Friday, December 28, 2007

Happy Ho-Ho!

I love the holidays, but I always aim to keep it low-key. I see people getting stressed out, depressed, and over-extended financially this time of year. The past few years, we have mostly done away with the prezzies. The only important thing we do is have my mom over for a few days to spoil her!

My favorite things about the holidays: I enjoy gathering and celebrating, giving and sharing, eating, giving thanks, a phone call to family and friends, a snuggle with my husband and hugs from friends and family.

I also enjoyed a Christmas Eve run and a Christmas Day run to a couple of great viewpoints overlooking my town. I always enjoy a little time alone to appreciate. While Christmas is just another day for me, I always enjoy it and it makes me appreciate how great a life I have.

Merry Christmas

Hangin' with my Mom

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Senior Citizen

Norman the dog is now fifteen. He had a tough week last week. He got a little excited and spun a few circles and was running around like a puppy when he put his back out. Then his hips stopped working. Poor Norman. He doesn't realize he is a senior citizen and he is old. He is a dog. He is a great dog. We medicated him and let him rest for a few days and fortunately for him, he is good to go!! But it was a good reality check....Norman's time is coming quick....but for now, we are going to continue to enjoy him and love him and spoon with him.

My Norman Dog

We All Should Nap More!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Time on the Trails

After a day in The City, I need to get back out on the trails to decompress. I seemed to have developed a small injury this week from last weekends skiing trips: my forearm has been swollen all week, and I can't do anything involving gripping or weight bearing. Hmmm. No skiing for me this weekend. Fortunately my legs aren't broken, so I ran on both Saturday and Sunday for a total time of about 5 hours of running. You don't need ski poles to run!! The 5 hours gave me plenty of time to obsess about future race plans: it is that time of year where I like to set myself some goals for the upcoming year and put some races on the calendar! I've got some great I just need to decide!

My Big Head
O Canada!
Nice View!

The City

The City: Calgary is a great city as far as cities is an easy drive on a divided highway, an hour and a half East of Banff. The people are friendly, there is lots of green space and it is easy to get around. Things people don't know about Calgary: they have the worlds greatest bike pathway system! There are hundreds of kilometres of paved bicycle paths. As a runner, this city rocks....and as a trail runner, you can find some nice trails. North Glenmore Park, Nose Hill Park, Edworthy Park and Fish Creek Park are all huge natural areas.....right in The City!

When you live in a small town visiting The City can be completely overwhelming. So when I go to Calgary I try and keep it to simple pleasures! There are 3 things I love in Calgary: my mom, Codo (Vietnamese Noodle House), and Costco!! So most of the time, it is an enjoyable day with good food, good shopping and good quality time. But I sure am glad when I arrive back home.....when I see the mountains I always immediately relax after a busy day in The City.

This is the view out my front window......I'll take it over The City.

Cascade Mountain - My view:

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

How to Clear Your Head

I awoke this morning a wee bit foggy after a fun night of yummy greek food and two bottles of vino blanco shared between friends.

So THE thing to clear ones head after a night of overindulgence....awake early, put on the trail runners and hit the trail and RUN!!! I went out for an hour and a half around Tunnel Mountain and saw nobody! Tunnel Mountain sits right in the middle of the Bow Valley, it is sort of a large hill in contrast to the surrounding peaks. But there are great trails that go up it or all the way around it. That is what I did today....I circumnavigated a mountain! How cool is that?? Around the back side of the mountain beside the river I ran into a herd of elk. There must of been close to 50 animals, mostly females. They were on the other side of the river fortunately so I got a good look. They didn't pay me much attention. Definately the highlight of the day.

Here is a picture of Tunnel is also known as Sleeping Buffalo. When you catch it at the right angle it looks just like a giant slumbering buffalo.
It is the mini-mountain in the middle of the picture!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Trail Running Banff Style

I love to run. It sure is challenging in Banff to be a runner in winter. Especially a trail runner!! So in winter, I do less running and more of the winter sports skiing and snowshoeing. But a girl has to run.....and there are always trails to be found. Sulphur Mountain is one of my favorite winter trail runs. It is one of the few trails that gets enough foot traffic to pack the snow down.

My Dirty Girl Gaitors and my Yaktrax.....are my secret weapons to conquer the snowy trail!
I can go directly out my back door and enjoy a nice 20 minute uphill run through the woods which will get me to the trailhead. From there it is 5.5 km on trail to the top of the mountain with an elevation gain of 655m. How's that for a run?!?

The fun part is coming's a huge descent, but loads of fun. I had a great run on Sunday all the way up and back down for a few hours of good times.

This is one of the views from the can see my neighborhood!! Cascade Mountain towers over the town of Banff....I get to look at it every day out my front window.
Isn't it pretty??

Shortly before the summit, I ran into the only two other people silly enough to be out trail running buddies Steve and Brenda. So they snapped a few pics of me at the top!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Winter Wonderland

Me and Stew getting ready to ski

Greetings from Winter Wonderland! It has been a gorgeous weekend. Clear and sunny for the last two I had to get outside and play. It has been a week of weather weirdness here in Banff: we started the week with a big snow storm on Monday and Tuesday, then it rained on Wednesday and turned everything into a skating rink. It snowed AGAIN on Thursday and then finally cleared up for two days of clear and sunny and -30 degrees celsius. Yikes!!

Despite the cold, I headed out for a cross country ski with my friend Steve. Good company, sparkling snow and a clear blue sky made for a great day. You just can't help but smile when you are surrounded by some of the most pristine mountain scenery in the world!

The next day we got up early and headed up to the ski hill....we have Seasons Passes to Sunshine Village, the local hill here in Banff and one of my favorite places on earth. By "we" I am referring to the love of my life, my honey, my husband - Keith. He rocks. We picked up a friend along the way, the indominatable Captain Stew and set off. The night before we had decided to go Alpine Touring from Sunshine instead of skiing on the ski lifts. This is where you put climbing skins on your skis, venture out into the backcountry and walk up the slope to earn your turns. Usually the turns are far softer and fluffier than at the resort and it takes you to beautiful places. I LOVE SKI TOURING!!

From the top of the lift we started skinning up the hill....and we stopped to dig an avalance pit to see what the snowpack was looking like. As soon as we started shoveling and sweating we realised it was much warmer up top than down below. More weather weirdness: -30 degrees at the bottom, but only -9 up top. You got to love it when that happens. So we picked a nice slope and made a bunch of great runs. I LOVE POWDER!!

Peeling off them skins...

So, I am heading out to walk/run up Sulphur Mountain for the afternoon. This is the mountain in my backyard and its got a trail up it! Later today I will figure out how to post photos so I can show you all how amazing it is in Banff and start blogging in style. Out the door for another adventure.....I LOVE TRAIL RUNNING!!

Sunshine at Sunshine