Sunday was the 21st annual St. Patrick’s Day Run being put on by the Calgary Roadrunners. I had somehow or other convinced Neil that he should run it with me but the fellow was in need of some proper runners so on Friday night we went down to the Tech Shop to get him fitted in some fancy white and orange Adidas. After that we made our way to Strides for the packet pick up. I love the race shirts – they have women’s and men’s cut shirts, and they are a really great quality Puma cotton shirt. The logo is on the front with no mention of the race, and the back has the race name and sponsors on it. It is definitely a nice, wearable shirt.
The weather here has been pretty nice for the last few weeks, but all of a sudden on Saturday night it started to snow. When I woke up Sunday morning to let Finlay outside it was like a winter wonderland out there with -13 deg C (8 deg F) temperatures to boot. Lovely… I got dressed up in pretty well every piece of green running gear I own – green Smartwool socks, my Feeling Lucky tech shirt (because if you can’t wear this to a St. Patrick’s Day race, when can you?), my green Under Armour zip up hoodie and a green tuque.
One of the main selling features of this race is the opportunity to win your weight in beer from this year’s sponsor Mountain Crest. They had all the beer piled on the stage to tease you before the race. I tell you, in the picture above it looks like I was already dipping into the Mountain Crest… Luckily you don’t have to win the race to win the beer, they draw for names instead. Whew!
After pinning our race numbers on it was time to head to the start line and at 10:00 am sharp we were off. It might have been chilly outside but once I got moving the temperature felt comfortable. Thankfully there was no wind, the only bad part was the ice and slush on the road. At the 1 mile mark Darryl Janz from CTV News was calling out our times – very neat! The race started and finished at McMahon Stadium and we ran two laps around the University of Calgary. Neil and I hung together for the first 5K but after that we parted ways and I was on my own. All of a sudden snow started coming down in buckets. I was happy I’d left my glasses in the car but I kept having to brush the snow off that was clinging to my eyelashes. Given my spotty training I had no illusions of glory and inside I hoped that I could at least come close, or maybe even beat, last year’s time of 1:07:03. My pace picked up a bit and I was passing people but it was going to be tough. At least I was feeling half decent on the run – I had a bit of shin pain at the 1 mile mark that quickly faded. As I turned the corner to run through the parking lot of McMahon Stadium towards the finish line Karen was working as a course marshall and hooting and hollering encouragement at all the runners. She told me that if I had anything left inside this was the time to dig down deep and leave it all on the course. I ran across the finish line and turned off the Garmin – 1:07:12. Okay, so I didn’t beat last year’s time but it was pretty close. I started walking back up the way the runners were coming in and Neil appeared soon and crossed the finish line maybe 2 minutes after I did. We headed inside the Red and White Club at McMahon Stadium to get our Irish Stew, some rolls and some coffee. We found Instructor S, her husband and another runner I recognized to catch up on the race. Sadly we didn’t win any door prizes and despite wishing hard we didn’t win our weight in beer either. If you did win they had a teeter totter set up on the stage and the 6 packs of Mountain Crest were piled on until the teeter totter was even. As we walked back to the car the snow had let up and the sun was out…go figure!
As an aside, the founder of Mountain Crest, Ravinder Minhas, seems like a pretty interesting guy. He’s 24, has a degree in Petroleum Engineering and he built the company from the ground up. Pretty impressive, eh?