Well, the race out in Banff today was a wet one. This race was supposed to go through Sundance Canyon, but thanks to a recent spotting of a grizzly with her two cubs we were sent out on the backup route instead. Probably a good thing too, because even running along the roads, things were WET.... It was a pretty cool morning - I don't think it got above 39 deg the whole time I was out in Banff this morning. There was to be no parking at the start (or so we were told), so everyone was supposed to park at the CP Rail station and catch a shuttle, departing every 15 min starting at 8:30. Or so we thought. I was there right at 8:30, got on the shuttle with another fellow, only to have the driver step on board and inform us that he couldn't leave until the shuttle was full. Some 22 more people later. Some more folks showed up and we contemplated all driving to the start regardless as the shuttle driver was basically informing us that if not enough people showed up, he wouldn't take us at all. Hmmm. We were a bit worried that the rain would keep a lot of folks away, but luckily within 30 min we got our required number and took off for the start. Only to see a bunch of other people filling into the parking lot at the start which we thought we weren't supposed to do...
Anyhow, I grabbed my shirt right away as there were only 201 shirts available, but 275 people had entered. Didn't want to miss out on my shirt! The great thing about wet weather start is it really brings the camaraderie out in people. I had a great time chatting with new friends as we waited in the shelter for the race to start.
At 10:00 we were off, running the streets of Banff on a sort of double loop course. Like last week we had some issues with cars, some folks driving too fast past us runners. There were great, enthusiastic volunteers. I especially liked the "last runner" pace bike - every time I passed him he would shout out to "Go number 26!"
Thanks to the cool weather and the rain I was running pretty fast, but even still, I wound up in sight of the finish line much sooner than I anticipated. It turns out that when they had to rework the route it came out a bit short. The worst part about the route was the track we were supposed to run on at the very finish. It was kind of black sand and it was over saturated with water, as was the grass around it. I tried to run on the grass, but kept sinking in, making it hard to sprint for the finish line. I couldn't believe it when I finished in 1:00:09 (according to the Garmin, still waiting for the official results), a PR for me, but unfortunately on a short course. I measured 5.88 miles.
Here we go...the good, the bad, and the ugly from today's race:
- My shoes!! Check out the photo of our route into the finish line. I am glad I made a last minute decision to wear my trail sneaks instead of my new running shoes.
- Not quite the 6.2 mi for a true PR....
- The shuttle at the start - and then the shuttle at the end! The driver never showed up, so a few of us had to take a cab back to the parking lot.
- So overcast you couldn't see the mountains.
- The race volunteers, and all the enthusiastic runners that were out there.
- The swag bag was awesome, and the shirt was really nice. Hopefully with no shows thanks to the weather there weren't any disappointed people who didn't get their shirts.
All in all, it was actually a really fun day. Afterwards a few of us met in Canmore at the Grizzly Paw micro-brew pub for a rewarding lunch. What a blast.