Sunday, June 9, 2013

Hiking at High Speed

Last night, hubby asked me if I was running in the morning...and I didn't know what to say.  I am between training plans so have no set distances planned...and I didn't have a run buddy lined up so had thought I might skip it.  But then we had just spent most of the day reworking our camping gear and buying new things so we could camp with the girls and I was really yearning to hike.

I told him I thought I would go out for a trail run.

He didn't even bat an eye (I think he's just used to me trying new things by now).

I figured the best place to dip my feet into some trail running would be in Weaselhead Park.  I have run down there on the paved pathways a zillion times and had always passed by the groomed trails.  I really had no clue what to expect - I just had to hope there would be no hungry cougars or bears who had wandered in there looking for a Sunday morning snack.

Of course - I was really more scared that I would run into blackbird nesting sites than a larger predator. I think if I'd been swooped out on unfamiliar trail - it might kill trail running for me forever.

I got up bright an early and quickly got ready to go.   I bought myself some bright blue Wrightsocks yesterday at MEC so decided I'd take them out for a test run too.

and, as quietly as I could so as to not wake the girls, I left the house and drove to the city.  Betty's Run for ALS was on at North Glenmore Park and people were already parking at 37th Street so I am glad I got there early to get a spot.  


Within minutes, I was soaring down Weaselhead Hill...Destination: Off-Roading.  Across the bridge I went, and then it was time to take these shoes off the paved pathway.  Their very first trail run since I bought them almost 2 years ago.



First up - crossing over the bridge I'd seen so often from the safety of the pavement.   It immediately felt great to be exploring.   Before I had my kids, I was a really avid hiker and getting off into the trees has always made me happiest.   This was going to be awesome.


The pathway in that direction is very flat and runs along the Elbow River.   Honestly, with interpretive signs everywhere, it feels a bit more like a school field trip than a running trail.  BUT - it is so very beautiful in there.   I loved soaring through the trees.  There was hardly anyone on the paths - just a couple runners with their dogs and a couple of ladies out birding.  



This boardwalk across a wetland was especially cool to run over.


And then shortly after...I hit paved pathway again.  It was only around 3k in and I planned to run for an hour even if it meant running in circles.

No way Jose!  Not time for pavement yet...

So, I turned around and headed back into the trees until I hit a crossroad...and then I turned chose a different path.


When this one hit pavement again - I was happy to see a new path opening across the road.   Now, we're talking!

This path was exactly what the doctor ordered.  It started off flat for a bit and then it went into thick tree cover and became considerably more technical.   Just like the trails I love to hike on best (you know, the ones that aren't suitable for 4 year olds)


This ran along the shore of the reservoir.  I think they might be used more as equestrian paths, as there was plenty of clues left behind by the horsies, if you know what I mean.


At around 6k, I turned my ankle on a tree root, but nothing serious.   Not like the time I fell down Tunnel Mountain and could barely walk for a month...

By that point, I could hear the music and crowds at Betty's Run and could see the Remax balloon from across the reservoir.

The one hour mark came and went and I wasn't ready to leave yet.   So I kept climbing for a while...and then the path ejected me in South Glenmore Park - right at the turnoff to Fish Creek.   So I turned around and headed back the way I came.

On the return trip, there was much more wildlife out.  Birds were flitting through the trees.  I had a pace bunny, but he was much too fast and darted away into the trees at the sight of me - quickly lost to sight. The squirrels were hilarious - chasing each other around the tree.



And this time when I hit the pavement, I turned onto it and headed for my car...tired but exhilarated.


Trail running...I think I love you.

Appropriately - I passed this sign as I passed by the trailhead again.

I think it's safe to say I followed those directions ;)




I was so sad when I got home and downloaded my Garmin...no map. no elevation.  I guess the tree cover was light enough to allow it to track my distance...but not enough to pick up anything else.  Boo.

So, lesson from my first trail run?  10K MIGHT be a little long for a first trail run.  I am not usually tired after a long run but today I am EXHAUSTED!  And I know I'll be feeling this one for a day or two.

and I am already looking forward to my next time.

***

After the run, I made a stop at Strides and the Tech Shop and bought myself some running treats to celebrate my super awesome run...a tank, some rainbow striped compression socks and this:


I've wanted one for a while and finally broke down and picked it up.  So excited to put it into use!

3 comments:

  1. Weaselhead is a great place to run! Fish Creek is even better. Every now and then I'll run up to Glenmore, but I'm more likely to go south to Fish Creek, it's much closer. Both places have a ton of paths, but Fish has much steeper hills. Can't wait till I get more comfortable with longer runs again!

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  2. Sounds like fun and I'm glad the bears left you alone! It's such a beautiful area!

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  3. Woo hoo! Glad to hear you had such a great outing!

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