Back in the saddle (shoes)

I bounced back from my I-hate-running week by kicking off the weekend with a total body strength class, a Bolly-D* session and a 17K run through the woods.

Let me just say that Bolly-D is a freaking blast.

Zumba and I are okay kind of pals, but Bolly D could very well be my bestie. Bollywood beats, a lot of jumping, smiling, and quirky little moves (Hop like a bunny! Pat the dog! Screw in the lightbulb!). There is enough going on to make me sweat but without losing me on the foot work.

Now, given that it was all Bollywood, I so wrongly assumed I would be masala-ing alongside the YEG lookalikes of Shahrukh Khan or Aishwarya Rai. Not so much. Our Asian instructor – the ever happy and energetic Vincent – taught a mash-up class of just about every nationality except Indian.

Halfway through the class, a gaggle of Somali teens in headscarves with that delightful mix of conservative and Converse burst through the studio door and joined in, adding a terrific flavor of awesomesauce to the class at the Commonwealth Community Rec Centre.

The old Chinese man from Zumba (the one with the oversized shorts, dress socks and white runners) goes to this class as well and totally whoops it up. He never quite “gets it” in Zumba either and that’s what I love about him. He’s willing to just try it all.

The big hey-I-can-do-this revelation came with the weekend run.

The training schedule kindly asked for just 10 miles of our lives. Miz Jilly and I decided to kill two birds with one stone by taking training day to the trail, and to scout out the 25K course for the Baby Ultra at the end of May.

Maps were printed, trails highlighted, directions somewhat understood…we hopped in the adventure-mobile and drove out of town on a sunny Saturday morning. As we neared the Blackfoot recreation area, the sun went out, the fog rolled in and every tree branch was covered in frost and ice. Really? We’re out running in the middle of nowhere and it has to get all creepy?

We managed to find our way to the Islet staging area, slung on our hydration packs and hit the trail. The entire landscape was brown, grey and frozen with ice coating the trees and bushes. We ran (well – we jog, but “running” sounds better). And ran. And ran. Our one rule was to walk up and run down when it came to hills. And there were a lot of hills. Endless rolling hills.

The highlight, of course, was getting lost.

Now, Blackfoot is REALLY WELL MARKED. It was just a little matter of turning left when one should have turned right. That only happened twice. I’d like to think that we added some kilometers in for posterity on that.

And the only time it really got spooky being the only ones out there (note: no cell coverage), was when we came upon a leg. A somewhat fresh leg. The juicy bits had been sucked off and all that was left was some brown fur and a hoof and a bit of blood. It was just lying in the middle of the path, presented nicely on a patch of snow. Sort of like sashimi.

It was obvious that the path wasn’t the kill site, but nonetheless we hoofed it (pardon the pun) outta there. We didn’t want to get between a bear or cougar and dinner. Finding bodies/dead things is a FABULOUS motivation to KEEP RUNNING. We still had many kilometers to go before we’d get to the car, and we rannnnn.

By the time we got back to the car, our bodies were done. We ended up running 17K and walking 8K, and even better, we got to see the course. It’s going to be a great race!!

What’s the coolest/scariest thing you’ve seen while out running?

EDIT: I forgot to mention that 17K is the longest I’ve ever run. Ever. Ever. Ever.

*Bolly D was recently featured on Dragon’s Den, too.

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