Posted by: Karen | November 26, 2013

XC Catch Up

Since the River Park Classic I’ve run three more cross country races in the Calgary Roadrunners XC Grand Prix series.

Confederation Park 3 x 4k Relay

I ran the first leg for my mixed team “Dips in the Road”. It was a nippy autumn day, but no snow this year. It was a blast starting off with the Leg 1 crowd, even as most of them left me behind in the first couple of minutes. I ran along with Dave I-H for a while, and was quite sure he was going to pass me on the big hill after the tunnel, so I trotted up it as best I could. He didn’t catch me after all, and I sailed on across the ridge and down to the first creek crossing.

Usually I try to cross this section of the creek on the big rocks, and this year I did too, however this time I slipped on the last rock and fell on it. I fell on my stomach and the impact knocked the wind out of me. I don’t remember being winded since I was a kid. As I sucked air in, while on hands and knees in the freezing cold creek, race marshal Barry asked if I was okay. For several seconds I could only gasp, but when he gave me a hand, I put my sopping wet mitten in it and stood up. After a few more very long seconds I left my mitts with him and resumed running along the course. By the time I got back to the tunnel and the second creek crossing I was fine and finished well.

I cheered on my other team mates, and afterwards we ate soup and dessert outside while listening to race results. Hmm. I should enter a Women’s Master’s team next year.

Okotoks 8k

On this day in early November it snowed huge fluffy flakes the entire drive to Okotoks, a town just south of Calgary. It snowed the entire race as well, and I was very happy I’d brought my hobnailed trail shoes. The ground was still soft under all that snow, so the mud and thick squishy snowman snow made a slick combination. We ran a new course this year, around a couple of soccer fields, up some challenging steep hills, and picked our way through a marshy bit in the trees. Since it was a double-loop course we got to do it twice. Those without traction were left behind by lesser runners who had come prepared.

I was feeling particularly awesome and competitive that day. I had heard a female voice chatting up some of the runners behind me in the last couple of kilometers, and I was determined she wasn’t going to pass me if I could help it. I used that silly thought to push myself right to the end, and it worked. It turned out she was the one who had scooped me at the finish at River Park, so this was sweet turnabout.

Edworthy 8k

The steep slopes of Edworthy Park were covered in snow, but the single track paths were all perfectly packed down by other park users by the time we got there last Saturday. I wore my Kahtoola Microspikes to handle any sub-snow ice and confidently bounded down hills with whoops of joy. We struggled a bit in powder on the flat bottom part near the train tracks, and then struggled more to haul ourselves up the steepness, but yeah it’s another double loop and back down we went again!

Carla caught me at the bottom of the second loop. We climbed back up together, and then my brain went on vacation. I kept missing flags – I don’t know how, there were so many – and veered off course at least three times. Every time, instead of running on ahead and calling me back, Carla called me back and stayed tucked in behind me. She’s in my age group. I tried to tell her she should go ahead and beat me to the finish, but no, she resolutely followed with that kind, social spirit she has. At the finish I tried to nip off for a quick high five with my kiddo and let her zip in for the win, but no! She waited, and we finished together laughing, arm in arm, with her hip pushing me in first.

It was cool to welcome local blogger Leana to her first cross country race – we enjoyed soup and dessert with the Pink Chick back at the hall afterwards.

I love my running peeps. Such a fun bunch 🙂

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