Sunday, June 15, 2008

Race Report - Footstock Half Marathon

Saturday morning was sunny and clear, and a balmy 4 deg C (39 deg F). I had faith that the temperature would warm up and that running in the sun would help to warm me up so I opted to wear a long sleeve shirt and a running skirt. I drove up to the race start in Cochrane and saw all kinds of people wearing rain jackets and pants, but I still felt pretty confident in my decision. I wandered around inside of the rec centre and hit the bathroom several times prior to the 8 am start. Just before I was about to head outside to the start I ran into Andra. We said hello, talked about the race and wished each other good luck. As I made my way into the start line I got kicked in the shin by a girl trying to warm up, then had my toes stepped on by another participant. Things were off to a good start! The national anthem was sung, then the countdown was on...then we were off! I have to say that I felt like one of those kids that didn't study for a big test and was hoping to hand in a pass flying by the seat of their pants. I never really analyzed the race route or paid attention to any major elevation changes. I had heard about a big hill, but then assumed the rest would be flat. Ha, was probably better that I didn't know what I was getting myself into. The run started off on the shale pathway along the Bow River and it was so pretty out. It warmed up quickly and people were shedding their jackets pretty early on in to the race. There was terrific scenery as we ran by the river and through some wooded areas. All of a sudden we were out into a residential neighbourhood, then out on to a street. And that's when I saw it...the hill. This hill was pretty intimidating. A bunch of people stopped to walk, one guy flew past me straight up it, and I was determined to run the whole thing. When I thought we had almost crested the hill we were directed to cross the street and keep going. The lady directing traffic yelled, "Way to go, you are over half way up the hill!" Half way? Geez, I thought we were almost there! I kept chugging along though. Just as I finally crested the hill I ran next to a guy who said, "Each year I hate that hill more and more. But now we have 8k of gravel to run on!" 8k of gravel...really? A few steps later the pavement ended and we were on a gravel road running toward the middle of nowhere. There were fields around us and the mountains off in the distance. It looked absolutely gorgeous out, with one exception. That gravel road kept going up. Uphill...seriously? I just kept plodding along determined to keep running (I had only taken some quick walk breaks at the aid stations to drink and another one to down some Sport Beans). All the participants were really cheering each other on as either you passed them or they passed you. That was a lot of fun! Because we were running an out and back eventually we saw the leaders heading toward us and they were really booking it! We just kept running up and up and I kept thinking about how grateful I would be for that downhill on the way back. Finally at 6.5 miles we hit the turn around. I really wanted to pick it up on the downhill but the gravel made footing a bit tricky so I didn't make up quite as much time as I would have hoped. I was so happy to see that gravel end! I flew down the big hill and then it was back on to the shale pathway. The last 5k of the race seemed to go on forever. I thought I had a shot to PR, but I knew it was going to be close. My pace was okay but it felt like my legs were going so slow... Reviewing my mile splits after the fact I know this wasn't the case but mentally I was starting to pack it in. It was pretty hot out and there was a bit of uphill at the end that just sucked any last energy out of me. When I crossed the line I knew I had run the best that I could that day, but unfortunately it wasn't quite there for a PR. Close though! Andra had beat me in by a few minutes and she was cheering me on at the finish line and managed to catch a couple pictures. After crossing the finish line I got my medal, picked up some food and sat down where Andra found me and we continued to chat a bit more. Afterwards I dropped some of my snacks off at the car and was ready for the pancake breakfast....yummy! I sat in the sun munching on my pancakes and breakfast sausage and talked about the race with my dad on the phone. Just as I was about to leave I thought I'd check the area where they were giving out the awards and it turns out I won a door prize! It is a Friday night family pack to the bowling alley in Cochrane - bowling for up to six people with shoes, pizza, wings and pop thrown in. So no PR, but I did get a door prize! Here are the final numbers:
Overall 194 out of 308
Place in Sex 110/205 F
Place in Division 37/64 Female 30-39
Gun Time 2:15:37
Chip Time 2:15:25
*I didn't see this until later - there is me in my Disney marathon shirt, and the lady behind me is wearing her Disneyland half shirt. Pretty cool, eh?*


She Who Makes Waves said...

Great report Leana! Great race time too, considering that hill! Lucky you on winning a draw prize. It was nice to meet you and maybe we'll catch up at another race one day.

If you want to send your email address to me at I will forward the photos to you through my telus address.

Scott said...


Great job!! Can't believe there was a massive hill followed by GRAVEL LOL!

I know what you mean when you say you had that "pack it in" feeling...I felt that during my last half marathon as well. It had to be tough running uphill for so long and then not being able to benefit from the downhill due to the slippery gravel surface.

You did a great job though and those pancakes were well earned!

Thanks for continuing to motivate me through all of your races and muti-faceted trainings.

RoadBunner said...

Great job! Your door prize sounds like fun. I recently went bowling and BF and I paid $50 (!!) for 2 games at a bowling alley so it's probably more of a monetary win than you'd think. Ugh...sand...gravel...we've had a tough weekend! Haha!

rocketpants said...

Wooohoo on the door prize...that's fun!

Sounds like you did a great race as you got close to your PR! That's awesome.

Tea said...

That is an amazing time! I love those hills that just seem to sprout straight out of the ground. ok, I really hate them.

(thanks for all your support on my blog...with packing and everything, I'm slacking off on keeping up with yours!)

Danielle said...

You look so cute in the skirt! And hey, with the sounds of the hills, you did awesome. It would've been a PR if it had been flat!

dkp said...

Great RR! You had an amazing race and time. Balmy 39 degress C, uphill, and gravel??!! Wow!

And add me to the list of people who think you are made to model running skirts. So cute!