Saturday, February 28, 2009

Ridge Walker

After ascending for 6.6 kms to an elevation level of 2204 meters and four hours later.... ...along a trail that looks like this at times...
...we finally reached what looked like a serene, winter, mountain-top, desert... have a view like this on the other side...

...and a potluck dinner after the descent as the reward!
What another great day in the mountains southwest of Calgary, climbing to the ridge top of Cox Hill. It was a day filled with sunshine and clear blue skies, in the company of a bunch of energetic, high on life, folks.
It still amazes me to find these fun playgrounds so close to home! How lucky are we! I love days like these that make me fell like I am "on top of the world"!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Get-Go Gel

Here we are again, another Thursday! You know what that means! It's Runners' Lounge Take It and Run Thursday with this week's theme being "a chance to pose both the question and the answer. " Share the one burning question you have about your running and ask other TIaRT readers/contributors for their feedback. I have this question:

Is it O.K. to take a Gel right at the Get-Go?

When my runs are longer then 90 minutes, then it's time for me to include a gel in my routine at about the one hour mark. Last Sunday was my first run at that time in my marathon training program. During that run, and other longer runs in the past when I have taken a gel, I notice shortly thereafter I feel exuberant, which is what is suppose to happen! I have never taken one at the start of my run but I am wondering now, why not take one just before I start running and feel exuberant right from the Get-Go!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

LOST! Where for art thou?

I had been doing so well with my Sunday runs, my Forerunner 305, my new neighbourhood routes, my graphs, my Take It and Run Thursday reports, my route maps and even my home runs! I was making great headway! I see the days tick down on the countdown clock to my half-marathon and my marathon. I feel unmotivated and I don't feel motivational! I am tired of running in snow and on ice, I'm tired of running with layers on, I'm tired! I have been living for my Saturday's, I have been loving them this year but there is more to life then Saturday's! But where? I want my "doing so well" back! I feel LOST! Where for art thou?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Slow Slog!

Today's run was my first run since last Sunday! My plan called for 16km! I wasn't sure I would be able to accomplish that distance since I didn't run all week, I felt tired and had a sore behind from yesterday, plus I am battling something that I think I picked up while sitting in the waiting area to see my Doctor last Tuesday for an annual check-up!

I did an out west and back from the "Y". The "out" was a slow slog! I had several debates on whether or not I should go for the 16km, maybe just make it 10km or 12km. Once I reached Edworthy, blew my nose, take off my mitts, chowed down a power gel, took of my sunglasses then took stock, I felt renewed and ready to carry on.

I headed west until my 305 flashed 8km then did a u-turn and ran into the sun knowing today's run was going to turn into a success! For me, this is what today's success looks like:

Time: 1:47:25
Distance: 16.02 kms (9.9 miles)
Pace: 6:42 mins/km

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Slightly Scrambly Saturday!

"X" marks the spot! Today's plan of attack was to reach Baldy Pass which meant we would have to do a little bit of scrambling. This was my introduction to scrambling and I sure want to do some more! After climbing for about 90 minutes, we came to this opening. You can see Nakiska (site of the downhill ski event for the 1988 Winter Olympics) in the background.
We pushed ahead a little further to the crux and found a place to dine and relax in the sun. Surprisingly, we were above the snow line at the top.

The sun felt warm, it was on the windy side and the temperature hoovered around +4 C. Once we came off the pass onto the main trail, we were back into the snow. By now it had become sticky and crystally, yet still perfect for a quicker decent in spots. Here I am taking the easy way down to join up with the others.
We started at a lower elevation of 1377 meters for this adventure but did a 671 meter gain to this point at the pass. I like to see the little graph on the bottom that shows how steep it is. I hope as the spring goes on and once the summer arrives that I can eventually get that elevation gain number up to four digits.
This is the lay of the land that we attacked today! I wonder what my next adventure will look like!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Merry Berry Day

This was our main destination for the Family Day Holiday yesterday! The top of Blueberry Hill! At the very edge was a picnic table where we sat for a few minutes to catch our breath, both from the beauty and from the trek up! This was the first time I was high enough to look down onto the Upper and Lower Kananaskis Lakes. We had gorgeous weather, most of the time I wore sunglasses and went without my hat. I was fine in two layers, neither of which were heavy. For the majority of the way, we broke trail through untouched soft snow.
We stopped at Fox Lake to dine and this is what it looked like compared to when we dined there last year in September. We spent a little time here in the sunshine and refueling for our ascent to the top of Blueberry Hill.
You know when you are told not to do something, you just have to do it! Well, I just had to enter, so I quickly stepped behind this sign and that's as far as I went!
Today was an accomplishment for reaching new snowshoeing heights! At this point we are just about at the top of Blueberry Hill and have made a significant amount of overall elevation. After reaching the highest point, instead of a meandering route back down, we took the direct route which meant bushwhacking from the picnic table straight down the mountainside through the bushes and trees to the Lake below.

In total we covered 14.7 kms. My 60CSX says we started at 10:33 am and finished at 5:26 pm. It was an amazing day and not only in body was I on top of the world but I was in my mind too!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Family Day in Alberta

It's Family Day here in Alberta!

It's show time, I mean snowshoe time!

Watch out Blueberry Hill!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

FFFK Report

Today's run was all about showing support for a member of our extended family of runners, Nancy!

My run today called for 13km so I made sure to pay attention to what my time was when I reached the 5km mark and that turned out to be 32:09. Those minutes and seconds are for you Nancy!
I'm still learning about hydration! I woke this morning with a headache and thought it possibly could have been from not taking in enough fluids yesterday! I was sipping off and on along the hike yesterday but realized when we were reaching the end that I was terribly thirsty. That tells me, I already left it too late and will probably pay for it. I mentioned this to one of the other hikers and she said you still have to hydrate just as much in the winter, maybe even more so, because at times your body is working even harder. I will have to pay more attention to this!

When I woke this morning, I took some Vitamin I and shortly thereafter, I was good to go. So I went! I was down by the river running just before 8:00am and it was daylight! My Garmin 305 caught the satellites right after I turned it on (has never been that quick) and I was off, and I have never been that quick! I usually try to keep my training pace for the longer runs at 6:30 min/km but I had a hard time going that slow! Did I just say that? I like the look of this graph and it's a significant one for me. It shows my pace gets quicker the further I run. Today's run seemed effortless! Maybe I was still on a high from all the sugary treats yesterday! OH! Maybe that's why I had a headache, all the sugar! This is what my morning run performance looked like:

Time: 1:26:05
Distance: 13.69 km
Pace: 6:17 min/km

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentine's at Raspberry Ridge

The top right corner in the photo below was to be our destination for Valentine's Day! It's called Raspberry Ridge Look-Out. We only made it 2/3 of the way there, covering only half of the elevation and that took us three hours. The weather was perfect with blue sky, sunshine and the temperature was around -2 C. We left our snowshoes at home today and just brought hikers with icers and stabilizers. This area, on a southward face, does not normally get as much snow as other places but the snow was a little too much for us today. The constant climb in snow that was knee deep was hard work. When we got high enough above the treeline, we decided to make that our lunch stop, sit for awhile, enjoy the scenery and share snacks in the spirit of Valentine's Day.
I decorated my backpack and a couple of us handed out Dora the Explorer Valentine Cards.

After lunch and a well deserved rest from our three hour, four kilometer uphill climb, it was time to head back down. The shared sugary treats helped in making the return trip a blast! Below, I blasted off that rock behind me and I'm just coming down for a landing. I did a few rolls in the snow once I landed.
As it turns out, this is a "berry" themed long weekend! Monday will be snowshoeing at Blueberry Hill. Now, if only I could give the seriousness to running that I have been giving to frolicking in the mountains, I would be all set!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Ready Looks Like This!

It's T.G.I.F. over at Adventure Seeker's home! Be sure to stop by for a visit! Maybe you have a photo to share with us today! I do!

I have been living for the weekends! Good thing work is busy cause weekends arrive quicker! We are planning on a winter hike tomorrow but looking at the forecast, it may turn into another snowshoe which is fine by me, I'm game for anything! Saturday being Valentine's Day, I am going prepared with my "Be Mine" headband and Valentine Cards and Chocolates for my friends. I'm prepared too, with significant stabilizers on my hikers as you can see!

I came upon this the other day! FFFK! This virtual race is in support of Non-Runner Nancy! Although her blog is new to me, I am in support, after all, being a runner that means she is a member of my extended running family!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Virtual Valentine Exchange!

RunnerLeana is hosting a "Virtual Valentine Exchange"! Be sure to check out her blog post to fnd out how to play along! I'm playing and so are lots of others! Don't be left out!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

She's Up By 3 !

I went up to bat for the third time and made another home run!

I was looking for an excuse not to run today but no luck in finding one that was legitimate, so I ran home after work! When I read the on-line news just before lunch, it was reported there were 13 calls this morning to 911 where people had slipped on ice and needed to go to the hospital due to injuries. The skiff of snow over night made for treacherous conditions. The snow was actually beneficial to me on my run home. By the end of the day, it was sticky on the icy parts and I didn't need to walk over those sections.

I felt strong and swift like a fox. One thing I just realized is that I have been recording my total time and overall pace, so that includes when I stop for stop lights, which there are a few of on my home run. That would explain why my home run pace is slower then my Sunday morning pace. Nothing to stop for on those runs.

My third home run looks like this:

Time: 56:49
Distance: 8.08km
Pace: 6:51 km/min

Is there a name for it when someone gets three home runs?

Monday, February 9, 2009

"Interview Me"

What a great way to get to know our fellow bloggers a tiny bit more! This has been working its way around here and now it's my turn! I asked Runner Leana to "Interview Me" and I am taking a chance not knowing what her questions may be! But hey, I like to live on the edge! So here goes, these were her questions:

1. If you could invite any three people (past or present) to a dinner party, who would you invite and why?

I would invite Alan Hobson (Mt. Everest Summiteer...I love his book "From Everest to Enlightenment An Adventure of the Soul"), Kathrine Switzer (first lady to officially enter and run the Boston Marathon), and Martin Luther King, Jr., (an African-American human rights icon). I am always intrigued by people who achieve extraordinary accomplishments. I wonder what drives them to be so passionate and where they find their strength to carry on when they hit road blocks.

2. Looking back, what is the most embarrassing fashion trend you've followed?

The Spiral Perm! What was I thinking! This was a perm to give your hair lots of volume, curl and fullness. Well, I was at the front of the line when hair was handed out, I got my share and someone else's. It has always been thick and big even when it is at its flattest and that is also after having it thinned out. But, I had to have a spiral perm! All my friends had one! Once I got my new do, my hair was as wide as my shoulders and I absolutely loved it! When it grew out, I went back and got another one! I cringe when I see photos from the past of me sporting my spiral perm!

3. What is one goal in life that you hope to achieve?

One day I hope to be confident enough and knowledgeable enough to be able to lead groups of people on mountain hikes.

4. What do you enjoy most about living in Calgary?

We have the best of both worlds here! I like the variety of everything that comes with a big city from places to shop and eat to places to go to be entertained, the parks, the pathways. I like that you can feel you belong when you are in familiar territory in your own little area of Calgary, yet within the same city, you can feel like a tourist when you go to areas you never frequent. I like that I can escape within the city and then really truly escape by going only 45 minutes west.

5. What motivated you to start running?
About 12 years ago, a friendship began to form with a co-worker and a relative of hers. They were both into running and use to talk about it with me. When they told me their running stories and how much fun they were having, I would see their faces sparkle and light up! When I would meet them after they ran, they had a glow and an energy surrounded them. I wanted what they were having! So I joined them on a 5km run and I was hooked! To find out what motivates me to continue running, you will have to wait until the Runners' Lounge publishes their book. The article I sent in for consideration to be included, explains in a unique way, why I still run!
There, that wasn't all that bad! In fact, it was fun! Care to play along?

1. Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me."
2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. ( I get to pick the questions).
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview others in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Easy Breezy!

13.12 kilometers
in 1:25:20
at a pace of 6:30 min/km
seemed so easy!

That's how this morning's run felt! Easy Breezy! I could easily have carried on but it is only week 3 and my long run called for 13 kms. No need in getting cocky and spoiling things! Been there, done that!

There was an incident though! I could hear a group behind me for the longest time. They seemed to be at the same pace as me because the distance between us was not increasing or decreasing. All of a sudden, the leader of the pack runs around me while a couple of the others followed her and when they got in front of me they put the brakes on. I ended up stepping on the heals of one girl and my hand went up to brace myself and I pushed her and she stumbled forward, luckily she didn't fall. I tried to keep my pace but I was in a circle of these runners who were for the longest time doing my pace but now had really slowed down. I just moved to the side and let them all go by in a group then circled around them, passed them and got back into my groove, not having to deal with them again! Geesh! Sometimes that pathway system can be like the Deerfoot!

The good thing about the pathway system is that it is 99.9% clear of ice. Now if only my "home run" route and my neighbourhood routes could follow suit!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

7 on the 7th Report

Today was a snowshoe day for me so I incorporated my "7 on the 7th" run into this event.

When I found this virtual run on RunToFinish's blog, I thought maybe I could participate in a unique way. I knew I probably wouldn't be able to do the actual 7 miles but I could come close, and my time would be on the slow slow side. But hey, time doesn't matter when it's all about fun! That's my philosophy!

I printed off the race bib which was designed by RunningLaur and pinned (yes pinned) it to my backpack, I didn't want to tear the bottom part off!

I wasn't able to run on the ascent but as you can see, I am proudly displaying the bib, which needed an explanation to the other folks. It also matched the color of my poles and snowshoes.

Once we climbed a bit and came upon the alpine meadow, I went for it as long as I could, which wasn't very long. My backpack was heavy, I take a big lunch, and my snowshoes are not the kind for running. I tried though, all in the spirit of the "7 on the 7th Virtual Race".

I completed a portion of the 7 miles, I did 5.3 miles and that took me 4 hours and 5 minutes which included an hour stop for lunch at the top in the sunshine. So, three hours and 5 minutes. That is a far cry from my estimated time of completion being 1 hour and 11 minutes.

I look forward to competing in another virtual race and maybe the next time I will be able to run the whole way!

I feel so high on life these days, just like being "on top of the world"!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Ready for 7 on the 7th!

I'm ready for tomorrow!

Bring on the Virtual Race 7 on the 7th!

Adventure Seeker is holding T.G.I.F. Foto Friday today, as usual! Drop in to see what photos your fellow bloggers have to share with the world today! This is mine!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Walk & Run, Not All In One

It's a great day to be outside here in Calgary! February days like these are few and far between!

Today's total distance covered was 9.35 km but not all in one. 5.93 km of it was doing that lunch time walk thing again. It really breaks up the day and then the afternoon seems to go by so quickly. The balance of the 9.35 kms looks like this:

Distance: 3.42km
Time: 20:38
Pace: 6:01 min/km

I headed in a different direction when I went for my little evening run. I can add on to this route when I have more minutes of daylight. I wore my 305 on my bare wrist for the very first time. Gee, it's a big watch! The face of the watch is wider than my wrist!

Tomorrow is going to be a rest day for me as I gear up for another big snowshoe trek on Saturday. 7 on the 7th is Saturday too, so I may have to improvise somehow making my snowshoe, my race!

I'm loving life these days!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Filling the Lunch Hour

It's great working downtown, this time of year, when the weather is beautiful! I have been making the best of my lunch time break by getting some fresh air and exercise doing brisk walks. Monday I did just over 3km with my friend DMo and today my co-worker M and I did a 6.4 km route which takes us out of the core and down by the river to join up with all the runners. I even saw Runner Leana out doing her thing looking strong and speedy. M and I have this on our agenda for tomorrow too. I have been bringing along my 60CSX for the fun of it. It's time to get busy stretching again! When I get back to the office and change out of my walking shoes into my heels, my achilles scream really loud at me!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Another Home Run!

Boy, did I need to hit this home run after such a strike out of a day at work!

Nothing went right at work today! I felt stressed and the onset of a headache. I debated back and forth whether to run home or just ride transit home and try for a home run another time. I came prepared to run and thought at least give it a try. I had my emergency transit ticket tucked in my pack if I got in trouble before reaching home base.

Everything went right on my run home today! I'm so glad I didn't let work get in my way of what I enjoy doing. Here are some ball park stats on my home run:

Time: 57:36
Distance: 8:23
Pace: 6:59 min/km

Monday, February 2, 2009

I'm Reading Again!

This is what I have on the go now! My friend JMo gave it to me for Christmas! I'm only on page 44 and it has my attention already because it's about a runner! She is a champion runner who was born with a hole in her heart! I will report back with a few thoughts once I finish.

Yesterday was the start of Week 2 of my marathon training program. I timed it right this time, so I wasn't down by the river by myself in the wee hours of the morning. I waited for the sun to come up first. Officially, this is week 2 but I have unofficially been doing whatever. It was suppose to be a 10km slow run but it turned out being a little longer. 10km just didn't seem quite worth it so I went with:

Time: 1:20:56

Distance: 12:36

Pace: 6:31 min/km