Friday, September 30, 2011

Banff and Lake Minnewanka

Christina and I on the way out of Banff stopped by Lake Minnewanka before heading back to Edmonton. Lake Minnewanka is  glacial lake located in the eastern area of Banff National Park in Canada about five kilometres northeast of the Banff townsite. The lake is 28 km long and 142 m (466 ft) deep, making it one of the largest bodies of water in the Rockies.

Being that it is so deep and glacier fed the water in summer only gets a few degrees higher than freezing. After only a minute with your feet in the shallows you have to pull them out as they get so cold. The lake was completely clear and the setting was great.

A great thing about mountain lakes is all the flat shale for skipping rocks. I was overwhelmed when I found the perfect skipping stone.

More fun at the lake.

That is it for Banff. We'll be back.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Weekend in Banff

Christina and my weekend in Banff was based around her running the Melissa's run. Aside from that single hour we had no plans other than playing tourist.

One of our (my) favorite stops was the Rose and Crown pub. Check out the size of my Buffalo meatloaf.

Christina's humoring me on pub food eventually paid off as I succumbed to a luxury meal at the Banff Springs Hotel complete with $16 pre meal cocktails.  It's a complete rip-off but it was worth doing once.

 Other than being souses and gluttons we also took the time to see some of the sights.

This elk was absolutely huge and was totally relaxed. A bunch of people were milling around taking pictures from a safe distance when I realized there was an opportunity to take a kind of cool shot.

Next post - Lake Minnewanka

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Christina's Big Race - Melissa's Run 2011

Christina and I just got home from a weekend trip to Banff where Christina competed in the Melissa's 10km road race. This was her second year doing the race and due to her running partner Natalie missing out on the registration (it sells out every year) I tagged along as her fan.  I was all too happy to tag along as Banff is a beautiful setting and the weather promised to be perfect hovering around 28 degrees during the day.

After a big breakfast Saturday morning Christina got her gear together for the 10:30am start and I snapped a couple of pictures including the quintessential mugshot.

What was really cool is that the runners completely take over the town for the run. As we left the hotel and started the walk over to the starting area we were joined by a constant stream of people. 

Once we got to the starting area I was simply shocked to see all the people assembled 
(approximately 5000 people run in two races).  Everyone was in a great mood stretching out and getting warmed up. They even had a semi trailer set-up with a group of aerobic instructors on the top leading people through a warm-up. 

Christina did some last minute warm-ups and I wandered around. As I walked around all of the athletic people in their bright colours I was so inspired that I decided that I too should get in shape and take up running. Then I spotted the beer gardens and came to my senses. I can proudly say that I was the first individual of the 5000+ in attendance to order a beer that day.  Here I am cracking the first beer of the Melissa's run.

Now that I was properly hydrated to watch running; I walked Christina to the starting line/pack and helped her assume her place.

With Christina elbowing in to her starting spot I decided to try and capture the very start of the race. 

It was actually quite cool to watch as wave after wave of people passed. Christina spotted me and I snapped a picture of her at the 2 second mark of the race. She was looking pretty good so far.

I caught up with her again around the 8 km mark coming down after the long uphill of Tunnel Mountain Road.

As she finished her last 2km's I made a mad dash to get a good spot near the finish line. I got there just in time and was lucky to capture her final kick. She was really moving. I called her white lightening for the rest of the weekend.

Christina did exceptionally well setting a new personal best of 1:07.23 on a track that had a massive incline and at a significant elevation level compared to Edmonton. 

I was very impressed by her run and her poise after the run. I would have just fallen down unconscious. Instead she went about her stretches asking me questions and cheering on other racers as they finished around her. As I was exhausted just watching, and therefore laying on my back, I found a cool new angle to take pictures from.

I feel extremely lucky to have been able to accompany Christina on her run and I am so very proud of her.
I am already looking forward to next year - and setting a new earliest time at the beer gardens.

More pics from Banff to come.