What this race was: an amazing training race for San Francisco!
Yesterday I made it up to Banff in plenty of time for the 10:30 am start of Melissa’s Road Race. This race was huge in comparison to the Banff Citizen’s Race back in June, and downtown Banff and the start area were all teeming with people with their race numbers on. Thankfully the weather was cooperative – it was cool but sunny. I hit the bathrooms, then picked up my race t-shirt and hung around for a bit until it was time to start. I did decide to go without any watch or Garmin. Finally after some waiting around they started the 10K folks off first (the half marathoners started 10 min later and ran a different route).
The first 2K or so was all fairly flat, but then all of a sudden you knew you were racing in the Rockies because it was time to climb. I think the local runners have nicknamed this Heartbreak Hill. I wanted to only walk the water stops, but I had to give in for about 30 sec or so because we just kept going up and up. I kept thinking that this was great preparation for the Nike Half and all of its hills in San Francisco next month. The scenery was absolutely amazing. There was a slight dusting of snow on the peaks and it definitely qualifies as one of the most beautiful races I have run. Finally what goes up must come down and we had a nice long stretch of downhill, and it flattened out until about 6 or 7K in.
At that point we were running an out and back down a narrow pathway through Sundance Canyon. It was interesting because there really was no room for passing or walking at this point because you had runners in both directions. Going into Sundance Canyon was pretty nice, but it was all downhill…. We hit the turnaround and it was time to run uphill for a nice long ways out of the canyon. With there being so little room it was easy to get caught up in the momentum of the runners and I had no desire to stop. Two ladies started walking right in front of me, side by side, at one point and I had to keep yelling “on your right” a couple of times before they clued in that no one could pass them if they weren’t walking single file.
Finally it was the last bit to the finish and this one was a bit of a teaser. The start line also said finish on it, except that wasn’t it, so I sprinted for nothing for that. Then all of a sudden I see a chip timing mat so I sprint for that….but then hear…”keep going, you’re almost there!” What? That wasn’t the finish? I think that was for the announcer so he knew which runners were coming in and he could read their names off. Apparently my name was called, but I was so focused I didn’t even hear it. OK, time for a third and final sprint and this was it….
I was barely paying attention to the clock but I know it read 1:03:something. I have to say that this is definitely one of the toughest 10K courses I ever ran thanks to all of the hills, and that being said I am really happy with my time – 1:02:40. That’s better than Footstock and if you calculate out what I would have finished the Banff Citizen’s Race in if the course wasn’t short, this time trumps that as well. I grabbed some food (lemonade, chocolate milk, orange juice, yogurt, bananas, apples, oranges, donuts, Rice Crispy treats and Nutrigrain bars), chowed down a bit (I still have more than half of that food at home now), exchanged my t-shirt size (the lady I had gotten the registration from had ordered a L, but I was hoping for a S which worked out), and grabbed my free beer. After that we hit Starbucks for a coffee to attempt to warm up, and after wandering around town it was time to head back home with a stop in at Grizzly Paw for a celebratory late lunch in Canmore. All in all it was a terrific day, and I will definitely be signing up for this race next year. Thanks N for being my official race photographer for the day.
- Chip time: 1:02:40
- Overall 1126 of 2467
- Females 20 – 29: 132/305