Today I raced 8 km of the Calgary Roadrunners 12 Mile Coulee Cross Country. There was a nippy breeze that made it feel colder than the -4C/25F I thought it was, but it didn’t threaten us much. The sun warmed me up and so did the company.
This course goes in and out of a coulee. There’s a lot of dirt track with a little ice on the top ridge and plenty of nasty, hard ice filling the paths and winding creek at the bottom. This is NOT a course for regular old running shoes – extra traction is mandatory. To top it off, we climbed two steep, monster hills leading out of the valley per each 4 km loop. Oh yes, folks, I completed that course TWICE.
In the first loop I leapfrogged with a few other regulars I know as we picked our way through the ice at the bottom. Some had better ideas than others as to how to negotiate the tricky bits, and I took note.
I kept my mind focused on the momentum of each individual step as I climbed up the first and biggest lung-buster. I climbed with authority. Oh, the burning muscles in the backs of my legs – ooch! There was time for a wee breather, and then we were sent back down into the icy valley again. The second hill was not much easier than the first, but I made it up, and checked my watch before heading into the second loop: 31:06 so far.
I quickly dropped my coat beside a volunteer as I zipped by. I was nicely warmed up now. I knew I my cardio system would have some time to recover in picking my way through the icy valley again, so I hightailed it across the grassy, dry, dirt ridge on top as fast as my lungs and legs would let me. I didn’t hold anything back!
Back through the valley I went once again. This time I had a good idea of what tangents had worked best. I was also pretty much on my own for this part. There were a few people behind me, but I didn’t have to look out for anyone else’s possible slips. I thought I went MUCH faster on the second loop, but maybe I climbed those hills a little slower the second time.
I still had something left for the last flat stretch, and gave it everything I had to the finish line. 1:02 – Woohoo!
My car was parked one kilometer away at the hall and I had run to the start as a warm-up. The finish-line adrenaline carried me happily along as I jogged back to the car for a total of 10 km to add to my log.
When we were eating our post-race soup and dessert I also pulled out a boiled egg I’d brought along. Lately I’ve been hungry and tired after coming back from these races, so I thought the protein would help even out the sugar high and subsequent low. It seems to have worked – I feel a lot better.