So - bright and early on Sunday, I was on the road. Got to watch the sun rise as I drove into it (don't mind the blur and the windshield bugs)
Just after 7am, I pulled into Horseshoe Canyon. I can't got to Drumheller without stopping here
Then it was off to package pickup at the community hall. I was amazed by the number of signs welcoming marathon participants to town. This race is a big deal for the community!
|No one can say Drumheller doesn't know how to do swag.|
Staging area and where the after-party would be...
There was a moment of silence to honour those lost in 9/11 - 10 years ago that day. Then the mayor blew the horn and we were off.
The first 6K of this race was pure, unadulterated hell. A steady uphill that only teases you with a downhill in the middle before making you climb a hill you can't see the top of. I won't lie. I walked it. I overheard a girl at the start line say "I'll walk the hill if I acknowledge that I am running slower than I can walk it. No use expending the extra energy that I could use later!" Sounded like sage advice to me so I made sure I actually TRIED to put some effort into my walking.
Unfortunately, that climb meant we were actually running away from the pretty badlandy area and into this:
I looked at ALOT of gravel this race - over half of it was on dirt/gravel roads...and not good ones at that.
At about 6K, the terrain leveled off and I started to find my stride, following a pit stop and water break. By this point, we were firmly in wheat field territory.
I was struggling. Big time. Between 8 and 10K, I was starting to let my brain get the best of me. I started to think if a half was this hard, I was in trouble for next month. I may have actually convinced myself I am not ready for a marathon - that I wasn't dedicated enough to my training and should switch to the half next month (I late chalked this up to taper madness...I'm still doing my full - even if I have to run 5/walk 5 to do it.)
Truthfully, the timing of what happened next couldn't have been more perfect for my mindset.
I was plodding along at a comfortable pace. Ready to accept a 3 hour finish on this one when a girl came up to me and said "I like your pace!" I said "Me too..I think it's the only pace I've got today!"
Anyway - she fell into step with me and we ran in silence for a bit. Maybe 5 mins later she said "I hope you don't mind that I'm running with you. I'm struggling and it helps to pace with someone" I introduced myself and she did the same and we suddenly were runner girls for a day.
Shortly after we met, we hit a big downhill and then were suddenly ejected onto the highway at 13K. It also brought us back into the scenery we signed up for.
|My new friend, Minette.|
By 19K, Minette's legs were seizing up on her. so we were walking regularly. Luckily, conversation was good so we just went with it. At 20K, we decided it was time to just git 'er done...into the turnoff to Tyrell we went and soon we were in the finish chute and crossing the finish line.
My official time was 2:52:03. My slowest half to date. But it was just a training run so I don't really care right now. I have plenty of years left for PRs and marathon training isn't the time to be achieving them. Just finishing this one was a feat in itself and I'm glad I did it.
|crispy, fried me|
|Cutest medal ever (well - no Footstock still gets that...but this one's still pretty cute)|
and - lastly - some info from my best running friend...my trusty ol' Garmin (the new one does cool stuff like this)