Tag Archives: indoor track

And So Begins the Taper….

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In a week from tomorrow, Dan and I will be sitting at the Calgary International Airport (most likely at Chili’s Too enjoying some beverages) waiting to board our red eye flight to Orlando. In the next week I will be writing up an overview on this year and everything I have done to prepare for this culminating event, but it is so crazy to even think that we will finally be heading down to Disney for the Dopey Challenge!

The last week has been a whirlwind of Christmas celebrations and holiday cheer. Dan and I headed to Red Deer, Alberta, last Saturday for a whopping six nights. In those days, we became Godparents for our niece Norah, met up with some dear friends who now live in Vancouver, went to the Pottage family Christmas in Edmonton, had 12 meatless Ukrainian dishes at my brother and sister-in-laws on Christmas Day, went shopping on Boxing Day, and slept 10-12 hours each night. In those days, I also spent next to no time looking at crap related to RunDisney. I have had that consuming my daily thoughts the last few months, and it was a good break to get away from being anxious for Dopey. But while we were away, I did manage to get some training runs in….some more successful than others….

Saturday, December 21st was miserable. Absolutely gross in Lethbridge (cold, brisk wind chill) and even more gross in Red Deer. I attempted to start my 20 mile run in the morning before we hit the road, but I ran a whopping 0.68 miles before I realized frostbite was a legit possibility. So we hit the road. Red Deer is three and a half hours north of Lethbridge, smack dab between Calgary and Edmonton, so you can imagine what December may feel like. I went to the Collicut Centre in Red Deer that night to attempt 20 miles indoors. While the track was more favorable than the one in Lethbridge (a 300 meter track vs. 200 meter) I just couldn’t do it. At mile 11 I just hit a wall and had to stop. I did 9 miles on the bicycle and called it a night.

Two days later I bundled up and hit the trail system in Red Deer, where I did manage to do 6 miles. It was a good confidence booster after my failed long run on Saturday. But I knew I had to get a long run in before I started my taper. 6 wasn’t enough.

I had planned on attempting a 20 miler on Saturday, December 28th, but when December 26th rolled around, I knew I had to go for it then. Weather in Red Deer was a few degrees above freezing and the sun was out. And there was not an ounce of wind. Dan and I went on our annual Boxing Day shopping spree with his Grandma, and then at 11:15 am I head out from Bower Mall to conquer 20 miles. I am familiar enough with Red Deer to not get lost, but as far as how their extensive trail system links from piece to piece…..I’m a novice. I have ran the Red Deer half marathon three times, so I am familiar with that route. Also, we did a Spartan Race in September up there, and this covered 8 miles over on the opposite end of town. So with these routes mashed in my mind, I went and winged my 20 miles.

I knew I needed to complete a successful 20 mile distance solely for my own state of mind. I have done a ridiculous amount of training all year, and while I know I could run a full 26 miles on the day of the race, I was psyching myself out. I haven’t ran more than 20 miles since the Coulee Cactus Crawl in Lethbridge this June when I did a painfully slow 21 miles in the dreaded coulees.

The nice thing about the trail system was that much of the snow was packed down, which made it easier to navigate and run on. I even went off to some smaller footpaths that offered absolutely breathtaking winter views underneath the evergreens. After running the trails by Kerrywood Nature Centre, I found my way down the Red Deer River over to Heritage Ranch, which was the site of the Spartan Race. I went down some gorgeous cross country ski trails and spilled out by Bower Pond, where TONS of families were ice skating. Music was piped in outside and the energy was fantastic. I looped back on the other side of the Red Deer River and extended my route a bit farther past my end point to reach my goal. After 3 hours 19 minutes and 21 seconds I had completed 20 miles.

Finishing that 20 was a huge weight off my shoulders. I can now officially start to taper and slow things down. It has also fired me up and gotten me even more anxiously excited for Dopey Challenge. Right now, all I can say is BRING IT!

That One Time When I Signed Up For a Gym Membership….

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Southern Alberta has been having some ridiculous weather for the last week. Blizzard on Monday and Tuesday, extreme cold conditions…for instance, each morning since the blizzard my car temperature would say at least -18 Fahrenheit. You go outside and your nose hurts when you breathe. Two days ago, it was apparently the coldest place on earth up near Ponoka, AB. In Calgary it was -40 C, which for you people who don’t know Celsius, this is where Fahrenheit and Celsius cross….-40 Fahrenheit.

What. The. Hell.

I have Dopey Challenge training to do, and even in the cold it has to be done. I ran 5 miles in the blizzard compacted snow on Tuesday, but then after my cross training on Wednesday, I knew I had to do the unthinkable—-buy a pass to the University of Lethbridge gym so I could use the indoor track.

I know there are people who access a gym all the time. If you a weightlifter, fine, I get that. If you like to go play open court basketball, more power to you. But I would rather be on the roads.

The track is 200 metres so 8 laps in lane 1 equal a mile. I soon realized that counting laps sucks, so on Saturday I paid 99 cents for the “Tap-A-Lap” app on my phone. I can enter how many total miles I am doing, how many laps equal one miles, and every lap I just hit a button and it counts for me. I can also play music or podcasts in the background, so I am now using this time to catch up on all my WDW Radio, WDWNT and WDW Today podcast (All Disney podcasts, obviously.). I have to say yesterday’s 9 miles in the track felt pretty great, especially given that I had done 4 outside already, and the temperature on the track is comfortable enough that I can be wearing a tank and shorts and be set.

But, that all being said….there has been some things in the last three visits that remind me why I hate going to a gym. In no particular order…..(drumroll please).

1.) Just getting there!-While the U of L is close to our house, and should take five minutes to drive to on a normal day, add the fact the roads are garbage and then when you get there everyone parks like an idiot. I waste about 15 minutes plus each way getting to the gym, parking, going in, getting a locker and starting my run. That would be a good 3 miles plus on the road that could be done during that time. Grr.

2.) The track is not always open to general public-There is a Lethbridge Track & Field team that generally practices Monday to Thursday from 5:30-7:30. Track is then closed. Damn high school kids. So I have to go use a treadmill (which up until Thursday I haven’t ran on a treadmill since I was 20). For the record, I obviously love and support these high school kids, especially since some of our own from work do Lethbridge Track Club. But I can’t even go anywhere on the Westside now without running into students! First world teacher problems, I tell ya!

3.) Guy who runs on treadmill like he’s 300 pounds, but really he’s 150-I was on the treadmill on Thursday and did my 5 miles, since the high schoolers kicked me out. Guy got next to me and was there about 30 minutes running and walking. And when he ran, he ran so heavy I thought his treadmill and mine would break. I looked like I weighed more than him too. Run lightly my friend, please.

4.) Girl at the gym to look cute and flirt-While mister heavy foot on the treadmill ran, I got to witness a girl flirt with the worker at the Ascent Climbing Wall. The glass windows allow you to see out across the hall and she was so shameless. She ended up coming into the gym and then getting on a treadmill a few down from me and then started yakking it up to the guy next to her too, and she kept waving and making faces to the guy at the climbing wall. I don’t want to see that shit.

5.) Girl who “forgot” a ponytail holder– Running on the track on Friday I got to witness a girl in black spandex and a pink short sleeve top run laps while her long brown flat-ironed hair hung down. If your hair is long enough for a ponytail holder, use it. You looked like an idiot.

6.) People who don’t know proper track etiquette-This track is 4 lanes. 200 metres. Not a lot of room. Even says on sign walkers in lanes 3 & 4, runners in 1 & 2. Thank you to the guy who was strolling in lane 1 and then stopped there on a straightaway to look over the railing and watch the basketball tournament going on below. You were totally not in anyone’s way….

7.) Girl who made bad decisions but didn’t cover it up-Yesterday a girl came up to the track and did a combination of laps, biking, stretching, etc. Fair enough. However. She must had been drunk the night before because on her ankle was a washed out, but not completely gone, black permanent marker drawing of a nazi swatstika and the letters KKK. Ok girl, if you can’t scrub that shit off the morning after, wear higher socks. You looked like a god damn idiot who may as well have had a Confederate Flag tattoo…and I almost said something to you.

Oh, there is more I could complain about. And some of you are probably thinking I just shouldn’t complain. Actually, a lot of it is really laughable after the fact, but now I just shake my head. Around noon today I am heading over there for my 18 mile run, which will be the farthest I have ran in one shot since 2009, when I was training for my last full marathon. I am sure that during the 3 hours I am there I will witness even more stupidity. Who knows, maybe people there are thinking I am an idiot too. I am ok with that.

Off to the gym!