Posted by: Karen | February 8, 2009

If Trail Races Were EASY…

… we wouldn’t feel so righteous for conquering them, eh?

Saturday I baked up a big pan of banana chocolate chip squares and Little Runner and I took them to the Nose Hill trail race.

It was a fairly nice day compared to last year, but there was still enough snow and ice on the trails to make the course an “ankle turner”. There wasn’t much wind leading up to race time, but just before we started it began to blow. On this race course, wind is part of the challenge. Nose Hill Park is a big prairie plateau with very few trees, at an elevation that overlooks much of the city.

This race begins with a huge, calf-cramping, uphill climb that does not serve well for a warm-up.

One of these years I might actually do a warm up run before the race, but I don’t want to seem like I think I’m an elite runner. I’m definitely not that.  A bunch of my other non-elite buddies snapped a few pics together at the start and then we were off up the first of a few monster hills.

Yes, the park is a big plateau, which is mostly flat on top. Fortunately for sadistic trail race directors, the boundaries include the steeply sloping edges of the plateau. These edges provide interminable lung-busting climbs and a-a-a-a-ah-I-can’t-sto-o-o-op descents. On the former I tried to keep in mind that it’s not supposed to be easy. I rather enjoyed the latter.

We didn’t get much respite on the flats in between the hills, because the melted-refrozen snow/ice/mud kept us concentrating hard on our balance. Our race photographer remarked to me afterwards how hard it was to get good photos of us because  “Nobody was looking up.” I did get a few quick glimpses of the mountains in the distance, but mostly I remember what the ground looked and felt like. Check out photos of the race on the Calgary Roadrunners site, and in Dawn’s Flickr page.

It took me a long time to finish, but not for lack of effort. I was reminded again this morning of the effort I put in, with stiffer muscles than usual.

I was again glad that I’d opted for the 8k distance instead of the 4k. Now that I’ve run my 6 x 8ks in a season, I qualify for the Grand Prix season standings. Also of note, this was my 40th race of this series in a row. At 10 races per season, that means I’ve run in every one for the last 4 years. My goal right now is to tack on at least one more year to reach a streak of 50.



  1. Oh, I missed you babana chcoclate chip thingy, what a pity!!!
    I am happy to hear that your muscles were hurting too after the run, than I am not alone in my ‘misery’. Well, it will pass ….

  2. Banana chocolate chip squares sounds delicious. You really should consider doing a warm-up before a race, it might actually help keep you from becoming too sore and even run faster! And since you’ve ran so many races already, you may already be elite status. Good job on doing the 8k instead of the 4k.

  3. I’d enjoy going downhill more if it weren’t for the “a-a-a-a-ah-I-can’t-sto-o-o-op” feeling. I have a feeling that your descents are more so than any I have been on lately.


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