"The goal is to become the unique, awesome, never to be repeated human being that we were called to be." -Patricia Deegan

Saturday, August 11, 2012

I'll Have a Double

Atop Crowsnest Mtn, all smiles that we're still alive!
From last Thursday to this Wednesday, I covered 158km in the mountains and foothills, with a total of 5700 mtr of gain. The TransAlps race, 20 days away, is 320km and 20,000 mtr of gain.

So, in a week I did half the mileage but not quite half the elevation. Oh-oh.

It was an incredibly fun and scenic week of training. But exhausting by week's end. The days mostly consisted of the essentials - sleep, drive, run, eat. And an hour or two trying to catch up on email and anything critical in my work and volunteer roles.

The reality for TransAlps is that I'm going to have to fall off the face of the earth for 8 days. I am not even going to attempt to do anything other than run and recover! When I get my body over that finish line each day, it's going to be lay down, feet up, Compressport socks on, Recoverite in one hand, pasta in the other.

This was not an exaggeration for difficulty. No marmots sighted though.

We've had a lot of special adventures here in western Canada. One day it was a "simple" 6km route to the summit of Crowsnest Mountain at about 2800 mtr in height. The sign at the trailhead warned of "killer marmots" and the run/hike/scramble was rated "intense." I think that's like "catastrophic" fire dangers in WA. At "extreme," you're in peril but someone will try to rescue you. In "catastrophic," you're surely going to die and no one is going to try to help. We thought it had to be an exaggeration until we were 3km up, pawing at crumbling shale, shouting "ROCK!" down to warn the person below. It took 3hrs to get to the summit! And the three people who came up behind us had helmets on. Over 1,000 mtrs of climb in 5.5km. The only reason we kept moving forwards was because the thought of going back down the way we came up was too scary...we had to find another way off the summit!

Me crouched low on a tight bit of Northover Ridge. Left: Alberta, Right: BC
Another highlight was a 35km loop called Northover Ridge. It takes you up to nearly 3,000 mtr in height, running for about 3km along a mountain ridge separating British Columbia from Alberta. Fall to your death either side in different provinces. Cool, in a sick way. I ended up with about 44k that day with a bit of route finding difficulty and then some sheepdogging. The trip took over 10hrs. Amongst that time was probably an hour spent collecting and filtering stream water to drink. It takes a while to filter.

Today it's a gentle 14-20km run to some ice caves. With the long summer days here (light past 9 PM), I haven't had to use the headlamp once. This will be the first day to use it! I haven't been in the caves in years. It's an annual Christmas run with my old trail running group.
Attempt at a snow angel, but it's a bit too sticky.

So off we go!

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