Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Yeehaw! Greetings from Calgary, Alberta!

The Calgary Marathon takes place during the kick off of the Calgary Stampede (one of the worlds largest rodeos). The festivities are opened with a grand parade through downtown Calgary.

This is a really cool marathon, half marathon, 10k event and they even have a "timbits" kids run on race day! Get this - the marathon finishers are awarded with a belt buckle in lieu of the traditional medal too (similar to the western states 100 mile finisher buckle). We had a great time at the marathon expo, the people out here are always so upbeat and friendly!

I registered for the half marathon a few weeks ago, not realizing it was only 5 days after the Canada Day 10k race. After my 10k on Tuesday, which ended with a sprint about 800 meters out from the finish, I was quite sore. I decided to take a few rest days on Wednesday and Thursday. With the marathon expo taking place, I never found the time to run again on Friday or Saturday and by the time Saturday night rolled around, I was starting to second guess the decision to run the half on Sunday morning. It's always a bit challenging to run on race day after working the expo skirt booth on your feet for 2-3 days straight, not to mention I was pretty sore after the 10k race on Tuesday. After my traditional post-expo ice bath torture session to help flush the legs, I was feeling pretty rested and I decided to toe the line on Sunday - if nothing else, as a training run to make up for not running over the last few days. The weather was perfect - clear and cool, but not cold at the 7:00 a.m. start. I wasn't sure what I was going to run, but I was hopefully optimistic that if everything went well and my legs were ok, I'd be able to take a few minutes off my last half marathon time and run a 1:30 or better. My race plan was to go out and try to hold a 7:00 minute per mile pace and pick it up on the last 10k if I was still feeling strong.

It was a hillier course than I was expecting, but it was very scenic. The course started downtown and ran through the Stampede Grounds and the runners were greeted by a lineup of cowboys & cowgirls on horseback and spectators that were enjoying their traditional stampede pancake breakfast. It was funny - their wasn't a lot of applause, but mostly people standing with blank stares at us runners as we cruised by. I can only imagine they were thinking "what on earth are these crazy people doing running?!?". I did appreciate the occasional "go girl!" or "go skirt!" as I passed by. The course than ran through the Calgary zoo. I recall seeing a flock of pink flamingos as we entered the park and I was looking out for the Tiger (we were told we might see) cage, but as we started winding up a slight incline out of the zoo my mind switched gears and I tried to get back into concentration mode. On a side note - one thing I really enjoyed about running while pregnant was the nice mellow pace of the races and actually being able to take in the scenery and race spectators, etc. I remember last year when I was here I ran the 10k while about 5 months pregnant and I actually carried a digital camera and snapped photos along the route. After leaving the zoo there was a portion of the course on a small gravel/dirt road and then back to the streets heading back toward downtown. We ran along across and along the beautiful Bow river. I remember seeing a great one man country band, and a few other bands along the route. Once I reached the halfway or probably 12-13k point in the race, I recognized the 10k course from last year. With about 4-5 km left to go I was feeling pretty strong so I picked up the pace a bit. I remember there were a few good hills before the finished and tried to talk myself through them one at a time. Before I knew it, the finish line was within eye shot and I gave it one last push to finish in 1:30:40. Here are my splits: 6:27, 6:50, 6:54, 6:51, 7:02, 7:02, 7:05, 7:01, 6:48, 6:45, 7:06, 6:41, 6:46 finish time 1:30:40. I was surprised to finish as 3rd woman and 1st place age group! I was expecting a lot of speedy ladies to run today, but I'm not complaining - it was great fun to win another prize this week!

We won shiny prize medals & big arse white cowboy hats too! Yahoo!
Results:           10k    gun       chip
1/242 F 30-34 3645 40:20 1:24:33 1:24:31 4:01 Maggie Finlayson Calgary AB
1/141 F 20-24 3529 40:06 1:27:11 1:27:10 4:08 Erin Sask Calgary AB
1/205 F 35-39 3480 42:58 1:30:40 1:30:38 4:18 Cindy Lynch Barrie ON


RoadBunner said...

If only your skirts came with some of your speediness packaged with them!

GB said...

You are awesome! Have another baby so you can be even FASTER after your second!

cindy & christy said...

After running easy throughout my pregnancy last year, its so nice to run hard & break a sweat again. I really missed racing. That, and it's not as easy to get out and run by myself these days with the little guy. My running is my "me" time.