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Sunday, May 15, 2011

Awesome Weekend

It was an awesome weekend, spent in my beloved mountains. I am so at peace there...the bluest of blue skies, the massive pillars of stone, wind in the trees, fresh air, nature. Big inhale in and let go of all the stress in my life. Awwwww...

Okay, so the weekend did start at 6am on Saturday, when I got up, ate a banana and flax bun with PB, packed up James and picked up H-woman. Stop in at Starbucks for much needed caffeine and then drive out to Canmore. We got to the Nordic Centre (where the cross-country races for the '88 Olympics took place) just after 8am, with plenty of time before the race started at 9:10.

Me, ready to run...fresh as a daisy.

There were a lot of women there (it was a women's only run, after all) with 3 distances to choose from: 6km, 12km and a Half. This was only the 4th year of the race and the 2nd year for the Half, but since last year's race worked out to more than 24km, they had some work to do on the course this time around!

Unfortunately the race got off to a bit of a late start...this is hard, as it's a great race, good cause, lots of fun and great swag (a bag of great coupons and Rocky Mountain Soap products), it's run by some rather "floopy" people. There was a flash mob dance scheduled before hand, and while kind of fun, planning it takes away the spontaneity. And a race that was to start at 9:10 didn't get going till 9:30, and now we've all be standing around in the crisp mountain morning air for over a half hour and can feel muscles freezing up!! Just go already!! Races need to be run by runners, and runners that actually run races. We are a bit obsessive about these kinds of things. Anyway, we got through the dance portion of the day, and finally the countdown to go.

Hey, still happy here...okay, so this isn't even at the 1st kilometer mark yet! H. ended up not running, which was wise since she hasn't trained and got little sleep before hand. Would have been very foolish to push herself on such a challenging course, cold. It could have been a running season-ender. So she was awesome race support and picture taker!

The course ran down Spray Lakes road, weaved through a neighbourhood to the pathways along the Bow river, heading west then back to the east, where we ran out past the 3-Sisters area (almost a separate town - where I stay in a friend's condo sometimes, or about a 6km walk to downtown Canmore). My face must have said it all when I passed one man cheering us on, when he said, as he high-fived me, "the word you're looking for is undulating!". I almost fell down with laughter. That so made my day!! It undulated all right...but I am proud to say I ran most of the hills, and stuck pretty good to my planned 3km run/1 minute walk intervals. I did get frustrated, anxious to get to the turn-around point (this happens to me every time I run a new race/route) but then settled back in to a rhythm after turning around. It was when I passed the 15km mark (yay, only 6 to go) when the realization that we must now run back UP to the Nordic Centre and the finish line. I'm not kidding here...the last 6km of this race was pretty much up hill. There were plateaus, but they were few and far between. Not going to lie...walked quite a bit here, but I also managed to pass some other women, and finally with a final burst of stubborn pride/energy ran in the final hundred meters to the finish line, taking about 2:50 to complete.

Not quite as fresh as a daisy, but feeling pretty good. The cloth is nice and cold and is soaked in essential oils meant to refresh. All I cared about is that it was cold.

After a quick bite of salad and a wrap (way too garlicy though), I changed into a dry shirt and H. and I took off for Banff, desperate for more food. We parked and settled on Magpie and Stump and shared a plate of awesome nachos (with shredded beef, rather than the usual ground) and the best Cerviche (shrimp, haddock, scallops, salmon) I have ever had, EVER. So good...I also replenished my depleted sources with a vitamin C mixture of coconut milk, pineapple juice and vodka! Okay, I had a ChiChi!!!

Checked in to the hotel (very basic, but what more do you look for?) and after some chill-axing, met back up with H., where we made our way to the Banff Springs Hotel, and the International Food & Wine festival. Admittedly, wearing girly heels to an event where we would be standing a lot, after running 21.1km, may not have been one of my better decisions in life. My by the end of the evening. Seriously, wanted to chop them both off!! But had a nice night, sampling some good food (nothing stellar or outstanding, save for the confit duck sliders) and some okay wines, liquors (m-eh to the wine, but did try a new Gin that was outstanding) before heading back into town with friends, to the Rose & Crown for one final cocktail - my beloved Guinness. Didn't do anything for the pain I was in, and my legs had seriously seized up standing all night, so bid adieu and walked (oh, so slowly!) back to my hotel (blessedly close to downtown), medicated up and went to bed! It was a long day!!

Got up this morning, met up with H. and off to the Bison for breakfast. Such a perfect morning too...have I mentioned that I love, love, love the mountains?

Breakfast was okay (could have had some more hashbrowns, and another slice of toast would be nice) but we did score extra bacon (makes everything better!) and their homemade roasted tomato ketchup was to die for (and I don't really like/use ketchup). Wandered around Banff, scored a really cute top set at North Face and some chocolate/cashew brittle at our favourite fudge shop before checking out (thank goodness for late check-outs) and driving back into Canmore. More wandering around (H. scored the cutest pair of rubber boots or galoshes), before heading to the Iron Goat for a late lunch. Enjoyed a wicked good burger and potato wedges and one of the best views around. The famous Sisters...

Sadly, it was time to leave (no one won the lottery on Friday or Saturday, so hope springs eternal that I will be back soon!) and come back to reality.

Unpacked, got milk, watched Survivor, bonded with the furbabies and now it's time to go to bed and prepare for another week of work. Have two people lined up to look at Baby Girl, so she may well be sold this week, and then the usual routines of running, boot camp and Zumba. Good times!

Hope everyone had a great weekend.


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