Way back around Canada Day I was at a BBQ chatting with my Team Tri-Life teammate Leslie-Anne. She mentioned something about wanting to do the Calgary 70.3 as a relay and she’d really like to do the swim. I thought it would be fun to tackle the run and our teammate Kelly was interested in doing the bike. After finally committing to each other team Fit Hits the Shan was born.
Leslie-Anne, Kelly and myself
With all of the flooding that happened here in June it became apparent a few weeks before the race that the original race course was not going to work out. There was too much debris in Ghost Lake to make it safe and it would be tough to get enough support on the bike course outside of town to make it safe. With a few weeks to go the race directors completely redid the bike course, making the swim at a private lake in Lake McKenzie, resulting in a very different bike course as well. The run would stay the same. Hats off to the race directors for pulling off an amazing feat in such a short period of time!
I figured it would be fun to volunteer as well so I volunteered for packet pick up on Friday…
…and for body marking on race morning!
It was a lot of fun to volunteer at body marking. I got to see so many friends (like Julie and Deb) and give them hugs, plus there was no stress for me yet! I’m not sure that waking up at 4 am and being on my feet all morning was the best way to prepare for a half marathon, but it was definitely worth it!
Kelly and I made our way over to the beach to watch the pros and relay racers start.
I had enough time to hit the ports-potties while Leslie-Anne was swimming, then I hung out outside transition to watch the athletes leaving on their bikes.
Leslie-Anne rocked her swim and soon Kelly was heading off on the bike.
I hung out to watch the majority of folks leave the water. I’ve got to say that the mount line was very confusing and quite crowded at times. The athletes really had to keep their heads up through here.
I had set the timer on my phone so I’d have an idea for when to expect Kelly in T2 as I had to drive all the way over there (by way of a Starbucks for a caffeine break). I managed to find a parking spot fairly close to T2. It wasn’t long before the leaders started arriving in T2…
…and started heading out on the run.
Kelly arrived way sooner on the bike than I think either she or I had anticipated. She had an awesome bike! She gave me our timing chip and the race belt and I took off! I’ve never been near the front of a race before so this was a different experience for me. The run course around Glenmore Reservoir is very pretty, but also has some very challenging hills thrown in too. My legs felt great though and I was really excited to run. In fact I hit the 5K mark right at the 30 min mark. Hmm, maybe I started off a little fast?
Just after the first big uphill on the run, about 7 km in, our team was out there manning a water stop. There was so much enthusiasm and they were ready with Coke, Gatorade, water, GU, you name it! Plus my husband Neil was there too, volunteering and cheering me on. I was feeling awesome as I continued on to the turn around. In fact, I even had a spectator yell out that she loved my blog. That was pretty great!!
The way back on the run is a little tougher as there is a slight uphill. I knew I’d be seeing Neil and my team at the 12 km mark so I focused on making that distance. I was also keeping an eye out for teammates that might be running towards me now too. This really helped my motivation to keep going!
I climbed the final hill out of Weaselhead, feeling happy that there were only a few km left to go. That final hill really took a lot out of my legs and I was really hitting the wall. I had a bit of a cramp in my stomach so I ditched my last gel in favour of finishing the race off relying on Coke. I would have loved to slow down and walk more but I really wanted to beat my BMO Vancouver Half Marathon time of 2:20 back in May. There wasn’t a lot of room to do that so I had to keep going! Kelly was waiting for me at the chute to the finish line so we could cross the line together. Leslie-Anne had gone on to volunteer at the water stop so she missed the finish line with us.
How did we do?
19 out of 23 teams, 9 out of 12 all female teams. 31:40 on the swim, 2:49:27 on the bike including two transitions, and 2:18:25 on the run. I met my goal and beat my BMO time from May when I came into this race on tired legs! 5:39:30 overall. I had so much fun doing this race as a relay. Kelly and Leslie-Anne were awesome teammates! We all got a medal and finisher shirt…
…and gee whiz, those medals are huge! They are actually belt buckles, so for next Stampede I will be well set when it comes to getting my Western dress on. There was also Opa for finish line food – chicken souvlaki and greek salad. It was delicious!
Plus there was a beer garden at the finish line!
Village Brewery was on hand to pour some local craft brews. The beer tent was well situated as we were able to enjoy our beverages and cheer everyone in as they entered the finish chute. Perhaps the highlight for me was watching our friend Shannon cross the line. Her name was drawn in the Kona Lottery and finishing the Calgary 70.3 meant she’d be validating her spot!! I totally got misty eyed as I yelled at her, “Shannon, you’re going to KONA!!!!!!”
Oh, and check out the official video! You can see Kelly and I getting our medals at the end!