Cross-country Skiing at Confederation Golf Course

I’m not usually excited about winter – a quick search for “winter” in my archives reveals that I mostly complain about the the cold and snow from November through May – but this year I’ve actually been looking forward to the snow. I impulse bought new cross country skis (my first new set since high school) and have eagerly been awaiting the start to ski season. We got snow awhile ago but then I had two weekends of first aid, and then a weekend of report card writing so this Saturday was the first chance for me to get out.

After a morning of Christmas shopping I was ready for some outside time (and some exercise ) so I put my new boots and old skis into the car and headed to nearby Confederation Golf Course. We’re really lucky that the course is only 5 minutes away and gets track set when there is enough snow. The snow isn’t amazing so I didn’t want to scratch up my new skis but I was desperate to try my new boots.

It was pretty warm (+3-+5) so I waxed with the stickiest wax I could find:

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Waxing is still something I can improve on (and I probably need to add a red wax to my collection for warmer weather) but this worked just fine.

I started on the trails in the southwest part of the park and did the “hilly” section. Then I did a loop in the middle before crossing over to the northeast side where there was a nice long loop set. For a ski course in the middle of the city, it ends up having a surprising amount of ski trails set. All in, I skied about 3 miles (5km) with only a tiny bit of overlap.

My Strava track

My Strava track

I’m feeling out of shape so 5 km was enough for the day. I love that Confederation is close enough that I can go over for just 45 minutes. I was happy that I’d brought my old skis – there was a little grass and a few bare patches but I thought the tracks were pretty good for the little amount of snow we have.

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It was pretty warm again today and is supposed to stay warm all week so I think conditions at the park will deteriorate but I’m hopeful we’ll get more snow soon. I’d like to be able to go for an evening ski to see the Christmas lights. And given how sore my legs are today, the exercise can’t hurt either!

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Today’s Trainer Workout – November 13, 2014

We’re still experiencing a cold snap here in a Calgary so even though my training plan called for a run, I just couldn’t force myself to do it. Instead, I bundled up for a dog walk (have to get outside at least for a while) and then hopped on my bike trainer to get some exercise in.

I know some people just can’t stand the trainer but I personally don’t mind it. I’m most successful when I have a plan, so I always try and come up with something before I get on to keep me motivated. Tonight I wanted something that wasn’t too hard but would keep me focused for 60 minutes. I came up with the following – it was enough to make me sweat but not leave me feeling drained.

15 min warm up – alternating easy and hard gears
4 sets of alternating legs drills (1 min right, 1 min both, 1 min left, 1 min both)
3 sets of 2 min at 60 rpm (harder gear), 1 min spin between sets
3 sets of 3 min at 100 rpm, 1 min spin between sets
9 min cool down

Oreo joined me for the last 15 minutes – I guess my trainer time ran into what he thought should be dinner time and he tried his hardest to persuade me to get off the bike. No luck – I finished my session and then we both got dinner.

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Tell me, what’s your favourite bike trainer workout?

An Injury Update – and Why I’m Not Returning to Running Anytime Soon

It’s been almost 2 months since I injured my foot and I honestly thought by this point I’d be back to my usual. Update – I’m not. While I’ve been hiking, biking and going out with the dog, I’m still not pain free. It’s certainly better than it was but it’s stiff in the morning and sore by the end of the day. I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing – rolling, stretching and wearing supportive running shoes – but being on my feet all day is slowing things down. Improvements are happening, they’re just not instantaneous.

I had plans to return to running this week – it’s all written out in my planner – with the idea of running a half marathon in October. I even went for a run the other day – 1.5 miles before the dog gave up and we walked until Jon picked us up. I was going to try again today but during my after work dog walk I changed my mind. As much as I love running, I don’t need to return just yet. I’m sure if I give it time – a few weeks, a month, whatever – and keep up my routine it will get better. Then I can return to running pain free, instead of potentially doing more damage.

Mentally I need to get over the fact that not running isn’t going to destroy my fitness. Cycling, swimming and weights are more than adequate (and maybe even better) at keeping me in shape. And while I love running, I also love riding with friends and being in the pool. So for the next while I’m using my new runners strictly for walking and giving myself permission not to worry about returning to an activity that I’m not ready for.

Catching Up

After our Saturday in Kananskis, we continued our long weekend adventures with our usual Sunday morning swim and a full afternoon of lawn bowling. Then on Monday (love those long weekends) Mer and I took Jon out for a road ride around Springbank. We rode it last year and it is a pretty half-day adventure. We had lovely weather other than the wind but Jon let us draft behind him for most of the way into it so it wasn’t too bad.

Snack break!

Snack break!

We finished our long weekend with a trip to the dog swim at the Mount Pleasant outdoor pool. For a $2 donation you can bring your dog to swim on the very last evening it is open. We went right at 6 pm when it started and it was already crazy with dogs. We only stayed a short while but Patches seemed to enjoy it.

Swimming in the pool

Swimming in the pool

For a short work week it felt really busy – school, lawn bowling and parent teacher conferences. Then this past weekend Jon and I participated in our first lawn bowling tournament (on two different teams) and spent Friday evening, all day Saturday and all day Sunday bowling. My team lost every game but I had fun and learned tons. I’m sad the season is almost over and I’ve got lots to work on for next year!

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It was also a nice opportunity to just be outside and enjoy possibly the last really nice weekend. It was really warm and sunny until about 5 pm on Sunday and it felt good to just have fun and not worry about chores or the house. It started raining and then snowing today and we’ve now got 5 cm or so of accumulation. I know it isn’t going to last but we’re certainly into fall now.

Looking back it has been a busy past few weeks! I love how much fun stuff we’ve been up to but it does feel nice to have a calmer week happening. We still have lots of fun adventures planned for the next few weekends but I can tell we’re both a little run down and will benefit from some time at home. Jon has a cold, there is a little too much dog hair drifting around on the floor and we need to process our honey.

Calgary Spartan Sprint 2014 Race Recap

The past weekend we participated in the Calgary Spartan Sprint Race. Our heat was on Sunday (10 am) so our team got together on Saturday night to discuss our strategy and make t-shirts.

The race is held at the Wild Rose BMX Park which is only about a 20 minute drive from our place. We left a little early to snag free parking and were there just before 9 am. We got body marked and took a few pre-race photos once the whole team was assembled.

We lined up at the start about 10 minutes before our heat, listened to the pre-race speech and then we were off. We started near the middle since we didn’t plan to be particularly fast. The first few obstacles were pretty simple – an under, some narrow trails, an over-under-through and some hills. Part of the way through the hills there was a short cinder block pull and then more hills and a nice big mud pit.

The first obstacle where I thought I might have trouble was the monkey bars but I made it across and continued on. Shortly after the monkey bars came something called the container crawl which was actually a steep ramp up to the top of a sea-can. They had a slick ramp and an easier ramp with ribs but with a good run it was easy enough to get to the top. Then it was more hills and another obstacle – the sandbag carry.

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After the sandbag carry was a water station and then more running. We had to do a tire flip and then a zig-zag balance beam. There was a short run to the inverted wall (which I managed to pull myself over) and then onto the 8′ wall. I needed a butt push to get into a pull-up position and then hoisted myself over. The best part about racing with a team is that you’ve got lots of help getting past the obstacles and a cheering section when you’re successful. Running with a group of 8 isn’t fast but it is fun!

After the wall was a lot of mud – rolling mud pits and the a bar wire crawl where I rolled. We all came out covered in mud but in very high spirits! There was lots of high-giving and group hugs.

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After all the mud was a traverse wall, which I fell off immediately and had to do my 30 burpees. Then I missed my spear throw so another 30 burpees. Those things aren’t fun and are the most tiring part of the whole race. After the spear throw was a slippery wall that was climbed with the help of a knotted rope and some team pushing. I failed at the rope climb, did 30 more burpees and then our team reunited for a group finish over the fire leap.

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We finished in 1:24:57 and went to take some finisher photos in our muddy state.

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Then it was a cold hose shower to get the worst of the mud off and celebratory free beer. It was a really fun race but I was exhausted and it was freezing out so we didn’t stick around long. I was sore for days afterwards but I’m already looking forward to next year’s event!