Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Glenmore Reservoir Travelogue

Today, like it or not, you get a tour of the Glenmore Reservoir from the running path. You get maps, but no photos.

First the swim. Warm up and drill for about 15 min. 2 golfs, 80 and 81
4 x 250, where 100 easy, 100 medium, and 50 fast, mixing up the order. These were sort of fun. All got done in 4:55 or so.
More drill and golfs, 83 and 83, though I thought something was going to come apart on that last one.
Easy swim for a while gradually slowing down to finish right on the hour.
Then a full half hour in the dive tank, doing core stuff. Including Susi's arse exercise. I thought I was going to cramp my hams on that one.

After eating and doing a bit of stretching, I drove up to South Glenmore park. I've ridden around the reservoir more times than I can think of. At first, I thought it was a pretty significant ride to ride up, around, and back home again. I think the first time took me nearly two hours. I got it down to well under 1.5 hrs on the hybrid. I took Estela around it once in about an hour and scared the crap out of myself. There's lots of tight, obscured corners, rough pavement from tree roots, and no shortage of dogs walking their idiot humans.

Today is the first day I ever ran around the reservoir. Sure, the Police half uses much of the path, but it's not the same. And for the people that have signed up for the Calgary 70.3, the run course takes the path from about where I started, around to about Km 7, going back and forth.

Here's the map showing my route. You might need to click on it to see it bigger.

Here's where the reservoir fits into the overall scheme of things here in Calgary. It's part of a phenomenal wonderful bike pathway system that goes all over the city. The 70.3 route comes in from the west side, just off the map.

The weather was perfect, sunny and warm, 13 or 14 C. The plan was 15/1. I started and felt a bit clunky. My heart rate monitor was all over the place again. Chugged along, and gradually settled into a pace. I wasn't trying to go as fast as the Police half, but I was trying to go faster than I used to. My goal was to try to keep the pace consistent and smooth.

At first you're running west. To your left is some open fields with long grass. Nothing much ever happens there. To the right is the reservoir. About 1.5 K is where the path turns off if I were to go home. Shortly after that you start running through a mainly birch forest. The path is paved all the way around. To the left you can see Native land. So far the path has been pretty flat, with tiny ups and downs you'd hardly notice. I finally got dialed in.

Just before the 3 K mark you start going down to the Weaselhead. This hill is well known in the Emergency Services community from the number of roller bladers that lose control and wrap themselves around the railings. I'm still learning how to run down hill. I took the opportunity to shake out my legs a bit. At the bottom you turn left and go over a small bridge. The deck is wood, and it's claimed a few cyclists, especially in wet weather. Now you're just about down at water level, but you don't see the main body of the reservoir. It's more like wetlands. I could hear lots of birds going about their business. There's a group of beavers hard at it. I saw lots of trees gnawed down, including one more than a foot in diameter. They had dragged it off.

There's a long straight stretch. This is often a bit boring because there's really nothing to see. In hot weather it becomes very still, as the wind usually doesn't make it down to the path. I really grooved along here. It's like my legs had a mind of their own, and felt great. Just as I got to the bridge over the Elbow River (point A on the map), my watch hit 31 minutes. (6:53/Km) Then comes the famous hill out of the Weaselhead. It's really not that bad anymore, but I remember the first times on the bike my heart rate went to scary numbers. The run up was just fine.

Once on top you run through North Glenmore park. Yes, I know, very imaginative names. Nobody has ever accused the City of Calgary of being imaginative. This is much more sculptured. All the grass is cut, and there are small clumps of bushes everywhere. The path is split here, cyclists and roller bladers on one, walkers and runners on the other. There's at least one place where there is a long set of stairs going down to water level. It's quite a ways, and you sometimes see people running, or hopping up. There's quite a view from here. In fact, the whole circuit is just littered with views of the mountains, the reservoir itself, the city skyline, and other stuff. I ran along feeling pretty good. There was a huge group of school kids, all looking at the dirt. Very intently. Lots of geezers up here too. A group of them walking on the wheels path just about took out a really cute roller blader. You warn these people, as she did, and they do a little u turn to the left to find out what's coming. Geezers!

I ran past one of the swishy golf clubs. One of my favourite things is to shout encouragement at the geezers. Just when they are about to swing. (hehehehe). I was so disappointed there was nobody there today. My feet were starting to hurt a bit here, and things got clunky again for a bit. The long diagonal bit is a utility corridor. Again, the grass is cut, and it's used like a community park. A crew working on a home owners fence had just done something bad, and there was a string of loud cursing. Just where that comes to a road (point B on the map) was 63 minutes. (6:55/Km overall).

There's a private school there. All I saw were teen girls in these gray plaid skirts. Or rather, mainly, I heard them. I haven't heard so much screaming since the Beatles came to America. Now you leave the natural part of the course, and run beside Glenmore Trail. Not much to say about this.

Up, and behind the Rocky View Hospital. And yes, you get a great view of the Rockies. There's a bit of woodland that the path winds between, and then you're behind the hospital. The main activity you see is people smoking. Right beside the heli-pad (point c) was 78 minutes (6:56/Km overall).

More up, then down a narrow path between two houses. This used to be a death trap because there was a pair of bedsteads at the top and bottom. They're gone now. Then you run through a very ritzy neighbourhood called Eagle Ridge. The cheapest home is probably $1,000,000+ and some are more. Then through Heritage park's new parking lot/construction zone. This is where I crashed last year.

Then you're back right beside the reservoir again. I like this part in the summer because there some sailboats moored. I just happen to think that sailboats and sailplanes are some of the prettiest and most elegant of humanities creation. This is a flat and busy path. I was feeling tired by now, and was pushing hard to keep my pace up. You can see the end point of my 96 min run (6:58/Km overall). This is another bit of light bush, and you can see the back yards of another swanky neighbourhood.

I walked back to the car, drank, and inhaled a banana. Did some stretches. Drove home, stretched more. I'm really pleased with this run. I hope IG is as well. The pace seemed pretty steady, though gradually slowing down, but no big fall off at the end. My breathing was strong and steady throughout, and my heart rate was usually top zone 2, bottom of zone 3.


  1. Nice run Keith! That is without a doubt my favorite route in Calgary. Running over the dam is probably the best bit!

  2. Great run -- and there is enough cover for a quick deke into the bushes if needed. LOL!

    And, you are a little devil aren't you? Shouting encouragement to the golfers!! Hee-hee!! Atta boy!! LOL!!!

  3. i love that area! oh, and if you are getting hammie cramps doing my exercise, then you are doing it wrong. the hams shouldn't be in the picture or else you aren't working the glutes.

  4. Sounds awesome! I hate golf so yell all you want! It is such a waste of time...i mean who has 3-4 hours to walk around a park?

  5. Yes very pleased!!! :) Good work!!!


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