Hello Friends! Its been awhile since I’ve posted I know…Life has been crazy this spring but i’m all moved into my new condo and ready to jump back into my running/blogging routine, I promise 🙂
…So why not kick off my return to this blog with a race recap! This past weekend I ran the half marathon as part of the 52nd annual Calgary Marathon weekend. Over 10,000 runners took part in everything from kids races to a 5k, 10k, half marathon, full marathon and even an ultra 50k. I was really looking forward to running a local race (something I hardly ever do anymore) plus there was going to be a super hero costume contest so you know I just had to run!
The Expo – Saturday May 28th
The expo was held at the Big Four building at the Stampede Grounds. Packet pickup was well organized and the lines weren’t too long even when the expo opened at 10:00 am on Saturday. I didn’t have much time to explore the vendors but there seemed to be quite a good turnout with a lot of booths for other local races offering discounts on registration. I was short on time since my girlfriend was getting married that afternoon but I did manage to attend the #werunsocial meetup. It was fantastic meeting these ladies! I love
meeting other runners and exchanging our stories – it is always so inspiring! After saying my hello’s and picking up some pretty cool swag courtesy of Brooks Running I was on my home to quickly change and hopefully make it to the church on time.
Race Day – Sunday May 29th
The half, full and ultra races started at 7:00 am so it was going to be an early morning. There was minimal parking available at the stampede grounds and with the amount of road closures downtown and the possibility of not finding a spot I decided to take the C-Train. I tell ya, the looks I got dressed as wonder woman riding the C-Train at 5:00 am lol it was interesting to say the least…
I arrived at the Stampede grounds shortly after 6:00 am and dropped off my belongings at bag check with little to no wait. The starting line was just outside the stadium so it was such a treat to actually wait indoors (and keep warm) before the race and use real washrooms. Just before 7:00 am I headed out to the start.
Corrals were self-seeding so you just lined up near one of the flags that represented your anticipated finish time. I was interested to see how this would play out since the half, full and ultra all started together. I was worried about how crowded it would be and if I would be weaving through runners who hadn’t been honest about their pacing when lining themselves up. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised – there was a ton of space on the roads to spread out right from the start and crowding was never an issue.
I can’t speak for the other routes but the half marathon course was awesome! It took runners through the East Village, Inglewood, Bridgeland, down 17th Ave, Kensington, and down Memorial drive before returning to the Stampede grounds. Crowd support was
great with lots of little cheering stations throughout the race. I was pleasantly surprised to see so many aid stations (about every 3 km) especially since the weather turned out to be much warmer than expected. Aid stations were stocked with plenty of water and Ultima and even cold wet sponges. I believe they did give out Honey Stinger gels around mile 9 or so but my stomach is pretty sensitive to the honey stinger brand so I stuck with the Gu gels I brought for myself.
Overall, I really enjoyed the course with the only exception being an out and back
section on Memorial which seemed to last forever – in fact most of miles 8-11 were brutal. Very little entertainment and just a long stretch in the hot sun. Miles 11-12 were marginally better but it had us retracing our steps through the East Village where we had run earlier in the morning – would have been nice to run some new roads but, regardless, I was excited to be in the home stretch.
Before I knew it I was entering the Stampede grounds with less than 1 km to go. It was at this point I decided to check my Garmin and see how I was doing for time…
My only goal for this race was to finish. I’d had some issues with my knee over the last month so
running/training had been minimal with a focus on just strengthening my knee. I was absolutely shocked to see that I might actually PR! My legs had felt like lead weights since the beginning of the race, probably due to lack of training, so I didn’t feel fast at all and was just happy to be finishing.
It didn’t end up being much of a PR, only by a minute, but I managed to cross the finish with a time of 2:41:36! Not fast by some standards but fast for me! I picked up my awesome super hero themed medal and headed off to bag check to pick up my stuff. With the wedding the night before and the early morning I was pretty wiped so I didn’t stick around very long after race.
For anyone out there who is a fan of How I Meet Your Mother I was super worried that after sitting on the C-Train for the 40 minute ride home i’d end up stuck like Barney did after his marathon haha but luckily I made it home with no issues.
Overall, for anyone local or even within a few hour commute of Calgary I would totally recommend this race! I usually run much larger races, like the RunDisney events, so I was worried how this would live up to some of my previous race experiences. It was an incredibly well organized event with lots of entertainment and course support – plus its a Boston qualifier for those running the marathon. I can’t recall what I paid for registration but I remember it being very reasonable price wise – totally worth the money in my opinion.
My only critique/suggestion to race organizers, being that it is such a large event, would be to space out the races over the weekend. Im sure it would be quite costly for organizers with all the road closures but I would love to have run the 5k or 10k on Saturday and then the Half or Full Sunday. With all the events squeezed into the same day it was a little difficult to run more than one race – although I do know some people who finished the Half and then went on to run the 5k right after.
So that’s it! Half marathon number 7 is now in the books 🙂
I hope to run a few more local races this summer but haven’t decided or registered for any just yet. I am registered for Rock n Roll Last Vegas though so at least, for now, I have to look forward too. Until next time…Happy Running!!