Sunday, April 25, 2010

Calgary Police Half Marathon

After last year’s Police Half Marathon I may have mentioned that I didn’t have a lot of desire to run this race again.  The first 1/3 is downhill but the last 2/3 is a lot of tough uphill.  The timing of the race is right on for testing the legs out on a half marathon before triathlon season starts though.  Despite not being a fan of the course I signed up again for 2010.

Saturday was perhaps not the ideal way to spend the evening before the race.  I had a wedding reception to go to that didn’t start until 7:30 in a small town east of Calgary.  I at least wanted to make sure I ate something that I knew would agree with my stomach, so it was off to Olive Garden for dinner.  It isn’t amazing food, but I’ve eaten it before some key races and it has worked out okay.

In the afternoon it started snowing and throughout dinner the snow got heavier and heavier.  Big fluffy flakes of snow…  Yuck!  Then it was off to the wedding reception for some drinks and dancing, then home and bed by 11 pm.  Unfortunately I had an awful sleep where it took me forever to fall asleep, then I woke up at 4 am…then tried to fall back asleep.sleepgraph
When I finally got out of bed at 5:30 am I was feeling pretty rough.  Despite downing coffee and water on the way to my race I still felt either hung-over or sleep deprived, but I’m going for sleep deprived… as I at least played it smart on beverages at the reception.  On the plus side the snow had stopped and had melted over the roads.  That was one definite positive!

I really didn’t have a goal for the race.  Whatever happened, happened.  I was just going to try my best.  Knowing that the easiest part of the course was the beginning I opted to take a chance and run a bit harder than I would have normally.  I wanted to take advantage of the downhill and maybe put some time in the bank.  Would that be smart?  Something that I did differently from last year is I decided to rely on the water stops instead of carrying my own water.  I carried two chocolate mint Gu with me.

I hit the 5K mark around 28 minutes and change, still feeling good.  As soon as we hit the 7K marker the uphills started to come and my legs started to feel “insta-tired.”  Oh well, time to push through!  We ran around the eastern side of the Glenmore Reservoir, then popped out on to 90th Avenue SW.  You run west along 90th Ave for just under a mile and it is a straight, steady uphill.  I just focused ahead, picking out a crosswalk and running toward it, then picking out a light post and running toward it, just keeping a steady pace going.  Along the way a lady who used to train with my team said hello to me, and told me to keep going because I still had a long ways to go.  Those folks around me who heard that comment…well their face just fell!  No one wanted to be reminded that we weren’t even half way there yet!  We turned off of 90th Ave back towards the reservoir to run along the west side of it. 

The legs were getting tired and I always find this part of the pathway mentally tough, even on training runs.  It got a bit crowded and I tried to run my own pace but I found it too easy to tuck in behind the odd person, but then I noticed my pace was slowing down.  There was one particular guy out there who was the loudest breather ever.  I found it really distracting.  He was running strong but he sounded like he was working SO HARD!!!  Do you ever find that things like that throw you off?  The worst part was we played cat and mouse.  I’d move ahead, then he’d catch up and pass me, then just sit right in front of me.  Oh well!

The number one thing that upset me about my race last year was that I really faded in the last few miles.  I walked quite a bit and just felt really negative.  This year even though my legs were tired and I really wanted to walk I just kept going.  In my mind I just kept repeating, “strong, strong, strong, iron…”  I may have been slowing down, but at least I kept running!  My mental fortitude has definitely gotten stronger.

With 5K left I thought I could still gun for a PR if I could run sub-10:00/miles.  Either my math was way off, the course measurement was just long enough to make that theory not work…or both.  My legs were toast by that time and I just barely averaged sub-10:00/miles.  In fact, I’m really not sure how my legs even did that.  They had no energy left in them at all.  I would be excited to just stop running when I hit the finish line!!  There would be no PR.  In fact I was over 2 minutes away from a PR.  But I knew I ran a strong race and pushed through on my tired legs instead of just giving in and walking so there was no disappointment at all.

Chip Time – 2:07:48
Overall 1100 out of 1829
Females 30-39 – 143 out of 310

After the race was done my stomach felt so sour.  I was also afraid to sit down for fear that I wouldn’t get up!  It took awhile for my stomach to come around, which was a first.  Normally I’m starving when I’m done!    Luckily by the time Tara and I got to The Loop Breakfast House my stomach was ready for a little refuelling.

And that was my last running race for awhile.  Bring on multisport season!


Run Sarah said...

Great recap! Sounds like a really challenging course. Snowing in Calgary, wow!

Petraruns said...

Sounds like a great race despite some odds against you - good to have this in the mental bank. Next time you encounter a tough situation just remember you pulled this one off.

Alexandra said...

When the going got tough, you got tough! That is a victory itself knowing you can win at the mental game! Great job Leana!

Keith said...

I did this last year, and after seeing the snow I was really glad I wasn't doing it this year. I don't mind the deep breathers, but the run walkers that won't get out of your face are a bit of a grrrrrr. Was the police bagpipe band piping people up the North Glenmore hill? I loved that.

k said...

Congratulations again! It takes gusto to go out at a speed that you know means you might hit a wall. Way to take the chance! I'm sure it will pay off next time :)

TNTcoach Ken said...

Wow, sounds like you worked the mental side of racing. Momma said there would be days like this.

Julie said...

It's funny what irritates us at races eh? hahahah!! Last year on a training run, there was this guy ahead of me that kept looking at his heart rate on his watch every 5 seconds or so. I was hot, thirsty, so fatigued and sore and seeing this guy doing this drove me insane with anger. Hahahahah!!!

When I passed him I breathed a sigh of relief. Hahahahah -- so weird eh? :)

I think you got a LOT of this race...Reading about how in a previous race you got extremely negative and walked, and how this year, you recognized the signs and fought on instead....GOOD JOB!!!

It's that kind of strength and inner battle that will pull you through Ironman baby!!!!

LEANA....You rock!! :) :) :)

Marlene said...

Congratulations Leana! People always say "don't try to bank time" but sometimes you just have to take a chance. You were gutsy and you ran a strong race! Way to hang in there when it got really tough.

Wes said...

another deposit in the Bank of Iron. Not many people would go tackle a half marathon in the middle of all their other training.

and wha? You don't like it when somebody sez "ONLY 11 miles left!"


ChrisC said...

Great Job at keeping the run going in those last few K. I found it tough running uphill into the wind 50th ave to the finish as well.

everyone that got out of bed and showed up after that wicked snow storm Saturday night deserves to be congratulated.

Dano said...

Kudos to you for staying strong, both mentally and physically, running through fatigue takes them both. I tried to bank some time on this one too so I agreed with your tactic ;). It's a challenging half and you were only 2 mins off a PB! My garmin said the course was 200m or so long, not that I was paying attention, lol, I was glad to see the finish line. Again it was nice meeting you for a brief moment. See you at GWN!

Beth said...

Great job Leana! Way to push through - it's tough days like that that get you ready for IM! :) Woo-hoo!

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J said...

Great job on the half! I hate waking up feeling hung over because of lack of sleep!

ShirleyPerly said...

Well done on a tough course!!

I too hate it when someone around me is making loud breathing noises. If it's early in the race I have often slowed down to let them go ahead. Late in the race, speed up :-)

lindsay said...

snow? no way. that junk is OVER for at least 9 months. i would be livid. :)

congrats on a tough race!

what is that sleep-graph? i am assuming an iphone app? how does it work?