One of my goals for February is to try something new. I had told my coach that I wasn't ready to get on the trainer on the weekends just yet. I wanted February to play a bit. She encouraged me to try hitting some trails this winter. Not only would it be a great workout, but I'd be able to see some new things, and it would be a great strength workout to boot.
The only thing is I had no idea about what to do! Where should I go? What do I need to wear on my feet? I put a call out on twitter to ask for some suggestions for places to run and luckily my friend Karen offered to take me on a trail run.
First up she suggested Kahtoola micro spikes over the Yak Trax I've worn on snowy runs. Much better traction! I picked up a pair from MEC for $55 here in Calgary. These will be great for some early season hikes this year as well.
With the necessary gear we made arrangements to meet up in Valley Ridge in NW Calgary to run some trails there this weekend. I'm not going to lie, I was a little nervous! Would I be able to keep up? I donned my Kahtoolas and we headed out on the trails.
The biggest thing to begin with was learning to trust the Kahtoolas. You know you are running on snow and ice, going up and down steep trails, yet those things grip in and you never notice how slippery it is. It takes some time to run down those steep slopes and realize that you can just run and you aren't going to wipe out. I was amazed at how sturdy on my feet I felt in the Kahtoolas. Running through the trails in the snow was a lot of fun. There was less worry about trying to avoid roots and things sticking up since everything was covered in snow. Every once in awhile I'd run and my foot would sink in deep snow but I'd just keep running.
One of the benefits about where we were running were the amazing views! The first awesome sight to behold was this glimpse of the Bearspaw Dam through the trees.
We made our way up some more hills. The trails were covered in a sheet of ice with a layer of snow on top. We could hear our Kahtoolas digging into the ice and snow, making crunching noises. Finally the trees opened up for a stunning view.
There was this really neat chair made out of skis that you could stop and sit in to admire the view.
We didn't stop for too long as now that we were in the open we could feel the wind and it was starting to cool off. We ran down the big hill we had just made our way up and you could see sliding marks from someone who had followed behind us who didn't have the right traction on his shoes! As we ran along I started to wonder whether or not Karen saw animals on these trails at all. Before I could even ask the question we looked up and saw deer running up the hill in front of us!
Amazing!! We ran on to a trail with a frozen over spring. This was a flat section, but we wound up running up a hill with ice like this all the way up.
Those Kahtoolas dug in and we were up the frozen spring in no time.
All in all it was a really fun run. I can see how people get addicted to trail running! Now that I've got the right gear I may have to try out one of the last few Calgary Road Runner's XC races.