Woody's Red Deer Half May 18, 2014

I registered for this race at the airport waiting to leave Pittsburgh where I'd just had a slice of pizza...for breakfast...at 9am.  I figured a swift kick to get me back into clean eating and training was very much in order.  As soon as I got home I got sick so running this became a last minute 50/50 decision on Saturday.

The drive up to Red Deer takes about an hour and a half, we are staying at the IHotel on 67th St which is absolutely perfect (twin shower heads for post-race aches, yes please).  Package pickup is fast and we spend the rest of Saturday checking out some of the route, walking and enjoying the fresh air.  The forecast for Sunday is rain, rain and rain.

The rain starts exactly as we leave the hotel at 7am on Sunday, we are wearing long sleeve tops and I have my hat, it is not cold so we don't have too many layers on.  It gets heavier as we wait for the start.  People are huddled under tents, inside the school and under trees.  The 10k sets off at 7:45 so we wait before joining the start line masses.

The anthem is sung beautifully by a young girl on a platform near the start banner, I absolutely love this part of race day.  We are quickly off and running into the rain.  The course goes north to begin, turning around near the lake we walked by yesterday.  The front runners zip by, then we head back south joining the 10k route and moving off the road onto pathways.

Pic from Saturday, with less rain

It is becoming a bit soggier underfoot.  The rain drips off the brim of my hat which is somewhat distracting.  We trek along at a solid pace until a hill at 9.5k which slows me up quite a bit.  I find I am short of breath which I expected yet was hoping to avoid until later on in the race.  The current irritating phase of whatever I have is a chesty cough. 

At 11km we drop through a gorgeous wooded area into a valley, it is stunning even in the pouring rain.  Runners single file over a wooden bridge then do a loop of a small island and back over to the main trail.  It is gravelly and muddy and damn beautiful.  There is a sign - no walking please!  Approaching this section I take a couple of pictures through the plastic bag my phone is in:

Runners (coloured dots) on the left are on the island

Now I am really soaked through.  We truck on over a couple of minor hills and cross a bridge over the Red Deer River.  I spot a teeny section of snow off to the side.  The aid station at 15km is brilliant, there are signs up, balloons, loud music and energetic volunteers.  

We run through another beautiful park with pedal boats and a fountain, it is wonderful seeing all the people out with waterproofed banners.  As we pass under Taylor Drive, a band is playing in the shelter provided by the road overpass.  Superb!

There is another climb then we cross the river again on this bridge at 17.5km:

I have to slow down or I know I'll be walking and it's too cold and soggy for that.  I try to pull my sodden sleeves down and ignore my watch. We gratefully turn right at the half/full split and dodge the rivers coming down the pathways.  It is still raining.  At 20.5km I can see the finish line around to the right, just beyond the last uphill and lovely glorious downhill.  

As I come into the finish chute the clock is ticking up toward 2:25 so I speed up as much as my sodden parts will allow to beat it in.  Final time 2:24:18.  Kev has a new PR of 1:44:23 - hurrah!  Of course the poor bugger then had to stand around in the rain waiting for me.  

The weather was awful and I wasn't feeling good today but that race was just gorgeous.  The volunteers out in the rain were fantastic.  Everything impressed me.  I will be back next year!

The hotel allows late check out so we have time to go back, get out of our soaking clothes and have a super hot shower.  That was essential, there was no way we could have driven back to Calgary without heating up properly first.


  1. Oh man, running a half marathon in the rain is not fun at all! Awesome job sticking it out :)

    1. Thanks Leigh, that was my first half entirely in the rain and all I can say is yuck :)

  2. Great job on your soggy half both of you! Your photos are beautiful. Now I'm looking forward to running in Red Deer! :)

    1. Thank you :) It is gorgeous there Michelle! I will look forward to some sunny pics when you get back.


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