The Calgary 50th Marathon or What was I thinking?

June 1st is a day that will live in infamy…at least in my mind.

I ran the Calgary half marathon and didn’t really train for it. Everything I could have done wrong I did and yet I never felt better completing a half marathon in all my life…true story.

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I knew after I completed the Calgary 10k last year that I was going to run the half. How could I not? It was the 50th year for the Calgary Marathon, the oldest Marathon in Canada. (not to be confused with the oldest race because I think that may be the run around the lake in Hamilton…but I could be wrong, in fact DO NOT USE THIS AS A FACT FINDING MISSION.

Calgary has a lot going for it, great speaker series, great course – it is NOT AN OUT AND BACK! Terrific crowd support and beautiful weather. I know they didn’t have anything to do with that, but they should still take credit! And ELVIS!

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He called me Darlin’. There was a ton of entertainment on the course. I love you for that Calgary!

I was really looking forward to the Speaker Series at Expo. I wanted to meet Bart Yasso and Dean Karnazes. I saw the both speak but waiting in lines is not my thing, so I just waited to meet Yasso. He signed my bib. I rubbed it LOTS on race day for luck and inspiration. I made the most shocking comment ever. I tell everyone who will listen that a Half Marathon isn’t ‘just a half’ it is HALF of nothing, it is far! Be proud! Yet when I sat next to Bart Yasso, the first words out of my mouth were, I’m only doing the half, I am not ready for a full yet.

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Being the Amazing Bart Yasso, he replied with, a Half is FAR. You are like me,I am a halfer. do not apologize for your distance, be proud.

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You are right Mr. Yasso….I am very disappointed in myself for saying that, and worse…THINKING IT!

The next morning I walked to the Stampede Grounds and waited with the Trusty Steed, Amy, Rachel, Tiffany, Greg, Brent, Natalia, and a bazillion others that I knew in passing from Edmonton and those who were strangers but became friends that morning.

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(Did I mention I was in corral B? I didn’t?? CORRAL B PEOPLE! That is the closest I have ever been to the front of the line. )

We all got caught up in the hype of the morning and took off like the Kenyans we are not. Once our hearts exploded we then found our pace and ran. I knew the first 10k of the course because I ran it last year. This year the Halfers had to cross the 10k track and merge over into the other lane. That was tricky. If I was faster than I would have beat the 10ers, but that was not to be my fate. No one died or was harmed in the merging but I really had to sprint. I hate sprinting, but I can now do it. There is something you never would have heard me say a year ago.

I learned a lot about myself. I am that person who will stop and help people on the course. I am NOT that person that runs past someone and thinks “sucka…I am passing you!!!” On the contrary, I am the person who will hold your hair while you puke, give you my last GU if you look like you need it, Wait with you until the first aiders arrive because you are delirious. Conversely, Karma was just as kind to me, I had spectators jump on the course with me a run a bit, they asked my story and seemed concerned that I wasn’t doing well. I have news for you – that expression on my face is a problem I have had all my life. It is called “Bitchy Resting Face” It makes me look like I am in pain, or tired or having problems when in fact, I had the best best run of my life.

I crossed the finish line and fist pumped the air because HAHA I DID IT! I had a massage, because for $20 it is stupid NOT to get one. And I walked back to my hotel. Now, this halfer was the first time I didn’t need crutches or friend support to hold on to me. I walked home with a spring in my step and felt fab. The only thing I wish I had was flip-flops. I didn’t want to endure bag check and really, I was fine. I still have all my toenails.

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Me and Aimbo (can you see the size of that Full Medal?? It is a belt buckle with a bottle opener. Amy just finished the Blackfoot 100k the weekend before and paced a group to finish 2 minutes under 4 hours for this one. She is a BEAST. This summer she is running the Sinister Seven and Death Race SOLO back to back. She is my hero.)

I broke the cardinal rule in Running and wore BRAND NEW OUT OF THE BOX Shoes. That was stupid, but Brooks Ghost is MY SHOE. They felt like home putting them on and I don’t regret it. I don’t advise this of you. I walked away blister and injury free. So it worked for me.

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Flat Robyn and her shiny new shoes!

I ate a steak sandwich because I was thinking about a burger at the 17km mark. GU just doesn’t cut hunger. I drank a beer because it tastes the best after a half marathon and I stole cupcakes because that is how I roll.

I stayed at the Fairmont Palliser and there was a reception in the lobby. Cupcakes were everywhere. I took one on the way up to my room. Sugar was good. On the way back down for lunch, I stole another one. Hunger is a problem for me after that many miles. I can only imagine when I run a full what I will need to eat.

Will I run this course again? YES! I really want the belt buckle that is also a bottle opener. It is the size of my head. Big in the way only Calgary can do. But I won’t be running it next year, I have new races to face.

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Happy Running!

Life can change on a dime

We last left off with me training for the Calgary Half Marathon. Ya, that’s not going to happen.

2010 left me with a torn MCL. It had been healing nicely until recently. Long story short, my Doc and I feel it would be smart on my part not to keep training and rest up until further medical action can be taken…awesome. Ask me how happy I am? I could power through the pain, but to what avail? It is not worth having a lifetime injury over a half marathon. I give up.

Now, that depressed me for a while, hence my silence here for a bit.

I get into a routine and then it stops, then what the heck are you suppose to do? In my case I took time off. I am in the habit of maintaining weight, so that is good…I suppose. It takes a different mindset to maintain. I have been thinking about the emotional side of eating. I have a friend whose child is in the thrust of it. Thinking about it in terms of how it affects a child was heart wrenching. I know because I lived it. This has had me on a roller coaster of emotions, and how am I dealing with it? I am using the strategies that I have learned with my life coach. My problem is I want to fix everything for everyone. Ug…impossible I know. I actually just want to fix stuff for people I care about and that sends me through emotional turmoil. I let myself cry now and that is something I never did before. I use to eat so this is huge for me.

This week I decided I needed to get back into fitness. I was sleeping after work, so clearly I needed more energy. It sounds screwy but the importance of exercise in making you feel like you are energized is huge. It helps me sleep, it regulates my eating and it makes me feel good. I have not been feeling good…crappy actually. My life looks fabulous on paper but it feels terrible.

I jumped into the pool and the first thing I realized was I missed swimming and I hate running. I was reading BearRunners blog about how boring swimming is. I can see that for some people. Swimming for me is near effortless. Sure it wears me out, but I can find my rhythm and go without thinking about form. I can get outside of my head and plan or work things through. Today I had figured out lots of stuff. Then went to write about it. Before I knew it I had swam 2000m I hadn’t swam in months, and 2k was rattled off like nothing. Obviously my fitness level is fine. My shoulders are barking at me a bit right now, but I feel great.

What I feel like when I swim…

What I look like when I swim

I am pulling back with my goals. I need to live my life and not just go from goal to goal. This is good. That means life is balancing out for me. I learned things today that I wish I knew a year ago. The bottom line is, I know it now and it is good. My life is completely different from a year ago and I love it and me.

Tomorrow’s plan? 2000 more meters, that is an hour of my day. I need it for the stress relief. Friday will be my long swim, 3000m. Ironman swim distance is 3.8km. Maybe this summer I will shoot for that, but for now… easy goals, one day at a time.