On Sunday I ran my 8th half marathon (I think!). I started running halfs in 2009 and have not looked back since! They are my favourite distance hands down. I realized that I have yet to repeat a race which is my goal since there are so many awesome races out there to take part in. I registered for this race when I was very pregnant and needed motivation to run once I was cleared. We love Canmore in the fall and I knew the scenery would be beautiful so it was a no brainer.
Going into this half I was 5 months postpartum/csection but felt pretty darn confident with all our stroller runs and my speed work has been pretty awesome lately as well. I had heard this course is very hilly and looked briefly at the course but really did not know what to expect. I had done hill training once a week so felt pretty good about that as well. I had a goal of 1:55 knowing that the course was more challenging than some plus the higher altitude can affect performance too.
The forecast a few days before did not look great, a high of 5 and SNOW. Yes, snow. But I would rather cooler temps, and dress for them than heat any day. Of course the days before in Canmore were beautiful! The day before we picked up my race package which was super quick, we got a Buff head wrap and a Cliff bar which was great, I did not go into this race for the swag.
The morning of I woke up to rain and thought “it could be worse”, there was no snow on the ground, no wind and it was not too cold out. Since it was raining I added one more layer (a light jacket) to my race day outfit:
Flay lay photo from the night before – more to keep me organized with my Mom brain!
We headed down to the start line about 8am, found a close parking spot and walked over to check out a few things then ended up waiting inside the gym to keep dry. About 8:30am we went back outside, took a quick before photo before Chad and the girls went to go find somewhere dry to wait.
I have a small tradition of starting every race to Poker Face but could not find it on my iPod and before I knew it was go time. I started with my good friend (hi Heather!) as we do in many races and we kept a good pace the first 4-5kms which took us along the streets and by some huge, beautiful houses.
I have this issue of blanking out portions of races so recaps are hard for me! I think the next 5km went through some trails and gravel along the river, across a gorgeous bridge before the hills started. Quick note – the course description said “high quality gravel for portions” turns out with a lot of rain that turned into high quality mud and puddles! There was actually way more of the course on trails and gravel than I expected. But jumping puddles and rocks only added to the fun 😉
I kept a decent pace (5:15-5:45) for the next 9kms or so which honestly just felt like running up and down hills a hundred times. Pair that with the thicker air and at times I felt like there was no way I could get in a good deep breath but luckily did not cramp up. I really had no idea there would be so many hills, every time we went down I thought “good it is over” only to go back up and down again… SO happy I ran hills every week! I decided at the half way point I would start to do walk breaks for a minute every 20 minutes with Heather just so I could have some rest – this helped me a ton!
The last 2kms it flattened back out and we picked up the pace and before we knew it we saw the finish line, with a quick high fiver we sprinted (or felt like it!) to the finish line. I was slightly confused at the timer was after the finish line so I stopped before it.
Chad got some finish line photos:
I actually found the last 6km to fly by which was really nice! My official time was 1:54:44 which was 15th in my category (100 total) which made me day! Between the conditions and the hills I could not have asked for a better time.
I was pretty chilly once I stopped running despite being warm during the race so I grabbed a space blanket and we headed back to the condo so I could warm up and shower.
My medal, it is glass which is pretty cool and unlike any other medal I have.
Funny side story, after Chad took a photo of Heather and I and told me to smile and I couldn’t, my face was frozen!! haha.
Oh and a huge shout out to my friend Chris who won the half marathon with a time of 1:24, he is amazing!
1:54 is not a PR for me but this race was not about a PR at all. My next race IS though, Chad and I are running Phoenix in February and lets just say these next few months will be spent doing a lot more speed work so that I can PR there.
Despite the rain, the cold, the mud and the hills I really enjoyed this race. The scenery is one of a kind for sure!