Camore Rocky Mountain Half Marathon 2013

All done.

I can finally check “Run a half marathon” off my bucket list. Best part? I loved every second of the race. Although I was nervous the night before and hardly slept, I was very excited when my alarm went off on Sunday morning. Had my usual pre-run breakfast of PB toast and a banana, got dressed and headed over to the start of the race. It was a chilly morning but the sun was out and  no rain clouds were in sight which made me extremely happy, I hate rain with a passion.

The race organizers finally hoarded all 900 half marathon runners to the start line. The horn went off, I pressed start on my Garmin and off we went. A few of my friends racing the 10km came for the start of my race and it was so encouraging to see them and my dad in the first few metres.

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My first thoughts were “ok, settle in, find a comfortable pace” which quickly changed to “wow, a lot of people are passing me, am I really slow right now?”. I quickly calmed down after I passed a few people myself and forced myself to just focus on my own race. I played games for the first few km to chill out: who had the nicest outfit, which house I would pick if I lived on that street, what the best plan was if I encountered a bear…I have issues. I started feeling comfortable and relaxed around kilometre 4-5, when we switched from running in the street to a trail in the woods. It was so beautiful and so fun to be running with people around me. The entire course was gorgeous, the switch from street to forest to eventually running by the river was a real treat. I had a good laugh every time I reached a water station…is there a trick to drinking from a glass and running without spilling it all over yourself? I’m fairly certain every single volunteer died of laughter watching us runners get more water on our face/body than in our mouth!

I had a gel at about 10km and another at 16km. Around kilometre 15 I started getting excited, I was still holding a steady pace and the end was near. I still felt like I had a decent amount of energy and I knew the last part of the race had some awesome downhills. I started pushing harder at around the 19km mark. I knew I had less than 15minutes to go and that I was capable of a negative split. Soon enough I saw the 21km sign, turned the corner and spotted the finish. I quickly glanced at my watch and realized that I could finish in under 2.10:00 if I sprinted. I hadn’t officially set a goal time but I secretly really wanted to go under 2.10:00. End time? 2.09:06 !

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My initial thoughts when I decided to train for a half were that I would do it this summer and “get it over with” (yeah, running and I weren’t very good friends). I would race and then never have to do it again. Well, I’m fairly certain there will be more. I had tons of fun at the race and am already looking forward to dropping my time to under two hours. I heard about these “destination races” in wine country cities….yes please!!!

I cannot thank all my friends and family enough for the support and well wishes. I received so many wonderful messages this past weekend, my heart was filled with love on that start line yesterday morning.  I feel very blessed and lucky!

Steph

Summer Challenge

I never stopped working out after I hung up my skates. Even if I had wanted to, my body was so used to sweating and training everyday that I felt “off” and couldn’t sleep well if I went more than 3 days without working out (okay, if i’m being totally honest, I was also terrified that I would gain 150lbs if I didn’t hit the gym everyday). So while I was able to maintain an active lifestyle and healthy eating habits (actually I’m pretty sure my diet is way better now than when I skated) I got BORED after 1.5/2 years of not skating. I was beginning to force myself to go to the gym instead of wanting to go. Training is what I miss the most about skating. I miss having training partners to cheer me on when I think i can’t push any harder and I really miss having a coach. Sure, I went on runs and organized gym dates with friends but it’s just not the same and I found it really hard not have something to train for. I also really missed being proud of myself. Staying healthy is a great reason to sweat but it just wasn’t enough anymore. I finally realized I needed to challenge myself, train for something I considered scary and that I wasn’t very good at…a half marathon.

Early morning run - Barcelona Spring 2012

Early morning run – Barcelona Spring 2012

I bit the bullet and signed up for the Canmore Half Marathon at the end of March. I think I had a mini panic attack when I hit that register button; the longest i had ever ran was 10km, usually got bored after 30minutes, and I found running to be really really hard. Running a half had always been on my bucket list but I figured I wouldn’t actually attempt one for quite a few years. I used my friend Google to do a bit of research on training plans and then just combined a few to my liking (yep, total amateur). My goal? Just train starting June 1st and finish the race September 8th. No time goal.

Training began a few days later than planned due to a 4 day escapade to Vegas. I bought a Garmin watch and kept increasing the distance every week. I felt strong and actually began to enjoy running. After 7-8km I always began to feel really calm and was able to settle into a groove and keep going until my watch told me I had achieved my goal for that day. Every Sunday my Garmin would inform me that I had ran a “New Record Distance”. After I hit 19km I had to take almost 3 weeks off due to some pretty intense knee pain. I hadn’t been stretching/foam rolling enough and my body was a hurting unit.

The race is now in 3 days. I leave for a Banff getaway with my dad tonight. My runners, shorts and gels are packed. How do I feel? Both nervous and excited. My goal for Sunday is to really just focus on having fun. Canmore is an extremely gorgeous town and I’m really excited to finally hit 21km!

Looking forward to updating you after Sunday!

Steph