Easy Like Sunday Morning

For the first time in MONTHS I actually made it out for a Sunday morning run. Whatever has been wrong with my head? I love these runs. They’re my hands-down favourite.

Why did I give up running on Sunday mornings? Not because I’m too busy. Usually my weekend mornings look a lot like this…

Perfect Sunday a.m.

So why?

I think it was because I was trying to cut down my miles and let my poor old piriformis heal. But that’s ages ago now and I clearly just got out of the habit. Phooey.

So this morning I tied on my old sneakers and headed out for an easy peasy recovery run. Me. The magpies. And four guys on the trail. Just us out in the beautiful morning.

Why do a recovery run? As runners, we used to think that recovery runs helped remove lactic acid from your muscles after a long hard run the day before. But research shows that’s just hooey. Now we know recovery runs are just one more tool to use to increase your running ability, stamina and speed on fast days. Really.  This Workout of the Week explains the science in more detail than I’m prepared to worry about.

And remember to go SLOWLY. It’s not a recovery run if you push at all. You should not be huffing and puffing and pushing on the hills. Relax. Enjoy. Stop and eat a raspberry if God provides one for you.


See you on the trails, pals.


Just a Walk in the Park


This was hands-down the best song on Phil’s running playlist and very appropriate for our day in the mountains. Now…a day later…fed, watered, slept, and even made it through a day at school, here’s my race report in pictures.

(We did the Banff Marathon – In case this hasn’t been at the very top of your list of very important things to remember.)

The sign says “Happy Father’s Day”. Really.

Started strong and not too fast. Felt good. Stopped to let Dad know I was thinking of him. And went trotting along for the first 10 or so km with not a care in the world. Cool. One-fourth done!!!

Here we are at the turn-around. Not dead yet.

More important than the runners…look at the trees. The hills. The scenery. How many ways do you know to say “breath-taking”?

I think I’m still smiling here.

Were there issues? Absolutely. But not until about the 30 or maybe 35 km mark. Stomach troubles, enough said. Cramping calves. Poor old sore toes. The usual woes. Did I want to lie down by the side of the parkway and invite a bear to eat me? Yep. But we persisted. Walked when we had to. Tried not to moan.

Was there wildlife in the mountains? We saw a squirrel. Three deer. Another squirrel. And a prairie dog. (Maybe he was lost.) We did take a brief intermission about 10 km from the finish when park personnel made us wait at an aid station while they shooed a grizzly bear off the highway. We were happy to wait.

We even managed to muster smiles for the nice runner who took our picture.

Of course the hardest part was the loops through town that made up the last 2 km. We would get close to the finish line, listen to the emcee, and run on by. Around and around and around. But..we persevered.

And lived to run another day.

See you on the trails, pals.

Just a Little Early

When I was a kid, all I wanted was a summer birthday. My sisters – both lucky. Judy celebrated on May 11 and Donna on June 1. Me? Not till December. For years I begged Mum and Dad for a bike for my present, but bikes were hard to come by in northern Alberta in December.

All these years later I still would love to have a party in June. And now… I have one.

June 7 – Global Running Day. Feel free to send presents.

This year I celebrated early. (This was due to misinformation on my part. I was sure it was today. June 1. But it’s not really until next Wednesday.)

Nevertheless… We had our annual all-school field trip scheduled for today so I had to be in my classroom by 7:30 a.m. So at 5:30 there I was out for an easy 5 km to celebrate.

Here comes the sun.







My usual running partner is not an enthusiastic morning runner, so I conscripted the second string.

Happy Early Global Running Day

And happily, we get to do it again on the ACTUAL day.

See you on the trails, pals.

A Beautiful Day for a Run

It was, I kid you not, a beautiful day for a run. By the time I hit the trail after school, the sun was low on the horizon, sending golden streams of light flowing across the snow. Absolutely beautiful. Purple and blue shadows pooled behind trees and bushes. Lovely.

The questions was…why were there so few people out there?

No question really. -17 degrees and just a hint of a breeze. Brrrr.

So although my phone died because of the cold and I have no pictures to show of the beauty, I was not the only living creature enjoying the late afternoon.

My friends included…


One of the coolest things about these big black birds is the amazing variety of noises they make. Listen to just one sample and know they croak; they knock; they click; they mimic other noises. I enjoy listening for them on the trails.


red poll




The red poll is another one of those cheery little birds that hangs around all winter making the day a little brighter.

chickadeeBut my absolute favourite has always been the chickadees. How these tiny birds survive the coldest winter weather is a mystery to me, and seeing them when I’m on the trail always perks me up. Even when they’re invisible, hearing their call makes my day.

Thanks to my friends online for the pix – I wasn’t kidding about my phone freezing. It took almost 3 miles before my hands warmed up, and I was very happy for a mug of tea when I got home again.

Only one thing left to say… See you on the trails, pals. Hopefully when it warms up a bit.


Remember… You read it here first. Wimpervals. My newest variation on intervals, that old standby that you can rely on to work its magic.

Wimpervals, on the other hand.

Yes. It was one of those runs. Came home from school chanting my mantra. “I love to run. I get to run. I can’t wait to run.” Ha. Lies. I was tired and draggy and just wanted to curl up with tea and a good book. But it’s Tuesday and you know what that means. Go for your darned run.

With a maximum of complaining and whining (just ask Phil), I did actually head out. And if it had been +10 outside instead of -10, I would have been seriously tempted to simply lie down by the side of the trail and have a little nap. It was THAT good of a run.

That bench right there. Perfect for a brief nap.

I was tired. My legs were heavy. It took everything I had to just keep moving forward. But, about those wimpervals.

Intervals, as you already know, are short intense efforts followed by equal or slightly longer slower recovery time jogs. If you’re working to increase your speed, intervals are a very good way to go. Run hard, easy, hard, easy, hard easy. And you’ll improve your endurance, speed, form, and coordination.

When you’re running wimpervals, however, you run short bursts (?) of slow interspersed with longer, even slower efforts. Run slow, slower, slow, slower, slow, slower. The question becomes, how slow can you go and still call it “running”?

I don’t actually have an answer for that. It’s completely subjective and depends entirely on your own perspective. Today it was pretty darned slow.

On the bright side, I did do my little loop. I earned my tea. And I’ll sleep well tonight.

See you on the trails, pals.

Happy B-day Phil

So…I might be one of those people…I like to finish my Christmas shopping by October. (It may not actually happen, but I LIKE to try.) And this year I will be able to finish birthday shopping for Phil at least four months before the actual day. How’s THAT for clever?

The plan? Just a little run in the mountains. Good thing we have some respectable hills here to practice on. And of course he’s decided that he wants to run the full marathon on his big day. There may have been a bit of pressure from a certain runner of your acquaintance.

Of course this means it’s time to move out of winter running (read survival) mode and into actual training. And today’s the day. Day 1. Layers on. Hat on. Shoes on. And let’s go.

Ok. It was snowing so I procrastinated. Waited till the sun came out just after lunch. And had a very nice run. If a little hard because of the fluffy fresh snow on the trail.

See you on the trails, pals.