Race Recap: Calgary Marathon

This past weekend, I participated in the Calgary Marathon.  It kinda irritates me that the whole weekend is called the Calgary Marathon because when I tell people I am running in it, they say you  are doing a full marathon and I reply no I am just doing the half.  And I hate that I always say "just" doing the half because a half a marathon is a lot of blood, sweat and tears to accomplish.  I wish it had a whole other name so it wasn't half of something.  Anyways I digress....



On Friday morning, I decided to go see Dr Curtis at Southcentre Health + Wellness for one final crack of my back/shoulder before Sunday's race.  It was nothing major and he went easy on me because he didn't want me to wake up Sunday morning and be angry at him when it hurt a lot more because that was a possibility.  Thankfully that did not happen when I woke up. After my appointment, I peaked in Lululemon and saw this when I entered so I put my feet on it and took a photo and then thought long and hard about how I would feel on Sunday when I finished.  Really it all depended on how and when I crossed if that makes sense??  Basically I thought I would feel relief when I finished and I wasn't wrong but it was a different kind of relief that I felt.  More on that later. 


After my chiropractor appointment, I headed down to the Big 4 to pick up my race package.  I wasn't in there too long.  I grabbed my bib and then quickly walked through the expo, stopping only at the Altra booth and being disappointed that they didn't have my current shoes in my size because they were selling them for $90.  I grabbed my shirt and then went to find my name on their wall of race participants.  I found my name and highlighted it with my distance and my goal time.  At that point, my goal was to not die, but I didn't want to put a negative vibe on the wall haha.  

This is the front of the tech shirt we got for running in the Calgary Marathon.  I think the concept is neat but I don't particularly love it.  I am not upset that I don't love it because I rarely wear them anyways except on an occasional run or bootcamp class. Greg really loved the shirts this year. 


My biggest problem with the shirt was the word "finisher" on the back because not everybody finishes the race and not everybody who registers, gets their race package even runs it and they all have a shirt that says finisher on it.  It was really disappointing and I was not the only one who was disappointed by this.  This was my first complaint of the race weekend.  I was happy to see some people with tape over the word finisher while they ran so they could remove it once they crossed the finish line. That was a brilliant idea. 


On Saturday morning, Greg, the girls and I headed down to Eau Claire for the introduction of the pace bunnies and the flag bearers and the 3km friendship run put on by the Calgary Marathon.  I was impressed with Finley's running skills but I shouldn't be considering she is currently playing soccer 5x a week.  Her running form is amazing and I may be a little (or a lot) jealous of it.  The only thing she needs to work on is her breathing technique.  By the end, she was having trouble breathing properly but I fixed her up quickly.  She was a head of my friend Jenny pretty much the whole time. 


Penelope ran with Greg and they took it a little slower but they both still enjoyed getting outside and participating in a run!


Saturday night I went to bed early but had trouble falling asleep.  I woke up around midnight after I had a bad dream that I slept through my alarm and missed the start of the Calgary Marathon.  I must have been paranoid after that because I woke up every 2 hours before finally waking for the day at 442am. Greg also had his alarm set too so I really was going to be ok.  I met my friends at the train station at 6am and we headed down to the Stampede grounds for the start of the race. 


Here we are all just before we all headed to our corrals.  My friend Terra said I looked gangster in this photo but really it was because I was so cold and I knew I was going to be warm fast so I didn't want to bring anything to take it off 2km into my race and it was the right decision.  This leads me to my second complaint/disappointment of the race: the starting corrals.  They had the Confederation 150, the 50, the full and the half marathons all starting at the same time which led to the corrals looking and feeling like a can of sardines. They were so full that Shannon and I couldn't even get into a corral until the gun went and people started running.  We had to wait for people to move forward so we could get in and start the run.  And we were not the only people who did this, there were 100s of people on the side waiting to start.  I don't know why they don't stagger the start times: 150 + 50 at 6am, the full at 630 and the half at 7am, it would make for less congestion at the beginning and during the first 8km before we split up.  


 I have no photos from during the run since I was obviously running so I took this one from the LululemonYYC instagram story on Sunday.  You can see how packed the bridge was.  Regardless of the congestion, this is still one of my favourite races.  This year though, the race route was altered because of the removal of the old zoo bridge and the new bridge not being completed.  We skipped Inglewood this year but we still went through Bridgeland via Memorial Drive which was harder hahaha.  We ended up going through the East Village 3x though which wasn't the greatest.  


And here I am just after I crossed the finish line with a time of 2 hours and 28 minutes which is my second fastest half marathon time.  I did it only by a minute but I still did it and that is all that matters at this point haha. I felt really good throughout my run and I was really surprised where all the speed came from because I was way faster then most of training runs and I sustained it for the whole race in the gross heat.  My back/shoulder only hurt once I crossed the finish line and stopped running so that was a  huge relief.  I was happy with all of the water stations throughout the race and thought that there were ample and liked that they had both water and electrolytes so that i could try to stay hydrated.  And despite drinking 140oz of alternating water and electrolytes I was still so dehydrated.  I was so hot and just generally tired that the last 3km were really tough on me but it was nice to see one of my bootcamp buddies cheering me on when I needed it most!  My biggest complaint was that one of the course photographers was smoking a cigarette around km 19-20 and it was so gross and the last thing I wanted to breathe in at that point.  It should go without saying that smoking a long the course should be a no no.  I stuck with the 2:15 pace bunny for a while before I fell behind with the 2:30 pace bunny.  I was happy that I was in-between the 2 bunnies up the 18km mark.  Both the 230 run/walk and continuous bunnies were fantastic and one of them made sure I crossed the finish line before him and that I was under 2:30.  Pace bunnies run the race for us and I really appreciate their help and encouragement and motivation when i needed it the most.  


After I got the medal and my swag bag of food, I got my smoothie form Jugo Juice.  When I ran 2 years ago, it wasn't very good and when I volunteered last year I never tried it but the one this year was delicious.  All i know about it was that it had kale and no added sugar and so so good.  I went and found my friend Melanie who was our photographer for the day and her husband who ran the race and waited for all of my friends to finish.  It was really amazing to see Justin Kurek, who is from Calgary, cross the finish line as a guiness world record holder as the faster person to run a marathon dressed like a cowboy.  It was really cook to see the Team Mito girls cross the finish line all attached together.  They also broke a guiness world record too.  But most amazingly was seeing Dave Procter cross the finish line after running 150km all on his own.  He is also a patient at Liv Active too.  He was amazing and inspiring and such a cool thing to see him cross the finish line and he looked like he could have ran another 150 too.  That being said, every single person who managed to cross that finish line one way or another and for any distance is just as amazing.  Way to go Calgary Marathoners



Here is a photo of my medal.  I kinda though it would be like a gigantic maple leaf or something to go with the Canada 150 theme but it was a twoonie and it looked pretty cool.  This medal was definitely well earned. 


After we all finished, we caught the train down south where we met back up for lunch where we had the worst service I have had in a long time.  She had so much attitude it was so annoying.  We all wore our medals so that they would know why we all smelled so bad hahahaha.


Greg and the girls weren't at the race with me as Finley had a soccer game at 10am and once it was over, they were going canoe camping with Greg's dad, brother and his fiancee. Both girls each made me a photo for me to come home too and I loved it so much.  Their canoe trip was not to be though, because at 915pm, Parks Canada showed up with their interpretive boat to evacuate everybody from the campgrounds.  Some backpackers were eating supper at a campsite 12km from Greg's and a bear just showed up and starting eating their garbage and their supper.  They abandoned all their equipment and flagged down someone boating on Lake Minnewanka and then notified Parks Canada. Because everybody in these campgrounds are backpackers or canoers they decided to evacuate as a precaution since nobody had a car to escape to.  They got home at 2am after a very long day.


This is the one that Finley made me and it was incredible that she actually drew me in a twoonie since the medal I received was a twoonie and she said it was because the tooth fairy had brought her a twoonie on Friday night and it was sitting on her desk as her inspiration.  Pretty crazy that it happened haha.



Once I got home on Sunday, I had a wicked headache so I filled up my water bottles and poured myself a glass of chocolate milk and went to have a nice long epsom salt bath.  I then went to bed and slept for a few hours and then watched 2 episodes of the Property Brothers.  I realized I was out of water and hungry so I walked downstairs to the kitchen to make my supper of lucky charms haha.  Walking down those stairs might have been the hardest thing I did that day.  Once that was done, I went back to bed where I remained until 630 the next day.  I did a lot of well deserved sleeping haha. 

I woke up on Monday and felt great so I went to bootcamp.  Then we went for lunch and to the zoo with Greg's dad and despite hydrating like crazy, my legs stiffened up late Monday afternoon and as I  type this on Tuesday afternoon, they have not gotten much better.  I hate when the soreness is delayed like this, I would much rather wake up sore then feel good like I did.  I am going to take Tuesday and Wednesday off from everything but stretching and go out Thursday for my next run.  My next half marathon isn't until August so I have lots of time for recovery.  

Despite my 3 very small complaints, I love Calgary Marathon weekend.  I love all the people on the board of directors for the Calgary Marathon and all the work they do year round working on this weekend, I love all the volunteers who sacrifice their time to come help out.  Without their support, their would be no half marathon.  I appreciate all the time and work that the City of Calgary Police do in closing the roads and keeping sneaky drivers off the roads so that we stay safe.  But most of all, I appreciate all the ordinary people who hung out in their front yards, outside coffee shops and along the streets throughout the race course who cheered us on - you guys are amazing and you have no idea how much I appreciate it and I know so many runners do too.  Thank you to everyone who makes this race the success that it is.  We are the best city in the world!!

364 days until the 54th Calgary Marathon but who's counting....

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