Banff Winterstart Race





On Saturday, we finished up with soccer, dropped the girls off at my Aunty Sandy’s and headed to Banff so we could participate in the Banff Winterstart – a 5 mile race ran at night.  I had wanted to do this race the last few years but our schedule made it impossible until this year! However, I kept forgetting to register or I would start the process and not finish and when I finally got around to actually doing it, it was sold out. I had absolutely no idea it was so popular!  After confirming with the organizer that it was indeed sold out, I posted my sadness on Facebook about not getting in and one of my Calgary running friends saw it.  She knew of 2 people selling their bibs and managed to get me their contact info and I got the 2 bibs for the race!  It was really easy doing the bib transfer too – all we needed was first and last name and $10 and it was done at package pick up on race day.  I wish all races were that easy!
When we left Calgary it was warm and sunny.  However, the closer we got to Banff, the cloudier and colder it got.  I was not overly happy with the cold and wet rain but thought to myself that this had to be better then snow right??  We went and picked up our race package and then walked down Banff Avenue.  It was raining but it seemed to be clearing up which was great for us.  After that, we headed back to the bed and breakfast (this is the best b+b probably in the whole world) and relaxed before the race.
I was unsure of what I was going to wear for the race.  I had never ran at night in the cold so it was a whole new experience for me.  I probably brought every running outfit combination I could think of in preparation for that night.  I ended up wearing the same thing I did for the Harvest Half except I switched out my CRB for a short sleeved run swiftly.  Greg was confident that it was enough but I was worried I would be cold.  He was right like he always is when it comes to what to wear during a run.  I got a little warm during the race but nothing like I was struggling with heat or anything.  I was only cold walking to and from the race.  Especially after the race because I was sweating, my clothes were wet and it was cold!!
Walking to the race.  The b+b we stayed at was a 5 minute walk from the Banff Caribou Lodge which is where the race started and finished so that was really good.  It was a little icy and so I was a little worried how the road would be for the race.  It had quit raining but the temperature had dropped below zero slightly and I had slipped a few times just getting there!
There were a lot of people dressed up in various costumes and lit up with christmas lights.  I don’t think i would ever run in a costume but Greg is trying to think of a way to work Unikitty into his costume next year.  The race was in the dark except for the christmas lights and the glow sticks we got.  Some people used camping headlights but both Greg and I hated them.  They either made things way too bright or way too dark.  It made it hard to adjust either way.  That was my only problem with the race.
Getting ready to start the race.  There were about 2000 people there!!  I had no idea they registered this many people for this race.  It was crazy!  It took awhile to break out from the pack since it was a mass start.  I discovered early on that anything painted on the road was icier then just plain pavement.  I tried to stick to the right until I got to the hill and then I loved to the left and then ran right all the way down the hill and to the finish line.  I had great times to and from the hill but up the hill really got to me.  I had a running cramp which I haven’t had in years and I found it really hard to catch my breath running up the hill and ended up walking a bit more then I had would have liked but it wasn’t much of a surprise since I had been sick since Monday with a cold.  I finished my 8k (5 miler) in just over 55 minutes which was fairly good.  It worked out to be a 6:49/km so I was happy given the circumstances.
Greg finished about 10 minutes ahead of me and was waiting at the finish line with a cold bottle of water.  I was so thirsty!!  I was very happy to get water immediately.  Being sick had really dehydrated me no matter how much water I drank leading up to the race.  In the parkade of the hotel they  had beer, beer cozy’s and pop and water.  They also had cookies, brownies, bananas and oranges.  It was a fantastic after party.  We stayed for a bit and drank our beverages and then made the cold 5 minute walk home to the b+b.  We changed and headed out for supper to a new restaurant in Banff.  You can read all about that on Thursday :)
Greg and I both enjoyed this race and we look forward to doing it again.  However, I would register the day registration opens and not wait like we did this year and I would book a hotel immediately as we waited until Wednesday (no  joke) and we ended up at a bed and breakfast which really awesome.  I had never stayed at one before and she was fantastic.  It was clean and we all had private bathrooms and she made us the most amazing breakfast on Sunday morning.  She also had a friend visiting from BC who was in Calgary for the month because she runs the art market at the Telus Convention Centre and she gave us free passes to the show.

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