2014 Calgary Half Marathon!

Province1AB

Hello friends!  Sunday, June 1st marked my eighth Half Marathon – and my first Canadian Half Marathon!  (Remember my very first 13.1 HERE?!)  It’s taken me some time to write-up this post…because…well…even though it was a good race, it was TOUGH for me.  As in…definitely not one of my finest efforts.  And it bummed me out for a bit.  So I’ve been pouting.  Yesterday I finally put on a smile, said suck it up….train harder….and get the results you want.  So without further adieu…here is my recap of my FIRST CANADIAN RACE!

CalgaryHalf2

{ Race Goals } 

GOAL A:  1 hours, 56 minutes. This was my stretch goal, considering I felt way more prepared for the Gulf Coast Half last year where I PRd.  But if EVERYTHING lined up, and I felt stellar, then I might be able to reach this time again.

GOAL B:  2 hours.  This was my target goal.

GOAL C:  2 hours, 4 minutes.  This was my realistic goal.  Again, my training was not *stellar* as my training runs were a bit slower than anticipated, and my longest training run was 9 miles/15 km.  I would not be surprised if I came in around this time.

{ Packet Pick-up }

Packet pick-up was super convenient, as they offered three days: Thursday evening, Friday day, and Saturday day.  I simply walked to Stampede Park after work on Thursday, and had no wait lines or issues with picking up bib and tee for me and the hubby.  I did not need to park, but the email I received said that if you had a bib, then they would offer free parking!  Which is awesome in this city(compared to $15 for Stampede parking)!  The walk through was well-organized with lots of volunteers, and the expo had quite a few vendor booths.

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{ Race Day }

The hubby got up at 4:00 am, while I set my alarm for 4:45 am.  We ate our breakfast bars, triple-checked our gear, and left the condo by 6:00 am.  Earlier in the week I had walked from the starting point to home, and the path measured 1.2 miles – a perfect warm-up/cool-down distance in my mind.  Allotting for a 20 minute walk to get to the start, I wanted to make sure that we had a good 30 minutes pre-race for bathrooms, gear check, and stretching.  First stop was the bathrooms, and since it was still fairly early, we had no wait.  Then we dropped our things off at gear check, which had a minimal wait, and was SUPER organized!

Just Arrived at Stampede Park

Just Arrived at Stampede Park

Gear Check

Gear Check

We stretched for about 5 minutes, headed back to the bathrooms, this time waiting just over 5 minutes, and then made our way into the corral.  There were three corrals (A, B, C) which were grouped by general timing – a.k.a: Corral A was Half Marathon Sub 1:40, Corral B was Half Marathon Sub 2:10, etc.  We entered Corral B and shimmied our way to about halfway between it and A, since we wanted to try to stick with the 2:00 Half Marathon pacer.  The weather was a bit cool at first, around 48*F/8*C, so we each kept on cheap long-sleeve shirts that we could easily peel off and toss at the beginning of the race.  We took a few Pre-Race pics, adjusted our shoelaces, readied our music and RunKeeper, listened to the Canadian national anthem (which was a bit disorienting to my heart and ears!) and shuffled our way with the thousands of others to the starting line!

Ready to Run!

Ready to Run!

{ Course Description }

The start line was jam packed…but manageable.  The race started right at 7:00 a.m, and the temperature was PERFECT for distance running!  And even though overall it was a huge race – with the ultra runners, marathoners and half marathoners all starting together, the hubby and I did not have to weave in and out of runner – or slow down due to slower runners in the front.  It was amazing how people actually chose their corrals based on their running time!

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MILES 1-3/KM 1-5: We could not find the half marathon pacers (as you can see in the pic above, there were signs for the ultra and the full), so we settled in between the 3:45-4:00 full marathon pacers.  Once we were off, the hubby and I settled into our own pace.  I quickly realized that the 3:45 pacer group was a bit out of my reach, so I pulled back a bit.  Mile 1 took us out of Stampede Park, a lil’ dip under the overpass, and along Fort Calgary.  Then you cross a narrow bridge into the Inglewood neighborhood, cross another bridge, and head across Saint Patrick’s Island, which is near the Calgary Zoo.  By Mile 2, the hubby had already pulled ahead slightly and was about 30 seconds ahead of me – just enough for me to keep him in my sights.  He always starts out strong, but I could feel it in my gut that I wouldn’t be able to keep that pace.  Just after Mile 2, he visibly slowed down a bit to stay with me, but I was already irritable, and told him that if he could stay with the 3:45 group, to just go ahead and go.  He was hesitant, because we had talked about running the race together, but I was already agitated with my body feeling heavy and slow, so he scooted back up to about a 30 second distance between us.  Mile 2-3 took us through the Bridgeland/Riverside neighborhood, where the crowd was pretty thin.  Although…there was an Elvis sighting.  { 8:29, 8:43, 8:48 } 

Underpass "bump"

Overpass “bump” (pic found via: Twitter @CalgaryMarathon)

MILES 4-6/KM 6-10: Heading towards Mile 4, we neared the East Village….which was BY FAR, the most motivating part of the run!  Mile 5 and 6 took us through a bit of downtown, and to the entrance to 17th Ave, or the RED mile.  This portion of the course felt long and lonely too…as there were pockets of supporting at main cross-roads, but mostly the business/shopping part of the city.  Right about the 10K mark, the course runs right by our condo.  Even though my 10K split was right at 55 minutes, my mental state at this point was severely declining.  I even began to entertain the thought of, “What if I just stopped and walked home…”  UGH.  That began the negative mental train of thoughts that plagued me the rest of the run.  { 8:40, 9:04, 8:40 }

MILES 7-9/KM 11-15: It was right after the 10K mark that I first saw the 2:00 “pace bunny” – and she passed me, only to stop and walk through the next water stop.  Before the race, the hubby and I told ourselves that we would not let the 2 hour pace group pass us.  (The reason the hubby and I did not see the pacers at the start of the race was because the half marathon pacers were not holding signs…they were wearing bright shirts and hats with bunny ears.)  Just after hitting Mile 7, the course inclines up to and just over the 14th Street bridge, and this was the SECOND time the 2:00 pace bunny passed me.  Twice in less than 1 mile?!  I was mentally devastated.  Mile 8 brought us into the Kensington area, and looped around to Memorial Drive, where the hubby and I completed MOST of our runs.  Mile 9 was the turnaround spot.  One would think that seeing hundreds of runners on the opposite side of the road would be a HUGE motivator…and it normally is…but all I could think during this time was, “How much further to the turnaround???”  Every lil’ turn made me wince at the thought that I still had not reached it.  To make matters worse, I didn’t see the hubby anywhere….and I was so deflated that I could have fallen THAT FAR behind.  But then, about 15 seconds from the turnaround, the hubby passed me.  He had a very pained smile, and mouthed the words, “I’m dying.”  All I could do was shake my head, YES, with a grimace as equally disgusted as his.  { 9:15, 9:09, 9:25 }

Pace Bunny (not mine..._

Pace Bunny: not mine, but you can see the outfit (pic found via Twitter @Calgary Marathon)

MILES 10-12/KM 16-20: Up to this point, I had run through every water stop since I had my hand-held bottle.  But as I neared Mile 10 – I honestly debated stopping and walking the rest of the route.  The only thing that kept me going was that running would get me home faster than walking.  At this point, I decided to take water at the last two water stops…giving myself an easy 15-20 second walk break at each (around the 15 and 18K marks).  Every. single. step. had me calculating exactly how much longer I had to go.  The light at the end of the tunnel?  Nearing Mile 12 and heading back into the East Village.  There was live music…and AMAZING spectators, cheering, yelling your name, with awesome signs.  I got a lil’ mental (and physical) boost and decided that I only had 1.1 miles to go…so I could do anything for another 10 minutes – including keep running.{ 9:28, 10:03, 9:58 }

MILE 13.1/KM 21.1:  Right before you hit the final mile, you again face the lil’ “bump” as you go under the overpass….and I felt like the character in Lil’ Nemo by repeating over and over and over in my head, “Just Keep Swimming Running!”  The course enters Stampede Park again as you near the finish – and at every little turn I kept thinking, “The end HAS to be near!”  Then you finally see a sign that states “500 metres to the Finish!”  There are two more final turns until you finally reach the finishers chute….which is the stadium seats lined with spectators!  I honestly never even heard my name called on the loudspeaker I was in such an exalted state of finally finishing.  The hubby was literally just 20 seconds ahead of me…so it was amazing to see him right away.  { 9:35, 0.1m@9:02 }

View at Finish! (pic found via Twitter @Calgary Marathon)

View at Finish! (pic found via Twitter @Calgary Marathon)

Course

Map of Course

 

{ How did I do? }

Time: 2:01:28
Overall: 1,271 / 4,236
Gender: 491 / 2,625
Female 30-34: 103 / 453

Done

Done

{ How did the hubby do? }

Time: 2:01:14
Overall: 1,257 / 4,236
Gender: 771 / 1,629
Male 30-34: 145 / 277

{ Best Moments }

The VERY best part of this race for me was rounding the corner into the East Village (twice!).  The spectator support was AMAZING…they had live music…and aweseome signs.  Both times I ran through this point I could feel a definite pick-up in my step!

EastVillageSigns

(collage of pics found via Twitter @CalgaryMarathon)

{ Post Race }

To be honest, the post race was a blur!  We headed down the finisher’s chute to receive our medals and bottled water.  Then we stopped along the side fence and stretched for about 10 minutes because we were both feeling pretty tight.  We then followed the crowd to weave our way to the food tent where we were handed juice and Oreo’s, then directed to the food lines for Bananas, Oranges, and Potato Chips.  We only picked up a Banana.  There was a huge line for Jugo Juice smoothies – and neither of us felt like standing around waiting – so we made our way to a corner to sit and refuel.  After about 10 minutes of spacing out, we headed back to the park to pick up our gear, and did a nice, long, slow 1.2 mile walk back to the condo.  Hot epsom salt baths were definitely on the menu!

CalgaryHalfMedal

I hope you have enjoyed my race recap!

Until the next race…

Jen

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11 thoughts on “2014 Calgary Half Marathon!

  1. That kardashian sign would have left me laughing so hard I probably would have had to stop running.
    Congrats on your first Canadian half! We tend to line up in our proper corralls because its just the Canadian thing to do 😉 (kidding, I’ve been at races that are disastrous that way).

    I can’t imagine not hearing my own anthem at the beginning, that would have been disorienting for sure! Congrats on the finish! And nice bling!

    • Oh man…the signs were literally making me crack up!! I might have been delirious…but the second time I passed the lady with the “You think you’re tired…my arms are killing me” I literally laughed out loud because all I could think of was, “Yep…my arms would be like jello if I held that sign for 2 hours!” And honestly, I kind of wanted to toss in a Canadian joke about being proper…but I REALLY enjoyed it and just couldn’t knock it!!! haha. IT was truly awesome to just start your race with others at your same pace and not weave and waste engergy! xoxo. have a great day!

  2. Congrats on your first Canadian race! I love that medal, very neat. Not all races can be our best, as I also found out that weekend, but you went out there, ran and finished the race. Can’t wait to see what’s next for you!

    • Thanks Chelsea!!! Yah – the 50th anniversary medal was pretty cool 🙂 I have no idea what’s next for me…but I know I have learned quite a few lessons from this race (even though it’s my eighth half…I’m never too experienced to learn!) I look forward to following your journey of the Wine Glass Marathon!!! xoxo.

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