Yesterday my mom and I walked from Canmore to Banff and back again! It was something we put on our summer bucket list and we finally had a free day that we were able to do it! I calculated the route on MapMyRuns and it was almost exactly a half marathon each way! How perfect! It was meant to be done. As soon as we hit the 26.3 mile mark my mom said “We’ve done an ultra marathon, anything over marathon distance!” We ended up walking 27.38 miles (44 kilometres) and it took us about six hours.
We have walked races together, including a 56 km race on Vancouver island, so we are used to spending hours together walking. We had an awesome sleep-in and made it to Canmore at about 9:30 am. It was cool to start but got warm quickly and my t-shirt and shorts felt too hot at times! I wore my Champion shorts and a Lululemon shirt, along with my Brooks Ravenna4s and my FuelBelt.
We quickly peed at the Visitor Centre in Canmore (which has awesome clean bathrooms by the way) and then began the walk to Banff. I knew it was a little more uphill going there than it was coming home but it actually felt the opposite! We jogged down a few hills and it helped switch it up, use different muscles, and give our hips a break from walking.
There weren’t too many people on the trail when we were on our way to Banff, but plenty more in the afternoon when we walked back! The Legacy Trail is awesome. It is close to the highway but full of amazing views and kind of settles between the railway tracks and the TransCanada highway. At the beginning of the trail there is a neat sign (upper left in the photo below) that shows how many people have used the trail that day, that year and overall. It is certainly a well used trail and when we got back to our car it said 503 people had been on the trail that day!
I brought a Honey Stinger waffle from my Stampede Road Race race package. I have never had these before but was super curious to try them. I have never had a disappointing Honey Stinger product and this one was no exception. SO AMAZING. It was like a light gingersnap and honey cookie. Delicious! Yes, I peeled off my nail polish and haven’t fixed it yet.
It was a nice walk to Banff. We clipped along at a good pace and though it was almost three hours of walking, it passed fairly quickly and before we knew it we were exiting into the town of Banff and making our way downtown. We were on a mission. A nacho mission. It was my idea to walk to Banff and back but it was my mom’s idea to stop for lunch in Banff at Nourish, our favourite restaurant, and have nachos.
I have talked about these nachos before HERE and HERE. 27 toppings. Vegetarian. They don’t go crazy with the cheese and chips. Incredibly delicious. I also thought we should try something else instead of always getting the same thing, even though they are the best, so we got the “Gourmet Falafel” as well. It was just as inventive and really tasty! Lots of vegetables and FRUIT not he falafel roll, and it was topped with tzatziki.
The food was delicious. We should have waited 20 minutes and hung around Banff for a bit before we started walking back but we didn’t. HUGE mistake. As we took off at a lightning fast walking pace, we discovered how horrible nachos and falafel feel when they are undigested and being jostled around in our stomachs. We stopped a few extra times on the way home.
We were a little slower on the way back than we were on the way there. My mom felt better after about an hour but I felt pretty terrible almost until we were 2 hours in. It didn’t help that the sun was in full force by the time we left the restaurant! We had water with us but definitely not enough. I was thirsty when we got back for sure! The walk home felt about twice as long as the walk there but we made it. All 27.38 miles of it. I have never been so happy to see that “Welcome to Canmore sign.”
Walking in the heat for that long means my hands swell up like crazy. Actually my whole body gets pretty swollen but my hands are the worst. When I am walking my hands are pointed down the whole time (like most people I think? 😉 so they get constant blood flow and fluids DOWN but not a whole lot up. It takes a while after we stop, even some cold water run on them, to get them back to normal. When we got back to the car I couldn’t even make a fist because they were so swollen.
We drank some of the boiling hot water from our car but then immediately drove to a gas station to buy cold drinks. Powerade Zero (berry) and Vitamin Water Zero (lemonade) to the rescue. I swear they have never tasted that good. I drank the Powerade in about 1.7 minutes. I had a really strange tighter than tight left calf muscle in the last few miles and it didn’t go away when we stopped. I stretched it out and massaged the heck out of it but it felt like there was a ball of muscle tissue just sitting there. This morning it feels a bit better and thankfully doesn’t feel like it may just rip with every step!
It was a long day but I am really glad we did it. Not a whole lot of people would randomly go walk an ULTRA marathon. I reeeeeeally regret the nachos halfway through but we live and we learn 🙂 I love doing things like this with my mom and we tend to talk about everything under the sun… you can do that when you are walking for 6 hours. Thanks mom for walking with me!