2015 Calgary Police Half Marathon!

Province1AB

Hello friends!  Sunday, April 26th marked my ninth Half Marathon (remember my very first 13.1 HERE?!) and the hubby’s fourth half!

calgary half logo

{ Race Goals } 

GOAL A:  1 hours, 58 minutes. This was my stretch goal, considering I felt like I hit a wall at mile 9 when we did our 11.5 mile “practice run” along the course last Sunday – when I averaged a 9:04/mile pace.  If I could keep up that pace (or better) until the end, then I could cross the line at this goal of 9 minute miles!

GOAL B:  2 hours, 2 minutes.  This was my realistic goal – a “more comfortable” 9:18/mile pace that allowed for some cushion on those hills!

GOAL C:  2 hours, 6 minutes.  This was my “it’s not my best running day – but I just ran 13.1 miles” goal.  If I could maintain a solid 9:36/mile, then I could reach this!

{ Packet Pick-up }

Packet pick-up was super convenient, as they offered two full days: Friday (12am-8pm) and Saturday (9am-5pm).  Pick-up was at the Mt. Royal University Rec Center (which is also the start/finish line), and parking was free for the first 30 min. I arrived around 1:30 pm on Friday and there were no wait lines or issues with picking up bib and shirt for me and the hubby.  Since we signed up late, we were not guaranteed a shirt, but the fabulous race organizers had a few extras on hand!  The walk through was well-organized with lots of volunteers, and The Tech Shop had a huge sale on clothing and shoes.  Very organized!

policeshirts

{ Race Day }

We only live about 10 minutes away, so we set our alarms for 5:30 am.  We ate our breakfast, triple-checked our gear, and left the condo by 6:45 am.  Allotting for 20 minutes to drive and park, I wanted to make sure that we had a good 45 minutes pre-race for bathrooms, shirt swap, and stretching.  First stop was the bathrooms, and since it was fairly early, we had no wait.  Then we headed to the gym to swap out the shirts (they ran small), which again had no wait, and was very easy!

We stretched for about 10 minutes, headed back to the bathrooms, this time waiting just over 5 minutes, and then stretched some more before making our way outside and to the start.  The weather was very cool, around 33*F/0*C, so we each we dressed in tights and a long sleeve shirt.  The hubby actually wore two long-sleeve shirts (a thin undershirt, and a thicker pullover.  I tend to get VERY warm when I run, so I just had on a tanktop under my Oiselle lux top.)  We took a few Pre-Race pics, readied our music and RunKeeper, listened to the Canadian national anthem (still a bit disorienting to my heart and ears!), and waited for the police helicopter to fly overhead and send us on our way!  We were near the front, so we had plenty of room to go our own pace and not have to zig-zag!

Check out the video clip of the start – you can see us right in the middle – we stand out in our red shirts!

{ Course Description }

PoliceHalfMarkers

Pic via Terry - thanks!

Pic via Terry – thanks!

MILES 1-3/KM 1-5: The race starts at Mt. Royal University, and winds it’s way mostly downhill through the streets east and then south through the neighborhoods, and up a ramp to cross the highway and head towards the Glenmore Reservoir.   {8:10, 8:23, 8:49} 

MILES 4-6/KM 6-10: There was a long stretch of a *slightly* uphill road that followed along North Glenmore Park. As soon as you enter the park, you fly down a massive hill and enter Weaselhead Flats.  This is my favorite part of the course…running on a path among the trees!  Leading up to mile 6, you soon experience the other end of the massive hill – and steadily plod your way uphill for a good mile.  Hence the 40+ seconds added to mile 6!  {8:55, 8:36, 9:19}

MILES 7-9/KM 11-15: This section starts once you crest the hill, and  winds it’s way back down though the next two miles.  I think that’s why I’m surprised that I had a really really bad pain in my right side (under the rib cage) during miles 7-9.  Perhaps I was trying to run too fast before recovering from the hil… but I tried beating the cramp out of me as I was running…I tried slowing down and taking deeper breaths…I tried matching my breath to my footfall…and nothing helped.  All I can really remember from this section is how bad I hurt, yet didn’t want to walk.  The hubby ran with me the entire race, and when he looked over, heard my labored breathing and me beating my side, he soon realized that I was in *legitimate* pain.  He suggested we walk a bit, but I was stubborn, and shook my head no, and kept going.  At some point I just realized the pain had lessened…but I think my mental toughness had already started to waiver.  This section was pretty much the end of the Reservoir wilderness section, and soon led us into Heritage Park.  {8:46, 9:03, 8:54}

MILES 10-12/KM 16-20: After breezing through Heritage Park, you do a short stint through a neighborhood until you reach the dreaded “Hospital Hills” where you literally feel like you are running through molasses!  Just past the hospital, you cross the interstate again and do a small loop around the reservoir dam.  Once you cross the dam, you think DAMN!  Because you quickly realize it’s nothing but UPHILL from here…   {9:11, 9:23, 9:20}

MILE 13.1/KM 21.1:  You leave Glenmore Park just before Mile 12, and hit the streets again heading west back to the University.  This is one LONG uphill…and what makes it even harder, is that you can see nothing but hill the entire time.  *UMPH*  At about mile 12.5 you start thinking back to the beginning of the race and give yourself hell for being pleased with a fast (downhill) time!  At the time, you didn’t even pause to consider the implications of running downhill.  You continue up, and up, and up, until at last the University is in sight.  But there is still no relief until you circle around and FINALLY see the final stretch.  Miles 12.5-13 are full of spectators, so you get a much needed boost to your confidence level in actually finishing the race.   Then you do the “Spectator Sprint!”  lol.  {9:41, 0.1m@9:05}

CalgaryPoliceFinal

{ How did I do? }

Time: 1:59:18
Overall: 481 / 1051
Gender: 151
Female 30-39: 57 / 166

{ How did the hubby do? }

Time: 1:59:10
Overall: 476 / 1051
Gender: 328
Male 30-39: 103 / 163

{ Best Moments }

The VERY best part of this race for me was the entire first half!  I felt strong.  I felt confident.  And I really, really liked feeling that way for 10K!

{ Post Race }

I have to admit, being a first-timer at this race, I was a bit confused by the post race.  You cross the line, get a bottle of water and your medal, and then there is nothing but a mass of people.  I might have been in a daze, but I didn’t see any signage for where to get the post-race food.  We headed inside the gym, just because we didn’t see anything immediately around us, and made our way back to where we started our day.  We then climbed down the stairs to get to the gym floor where we saw the tables set-up with muffins, bananas, fruit juice, and cookies!  We moaned as we climbed back up the stairs to find a spot to sit and stretch and devour our well-deserved cookies!  We stretched for about 15 minutes, then decided to head back outside for a cool-down walk.  But when we felt the frigid air, we decided to head straight to the car and head home instead.  We couldn’t believe how warm we were while running…and then how very cold we were when we stopped!

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I hope you have enjoyed my race recap!

Until the next race…

PoliceHalfCollage

Jen

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