Posted by: Karen | December 19, 2004

Silver Springs 8k XC Full Report

What a lovely day for a winter race! It was probably warmer than 6C/43F in the weak sunshine, and there was no wind to speak of. We’ve had some pretty warm weeks lately, so there was no snow, just some ice. Not a problem for me with my Yaktrax and common sense. I snapped a few pics of some of my favourite “regulars” as we waited for the race to begin.
Yo-go and SpikeDoc L and Doc J
Some of the Roadrunners 10k Group
Yes, that’s me second from the right with the red mitts. Just a regular-type running hat today, but there is a Penguin on it.

I began the race with my camera handy and all competitiveness banished from my mind. I didn’t even set my stopwatch. I did surge ahead a little at the beginning to grab shots of Purplegirl, C, and the Pink One actually running.
Keep up with US, eh!
I purposely fell in behind an older man I hadn’t noticed at these races before, and patiently let him set my warm-up pace for a few minutes. I never did capture Yo-go with the camera, because I barely caught up with her before she peeled off at the 4k turn-off, and the course was getting kind of steep by then.

I had anticipated that I would not feel very good for much of this course, because I’m still recovering from fitness lost during my cold and subsequent low-training regimen (plus too much sugar and not enough sleep due to Christmas prep). I did feel surprisingly amazing in about the 3rd km. I joyfully gave myself over to the invigorating sensations of pounding the icy dirt over hill and dale while my heart and lungs raced to keep up. I love that feeling!

After a bit I wondered why I’d put the tech shirt on under my long-sleeved T. I’d developed quite a sweat as the sun warmed me up. I suppose if it had been windy I would have needed it. Enh, I just pretended I was running on a hot summer day and got over it. I pinned my mitts on to my shirt and kept a-going.

The rest of the race I leap-frogged with and then followed C and a lady in a red fleece. There were several big prairie hills that flanked the Bow River, and I got a few shots showing the dirt paths and the pale gold colour of the dry grasses covering the hills. In my usual way, I walked up the hills and careened crazily down them.
Dooown Uuuup
I didn’t take photos in the small wooded section, mostly because the path was twisty and I was busy avoiding the trees and their roots. By this time I was getting tired, and didn’t want to stop any more than I had to. My legs felt rubberyand heavy. I had to re-tie each of my shoelaces as they came undone in turn. I thought I had learned to double-tie them before XCs? Apparently not. C and Red-fleece Lady faded into the distance and I had to really concentrate on following the flags. I was glad for the volunteers, who cheerfully directed me in all the right places.

Eventually I heard cheering as I entered the trees in the final-stretch coulee. As I came out I heard a few more whoops and my name. There were some folks cheering me way up on the ridge.
Look way UP to my cheering squad
I rallied for a very tired last surge down into the valley and up the last nasty hill to the finish. I was greeted by at least 10 fellow Roadrunners hooting and cheering as I struggled up to the clock. Dawn (who’d run the 4k) came down part way and ran in with me. Woohoo! What a great, weary, exhilarating feeling!

I would love to show you a pic of the cheering section that greeted me as I turned that last corner, but I think stopping right then for a pic would have really spoiled the moment. That image will just have to stay tucked into a happy place in my brain 🙂 We headed into the hall for soup and sweets. I rinsed the mud off my Yaktrax, changed into dry, fuzzy clothes, and tucked into squash & ginger soup and chocolate cake.
Yum, Yum!
I hope the pics aren’t too big for this blog. I’ve been trying to work out a link to them on Flickr, without success so far. I hope you enjoy them, because next XC the camera’s staying at home and I’ll be trying to run a good hard race again.



  1. That grassy up-and-downhill section looks SO much like my Lake Needwood 6K course that I ran last March! Hmmmm…they called it um…The Frozen Slopes XC…but we were lucky, nothing was frozen but us runners (chicken-$h*t little marylanders that we are!)

  2. Hey, what a fun race! The pics are great. Thanks for sharing:) That last long hill looked like a killer, by the way.

  3. Love the pics. It was a great race. Heh, I got a PR. Knocked 6 minutes off last years time.

  4. Nice pics. I love the background in the shot with Purple Girl (?). Looks like a great place for a race. You folks look like you were having fun. 🙂

    And let me say…Ferrero Rocher….mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!

  5. The snowy part of a ridge in behind Purplegirl and C is Canada Olympic Park. They make snow for ski jumping and skiing, and also maintain a luge and bobsled track. It was one of the sites of the 1988 Winter Olympics. In the summer the mountain bikers love it, and there are sports events held there year ’round. Another of our XC races is held just east of the ski part over there in September (Waldorf XC). You can check out my Waldorf race report at

  6. Great pictures! Looks like some great places to run, but I’m really envious of that cake at the end!

  7. You’re doing well on the pictures! It’s interesting to see what other runners are up to and where they run.

    We have LOTS of snow here in Indiana (probably lots even by Canadian standards!) Hope the holidays are going well for ya! Tx for sharing the pictures–Kirsten/Mid-Pack Mom

  8. […] It took me a good 10-15 minutes to get completely warmed up, but I motored along over the hills. The scenery was absolutely GORGEOUS. A heavy frost/light snow had come during the night and coated every single branch, weed and blade of grass. My eyes took in the landscape and I exclaimed over and over how beautiful it was out. Then my balance would yank my attention back to the variable terrain before me until the next time I glanced up. Here are some pictures of this course I took last year – just envision it coated in glorious white, with sunshine beaming down. […]


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