Saturday, April 13, 2013

Race Report: MEC Calgary 10k

With a winter storm warning on the horizon and a stomach that couldn't decide if it was coming or going - I headed into the city for the second MEC Calgary race of the year.  I still didn't know if I had a PR in me for the 10k, but I was ready to give it a try.

The world was conspiring against me on the way in, though...a dumptruck kept me at around 40k/hr all the way into the city and then a train crossing Glenmore held me up...but I ended up arriving on time in spite of it all.

and it was COOOOOLD at Sue Higgins Park.   I totally questioned my shirt choice and changed in the car...turns out, I should have kept my original choice on (always trust my instincts)

That 1C was deceiving...right by the river it was downright frigid as we awaited the start of the race.  

TMI ALERT:  as much as this start to the morning was weighing on me, my stomach worked itself out right before I met up with anyone so I was feeling good by 9am :)

Right away, I met up with JS and Tina and then Michelle fell into step with us.  The walk to the start line was relaxed and happy.

The race was supposed to start at 9, but then the announcer said it was starting at 9:10 so we hung around the start line and did the warmup and realized we may be lined up a bit close to the start line but stayed put anyway. It was a small race and it's not like we would be tripped over.

Then - it was go time.  The announcer had us counting down and then we were off.

Michelle caught this shot of me as I headed out

And off with rockets tied to our asses apparently...for the first half a km, I was hovering around the 4:45/km mark...WAAAAY to fast for this chickita.   When my pace mellowed, I was still clocking around 5:22 for the first couple of kms.

The course took us over the bridge and then turned north.   We ran under Glenmore and then up, up, up the Lynnwood Ridge...and then down on the other side.  Three super substantial hills (though two of them were the switchback to get to the top of the ridge).  Like, rivalling Run at the Ranch (almost) hills.  

At 2k, I had to take a walk.  I can maintain a pretty swift pace as long as I don't need to converse, but the speedy start made me realize I needed to dial in my pace or I'd be walking before the halfway point.  I sent JS and Tina on ahead and took a quick walk break.

When I resumed running again - my pace was still on the speedy side at around 5:40/k...and then I saw the runners on the ridge.  I had only suspected up to this point that there would be the climb to the top and this confirmed it.  There was a hill...and soon...and it was going to be a nasty one.

I ran the first installment of that hill and when it leveled off I saw the steepness to come and decided to walk a bit before I ran that.This is the "level" can see the rest of the hill just over those bushes on the left.  Nastiness.

But what comes up must come down and I figured that I would have the opportunity to make up time later.

Running along the ridge was beautiful.   Even though it was an overcast day and you couldn't really see the skyline - it was easy to appreciate how pretty it would be on a clear day.  I'd ever run this path before so tried to enjoy it...

And then the cramping hit.  DAMMIT!   But I was determined to not let it draw me up short.   Once I got my breathing adjusted to combat it - I could see the downhill up ahead.  WHAT?!?!  They were going to have us fly down a steep downhill at the 4k point and leave us having to reclimb it on the return trip!?!?!

Ok - I carried on...and made up some time on that downhill.  As I neared the turnaround, JS and Tina were heading back and not far ahead of me.   JS shouted out that she knew I would fly down that hill.

And I hit the turnaround in sub-30....goal was back in sight.

I was running low on energy, though, so I grabbed some gatorade and chomped off some of the Fruit bar I had packed for such an occasion...and then I took off to tackle that hill again.

When I got there, though, I knew I had to power walk it.   Running it would have taken far more energy and wouldn't have been any faster.  Once I was back on the ridge - I took off flying.   Ok - not really flying, but hovering around the 6 min/km mark.   I knew the two downhills would earn me some time but I still didn't know if it would be enough to bring me in sub-60.

By the time I got to the bottom of them, I knew something was off.  I was seriously overheating and dehydrating quickly.   I suddenly wished I'd stuck with my original shirt choice just to have the ability to unzip the 7.5k waterstation, I grabbed more gatorade and carried on.  At 8k, I walked and downed one of my water bottles.   I hoped it would be enough.  It was 48 mins on my garmin at that point.   I was cutting it close, but 6min/km would get me there under 60.

9k - and another short power walk break for more water...and a necessary peptalk.  It was going to be close but I had to remind myself that this was never a goal race.   Calgary Marathon 10k is my goal race.  I was still putting in a super strong showing at this one, despite the weather and the hills.   It would be close and that should only mean a REALLY fast finish at Calgary.  I forgave myself the many walk breaks right then and plowed on to the finish - knowing it was still possible.  If only slightly.

Back over the bridge and the frigid winds off the water cooling down my overheated body felt AMAZING.   As I rounded the corner, I could see Michelle waiting with her camera to catch my finishing kick.  I flashed her a smile and then pushed hard.

JS and Tina were right before the finish line, cheering me in.  I didn't look at my watch again until I pressed stop...

and saw...


So. Freaking. Close.

But I am still immensely proud of it.

Come May 26 - I will blow my previous PR out of the water...of that I have no doubt.

The Garmin Geekery:

I had to post this elevation chart too - normally, no matter how
hilly the course is, my Garmin reads as a flat line...

and another interesting Garmin thing....

I don't recall stopping at all - except for a few seconds to drain a gatorade cup at both stations...somehow that amounted to a

and I somehow managed to break a nail during the clue how but MAN did it drive me crazy from the moment I noticed it

Official time:

As always - the MEC races can't be beat.  They are cheap and fun and offer unique and challenging routes that leave you wanting more.   Highly recommend signing up for them if you live here.  Especially now that chip timing is on the table.


  1. Nice race Cori! You are definitely going to get that PR in May!

  2. It was great to see you today Cori! You're gonna KILL it soon with all the hill training you have been doing! Great job!

  3. Congratulations on your race! It sounds like a really hard course. You are going to rock your 10K goal race in May!!

  4. Awesome job!! That course sounds challenging.
    You will no doubt get your PR next month!!

  5. Great Job. Sorry about the hills this time out! See you at a flatter course on May 4th!

  6. Yay you!! I love small races, but alas never got to participate to one. You will beat that PR in no time! Hills are tough, my nemesis too.


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