Cross-Training

So…we all know we should be cross-training. But we also all know that it kind of sucks. (Or is that just me?)

Whenever I’ve attempted to practice this virtue in the past it’s been a major fail. I can’t swim. I don’t own a bike. And I don’t like going to the gym. Those three strikes mean that I pretty much only ever run. And run some more.

Until today. Today I discovered winter cross-training for champions.

Snowshoeing.

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I was seriously overdressed. Good to know for next time.

Even Runner’s World says so. Read a little and find that snowshoeing is great for building strength and endurance. So although the town here is very good about keeping my little 4-mile trail cleared and runnable in the winter, I think I’ll be heading north to the lake on weekends for more snowshoeing fun.

Today, in only 90 minutes, we heard birds sing, walked on water, hiked around fallen trees and met friendly skiers on the trail. For our first attempt, it was a complete success. The only question that still remains… Will I be able to walk in the morning?

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My new favourite winter footwear.

And I just discovered that there are snowshoe RACES in the winter. See you in the mountains, pals.

Hello 2017

So apparently I survived Christmas. And, as always, the next challenge is New Year’s. Eve and Day.

Eve? I have to avoid temptation. Not too many sweets. Or drinks. Or spicy snacks. Or whatever. Happily since I’m a runner, my “too many” is really quite a few.

Day? I still have to avoid temptation. Here it’s the temptation to make too many resolutions, realistic or unrealistic. Hate to be buried under the weight of them.

Today my motto has been,

“Begin as you mean to go on.”

         Charles Spurgeon

Begin this lovely new year however I want to continue it. And that, pals, has made for a very nice day.

My recipe for the new year? Begin with coffee. Hot. Strong. And with just a splash of milk. Laze on the couch in your jammies until at least one pot has been disappeared. Eat a bagel. Complete with lox and cream cheese if at all possible. Read. Nap. Knit. Then…

Go for a run. (Surprised anyone?)

Today’s run was a slow, slow, slow four miles. At least half of my usual loop was under 7-ish centimetres of snow so regardless of how slowly I trundled along, it was a good workout. It was also about -12 C. So I was bundled as I trundled. And I had a lovely time. It started to snow again as I was finishing and now, looking out the window, I’m very glad I went out when I did.

Rewarded myself with nachos, a warm mug of tea and a new novel. Can it get better than that?

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Home again.

Like my new hat? It’s very special. It’s actually a balaclava so I can pull down the mask to cover my mouth and nose when it’s really cold. Brilliant. Even if I have to say so myself.

And even though I felt very brave going out into the January afternoon, I had company at many points along my route. Kids were out sledding, skating, playing in the snow. There was even one hardy couple playing with their Labrador at the dog park.

I love living here.

Have a fabulous 2017, pals. Hope to hear all about it.

 

Panic Time

My first mistake was to look at the calendar. Did you know there are exactly TWO WEEKS till Christmas???

Yikes. So not ready.

So I did what any sensible runner would do – tied on my shoes and headed out for an easy six. When I walked back in the door I checked the calendar to see if it had just been playing with me. But no. There are really and truly on 14 days till C Day.

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And you, my friends, have been left hanging. No lists of presents for runners. No suggestions. No ideas. My most sincere apologies. I’ll take a few minutes right now to fix that…

Gifts for runners:

  1. Anything warm. Start with a wicking base layer. Long sleeved shirt. Fleece-lined tights. You absolutely cannot get too warm for running in this crazy weather. Or you can go all out and look at the winter running jackets. Hmmm?
  2. Hat. Mittens. One of those funny balaclavas that covers your mouth and nose as well as your ears. Now THAT’S a good idea.
  3. Something funny. My current favourite is a motivation t-shirt.
  4. Real motivation. A spring race to train for.
  5. Or my all-time favourite – a promise to run with me. It’s inexpensive, easy to wrap, and makes any runner dance on out the door. Nothing’s more fun than running with a friend.

That said, pals, I really have to go. Amazon is calling my name. Ciao.

Winter Running Fun

So this last week has not been conducive to running. When I checked my phone this morning, the weather app was flashing red warnings…DANGEROUS COLD. Seriously. Now, at the warmest part of the day, it’s been downgraded to EXTREME COLD WARNING.

Not conducive to running at all.

So I’ve done what any sensible sentient being would do. Stayed inside eating chocolate and drinking tea. And eventually heading down to the Rec Centre to get at least a little exercise.

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Not a fan of treadmills, I’d much rather run around and around and around and around.

Six laps = one kilometre. Good to know.

Of course the only problem is that I absolutely cannot keep track. The right side of my brain knows that the numbers go…1, 2, 3, 4, etc. But the left side gets bored with that and starts singing the numbers. Think, for example, the number one repeated over and over and over to the tune of We Wish You a Merry Christmas. (Santa was attending a party on the main floor. That’s my excuse.)

Then Phil, who continues to be my long suffering running companion, and I argue about how many laps it’s really been. Ok, argue might be a strong word for our little discussions. More like…is that three laps? I think four. Or maybe 2? Nobody ever really knows for sure how far we’ve gone.

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Done.

An hour later, though, we’re done. Ready to wrap up again and head home for yet another mug of tea. Bengal spice anyone?

I’ll put the water on.

 

To Run or Not to Run

What an appalling question.

It should never arise. It should never be an issue. Except…

I’ve been sick. A very contagious blurg has been decimating the school. Students. Teachers. Aides. Everybody. Last week I broke down and went to the walk-in clinic where the lovely nurse practitioner wrote me a scrip for antibiotics.

Yay.

It’s nice to not hurt when I breathe. It’s nice to be horizontal when I’m sleeping.

But now it’s been a week since I tied on the old sneakers, and I’m healthy enough to start twitching. But am I healthy enough to run? There may still be a little rattle in my chest when I cough. And, ok, I am still coughing a little. But seriously…

If my favourite doc happens to be reading this, I’d accept some free medical advice. I even usually follow it. grin.

Oddly enough, I don’t want to post a picture of me in my jammies with a red nose and crazy hair. So here’s what it might look like if I had gone for a run after school today.

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Winter may have decided to come back. Surprise.

So back to where we began… To run or not to run. Polls close at midnight on this important issue. Let your voice be heard.

 

Friday Five

Remembrance Day Edition

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Five reasons to run on Remembrance Day:

1. Time. Lots and lots of time. We had a nice ceremony and visit with two veterans at school yesterday afternoon since today was a free day. Loved hearing the kids’ questions and the vets’ answers. And today I was more than happy to take advantage of the afternoon to go play at the lake. Again.

2. Weather. Really. 10 degrees C. About 50 f. Perfect day for a fall run. This is amazingly warm for this late in the season this far north so I’m taking all the advantage I can. Whenever. Wherever. I’m all about tying on my shoes.

3. The lake. No explanation needed here I’m sure.

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We did take a brief intermission at the beach.

4. Leonard Cohen. RIP. Sang with his “Hallelujah” echoing through my head.

5. And finally, interesting rock graffiti. Anyone want to translate this for me?

rock-graffiti

The best news, pals? It’s only Friday and a four-day weekend. See you on the trails.

Happy Early Birthday

Ok. It wasn’t really my birthday. Isn’t for another month, but still and all, it FELT like an early birthday present from Mother Nature.

Ten degrees celsius (about 50 fahrenheit). Saturday afternoon. Chores done. Errands run. What else might be on my list?

Hmmmmm…

Trail run. Surprise.

So shoes on. Out to the lake. Ready. Set. Enjoy.

When we hit a fork in the trail, we decided to head toward the beach.

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I wonder why.

And discovered that we were not alone.

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Something had been there before us. grin.

The lake, if you’re wondering, is Lesser Slave Lake. Great for running. In most places the sand was damp and well packed. And where it wasn’t, it was VERY GOOD for strength building.

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Other kinds of building too.

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Had to bend down to see the view from between these weather-beaten roots. It was worth it.

Heading back to the trail we saw one last sign of other trail users.

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Luckily the berries, and thus the bears, were long gone.

Had to take advantage of a surprisingly warm day in November. And hope for another next weekend. And next. And next. And next.