My day started at 4am...so freaking early. I got up and had myself a whole wheat bagel with cream cheese and quince jelly and a big bottle of Nuun.
I was parking at JS's house so I had to get there early so we could walk to the grounds. I left the house at 5am and arrived there by a quarter to 6. At 6:01, we were out the door...
We got there with plenty of time to hit the potties and get JS to the start for the Half Marathon. By then, S (my Tuesday night running buddy) and her daughter had met up with me too. We headed off in search of another potty stop AND my other running buddies.
Mayor Nenshi had been at the event to give a pep talk to the half and full marathoners and our little group accosted him after he left the stage for a photo op. He was impressed by our teams dedication to Team in Training and told us about a friend of his in Toronto who had run 5 events for TNT. I may not live in Calgary, but I do really like Nenshi. He is a great and engaged Mayor. He lends a certain youthful energy to the city and he makes a point of being EVERYWHERE! I love that. In my 16 years in the Calgary area - he is the first to actually make the effort.
Then we all headed to the start line. Funny story - it was only 5 mins or so to star and we were amongst the only people lined up...then the announcer said "Oops - I was wrong...the lineup needs to be on the other side of the arch for the 10k"
So everyone flooded over to our side. It wrought havoc with the order of the pace bunnies and everyone was crowded right together.
I had intended to track my run using the mywhereabouts app, so I started it as the gun went off and put it into my hydration belt pouch. I didn't realize it until after the race, but I'd paused it at some point - so my run didn't track at all. Guess I'd better practice before I use it again...
So, my intention was to line up with the 55 min pace bunny. Since the bunnies were all clustered together - I was right with the 45 min, 55 min and 1 hr bunnies. Worst case scenario - I wanted to stay between the 55 min and 1hr bunny. It was a solid plan and some internet research told me I should be able to do that kind of pace.
I couldn't have been more wrong...or rather - those bunny ears couldn't have been more wrongly labelled. The 55min bunny was actually "Matching the speed of light" bunny and the 1hr was "Energizer" bunny.
As we left the start line - I was feeling it was a bit speedy with the 55 min bunny. I was running just over a 5 min pace and he was losing me. Then the 1hr bunny blew past me. My plan was out the window and I was on my own.
The race course ran out of the south entrance of the Stampede Grounds and then to the left. Through Ramsey. At around 3k, the 1hr pace bunny had decided he was going the wrong pace and had backed off a bit. I sidled up to him and said "Hello there, new friend" and he asked if I was going to stay with him for a bit. Then we passed a water station and I lost him. Then he blew past me again a few mins later. Did he not get the memo that he was a PACE BUNNY?!?!?! I was so disappointed in the pace bunnies and I heard so many horrible stories from other people after the race.
So - I was back on my own. and, despite the cold morning, I was burning up. and cramping. BUT this race, my research paid off. I was able to manage the cramping by breathing out HARD when the foot on the opposite side hit the ground. Seemed to work. Still there but not debilitating. I also had another oddity I was battling. My fingers were falling asleep. Toes too. I felt like I had no circulation in my hands. It was freaking me out and I was constantly shaking my hands to try to wake them up.
I ran across the overpass over Memorial and down St. Georges into Bridgeland. I looked down at my watch as I passed the 5k point and saw I had finally broken 30 mins in the 5k...28 mins and change. FINALLY..though not in a 5k race...I just wish I'd felt good.
As I ran along First Ave, I was tired and seriously in need of a pick-me-up. That was when I saw Mr. JS! He was out to cheer on his wife and was holding a sign to cheer everyone on. When he saw me - he flipped the sign around - it said "Free High Fives!" I sped up and lept up to slap his hand and yelled my thanks and let the inspiration of my cheerleader carry me for a ways.
Turning onto Edmonton Trail and then back over the river. My next pick me up was in the East Village where the Lululemon cheer squad was out in full force...plus a cheer leader robot! I can't even make this shit up. I passed it pretty fast, but it looked like a robot from SAIT and it was waving pom poms. Awesomesauce!
Then it was into the home stretch. A couple of hills later I was really exhausted. It made the finish line seem so far away. Onto 9th ave then toward Inglewood and back toward the Stampede Grounds again. When I saw the 9K sign, I was really drooping. But I could make or break my goal of sub-1hr. It was going to be close.
It was time for a pep talk. "Self," I said "It's time to do this thing. Your feet know the way. Stop looking at your watch and just get it done"
My Garmin said "54:00" at that time. It was the last time I looked at it until I crossed the finish line.
As I ran behind the Saddledome and then across the grounds, all I could think was how hard this was. I was tapped out. Likely the result of having breakfast too early and not topping up with a gel before the race. The wall was pushing me back with every step. But I pushed back. As I entered the grandstand - I was coming around the corner when I heard my coaches voice. REALLY. Sheena was there and was yelling with all her might (whatta way to spend your birthday). Then I realized she was screaming at me:
"GO CORI!!!! PUMP. THOSE. ARMS."
"GO CORI!!!! PUMP. THOSE. ARMS."
Because I trust that coach of mine - I did it. My arms started to pump like crazy int he finish chute. I was picking people off one by one. Then I crossed the finish line and hit stop on the Garmin. and felt like I was going to throw up. I was so nauseous.
My Garmin said this:
25 seconds slower than last year. I was crushed...but was still going to hold out until the official results were in before I let myself be too disappointed.
I collected my medal and then carried on through the chute...which was too narrow for the number of people coming in. Congestion city! But I made it through and climbed into the grandstand.
I had a finish line angel to find.
Shenna's words had helped me finish ALOT stronger than I would have. I had to say my thanks.
And while I was with her - I got to also see Anna and April and Mary and Fay cross the line!!! So awesome to cheer friends in!
Best. Coach. Ever. Two years later, she's still cheering me on!
After many hugs and happy birthdays (her birthday goal was to lose her voice cheering - I wonder if she succeeded) - I headed into the stands to wait for JS to cross the line. It didn't take me long to find Mr. L (JS's dad) so I chatted with him while we waited for our girl to come in.
JS was running her first solo half and was aiming to beat her PB of 2:07 that she'd set years ago. Beating this had eluded her since then and she was determined to do it this day. When we finally saw her, I looked at my watch and was so elated for her! I figured 2:01. Her Garmin said 2:03. So proud of my runner girl.
So proud of all of my runner buddies today! Watching peoples updates on twitter has been awesome! And knowing so many people in real life who finished today - it was just awesome!
Luckily - the pancakes were in vast quantities and were pretty easy to catch.
Showing off our bling. I swear - these style of medals always make me feel like I won the olympics.
And the Garmin Geekery:
Official Chip Time: 1:00:27 same as the Garmin. Boo.
- Sub 30 min 5K - even if it wasn't in a 5k race. I know I am capable.
- JS's MAJOR PB! So fun to live vicariously. I am just so happy she got it!
- Meeting Mayor Nenshi
- Still having a really decent time
- Controlling my cramping
- High fives and screaming
- No knee pain at all...not even a whisper of it
- Finishing in front of the Stampede Grandstand - very cool
- GIGANTIC medals
- No PB for me :( 25 seconds shy sucks worse than 4 minutes shy
- Cramping and nausea and sleeping fingers
- Really bad pace bunnies. I went across the start line at the same time as the 1 hour pace bunny - yet he finished long before me. I think maybe he didn't know his job. AT ALL. It appears few of them did.
- The cold. So, so cold.
I've been beating myself up for a few hours - despite half of the twitterverse telling me that it was still a speedy time. I just really wanted to PB at one of my May races and this was my last chance. Now I need to rethink my race plans for the rest of the year so I can try to reach some time goals this year.