Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Scotiabank Jugo Juice 10K 2013: Race Report

What a perfect race this ended up being! I really tried to keep my expectations low and reduce the pressure on myself so as to not be disappointed if I didn't reach my goals and it all worked out!

The Calgary Marathon Weekend is the longest continuous running race weekend in Canada- this was the 49th year.

We went to the expo the day before (Saturday), where we picked up our race packages and browsed the booths. 
10K Race shirt

Race package (minus the shirt)
They changed the shirt brand from previous years and it is so much better. I’m glad it is black this year since red is not my colour and I will actually get some wear out of this shirt.

We dropped Audrey off at my sister’s for the night since it would have been a nightmare trying to drop her off somewhere at 5:30am. My sister and her family was super excited to have her so it worked out perfectly, despite the long drive to and from her house.

I had a hard time deciding what to wear for this race. The race organizers sent out an email the day before with the weather forecast:

Race Day Forecast Courtesy of City TV’s Meteorologist Andrew Schultz:
Current forecast for the Scotiabank Calgary Marathon:
7am:   6 Degrees, Partly Cloudy - Wind: West/Southwest 10
10am:  13 Degrees, Partly Cloudy - Wind: South/Southwest 10
Noon:  16 Degrees, Mainly Sunny - Wind: South/Southwest 10
 My main concern was overdressing for the run and then not being able to push myself because I was overheating. I even texted my running instructor, Penny, to find out what she planned to wear for her half. She was going to wear a tank top which I thought wouldn’t be warm enough for me. I decided to wear capris, a thicker long sleeve shirt and gloves at the start. I later ditched the gloves at bag check as I was feeling comfortable and knew I wouldn’t need the gloves even while waiting around.

Note for next time: wear short sleeves or a tank top, with removable sleeves.

We went to bed early-ish but that 4:45am wake up call was still tough. 

We left the house at 5:30am, with our breakfast smoothies to-go. We parked downtown at hubby’s office, stopped for a bathroom break and hopped the train for the few stops down to the Stampede Grounds. It was pretty neat to see the train full of runners, rather than the usual work crowd.

They changed things a bit from last year, bag check was outside instead of inside so we spent a few minutes look around aimlessly for it. It was super organized and you just had to drop your bag off so no lines at all. I didn’t get many pictures because my iPhone doesn’t fit into any of my pockets or my fuel belt. 

Hubby & I pre-race

Hubby went to line up for the start of the Half & Full Marathoners since they started at 7:00am. I went to look for Cori over by the designated meeting spot but realized that there was no way I could get through until after the half and full’s started and cleared the path. I found a bench right by the starting chute and stood on it looking for friends that I knew were racing. 

Once the full and half marathoners started, I kept my eye out for Cori. Suddenly I spotted her across the starting chute from me so I jumped down from my perch and ran across the road. It seemed she was waiting for the crowd to clear to cross as well so once I reached the other side, she was no longer there! So back to my perch I went to try to find her before we started our own race in 30 minutes.

While scanning the crowd, I looked down immediately below me and standing there was my work friend, D! She was also running the 10K but we both figured there was no way we would find each other in this crowd. She's the one that I ran into when doing Run for L'Arche while she was out on a training run! We chatted for a bit and then she went to line up. 

I was starting to get worried I wouldn't be able to find Cori. I was secretly hoping that I could attach myself to her hip (not literally) and she would be my motivation to get close to my sub 60 minute 10K goal. Then there she was, only a few feet away from me! I jumped down, ran over to her and shouted for her to not move! I'm actually surprised she didn't run the other way!

Cori and I pre-race
Courtesy of Cori
We started chatting- it was our first time meeting in person- and headed to the start line together. She mentioned she wasn't feeling it that day and we agreed to start the race together. We seeded ourselves by the 1 hour pace bunny. I always do 10 and 1s for anything over 10K so I knew there was a possibility that Cori might want to carry on at some point while I took a break and I was ok with that.

I had set my Garmin Virtual Partner for 5:45 min/km which is the walk adjusted pace for a 60 minute 10K. I felt it was a lofty goal for myself but I needed to push myself out of my comfort zone.You can't run faster without running faster. Before we knew it, the horn sounded and off we went. Cori high-fived Mayor Nenshi just before we crossed the start line. It was nice to see him out supporting another Calgary race.

Even though I did this event two years ago, the venue changed so the course was different. We started off towards Inglewood which is always scenic. We just kept chatting along, checking out watches every so often to make sure we were on pace.

When my watch beeped for my first walk break, I secretly hoped Cori would stick with me and she did! Not too long after, she announced that her shoe lace had come untied so we pulled to the side quickly so she could tie it up again.

We passed by the Zoo and I'm pretty sure I mumbled something about going to see the tigers and lions. I was definitely pushing myself out of my comfortable pace.

At 4K, Cori said we were at 24 minutes- on track for our sub 60 minutes if we kept up this pace. I said I  felt good but I didn't want to hold her back so if she wanted to push on then I was ok. She said "No, we are in this together." That definitely gave me the motivation to keep going!

We were now running in Bridgeland, which was where the course 2 years ago was so we were running in familiar territory. There was one slight but longish uphill that we powered through. There were lots of spectators in this area so it was a nice distraction.

We reached the 5K mark at 29:55- still on track for sub 60 minutes, just barely!

During a walk break, I felt a tap on my arm, as P & J ran by me. It was nice to see some familiar faces and to be honest, it gave me the encouragement and motivation to keep going. I guess my competitive side came out, which it usually doesn't.

We then hit Memorial Drive, which I always get a kick out of running in the middle of a usually busy road. Both directions of this divided road were shut down for the race but yet there were still cars trying to get through and then having to turn around. Cori commented that "What? They didn't actually think the road was closed in spite of the signs?" I'm sure those drivers were cursing us as we were laughing at them.

We ran the Centre Street bridge. It doesn't feel nearly as claustrophobic when you are running it as it does when you are driving it.

We started heading east again and it was here, around 7K that I felt myself dragging. Cori was a few paces ahead of me for the next little while. I started having the little banter in my head that "it's ok to slow down, sub 60 minutes really wasn't that big of a deal, I would still have a PR." I am so grateful that I had Cori to keep me going. Every once and awhile she would look back and that would give me the motivation to pick it up and run next to her again. Seriously best pacer ever! She would not let me slow down!

At 8K, we ran through the East Village and there were a bunch of spectators, dancers and music. They had some great signs and totally perked me up. I wanted to hug them all! This was my slowest kilometer so they definitely gave me the energy to finish strong.

We went through an underpass and Cori took off. I had a moment of doubt that I was going to lose her but it seemed my hill & speed training have paid off and I was able to catch up to her on the uphill. I guess I wasn't kidding when I said I planned to be attached to her hip!

Just before 9K I checked my watch and I knew it was going to be close. I had to stay focused and tell the doubting voices in my head to shut up! We were getting so close and now running back the way we first started.

At 9K, Cori said we should take a quick walk break now (about a minute or two ahead of schedule), catch our breaths and then finish strong. I quickly agreed. I had planned to skip the last walk break but looking back I am so glad she suggested it because it gave me the strength and determination to pick up the pace in that final kilometre.

We took our quick walk break, and then hit the gas. We started passing people slowly at first. Once we got into the Stampede Grounds, you could almost smell the finish line which motivated us even more. Cori was still a few paces ahead of me but I just kept repeating to myself that I had to close the gap and stay with her. I knew we were going to be so close to our goal and I had to give it my all.

As we approached the final turn before the finish line, we heard the announcers say an hour had passed since the start of the 10K. My heart dropped for a minute before I remembered that we started a minute or so after the gun time.

After the final corner, we both started sprinting towards the finish. There was a bit of a gap between Cori and I at the last corner and I managed to close it at the finish line. As we crossed the finish line, I simultaneously stopped my Garmin and checked our time: 59:40!

I shouted to Cori that "We did it!!" We reached our goal!

We ended up with the same chip time- 59:38.

Sub 60 minute PR!
Courtesy of Cori

I had such a great race and I am honoured to have achieved this goal along side Cori.
THIS is what running is all about for me. Setting a goal, working hard, meeting some awesome friends and sharing those achievements with them. Thanks Cori!

Cori's race report and pictures are here and here.

After taking some pictures and getting some water, we returned to the final corner to watch our friends finish. I LOVE the finish line. I wish I could bottle the emotions felt and seen at the finish line. I choked back tears a few times.

Cori couldn't stay long so once she left I snagged a spot right beside the fence to cheer on the runners. Even with my prime spot I managed to miss hubby, my instructor and a few other friends' half marathon finishes. I did get to see the marathon winner which was pretty neat, as well as the 1st place wheelchair marathoner.

After waiting a long time and not seeing hubby finish I decided to get my stuff from bag check to see if he messaged me. Sure enough he had long finished (1:59) and I had missed it.

We changed our clothes, grabbed some food and met up with friends to watch some of our other friends finish their first marathons.

We watched our friend, Richard, finish in 4:21 which had most of us in tears. So proud of him and all his hard work. Apparently I was cheering/crying too much to take any pictures of his finish.

We watched Martin Parnell, in his attempt to beat the Guinness World Record of fastest marathon run in full lacrosse gear, cross the finish line. He finished in 4:18, although not quite fast enough to beat the record and he did need medical attention due to overheating. Such an inspiration!

We really had to leave to pick up Audrey but I wanted to see Leigh finish her first marathon. I figured she would be coming in fairly soon so we headed down close to the finishing chute.

Sure enough, around the corner came Leigh and her running buddy Erica. I was screaming and cheering her on like crazy but she was so focused and didn't bat an eyelash at the spectators.

Hubby's hand cheering for Leigh!

I am so happy I was able to see her finish her first marathon!!! Such an accomplishment!

Thoughts on the race

I LOVE this race! The energy is just amazing. It almost makes me want to run a marathon!

I can't think of a single negative thing about this race.

The swag is great. I love that every distance gets a medal. The spectators are fantastic. The post race pancake breakfast is perfect.

Next year is the 50th Anniversary and you can bet that I'll be signing up! Just not for the full marathon!

10K PR! 



    Congrats on being a sub-60'r!

    My gosh, those medals are huge!!

  2. Awesome job!! I always get teary eyed at finish lines too!
    Yeah, I always used to wear too much when running and then I realized less is really more. You can always through on a cheap top over top to toss off if needed - something you know you probably won't get back!

  3. Congratulations again on your PR!! So awesome. Glad that you and Cori were able to run together and motivate each other. It definitely helps! And thank you again for staying to cheer for means alot :)

  4. Whoo hooo!!! Awesome race!! Sounds like an awesome run. So glad you had a running buddy. Congrats to J also. So glad you saw Leigh finish. Great photos. I love the metals!!

  5. I agree - it did end up being a PERFECT RACE! Great company. Goals met. Just hard enough to make us feel like we earned it! It was such an honour to run with you, Nicole! You were an awesome race buddy!

  6. Congrats on the PR! What a great race! :)


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