I live really close to the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Which means that I live really close to one of the best training grounds in the country, one of the biggest, most beautiful, most exciting playgrounds our country has to offer.
While I’ve always said I’d rather live IN the mountains than near the mountains, school ties me to Calgary for four more months. While frustrating, I take solace in getting on ‘mountain time’ every chance I get. But lately I’ve been struggling with safety in the mountains; specifically safety while running, snowshoeing or hiking.
Unluckily for me, I do most of my running on my own. My ‘running friends’ are strewn all around the world, and I only have a few friends that are just getting into trail running in Calgary who aren’t ready to do the mileage that I do. I don’t really mind being on my own, per say, because running for me is me time; time that I get all to myself to daydream, to plan, to relax, to meditate. Like so many others, when I’m running my soul is about as exposed as it gets.
But since I run on my own, it means that I don’t run in the mountains. I have four months left of living a stone’s throw from one of the best training grounds in the world (did I really just make that claim?!) and I don’t currently use it!
Here’s why: I have a very healthy fear of bears and cougars (and grouse!) and have been taught not to go to the mountains alone (and no my imagination doesn’t count as a buddy). But the force drawing me to the mountains is so strong that I’m feeling huge frustration. While I have ample hiking buddies, skiing buddies, and snowshoeing buddies to escape with, I really need a running buddy. Or some courage. Or both.
What do you think about the safety of running alone in the mountains? Bears aren’t TOO much of a worry right now as most, if not all, are currently hibernating. But cougars are the ninjas of the wilderness and some of the most mysterious, and deadly animals out there. And while both the cougars and bears would rather avoid humans altogether, we have barged in on their habitat making human-animal interactions unavoidable, however rare.
So here I am in Canmore, sitting in front of the fire, trying to figure out what to do about my desire to run in the mountains. Today I did my hill repeats at the very base of Lady MacDonald mountain, barely half a km out of town. I made tons of noise and was on full alert (NO headphones allowed!!!). But I was on edge the whole time thinking about who might have been watching.
I really need a running buddy. Or some courage. Or both.
If you are a runner in Calgary or Canmore or Banff who is also missing a running buddy and some courage, GET AT ME. We need each other. I’m not fast, but I like to go far. I’m a pretty good listener, but don’t mind not talking. I have been known to get way to excited about just being outside, and sometimes it’s overwhelming for others. Oh and I’m pun-ny, really roll your eyes pun-ny. There are just so many adventures to be had and I don’t want to miss out for another day!
*Disclaimer: My lack of courage reflects both my fear of being attacked by an animal as well as my fear of making new friends; both of which aren’t immediately obvious upon meeting me.*