Sunday, July 8, 2007

HSBC Calgary Half Marathon - Race Report

Today was the big day - I ran my first ever half marathon! The weather was perfect - about 14C or 57F most of the way, and overcast the entire time. I woke up at about 4:30 am and made it downtown just before 6:00. I hung out in my car for a bit, trying to eat my peanut butter sandwich, which was tough because my mouth was so dry from nerves probably! I made my way over to the start, checked my dry gear bag and then hung out inside the Mewata Armoury with everyone else. I met two ladies, one running the Nike Women's full marathon in October, the other going Goofy in January. It was fun chatting about our upcoming races! Moving outside I started talking to a fellow originally from South Africa. He only runs half marathons now, but he has run the Comrades Marathon 8 times, finishing 7 of those times (check out the link, it is an intense race). A really interesting fellow to chat with! You have to love the friendly atmosphere at these races.
We were off at 7 am with an honest to goodness shot gun start, and were running through downtown. About 2.5 miles in we reached the Stampede fair grounds where we were greeted by lots of folks. A fellow at the entrance was stamping hands for anyone who wanted to come back and get in for free today, but I didn't take advantage of that unfortunately! All of the concessions were closed except for a coffee shack, and I heard a few murmurs around me of how great a coffee would be at this point in time. We exited the fair grounds and started making our way towards the zoo. At one intersection a woman was pleading and crying with the cop who was stopping traffic for the runners. I guess she was late for work and really needed to get through, except there really wasn't anything the cop could do. I really liked running through the zoo, however if the race would have been more packed at this point it may not have been as much fun. The route narrowed and we zig zagged downhill and we ran past a few animal enclosures. I didn't notice too many animals out, although I did see a little mountain goat. We zig zagged up hill out of the zoo and were back to running on roads. There was not too much in the way on entertainment on the course, but I really enjoyed the Elvis impersonator getting close to the end. We ran past him twice and he was having such a good time calling out to the runners and cheering them on that he forgot where he was in the song he was singing. The worst part about the race route was definitely the finish. Two big overpasses to climb all in the last half a mile. I also measured the course a bit long at 13.43 miles, so while I definitely got my money's worth, it was hard to kick it in for the end since you weren't sure exactly how much longer you had to go. Running into the finish felt great though, and it was an amazing feeling to have the medal put around my neck.
They had quite a bit of food out for the runners afterwards - bagels (with peanut butter and jam), bananas, oranges, rice pudding, cookies, granola bars, yogurt and coffee. You could even sign up for a massage afterwards but I skipped on that since I didn't want to wait around too long.
All in all a great race, with my only downside being a blister I developed on the arch of my right foot about 5 miles in. There was amazing volunteer support along the course. They did a great job. All of the course marshals had maracas to cheer the runners on and keep us motivated. A few more bands along the way would have been great though. I have to say, I thought there was supposed to be gel available at at least one stop along the way and I didn't see it. Since I was carrying my own this didn't impact me at all. My results were posted by the time I got home from the race:
Final Place 1522 of 2090
Place in Sex 750/1199 F
Place in Division 152/205 Women 25-29
Gun Time 2:23:05
Chip Time 2:21:32


greg said...

Great job, Leana! The weather was absolutely perfect. Sounds like you had a great time, not to mention a great race.

I don't think we've seen temps in the 50s since April. I loved your comment a few days ago about the heat in Texas. It reminded me of when I traveled to Ontario and raced in a 15K. The temp was about 70 F and my niece and I were dumbfounded to hear folks talking about how hot and humid it was going to be - all the way up to 78 that day! I guess it's all relative.

Leah said...

Congratulations on a great race!

Bill said...

Sounds like a great race! The idea of running through a zoo sounds like lots of fun. And I have to admit, I'm getting jealous of those kind of temps when it comes to running (I'm lucky if it gets a low of 74 on most days right now).

Great job!

Runner Gal Leana said...

Thanks guys!!

Ken said...

U Rock Runner Gal. Looks like it was great weather to run with a few hundred of your closest friends.

TNT Coach Ken

runningdave said...

I thought peanut butter sandwiches were my secret weapon! Oh well, great job!

matt garza said...

Congratulations! I am running a half marathon in October. I've ran for a few years but only on my own and was very lazy about it. I figured signing up for the half marathon would really get me motivated. I am doing "team 13" training for it and that has REALLY helped me. I never ran with anyone before the training and I found out that I LOVE running with others. Quitting becomes almost unimagineable when you have about 100 other people running with you. Right now we are only at about 4 miles but we'll do a 5 mile on Saturday. I'm running about 3.5 times as frequently as what I ran prior to the training and it feels good to see, after just a few short weeks, the effects of the training. I'm hooked!