Calgary Marathon Half 2017 Recap

My quads hurt.

That’s it… that’s the post.

I’m not sure what it is about the Calgary course, but my quads never hurt this much after any other race. I honestly think that my quads hurt more after yesterday’s half marathon than they did after Honolulu Marathon. OR, maybe it just really helps to put your legs in the ocean after a race. That could be a thing.

Anyway, Calgary Half Marathon. What a day.

Woke up, did my usual pre-race prep of drinking a smoothie and a little bit of coffee while getting dressed. It was a very nice morning, cool air and sun rising, which made for a nice start to the race. I live pretty close to the start line, so I walked over feeling relatively calm and chatted with another gal while walking. She was very excited for the race, which boosted my excitement so it was nice to chat with her. Walking over, I thought about how much I love race morning and getting out there with all the other runners.

Calgary Marathon uses part of the Stampede grounds and the Grandstand for the pre and post race festivities. It’s nice because it’s a pretty open area and then there’s also flush toilets to use if you’re not in the mood for portable toilets. They also have a few booths around where you can buy or check out some stuff and also Jugo Juice there with smoothies at the end. I went and checked my bag right away (yes, I checked a bag. I wanted to exchange my race shirt size) and was able to line up for the washrooms pretty easily.

Calgary Half Marathon 2017

Closing in on the finish!! Thanks for the pic, YYCRunCrew!

After the washrooms, I went straight to the starting chute to get in position. I arrived a little earlier this year after last year’s debacle, which was nice for my nerves. I thought we would hear the national anthem because of the Canada 150 celebrations, but we did not. (Apparently they did play a recording of the anthem that people in the front could hear, but I thought someone would sing it.) They had a few announcements and a moment of silence (which I also couldn’t hear and I wasn’t that far back) and we were off! Again, my biggest pet peeve with this race is that the 50KM, 42.2KM, and 21.1KM all start at the exact same time with no waves. This causes chaos for about the first 5KM of the race at least. People running into each other, having to dodge and weave through people, and bottlenecking in some areas. The start of this race is not really that fun. Also, they lay out pylons to mark the tangents for the elites, but these are hard to see in all the chaos, so I saw so many people running into them and falling because you can’t even see past the person in front of you when making turns, etc.

Once the 21.1KM separates from the 50KM & 42.2KM runners, then the course opens up a bit more (this was around 6KM I think). Then you can start to focus on your pace and getting into a rhythm. It was a gorgeous morning, so I tried to focus on the nice weather and just the general atmosphere of race morning. I had a plan of running with the 2:00 hour pace bunny and then if I was feeling good, I was going to speed up around 15KM or so… well, this didn’t happen. I was sort of in a groove and ran ahead of the pace bunny early on. He was also hard to keep track of in all the crowds, so I just tried to go at a good pace and not run into people.

I felt good and strong for most of the race, but then it started to get hot. The sun was beaming straight on and my body just started to warm up. I did my best to keep a good pace going, while also not trying to get into my head too much.

Overall, the course was pretty good. Straightforward, you knew what direction to go and there were plenty of volunteers and course marshals out letting you know the turns. There was also plenty of crowds and people cheering, which was really nice. Once again, the Calgary Lululemon crew really stepped up their cheering game and presented one of the funnest cheer stations of the race. This was especially nice around 19KM when I was really starting to feel the struggle in the heat.

Honestly, the last 2.1KM were rough for me. I was feeling hot and started to get frustrated. This was also the first race where I felt extremely close to puking. But, I was about 500m away from the finish and I was like “NO, I can’t puke here!!”, so I did my final push and crossed the finish line. I was tired and dehydrated, but also excited that I finished and felt like I gave all I had at the time.

There were also tons of volunteers at the end handing out water and snacks, and I think I thanked each one of them twice. I do like the post race food kit that you get from this race since I am gluten intolerant. I hope they continue to do this because it helps that I can actually eat something at the end. Chips are the best at this time, really.

Calgary Marathon post race food

Post race snack bag is awesome! Even a gluten free Honey Stinger waffle!

I sort of deliriously walked through the finishing area and back inside the Grandstand where Jugo Juice was giving away free smoothies. This is also great, because it was so refreshing after running in the heat. Afterwards, I went and tried to find friends and congratulate them after they crossed the finish line, which is relatively easy to do since the finish line is inside the Grandstand so there are places to stand and sit after the race.

Overall, another fun race at the Calgary Marathon. I wouldn’t say this is the best course to PB or BQ on, especially if the weather is hot. Also, you still have to arrive early to really be settled at the start on time – especially if you like to line up in a certain spot or with a pace bunny. Post race is a good time and I felt like there was plenty of volunteers to help you through your day, which is nice. A HUGE thank you to the volunteers and Calgary Police Service for working hard on a Sunday morning!!

In regards to my time, I didn’t really discuss my goals with anyone before because I was trying not to put too much pressure on myself. Well, that tactic didn’t really work. I was both happy and disappointed with my time after the race, which is an odd feeling. My “A” goal was to be in the 1:52 range, but I achieved my “B” goal of finishing in the 1:54 range – chip time 1:54:17. Yes, I did PB. The last Half Marathon I raced with in 2015 (GoodLife Half) and I achieved a 5 minute PB from that race, but I had hoped better for myself. I thought I was stronger this time around. And yes, the goals are only 2 minutes apart, but I wanted better for myself. This is especially important when I have a #BQby40 goal, which is only five 2ish years away. I don’t want to be too hard on myself, but I also know I can do better. Was it my nerves? Was it the heat? I’m not totally sure, but I’m trying not to be too hard on myself. I’ve got Seawheeze in August and we’ll see how that goes before I make some major decisions on training and racing. Either way, super happy with the day and I had lots of fun – which is the most important after all! πŸ™‚

Calgary Half Marathon 2017 medal

Worked hard for this medal!

Have you ever had a race where you felt both happy and disappointed with yourself at the same time?Β 

If you’d also like to check out how I rate certain aspects of the course, please check out my review onΒ Bibrave.com!Β 

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