Get to the Choppa!!!

Yesterday was my first by-myself-workout in Canmore that was longer than 1hr15min. I think that in general people prefer doing workouts together, so it might seem strange when I tell you that, honestly, some of my funnest (yes, I said funnest) workouts have been by myself! When you train by yourself you have no distractions–you can focus on going at exactly the right pace, you can focus on technique and you can have some time with your own thoughts. I like these traits. I like them very much.


Yesterday’s skiwalk/run ranks right up there in my list of awesome by-myself workouts…

With only 2hrs of training time yesterday, I was faced with the conundrum of wanting to do a fairly epic run but not having enough time to do it in. That’s when I remembered that there is a heli pad, and a sweet ruined building, partway up Lady Mac–which is one of the picturesque mountains around Canmore (they’re all picturesque). With the goal of reaching the helipad etched into my consciousness, my skiwalking poles in hand and Smooth Criminal stuck in my head for some unknown reason, I departed the trailhead in a flurry of zone1 paced footfalls.
As I climbed past the 45min mark, a battle was being fought in my mind between the voice of reason and the voice of hammertime:

Voice of Reason: “yikes, you’re nearing the halfway mark and the helipad isn’t in sight. You got one clif bar to go on and only 2hrs of easy training to do today. Better ditch the helipad idea soon and turn around, in favour of training smart.”
Voice of Hammertime: “pffff!! Bad idea! How lame would it be if you turned around at some unrecognizable spot?! Hell, why even stop at the helipad? Climb the whole mountain! Zone4 baby!!”

After these thoughts had been playing for a few minutes I ran into a climber coming back down and asked him “how far to the helipad?” “Hour and a half” he said–a figure which astonished me at the time and still does now.
With the disappointing thought that I might end up turning around before I reached my goal closing in on me, some cold weather decided to close in too–and it started snowing. Most people would probably see this as the sign to turn around, but I like snow so I saw it as a sign to through caution to the wind and keep marching.
At this point things started happening fast. First I saw a mountain sheep, then I took out my phone to take pictures and got it all wet from the snow, then I heard thunder rolling in from the distance but decided I wasn’t gonna turn around just yet, then the snow stopped, then I kept climbing. About 2min after all of this crazyness I ran into two hikers coming down. Upon asking “how long to the helipad” they replied it was right over the next rise!! Hurray! I sprinted the last few hundred meters up through scree and snow from last Winter. 

down comes the snow! Can you spot the sheep?

Up up up I sprinted, enemy fire raining down around me, heavier than the snow from earlier on, and Arnold paying the them back in kind with the 50 cal. mounted on the blackhawk–all the while yelling “GET TO THE CHOPPA!!!” Clearing the last few strides I just managed to grab onto the rope later as it took off!!

Okay, that last paragraph is a bit of an exaggeration. Replace that scene with a vision of me climbing the steps to the helipad as the snow/rain/thunder clouds cleared in a most divine fashion–yielding a spectacular view of Canmore and the bow river valley spread out hundreds of meters below my vantage point!
After I enjoyed my clif bar, explored the ruined building by the helipad and took way to many pictures of the view, I jogged back down the mountain, at a slightly excessive pace for a zone1 workout, back to the trailhead, and then the rest of the way home, through town.

cool pine trees on the way back down


All this in just two hours 🙂

Here are the numbers for the workout:

Climb time from the trailhead: 1:09
Descent back to the trailhead: 33min (wow! less than half the climb time!!)
Total workout time: 2hrs exactly
HR min: 94bpm
HR average: 141bpm
HR max: 171bpm (this was actually on the way back down)

*I’ve included most of this hike’s photos below, for your viewing pleasure!

Dream Big, People!!

yikes… pretty steep slope
close up of sheepy
let it snow!
looking down the trail from the sheep viewing point
goin’ up!

nice view!

the trail came up this ridge

bow valley

top of the ruined building

the helipad
into the depths…

inside the building looking out

looking towards Mt. Grotto

“no fires”  “no entry”  Good thing I exited from this doorway

follow the snow to find the trail back down

the tree line

ominous view from the helipad

apparently para-gliders jump off here

I want to keep going up…

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