The American Calgarian

Tales of a Midwesterner transplanted in Western Canada

Archive for the month “January, 2013”

News from the Treadmill

With the windchill bringing the temperature to -35C today, I decided to take my run indoors. Initially planning a follow-up to the snark I posted Friday, I looked around a bit while running.

Alas, no snark today. Just a really nice run on the ‘mill. It was Adorable Grandmother Day, apparently, as I witnessed several women over the age of 60 on the ellipticals, walking the track, on and off of treadmills. Right on! And take note, single men over 60, these women had it going ON. I bet they are super fun to hang out with.

A huge “thank you” to the man doing squats in front of me. Yeah, you with the colorful, detailed, inked-up arms. Looking at your tattoos, trying the decipher each one’s meaning kept me entertained on and off during the almost-45 minute run.

Here’s hoping for cleared sidewalks and warmer temperatures!


Treadmill Snark

Ever wonder what runners are thinking while logging miles on the treadmill? Here’s an idea of what went through my head during my 6k this afternoon.
Guy next to me is spitting image of Mike, my friend and fellow marathoner. However, this “Mike” did not appreciate my wit and wisdom in the same way. No matter, I will make up a conversation.
Keith Urban look alike lifting weights. Worth noting, his weight-lifting form is not as pretty as his hair.
Hey, buddy with the hoodie and sweatpants doing squats.. you are not Rocky Balboa. Quit it with the shadow boxing between your reps.
Two Pakistani soccer players also lifting weights. I think so, anyway. They’re wearing the uniform.
Guy walks by wearing surfer shorts and backwards baseball cap. Really?
“Keith Urban” just got on the treadmill next to me. Do I ask him about Idol?
Two teenage girls walk by, in full makeup. No words.
Did I set the goal for 5 or 6k? Am I running under a heat vent? It is hotter than Hades in here. Perhaps next week I will (attempt to) swim laps. There is a hockey game on that elliptical waayy across the gym. What am I doing over here? “Keith Urban” gets off the treadmill next to me and another guy steps on. He obviously had curry something-or-other for lunch. “Mike” is still next to me, though he is slowing down, appearing to be in a cool down mode. Bummer, we were having a nice imaginary conversation where he agreed with all my feminist rants.
Note to all men in the weight lifting area – walking around in the general vicinity of weights does not equate a workout. Do something, for crissakes. Except you, “I am not a jogger” T-shirt guy, you can stay as long as you like. Preferably lifting in front of my treadmill.
CurryMan gets off treadmill. He is headed over to the elliptical with the hockey game playing. Would it be rude for me to ask him to report back with a score?
I set the goal for 6k, evidently, as I just passed 5.25k and “Mike” has left. I am alone.
Woman that works at the gym is doing rounds. She smiles at me. I must look like I’m about to have a heart attack, because I am sprinting in an effort to get off this machine as soon as possible.
Success! 6k complete, headed down to the pool to check out how many laps Jaybird has swum.
Also, a note to all girls working out.. if you still look pretty and smell nice after a workout, it was a waste of time. Don’t be afraid to work up a good sweat with boys around. The guy that flirted with me while I was on a stair-master in a smelly college gym in between his reps and sit-ups became my husband. Nice guys appreciate athletic women.

Virtual Half Goofy Challenge

10k one day, 21k the next. For Charity? Count me in.

Cori was on a team raising money for Team In Training, supporting The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, a charity with whom I have run two marathons.  Its is a good cause and I was happy to support her efforts through a donation.  The fact that is was also a run with a medal at the end was a bonus.  She had training schedules on her website for people to refer to and I mapped out my training to complete the challenge by the Christmas holiday.  When that didn’t happen due to a gazillion other things that came due during the fall, I set out to find a weekend where it would work before the January deadline.

I told running friends of my task, knowing that if other people knew I had this goal, they would keep me honest.  A few offered to run part of the mileage with me, which was appreciated, though I ended up going it alone.

Friday was the day I had set for the 10k, as I would have time for the run between my part-time job and picking up the kids from school.  Saturday morning would be the 21k.  I planned for a week, visualizing how I would get this done.

Friday’s 10k ended up being inside on the treadmill, as it had been snowing like a banshee.  I headed to the Y.  I knew that one of the runs would need to be inside due to weather, and that I could handle 10k on the treadmill but 21k was unconscionable.  Many things went through my head during the run.  First, there is a 30 minute time limit on the cardio equipment.  I chose a treadmill in the corner, hoping that no one would notice me running there for about an hour.  Then, I had to finish within an hour, as some of the treadmills cut you off cold after 60 minutes.  While my mind wandered to the usual making up stories about those working out around me, I tried to keep my concentration on one of two things.  First, I scanned the number of treadmills that were open/available to be sure no one was waiting and ready to kick me off of mine, and second, there a chip of paint on the wall.  When I started to get stir crazy on the ‘mill, I returned to the paint chip.

Finished the 10K!

Finished the 10K!

Saturday morning came and it was time for the 21k.  There was still quite a bit of snow around, but the sun was shining and I had a plan.  Since I didn’t train real well for this run (or at all, really, don’t try this at home), I decided to break it up into three more manageable runs. I ran my usual 8k loop around the neighborhood, briefly stopped at home for water and bite to eat and ran it again.  The first 8k lap was great.  I was leaping over snow piles in the street and enjoying the crisp cool air into my lungs.  While it was a little chilly, I welcomed the opportunity to be outside for a long run.  Half way through my second 8k loop, the sun went away and my leaps over snow piles because a little less leap-y.  Nevertheless, I was happy to round the corner to my house for another snack and water break still feeling pretty loose and energetic.  After the break, I did a 5k loop that I have done so many times I could do it with eyes closed.  Only this time the walks were not cleared and I was shin deep in snow and I had to walk for about half the last 5k.  This would not have been a problem except that I was sweaty and the wind was picking up.  Walking made me cold.  I ran whenever I came on to a cleared section of the path or could run in the street. Thankful for quiet streets, I finished up the run and entered my house to the smell of JB’s blueberry pancakes.

It was pretty or fast, but I got it done!

It wasn’t pretty or fast, but I got it done!

During the run I thought about all those running over the weekend at Walt Disney World with Team In Training.  Many running buddies from Wisconsin were there and many that I had trained with last spring had also made the trip.  Mostly, I thought of Cori, who had brought me to this run.  I am thankful to her and to all those making lives better as a result of their fundraising with Team In Training.  I am hopeful that their efforts will continue to search for a cure.  I am grateful for an organization that improves the lives of so many fighting cancer.  I am mindful of all those that are fighting this beast and pray for their healing.

Thank you, Cori, for this virtual race.  It brought me to a happy place and kicked off my year of running.

Let the 2013 running season begin!

Latest Ski Adventure

Do we have to go back yet?  We had a really nice holiday break.  We skied the weekend before Christmas at Sunshine Village and Lake Louise in Banff National Park.  The skiing was nothing short of amazing.  Sunshine was already mid-season like conditions and due to recent snow there was fresh power everywhere.  Also, due to it being unseasonably cold, we are among the few crazies that were willing to brave the cold to tackle the mountains.  It was totally worth it.

After the holiday, JB took Jaybird and Mid skiing with another dad and his kids.  They had a great day.  (Apprentice had a hockey camp so we stayed behind.)

Not to be outdone, I wanted another chance to ski before we entered back into the school, work and activities schedule.  We picked Thursday.  Although there had not been new snow, the temperature had warmed and it promised to be a great day on the slopes.


Braving the cold! Let’s go SKI!

 Early Thursday, (or not, we were running late), the kids and I headed out to Sunshine Village. It was brisk sunny morning and we spent the majority of the drive talking about our plans for the day.  The kids have specific runs they enjoy more than others and wanted to be sure that we had included all in the day.  First thing was to head over to The Great Divide Express lift, which takes you up almost to the top of the mountain.  It also straddles the line between Alberta and British Columbia, hence the name.  It is a great view of the mountains and has nice wide open ski runs.  After a few runs we started to get hungry and made our way back to the lodge.  I was feeling particularly accomplished at this point, as my kids were tearing down the blue slopes off the Divide lift like nobody’s business.  It was a fun morning.

We had plans after lunch to hit Tin Can Alley, their favorite run.  We did it a couple of times, but the sun was moving across the mountain, so we decided that we should as well.  Mid wanted to head over to another lift to get more sun when skiing.  We had a couple of options.  Either we took off our skis at the bottom of Tin Can Alley and walked up a little to other lift, or we could zig-zag and traverse a little and ski to it.  We chose the latter.  We starting traversing, which is a lot of work, and turned downhill when we(I) thought we could catch a green run to the bottom of our chosen lift. I stopped to be sure the kids were close behind.  They were on their way and voicing some apprehension as to where we were headed.  I told them not to worry.  As if on cue, a woman passed us, walking uphill, carrying her skis and poles.  She told us that the run we were about to go down got “quite steep” and she was going down another way.  Of course, I thought she was greatly underestimating our skiing abilities.  I thanked her for the warning, asked the kids if they wanted to walk back up the hill or take our chances on this run.  From where we standing the slope was nothing we couldn’t handle.  We slowly carried on.


Mom, do you know where we’re going? We’d rather follow Jaybird.

We past the point of no return when the slope became almost straight vertical and very narrow.  Not wanting tha panic the kids, I showed them how to gradually go down sideways, so that they would not get going out of control and hit a tree.  I assured them that if we went slowly we could get down this short run and over to the lift.  We started down.  A few thoughts crossed my mind, but I can only remember thinking “holy shit”.

Apprentice was first to call out.  As I heard him yell to me that he had fallen, one of his skis skid by me.  Then I heard Mid trying to help him, but he was too far from Apprentice to do much other than encourage him to get up and take off his other ski.  Jaybird was behind Apprentice and also tried to encourage him, but she had problems of her own.  She was sliding down the slope and about to run over her brother.  She sat down, or fell, and as a result her skis popped off. They made it down to me in time for me to try to pick them up.  That’s when I tumbled and my skis let go.  I yelled up to the kids that they needed to take their skis off and carefully scoot down the slope on their butts, holding their skis and poles.  I said, “Watch me, this is how you are doing to do it,” intending to go one step forward and them assist them on their way down.  I lost my footing and went down the slope on my butt, or front, or both, for about 25 meters.  Mouths gaping open, the kids stopped screaming.  I started laughing, embracing the fact that we were providing entertainment for all those that passed us, which thankfully, was not many.  A good Samaritan skier picked up my skis and brought them to me.  The kids started to make their way down, on their bottoms, and once they realized we were going to make it out alive, they started to laugh as well and enjoy our folly. The run was not long, maybe 200 meters, but seriously straight down for about half of them.  I found out later that this particular run is sometimes rated a “double black diamond” (or, are you crazy enough to attempt this?) on account of the steepness of the slope.

When we got to a safe place, we all put our skis back on.  We came out of the run and, sure enough!, there was the lift we were hoping to get on for our last run of the day.  Our last run was a green (or easiest).  Jaybird led us down the run, as the boys had told her that she is better navigator on the slopes.  True enough.


WE MADE IT! Jaybird takes a rest.

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