The further I am away from this past weekend the more it seems like it was a dream… Did I actually fly to Calgary for 48hrs and run the national half marathon championships? Yep… crazy!
People always say to me ‘oh it’s only a half marathon that must be easy for you’ but the truth is no matter what distance I am racing I am giving 100% and it is always hard!! And I always find the half marathon a particularly hard event.
The race did not go as I wanted but I did have a great experience. Through the Calgary marathon I qualified for travel assistance and they set me up with a host family. This made the trip doable for me. I have been doing a lot of traveling for running lately and it is not necessarily in my budget… but I love it!! So it was so helpful to have received the travel assistance and host family. The family I stayed with was wonderful and lived very close to the race location. The family drove me every where I needed to go. They also kindly accommodated to my fussy food needs pre race. That was a truly great experience!
I am still new to being an elite in a race and so I always feel out of my league when I am listed as one of the elites. But I try and go in confidently and perform.
On to the race… I could blame my lack of hitting my goal (1:19 and be top 8) on a lot of things…. Running Cabot trail relay the week before (and running up a mountain), having run the best race of my life a month before at the Boston marathon, being at “elevation” in Calgary, having a huge lack of sleep the week leading up to the race… But I am coming to learn that not every race can be your best race ever. I used to not race as much as I do now and so it used to be every time I would race it really was my best race ever. But with the increase in volume of races I can not possibly expect that from myself and that is hard to accept as I always want to perform to my best abilities.
I knew there was a chance of this happening as this race was not my goal race for the season. It was more of a if I recover okay from my goal race maybe I should give this race a try too. So going in I knew there was a chance it would not go my way.
So race day came and I was up bright and early as the race start time was 6:30am (luckily for me it felt like 8:30am). So I woke up at 3am Calgary time… gross! I got to the race site just after 5am. The Calgary marathon had a great elite lounge with real bathrooms (*what a treat on race day).
I warmed up with one of my old team mates from University of Windsor Dayna Pidhoresky… who happened to also be warming up with Lanni Marchant and Natasha Wodak…. No big deal just Canada’s top female long distance runners. It was great to meet these two speedy ladies!!!
The race started and I felt okay. My plan was to go out conservatively and aim for 1:19 (3:45/km). And for once in my half marathoning career I actually did that. But it did not feel easy like I expected it to and by 5km I knew I was not going to be able to hold that pace. Frustrating! But unlike what I would have done in the past I did not get negative on myself I tried to stay mentally tough even though my pace continued to fade to much slower than my marathon pace. I was tempted to turn my watch off but I am so dependent on it I did not know if I would keep running with out the watch going. As if this race was not going poorly enough but in the last 3km I had some serious GI issues that I will not go into detail about here but let’s just say I was not in a pleasant place. But I finished and I put out a hard effort although I was far from my goal. But I have to remember that me having a blow up in a race means I run 1:23… I cannot be too upset about that especially when I did not really know what to expect from the race.
I remember during the race thinking to myself “I should be running faster” but I just had nothing. This experience made me so thankful for the days I have that I do feel strong, fast and like nothing can stop me when it comes to running.
I ended up in 7th place and realistically if everyone had their best race the best place I would have likely come would be 6th so placement was good it was just a less than ideal time. But I still end up getting a white cowboy hat and got to stand up with Canada’s best!
I refuse to write this blog about the negative so instead I will focus on the positive. So all in all it was a good experience to race as an elite. Even though I feel like I did not represent the elite title very well. I have been enjoying some downtime this week and will get back into training at the end of next week and start this all over again! Can’t wait!