Saturday, February 19, 2011

Hypothermic Half Marathon 2011 Race Report

Just a warning- it's long!

The Night Before
I laid out everything that I would need for the race on Friday night so I wouldn't be rushing around trying to remember things on Saturday.
I had a hard time deciding on what to wear for this race because the weather was going to be fantastic and I am so not used to that!! The forecasted temperature was low of -2C and high of 5C. Since the race started at 10am I figured I should dress closer to the high.
After much contemplation I decided to wear my lulu running tights, my new lulu Hustle jacket, my grey long sleeve lulu shirt (same as my 1st half marathon!), and compression socks. I also brought my thin gloves, and head band to wear if needed. Oh and sunglasses!! Haven't worn those babies in awhile!!

I made sure to eat properly all day so that I wouldn't experience any stomach issues during the run. My work had a potluck that day, with the theme being French. Pretty much everyone brought a dish that consisted of cheese! It was hard to not overindulge but I knew too much cheese would be a disaster. I also declined on the wine and instead drank lots of water throughout the day.

For dinner that night hubby and I went out to Earls, one of my favourite restaurants. We were both good and had delicious salads. I highly recommend the Parmesan Chicken Rocket Salad. Soooo good!! I should have taken a picture...

I headed to bed at a reasonable hour and as soon as my head hit the pillow I was out! So tired after a long week.

Firstly I would like to HUG the person who decided to have the 1st wave start at 10am. Absolutely genius! I was able to sleep in a bit (7:30am) and it had warmed up outside so it was closer to 5C when we started the race.
After a good night's sleep (~8-9 hours) I woke up excited for the race. The sun was shining and I didn't have the insane butterflies that I had before most races. Hubby made his special eggs (like an omelette but scrambled) and because I had laid everything out the night before I was ready pretty quickly.
We left the house around 8:30am and arrived at Eau Claire market just before 9am. We quickly found the rest of our running buddies and waited for the race to start.

Waiting for the race to start

Country Hills Half Marathon Group
We like blue and purple.
I am so happy that the race start/finish was changed at the last minute. It was so nice to have a warm place to wait before the race, underground parking and bathrooms at the start! Even though it wasn't that cold out this year, it would not be fun waiting outside for 30 minutes in -28C!!
A girl that we trained with at UCTC was also racing so we chatted with her.

My running buddies- Betty and Krysten
Before we knew it, it was just before 10am and it was time to line up at the start! There were about 250 people racing in the 1st wave so it wasn't very chaotic! No corrals needed!
The race director announced that there was one slippery section of the pathways by Shouldice park but the rest was dry and clear.
The horn sounded and we were off!!

Our group was extremely lucky to have our own personal photographer! Howard, one of the longtime half marathon pacers decided not to race but support us along the way with his super fancy camera. It was great to see a familiar face along the route.
Krysten and I waving to Howard at the start
After a bit of research, I realized  that I can't actually set my Garmin Virtual Partner for a distance and time, only a pace. The problem is that during the one minute rest, my VP also rests!! So when I look at my lap pace it is only for the 10 minutes of running. I decided to set my VP to 6:50 min/km and try to always be a little bit ahead. This way I would be sure to meet my "B" goal of under 2:30.

Krysten and I had decided that we would try to run together the entire way. She was convinced that she wouldn't be able to keep up to me the entire way but I didn't think she would have an issue. Betty planned to run with us as long as she could keep up. Our awesome instructor Penny started out with us but pulled ahead around 2K. She ended up running with almost everyone in our group at some point during the race!

I wore my headband and gloves to start but quickly shed them. I didn't want to get too sweaty. The first half of the race I felt over dressed but the wind picked up on the last half so I was glad I went with the jacket instead of another sweater.

As usual the first couple kilometers felt a little tough for me. I think it just takes me awhile to warm up. You could tell this was a "Running Room" race as most people were doing 10 and 1s. I had turned on my music low from the very beginning so that I wouldn't have to fiddle with it much during the race but I didn't actually "listen" to my music until about 7K in.

It was decided that I was the designated pacer in our little threesome since my Garmin has the Virtual Partner. A couple times I had to remind us to slow down or pick up the pace. There were a number of times that I checked CoCo and we were running 6:15!! Whoops- gotta slow down a bit ladies so we don't blow up! It felt great to have to "rein it in" as I never have to do this!

Lap 1- 6:32
Lap 2- 9:59
Lap 3- 6:22
Lap 4- 9:31
Lap 5- 6:39
Lap 6- 10:41
Lap 7- 6:39
Lap 8- 10:33

There was one water station at 7K and Howard was waiting to take our picture. I felt like the papparrazi was following us around!
There were a lot of other people on the pathways...
 I have run/biked the 1st part of the course a lot over the last few years so I knew what to expect. Once we passed the water station I was in unfamiliar territory. Around 8.5K is where the icy patch was. It was more than a patch though! I know a few people fell there and it doesn't surprise me as it was like a skating rink. I slipped a few times myself. I do give the race organizers credit though for mentioning it at the start, plus they had a volunteer there specifically to warn racers about the ice.

At around 9K? I saw hubby coming the other direction! We cheered pretty hard for him! He looked strong. I was happy to see him because I didn't see him at all during my last Half Marathon and I also knew that meant the turn around was close! From this point on we started to see a lot of running coming back (out and back course) and so keeping our eyes peeled for our fellow running buddies kept us occupied.

The turn around point was on a small foot bridge so that was kinda neat. I was feeling pretty good, especially when I checked my watch and it said 1:10!!! Definitely on pace to meet my goals!

Lap 9- 6:45
Lap 10- 9:53
Lap 11- 6:29
Lap 12- 10:30
Lap 13- 6:46
Lap 14- 11:34
Lap 15- 6:42
Lap 16- 10:40

After the turn around we saw a few more of our running buddies who were slightly behind us- Paul, and Ashley. I also saw Jen which was nice since we had missed meeting up before the race.

Betty managed to stay with us until around 12K and then she dropped back. Krysten and I stayed pretty strong, managing to only walk at our set walk breaks. We entertained one another by singing whatever was playing on our ipods. It started to get silly and we were having a great time.

We ran into Howard just before the water station. I remember feeling great but according the close up pictures say otherwise! I am going to have to practice my running face! I had this terrible grimace on my face- I think I was trying to hold a smile, but that is soooo not what it looks like. I won't be sharing those pictures! Ha!

Lap 17- 6:28
Lap 18- 10:37
Lap 19- 6:28
Lap 20- 10:02
Lap 21- 6:33
Lap 22- 10:05
Lap 23- 6:34
Lap 24- 10:37
Lap 25- 6:32

The legs were starting to feel tired around 18K but knowing that the finish line was so close made us continue to push. When we finally reached Prince's Island Park I knew the end was near. I found this part of the race wasn't that well marked and a couple times I hesitated on whether to go left or right. Thankfully we didn't go off course!
There weren't that many kilometer markers and I was honestly happy about it after the mental ordeal of my first half marathon. The 20K marker was almost spot on so I didn't have a mental break down like last time!

Just before we rounded the corner to the finish line I wanted to walk. We had skipped our last walk break as we just wanted to finish but I was definitely feeling lead legs.
As soon as we came around the corner I saw the finish line and our running group cheering for us. Krysten started picking it up and I didn't want to be left in her dust!
Krysten trying to leave me behind!

Sprinting to the finish!

Almost there!

Go go go!!

Get outta the way!!

So apparently Krysten and I got a little competitive at the end!! We almost ran over a couple women running in front of us! We both reached the finish line together and were so out of breath! I looked at my watch and it said 2:22!! Holy crap- I beat my "A" Goal!!!! We were both incredibly pleased with our time and so happy to be finished!

Total Distance- 21.12K
Total Time- 2:22:33 (I ended up beating Krysten by 1 second!)
Average Pace- 6:47 min/km

Once we grabbed our medals (yay bling!), we walked over to meet the rest of our group.  Our instructor was pretty tickled at our competitiveness at the end!
There were still 6 of our runners to finish so we hung out just before the finish line waiting for them to come in. Betty and Mark ended up finishing in 2:31 which is awesome! Betty had doubts that she would finish so we were happy to see her finish so strongly!

After the final runner in our group came in we headed over to Fort Calgary for the infamous brunch. Nothing like eggs, bacon, sausage, scones, and hash browns to feed a hungry bunch of half marathoners!

It was a great race and I think this one might be my favourite race experience so far! I don't think I could asked for better weather, flat race course or running buddies!!

My snowflake bling!
- Yes, bad dress rehearsal means perfect performance!! This race was way better than the 6K only a few days before.
- While I had an amazing experience doing this race, it had a lot to do with the great weather. If it was -20C out I doubt I would have enjoyed it as much!
- It is so much more fun to race when you know a bunch of people also racing. Cheering on other racers really kept my mind off my sore legs.
- I am finally learning to push through the pain. Previously I would just slow down once it started to hurt but seeing that I can go faster motivates me to push through the pain! Not a single running lap was over 7 minutes which is huge for me!!
- I want to bottle up this race experience because it was so great! I think the runner's high lastest 3 days for me!
- I am so thankfully to have an amazing instructor, hubby and running buddies to motivate me to run. I don't think I would have fallen in love with running if it hadn't been for them.


  1. I'm soooo uber duber proud of you!!!! I cannot wait till you have a race when I'm around and I can cheer you on in person - perhaps with a pink sparkly sign!!! You inspire and rock my friend!!!

  2. To answer your question on my blog post today- we went through a dealership. We bought it from Precision Hyundai in the South and had a great experience there. Were not pressured at all to buy anything and answered all of our questions. I would recommend them :) What kind of SUV are you looking for?


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