Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Banff- adventures and fun!!!!

I have a list of places that I have never been, that I would like to see this summer...and because of Banff Trail Trash, Banff was one of them.

After perusing Leslie's Blog (Banff Trail Trash) and seeing all the great photos of her epic weekends spent running in the rockies, I spontaneously emailed her and asked if she would play tour guide and host me for the weekend. Leslie is also training for a 100 miler (Bighorn) and I knew she had some good running to do. She graciously obliged and before I knew it I was on a plane to Calgary!

I couldn't have been more excited to get off the plane and start my journey from the Airport to Banff. I had booked a ticket with Greyhound, which I thought took me straight from the airport. It was the cheaper option but it meant waiting a couple hours in the airport. Turns out, the greyhound actually leaves from Downtown Calgary and I needed to take a shuttle to get there (an extra $15). All good! The shuttle left a little late and I made it to the greyhound station with only 5 minutes to spare...I was a bit worried!!!

With a quick hop, skip and a jump I was in Banff. The drive in was spectacular and before I knew it, I was already going for my first run with Leslie! She neglected to tell me, and I had no clue, that Banff sits around 4500ft. We headed up this mountain and I was huffing and puffing more than usual. I was a little concerned but just pushed through. I was later informked about the elevation, which made me very releived.

The next morning Leslie and I hopped on her Tandom cruiser bicycle.

This bike might be the greatest thing my butt has ever sat on. One can only be totally and utterly blissed out while riding on it. I was all smiles as we road through downtown Banff and along the highway to the destined trail head. Leslie took me on a great tour of the nearby trails and after 2 hours, and a dear and elk spotting, we were back on the tandem riding to our next destination. The staff at her workplace were all heading out paddling on a voyager. It was great fun and I learned a lot about the Voyagers daily grinds. We rode back to her place, re-fueled and headed out for another run (90 min) up Johnston Canyon to the ink pots.

Saturday I woke up to a pot of coffee and the traditional morning bowl of hot cereal-all prepared by Leslie of course (hoestess with the mostess). We were meeting up with 5 other ladies for this mornings run at Emerald Lake. Among them was Ellie Greenwood. When she lived in Vancouver we never got a chance to get out running together but now that she is living in Banff, we made it all come together.

Most of all the ladies carried poles with them. I never have and had to dodge alot of shots to the face but I see how they can be beneficial in that mountainess terrain.

Leslie took us up 3 different trails that diverted off the lake. We just ran and power hiked up them until we hit snow and turned around. However, we made it all the way to the Emerald basin and the view was spectacular. We even got to witness a couple of avalanches that fell off the rock like a waterfall, spewing snow into the air. I was a little jelous when everyone started pulling out their yummy sandwiches and tasty looking bars, while I carried my usual GU gels and chomps.

After 5 hours of being on our feet, a few handfuls of kettle chips, and 20 minutes of showing off our yoga moves in the parking lot, we started the drive home. We finished off the evening with a delicious BBQ at Leslie's.

It was really fun to meet all of those ladies. Each one of them an adventurer. It's interesting how fast you click and develop relationships with like minded individuals.

Sunday, Leslie, Ellie, and Nicki and I decided to run the trails in and around Lake Louise. This was by far my favorite run of the weekend. The lake is absolutly stunning, with it's booming turqoise skin. It reminds me of all the beautiful smaller lakes I see when running the Howe Sound Crest Trail.

We ran up to the tea house and stopped in to visit a friend of Leslie's. Her friend, Joanne, had just recently had a baby and during the summer months she lives up there. Joanne was also born and raised up there. Back in the day, and during the summers before school was out, she would have to hike down and take a bus to banff. Then, after school she would get back on a bus to Lake Louise and hike all the way back up. I'm pretty sure the hike was over an hour. Can you imagine doing that when your in elementary school?! Crazy!

We stopped for a little bit longer at the Plains of 6 and had some fun playing with Leslie's killer bear call as it echoed off one mountain and then 3 seconds later another. On our way back along the lake, I couldnt help but notice the dozens of climbers scaling the rock walls along the lake.

(Can you spot the tiny bodies climbing on the rocks?)

It got me really excited to come back here one day soon with Peter for a little climbing fun!

All in all it was about 4.5 hrs of awesome hiking/running, on a simply gorgeous day. We finished off the run at a local eatery that made the best wraps I had tasted in a long time.

On Monday morning I headed home. From the greyhound terminal in Calgary, I decided to take the public transportation to the airport, which to my surprise was free and easier than I had thought!

There are no words to sum up this trip. I have come back entirely rejuvinated and ready to run Western States 100. People keep asking me if I am "ready" and before last weekend, I was not sure I was ready both physically and mentally (when do you know). I found running in a entirely new place, with a new adventure everyday, really inspiring and it has left me in a state of bliss and ready to rock.

I guess I am on the start of my taper. What does that even mean or look like 3 whole weeks out from an ultra. For me, all the stress of having to run all the time and the worry about whether I am doing enough has been thrown out the window. I am almost more excited to run now.

It's funny though, as soon as I changed my mind set and stopped worrying about getting in the miles, I forgot about how hard it has been the last few months preparing for this event. I forgot about the low points, the sacrifices, and the "what am I doing all this for?" moments. I can look back now and be proud of everything that I have done. Everything has gotten me to this point, injury free and in good spirits. I am so excited for this event and being around all those lovely ladies on the weekend really inspired that for me. Now I really need to spend some time organizing my race plan and hitting the sauna everyday until I leave!

(Thanks Ellie for letting me steal some of your photos!!!!!) For more pictures and descriptions of where the hell we actually were, please go here Banff Trail Trash.

See you in the trails!!!


Kaz said...

You guys looked like you had fun.
I can't believe you survived on gels - gotta love real food when you're in the mountains!
It is such a beautiful place and I will NEVER forget the first time I took the greyhound to Banff from Calgary.
It would be such fun to have so many 'girlies' to head up into the mountains with like that. Both you and Leslie are such inspiration and totally allow me to feel comfortable with all the things I would like to try to do!
Best of the luck for the Western States 100 - I'm sure you'll do great. As I said to Leslie - if your struggling at any point or suffering - think of me because chance are I'm in labour and suffering far far more! Ha ha!

Anonymous said...

TAHNKS FOR YOUR SHARING~~~VERY NICE..............................................................