A #MAFFail in the extreme cold

As I’ve mentioned a few times now, during this off season from seriously training for any race, I’m working on building my base and endurance through MAF.  I give more detail on what this entails in the post I linked up, but basically, I’ve been wearing a Heart Rate Monitor on all my runs and trying to keep my HR below 145 or so.  This was actually going quite well for the most part, until we were struck by some extremely cold weather over the last week or 10 days.    Continue reading “A #MAFFail in the extreme cold”

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Thanks be to daylight savings time…

We are all running more of our runs in the dark. Whether you tend to run in the morning or the evening, this is the time of year when anyone who lives very far north is running a lot in the dark.

Last night Lori and I ran what will be our last really long midweek MLR (medium long run). We started nice and early (5:00 pm), but ran 16 km (10 miles), so we were out there a while and it was dark for a lot of the run. We chose a route that had a fair amount of street lights but still had large sections of pathway that were completely unlit. The route we ran is a major commuter route for the cyclists of Calgary and was very busy. The vast majority of cyclists do have some sort of light on their bikes and a lot of runners did as well but we did see some stealthy bikes and quite a few ninja runners dressed in black. At one point when we were running along in one of the dark sections we heard a crash and an expletive from a cyclist behind us. He and a runner had collided!! Everyone was ok from what we could see, but it looked as if the cyclist had come upon the unlit runner, had failed to ring a bell or announce his presence and had tried to pass her when she made an unannounced move in the dark and bang, crash!!

It was a good reminder for Lori and I that we need to be on the defense. There is no point in arguing fault here, we need to be responsible for our own safety and visibility. Last night Lori and I both had headlamps, she had hers strapped around her abdomen and I had mine in my hand. She also had a red LED band around her arm. We both have running jackets with reflective strips on them.

I also came home and read this jacket review from pavementrunner. What a great jacket!!

What about you? How do you adjust your running in the dark winter months? Do you avoid running in the dark, take your chances, wear a light of some sort?

Don’t become a #nenshinoun **

That is the title of last night’s run.  Lori and I have had a few epic runs, and last night’s is also going down as EPIC.  Epicly stupid perhaps, but epic nonetheless.

We decided to do our long run last night (Friday night) due to some scheduling issues on the weekend.  This is a cutback week, so we were just doing 14km’s, a totally doable weeknight distance.  We had also thought about running from Edworthy along the Bow river.  We hadn’t run here since the floods here in Calgary, so were curious to see what kind of damage had been done to the paths.  Then we changed our plans, let’s run somewhere closer to home to save time, and then we changed back… and then we didn’t really think through our route at all.

I drove down to Edworthy through some heavy rain, traffic was slow because of the standing water on the roads.  I didn’t think much of it, except, ‘we’re gonna get wet’.  That was true.

We started to run heading North to cross the river, and quickly thought, ‘No, let’s stay south’ because we knew there was some pathway damage to the north.  The gate was closed on the south side of the river, indicating it was closed, we circumvented the gate and kept going.  The first couple km’s were uneventful, then suddenly the path dropped off into the river… ok first sign of damage.  We decided to take a dirt path from here, we are very familiar with this path and it wasn’t a huge deal.  Immediately we hit massive puddle after puddle.  We gave up on keeping our feet dry and just ran through them.  It was also bucketing rain at this point, so we knew dry wasn’t going to happen.  Suddenly there was yellow tape blocking the path, and a GIANT lake in the middle of the path… um ok, now what?  And then a giant crack of thunder that felt like it was right on top of us.  We both suddenly wondered if we should be there.  We were 3-4 km’s from our cars at this point, and in the middle of nowhere.  I looked to the left and it looked like the ‘path’ (more like a muddy dirt trail through the trees) carried on in that direction.  We decided to keep going, it was closer to find shelter in this direction then to go back towards our cars.  

We kept running, constantly meeting with dead ends where the path just fell into the river, then we would reroute ourselves.  We did this for another km or so until we got to the Crowchild bridge.  There were people hunkering down under the bridge.  What did we do?  We just picked up the pace and kept going.  The pathway was pretty undamaged from here on out, there were just places where there was mud and silt on the path, but no missing sections.  It was raining hard, but the thunder and lightening had mostly passed.  

The rest of the run was fairly unexciting, we turned around just before 7 km’s, crossed to the other side of the river at the Crowchild bridge, avoided all the crazy mud, puddles and missing pathways on the south side of the river.  Our pace was still fast, we were still getting bucketed on, and were totally drenched.  

All in all, we ran 14 km’s in 1:19 (a 5:40/km or 9:05/mi pace), laughed our asses off, got completely drenched, and had one of the most fun Friday night’s I’ve had in a while 🙂

 

** If you’re not from Calgary and are wondering what the heck a ‘nenshinoun’ is… Nenshi is our mayor, and he has been trending locally on twitter.  Here are a couple of Nenshi quotes and trending images to explain…

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*** If you are from Calgary, and it isn’t obvious at this point, the South side of the pathway at Edworthy park is closed… for good reason.  The gate is closed… for good reason.  Lesson learned 🙂

When Mother Nature strikes!

This has been a crazy few days in Calgary. Last Wednesday night Lori and I ran by the reservoir and it was basically empty, we even commented on how it smelled like the ocean because the water was so low. We also passed a whole bunch of police officers, who we now know must have been inspecting the shoreline.

Thursday things started to go crazy, water levels in all the rivers and creeks (The Bow, Elbow and Fish Creek) started to swell. The same was true for towns south of Calgary including Okotoks (where my brother lives) and High River. I walked down to Fish Creek and took a couple of pictures. The bridges were closed and the creek was swollen but not super crazy.

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By Friday, we were realizing how crazy things were. Most offices were closed and people were being asked to not travel more than they have to. There were a lot of people evacuated included approx 100,000 people in Calgary, as well as the entire town of High River and other towns in the Foothills. There was water in a lot of downtown, including the stampede grounds.

It was amazing to see this all unfold via social media. There were a ton of pictures and videos that were being shared. It was also amazing to see Calgarians pitch in in this time of need. The story is that of the 100,000 people who were displaced, only 1500 actually needed to use the evacuation centers, as friends, family, coworkers and strangers had opened their doors to the rest.

On Saturday I walked down to Fish Creek again. I wanted to scope it out to see if the path was going to be runnable. There was a bit of water on the path just east of woodbine but it wasn’t bad. Going west was another story. There were a couple locations where the creek was flowing in full force over the path.

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Lori and I decided to run long at the reservoir today because we knew the path would be ok everywhere except in the weaslehead area that the Elbow river flows into The Res. It worked out great. We ran from Glenmore landing west towards weaslehead. As soon as we got down the hill into the weaslehead area we saw water on the path.

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We snapped some pics and turned around to go back the other direction.

I ran 16 km’s total. It was my longest run post surgery and since the Calgary Half marathon. My legs felt great. I had taken it pretty easy this week as I think my insides are still recovering from surgery, and I think it worked out well. Hopefully I can get out at least 4 times this week and start ramping back up in prep for the SeaWheeze half in August.

After my long run, we walked down to Fish Creek again to scope things out. The water has receded a lot. West of woodbine the area that was totally covered by the stream yesterday, but now the stream is back in it’s normal banks. The path is muddy and a but damp, it’s officially closed but looks passable.

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Next weekend we are supposed to be doing one of the legs of the Grizzly 50k in Canmore. Things are still crazy out there, with the highway closed and a lot of the trails at the Nordic Center damages by water and mud. Time will tell if that run goes ahead!