My final race of 2013 went out with more of a whack and a whimper than a bang.
The forecasted snow for Saturday night and Sunday morning arrived right on schedule. I’m not sure how much fell, but it was enough to coat the sidewalks and pathways with a few centimetres of the white stuff. On the plus side the temperatures were a little warmer than I was anticipating as my car registered -8C as I made my way downtown to the race start.
After I parked my car I headed over to the Y to change and stay warm before the race. I hemmed and hawed over what to wear as I didn’t want to be too cold or too hot. Ultimately I went with a tank top, my Lux long sleeve, my Oiselle race singlet and my flyer jacket, plus tights, gloves, a toque and an old fleece scarf. I will admit that I wasn’t sure how useful a lightweight waterproof jacket like the flyer jacket would be here in Alberta’s winter but it turns out that it does a great job of blocking the wind and with great layering underneath I felt comfortably warm during the race.
We had just enough time for a super quick photo and then we were off!
Last Chance Half Marathon Race Report
When I signed up for this race I did have a goal time in mind, but I knew that hitting that goal time would depend on pathway conditions. The pathways were swept for about the first 5K or so, but after that the snow was a little deeper and footing was tough. The stabilizers in my knees and ankles were getting a workout! I kept up with my 9:1 intervals even though my legs were getting a bit tired from running through the snow. My goal was to stay consistent and if my legs were getting tired I wanted to keep moving!
I was leap frogging with a few people, including one fellow who desperately needed a Kleenex and seemed afraid to blow a snot rocket. My game plan was to try and lose him after my next walk interval. At that point we had a tail wind so I was feeling a bit warm so I opted to try and take my gloves off on this walk interval when all of a sudden…whoa!
My legs flew out in front of me, I landed on my lower back and then my head it the pavement. It didn’t feel like a huge terrible fall, but it definitely stunned me and I contemplated sitting in the snow and having a good cry but I tried to get up instead. A couple behind me caught up, asked if I was okay and the lady offered to help dust the snow off so my behind wouldn’t freeze. They gave me encouraging words and I worked to walk it off, nearly slipping and falling again. At this point I was over 12 km in to the race and so close to the turnaround that it seemed like there was no choice but to just keep going. My head felt okay but I knew I needed to keep an eye out if it started to hurt, if I started to feel off or if anything happened to my vision. I trudged on with a whole lot more walking than running now. I hit the turnaround and on my way back I saw another fellow take a spill at the exact spot where I had. He seemed to shake it off and said he was okay though.
I was walking/running/wanting to cry/hyperventilating and I knew I was right by the C-Train station for the zoo. I contemplated calling it a day and hopping on the train to get back to the race start but I had no money for train fare. I also thought of my mom who tripped and fell coming out of Cinderella’s castle during the 2011 Disney Marathon. Despite a black eye and a busted up lip (and most likely a good knock to her noggin) she kept running. If my mom could do it, so could I!
Mom recreating her fall the day after the marathon.
I kept moving, running a little bit, walking a little bit, and continuously checking in that my head felt okay. With a couple of kilometres left to go Michelle caught up and we ran together for a little bit. Running with her and listening to her talk helped me put together a couple of longer strings of running and it helped take my mind off the cold, the crappy pathways and this poopy run. With about a kilometre left to go I urged her to run on and finish strong. I continued my shuffle/walk and then finally…there was the finish line! And somehow or other, despite walking a significant portion of the last half I managed to come in within a minute of my time last year.
I changed into warm clothes, popped into the post-race breakfast to see if I had won a draw prize and decided to head home. They were out of quite a few breakfast items so I figured I’d just head home and make myself a toasted bagel with cream cheese and smoked salmon instead. Obviously not the race I hoped for, but these are the risks of running a half marathon in Calgary in November. And with that I am now firmly looking forward to my off season!
Overall: 309 out of 331
Females 30-39: 53 out of 58