It is amazing the things that can come about through social media. One late night twitter conversation resulted in a group of amazing ladies who didn’t really know each other deciding to take on a relay together. Read more about how our team came together right here.
With a warm beverage in hand we hit the road to Banff, making a stop in Canmore to pick up Michelle. We initially weren’t sure where the race start was or where we should park in the Banff Center. We were starting to cut it close for time to the race start so Cori hopped out to get checked in and get her bib while the rest of us looked for parking.
There was a bit of a scramble as folks tried to get their bibs prior to race start, but before we knew it the relay was about to start.
Cori lined up and the Little Bloggy Blue Birds were ready to cheer her on!
And she’s off!
You can read all about Cori’s experiences running leg #1 here.
It was a chilly morning out there in Banff! I was bundled up, but tried to stay indoors to keep warm until I thought Cori might be coming through.
All of a sudden there was Cori running up the hill!
And the handoff to Michelle.
With Michelle on the road I figured this would be a good time to eat something. It had been awhile since my breakfast at 6:30 am and I still had a ways to go before I would run. Plenty of time to digest. Luckily I had packed my package of hummus and pita chips that had been in my post-race snack box from the Tower of Terror 10 Miler.
The tummy rumbles were now at bay and Tina, Cori and I hung out inside, chatting and taking the odd photo.
The Bird on a Wire socks I had picked up for everyone in Orlando, along with the Shwings Michelle had picked up for us.
Michelle’s leg had been adjusted thanks to three bears roaming around her original route. I guess the race organizers didn’t want to add that extra obstacle in! Her route would be shorter now, but exactly how short wasn’t really known. We figured we’d better head outside to be prepared and all of a sudden, there was Michelle running up the hill!
Michelle was cooking! Read her recap of leg 2 here.
Michelle handing off to Tina as she starts on leg 3.
Leg 3 and 4 were the shortest legs so Tina volunteered to run both of them from the get go (and how come we were a team of four for a five leg relay). With Tina on the road the meant my turn would be coming soon so I soothed some nerves by taking silly photos.
Her first leg was pretty short, so before we knew it she was running up the hill to finish off leg 3 and start on leg 4.
With Tina on the road for leg 4 I needed to hurry up and get ready. Time to change into my running gear!
One last photo of our socks before I changed into my running socks.
All ready to go!
I took a GU, then made my way outside for Tina. She would be tackling that brutal hill up to the exchange twice so I hoped she was doing okay! A few last photos with the girls…
…and then there was Tina! Look at that big smile as she kills that hill a second time!
Read Tina’s recap of legs 3 and 4 here!
My turn to run! Thank you Michelle for this super awesome photo!!
So my run… My number one goal for this day was to have fun. I had run once since the Tower of Terror and I’d been feeling a bit under the weather all week. I knew the route was going to be hilly so I’d just adjust as necessary.
With so much adrenalin I started out too fast as my route took me uphill. I could tell my breathing was getting out of control so I told myself to reign it in. The day had warmed up considerably so I felt a bit too warm in my long sleeve top in the sun and if I was sheltered from the wind. The scenery around me was amazing as I ran along Tunnel Mountain Road. I should have whipped my phone out to take a few photos but I was running along the side of the road with traffic coming towards me so I never thought to stop.
My legs lost a bit of juice around 3 miles in so I took a few extra walk breaks to see if that would help them come around. I still made it a point to run the downhills though! Once I made it down Tunnel Mountain I was on the flat Legacy Pathway running towards Banff. The wind was crazy around here and it was really bugging my lungs and I could tell it would turn my voice croaky. I had a moment where I could tell I was starting to lose the fun so I pulled my camera out for an action shot selfie to help reset my headspace.
It worked! I made sure to include my distance when I Instagramed it so the girls would have an idea for how far away I was.
I knew the hill at the end would be a big one so I kept taking walk breaks where I needed to so that I could conserve some energy for the last push up the hill to the finish. There had been a girl in green ahead of me the entire time and slowly but surely I kept getting closer to her. She was my carrot! The approach to the Banff Center was really steep so I decided to walk up aggressively instead of wasting energy running. All of a sudden there was Michelle at the final turn, cheering me on!
As I rounded the corner it was time to run…
…and catch my carrot in the green shirt.
My legs were yelling at me and everything inside me did not want to push as hard as I did up that hill, except I was determined! Michelle commented that she could barely keep up with me as I pushed up the hill and past my carrot. Then it was the final turn to the finish!!
The Little Bloggy Blue Birds are all done!
We grabbed a few photos after the finish…
…then attempted to find the post race food. We didn’t have much luck determining where the food was so we opted to get in the car and drive to downtown Banff instead. We wound up grabbing lunch at Nourish Bistro, a yummy vegetarian restaurant.
Cori surprised us with medals that she had made for us!
Lunch was delicious and it was really nice for all of us, including Michelle’s friend Antje who had volunteered, to chat and for me to get to know everyone better. My voice was turning froggy so I was grateful for some hot tea to drink too. Before we knew it, it was time to hit the road and head back to Calgary. But not without one last stop for a warm beverage for the way home!
The day in Banff was one of the best experiences I’ve had at a race this year. It is really hard to put into words, but it felt like the friendship, joy of running, appreciation for the mountains and teamwork that we shared made for a magical day. We are all very different women yet a love for running really brought us together.
To Tina, this all started because you and I didn’t make the Nuun Hood to Coast team. I’m grateful that our two YouTube videos brought us together! You are a strong woman and an inspirational runner!
To Michelle, I’m so glad I’ve had the opportunity to get to know you better now! Thank you for making our beautiful sparkly skirts. We got so many compliments on them. You have no idea how much I appreciated your cheering on the hill. You helped me catch my carrot!
To Cori, thank you for organizing our group! You designed our logo, set up a space for us to come together on Google+ and you registered our team. I really appreciated your creativity and your spirit that helped to pull us all together.
Thank you to my Little Bloggy Blue Birds for an amazing day. Here’s hoping we can make this a tradition!