Posted by: Karen | September 12, 2007

Running in my Buff

Post-race shoes, with Moose Mountain Race BuffRelax, Mom. I haven’t taken up nude running, but now that I have everyone’s attention, I have to say that this year’s Moose Mountain Race memoir is a very cool blue Buff!

Saturday morning Dawn and I headed out west of Good luck hug with NadineBragg Creek. I had my usual race nerves going, which was a good sign. We met up with John and Marilyn who had come all the way to Devon just to hang out with us at the race. I affectionately called them and Dawn “my fan club”, and sopped up their hugs and attention. Together we greeted other runners we knew. Dawn and I also were able to work in a little time on-camera with Gabino at the race start.Courtesy of Dawn's Butt Shot Collection

A chilly breeze, countered by warm sunshine made me dither about what to wear. I settled on shorts and a short sleeved t-shirt, with my new buff wrapped around my wrist. I thought about wearing the buff on my head, but I like having a brim to keep the sun out of my eyes, so stuck with a purple cap on my head, and my buff entwined around my wrist.

The organizers had shooed some cows off the course that morning, so Starting off easy, at the back. Thanks for the photo, John!they added in an extra warning about cow plops to the standard verbal description of the course. They said we weren’t to worry too much about those, as they had graciously “arranged for a bog to clean all that off” later in the course. We started the 16 km course, (called the Telephone Loop) promptly at 11:00.

The first half of this race is quite the roller coaster, but the dirt paths were mostly dry, and I took extra care not to get too cocky on the downhills. I heard a helicopter nearby, and hoped there was no urgent, medical reason for it. By about 50 minutes I was regretting not taking one last pre-race potty break, and veered off the path for a quick whiz. This was kind of entertaining, as I was passed by four racers, whom I then enjoyed passing right back again.

Erin was the hardest to catch, as she kept a reliable, steady pace even on the inclines, but she inspired much of my effort the rest of the race. We leap-frogged several times, and on one of the downhills in the second half she let out a big whoop of joy. Loyal friends, you might find this hard to believe, but I’d actually been concentrating so hard on my descents that I hadn’t yodeled even once yet. Erin’s woohoo reminded me how energizing it is to shout like that, and I joined in heartily.

There was much more slippery mud to navigate than I’ve dealt with before on this course. I’m not complaining about the mud, mind you. I actually ran straight through some of the puddles and boggy bits for a few reasons:

  • I got tired of picking my way around.
  • I erroneously believed I could actually jump all the way over some of it.
  • I wanted to know what the bottom of the puddle felt like.
  • I wondered how far I would sink into the bog.
  • I go faster when I’m trying not to get stuck.
  • So far, puddle-feet haven’t given me blisters in 16k races.
  • Clean legs at the finish would look like I didn’t run hard enough.

Despite Erin’s encouragement, I still think I walked too much in the 2nd half. It seemed like there wasn’t as much downhill as I remembered from previous races, but more likely my sparse summer training showed through with a lack of stamina. My lower arms and hands got cold in the last 40 minutes when the sunshine faded. I wrapped my buff around one hand at a time to warm them up.

Easy as 123! er, 321...I did take full advantage of every descent. I relaxed and yielded to the gravity pulling me down the course. Once I crossed the creek I made up my mind to run the entire last 1.8k on the gravel road to the finish without any walk breaks.

I thought about my Be Strong sign, that I knew Dawn would put up for me. I somehow missed it, but I knew it was there. As I approached one last rise I spotted John and Marilyn, and bellowed a big woohoo! They cheered me in and I continued whooping towards the finish line. More people cheered in response to my noise, and I victoriously high-fived and hugged everyone in sight. Yeah!


Dawn had brought my soup bowl to the food area, set up a lawn chair and let me sit in itDoor Prize while I ate. She filled up another bowl with dessert for me. It rained a little bit, but I didn’t care. She had heard my name called during the door prize draw, and snagged a water bottle and belt for me. I should give her a raise, eh? I changed into warm clothes right after the soup, but didn’t stop shivering until half way through my lasagna at the restaurant about an hour later.

Bonus: No injuries that I can tell. No falls or weird landings. My hips and calves were a little stiff for a couple of days, but in a good way. It made me smile, because it reminded me that I did work hard out there.

Marilyn, Dawn, Karen and John

I’ve borrowed a few pictures from Dawn and John here, but I encourage you to visit their photo reports and read about it from their points of view. There are also tons more pictures of this race (both the 16k and the 29k distances) on the Calgary Roadrunners web site.



  1. Way to go Karen!! You looked great coming across the finish line and it seemed like you still had lots of energy left!!

  2. I love your downhill joy. Great job, I might have to join you next year.

  3. Very funny Honey! Sounds like you had fun out there.

  4. Well done! Congrats. And look at those ripped thighs in that photo! Wowee. Dem’s a runner’s legs!

  5. Awesome stufF! đŸ˜€


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