AKA The Winter Bollocks Half
I watched the weather all week but the crazy cold snowy day stuck between the warmer ones refused to move from Sunday. It was time to get the layers on and find a toque to cover my ears. I added a scarf which of course froze (along with my hair) out on the course.
Sunday Nov 10
We head to snowy Eau Claire through some of the worst winter driving I've ever seen, feel shame Calgary. The cozy underground parking is awesome and we can sit in the food court right up to race start. I manage to find Michelle and Tina pre-race, it helps that Michelle is super colourful (can you spot her in the pic below?)
The temperature is sitting around -11°c/12°f (-16°c wind chill) and snow will fall through the entire race. The pathways are ploughed for roughly the first 6k. We have to move to avoid the plough and a brushing thingy. Kev is running with me and is assigned camera duty (& carrying my gloves, defrosting the gels, filling up water...!)
I am maintaining a sub 7 min pace for the first while and can see the bicycles behind me at the back of the pack. Not motivating! We catch up with Michelle and Tina near Kensington. This is my favourite part of the race, we are trucking along and chatting. We pass the Peace Bridge and Michelle suggests some photos.
|Peace Bridge, thanks Kev|
As we continue along Memorial Tina and I entertain ourselves with an epic #curseoff. YES! I actually feel good and forget how far we have to go. I have some really special stuff lined up for our rematch at the Hypothermic. You will want to run near us.
When we get closer to the zoo the pathways get worse, we pass Benard Onsare who is right behind the lead runner. I wish I could have seen them finish, Benard (2 time Calgary Mara winner) won by 2 seconds. The next stretch is hilly and slippery, my feet keep sliding in the churned up snow. There are black patches under the snow which I think are pathway, nope! ice.
|Route markings, yellow snow?|
We run north after the zoo, trading places with Tina here and there. Suddenly Michelle pops up with chocolate covered espresso beans. Heaven. This is another mostly pleasant part as we are reaching the turnaround and it feels like we're getting somewhere. Plus I've had chocolate. We pass Leana who I managed to miss at the start.
|Just after the turnaround|
We are running right into a freezing headwind now and I'm walking parts. It's painfully slow progress from km 16 onwards.
Michelle passes us by at the zoo and whenever we turn around we can see Tina. Now it's just a case of putting one foot in front of the other, running whenever I can and making it to the end. I focus on finishing ahead of a girl in a Phily hat because, well, I just have to.
The last bridge is crazy slippery, then we are at Eau Claire and finally this can end. We get our medals then wait for Tina who is right behind us. She fell near the end, it was one of the very few times we couldn't see her on the course. This was a tough race.
We EARNED these medals today.
|Photo courtesy of Tina, we are awesome!|
|Poor Kev should have got an extra medal for dealing with my whining|
We head to the Garage for brunch, I heard a rumour there may have been fruit but I couldn't locate any. The pancakes, sausages and lashings of syrup were pretty good though. For the first time ever I win a door prize - hurrah! They gave me a choice from a table of stuff so we now own a balance board from Fitter First.
In conditions like this you can't expect to reach your goal time. It's hard to re-adjust. After a couple of days I'm happy with everything and I'm glad I did it (and without falling). This was my first half without the knee band and it went really well even on the snow. Final time 2:43:35 (1 min faster than the Harvest).
There were a few other crazy bloggers at this race, read their race reports here: