Friday Five

I just wanted to share a few thoughts about my trail running camp in Canmore. Five maybe?

1. Always start your run going UP. When running an out-and-back on an unfamiliar trail in the mountains, it’s easiest to find your way home again if you only have to run back down.

first canmore view

2. Keep your eyes open. You never know when God might be willing to supply snacks for your run. Yum.

raspberries

Or you might come across a sign warning you of what? Fire falling from heaven? Beware.

falling fire

3. Be smart about your nutrition. We ate wonderfully in Canmore. The meals were the second best thing about the whole week. Of COURSE the runs were the very best thing. We enjoyed venison and elk and duck and lamb and peanut butter mousse with chocolate ganache and many more treats too wonderful to list.

4. Get adequate rest. Hahaha. We worked in the mornings and left our afternoons free for reading and napping and knitting and whatever struck our fancy. I was more rested after this week than after any vacation ever. In my whole life.

I ran whenever I felt like it – what a perfect arrangement. Morning run? Sure. If it’s not raining. Later in the day? Works for me. Just be sure you’re running when the sun shines. That left PLENTY of time for resting.

5. And finally… Be sure to enjoy the diversions that come your way. I forded streams, ducked under spruce trees to avoid the downpours, and threaded my way through throngs of camera-wielding tourists. I trotted along a boardwalk through Larch Park. And ended my days in the hot tub. Bliss. Pure bliss.

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My camera went insane briefly – would only take selfies. So here’s me trying to get out of the way to get a picture of the Bow River.

Trail Running Camp

Ok. Last post I did my homework. What to do if you meet a bear. A cougar? Just say your prayers. But otherwise…Stay safe out there.

And WHY was I so focused on trail safety? Because I was lucky enough to spend last week in Canmore, AB with my younger sister. Oh joy. Centre of trail running bliss. My brilliant plan was to conduct a DIY trail running camp. And I did want to come home alive, right?

Friday afternoon we drove south to the mountains. Saturday morning I got up to do my first run. And I encountered my first fierce beast of the week…

bear statue
He looks a little weatherworn maybe?

Hahaha.

And they only got scarier after that…

Who knew I’d see the MOST wildlife of our trip when we were halfway home?

deer

I did have the chance to run hills and trails and ford streams and cool my sweaty self off in the Bow River. Nothing but fun. Next? Find a trail race to train for. That’s living the dream.

How about the Death Race? Looks like fun to me.

Stay Safe Out There

With the recent discovery of miles and miles and miles of trails just north of home…

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Look at all the options for exploring.

And my brother-in-law’s creating of trails on their property. (Thanks Renzo.) I’m now looking forward to many more trail runs and fewer road runs. Of course time spent on the trail sometimes makes me a little nervous. Still. Who knows what bears and moose and mosquitoes are lurking?

So today let’s talk about staying safe out there.

Number one on my list – especially since my personal super power is getting lost – is to know where I’m going and to tell someone. If you’re on a new-to-you route, take a map or use your GPS. Even if you’re running an old familiar route, tell someone where you’re heading and when you expect to be back. Just in case.

And bring your cell phone. Again, just in case. Mine fits very neatly into my flipbelt so I hardly even know it’s there.

Next…make noise. Your average wild animal has absolutely no desire to meet you on the trail so talking, singing, wearing little bells, whatever, will warn them that you’re coming and give them time to get out of the way.

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If Phil was a bear, he’d be hurrying to get out of the way. I hope.

Carry a little pack with extra water, a few snacks, even a hat or running jacket. When you’re running trails, especially at higher elevations, the weather can change in a hurry. And hypothermia is just not your friend.

And last, at least for today, pay attention. It’s easy to get distracted by the scenery or by fatigue and that’s when problems happen. You fall. (Really? Me? hahaha. Ask Phil.) You wander off the trail and get lost. So take a break if you need one. Stop and enjoy the scenery. And pay attention to the trail you’re on.

Stay safe out there pals. And have fun.

Oh…and…bonus link… What about bears? Really? Just be smart.

Slo-Mo Training

Well today’s run was an interesting experiment. I was supposed to choose a not-too-steep hill and do hill repeats. Run up. Walk down. Run up. Walk down. Repeat. We’ve all done that and we know it’s good for us, right?

So I did. Ran up and walked down the same 1/10th of a mile 15 times. (Maybe it was longer than 1/10th, I didn’t bother to actually MEASURE it.)

But I found that every time I went up and down, I saw something different. I took the time to get very familiar with that little stretch of dirt.

I started out looking at the clouds. Some days I think runners are a lot like farmers. Always looking at the sky. Wondering if it will rain or if it will hold off until I’ve done what I need to do.

clouds 1

And I looked at the side of the road. And saw:

alfalfa

Lovely dark purple alfalfa.

toadstool

Toadstools.

strawberry

And…wild strawberries. Of course I took a small strawberry break. If God wants to give me running snacks, I will eat them.

By the time I was done my repeats the sky was looking a little more threatening.

clouds

And I had really enjoyed taking my time on these slow repeats. I definitely see more of these dawdling runs in my future.

Reward Time

So Number 11 on my list of motivators last time I posted was Promise Yourself a Reward. And I did. And I enjoyed it. And today I think I’ll take a few minutes to remember and enjoy it all over again.

I may have a one-track mind, but my reward (for running) was to go running again. Does that work for you?

I promised myself that I’d find a new trail to explore if I made it out and ran when I didn’t really want to, whatever day that was.

And did we ever.

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Come on it.

Isn’t it lovely. We drove south and east (of course Phil tracked down a trail BEFORE we hopped in the car) and ended up at O’Brien Provincial Park. It was all lovely and green and welcoming.

And crowded.

Who knew speedboats were racing up and down the Wapiti River that same afternoon? Not these runners.

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Loud. Buzzy. Very, very fast.

The trail did get a little messy about 30 minutes in. Considering the 100 mm of rain that had been in the area the last couple of weeks I was glad we weren’t up to our knees the whole time we were out.

In an effort to avoid destroying the trail (and our shoes) completely, we turned around then and headed back to the car. A quick shower. Lunch with our girls. And it was the perfect reward for doing what had to be done.

(Not) Friday Five

Ok. Friday came and went. It’s Sunday evening now. But I really, really, really wanted to do my five. So we’ll just relax and not worry about what day it is in the real world.

Thursday I asked you all to keep me accountable for my run on Friday. And it worked.

Proof?

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Not steep but long. Two miles of gradual incline. Fun.

Since that worked so well for motivation, I thought I’d add a few more of my old tricks for getting out there when I’m feeling like a lazy schmuck.

1.Get dressed. It’s amazing what happens once you have your favorite shorts and shoes on.

2. Sign up for a race. This always works for me. Gotta train. Can’t bonk.

3. Buy something new. If you have time to get to the store (or Amazon) and you’re having long-term difficulty running, shopping works. Have to justify the $$$.

4. Run with a friend. Can’t bail if someone’s waiting for you at the trailhead.

5. Tell 238 of your closest friends that you’re going to run. Ask them to check up on you. Make it public. (It works.)

Obviously there are many, many  more mind games you can play with yourself to get your run conquered.

6. Go first thing in the morning. Don’t think. Just run.

7. Try a new route. But try not to get lost.

8. Read a running book. Pick one of your old faves or try something new. Whatever works for you.

9. Watch a running movie. Same deal…Get inspired.

10. Buy a dog. Preferable a border collie or a lab that needs lots of exercise or it will destroy your house.

11. Promise yourself a reward. I’ll talk about my most recent reward next time. Maybe.

12. Or…as a very last resort…take a break. It’s ok. Maybe you’ve been working too hard. Be kind to yourself. Remember that if you’re really, really tired (or sick), rest can be a very good thing.

Anything you want to add to the list, pals? I’m always happy to learn new tricks.