Sometimes you feel like you’ve been sprinkled with pixie dust as you fly through magical mile after mile. Sometimes it is a real struggle out there and you wonder what on earth is going on!
Unfortunately Sunday’s Calgary Half Marathon fell into the struggle category.
The race started at 6:30 am, which compared to runDisney races felt like an opportunity to sleep in! I was up at 4:00 because I wanted to make sure I’d have enough time to get ready and get to the race start. I ate a peanut butter and jam sandwich on the drive over to the race. Neil found parking near the Stampede grounds quite easily and we made our way over to the start where I had plenty of time to hit the bathrooms, exchange my race shirt and say hi to a few friends.
Neil wished me luck and headed off to grab his bike from the car so he could spectate out on the course.
I hit the porta potties one last time, took a gel 15 minutes before the start, then made my way into the corral near the 4:00 marathon pace bunny.
After the singing of Oh Canada it was time to go! I was nervous, but I felt ready!
Calgary Half Marathon Race Report
As we took off out of the Stampede grounds and towards Inglewood I felt awesome. My legs were moving well and I clocked the first mile in at 9:17…slightly faster than my goal pace. I knew there would be a slight uphill coming between miles 2 and 3.5 so I anticipated that I’d slow down a bit to not overdo things on the hill. Somewhere around mile 2 I felt something hit my leg. I looked down and saw my beloved Caramel Macchiato GU hit my shoe and then the ground. There was no way I’d be able to grab it without causing some kind of a disaster in the crowd so I let it go and said a small thank you that I thought to bring a spare gel.
As the course ran down through Bridgeland and into East Village I had anticipated that my legs would come around and I’d be able to start clocking miles around my goal pace. Instead my legs felt really tired. I took a short walk break, counting to ten, in the hopes that a small break would allow a bit of a reset and I could go on from there. In my head I kept repeating over and over “You are strong.” It helped for a bit and I was running a bit faster.
Just before the 9K mark I walked to take my first gel, drink some Gatorade and then that was it. As we turned to run along 17th Avenue my legs were toast and I just couldn’t bring them back around. When I saw Neil cheering on the side of the road a few kilometres later I stopped, gave him a hug and told him it just wasn’t my day.
From there on out it was a struggle. My legs were tired and not turning over. I got a cramp in my belly and later my lower back started to ache. This was not fun, effortless running. I told myself that this was good training for the Calgary 70.3 so that I know I can keep moving forward in a half marathon when my legs are so tired. I was able to see Neil a lot along the race course as he rode his bike from spot to spot to cheer and I was so grateful to see him out there. He always had a huge smile on his face for me!
I crossed the finish line in 2:19:40…well off my time from Tinker Bell and nowhere near where I needed to be for a PR. This was the race I had in me today though so it is what it is. Was it because I was sick for two weeks after Tink? Would I have had a better race if I would have stuck to my usual 9:1 run/walk intervals? Who knows? I’m sad I wasn’t able to run better but I’m not disappointed. There will be another opportunity for a PR.
After the race Neil and I took a slow walk down 17th Avenue to grab breakfast at Corbeaux Bakehouse.
Coffee and French toast…a perfect post-half marathon meal.
Have you had a race where it just wasn’t your day? How did you deal with it?
I’m linking up with Tara from Running ‘N’ Reading for her Weekend Update Link Up.