Thursday, 30 May 2013

Cleaning up after the l o n g winter ...

The spring rains are finally here and it's time to clean up after a long, snowy winter.  The weather here provides a constant source of interest and curiosity as some things are so different.  During the winter, I loved the 'Be an Angel, Shovel Your Neighbour's Walk' signs around the city (I never managed to get a picture though) and at the moment, these signs are making me smile (yes, I am easily amused) ...

Thanks to the gravel that is spread across the streets on snowy days in winter time, the streets are pretty yucky come spring time.  So, the council come around and clean each street once the snow is gone.  As you can see, our street was cleaned on Tuesday and looks super lovely now. Especially with the spring blossoms and green grass finally making an appearance!

Monday, 13 May 2013

Nose Hill on a spring day ...

Heading towards the other side of the park and the beautiful Rockies

Despite being swamped with my uni assignment at the moment, I'm still trying to get out and enjoy the lovely spring weather that Calgary has finally turned on.  Having a dog helps as it's a great excuse to get outside and go for long walks.  Nose Hill continues to be a favourite, especially on clear days when you can see the Rockies in the distance.  

Should I or shouldn't I?

... yes, why not!

Lovely clear day to see the mountains

Hot dog!

Never-ending Rockies

Not so clear looking back to Calgary with a layer of smog engulfing the city

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Rocky Mountain Soap Company Women's Run ...

It's Mother's Day here in Canada, so what better way to celebrate (given that I can't see my mum) than by running in the Rocky Mountain Soap Company Women's Run at the Nordic Centre in Canmore?  I'd never run in an all-women's race before and it was a lot of fun.  There was a definite feeling of girl power in the air as we did the 'Healthy Breast Dance' to warm up and then crossed the start line.  The start of the race also held a unique aspect for me - a wildlife safety briefing.  The Nordic Centre is known for its high population of bears and cougars (and I've become increasingly scared of the second animal rather than the first lately) because it is squeezed between the mountain and the town of Canmore, meaning that it is essentially a wildlife 'highway' for animals travelling up and down the Rockies.  So, we were warned not to wear earbuds, try to run with others and given advice on what to do if we see wildlife (back off quietly if it's a bear, scream and shout if it's a cougar).  And then we were off. 

I had registered for the 10km event with the idea that it would motivate me to start serious running training again rather than my standard 1-2 times a week 6-8km jog around the river.  With all the study I'm doing, I've been lucky to maintain my regular exercise routine (the runs plus a few weights sessions and lots of walking) so the extra training didn't happen.  And I paid for it today.  I have never run such a tough race.  The 10km event consisted of two 5km loops of the incredibly hilly (read - all up and down, no flat bits at all!) and elevated course (the Nordic Centre has an elevation of 1400 metres above sea level).  To top that off, today was one of the warmest days we've had this year.  It was about 20 degrees when we were running which may not seem like a terribly hot temperature to run in but after 7 months of snow on the ground and temperatures in the negatives, it was mighty warm!

The race was tough but I was very proud of myself when I finished.  After not training, I set myself a goal of not stopping for the whole race (which was hard given the steep, steep hills) and simply running to enjoy the views of the majestic Rockies.  I achieved those goals but as I got closer to the finish, I got a little competitive and tried to speed up.  I didn't wear my watch (or iPod ... first tech-free race ever) so didn't know my time, but after questioning a girl who finished at about the same time as me, I worked out that I ran the race in about 1 hour and 1 minute.  I was pretty stoked with that!