The last several weeks were atypical for several reasons. One, a new job project. Two, training in a new place. Three, time to appreciate the subtleties of our friendly northern neighbors…Canada!
Working on a project with friend Josh Gordon at the Sports Conflict Institute gave me the chance to visit Calgary and dip my toe in the negotiation consulting world. This particular project was not sports related, instead focusing on the employee-leadership relations for a large Canadian company. Enter the world of hotel living, conference room attending, dress suit wearing, and audience managing corporate culture. A lot to digest, but well worth the opportunity. Which brings me to…
Calgary: kind of like Denver, but colder. While usually sporting sun, we were mostly met with clouds. On the days that did clear however, the Canadian Rockies loomed and conjured similar grandiose front range images. The temperature was in the minus (C) most of the trip, which locals say is abnormal for late March/early April but I don’t quite believe. I did get a fair variety of running, from the nearby golf course and its white jack rabbits, to the cookie cutter burbs, to a huge prairie hill park in both snow and mud, to the hotel treadmill at 12% grade. On my weekend off I bridged the distance to the mountains and drove to Banff, an incredible valley with peaks that really do rival anything in the U.S. The sheer walls and string of cirques are remnants of pretty impressive glaciation. I ran over snowy trails in the shadow of Mt. Rundle, then sprinted to the top of Tunnel Mtn for a late afternoon panorama of the surrounding peaks. It’s a beautiful area that I’d love to return to, especially when the trails are clear.
Other novelties from the trip include Tim Horton’s cult status donuts, curling on tv in the men’s washroom (non Olympic competition mind you), routinely driving 110kph on the “trails” around town, ie highways, and frequently savoring the authentic Indian food near the hotel where the ethnic population was startling in its density and seemingly out of place so far north. Mango lassi while the snow flakes fall thick? That was my Calgary.
Unfortunately the trip did not conclude as well as described. On our last night we ordered one too many dishes at a downtown pub, including a now regrettable cheesecake. Shudder. Update: hotel food may have been the culprit as multiple folks in our group got hit. Either way, the next day I woke nauseous, shuffled two miles on the golf course, and walked back to the hotel to vomit and pack my dress clothes…luckily nothing was contaminated. The flights to Eugene were a minor test of will as I really did not want to be that person. Scenario avoided, I was quite exhausted and labored to haul my luggage between gates. I slept 12 hours that night having eaten nothing but a banana and half a bagel. The next day I thought I would attempt a run, feeling marginally better. The first 30 minutes with Josh and Renee were okay, but soon cramps descended and I was forced to walk back. 2 miles must have taken an hour. Josh was not feeling so hot either at this point, but opted for the full on pain approach instead, pushing until the foul inside forced it’s way back up. A brave move. We both sat in the car, seats reclined, and groaned until Renee returned. Pepto-bismol, saltines, and sprite for me! I graduated to oatmeal and other bland foods, but sluggish legs over the next few days made me decide to opt out of the Corvallis half marathon; just bad timing. I have hit the reset button and will aim for summer.