Thursday, October 30, 2008

Today's Mail Delivery

I first heard about the Spirit of the Marathon at the end of last year but did not pay it the attention it was due, due to the fact running another marathon was far from being reality for me. Having a revelation last weekend that, in fact, now I want to go down the marathon road again, I thought this DVD would be motivational and inspirational (I will need all of that I can get). I placed my order on Monday and it was sitting in my mailbox when I arrived home today! Guess what I will be doing sometime this weekend!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Evening Run

This is what the sky looked like out my back door this evening when I got home from my run!I ran my Canadian Tire Loop this evening! What a gorgeous evening! I wore shorts and a short sleeve shirt and here it is, the end of October. I have to brag about that! The last time I ran after work was three weeks ago and at that point I was still having trouble with energy at that time of day. Not today! It felt different! I liked it! I like it like this! The cooler temperatures do it for me! I made it a quicker run as I was nearing home because I didn't want to miss getting a shot of the sky!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

I Changed My Mind!

That's my prerogative! My original plan was to take the balance of 2008 off from running after completing the Kelowna Half Marathon! It's been two weeks since completing that race! I have a confession to make! I ran this morning and it never felt so good!

I had a conversation with a fellow co-worker who is a running guru and has given me much guidance. He advised that my original plan was not such a good idea. He let me know that I would be prone to injuries once getting back into running in January. His advice is just to run a couple of times a week, keeping them on the short side, just to maintain some kind of a base.

I purchased new Brooks running pants a few weeks back which I had not tried yet so got that opportunity this morning. They are keepers!

I checked out
Leana's post and when she talks about getting ready for her high intensity training for the Walt Disney Marathon I remembered back to a few years ago when I reached that point in my marathon training. I popped in to read Kenny's shopping experience at the Marine Corp Marathon fitness fair. Myself, I never did buy a marathon jacket. Then this morning, Legs & Wings posts about his comeback and thinking and realizing he wants another marathon medal.

Well, I want another marathon medal too!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Lakes & Lookouts

"So close but yet so far" could be another title for today's adventure! We left R's place at 8:45am and we were at the trailhead by 9:45am. It was like a hop, skip and a jump to get there. It's always nice to see other vehicles in the lot when we arrive, to clear the way. You see, the bears have not packed it in for the season yet! Once over the dam and on the other side of the lake, this is where we strolled for quite a distance before the start of the slog. This is where our journey took us and our journey was climbing up the backside which turned out being a two and a half hour slow slog. We will know better to do this hike counterclock-wise, if there is a next time for this one. The fire warden, unlike the bears, has packed it in for the season. Another adventurer told us the contract concluded the end of September. This meant we could frequent the private deck and use the outdoor facilities.
The first two hours we were secluded in the trees from the wild wind and as we approached the opening we stopped to bundle up. The wind howled and the temperature dropped. You get to know you have to come prepared for anything at anytime in this neck of the woods. Above the tree line and out in the elements, R battles the wind to make the final climb to the top.
The trail conditions were slick, I relied on my poles lots this time as my hiker grips are not the greatest. Those that had gone before us packed down the snow to make it similar to skating rink conditions. Once on top, we had a spectacular view of Barrier Lake in all its glory. When the sun shines on the water, the color always amazes me.

Not only are there plenty of mountains to see around us but also structures of all sorts. These are a few. We saw a couple more tucked in behind rocks and trees. All these were in addition to the private residence that had a deck the whole circumference of the house and even a picnic table. We looked in the front door to see all one would need to live a summer here. I wonder how all these came to be, way up here!

Off to the side was a large wooden deck all on its own. I even wonder the intentional purpose of that. Is it for us hikers? We dined on this deck because of the view of all four quadrants. For the first time this season, I brought along a thermos containing coffee made from freshly ground beans and two coffee mugs. The coffee paired nicely with the two bite brownies!

I felt like I was on top of the world, at a place where we could see forever! I felt so far removed from what was only a mere hour east of us. The only sound was the wind! You realize now why this post could also be titled "so close but yet so far"!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Tomorrow's Destination

When you head west, pay attention to when you just past the turnoff to Kananaskis Highway 40. Look up, a way up to your left. Up on top of the mountain you will see what looks like a tiny little structure of some sort. Well, this is what it is! That's where we are going tomorrow! It’s the Barrier Lake Fire Lookout. This is the elevation chart showing we will be hiking a distance of approximately 14 kilometers with an elevation gain of 625 meters.
It's time once again to escape the reality of the concrete jungle and get lost in a place where we can leave all the woes of late behind! It’s a place where you can see forever and feel forever away! The forecast is for sun and +8 degrees! If tomorrow is as windy as it is today, then this hike could prove interesting!

Stayed tuned!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Running Transcends a place in my mind where a flurry of creativity and craftiness never ends!

After reading
Nikki’s posts related to her craftiness with card making, I thought I would like to share another of my interests which happens to be scrapbooking! My scrapbooking is running related as you can see. These are just a few of my many pages. Lots of pages include photos of friends who wish to remain anonymous in the blogging world. Some pages are just random about funny running things. I wrote two poems that are a part of my scrapbook (I may share those one day). The race pages show a copy of the entry form, a photo or two, my results, a few stickers and other odds and ends. I am even able to find, at times, sheets of paper suited to a specific race.

Okanagan Half Marathon
(where the wine tasting was just as important as the race)

Canmore Half Marathon

(in the mountains with the wildlife)

Jingle Bell Run for Arthritis

(always important to get a foot photo each year we did this run)

The Thrill of Victory

(the agony of the feet)

Stampede Marathon

(my very first marathon)

Calgary Police Half Marathon

(I had to include a uniform :-)

Victoria Times Colonist 10km

(such a fun run that I would like to do again)

Cochrane Footstock

(such a fun race in the foothills)

Monday, October 13, 2008

Winning Combination !

My Half Marathon weekend got a good kick-off with what one must do if they visit Kelowna, go on a winery tour! At 10:15 am, here I am ready to begin my day at the door of Little Straw Winery. You know you are early when they greet you with water and crackers to clear your mouth of toothpaste taste. Young wines to taste here at this smaller facility. We did get to try a very nice Icewine. It was good to start out quiet and easy.

Our next stop was Quails Gate Winery where the scenery was splendid! We were not first in line here but yet we got special attention being with a tour company. The eight of us sampled a few here and then shopped, of course. We were a little rushed to get to our next appointment for an official tour. The tour was at Mission Hill Winery where we ventured down into the cellar, through some tunnels, into a private room show casing art. Our tasting here was held in a private room around a table with a fireplace off to the side. It was a chilly day, the fireplace was nice. The property was large, beautiful, with gorgeous scenery, so no wonder it was inundated with tasters. Our tour ended with a very late lunch at The Bonfire Restaurant at The Cove Ladekside Resort. Here too, the scenery was spectacular with delicious food. Pasta was no where to be seen on the menu, but what the heck, it was a tasty dressed burger and salad for me.
This day started off with morning indulgence and ended early after a pasta loading feast of spagetti in preparation for the following morning!


"Saved the best for last!"
We're not talking about best finish time, but the best of everything else you could ask for in a racing event! My time was in the range of what I had originally hoped for but better than I expected. Before leaving for Kelowna, I posted a hopeful finishing time of somewhere between 2:08 and 2:15 but after Saturday's feast of food and wine, I was just going to do what I could and that turned out being 2:10:19! I'll take that and be very proud of it!
I had a decent night's sleep, a respectable breakfast and the Hotel Shuttle Bus driver waiting for me at 7:15 am to chauffeur me to the start line. Were my stars aligned today? Was it the sign of a well organized event? I was in and out of bag check in a flash! I was in and out of my pottie visit in a wink! It then started to sprinkle but lasted all of five minutes. I scooted over to seed myself, "Oh Canada" played, the count down happened and then John Stanton sent us on our way. Once I heard my beep as I stepped on the starting mat, we then entered a wide open street where the crowd quickly spread out and we were never to be congested again.
The race from beginning to end captured my attention. I saw apple orchards, sprawling hills surround the city, beautiful autumn colors and still yet vibrant flowers. I ran by two horses behind a fence but very close to the road that were showing off their morning friskiness. I may have seen vineyards in the distance! Not sure! I didn't notice the incline but realized there must have been when we were awarded with a couple of significant declines. I couldn't help but put the pedal to the metal on these.
Once we got to the lake, there was a clear blue sky and sunshine. It was picture perfect but no time for photos yet. Sail boats were in abundance as were folks cheering us along. It was nice to see the routers out all along the whole route.
Seeing the finish line not too far way, hearing the announcements and the upbeat blarring music, taking in all the hoots and hollars, I got that feeling inside that invites me to dig a little deeper so I could finish strong down the home stretch. I had a wide open space around me and I gave it all I had. I heard my name, I saw what my time could be, up went my victory sign and on came a wide smile just in time to step on the finishing mat and hear my finishing beep!
We had ideal weather conditions. The route was most scenic. I had an excellent finishing time and a fun time too. I like my shirt and the gloves. The event was so well organized. I'm going out on a running high! Jubilant! Victorious! Content!
A Winning Combination!

Friday, October 10, 2008

You're It! I've been tagged!

I've been caught and tagged by Leana! I need to come up with a few random things about myself and then catch and tag some other folks! Hold on, here we go!
  • In Grade One I was kicked out of the Boy Savior Club at my Catholic School because I was running around playing tag in the hallway after the bell went off. Look at me now, playing tag again and still running around!

  • One morning at work after eating my banana, I took my vitamin pill. The pill lodged in my throat cutting of my breathing. Gasping for air, I started to turn blue and fell into my chair. A co-worker performed the heimlich maneuver on me and thank god he did! What was suppose to be healthy for me almost did me in!

  • I started running when I was 40. My very first race ever (with no training at all and never having done a race before) was a 5 km that I completed in 38 minutes, running steady no walking, wearing tennis shoes, cotton socks and an electric blue sweat suit! Maybe that was a sign that running would be my destiny!

  • During my university years, I was hypnotized by Reveen. Once the show started and he picked the players, he asked each of us what gift he could give us in return for being willing participants. We each stated our request. After acting out being an astronaut, a women’s liberation leader and a flashy sports car he granted my wish to never be afraid of going to the dentist again. Since then, my dental visits have been a breeze! Thank you Reveen!!!!!

  • In my small home town there use to be fire boxes on neighborhood corners. If there was a fire, you use to have to pull down the door of the box and then release the lever which would send a signal to the fire station. They could tell which box the signal came from and they would dispatch to that location. When I was seven, I was curious about this so opened the door and pulled the lever. Within a few minutes the fire truck came and all the firemen in their uniforms. I was reprimanded but that didn’t stop me, I did it again! That thing I have for a man in uniform started at a very young age!

Now it's my turn to catch you! Watch out! I caught you:

Running Potter

One More Time


Canuck Runner

Chasing Pavement

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Kelowna Bound!

One more sleep and I'll be off to Kelowna! I head out around noon which is perfect timing because I get to sleep in and will have time to luxuriate in the morning. It's been a crazy week so I am treasuring this evening and will tomorrow morning too. My shuttle ride is booked from the airport in Kelowna and also to the airport when I leave on Monday. The first thing I will do is pick up my race pack. I wonder what the shirt looks like! I will get an idea too, how long it takes me to walk from my hotel to the start line.

Three more sleeps and I'll be running the Okanagan Half Marathon! I'm excited about running this one. It's new for me, the forecast sounds perfect and I will get to buy a reward when I'm done. I have no expectations for this race other than to cross the finish line somewhere between 2:08 and 2:15. Those are my best and worst times of the previous five half marathons I did this year.
Nikki is running the half also! We have not met face to face but have chatted back and forth on here. I will keep an eye out for you Nikki! My plans are to have this half be my swan song (for this year anyway). I plan to hang up the runners out of sight for the balance of 2008. I feel I need to have a good rest from running. I have said this before but caved in! I will give it a good honest effort this time.

Two more sleeps and I will be doing a winery tour! YES, a winery tour the day before the race! It's the only time I could fit it in, and I am not going to Kelowna and not doing a winery tour. I will just taste a little here and there and it won't even amount to a full glass all together. Three of the wineries I will be tasting at are ones that
Runner Leana mentioned that she ran by in her blog posting of Oct 6 titled Wine Festival Weekend. This will be my fourth winery tour. I visited Napa Valley in California, Hunter Valley just outside of Sydney in Australia, Cowichan Valley just outside Victoria in British Columbia and now Kelowna! I hope to bring a couple of bottles home in my suitcase.

This is going to be like a mini get-a-way vacation!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

CIBC Run for the Cure

What an event! The participants must have numbered close to 10,000! Spirits were high, the sun was shining brightly, it was a great day to be out supporting a worthwhile cause! The Heebee Geebees, a cappella quartet from Calgary were the main entertainment before the run and also the honorary count-downers. Their music was lively and upbeat and added an increased level of exhilaration to the already off the wall feeling.
Here I am at the start donned in my Team shirt and I went with the headband look to show my support. With about 5 minutes until show-time, I looked back to get this photo taken and also to see how far back the particpants were lined up. There was no end in sight! Even with a few little jumps up to see, the participants went on forever. There was pink everywhere! From school girls in their stripped socks, to pink wigs and pink grass skirts. Even along the race route, many folks decorated their front lawns. We ran under this banner which was a string of pink bras tied from one tree to another. At some homes in the neighbourhood, families were out front waving as we went appeared some may have been survivors or current patients. A young man stood with his coffee cup in hand and two very young children by his side. The smallest one asked the young man, is Mommy up there as she pointed toward the sky! I heard this as I ran by but did not hear the young man's answer! I didn't have to, I knew the answer! I made sure to check out some back bibs. Just about everyone was running for somebody! There were lots of "running for Mom"! Many have specific names and other's were more general to include all those afflicted and affected. I stayed for about an hour afterwards to watch the awards presentations and to enjoy some food supplied by The Stampede and basque in the sun. I was glad I made the last minute decision to be a part of today!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Sunshine on my shoulders....

...makes me happy! There was not much sunshine at Sunshine but we didn’t need that to make us smile today! What an absolutely amazing place and sight! Fourteen of us piled on the shuttle (yellow school bus) at the main village to get us 6 kilometers up the mountain to our starting point. For the majority of our hike, the weather was in our favor but showered on us as we made our descent at the end of the day. The first kilometer or so was a gradual uphill climb. The elevation was not that significant but because we started at a very high elevation to begin with, the heavy breathing and slow pace were noticable. At this point, you can already see behind/below me, some of the ski trails just waiting for a snowfall.
The terrain varied considerably as you can see below. The golden colors were vibrant, even without the sun's rays. The larch trees were still at their peak but the wildflowers were no where to be seen. I will have to make a note to return in the summer for what is suppose to be a wild view of wild flowers!
We stopped to dine around noon at the Standish Lookout. On top of the world, in the middle of no where, we found a wooden structure with stairs, railings, two levels and benches to sit on and take a load off while we nibbled staring in awe of what lay around us.
Three lakes spanned the vast widespread meadow, each unique in their own color and surroundings. Here are Rock Isle Lake and Larix Lake. The trail eventually led down below and meandered around all three. The reflections of the gold larch trees in the water looked spectacular! Not only were there lakes but also babbling brooks and little water falls.

Just like last weekend, once again, we crossed over into British Columbia at the Continental Divide. If you click on the photos below, you can read the boundary story and also see the layout of the Sunshine ski trails.
This was an amazing day! After all was said and done, it was time to hit the trail back down to catch the 3:30 yellow school bus. At this point the showers started, as if to shed a tear goodbye as this is the last weekend for hiking the meadows. Summer is over, the larch trees will drop their needles to the ground and prepare for the snow cover which will soon be upon us.
Sunshine, I hope you have a great, safe, successful winter and I look forward to seeing you next summer!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Saturday's Destination!

As the titile on the picture below says, I will be on top of the world! When I first moved to Calgary I took ski lessons at Canada Olympic Park (then called Paskapoo) and ventured off to attack a few hills at Nakiska (site for sking during the 1988 Winter Olympics), Fortress and Lake Louise. It wasn't quite my thing and now I would rather reach the mountain top on my snowshoes then on a chair lift. Anyway. I never did make it to ski Sunshine at Banff and always wondered what it looked like up on top. Saturday I will find out! Twelve of us secured seats on the shuttle, at $25.00 a pop, to take us from the parking lot at Sunshine up the mountain for 6 kilometers along a restricted road to the Village. This is the last weekend that this is available, they will then shut down and prepare for the ski season. We will be at an elevation of 2220 meters (7300 feet) and the area is spread over the Continental Divide (also known as the Great Divide), so once again, we will be crossing between Alberta and British Columbia. Fantastic views are the promise for the day! I can hardly wait to verify those in the know are not liars! Stay tuned!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Running With Mom's Spirit

October 5th and October 12th are two significant dates in my life. Both are race dates and one happens to be an anniversary.

On October 5th I will be running the CIBC Run for the Cure in Calgary. My Mom’s spirit will be with me and I will be running for her and for everyone else whose life has been touched by breast cancer. Although my Mom had breast cancer that was not what took her from us three years ago on October 12th. On October 12th, the 3rd anniversary of my Mom’s passing, I will be running the BMO Okanagan Half Marathon in Kelowna. Her spirit will once again be with me and I know that if the going gets rough then she will carry me just like she always did when she was here with us.
I picked up my Run for the Cure race pack today. I will be wearing my Team shirt on Sunday and will incorporate the bandana somehow as part of my attire, maybe around my ankle or wrist or on my head. The race shirt, bandana and a pedometer came in this neat environmentally friendly bag that has a long over the shoulder strap.
This will be my short, easy, taper run! It will be easy physically but difficult emotionally if it's anything like any other year I ran it!