I was up late last night prepping for a birthday party for my twin daughters. Four is such a big age, you know. I didn't actually end up getting to bed until almost midnight...only to be woken up by one of the girls having growing pains at 2. Luckily, I was able to fall into a deep coma after that until my alarm went off at 4:15 and I had to get up.
I made myself breakfast and, since I have been reading It All Starts With Food, I didn't feel like my usual pre-race oatmeal so I made myself eggs and spinach and tomatoes. It was very yummy but I wasn't sure what it would mean for my race. My big goal race.
To be honest - I wasn't feeling it. My quad had been tender for over a week and when I ran, it felt like pressure on my knee. I didn't like it and I didn't know what I'd done. I had been resting since Monday and hoped it would be enough healing time. Before bed last night, I massaged it with magnesium gel to try to alleviate the pressure. When I woke up it felt fine but my motivation was gone. I was going to go to the race and do my best but I almost gave up on the thought of a PB...at the thought of going sub-60. I didn't think I had it in me.
But I pulled on my magic pants anyway and prepared to go...
On my way out the door, I thought to quickly grab the race guide to confirm where parking was on the grounds...only to discover that you HAD to have prepurchased parking passes at the expo...and I hadn't. I drove the long drive into the city in a fog...literally... (so pretty)
and figuratively, as I tried to figure out the parking thing. I didn't think I had enough time to park and take the train but I wasn't sure enough of road closures to chance finding parking in the beltline. When I got onto Macleod trail, I still didn't know...until I hit 39th ave and decided to park and train it the one station to the Stampede Grounds. Luckily, I had enough cash for both ways. I quickly shoved everything I thought I'd need, tossed my keys in the glove box and stowed my pack in the trunk. I ran to the platform with just enough time to pull on my arm warmers and hop on the train.
It wasn't until I got off at Erlton that I realized the two things I'd forgotten. 1) my pre-race Larabar and 2) my sunglasses clip.
Enter overwhelming feeling of dread. Maybe seeing my friends would make it better...
but not before a quick pic with the start line...
The Tweet Up
I had decided to come up with a central meeting place in case people wanted to hang out before the race started. I'm so glad I did because I got a chance to see old friends, hang out with my real life twitter friends and meet new friends as a result. I can see this becoming a tradition.
We made a quick pitstop at the portapotties before heading back...where I was frisked by Amy to make sure I was free of any illegal rocketboosters. I also got to run in to my Runner Girl, JS, and wish her the best of luck in her BIG sub-2hr PB attempt (spoiler - she rocked it at 1:56)
btw - so many portas...and no lines! WOOT!
We went back to the Big Four to see who else might show up. Then, though I failed to get photos with everyone - I was happy to hang out with Michelle, Heather, Erika, and (meeting for the first time) Susan and her hubby, Kevin!
Time seemed to zip by and soon it was time for all of these half and full people to head to the start line. I followed them over to cheer them on their way.
The start line was so crowded that I had trouble spotting most people...I caught Susan
and JS and her hubby were in this one...but only I know it's of them because Kev was a pace bunny for 1:55...
and they were off. Right at that moment, I ran into an old TNT team mate so visited with her for a moment and then headed off to hit the portas again before it was time to line up for the 7:30 start. I still hadn't managed to run into Nicole so ended up killing time chatting with more of my TNT group. Then, when we were almost at the start line, suddenly a woman flew in front of me and yelled "Cori! Don't move!"
It was Nicole.
We started chatting like old friends almost immediately, despite never having actually met in person. We lined up near the 1 hour pace bunny and figured we'd start together.
She didn't think she had sub-60 in her and I was still secretly harbouring insecurities about my own ability. I was super relieved to have someone to start with.
It was perfect race weather by the time the 10K started. a few degrees warmer than the tweetup and clear and sunny (though without my sunglasses, I might have killed for some cloud cover.)
We started out at a fairly swift but comfortable pace. I high fived Mayor Nenshi as I crossed the start line, figuring if anyone could bring me luck it might be him. They changed the route slightly this year to have us head north out of the park instead of out through Ramsey. This was such a welcome change to the route because it meant no uphill start and it also meant seeing the half and full marathoners at around the 5k mark on their journey.
The route soon turned onto 9th Avenue and into Inglewood. Our pace was fast, but do-able and we chatted easily. When Nicole's watch beeped for her first walk break, I made the decision to take it with her...likely sealing the fate that we would stick with each other the whole way. A turn onto 12th Street and soon we were running across the old bridge behind the zoo. And then my shoe came untied!
WHAT!?!?! are you freaking kidding me? My shoes NEVER come untied. NEVER!
Nicole paused with me so I could quickly tie again and then we carried on. Onto St Georges Drive and across Memorial into Bridgeland. There were pockets of spectators all along 1st avenue. I nervously kept one eye on my watch to see where 5k would take us timewise...
It was going to be so close. But our pacing was really consistent and as long as we kept doing what we were doing - we might squeak in sub-60...a big PB for both of us...tight, but doable. We decided to give it our best and see what came.
I soon saw Angela from the Team in Training office so swooped over for a high five.
We took another walk break right before Edmonton Trail then it was south to Memorial. I was so happy to see Memorial back on the route map...this was my favourite part when I first rant the 10k two years ago. I started to retreat inside my head around 6k and the lower deck of Centre Street Bridge. Having not brought fuel with me, I was expecting a giant wall to throw itself up in front of me and leave me walking the rest of the way...but my legs kept moving forward. Nicole and I alternated running side by side and my pulling slightly ahead...but she was always in my peripheral...If I was doing this - I was taking her with me.
No matter what.
Coming through the East Village was just as spectacular as last year - though I didn't see the robot out there. Spectators lined the streets and cheered and music blared. As we left the area to head through the new underpass one last time, I wanted to make the downhill count so I powered ahead - losing Nicole briefly...but I petered out on the immediate uphill and her stronger uphill skills caught me easily. We were almost at 9k.
It was right then that I proposed an unscheduled last walk break. We could walk then for a few seconds and then, as long as we kept the pace we had been consistently holding...we might just do it.
When we started running again - it was with renewed motivation. My Garmin said 54 mins. The pressure was on. This race was almost over and we were going to try our damndest to bring it in under an hour.
And try we did. Into Stampede Park. We wove through the crowds like pros - picking people off as we went. I was slightly ahead but knew she would be on my heels. Into the entrance to the finish chute. As we hit the bend before the homestretch, a timing mat was there and I robotically hit stop on my garmin and almost stopped running. But I knew the finish line was still ahead...I started again and gave it all I had...
though my heart was being crushed by the announcer saying that the one hour mark had passed...but we did start a bit after...
I'm pretty sure Nicole and I crossed at the exact same moment...though not side by side. She had a burst of speed behind me and I heard her yell "we did it!" Our chip times say the same time so let's go with that...
and my Garmin read... 59:39
We had done it.
I wasn't going to believe it until I saw chip time...we had cut it so close. But I'm pretty confident in my garmin skills.
Turns out chip time was a second faster...59:38
My training so diligently for months paid off. I can only imagine what this would have read if I had actually been feeling it today. I am still super happy to have a shiny new PB!
and another medal for this medalwhore...ohhh, shiny.
Thank you Nicole for a great race! I really enjoyed running with you :)
I couldn't hang around long because today is my daughters actual birthdays, but I had to see JS cross. Nicole and I headed over to the bend in the finish chute to cheer our friends in.
My heart dropped when I saw Kev bringing in the 1:55 halfers and not seeing JS's blue visor amongst them...
...luckily she wasn't far behind, though. I cheered her around the corner and she was moving so fast that my attempt to get a picture only earned me a shot of the guy behind her. But she crossed in 1:56, knocking 7 mins of her previous PB from last year. So proud of her.
So that closes another Calgary Marathon for the year. Everyone I know seems to have had awesome races...I can't wait to hear all about them. I wasn't able to be as present for my Calgary pals thanks to the birthday duties, but everyone was in my thoughts all day! Thank you to everyone who texted or tweeted me with congrats messages...you are all too sweet.
Next year...I'll be running the full to celebrate Calgary Marathon's 50th Anniversary. It should be super exciting. Can't wait!
and here is the lovely Garmin Geekery for my PB.
|So consistent...you can even see where I tied my shoe....|