Running with Rhyno: Running to stand still

Who are you?

I am standing in the middle of Crimson Lake when a young girl wakes me from my daydream.

I have always been drawn to water.

Likely it’s because I spent my childhood frolicking on the shores of the Bay of Fundy in beautiful Annapolis Valley, N.S.

These days, you wouldn’t know it though as I am usually running on the trails and mountains in Kananaskis Country. My goal this summer, however, is to explore, on foot, the David Thompson area, which boasts pristine lakes, glorious forests and mountains.

Recently, I drove 15 km northwest of Rocky Mountain House to Crimson Lake Provincial Park. I vaguely recalled friends mentioning there was a nice running trail at the lake.

Amerada Trail, is a 10-kilometre trail that encircles the lake and runs through the forest. The trailhead is accessible across the road from the parking lot at main entrance. The trail is fairly flat with a few hills.

Next month, the Crimson Lake Trail Race will feature 3 km, 10 km and 20 km race distances, something for all the runners in your family.

The parking lot was empty when I started my first lap. I had enough food and water for two laps.

Along the trail, there are benches and washrooms. The views of the lake are visible after a couple of kilometres. I appreciated the kilometre signs especially since it took me a kilometre to realize that I forgot to start my Garmin.

I finished the first loop in good spirits and full of energy.

At my car, I took a large swig of water, and I ate half a peanut butter sandwich. Ready for round two, I set off with the need for speed. I was warmed up and ready to attack the trail.

By now there were several more hikers and cyclists on the trail. I had to pay more attention to where I was going to avoid being run over by an overzealous biker. (Believe me, it happens.)

Generally, I am not a fan of running in circles more than once. It gets boring real quick, but since the trail was new to me, I didn’t mind. Often it is on the second or third loop when I notice things I may have missed on the first “get to know the trail” lap.

My legs are strong and I am feeling strong after nailing an easy, breezy 20 km. If I had planned better, I would have ran another loop.

But who am I kidding? All I really wanted to do was to jump in the lake. I grabbed my backpack and walked over to the beach. I sat a few feet away from a young family where I swapped my sneakers for my sandals.

After eating an apple, I walked into the lake up to my running skirt. With my eyes closed, I stood still while I enjoyed the cold water on my legs.

That is until a young girl splashes next to me demanding to know who I am and what I am doing.

I’m Crystal, I say.

What are you doing? She asks.

I am standing.

Oh, she says. Then she starts singing and splashing away.

The exchange left a smile on my face.

Actually I think to myself –

I was running to stand still.

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