Saturday, September 29, 2012

Race Report: Harvest Half Marathon 2012

AKA - Long Run #2
AKA - the one where I came in 20 mins faster than I was planning to...

But that comes at the end of the story.
I had to pick up my race package over a week ago so I was very happy when it survived living in my house for a week without the chip being peeled off the back of the bib by little fingers.

When I woke up this morning, I wasn't feeling it.  I was even, dare I say, dreading this race.   I didn't want to run alone.  I didn't want to run at all.  In fact - after a rough night with the girlies - I didn't want to get out of bed.  But I dragged myself up, ate my breakfast and got ready to go.  I left the house around 6:30 and, as I drove through town - I suddenly was greeted by blinding, flashing lights...and FIRE!

The school was aflame!   Well - not the main part of the school, but the portable that is only slightly detached from it.   Craziness!

I got to Mid-Sun Community Centre just as the sun was coming up - I was a tad early.  They were still getting the start line set up!

I had been nervous about the state of my toe so I taped it to the one next to it with some KT Tape...but in the 4 block walk to Mid-Sun - I could tell that was a mistake so while I waited for JS to show up, I got rid of it.

My friend, Sue, from my k100 team was supposed to be running the race so I texted her to see if she was there yet.  Turned out she'd had to pull out of the race after not being able to get the training in.   She told me another of our team mates, Alida, was running it though.  With the crowd of people there, I really didn't think I'd run into her, but I would be sure to keep my eye out.

JS, who was to be my cheer squad for the day, showed up soon after and after finding her int he crowd and making a pitstop at the potties, I headed to the start line.

It was there that Alida found me :)

I wasn't sure what her goals were for the day, but I figured we could start the race together and see how it went.  I really didn't have a time goal, since I was using this race as my second long run.  My eye was kind of on the 2:45 mark so if she ended up being faster than me - I was ok with finishing alone.

The race started at around 7:50 and off we went.  It took about a minute to cross the start line and was a crawling start...sooo slow.  But then we were off and running.  I thought the race route went though Fish Creek park in both directions so I was quite surprised to be running through residential and then down Bannister Road, past my forest and then up, up, up into Millrise (totally get why it's called MillRISE now...holly hannah hill).  I had to call walk break at 3k so I could get some water into me.  Shortly after, we saw JS for the first time of the race - cheering and shaking her cowbell!

After running past the fancy houses on the ridge - we finally turned into the park.  Wow!  So beautiful!  There was a short bit of gravel trail as we descended into the park itself and then it was onto pavement.

At around 9k, we ran into Katie (who you may remember as being my partner in crime for Corporate Challenge) - also there to cheer!  And just down the hill from her, we saw JS again - this time ready to run a bit with us!

It was somewhere around that point that we were becoming brutally aware of a Senorita Stinkypants in our midst. Holy BO batman!  C'mon.  Nobody showers before these things but I'm pretty sure most of us put on our pitstick!   This woman must not have showered for a week...and forgotten deodorant most of those days as well.  EW!   Anyway - we leapfrogged her a few times and each time it was making our eyes water to be behind her.  We finally decided to blow past her and keep going until she was well behind us!

We were soon back in familiar territory.  We ran through my forest and past the tree planted in memory of my best friend.   That memorial forest makes me so proud every time I see it (wish I'd thought to take photos).  I cared for those trees when they were only a foot high and now they tower above my head!

After this, it wasn't long before we were to the point where I turned around on Tuesday.  No rustling stalkers in the grass this time around.

Alida was having a lot of trouble with her lungs so we were taking it pretty easy.  Walking when we wanted to and running when we could.   I tried my best to encourage her as we went and didn't want to leave her, because I know how hard it is to run alone when you aren't having a good race!

Thank you random runner girl for snapping this shot of us!

 And then it was on to Sikome Lake and ...dun dun duuun.  The HILL.

Ok - I may have been understating the grade of the hill.  Or maybe running on the pathway IS gentler.   It still wasn't a hell hill, but at 17k in a half - it sure ain't easy!   We walked it.

And saw a dog dressed in a bumblebee costume walk it too...

Senorita Stinkypants passed us on this hill and we never quite caught up to her again.  We just let her get far enough ahead that we couldn't smell her anymore.

Near the top of the hill - JS was encouraging everyone with her cowbell.  She was going to stay there for a while longer and then meet us at the finish.   Back on Sun Valley Boulevard, we knew we were in the homestretch.   When we passed my favourite chinese place in the city - all I wanted was to stop for spring rolls.  Probably a good thing they don't open at 10am on Saturdays!

Then it was into residential again and Alida said she recognized this from last year and that we were almost there, despite my Garmin saying we still had a kilometre to go. (Damn thing is shorting the distances on me regularly now)

The finish for this race has to be one of the prettier ones I've experienced.  It winds though a little park and then you hit a short straightaway and it is through the finish line you go!   JS was waiting there to snap pics and cheer us across the line!

When I stopped my Garmin, it said.

A full 20 mins faster than I had anticipated.   This is my third fastest half time ever.  Not bad for a "slow training run". And it felt easy - that was the nice part.  To run a hilly course and have it feel easy.  Makes me want to do some PB smashing soon!

Then the lovely volunteers put this around my neck and handed me a water.

After I'd stretched a bit and Alida had caught her breath - we went inside Mid-Sun to see about some food.  Bananas, granola bars, yogurt and water.   I had them all.

Ran into Neil and had a nice chat as we were leaving.   He does an amazing job running the Facebook page for the race - so good at rallying people!   I'm so excited that he is going to tackle his first full next year at Calgary Marathon!

The Garmin Geekery:

My thoughts on this race:
  • Beautiful
  • Hilly
  • Well-provisioned
  • cute medals
  • well organized
  • tons of potties - both at the start and along the route
Lessons learned:
  • Training your bladder really does work - didn't need to stop at all on the course
  • Peanut Butter Gu is good unless you squeeze an entire gel into your mouth all at which case it acts like real peanut butter and coats the roof of your mouth
  • I've finally mastered the drinking water at the aid stations!  And I didn't run hot or feel dehydrated at all!  Yay!  Progress!
  • Taking a gel earlier (as advised by my nutrition guru) keeps my energy up for the whole race. 
  • Taking walk breaks whenever you want doesn't need to kill a good finish time
Will I do it again?  HELL YEAH!  I'm there.  Can't wait to do it again next year!

Official time, according to Results Canada


  1. Woohoo great job! Glad you had someone to run it with and eww to the stinky lady

    1. Thanks Christy! And, ya - I could definitely do without her showing up at future races ;)

  2. Congratulations on a great race!! I'm impressed that you already have your race report up too! I tried looking for you but no luck. I was just behind you.

    I love this race! Great course, amazing volunteers, and nice medal! Even the hill wasn't that bad.

    1. I was keeping an eye out for you as well...also with obviously no luck. Next race, we should plan a meeting place!

      I like to get the reports up quick - before I forget anything...or before my kids kill off that part of my brain ;)

      I loved this race! I'll def be back next year

  3. Congratulations on another great race! BO is the WORST!! Definitely not what you want to smell while running.

    1. For sure. I wish I was kidding when I said it was eye wateringly bad....

  4. Congrats on the 20 minutes faster. A half is still not in my plan yet especially with the slacking I've done since school started. Still around the 3 mile mark with my runs-might try adding some mileage this week with my cross country team. Won't they be happy. :)



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