Friday, August 3, 2012

Mount Assiniboine ~ A Runner's Paradise

Last weekend we travelled to Canmore, AB to meet our friends, train for TAR and hang out in Mt. Assiniboine Provincial Park.  It is always great when big ideas actually turn into action.  We talked about this trip since last winter and with so many people and logistics involved it was really cool that it all worked out so well.

The plan was to run from Sunshine Ski Resort into Assiniboine Lodge where we booked the Naiset huts for two nights.  These huts were really rustic with nothing more than double beds and a wood stove.  There wasn't any 'hang out' room, but then again who needed that when we were out and about on the trails or in the beautiful cook shelter visiting and playing yahtzee!

We took a shuttle bus to the Sunshine Ski Village where we basically stepped foot right in the Alpine to begin our 30km journey to Mt. Assiniboine.

After approx. 5hrs we arrived at the Assiniboine Lodge.  We had a beautiful run in with a few stops for lunch and just to simply admire the views.  I had struggled the week earlier and was really tired.  In bed at 7pm Mon/Tues and Wednesday did a long warm up run in the trails behind my house and did some 1min hill repeats to test out the legs.  It seemed my body felt okay but I was sleepy tired and I think all the early training mornings were starting to get to me.  So I noticed more fatigue than expected on the run out but overall it was at a nice gentle pace and totally doable on tired legs :)  I think the company was just so rad that it took my focus away from being tired too.  Nadja and Chad made spaetzle for dinner which was amazing!!  Ever since TAR last year where we had it at the end of stage 4, Nadja has been talking about how she will make it for us and OMG!  They spoiled us with this gourmet meal that had everyone in the cook shelter secretly praying there would be leftovers...

The 2nd day was just as epic as the first.  I totally slept in and I think I was the 2nd last person to rise out of seven of us.  Trent took 7 of us on a hike/scramble up to 9,000 feet.  I was breathing so heavy and one footing it all the way up.  It was a very humble and welcomed reminder of what I potentially will face in Europe again this year.  I forgot how much it can effect me and I think the fact I was so tired all week only aspirated the symptoms.  Unlike Mike Fitzpatrick who was running up the steep inclines past me!

We had another really fun day and I think about 4.5hrs on our feet.  That evening we were spoiled with another amazing meal from Mike, Jolene, Amanda and Johnny.  Pasta and fresh greens.  Yum!

The following day we hit the trail early.  We had to drop off our gear at the Lodge so it could be flown back to Canmore area.  We ran from Assiniboine to Mt. Shark which was approx. 30km and I think we were about 4hrs 15min.  It was stunning!!!  I couldn't believe how beautiful and different each day was.  I also want to put a shout out to Amanda, Jolene and Chad who really didn't have a lot of running under their belt before this trip and how incredible they did.  We had long days and I know I was feeling tired at some spots and these three made it look breezy!  Not to mention all the jokes, laughs and fun they put into it. 

Feeling grateful for our Canmore friends and all the work they did organizing this epic trip for us.  We had such an incredible time and the weather was so beautiful - we lucked out!  We already can't wait for next years trip.  Will it be an annual Assinibone or will our group of 9 explore new terrain??  Either way, with such great people it is sure to be a blast!

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