All 10 of the races in the Calgary Roadrunners’ Grand Prix XC series have a 4 km option. I usually run the 8k distance, but sometimes it just suits my life better to run the shorter one.
I moved residences at the end of February, which caused major upheaval in my life and training schedule. Even then I likely would have managed the 8k distance last Saturday, but over the move I also came down with a nasty head cold. It wasn’t the type of cold to totally knock me flat, but it weighed me down enough to choose the short option at the Fish Creek race.
The last race of this series is always bittersweet. The course conditions often include variable depths of snow, ice, slush, mud and puddles. It’s run in a creek valley, so we jazz up the course with a couple “elevation changes” which make use of the steep banks of the valley. We’re all happy to race and socialize, but we know that this will be the last race of its kind until the fall.
This particular day was sunny and almost counted as warm. I opted for leggings instead of shorts, in respect for Day 6 of the head cold. I had gone for a short, slow jog at lunch on the Thursday before, so I knew I could run.
Right from the beginning of the race there were puddles, which always cheer me up. The course seemed to be laid directly through them, so I gleefully splashed through. We started up on the ridge, which gave us some time to get warmed up before plunging down a narrow, winding deer trail through the trees to the valley floor. My Yaktrax came in handy here as they dug into the melting snow crust. There weren’t as many huge puddles as I’ve seen in some past years, but there was enough mud and slurpy snow-coney slush to make it a challenge.
Somewhere in the 2nd kilometer Nikayla the kid passed me. I had been trying to stay ahead of her, but it was a lost cause. I spent the rest of the race trying to keep her in sight. She spent the rest of the race alternating between trying to catch her mom, who was further ahead, and not letting me catch up. We were good motivation for each other.
I ran most of the course at a steady pace with only a couple walk breaks. The 4k course only had two hills – one into the valley and one out of it, so I had no excuses to walk until the last climb out. Also, since I was doing the shorter distance I justified a more intense effort. It felt good just to give’er without having to pace myself for the longer course.
I was lapped by a couple of the 8k runners in the finishing stretch. Near the very end I could hear one more fast guy coming up behind me and had some fun out-sprinting him to the clock. I got to cheer in all my friends who had done the 8k, and then we headed back to the hall for soup.
I chose a nice, spicy soup and enjoyed sharing the chocolate butterscotch almond triangles (not squares. these taste better as triangles) I’d brought for the dessert table.