Posted by: Karen | January 27, 2007

Coulee Cross Country Race

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 aLes gives me a congratulatory hug 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.



  1. Great time! I’m might try that boiled egg trick sometime.:razz:

  2. You’re so smart! I never would have thought that much about how best to navigate the course the next time, watching others, etc… Great job! Nice to see more civilized weather for you folks!

  3. You ran THIS RACE in 1:02???

    That is AWESOME, Karen! I don’t think you even realize how much more demanding this sort of course is than most of us deal with in our “usual” 10ks.

    And how ODD to feel tired and hungry afterwards.


    Refuel! Refuel! RE FUEL! 🙂

  4. Fun to see you alive and kicking! Who is that guy you are hugging? Trust Mom to ask that eh? Be thankful your hubby understands!


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