Sunday, July 21, 2013

Race Report: MEC Calgary 10K (July 20)

Today was yet another of the MEC Calgary races.  The week leading up to it was a bit stressful, as they had not announced a new race route, since they were trying to combine the race they cancelled (due to the flood) in June with the July one and they needed a half marathon route.  Finally on Thursday, they sent it out...and it was a doozy.

The race had been moved to North Glenmore Park and ran from the Canoe Club down into the weaselhead and back up the other side...and then back again.  Calgary's 2 hell hills...twice!  Egads!

I wasn't thrilled, particularly since I had a pretty big goal in mind for this race...I wanted to run it non-stop.  It would be my first continuous 10k race ever!  Those hills nearly always reduced me to walking so I was a bit scared going in.  But I'd try anyway.

I got up and got ready for the race on Saturday and, when I went to tie my shoes - discovered this:

Cancerhound had been at my laces!   So I had to make a last minute shoe change.  I had to get out of town early because it was Langdon Parade day and the only road access to my house would be closed I made it to North Glenmore nice and early.   Because I had decided I would be wearing my hydration pack instead of my iFitness belt, I had forgotten that I would need safety pins.  Inside my running bag, I keep the first race pins I ever had - if ever I pin my bib, I use these.  BUT when I opened my bag...this was all that was there:

This race was not shaping up as I hoped.

Luckily, I did have extra pins so I was soon pinned up and had my hydration pack on my back and was headed to the start line.

I looked around a bit to see if Michelle had arrived yet and couldn't see her.  It was right around then that I realized I was going to need my sunglasses so as I walked back to the car. Turns out  had just arrived and I ran into her on my way to the car.

We stood around a bit at the start line waiting for the half marathon to start at 9 and, once they were gone, MEC led a warmup for the 5 & 10k people and it was time to line up.  My selfie skills were seriously lacking that day.

At 9:15 - they started us 10k people and off we went.  I wanted to start as slowly as I could so I could keep it up a long time.  After last week, I knew I was capable of going 10k straight without walking...I just needed to repeat it on race day.   Imagine my surprise when I glanced at my watch and saw I was going 6:30 and feeling really good.   It took me a couple of kms to really find my groove, but every time my watch beeped to mark a kilometer - the pace was consistent.  

Of course, I had yet to hit the hills. Soon, we were heading down into the weaselhead

I didn't try to gain much speed on that first downhill.  I kept telling myself this wasn't about speed - it was about testing my steadyness...about finishing the same way I started.

It was such a blazingly hot day - already at around 25*C at 9am.  I was sure happy to be greeted by the shade of the Weaselhead. I was also happy to have my hydration pack.  On such a hot day - having water with me whenever I needed it was a godsend.

And there were some new additions down there since last week...all entrances into the trails were cordoned off!  I guess all of the howitzer shells they've been finding since the flood has made them take action.

I kept going and going and going the length of the Weaselhead.   Not far in, I started encountering people on their return trip.

And then, the moment I was dreading - the south hill.  This hill is a bitch on the best of days.  straight up and painful looking.

Who puts a race turnaround at the top of THAT?  But MEC does like to challenge us on these races and I knew that if I could do it on this race course - there'd be no stopping me on a flat one! So I reached the turnaround and headed back down again

This time I put on my downhill legs and added a little speed.  

Shortly after I hit the bottom of the hill, a female Darth Vadar fell into step behind me.  Each intake of breath sounded like a cross between someone on an oxygen machine and Darth himself.  I found myself praying that she wasn't using me to pace her to the finish.   Each breath she took rattled me but I couldn't pick up the pace and lose her - I needed to save myself for the hill out of there.

Luckily, around the incline to the bridge, she dropped to a walk and I could leave that sound far behind me.

I carried on and was soon plodding up the hill.  The end was near.. In 3k I would be done and celebrating my little victory.

My watch was still telling me I was going between 6:30 and 6:40.   I crossed the finish line in 1:07:28.  No walkbreaks necessary.

Yay me!

and then I went to my car to finish melting.

But I did it!  and I am very proud of myself.   The first thing I thought, though, was "How do I do it faster next time?"  Oy...I am always so competitive with myself...

The garmin geekery.  Try to not be too awed by all of those even splits :P

That dip/pause was the turnaround...I didn't stop but it must have registered like that.


  1. I am in total awe of those even splits! Nice race, though the turn around at the top of South Weasel head is a brutal one. The garmin elevation makes those hills look tiny, and my run meter app makes even the tiniest elevation look like a huge cliff. Something in between would be nice. Hope today is a feet up in the shade kind of day!

  2. Awesome job Cori!! That is a tough course! My first 10K race was there and it was horrible. You did much better than I did.

  3. Great job on achieving your goal this race! One way to get a better time would be to get rid of all those darned HILLS! Thanks for letting us challenge you and we will see you at the next race!


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