Life is a Marathon not a Sprint - Finish Strong

Posted by martin.parnell |
Life is a Marathon not a Sprint - Finish Strong

Only eight weeks until the Calgary Marathon and it’s time to get serious about my training. Last Sunday morning, I planned to do a long run, 26 kilometers along Horse Creek Road. But before I could even think of heading out I had to select the proper clothing. The thermometer outside our front door read 15C. This meant shorts, long sleeved shirt, running hat and most importantly +30 sunblock. I also wore my fuel belt which holds my four bottles of diluted Carbropro, electrolytes, and cell phone.

Sue drove me out north of Cochrane to the intersection of Grand Valley Road and RR280. A key piece of technology for these runs is my Garmin Forerunner 201. This tells me my time, speed and distance. On the long runs I maintain a “9 and 1”. That is nine minutes running and one minute walking. This allows me to have a bit of a rest and drink every ten minutes. Two kilometers into the run, I spotted, further up the road, what I thought was a mother bear and her cub. I cautiously approached the pair and noted that they weren’t moving. As I got closer I was relieved to see it was a bag of garbage and a culver opening. 

At the intersection of RR280 and Horse Creek Road, I met a lady collecting cans along the side of the road. She calls herself “The Ditch Witch” because she collects garbage from the ditches along the road. She told me that she’s always shocked by how many cans and other garbage is tossed from vehicles. She takes the cans to the bottle depot and the money she receives is donated to an animal charity. As I ran, I noticed at least 20 tossed cans on the way into Cochrane.

On a sunny Sunday, Horse Creek is a busy section of road. The cyclist were out in their colourful spandex tights and shirts. Several of cars and trucks passed me by and I always give them a wave of appreciation when they give me a wide berth. An hour into the run my buddy Pete slowed down in his truck and offered me a ride. He always does this and I always say no.

This 26 kilometer route has a significant elevation drop and with 5 km to go it was great to see the Town of Cochrane in the valley. I crossed the 1A and started on the final kilometer to home. However, I soon found out I had one final obstacle to overcome. As I approached the train tracks crossing I spotted a police car parked by the gate. I was surprised to see him there and so I asked the officer if there was a problem. He said no but polite informed me that I shouldn’t cross the tracks because if I did there would be a $287 fine.

My house is 200m from the tracks. I had two options. Run the 4 kilometers along the 1A to the 22 junction, over the bridge, then down Quigley Drive to home or phone Sue. No contest. Sue picked me up and 20 minutes later I was home. So here is my plea to the Town Council of Cochrane: If we can’t walk across the tracks then give us a pedestrian bridge. Thank you.

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