XC – 12 Mile Coulee – 4Km Race

Today’s race is the 7th in the series of 10 Cross Country put on by the Calgary Roadrunners Club. If you do all of the races and some sort of volunteering during the season you qualify for an IronPerson award. So far I’ve made it to all the races. Only 3 more to go. This was my 4th time doing this race. It was also the first ever cross country I did. The first two times the weather was cold, nasty and the course was full of icy hills. Last year we got lucky with nice weather and again this year. It was warm enough that some runners even wore shorts. To get to the course its a little over a km there, thankfully pretty much downhill. At the starting area some runners visited with friends while others ran part of the course to warm up. Karen is the middle picture on the right below.


As usual the race director gave us some tips on the course. He joked about there being one long downhill and of course one back up. He tried to ignore the hills in the middle but we all know they’re there. He had us line up after the clock so we didn’t knock it over as we headed off. As usual it doesn’t take long for the runners to be way off ahead of me. Of course, expcept for the late starters, who also eventually caught and passed me.

The first part of the course is a long gentle downhill that gets steeper near the end. There’s a few little rolling dips but mostly we’re heading down, down, down. Its a very pretty route but then so are most of the XC races. My pace varied between an 8 minutes per km to just over 9 minutes per km. A good start. When I hit the steeper downhill part I found myself picking up speed and Mr V kept telling me to slow down. Oops guess I was doing under 7 minutes per km. I laughed but later Mr V would likely have the last laugh….

After the downhill, you hit what is usually my favorite part of the course – dippity do hills. This section is down up down up and so on. I say usually as with all the ice in the valleys, today it was trecherous and slow going. Mr V piped up “Speed up” lots through this section and when I finally cleared it I was lapped by the lead runners as pictured above. Of course, you pass me, your butt ends up on my blog. 🙂 Rachel mentioned there wasn’t enough butt shots in my last few posts, hopefully I have enough for her today. 😉

Now as if I hadn’t lost enough time on the icy dippity do section, the race director puts this nasty long hill in the middle of the course. My pace went way down to almost a crawl at over 30 minutes per km as I neared the top. This is where Mr V thinks he got the last laugh, but we shall soon see whose laughing last.

Finally near the top and a few more butt shots. Ahhh a nice flat stretch. Here runners heading out on their second lap head towards you just before you head back down into the trees again.

Down, down, down through the trees and of course more ice. It does sort of level off to more dippity do hills once you’re in the valley again. Lots of trecherous icy frozen creek crossings. One sample is pictured lower right.

One last uphill. Not quite as steep as the other one. But because its treed, its icier and was still slow going. However, I knew the end was near, yeah!

At the top I spotted Karen. What the heck??? I knew she hadn’t passed me, how did she get there, I asked. She yelled back she had fallen and only done the 4km. As I ran past her she ran with me. I handed her the camera to run ahead and get some shots but when I downloaded everything off the camera, no pictures. Strange. Cool, not strange was my finishing sprint. Or should I say hot, Mr V beeped over and over again “Slow Down”. Now I was laughing. I crossed the finish with a speed of 5:39 per km but later when I uploaded my run I saw that I actually hit 5:16. Now that’s a good finish!!!

Other runners stretched and relaxed. We checked out who was still on course before deciding to rewalk the 1km uphill back to the hall for soup and goodies. Today’s choices of soups were great. I settled for the Hamburger one with lots of veggies and some fruit for my goodies. I chatted with Telus, the lead runner that had passed me earlier. He was really nice and very interesting to talk to. He was also very encouraging. After the race I went over to Karen’s for a bit.

We today’s race and walk Frostbite Falls is so close I can almost smell the campfire……..


Below is Mr V’s chart of todays race. You can almost tell how hilly the course was by looking at all the spikes, etc for both my heart rate (red) and the run (blue). Mr V and I will be resting tonight. Hubby & I have movies to watch – The Fog and The Cave. Last night we watched Wedding Crashers.
Race Graph from Mr V.