

SO! Now I’m thinking! I have to stop reading the Shopaholic Series of books because they are taking a toll on me!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Blossoming Biker Babe

Today's Ride
Babe Better Buy Biker Bottoms! Oooch!