Calgary Half Marathon May 26, 2013

There's nothing like a 4 am alarm in the pitch dark on a Sunday!  I was having a dream about trying to take a horse through an underpass onto the Freeway (it was complicated, there was paperwork) so I wasn't too upset to be woken up.

We head out at 5:10 to Bridlewood for the C Train. There is a bank of fog lying over the Bow as we cross, it is beautiful.  We miss the first train and hang out with banana eating runners until the next one arrives - our carriage advises us it is Taco Time!  That's a no for me, thanks.

It is quite chilly as we arrive at Erlton so we head directly into the Grandstand building.  Toasty!  The line ups for the bathrooms are not bad at all and there is plenty room for everyone to stretch in the main areas.  At 6:25 we head back outside for bag check, again there are no line ups.  The sun is fully up now but I decide to keep my arm sleeves on for the race.

We cross over to the Big 4 to look for Cori who had the great idea to meet up before the race.  It is fabulous to meet my favourite blogger in person!  We also meet Michelle who looks awesome in her space blanket, she is running the full marathon.  I am still in absolute awe of anyone who does this.

Photo thanks to Cori, I was hopeless at taking pics!

Soon it is time to walk over to the start line.  They have tried to seed everyone by putting up marathon time banners, I start near the back as there is more space.  After the anthem and some words from Mayor Nenshi we are off!  My knee hurts right away (great) but it's a dull pain so I figure I'll just run through it and hopefully it will get better.

We run through the underpass and along 9th Ave toward the zoo bridge, it is warm and sunny.  Just before Bridgeland I have to push my sleeves down.  The temperature is perfect right now.  Lots of people are out to watch the crazy runners.  I am taking it a kilometre at a time and trying to enjoy everything around me.  Pace time up to 7k: average 6:30/km.

We head onto 11th Ave and there are some lovely cool shadowy sections.  I spot my friend Laurel on the sidewalk to the right and run over to give her a big sweaty hug (sorry).  I also manage to tread on her foot (again, sorry).  I was so excited to see her.  Off again and I realize my time isn't going to be great so I focus on completing the distance.  Average pace from 8-12k: 6:50/km.

We turn onto 14th and head into Kensington and what am I thinking about?  Crave cupcakes.  Of course.  I sneak an Advil as we head into the out and back section on Memorial.  We reach 14k and I start to have hope I can keep running through the knee pain - there's only 7k to go!  I have an energy boost and pull off a 6:33 km.  I am feeling pretty good right now!

Suddenly there is a car on the other side of the road followed by 2 bikes and Benard Onsare who is leading the marathon.  The bugger looks fresh as a daisy and he is just flying.

At 16k it feels like something is biting the side of my knee so I slow down (I have that image from Poltergeist in my mind where the guy goes upstairs ALONE to see what the noise is and comes back with teeth marks).  Slowing down helps a lot and the dull pain resumes. I consider this a victory!  Pace times here alternate between 6:39 and 7:45 with one scary 8:02.

Soon we are passing the East Village at 19k which has possibly the best cheer station in the world complete with pimp mobile (with grass on it?), dancers and very loud music.  Signs let us all know 'you are the sh*t'.  Alright, I'm the sh*t!  A truly wonderful individual picks up a handful of wet sponges and squeezes water over me.

I keep my pace below 7/km for the rest of the race.  The amazing thing is I'm still running.  I haven't been able to run anywhere near this distance for almost 2 months.  As I come into Stampede Park I hear the car behind me again and there is Mr Onsare coming in for the win!  I watch him round the bend and forget all about how tired I am.  The finish is pretty special as we come into the Grandstand.  The crowd is going mad for Benard.

From Marathon Foto

My final time is 2:25:43, nowhere near a PB.  It doesn't matter.  It doesn't matter at all.

Now I have hope I can start marathon training and maybe, just maybe I can be one of those people I am so in awe of when fall comes around.


  1. Super blog! A say without sweat is like a day without sunshine. But what an inspiration you are, susan, to all of those people who say they can't run, or don't run. Your persistence, optimism and determination paid off wonderfully as you progressed from your initial 10 minute jogs to competing in 5 kms, then to 10 kms, and now to loads of half-marathons, and soon your first marathon! I am so proud of you! Until you climb the mountain, you can never experience the magnificence of the view from the top...keep on running!Gerry Madigan

  2. Thank you Gerry, not sure I'd be anywhere near here without you. Onward!

  3. I am so hopeless at commenting quickly LOL.

    It was so awesome to meet you that day! You did great, despite the challenges of the pain. And you will rock the marathon. Trust me - if I can complete 2 of them ANYONE can. :)

    I hope we can get together for a run and coffee soon!

  4. That sounds great, I'll give you a shout when I know I can actually run 20ft without stopping & whining! Pretty confident I can manage the coffee part :)


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