20140522: Dirty Thursday 7k – Eastland Trails at Canada Olympic Park

Greg (you’d know him if you saw him) forced me to do this trail run. Yes, forced me. I balked at the $15 entry fee. That’s $2.14 per km you know, and I’m not rolling in cash. But Greg is a big supporter of local races and he’s right about doing so, never mind that this is a large sleek international entity organizing the race (Transrockies), not some small non-profit run club.

Transrockies Events photo of the start (not my photo)
Transrockies Events photo of the start (not my photo)

View of downtown Calgary from the start
View of downtown Calgary from the start

I started running again after 8 months off due to injury and am now in my 10th week back at it. Maybe it is time to get my feet wet again – not literally. Bolstered by the confidence of having done some semi-decent long distance running in the past couple of weeks I signed up Wednesday, laced up my shoes, and immediately headed out for a 19k buoyed by the idea and marvelling at my impulse. This will be low key and fun, I thought. The devil on my shoulder replied: fun, in a masochistic way.

The 19k went so poorly I immediately regretted agreeing to do this ‘race’. Denial: Ah, it’s not a race I’ll carry my camera; I just want to see the trails, that’s all. And I probably *should* do a 7k if I’m planning to get through Bryce Canyon 50 miler in 3 weeks.

WTF! You’re doing a 50 miler in 3 weeks and you’re scared of 7k!? Strange but true. No doubt I’ll also be terrified of the 50 miler once that reality sinks in later.

Trees budding; spring trail!
Trees budding; spring trail!

So, ‘race’ day came and went like any other Thursday. Except that

1. I was, for real, nervous and apprehensive
2. I finished my first event of the year! I worked very hard let me tell you.
3. Weekly tally stands at 95km for the week with one day left to reach my weekly goal of 100km.

The course ended up being 6.3k (a value of $2.38 per km). Any trail runner knows that you can pack a heck of a lot of hills into 6.3k at Canada Olympic Park. My time was something like 41 minutes or so, I don’t know exactly cause I wasn’t listening to the announcer I was so freakin’ glad to cross the line. Never mind the crappy pace, I worked very hard let me tell you again. The technical element was just perfect for my ability right now; there was some footwork required and series of tight singletrack turns and a bit of overgrowth to crash through, but nothing crazy. There were some downhill slopes requiring care and zig zagging, but again nothing crazy. It was the perfect way to get back into things. Even the mosquitoes weren’t too bad and a bit of wind cooled the 28C evening.

Joke: How do you know she’s an ultrarunner? She walks every hill, even if the course is only 6.3km long. ha ha.

Overall, not a bad feeling on which to end a Thursday. My foot was kinda hurting but it alleviated shortly after I unlaced and did some toe crunches. I might even go back next Thursday. Then again…. maybe not.

Car in ditch!
Car in ditch!
Another vintage car along the trail.
Another vintage car along the trail.

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