Sunday, June 8, 2014

Race Report: Centaur Subaru Calgary Half Marathon

Not quite my usual speed in posting after a race, I apologize, but boy has this runner girl been busy since running this half marathon a week ago. I had originally signed up to run the Scotiabank Calgary Marathon last weekend, June 1st 2014, as this is Canada's oldest marathon and this year celebrated it's 50th anniversary. The race experience and the commemorative belt buckle finisher medal promised to be epic, and the idea of doing a marathon in another Canadian province had large appeal. Friends agreed and next thing I knew, several running friends signed up too. It promised to be a great weekend participating in a big race with many familiar faces, and also a chance to travel with Cam to spend time with our dear friends Jennifer and Casey (and their cute little boy) who live in Calgary and we don't see often enough.

With some running friends from BC doing the marathon and 50K

With the hip injury and other setbacks, I decided a few months back that another marathon was not what my body needed in 2014 and downgraded my race to the Centaur Subaru Half Marathon. This was a very wise move, and the moment I took this step, a weight was lifted off my shoulders. After running the BMO Vancouver Half Marathon strong about a month before (that is, running without a watch and without caring about finish time, yet doing OK anyway and not cramping), I wasn't sure how I wanted to approach this race. It was going to be the last planned half marathon for the calendar year so perhaps one last chance to try to get my best finish time and finally break 2 hours. Then I realized that I haven't fully addressed my cramping issue and I was traveling to a race in a high altitude city which could make it challenging. I knew I wasn't in prime form to go hard and not cramp, so I took the easy road of running for completion instead. I didn't want to risk having a bad race and being in a bad state after when the real point of this race was to enjoy the experience and spend time with friends. I also knew there was a chance I could run with my friend Sheila who I hadn't run with in almost 2 years, and enjoying her company at a race was absolutely the way I wanted to run this one. We had a blast! Just forgot to properly coordinate our outfits :-)

Race day conditions were perfect. The sun was out but there was a nice breeze so it stayed cool enough to be comfortable throughout the race. The course was beautiful and flat, and the community was out in full force cheering with some of the most creative race signs I've ever seen. What a fantastic race experience! Although the course was flat, I struggled with my breathing. It surely has much to do with the altitude and the dry air. In the end it was one of my slowest half marathons ever at 2:14:29, but I had such a great time running with Sheila. We met through running, and I hope that we can run together for many years to come, despite our geographic distance. Her husband Shaun, my fiance Cam, and my best friend Jennifer were out on the course cheering for us and met up with us at the finish line. After some post-race massage and time hanging out at the race after party, we headed out for brunch and drinks. A very memorable race experience indeed.


It was very much a reminder too that the half marathon distance is one that I can easily do, but I'm not as excited anymore about it given the lack of progress in the distance. I'm excited though about short distance races, and have a bunch of them coming up this year that I know I can do well in. First of these was the Ambleside Mile yesterday. I'll write a race report for that shortly (stay tuned).

A big congratulations to my friends Humphrey (who did the 50K in just over 5 hours) and Kristy, Sherry, Kathy, Kara, and Chelsea, who all completed the marathon. Congratulations on your exceptional achievement! Thank you again, Sheila, for running this one with me. Let's do it again, closer to sea level next time.


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