Posted by: pursuingsub17 | June 8, 2013

My somewhat race report for Calgary half marathon


I should be writing these things the next day. I’m just usually too damn tired and of course, always have to be at work the next day and I’m so damn busy there, I don’t have time – and then I train.

Not much to say really. It wasn’t my best race – but it wasn’t the worst either – and given the conditions, I actually didn’t do too bad. I beat myself up over it when I finished but looking back, I actually did well all things considered.

For starters, it was in Calgary so I booked a hotel for the night before but we didn’t leave Edmonton until noon. That put us in Calgary for race kit pick up at 3pm and I was a wreck thinking we wouldn’t make it in time. But we were still rushed. I wanted to go to Tri-it to see if they had any sales on. Despite finding my cool race suit for Challenge Penticton, that put us at 4:30pm at the hotel. We had to rush to unpack, change, head to the Spaghetti Factory for an early dinner (reservations were for 5:30) and then back to the hotel so we could relax in the hot tub. Dinner was good – but alas, the hotel got rid of their hot tub. So back to the room where I stretched, decided to look at the race course for the first time (big mistake) and then hit the pillow.

There were several “pre-race” mistakes that were made here kids. First, my anxiety level was too high because we didn’t leave early for the trip and therefore had no time to just relax the day before. Everything was just go, go, go. NEVER will I do that again for an out-of-town race. On top of that, my back and hips were tight from the ride down – with no time to get out and stretch along the road trip. Mistake two was looking at the race course for the first time the night before. I knew there were no big elevations but I never bothered to study the course to make sure I didn’t get lost. While I was able to get to sleep okay, I woke up three hours later with an irrational fear that I would not remember the course and get lost.

Rookie mistakes – I should know better.

Additionally, we discovered at 2am that we were given a room directly below a double door party room. So after I finally got to sleep, I awoke an hour later to hear stomping and a fiddle. Far be it from me to get angry over a caleigh but in this case, I had to be up in three hours and I had only had about 3 hours of sleep. Earplugs in, I could still hear everything and Marc was furious. We had to call the front desk twice to get them to shut down the party and even then, it only lasted an hour before they started up again.

This isn’t a rookie mistake. This is just plain disappointing and one of those things that you can’t control before race morning. I was angry but I thought – well, I did my first half ironman with only 4 hours of sleep. This isn’t an A race. I won’t expect a pr now. It’s okay. (But I still complained to the front desk the next day).

Race morning – I was hydrated. I was so tired I was relaxed and acting silly. But at the same time, not thinking clearly. I decided to keep my jacket on since it was only plus 6 – not remembering I can handle the cold well racing and I tend to overheat more easily than others. Race day mistake number one. Number two was not doing a warm up. I had lots of time. But I hung around with Marc cracking jokes and acting stupid. Number three was suddenly realizing how many people were in the corral with me and getting overwhelmed. Yes, I had my watch ready to hit “start” but when I crossed the start line and heard my “beep”, I got caught up with the rest of those around me and bolted too hard too early. Mistake four.

Remember how I obsessed about getting lost on the race course? Well, to make sure I didn’t get lost, I tried desperately to keep up with anyone wearing a 21.1 race shirt because I had lost my pace bunny. Not sure if this is a rookie mistake – but in my foggy mind from lack of sleep, this is all I focused on for 3/4 of the race. Although – this might have been key to at least get me to keep moving.

Marc had suggested a throw away bottle of hydration mix and Carbo Pro. This was a good idea and I’ll remember it for race day at Challenge Penticton. However, mistake five occurred when I opted to blow past the water stations thinking I was plenty hydrated. I wasn’t. Remember that I decided to wear a jacket? I was sweating profusely at the 2km mark and peeled it off at that point already so, yes, I sweated a lot and did not replace it with much needed water. I know better. What the heck was  I thinking? This was not my typical routine.

I did have plenty of fuel though because of that bottle of magical mix as well as three gels along the way. But dehydration got the best of me at 14km when my performance declined considerably. At 10k, my time was 1:06. That should have put me at my current pr of 2:12. But somewhere between that point and 19km, I slowed down considerably. Everything hurt. I picked it up at 20km but by then, it was too late to make up for lost time. I crossed at 2:20 – 5 minutes slower than my slowest time.

It was, however, a fun race. The Calgary Marathon (and half and 10k) is well supported. There were thousands of people there to watch and all along the course there was quite a bit of entertainment and people holding signs that made you laugh and push on. I’d do it again. I’d just be better prepared.

I have to add though my final mistake was not making arrangements with Marc as to where we should meet after the race. There must have been 10,000 people just in the stands! I had no phone and no money. But I did find a good Samaritan who must have seen that I was tired and ready to start crying so she gave me her cell phone so I could call Marc. Whew!

After, I posed for my product shot for Big Chief beef jerky. It’s a good one! If I find the link, I’ll post it. Of course I munched on my protein stick from them afterward :).

But, friends, there is always a silver lining to every cloud. Back at the hotel, because I just did the half, we were able to still shower and pack before checking out. I then complained about the party above us (and was told it was a birthday party – to which I responded “yeah? so?”). Really, why would the hotel, knowing I was in the race the next day AND I was a Starwood Preferred Guest, put me in a room directly below a party room that they knew was booked for that night? Anyway, they offered a free brunch for both Marc and myself. I was a little disgruntled – thinking a free night might have been more in order because I wasn’t sure if I wanted to stay at that hotel again – but the breakfast proved to be the best thing about that weekend. The place was pretty empty as brunch was almost over. Marc and I helped ourselves to as much food as possible. Turning to go back to my table, I saw a familiar face – Simon Whitfield! We had wanted to meet him so badly that weekend for an autograph but missed every opportunity. And here he was.

Marc, being much braver than myself, got up and asked him for his autograph. What an incredibly nice guy! He was so friendly and both of us got to shake his hand. After years, Marc finally got to meet his hero…and I must admit, I was a bit starstruck as well but also very impressed by how gracious Mr. Whitfield was…and just really down to earth.

So, that my friends, is my long race report. Lessons definitely learned – including to quit beating myself up over my finishing time. I didn’t get a PR, but it got the race cobwebs out of my head, got some new lessons learned (big one being it might be my hydration and not my nutrition that is hampering performance) and was reminded of old ones, and we got to meet Simon Whitfield. So overall, 5 stars out of 5!

Next up – Lake Summerside Olympic distance triathlon next weekend. Just signed up today…why? Cause Marc got a great job and we’re suddenly in a whole new position financially!!!! Ah, but that’s another blog.

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