2015 Calgary Half Marathon!


Hello friends!  One year ago, I ran my first Canadian Half Marathon!  (Remember my very first 13.1 HERE?!)  If you were reading me back then, you may remember that it was a TOUGH race for me.  As in…definitely not one of my finest efforts.  And it bummed me out – so I’ve trained hard over the last four months in order to make a comeback this year!

{ Race Goals } 

GOAL A:  1 hour, 56 minutes. This was my stretch goal.  It’s only 1 minute off of my personal best, but if EVERYTHING lines up, and I feel stellar, then I have a shot at reaching this time.  { 8:51/mile }

GOAL B:  1 hour, 58 minutes.  This was my target goal.  { 9:00/mile }

GOAL C:  2 hours. This was my “it’s not my best running day – but I just ran 13.1 miles” goal.  { 9:09/mile }

{ Packet Pick-up }

Just like last year, packet pick-up was super convenient, as they offered three days: Thursday evening, Friday day, and Saturday day.  We walked to Stampede Park Saturday morning, and had no wait lines or issues with picking up bib and tee for me and the hubby.  We received the traditional red Scotiabank pack, a clear gear-check bag, and a 2015 Canadian race guide.  We did not need to park, but the email I received said that if you had a bib, then they would offer free parking!  The walk through was well-organized with lots of volunteers, and the expo had quite a few vendor booths.

{ Race Day }

The race started 30 minutes earlier this year – 6:30 AM.  So we set our alarms for 4:00 am, ate our breakfast ( (we like to have a full 2 hours to digest before the race), triple-checked our gear, and left the condo at 5:30 am. We knew from last year that the 1.2 mile walk to the start was a perfect warm-up time/distance.  We wanted to make sure that we had a good 30 minutes pre-race for bathrooms, gear check, and warm-up stretches.  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, with no wait, and which was SUPER organized!  The start line was jam packed…but manageable.  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.  The race started right on time, and the temperature was nice at 9*C – which only lasted for about the first 20 minutes!



{ Course Description }

This time around, I knew what to expect!  We quickly scanned the crowd for the pace bunnies.  The hubby wanted to stay close to the 1:45 pacers, and I wanted to stay near the 1:55 pacers, so we picked a spot right in between.  My first mile is always quite a bit quicker than my actual race pace, so I knew I would be ok with the slightly faster crowd in the beginning.

MILES 1-3/KM 1-5: 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 (where Elvis made another appearance this year), and head across Saint Patrick’s Island, which is near the Calgary Zoo. Mile 2-3 took us through the Bridgeland/Riverside neighborhood, where the crowd was thin, but there were still a few people out cheering, and a band was playing on the balcony of a restaurant.  I was feeling pretty good though the first 5K.  My first mile was a lil’ fast (around 8:12), but then Miles 2 & 3 eased back to a more sustainable (8:40-ish/mile) pace.

MILES 4-6/KM 6-10: Heading towards Mile 4, we neared the East Village, which was, like last year, the most motivating part of the run!  We were greeted with signs, cheers, a live band, and lots of bubbles!  Mile 5 and 6 took us through a bit of downtown, and to the entrance to 17th Ave.  17th Ave was sparse, but it did feel like there were a few more pockets of support than last year.  I think I may have slowed just a bit near the end of mile 4 (as there was a slight hill, and again just around Mile 5.5…but then I got my second wind along mile 6 – most likely due to a completely shaded long stretch!  I felt strong, and ran hard, and pulled off a strong 10K.  {55 min, 26 sec 10K split – 8:55/mile }

MILES 7-9/KM 11-15: Just after hitting Mile 7, the course inclines up to and just over the 14th Street bridge.  This was the point last year when I got passed by the 2:00 pace bunny – twice in one mile!  But this year, I kept running strong, and was counting my blessings that the 1:55 pacers had not yet passed me!  Mile 8 brought us into the Kensington area, and looped around to Memorial Drive, where the hubby and I complete most of our outdoor runs – so the course was quite familiar.  Just after mile 8, I was passed by the first 1:55 pacer – the chic was running strong and steady, and although I tried to keep up with her, my legs just weren’t moving that fast.  My plan was to try to keep her in my sights, and then just before mile 9, I got passed by the second 1:55 pacer.  I’m assuming one pacer is near the front of the time goal, while the second pacer is near the back end of the time goal, allowing for a small target range at the finish.  He was also running strong – chatting with someone at his side.  And although I was a little bummed at not being able to keep up with either of them, I was still pretty happy with how I was running and how I was feeling.  I was already nearly 5 minutes faster at this point than where I was last year…and mentally, 100% better!  I resolved to keep the last 1:55 pacer in my sights for as long as I could…(which ended up being for the next mile and a half!)  Mile 9 was the turnaround spot – and this year I appreciated it for what it was worth…seeing hundreds of runners on the opposite side of the road as a HUGE motivator.  It was also along this out and back that I saw the hubby and realized he was just under 1 mile/2 km in front of me (he was just a bit behind the 1:45 pacer, so we were both in the spots that we wanted to be!) – so I was pretty excited for both of us!

MILES 10-12/KM 16-20:  This was probably the only point in the race that my mind started thinking about how much further I had left.  I blame in on the really long stretch along Memorial Drive (miles 8.5 – 11).  I also lost sight of the 1:55 pacer just after mile 10.  My plan readjusted to: “Just don’t let the 2:00 pacer pass me!”  Just after Mile 11, we reached the Center Street bridge (and some much needed SHADE!) and headed towards Mile 12 at the East Village gathering.  The music was still going strong, and the spectators were AMAZING – cheering, yelling your name, and waving around their awesome signs.

MILE 13.1/KM 21.1:  After passing through East Village, you enter a somewhat half mile/1 km ghost zone of downtown.  But as soon as you turn the corner for the straight stretch along 4th St SW, heading towards Stampede Park, the streets is full of spectators again!  You tackle the lil’ “bump” again as you go under the overpass, and as this is the third time, this bump just plain sucks!!!  The course enters Stampede Park again as you near the finish – with two final turns until you reach the finishers chute….which is the stadium seats lined with spectators!

Calgary Course & Elevation Profile

Calgary Course & Elevation Profile

{ How did I do? }

Time: 1:58:16 (9:01/mile)
Overall: 1,110 / 3,304
Gender: 400 / 1,867
Female 30-34: 83 / 353

It looks like I was fairly consistent between my first half of the race and my second half of the race, only adding 6 seconds/mile (4 seconds/km) in the second half (8:55/mile 10K, and 9:02/mile overall).  In the world of running splits – I must not be in the favor of the gods – because AFTER the race, while we stretching, I set my phone on a trailer hitch, about 1.5 ft off the ground, and it slipped off, cracking the screen and breaking.  I could not save my RunKeeper data…therefore I cannot access my splits for the second time this year (remember when my RunKeeper would not get the signal in Portland)!  *womp-womp.*  But I know how I felt, and how I finished.  I definitely felt really strong for the first 10K, and continued strong through the next 5K, but like my hubby, I know the 5K (couple of miles) were not my strongest.  I still have my heart set on breaking 1:55, but I knew it would be hard to get a PR (personal record) on this course.  I’m still happy that I broke 2 hours on this course, and even happier that I beat last year’s time!!!


{ How did the hubby do? }

Time: 1:51:26 (8:30/mile)
Overall: 733 / 3,304
Gender: 520 / 1,434
Male 30-34: 113 / 255

Amazing – again!!!  His 10K split was 8:23/mile, and his overall average was 8:30/mile.  He was just one minute, 16 seconds off of his Portland PR – and I think with a few thousand feet difference in elevation, he should be pretty darn proud – I know I am proud of him!!!  He pushed through, stayed strong, and ran hard!  I know he has his eyes set on breaking 1:50, and I believe he will get that this year!


{ Post Race }

I texted the hubby as soon as I crossed the finish line, because I knew he had finished quite a few minutes ahead of me, and wasn’t sure if he would be allowed to wait for me in the finishers chute.  He is such a gentleman…flagging me down and handing me a bottle of water!  I ashed how he did – he said great, but felt his last two miles were sluggish.  I couldn’t believe I felt the exact same way.  Perhaps it’s the drastic elevation difference we felt vs. Portland…but there was a definite overall difference in how we felt at the end of this race.  We continued to the end of the finishers chute…and found a corner to stretch in.  It’s a little disappointing that you have to walk quite a ways to get your post-race food bag.  In it was a juice box, a packet of Oreos, a small bag of chips, and a banana.  My banana was pure green…and I was not able to even peel it.  { grumpy face }  I was highly disappointed with the food selection – a bigger selection of any of the following would have been welcomed: muffins/bagels/oranges/ripe bananas.  Same as last year, there was a huge line for Jugo Juice smoothies – and neither of us felt like standing around waiting – so we made our way back to gear check.  I wasn’t feeling the best at this point, so I stopped and stretched and consumed both my juice and the hubby’s (since I didn’t get a banana and he already ate his before we discovered my situation.)  I think perhaps I was a bit overheated?  Even though the temperature was pretty perfect, it ended up being full sun (no clouds like originally predicted) and about 3/4 of the race is without shade.  After a good 15 minutes of cooling down and stretching, we met up with a co-worker and friend to see how his race went, and then decided to head home for some real food.  We scarfed down some Gatorade and pizza, then took a hot epsom salt bath to soak the muscles, and just relaxed the rest of the day!

Post Race!

Post Race!

Check out this amazing picture of the medal (with the Calgary Tower in the background!) from the lovely Leana:

copyright: Leana @ Runner Leana

copyright@ Runner Leana


{ Alberta Blogger Recaps }

Feel free to check out the reviews of other area bloggers:

Leana@ Runner Leana (Half)

Jen@ Pretty Little Grub (Half)

Kaella@ Kaella On the Run (Half)

Jo@ Living Mint Green (Half)

Kris@ Canadian Girl Runs (10K)

Leigh@ All You Need Is Love (10K)

Ashley@ Adventure to Anywhere (10K)

Tina@ Fabulosi-T (Half recap soon)

Sue@ Do Things Always (Half recap soon)

I hope you have enjoyed my race recap!

Until the next race…



5 thoughts on “2015 Calgary Half Marathon!

  1. Just remember that heat and elevation are tricky and unless your 100% adapted to them it will adversely affect your performance so in actually it probably converts a bit faster.

  2. So glad you met your goal! Wish I could have met up with you there. One of these days for sure.
    The finisher bag of food was definitely disappointing I will be giving that feedback for sure.

  3. I am so happy you met your goal! Reading your recap I’m pretty sure we must have been really close to each other lol!! I was sad when the 1:55 pacers passed me as I really wanted to PR but my back just wasn’t cooperating.

    I would love to meet you next time!!

    Congrats again to you and your hubby!!

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