I’ve only done a handful of running races since I officially hung up my track and cross-country spikes twelve years ago but today was 42 minutes and change of painful yet fun running at the Canmore Nordic Centre. It was chilly and spitting rain just before our 10:00 start but I had fun warming up on a few sections of the new single track I will be racing next weekend on my mountain bike. Wow, it was strange doing a run warm-up and strides again!
On the senior women’s start line was a small but impressive women’s field consisting of some well seasoned trail runners, a biathlete Olympian and cross-country ski Olympian who are also strong runners (the Senior men raced 12.5km after us). I knew it wouldn’t be an easy day. My friend Madelaine Bate (also a mom of two who I used to mountain bike race with and now is focusing on Marathons) got the hole shot off the start line and when we hit the first hill Magi Scallion and I were at the front side by side. Then it was into the single track and all the way up to the top of the oven before we crested the top (where I was reminded how loud and heavy my breathing is during a running race!) and turned left and got to let gravity take us down the twisting trail. Luckily we didn’t have to run all the way back down to the stadium! We stayed on the narrow trail and went back up again to do the same loop two more times – a 9.2km total course. Magi was hanging on strong and I finally broke away from her a little the second time up the climb. I was also able to reel in the race leader, a young buck in the under 19 category who just went out a little too fast for himself.
In the end, the slightly cool temperature felt great to race in while leaping over the roots downhill and fighting hard to keep a good rythmn on the steep ups. I finished a mere 20 seconds or so in front of Magi, with Megan Irmie, superstar biathlete finishing a big week of training in third.
If you’ve yet to experience the awesome and fun trails of Canmore for running or riding you can experience the course we did today on this quick lapsed time video – kind of cool!