So on Friday, in a frenzy of activity, I threw all of my camping gear in the car, raided the fridge for anything edible, fumbled for clean running gear and hit the road!! Yiiiiiihaw! I wanted to get to Kananaskis, find myself a camping spot and set up camp for the weekend. I also wanted to run all three days, with the marathon in the middle! I met up with Darrin for a great, mellow run on Friday to stretch out the legs on Prairie Link Trail. We did a leisurely 2 hours of running. I was hoping to go longer, but the thought of the marathon the next day made me rethink. So we ran easy. Darrin brought the beer for some post-run lounging at my sweeeeet campsight, Thanks D!! It was a fine place to relax for a few days!
Somehow, I got no photos of Darrin-but I got some great pictures of me hanging with the cows. This is how you know you are not in Banff anymore!!! It was a little cowy out there. I remember lots of cow paddies from the mountain biking days. I also have some fine memories of biking this trail with Norman the Dog chasing cows and starting a Stampede. Ah! Sweet Norman!
Saturday - Powderface 42 - A Wee Little Run.
With my great campsight being only ten minutes from the startline, I got to sleep in! Yeeeeah!The race start was at 7:30 in the morning and historically, I have run this course in some crazy ass weather. The first time I ran, it was only 2 degrees and it rained sideways for all 42km's!! Last year, it was one of the hottest days of the summer and people were melting all over the place. This year, it was perfect.
I had an early morning coffee crisis: I didn't want to get up early enough at the campsight to make any. So I was forced to mooch, beg, whine and pleed. A Good Samaritan in the car next to mine rescued me, by offering up his mug of Starbucks. In return, I accidently kept his awesome Go Mug. Oops. Sorry dude. But thanks for the coffee!
Holly was there early, anxious and full of nervous excitement. It was her debut! Her first marathon ever. A nasty, rugged, challenging trail marathon. Fortunately, she was prepared and she was a superstar on this day. Way to go Holly! Got to visit with friends Ken, Mike, Phil and others briefly as well in the pre-race mayhem.
As for my race, I was enjoying a beautiful early morning. Check out that blue sky! It didn't take long before I shed the arm warmers.
I started out slow, as always, and was walking all of the uphills and chatting with the other runners. For the first few hours, probably due to the lack of coffee, I wasn't even awake. My legs were feeling real heavy and slow, but they didn't hurt. I just power-walked the ups, kept myself moving forward and was enjoying the awesome scenery and great trail. I love this race!! At the top of Powderface Pass, I stopped to flirt with some Mountain Bikers.
There was snow lingering from a storm two days earlier on the way up the Pass. I rolled around in it for fun, made a snow angel and took this ridiculously terrible photo. It was warming up quickly and the snow felt grrrrreat!!
I caught up and passed these boys on the Ford Creek section and marvelled that one of them was wearing an IPod. I couldn't believe it. I came up behind him and he couldn't even hear me!
He was running with an IPod in the early morning, in the mountains, in primo bear country. Now normally, I am not a judgemental or a competitive girl but when I came across IPod boy, I was overcome with three thoughts:
1. Dumbass. I'm sure he's a nice Dumbass, but a Dumbass none the less.
2. City Boy. Really. IPod? Mountains? Didn't have a clue. It was a beautiful morning in bear country and the birds were singing.
3. If I do anything on this day, I need to beat the Dumbass. No Dumbass City Boy is going to beat me in a Trail Marathon.
So with those slightly angrier than usual thoughts, I finally woke up, started charging a bit more and never looked back! Bye-bye IPod boy. I was feeling great. The legs woke up, I woke up and there was some running to be done! But don't worry, be it that I am easily distracted and the scenery was awesome, I took some great photos!
Check out the wildflowers! They were only out on South facing slopes and are definitely late this year, but the flowers are on their way.
At the second to last Aid Station, I asked the volunteers how many ladies were in front of me. To my surprise, delight and shock they told me "only one or two" so after that, I had to put the pedal to the metal! There was a race to be run! Yiiiiihaw I had better get it in gear. So I ran strong for the last 15k just to make sure things stayed that way. Yes, I crossed the finish line with the flower in my hair.
Happy Holly and Proud Leslie
Holly finished her race in style and was overjoyed to be done! There's a couple of hot sweaty girls. My buddy Mike had a great run. He beat his last years time and felt great from start to finish. I managed to get on the podium and I beat IPod boy. Bonus! We made sure to have a soak in the river, so I could get up and do it all again the next day.
I headed back to the campsight, where I had the best nap ever. After a dinner feast, a bag of potato chips and a huge bar of chocolate I was struggling to stay awake so I decided to go for a drive up Moose Mountain Fire Road. It was frickin' amazing at 8:30 in the evening! Such beautiful views and this was from the car!
I also ended up rescueing some mountain bikers who were totally completely lost and dropped them back at their campsight almost 30km's away. They were very lucky. It was late and getting dark quickly. They had a GPS which he kept poking at the entire drive back to their campsight. He clearly did not know how to work it. They tried to describe to me the trails that they had taken in their 11 hour epic, but clearly.....ummmm.....they had no clue as to where they were or how they got there, even with the magical gizmo.
After delivering the lost cyclists I returned back to camp, snuggled in to my sleeping back, popped a couple of IBU's and slept, slept, slept. Aaaaaaah. Bliss. Cool air, warm tired body and the sounds of the river as I fell asleep.
The next morning, I took the time to make me some coffee and then parked my chair by the river! The sound of nature waking up is such a joy! After a couple of magical hours of relaxing, the coffee inspired me to get my act together, throw all of the shit back in the car and head for the trailhead. I had a wee drive on a long dusty gravel road into the backcountry of Kananaskis, where I parked and headed out again. Don't worry Mom, I left a note on the dash explaining where I was going!
I picked a big nasty climb and a run up to Jumping Pound Ridge and Summit, for a little ridge running. The ridge up there is fantastic and ridge run, I did!! You can go forever. I was having so much fun at the two hour mark, I had to will myself to turn around and head back. The views up there were unbelievable and the meadows were full of flowers. It was all just a little bit different than my Banff National Park, rocky, rugged, high alpine scenery. Different in a good way, but just different. Different flowers, different mountains, you know....just different. Surprise-surprise, my legs felt fantastic and I had a great, very enjoyable run. Maybe it was the scenery that distracted me from any of yesterdays' ghosts, but either way, I felt great!
Jumping Pound Summit
More snow and snow angels
After the three days of running, I coated myself in bug juice and settled in for a nap by the car. Sweeeeeet. Tired. Happy.
Additional photos here.
Kens' photos here.
Hollys' blog here.