Posted by: Karen | October 26, 2005

Confederation Park Relay

On Sunday a few of us Penguins got together to run the 3 x 4k relay in a gently undulating grassy park. Some of the uh, “undulations” were a bit bigger than others, but I consider this one to be probably the easiest course of the Calgary Roadrunners XC series. The grass is cut short and there are very few roots or rocks to avoid. We make up for the easy course by saying to ourselves “Hey, it’s such a short distance. Let’s run it FASTER!” The fact that it’s a 3 loop relay gives us lots of opportunities to cheer each other and other teams on, which makes it lots of fun.

Sunday was absolutely gorgeous, which ensured a large turnout. We Penguins managed to field 3 teams. I was considering running two loops at one point, but one of the organizers who likes to take photos decided to run with us and we were very happy to have her. She was happy she’d get more time to take pics, and I was happy for someone a bit faster to balance out our teams.

Before the grown-ups raced, the kids ran something less than a km out and back in their own race. Little Runner excitedly lined up with the other munchkins and did her bit, finishing with a huge smile on her face. Hubby took photos and then took her home, so I could focus on my racing and cheering.

I raced the first leg for our team, “Rockhoppers Rule”. I started off close to the back and ran with Jen O. for awhile. Krista had waved me on right at the start. Usually after the first couple of little hills I’m quite winded and start walking up the rest, but this year I managed a steady run both up and down until the big hill after the tunnel. I always walk that one. I don’t remember being passed by anyone after the first few minutes, but I passed someone named Patty just as we crested that big hill.

I had my camera along and thought I might take pictures on walk breaks, but really didn’t feel the need to slow down, and snapped some blurry ones on the fly, instead.
Entering the tunnel the first time
Catching up to Patty with Bob the Volunteer at the TopAlong the crest we skirted around freshly cut brush.
Michelle, a Garage Gang member was volunteering at the first creek crossing, and directed me helpfully over the largest boulders, so I really didn’t get wet. I had to concentrate on balance, but the rocks were dry and not slippery.

Usually I get lapped somewhere before returning back through the tunnel under 10th street, but that didn’t happen this year. I met Philippa in the tunnel, doing the second lap for her team. I whooped her name and listened to it echo along with the sound of spiked running shoes clicking on the concrete.

After the tunnel I splashed 3 or 4 steps through the creek and up the dirt on the other side. The water was still clear at this point. There was a little mud on the other, but not as much as there would be later, for the 2nd and 3rd legs of our teams.

Now I had squishy shoes, but I could see the clock. I ramped up the speed and gave ‘er what I had left. Dianne cheered me on with an endearing “You can run faster!” and I grinned as I crossed under the clock. I was happy with my time. Not my fastest for this course, but respectable for me, and I was pleased with my steady effort.

I grabbed a water bottle from the SPE Half Marathon folks, saw Krista finish, and checked in with the 3rd leggers awaiting their turn. We didn’t have to “hand off” to our 2nd leg runners, they left as soon as we crossed the line.

I still had my camera, so headed down to the creek crossing to see if I could catch a good splash or two, and to cheer on runners I knew. I’ll probably upload some shots to Flickr later. In the end, our 3 Penguin teams finished within about 3 minutes of each other. Cool how the teams balanced out like that. And even though Linda and I didn’t run together, our times were only 8 seconds apart.

We all cheered heartily and then headed up to the hall for soup and sweets. We ate outside on the sun-drenched hill and listened to the results. It was so warm my chocolate mint Girl Guide cookie almost melted before I got to it.

Kathy forwarded me a few more great shots, but was too tired to upload them last night. I ran at Gord’s with our gang and GORD last night, and it was getting late. Hopefully soon…



  1. I kinda like that shot of the runner coming out of the tunnel just the way it is. It looks artistic!
    Let ’em think it’s a planned effect!

  2. Sounds like alot of fun. Proud of the way you kept going all the way, thats pretty cool. Do you wear medal spikes on your shoes? You mentioned about them ringing in the tunnel…. Seeee, I do not know very much about x-country… 🙂


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