You’d think living in the mountains is all pros when it comes to trail running. But when Canadian winter comes to town and refuses to budge well past its expiry date, you can’t help but find a few cons in there too. From ski distractions, to spring seemingly being put on hold well into April, getting ready for early race season is often a case of one stride forward, three and a half feet of snow back, with a whole bunch of panicking in between. Here lies the discontented, seasonal mumblings of a trail running, skiing and craft beer over-enthusiast…
Amazing adventure running the Grand Canyon R2R2R! Trail running, climbing, sweating, sightseeing and general awe. Never been in better running mind or shape this time of year before. Must be a good sign. Bring on 2014 race season.
Early December 2013
Blissful running vacation joys shattered by weeks of predominantly horizontal precipitation. Runner’s high somewhat dampened, but must soldier on and embrace evening headlamp adventures with a smile. Despite cougar sightings and the constant feeling that someone’s watching you.
All is not lost, ski season has arrived. Hurrah! Goodbye trail shoes, hello skiing. And the occasional après ski beverage…stay strong, just say no. Oh go on then.
New Year’s 2014
Oh my God, it’s January. Where did December go? Ah yes, to the ski hill and general festive guffawing. Subsequently slightly pickled, with goggle mark windburn. New Year’s resolution, get running and enter some early season races to ensue panic training. And do annual yoga cleanse.
12 days of yoga, accompanied by a diet of blended greens. Never been so hungry in my life. On the upside can almost touch toes.
Late January 2014
Fresh off the back of finding my ohm, gleefully enter Rainshadow Running’s Gorge Waterfalls 100km race, in late March. It’s still only January, so no big deal. It’s cold, but that’s what thermals are for. Combination of grit covered road loops, plowed logging roads and Nordic Ski trails ensure increased mileage and general positivity to all things running. Celebrate with spending a ridiculous amount of money on winter running paraphernalia to ensure this habit continues.
Nothing like new gear and an empty bank account to make you feel like a runner, right?
Early February 2014
Or not. Panic training has reinvented itself as pure panic. It’s February and we appear to be living in something called the Ice Age. Can barely make it to the car, let alone run. Never mind, shall see what all this Downton Abbey hype is all about and embrace the treadmill. Who knew early 20th Century drama could make treadmill running so emotional? Treadmill now making strange noises, best put things on hold whilst an entire weekend is eaten up at the ski hill.
Don’t panic. It’s only February.
The Ice Age has slightly subsided and bare skin no longer goes white, perfect time to try this winter trail running malarkey again. Positive thoughts. Must continue to stay virtuous to the outdoors, and not be tempted by Lord Grantham’s Downton dramas.
Late February 2014
False alarm. Weather which has only previously been endured by Noah and his Ark hits town. Basement floods, trails flood, the City of Fernie floods. Only acceptable footwear is wellies. Downton Abbey it is.
Early March 2014
What is this burning ball in the sky? Could this be spring? Is trail running an actual reality?
Don’t be silly, it’s just dumped three and a half feet of snow. Minor setback to trail running endeavours. There is no way a 100km race is a feasible option. Switch entry to Yakima Skyline 50km in April. Feel much better about trail running and subsequently life in general.
Isn’t trail running life?
Late March 2014
Weather seems to have got itself together. Mileage grows at a similar rate to smile and subsequent positive trail running thoughts. Trails must be clearing of snow pretty quick with a whole one and a half days of sun! Hit the trails, smile a blazing, arms a pumping. Posthole up to crotch. Ah, perhaps not. Not to worry, clear roads and bluebird skies make post-work running a joy.
Seriously, is everyone other than me having a BBQ right now? Spend next hour of running contemplating dinner.
Ski hill closes. At least one distraction has been removed from the equation. And first race coming up! Very excited and unprepared, but no longer care. Must check website for race details. Oh God. On closer inspection, Yakima appears to be in a desert. And race has near on 9,500ft of elevation and loss. Foresee some issues, as treadmill only goes to gradient 15 before hit head on basement ceiling.
But at least it’s not 100kms, right?
Survived race one. Season officially underway. Must keep calm over the recent dog-eating Coyote, aggressive Grizzly and hungry eyed wolf reports, and instead locate recent dirt sightings. Must shrug off the “still running?” and “thought you’d never do it again?” comments from bewildered friends. And of course, must not panic, after all running is sole focus for the next 5 months.
Ah damn it, golf course just opened. Anyone for 9?
~Abi Moore is The North Face Canadian Trail Running Ambassador for British Columbia.