Did I say I was done racing for this year? Oops! I may be squeezing in a few more! On Saturday I found myself trying something new and toeing the line at the Calgary Roadrunner’s Edworthy Park cross country race.
Earlier this year my friend Karen took me on my first ever winter trail run. It was so much fun and such hard work too! I thought it would be fun to try out the CRR cross country races to mix things up this winter. I’ve spent a lot of time pounding the pathways along the Bow River in the last year and getting off the road and on to the trails sounds like a good way to keep things fun.
These races are fun and low key. They start at noon sharp so show up early to register on race day. The races are only $10 plus a dessert as well! After registering and meeting a few friends we made our way to the start at Edworthy Park. It was also time to get my Kahtoola microspikes on.
I knew that no matter what the trail conditions would be I’d feel confident in my footing with the microspikes on. Despite several days of chilly temperatures and lots of snow we lucked out with the weather on Saturday. It was +7C so it felt really warm out!
And before I knew it, we were off! I started near the back of the pack since I was so new at this. We strung out in a line along the trail and I felt a bit of an obligation to keep up to the people in front of me so I just ran to keep up! The trails were covered in snow and didn’t seem super icy out to me. It didn’t matter if we were going down, staying flat, or going up, it was all hard work! On the way down I kept my brain working on finding the best footing to go down. Along the flats we were running through a fair amount of snow so that was hard! As for going up? Well that speaks for itself and there are some big hills in Edworthy!
Despite this being my first winter XC race I opted to sign up for the 8K option although there is a shorter 4K option too. I figured why not? As I was finishing my first lap I was wondering how my legs would feel on lap 2 because they were pooped! When I hit the turn for the finish or to continue the 8K I kept on the 8K route. What did I have to lose?
There weren’t very many people around me on lap 2, in fact I could only see one other fellow ahead of me and no one behind me. It was nice and peaceful out! I felt really lucky to be out on the trails on such a beautiful day.
There was a bit more walking on lap 2 but I kept telling myself that I should do a slow shuffle run on the flats.
This being my first XC race I had no expectations for how I would run but I thought it would be nice to come in under an hour. Imagine my surprise when I hit the open field to the finish and saw I could make it! I finished in 59:27 according to my Garmin. I was given a popsicle stick with my placement on it. As I left the park there was a van where we’d find our name on a sticker and give that and our popsicle stick to some volunteers so they could make up the leaderboard.
We all retired to a community hall for homemade soups and desserts. I tried a delicious beef, tomato and cabbage soup that I would love to have the recipe for!
All in all it was a really fun day. It was fun to mix it up on the trails and I know running these over the winter will really help to build strength and improve my running. They are also a great way to socialize and meet other runners!
Are you in Calgary would you like to try one of these races out? Check out the schedule of CRR XC races here. Registration is only $10 for non-CRR members, but don’t forget to bring a dessert to share after the race too! Also bring you own mug, bowl and spoon for the soup after the race. Having traction is a necessary thing out there! YakTrax may be alright, but on icier courses Kahtoola microspikes would be even better.
Measured course length: 7.04 km
Elevation gain/loss: 219 m
Time: 59:38 (59:27 on the Garmin)
Overall: 95 out of 97
Women 30-39: 9 out of 9