Gorge Waterfall Training Starts Now :)

Today I ran my longest run since September. Alan, Kim and I were lead on a tour around Banff by our gracious host Leslie. It was cold, and it was beautiful.

How cold was it? So cold that after 5km my phone froze so I couldn’t take photos, and I can’t give you any info about how far we ran or how high we climbed. I’ve never had my phone freeze before and I was a little worried that it was time for a new phone, but I tucked my phone away in an inside pocket next to my body and 20 minutes later it came back to life.

How beautiful was it? The initial hour or so of running was on xc ski trails. The snow was sparkling like diamonds, the sky was a brilliant blue, and the river was a cloud of steam in the frigid winter air. Beautiful!

The rest of the run can be illustrated with photos:

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Bow Falls – The falls were half frozen and the ice was tinted blue. Unfortunately, my phone was still frozen when we had a good view of the ice/falls so this is all you get 🙂

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We turned onto some singletrack and headed out along the river towards Tunnel Mountain. It doesn’t get much better than this.

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Look closely and you will see a HUGE herd of elk in the trees. Despite their seemingly docile demeanour, elk are not to be messed with. Leslie related a story to us of an ornery mother elk who tried to play tag with her in the forest. Thankfully Leslie was more agile than the elk and lived to tell the tale. We detoured our run off the trail and up to the road rather than test our luck with the herd.

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After five minutes of flattish road running we started to climb, and climb. We turned onto Tunnel Mountain trail and ran up the 1.8km of switchbacks to the summit. My asthma was getting really bad at this point but I had already used my puffer once and didn’t want to use it again. I survived 🙂

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Quick photo op in front of Mt Rundle before our final ascent. I couldn’t help but think these switchbacks were the PERFECT training for the first majour climb at Gorge Waterfalls. I will be back to tackle this hill again!

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A celebratory jump on top of Tunnel Mountain. This was followed by a super speedy, and fun, descent back to the trail head.

I ran out of water at the base of Tunnel Mountain and we ran back to Leslie’s to finish our run with a post-run stretching session. This was a first for me, normally I follow runs up with coffee or beer – not stretching 🙂

Final Stats:

Time – 4ish hours.
Snow depth – 0-24 inches
Distance – 30-35km, 20ish miles
Elevation – Wild guess of 2500 feet
Temperature – -20C/-4F
Wind – Negligible

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