Posted by: Karen | March 11, 2007

All Terrain Running

I’ve run 50+ cross country races in the last 7 years. Yesterday’s Fish Creek cross country was my 22nd CRR Grand Prix series race in a row, yet it was the first race in which I’ve ever:

  • worn Yaktrax and shorts at the same time
  • been mooned by another racer
  • made a snow angel while wearing shorts
  • used a rope to stay on course
  • splashed through so much water
  • gotten this muddy
  • had that much fun!
  • This race gave us everything in terms of terrain: long grass, thorny bushes, slush, hard packed snow, grainy snow pillows, wet ice, ice moguls, ice floating in massive deep puddles, shallow puddles hiding ice chunks, a couple of logs, a couple of hills, a couple of 14 ft deep, steep, formerly-flooded creek cuts, a traverse across a ridge so precarious that they strung up a guide rope, muddy gravel, sloppy clay, and baseball-size river rocks. Did I mention the puddles?

    If I had wanted “careful” I would have stayed at home.

    I think the only reason we didn’t cross the creek was because they hadn’t worked the possibility of “being swept away by the current” into the sign-up waiver. The Nose Creek valley is half-thawed right now, with lots of snow still on the north-facing slopes, mud on the others, and plenty of slushy, wet ice still packed into the crevices in between. I would say that the course was roughly 90% ice/snow, 5% mud and 5% puddles.

    Thankfully the weather didn’t change as much as the terrain. Sunshine and a chinook wind brought the temperature up to around 10C/50F, so I shucked the leggings in favour of shorts just before the start. Even though the top of the valley where we assembled before the race was mostly dry, I donned the Yaktrax over my trail shoes. It would be much better to remove and carry them if they were superfluous than to spend the whole race wishing I’d brought them.

    How do you like these bumps?

    The first few minutes of the race took us down around a hill covered in hard, big, icy moguls hidden by tall grass. There was no path, and I strove to keep my ankles from twisting. I whined out loud “I don’t know if I like these bumps.” Ahead of me, my buddy Les wasted no time in his response: “How do you like these bumps?” Without breaking stride he pulled his shorts down far enough to give me his full rear smile. I nearly fell over laughing!

    I didn’t whine the rest of the race. I splashed straight through puddles that others pussy-footed around. The cold water refreshed my hot feet. I gave loud yodels of courage as I blasted downhill past a couple of sensible, more cautious runners, and charged up the other side. I kept expecting them to catch up and pass me back on the uphills or flatter, less technical bits, but they didn’t. I even took a few seconds to make a snow angel in a deep white, grainy bank the consistency of good margaritas. Dawn must have been racing pretty hard to miss it.

    Courtesy of Kathy Taerum of the Calgary Roadrunners

    As I turned down a treacherous slope in the second loop, Karen Chugg the Race Director shouted out to me to be careful. I loudly pointed out to her that if I had wanted “careful” I would have stayed at home.Mud = Fun

     The puddles were definitely wider on the second loop. There was more mud. The same logs and hills seemed to have grown a little, but I pressed on. Finally I clawed my way up out of the valley finished strong.

    I had the biggest grin on my face the rest of the day. You know I enjoy these races, but I think this last one was the best ever. What a fabulous way to end the series!



    1. What an adventure. And what a laugh that Les must be.

    2. :mrgreen: Now that was a *GREAT* race report!! Way to go !!!!!

    3. You look like you’re having a blast. That’s what it’s all about!

    4. What fun! No pics of the snow angel? And HOW do you keep from spraining your ankles???

    5. ROTFLMAO “the only reason we didn’t cross the creek was because they hadn’t worked the possibility of “being swept away by the current” into the sign-up waiver.” That’s funny.

    6. that is the BEST picture…your xcountry experiences are some of my favorite reads. well done, karen!


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