No Excuses!

Too cold, too dark, too icy… Does this sound familiar?

If you are finding it difficult to find the motivation to run in the winter, you are not alone! The colder mornings, darker evenings and  icy conditions  can often leave us wishing for the summer again. But wait! remember when you moaned about the heat? Oh yes, apparently it was too hot to run outside not that long ago and so you opted for the treadmill and the nice air conditioned gym instead. Or even better, decided to forgo any exertion and just sit on the deck with an ice cold beer!

Everyone makes excuses at times but it is often too easy to listen to that little voice that can talk you out of anything! With the winter almost upon us, its important to stay active for many reasons. We’ve all heard about SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) and know that dark, grey, cloudy weather can sometimes make us feel a little down  but here in sunny Alberta, we are lucky enough to have around 333 days of sunshine a year.(www.currentresultss.com/weather/canada/Alberta/sunshine-annual)

So here are my top tips to get you outside in the winter months:

Set a goal. Find a race to sign up for. There are still lots of races held throughout the winter, as well as registrations opening for many next season. Calgary marathon has a distance for anyone ranging from 5k to 50K

(Register here http://calgarymarathon.com/register.html)  Now is a great time to set yourself a goal as you have the winter months to work towards it.

Join a running group. Having a commitment to meet other people and run is a great way of ensuring you turn up, and at least there will always be someone to take great action photos of you running in the snow! Calgary marathon society has started a weekly running group (Details are on their website)… or if there isn’t a group near you, do as I did and start your own.Copy of IMG_5795

Go shopping! Who doesn’t love new running gear! Seriously though, it is important to have winter weather specific fabrics and clothing so that as long as you have the appropriate clothing, you’ll be warm and toasty.

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Stop complaining! Yes, you can find an excuse for anything if you try hard enough, but how about channelling those thoughts into positive ones? You are lucky that you get to run. Many people can’t, so be grateful.

Finally, my favourite. Be a badass! Running in the snow is even more hardcore than running in the rain (which, as we all know, is pretty darned impressive anyway.) Running outside in weather that sends most people inside, puts you totally off the badassery scale. Try it and see!

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Get off the road!

Ever fancied giving trail running a go? A bit unsure? Well that was me a few years ago. I really liked the thought of it, I mean, who wouldn’t want to run trails in our beautiful province? But I kept dismissing the idea as I didn’t really know what trails were good, I was worried about getting lost, running into a bear, and even where to pee (more on that subject at a later date!)

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Luckily for me (and thanks to know it all, Dr. Google) I came across the 5 Peaks website and the rest is history!

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This is just before my very first trail race. I look scared stiff!

I’m excited to announce that I have been chosen as an ambassador for the 5 Peaks race series. This is not only great news for me, but pretty good for you too, as I might just have a discount code for races coming soon!

For me, there is nothing more exhilarating than running down a trail and feeling your body start to go faster than your legs! It always makes me laugh and reminds me of those carefree childhood days, playing outside with friends and running purely for fun!30-kids-running-down-a-hill

I love that the 5 Peaks races have different distances. The shortest one (my favourite) is the Sport category which can be anywhere from 4.5 to 10k long, depending on the venue. The races are usually held each month in the summer and are at a different location. Last year, my favourite races were on the trails at the Nordic centre in Canmore, Glenbow Ranch and Fish Creek Park. It’s always exciting to find new trails to run, especially when they are so close!

Get more information on the Central Alberta races here:
http://5peaks.com/regions/central-alberta/

Trail runners are a friendly and supportive bunch of people and I’ve made some really good friends over the last couple of years which makes the races even more fun!

Oh, and 5 Peaks give out pretty sweet swag too! I’ve had a sport bag, arm warmers, hats and a Buff (my favourite!)

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Hope to see you out on the trails soon!

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Alberta Floods

Apologies that this week’s blog isn’t about running but as you may or may not know, parts of Alberta have been hit by devastating flooding this past week.  A number of people lost their lives and thousands were evacuated from their homes and have still not been allowed back.

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In my little town, we escaped most of it. A number of homes and businesses were flooded and many residents were evacuated as a precaution, including my daughter and her family. Many of our pathways and bridges have been lost into the river and beautiful parks destroyed.  However, our losses are nothing compared to other towns. Many have been affected but I am just going to tell you about our neighbouring town of High River that sadly lived up to its name last week.

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Although we were aware that the rivers were high with rainfall and snow melt from the mountains, the first I knew of the severity of the situation was from a text message from my daughter. She had received a message from her husband who works for a utilities company and had been called out to High River. He told her that the town was flooding and the water was rising at a truly frightening rate. His crew were assisting the emergency services with evacuating residents and were waist deep in water. This picture shows how fast the water rose with a truck almost submerged, and the driver swimming to rescue his cat. Happily, Kevan was able to rescue Momo and both were safe.

in High River, Alta. on June 20, 2013 after the Highwood River overflowed its banks. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jordan Verlage

The 12,000 plus residents of High River are still under evacuation orders and officials do not know when they will be allowed to return home.  Some were able to stay with relatives, some are living in trailers parked at Walmart but many are living in evacuation centres with nothing but the clothes they were wearing at the time. People were ordered to evacuate immediately and had to leave pets behind as well as all their possessions. It is truly shocking and heart wrenching to see posts on social media asking for news of missing loved ones, pictures of rescued pets found exhausted in the flood waters as well as the requests for clothing and toiletries.

In times of disaster, it is truly amazing how people come together and support each other, not only the  emergency services and first responders, but utilities workers, town employees and many citizens of neighbouring towns.

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Here is ‘incredibly photogenic’ firefighter rescuing a lady from the floods. Apparently he is smiling because the lady in his arms had just told him the last time she was carried like that was on her wedding day.

Thank you everyone for your love and support towards all our flood victims, and I count myself very lucky that I live in such a caring part of the world.

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