So after many weeks absence I have a brief post about today’s run.
Just to be clear….I’m still running. Haven’t fallen off a cliff or traded my sneakers for some other sport-related footwear. But I have been a little busy.
Moved. Again. Started a new job. It seems to be all I can do to get my runs in. There’s not a lot of extra time for writing about it. So…quickly.
This morning Phil and I put in our usual five miles. Sunny windy day. Nice to be out. And about a mile, maybe a mile and a half, into our run we were joined by the animals in the field we were trotting past.
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.
2. Keep your eyes open. You never know when God might be willing to supply snacks for your run. Yum.
Or you might come across a sign warning you of what? Fire falling from heaven? Beware.
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.
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…
And they only got scarier after that…
Who knew I’d see the MOST wildlife of our trip when we were halfway home?
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.
With the recent discovery of miles and miles and miles of trails just north of home…
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.
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.
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.
And I looked at the side of the road. And saw:
Lovely dark purple alfalfa.
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.
And I had really enjoyed taking my time on these slow repeats. I definitely see more of these dawdling runs in my future.
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.
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.
Who knew speedboats were racing up and down the Wapiti River that same afternoon? Not these runners.
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.