Run for L'Arche Half March 23, 2013

The weather forecast got colder and colder for Saturday, but the original prediction of flurries or snow went away thank goodness.  Race morning is -12°C, it looks warm outside with the blue sky and sun but it certainly is not.

We drive up to Eau Claire and park underground in the warm with all the other runners.  A set of stairs leads up right into the Market which is perfect.  Outside in the courtyard Stampede Caravan is already cooking up breakfasts.  The mayor arrives while we are still inside, not as a runner - he is officially starting the race.

We go out 10 mins before the start to set up watches etc.  Mayor Nenshi starts talking to everyone and has so much to say he is hurried up by the organizers.  I find that quite amusing.  There is a countdown from 10 and it is time to go.  I high five Mr Mayor on the way past, I think he's done great things for Calgary.

The first 5k is chilly but pleasant.  The volunteers out on the course are incredibly enthusiastic and supportive.  The cross dressing cheerleaders at 4k are outstanding, I tell them they are beautiful and mean every word.  Every single volunteer out there has something positive and encouraging to say.  At 7k I start getting some twinges from my right knee but it's not too bad and my pace is consistent at 6:26.

After 9k we enter Shouldice park and come across 3 or 4 huge areas of thick ice across the pathway.  I skid on the first part and again on the second, my knee is not pleased at all.  I am over cautious picking my way over the rest of it and lose time.  So frustrating.  I check out my Garmin to see my km pace is over 10.  I pick my pace up again toward the turnaround, it's always good to know you're on the way back.  Then we hit the ice again, and I am over cautious again and yet still manage to slip.  I am very aware of the LA races coming up and know I can't injure myself.

By then I know I'm not on track for a great time but I still want to finish strong.  Every race can teach us things.  The runners are really spaced out around me which is quite discouraging.  It goes well for a couple of kms then when I hit 16k my left calf starts to ache.  I stop several times to stretch it but it gets worse as we go on and by 18k I am wondering how the hell I will finish the race.  I don't remember doing anything specific to injure it unless I was adjusting my gait to compensate for the knee pain.  The ice didn't help anything.

I have to walk parts from there to the end, even walking hurts like hell.  I may not have been drinking enough and forgot to have my gel pack.  I have blisters on my left foot, knee pain and calf pain and feel like I'm going to throw up.  The stretch of pathway past the Peace Bridge is torture.  I manage to run partially up the on-ramp to the Princes Island bridge only to be met with volunteers and a photographer.  I have to admit I am looking forward to these pictures!

I run all the way to the finish line from there, get my medal then sit on the stone steps and cry - I can't stop it.  I can't breathe.  It is not a pretty sight and I feel awful doing that in front of the runners and volunteers who worked so hard to make the event special.   Thankfully most people are inside or off getting their Stampede breakfast.

Final time 2:22 and I manage to miss ALL THREE of my race goals!  Sometimes it is not your day.  Kev did great coming in at 1:50.  He had a better approach to the ice I think, he ran across it and hoped for the best!

At this point I'm just glad I finished.  My dual pains are still there and I'm struggling to get up/down stairs.  It's time for a week off to see if this can heal itself.


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