The RRC Ice Rebels had a great time getting outside for the Jack Frost Challenge February 12-18. The challenge was to get outside and skate, cross-country ski, run, snowshoe, cycle and walk a total of 130km. We’re proud to announce that RRC’s very first Jack Frost Challenge team – the RRC Ice Rebels – crushed that goal early in the week and went on to travel a combined total of 247 KMs over the week!! Out of the 114 teams registered across Manitoba, we finished in 19th place, which we think is pretty amazing for our first try!
Here are our reflections on the week:
I enjoyed being a part of the Jack Frost Challenge! It was a fun way to meet likeminded people. Also, through social media, it helped motivate friends and family to get out and get active.
The weather really presented a challenge for skiing [that] week. With temperatures well above normal we lost significant amounts of snow during the week. Needless to say this had an extremely detrimental effect on the trail conditions within the Winnipeg region. Waxing for classic skiing when the weather is warm and the trails are icy and deteriorating is very difficult. Each day brought slightly different conditions and different challenges. On Saturday we switched over to skate skiing to make the best use of the remaining snow. Hats off to the groomer at Windsor Park Nordic Centre for keeping the trails in good condition despite the soaring temperatures.
In previous years at the end of February I have gone down to Hayward, Wisconsin to compete in the American Birkebeiner 50 km ski race. The “Birkie” is the largest ski race in North America with an attendance of roughly 10,000 skiers. This year I am not attending…which is fortunate for me, but not for the organizers, since they are being forced to very likely cancel this year’s race at the last minute due to these unseasonably warm temperatures. In fact, they received 25 mm of rain yesterday, which essentially destroyed the remainder of the 50 km of trail they have been trying so hard to protect these past few weeks. Very sad. Climate change and global warming are having a significant negative effect on the sport of cross country skiing and other winter sports throughout the world. Go Green…so we can keep our winter wonderlands.
Participating in the Jack Frost Challenge was fun. It was a nice way to virtually connect with colleagues at different campuses. I do run year-round, and I have run commuted to work during the summer – but I’ve never done it during the winter. Because there are no showers available to me at the LTC, I decided to take the bus to work (I love our eco-pass, by the way!) and run home three times during the week. Running home was a great way for me to get my easy runs during the week as one has to stop often for traffic lights. I also had to be careful of icy sidewalks and puddles during the week of the challenge, making my run commute a bit slower. I am training for the Manitoba Marathon in June, and I will incorporate more run commutes this winter to help me achieve my finish time goal. In the future, I hope that bike lanes from Pembina Highway to the LTC will be improved so that I could feel safer commuting to work by bike. At present, I have not felt comfortable biking to work, but I would love to do this on days when I’m not run-commuting! Plus, it would be faster. I look forward to participating in the Jack Frost Challenge next year, and I hope to connect with more like-minded colleagues!
I kicked off the challenge by building a quinzhee. It took many hours to pile up the snow, not because of a lack of snow but because I had to loosen up the snow which was more like ice. I basically raked up piles of snow and then shoveled it all into one big pile. I let the snow compress and a few days later dug out a cavity that was big enough for me to crawl into. That was the end of it though as the mild temperatures weakened it too much.
I also managed to snowshoe for over 20 km. Very difficult though as the snow was very deep but the consistency of a slurpee. The whole family got active and they chose skiing which wasn’t much better. We still had a good time in the fresh air and in mother nature.
Also built 3 snowmen with my kids, and took the dog for a few evening walks.
My Jack Frost Challenge began in Edmonton, where I was celebrating a friend’s 40th birthday. In addition to catching up with old pals, we were surprisingly quite active. We went for an invigorating skate through Hawrelak Park and had a lovely walk through Edmonton’s gorgeous River Valley. There’s something about reconnecting with old friends that’s really good for the soul. That feeling is even better when you add some fresh air and physical activity.
Back in Winnipeg I spent the rest of the Jack Frost Challenge starting to train for the Manitoba Marathon. I haven’t been regularly running outdoors in a few years and I find it really helps to have a goal to motivate you.
I look forward to participating in the Jack Frost Challenge 2018 edition and am committing right here, right now to organizing a winter run to meet some active colleagues I’ve never met before (here’s looking at you Sherry Seymour).
My personal challenge for the week was to take my daughter snowshoeing for the first time. Unfortunately, bad colds and warm weather made that a goal for another year. However, it was still a great week and my family managed to get out for lovely walks and some skating over the week. As someone who tends to eat lunch at my desk, a special victory for me was a lunch time walk with a colleague. As we are both new to the College, it was a great way to get to know a new friend, while also exploring great places to walk near the Notre Dame Campus.