Monday, February 17, 2014

XC Skiing in Bragg Creek

Well, I finally made it out to do something interesting. Not that everything I do is uninteresting, but I'm sure most blog readers do not want to hear about my day working at Solidworks, or what I had for lunch, or driving to Edmonton to attend an association meeting. Yesterday, a friend and I headed out to West Bragg Creek to do some cross country skiing. GPS data can be found here

I have not been out West Bragg for some time. I've actually not even been out to Kananaskis since prior to the June floods. Gack! I need to get out more. This is so close to where I live, less than 30 mins. This is the road just west of Bragg Creek, and Moose Mountain is in the background.

There weren't many skiers out yet, as we had an early start. But there were tracks set in the snow (for the most part). 

This is along the Crystal Line trail, a straight cutline with some great downhills and challenging uphills. It was a lot of fun.

Outside and loving it!

The snow was fantastic. I had not yet been out on my skis yet this winter (gack!), but my former skills came back quickly. I only "inspected" the ground 3 times at key moments.

Along the trail back, the winds really picked up and it made for some interesting skiing. There were eddies of snow everywhere and with the wind at our backs, we were pushed back to the start.

Upon returning to the trailhead, the parking lot was filling up with lots of people.

Lots and lots of people!
 It was a good jaunt out in the snow. Temperatures were around 0, so nice and warm for high output activities. The wind was a factor, and if you stopped, you would get cold. But the beauty and thrill of skiing kept me moving! It was a great outing, and I cannot wait to get out again!


Thursday, January 2, 2014

Moon Joggers - Blast off to Venus

So a friend of mine referred me to a group that is collectively running to the planet Venus. Yes, you heard correct. Venus. The lovely planet of toxic gases, extreme temperatures and goddess of beauty. Last year, this group, aptly named MoonJoggers, decided to run to the moon, and together they pooled 557,000 miles (896,770 kms) in less than a year. So they made it to the moon and back in less than a year. That's pretty cool. Check out their video below.

This year, 2014, they are trying to collect 25,000,000 miles (40,250,000 kms) to run to Venus. I have opted to take part. Why not hey? After all, running is all about community. At least it can be. There are several membership options and you get some pretty cool swag, but I opted for the free membership. If you do pay, money goes towards Little Heroes Foundation charity.

So sign up, why not? There are many different distances to commit to. I committed 1000 miles, and I know that is achievable as I am training for my first ultra marathon this year. Yeah, I've said that before, but I want to complete this goal before I turn 30 (this June). I have a few races picked out however I have not registered for anything. I want to get my training at least a month in before I do register.

 See you all in outer space :-)

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Running in Mukluks, Update!

Since I posted a few years ago about running in Mukluks, I have had thousands of hits on my blog from all over the world. Yes, that's right, I can see you and what you are reading. Big Brother aside, I would like to post an update to running in Mukluks in our cold, Alberta climate. I headed out this morning for an easy 5km around my neighbourhood. It was about -10C outside, or 14F for you American friends.

I borrowed a GoPro3 Silver for this photo shoot. I accidentally set it to take a photo every 0.5s, so I ended up with about 4800 photos at the end of the run which I had to sift through. Below are the photos from the run.

 Here I am, setting up the GoPro and getting the oblivious selfie of me wondering if I am doing this right. Well, I guess I was, sort of...

 There was cloud cover, so GPS was slow to pick up. It did eventually, but I couldn't wait to start running.

 Here I am, ready to go. Green toque, blue jacket, grey pants, tan shoes. No colour coordination or fashion points for this run. For the mukluks, I had to tie them up with hockey tape and tuck them under my ski pants. They do still bunch up around the ankle, but ground feel and contact still remains on par with VFFs or my NB Minimus.

 Running along and trying to get photos of your feet is tough. These mukluks provided great grip and feel on snow, but not so much on ice. It is what I expected, and if you are sure-footed, you should have no problems handling the icy conditions.

 My concern about soft-soled footwear is obviously warmth and true-to-feel ground contact. Here I am, still happy, so my feet weren't cold. The plush lining of the boots is really comfortable.My feet now, however, feel a little warm to the touch where my foot strikes the ground, a sign of chafing and potential blistering. It could be the sock I am wearing though (Wigwam foot liners).

 At the "apex" of the run you could see the beautiful Rockies. Yeah, I know it is a neighbourhood and not a wonderful trail, but from my front door, it is pretty decent.

 Feet still good, so I am happy :-) . My feet stayed warm throughout the entire run.

 My wife calls this my sad whale eyes. I was not in pain or anything, but I was more caught off guard at how hard it is to run at altitude (again). My home is at 4000 ft, and I had pretty much spent the last month at sea level. So my needs are to readjust.

 More beautiful mountains to the west. Gosh I love it here! My next run should be on a trail. You know, I may just do that.

 My run is complete! My feet were happy and body was sore. My lungs were a bit chilled from the winter running (and altitude), but I would call it a success.

5.23km in 36 mins. Not a blazing pace, but a run nonetheless. I was trying to figure out the GoPro and re-acclimatize to my area. Hey, at least I was out and running :-)

Overall, the Mukluks still perform as expected. I wish they would stay up and not need hockey tape every time. A lacing system would be ideal, like a corset with stretch lacing along the calves. The hockey tape holds at first, but as soon as your calf muscles start to work, the hockey tape loses it's function. I had to make sure to wrap the tape around my ankle to hold the boot on. The plush lining would likely cause blisters on anything longer than a 10km run, but given the right sock that may be avoidable. I have a 10km run on Tuesday to do, so I will see how they hold up then.

These are the mukluks here. Their original design has leather laces at the cuff, but mine broke after a few uses. Pssst, I think they are decorative. Maybe these would work with a new lace., if you want barefoot feel and still want to run through winter, Manitobah Mukluks are the way to go.


Friday, December 27, 2013

And the Curtains Came Up!

Continuing our adventures in Florida, I thought I would post a few more photos of said adventures! I hope you all enjoy :-)

 The curtains come up on the Mermaid Show. At Weeki Wachee, it is okay for a grown man to be excited for the Little Mermaid!

Mermaids! It was so cool to finally see the show!

Some of these mermaids performed for almost 30 minutes under water. I say that is quite a feat! No pun intended.

 The Mermaids have been performing since 1947. I'm sure it has captivated many people over all of those years! I know it is something I will never forget.

 The waters of the Weeki Wachee river are crystal clear. It was amazing. I had never seen water like that before.

 And in the river there are manatees! Some of these sea cows get up to 1200 lbs. I want to swim with them, which you apparently can. Another item for the Lorne list of adventures.

 Playing with my son at Clearwater Beach. The water was not super warm, but we still had fun anyways. Beaches are an excellent way to spend a December afternoon.

 There were street performers at Clearwater Beach. It was a lot of fun watching them do their thing and entertaining. They reminded us all that this is how the entertainment industry started hundreds (or even thousands) of years ago. Street theatre is a dying art they said, and I couldn't agree more.

 The father-son duo did some impressive performances with juggling and entertaining. The final act was the son doing a Houdini-style escape from a straight jacket and padlocked chain. He had two audience members cinch it down super tight and managed to escape in less than 3 minutes. Impressive.

 Lounging by the pool at the house. The water was cold, but it was still fun to be there.

 My wife caught a brown anole and took some photos. These little guys are everywhere and it was fun chasing them down.

 A view of the back of the house from the golf course. Houses in Spring Hill are so much nicer than those in Calgary (and cheaper!). It was so nice to see green space between houses and not be able to jump from roof to roof as we can here in Calgary. Not that I do that, heh heh.

 We headed back to Weeki Wachee for Christmas lights! They had a petting zoo, and what better time to get acquainted with tomorrow's lunch.

 Looking out over Buccaneer Bay in Weeki Wachee (at night).

 It is so lush in Florida, and there are so many trees I do not recognize. I did learn that the Cypress tree sheds its needles in the winter season, the only coniferous tree to do so.

 We spend a day at Fort DeSoto park in St. Petersburg. It was a beautiful and remote park with stunning beaches, wind blown sand (gets in to everything) and warm, shallow waters. It was awesome to watch the waves come in and in those waves you could see schools of fish swimming and jumping.

A view from Fort DeSoto park's south beach looking towards the Sunshine Skyway. And yes, I really enjoyed watching the kiteboarder's do their thing. Another thing to add to my Lorne list of things to do. My wife approves of the sport, so long as she can take photos.

My next trip to Florida will hopefully involve the following:
1. Bringing my family
2. Swimming with manatees
3. Kayaking in a crystal clear river
4. Kiteboarding lessons
5. Running on the beach
6. Probably working, but oh well.


Monday, December 23, 2013

The Tampa Aquarium

While I do have many other things to blog about, I figure it would be best to blog about recent events. Nobody wants to hear about my road trip from Albany to Tampa that took place in February.

My wife, son and I are down in Florida for the holidays. It's nice to escape the winter of Cochrane and do some sunshine things. I've been to Tampa many many times these past two years, but that was usually on business. Now that I am here with family, we can do the tourist fun stuff! We decided to head into the big city to see the Tampa Aquarium

 Oh yes, well this is from the other day. I was a sexy mermaid.

 Overhead aquarium at the entrance of Tampa Aquarium

 The ever-so-playful river otters.

 Posing for the camera. These little dudes are so very cool. I wish I could swim like them.

 Turtle doing what turtles do best. Practicing the art of ninja.

 Grass eels thingymabobs. They sway in the current to look like grass.

 The aquarium was amazing! Artificial reefs that were modeled after a reef in Dry Tortugas National Park, west of Key West in the Carribean Sea.

 A beautiful lion fish. Apparently, these are an invasive species in this area and there are angling derby's held to control their population. They are supposedly really good to eat. I think they are too beautiful to eat.

 The artificial reefs were amazing and so huge.

 Tiger shark swimming in a gigantic 500,000,000 gallon tank.

 The 500,000,000 gallon tank. We sat there for a while and just enjoyed the show!

 Sea dragon. It looks like a plant, but is actually a fish.

 You can pay to go swim in the aquarium. I would totally do this. New life adventure item, accepted!

 Jellyfish. The most delicious of the english language compound words.

 Found him! Actually, my son was elated to find him!

 I can't remember what this one was called. I said it looked like a Christmas ornament.

And of course, the stingray petting zoo. Yes I pet them. Yes, they feel like mushy swimming erasers. Yes, they are odd, but ever so cool.

It was a great experience and a lot of fun to go to the aquarium. I had not been to one since I was probably 12 when I went to Undersea World in Victoria, BC. Now I want to go scuba diving, snorkeling, and swim with whales. Yes, you can do that last one.

Thank you GoPro for making my normal life seem mundane. I would totally rock that bikini.