Posted by: Karen | October 23, 2006

Confederation Park 3 x 4k Relay

Yesterday I ran in the Confederation Park cross country relay for the 7th year in a row. This is a very family friendly race, mostly because the weather is still fair and the relay format means parents can race in between handing off kiddos to spouses or team members. Little Runner and Dawn’s granddaughter had a blast in the kid’s 1 km race. They finish faster every year!

Here are a couple of teams Penguin Nancy put together from her work at Tera: The Terable Triplets and the Terable um, something elses. I forget.

Love the feather boas!

All kinds of folks come out for this fun race. These racers with my buddy Philippa (below) also belong to the Calgary Orienteering club.

Yes, that red hat on the left is an Ironman Penticton Finisher hat, 2006

Here’s my team, the Penguin Peeps.

Karen, Tim, Dawn

Dawn went first, and finished a good 5 minutes faster than what she estimated – woohoo! She did a great job of getting through and up out of the creek this year, however, my camera malfunctioned and I didn’t get the shot. Tim went second, and we cheered him on as loud as we could.

I was anchor, and was very excited to step into the hand-off chute. There was no one left in the chute, there were not a lot of slow teams like ours this year. I was still PUMPED that it was my turn to run, and walked right up to the forward edge of the chute.

“No,” I was told by Dave I.H., “Ye have teh start back at the clock, lass, like everyone else.” Then he winked and cranked up his scottish accent even more: “We wouldna want teh give ye an unfair advantage, eh!”

Oh yes, we had a good belly laugh at that one; the team ahead of me had left at least 10 minutes before.

Nonetheless, when Tim finished strong I hit my lap button and bolted away from the start without a backwards glance. “I get to RUN now! Yeeha!” I ran the entire course with the exception of the biggest, nasty hill on the east side of the tunnel. As I headed up the hill I knew I would be coming back to the same volunteer on this figure-8 course, so I shouted jokingly over my shoulder “See you in a minute!” 

I actually named the hill “John A. MacDonald Hill”, since it’s a) in Confederation Park and b) JAM was our feisty first Prime Minister. Once atop JAM hill (JAM does not sound as feisty when I use initials, now that I think of it), I took a 10 second breather and ran across the ridge, across the ridge, (dang orange flags, when do they turn?) across the ridge…

“Go Karen!” I heard a voice from the creek below to my left calling my name. I didn’t know who was cheering me, but I raised a hand to wave without looking up from my course across the ridge…

… and finally down. Wheee! I turned back along the creek to the voice and found Jim waiting to point me across the first creek crossing. I reached up to give him a hug and he did me one better – planted a kiss on my cheek. I crossed over the stepping stones with a big grin on my face and made my way back to the tunnel volunteer.

“See, I TOLD you I’d be back in just a minute.” I said as I approached her more than 5 real minutes later.

“Oh I think that was more like 45 seconds.” She humoured me with a smile.

Back through the tunnel: I was breathing quite hard now. I wanted to leave it all on the course. I whooped as I attacked the second creek crossing, and splashed through without much acknowledgement of Dawn or her camera. Now I had to just go the last 100m to the finish, squishy feet and all.  Even though I was pushing with all that I had left, Dawn’s little granddaughter ran along just ahead of me to the finish line.

Yay! Our team finished in under 1:20, and I personally came within 16 seconds of my 6-year average for this race. I deemed the race officially over (it’s an honour, eh), and headed back to the hall for soup and goodies. I always love it when the sun shines for this race, because we all sit outside on a south-facing hill as we eat and listen to the results.

For the record, I had lentil veggie soup, a chocolate cranberry cupcake, some of Dawn’s puffed wheat square (with pink M&Ms in it), a chocolate brownie bite, and the best slice of lemon loaf I’ve had in quite some time.

My legs are just fine today – I guess I could have gone harder. The remainder of yesterday my lungs felt like I had put them on a stretching machine. I did manage somehow to acquire a big nasty blister just under my left big toe. Silly toe, it was only 4 km.

If you LOVE to look at race pictures like somebody else I know, here’s more of this race.

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