The St. Patrick’s Day Road Race, put on by the Calgary Roadrunners, is quickly becoming an annual tradition for me. This was my third year running the race. I like this race because we get to run around the University of Calgary (which is a different route from most of the races around here), plus you get stew and rolls at the end…plus you have your chance to win your weight in beer at the awards ceremony. Who wouldn’t want to win their weight in beer?
The last two years the race has been chip timed, but apparently there was a bit of a snafu with the timing company changing hands shortly before the race, so no chips today.
I’ve sort of felt so so this entire week. Not necessarily really sick, but not entirely 100% either. Waking up this morning I could tell that this was the worst I felt all week. I was getting winded going up the stairs in my townhouse. Oh no… So I rooted around my bathroom and finally found a thermometer. 100.1 deg. Enough to qualify for a low grade fever. I debated my situation. I could throw my pyjamas back on and crawl back into bed. I could run with the fever. Or I could pop something and see if it did anything to my slight temperature. My choices were Tylenol PM or ibuprofen and I went with the ibuprofen since I didn’t want to get sleepy in the process… A recheck told me that I was down to 98.7 deg when it was time to leave the house. I was running late for meeting my team for the warm up run though. Oops.
I pulled into the parking lot for McMahon Stadium and headed over to the Red & White Club where all of the runners were congregating. There was a shoe drop for the Mustard Seed and I took the advantage to donate four pairs of gently used sneakers – 3 pairs of Nikes and 1 pair of New Balances – that were all purchased around the time I thought my feet were a size 9 until a running store told me that I was actually a size 10. So no sense keeping those around… I was also able to exchange my t-shirt for a smaller size…whew! I also ran into a teammates and friends milling around. Then coach Angie found me and told me to head out for a warm up run…then it was time to start.
The route has been adjusted this year and they had us starting on top of a slight incline behind the stadium, running down a pretty icy road. As we got going there were people elbowing and jockeying for position and I just wanted to not wipe out on the ice. Once we got out onto University Blvd I was able to settle in to my pace. Because I was obviously not my healthiest I didn’t want to focus on racing a PR, I would just run and see what would happen. And I didn’t want to look at my heart rate because I figured it would be pretty sky high.
At one point about 2 mi in I was trying to run past a couple of girls decked out in Lululemon gear and wearing their iPods. First there was room on the right between one girl and the curb, but as I made my move she drifted towards me and I very nearly tripped her. Oops! I was finally able to get past them, but they surged back ahead. Not that I have anything against girls in Lululemon gear wearing their iPods but I wanted to pick them off. I wasn’t feeling too bad as we neared the point where the 5K folks were supposed to turn off. My pace was dropping, and finally on a hill I got past the Lululemon girls and never saw them again. They may have been 5k runners but at least I succeeded in picking them off! When we hit the 5K point a lady caught up to me and asked me about what pace we were running. It looks like we hit the 5K mark around 28:40…so that was pretty good. The trick would be if I could keep the pace up or negative split. As we started on the second loop I was really feeling any incline in the road a whole lot more, and I wasn’t able to generate as much momentum on the downhills. My pace dropped slightly, but I was still going fairly strong. I didn’t want to pick it up too much for fear of tapping out before the end. Anytime I looked down at my Garmin I noticed that my heart rate was in zone 5 so I figured a complete blow up may be possible.
Finally we hit a turn towards the stadium and there was some glorious downhill. I saw Karen and found more room in my legs to really pick it up. As we hit the parking lot for the stadium we were routed around it for the extra distance thanks to the route change. I really wanted to try and keep the pace up but the road was extremely icy. I figured I’d rather slow down a bit rather than run the risk of wiping out, but I was able to kick it into a higher gear for the final straight shot into the finishing chute. No idea what the clock said but my Garmin read 57:25. 6.26 mi. A brand new PR (on a slightly long course). On a morning where I probably shouldn’t have been racing. No negative split, but I’m okay with that.
After finding Angie and a few teammates (and running into Dawn) I grabbed my sweats from the car, then headed indoors to get my stew and roll. I ran into my old favourite Bikini Boot Camp instructor Sheena, and it was really great to catch up. I also noticed Susan‘s husband and kids cheering her on, but by the time I saw Susan she was leaving the hall to head home. Susan, sorry I didn’t have a chance to meet you!
I stuck around for the beer drawing and sadly I am 0 for 3 on winning my weight in beer. Shucks. Maybe next year!