Good News! I didn’t Die Today

It’s been a very difficult year for. I once sat in front of a gal who was gazing into my crystal ball and she told me that my life was going to be difficult for a few years to come. That was 3 years ago.

She was right.

It’s not that my life has been terrible, on the contrary. Growth and learning have happened at an exponential rate for me. All the great life lessons come to me at a price. They are never pleasant and they are never pain free. I learn best from hitting bottom than I do from skipping along smelling daisies. I am pretty sure I have reached Super Genius Level with all the life lessons of late.

My ‘not running’ lesson has been hard as well.

Since my Calgary half Marathon – my plans and goals were shelved.

Calgary was the most kick-ass awesome race experience to date.

  1. I felt strong
  2. I recovered quickly
  3. I was ready

I had set some pretty amazing goals for right after the race. I had planned on not losing my distance. I was going to maintain the ability to run16k for my longs. That to me works perfectly for half marathons – well, for me. I had the Moose is Loose lined up to walk it with my dad, then I was going to Disneyland to Run the Dumbo Double Dare (10km on Saturday and 21.1km on Sunday). The Vancouver Rock and Roll Half Marathon would be next the last weekend in October and then FULL ON TRAINING for the Donald in January. As you may recall, I achieved a DNF in WDW for a knee injury.

So where did I leave off?

Well, I had surgery after Calgary and my world fell apart. For the record, Patience is not a Virtue that I am very good at. I should have not walked the Moose with me Dad, but it was with my Dad and it was his first half and I am very happy I did it even though I experienced a major health scare. When I say major, I mean major. My Doc was not happy and wrote me a note forbidding me to run in Disneyland. So I deferred it until next year.

I watched all my pals and my daughter cross the finish line.

It sucked.

I was happy for them but I was sad for me.

Now looking at my calendar, the time table tells me that Vancouver is 6 weeks away.

I have been walking, I can do the distance, but time is a major factor. I am not elevating my heart rate lately so speed eludes me. The other side of that coin is…I am afraid I have lost my mojo.

Today was the day I would attempt to run again. I announced it at RunClub on Wednesday. In front of 60+ people who know me as the RunClub MC. IT made me accountable. So what did I do?

I went for a run today. And I didn’t die.

I brought The Captain with me. I knew that we would be stopping lots because he has to sniff everything.

I am out of Ghost6 runners. This makes it sound like a grocery list item. Well, for me it kinda is. I work in the running industry, so shoes are one of those ‘milk, bread and eggs’ items. I have a wall rack FILLED with shoes of every make and model you can think of. But Ghost 6 is my long distance shoe. My last two pairs are finished. I wore one yesterday on the floor at work, walked over 5k just doing my job, and got home to find my joints, back and shoulders were pain riddled. This is a sure fire sign that my shoes are done. I had discussed my shoe issue with Nic, my shoe whisperer. He had suggested that I give my Nike Pegasus 31 a try (I have 2 pairs) They are a neutral shoe with nice cushioning and a drop similar to the Ghost 6 that I have been using. I wear them all day for work and feel great! Odds are this was going to be a reasonable replacement and I was happy with that idea!

I began my run this morning at the top of Mill Creek Ravine. It is an old rail line that has been converted into a running path. It is paved and tree lined. When I say tree lined I mean it is bush. IMG_7680

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It feels like you are in the middle of no where. I love it. It is my favourite place in the whole world. It isn’t tainted by memories with others because I will not share it. It is my place. In fact, it is my happy place.

I just lied, I share it with my Captain, but only him.

The run started off pretty good. My legs felt good, lungs felt good, I kept my pace slow so I wouldn’t over do it. It was good….not great or fantastic, but good!

Half way I needed to stop and sit on the bench. I was getting dizzy and I blame my brain tumour. It makes me dizzy all the time, sometimes worse than others. Sitting calms things down. It was at this point The Captain decided he needed to chase rabbits into the bush. Ummm, no.

I was not going to bush-sack today. He looks at me and speaks like Chewbacca with groans and such. I looked at him and firmly said no. He actually  “harumphed” followed by a pout. He wouldn’t look at me for the next 10 minutes as punishment.

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Off we went, further into the valley.

It was at this moment I listened to my feet.

Feet: Hey Robyn, WTF is on us?

Me: Nike Pegasus 31

Feet: Where are the Ghost 6 that we love?

Me: I don’t have any left. Brooks has the Ghost 7 out now and we don’t like it remember?

Feet: Oh right, but that doesn’t explain the Pegs.

Me: True, but they felt so good on a 9 hour day, I figured they would be awesome!

Feet: well, now we know they aren’t. To prove this point, we are going to make the arches burn now. Followed by telling the knee you injured to get cranky because your arches burn and compensating for us is really going to make your knee cranky.

Me: DAMN, why can’t you two just be happy you are out running again?

Feet: Because, we want Ghost 6 strapped to us and we are not going to behave until you meet our demands.

Me: Seriously? you are holding me hostage? You are going to regret this feet.

And they did. But in turn, they made my last 3km H E DOUBLE HOCKEY STICK!

To make them suffer, I did a long a steep hill. This made knees really pissed at me. Heart and lungs were cool with it though.

Once I reached the top I paused to check out the view.

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To me there is nothing prettier than a prairie blue sky! The feet were finally relaxed about the running thing and felt happy again. Then Cap and I hit the road once more and the feet were ANGRY!

I ignored them, but ran to my store.

I entered the building, walked back to the clearance room, found the last 2 pairs of Ghost 6 size 10 Women’s and marched to the counter where I did a product check for other shoes in the province.

These were the LAST 2 SIZE 10 WOMEN’S SHOES LEFT. DAMN YOU BROOKS!!! So I bought them, and some KT Tape for my knee.

I ran just .2 shy of 7km. Not bad for my first day back. It took me a while, but that part will take practice. I have a 10km scheduled with Karen on Sunday, so I will run a couple of 4-5ks this week to keep the joints moving.

AND I will run in my new Brooks Ghost 6, training has begun for the Vancouver Rock and Roll. I have my health, the motivation and the shoes.

Bring it on.

 

So I ran a little race called the Minnie…

I am back from a whirlwind of activity at the WDW Marathon Weekend.

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I have no words, except it was more than I expected and more fun than I thought possible and bizarre in ways I cannot explain – but all great holidays are like that!

It started off with Toronto. My flight was cancelled because of cold. Whatever, the rest of Canada can function in -40 or colder and with WAY MORE SNOW – but somehow, Toronto needs to shut the airport down and cancel all flights, stack everyone’s luggage like cord wood and close its doors. Suffice it to say, I obviously have no idea how things are run – but I DO know taking 24 hours to Orlando sucked. It meant that I had to miss the 5k, that meant ChatterBox had to miss her ONLY RACE.

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That was very disappointing but my pal Mitch was volunteering and was able to score us our 5k medallions, he also went to expo for me and picked up our bibs and shirts because he is awesome like that.

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We arrived Wednesday and goofed around most of the evening when I should have been sleeping – why? Hello? I WAS IN WALT DISNEY WORLD! We met up with Joe from DAWS and hit the parks. This was where the laughter began and it lasted for 6 days.

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By 11:00PM Florida time I was tucked into bed with a 2:00 AM wake up call. Did I sleep?

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Not really, but I was on the first bus to the 10k! That was where I met up with more team mates. We hugged, laughed and chatted about stuff. I met Canadians from Calgary and Toronto  and a Canadian who was born in Calgary and lives in Toronto so pretty much made friends with all my nemesis’. But Canadians are all friends once we cross the border.   I hugged every maple leaf I saw and they hugged backed like they were family. (Hi random Canucks from Nova Scotia!!! You were great huggers!)

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Several waves later and it was my turn and some of the first wave runners were back.

Off I ran into the dark with a temperature of 21C and 92% humidity. Hot was a weird feeling in the dark.

The first 5km of the 10k race was out on the Hwy. Boooooorinnnnng. But I saw Peter Pan and Wendy and that was fun. But the best part for me was running through Epcot. The sun was just coming up. It had been raining earlier in the night and the surfaces were slick. As I ran past SpaceShip Earth, I slipped and twisted my knee. I walked if off for a bit but then began running later…little did I know this would be my downfall.

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As I ran towards the finish line, I looked for teammates who said they would be there…liars. But Rudy Novotny saw me and looked me in the eye and welcomed me to the finish line…THAT was AWESOME!.

The long walk to the medals and longer walk through the photo area and back to the buses was a surprise, but this was my very first large race. Bigger than Calgary which was 15,000. Little did I know this was only a precursor for the half.

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Again I headed out to play in the parks, but had an early night with dinner on my balcony watching fireworks to end my day because my wake up call was for 2:00 AM again. Only this time it would be for the half marathon, running with 29, 000 other runners.

But more about that story tomorrow…

The First Valley Run of the Winter Season

Lately it has been super cold so I rode DangerBike on my office. I haven’t been for a run farther than 8 miles in a while…a long while. I have a month-ish before I have a major race at Walt Disney World, so I made it outside today and the first 7km were lovely! The last 4km? Well, lets just say it was my intent to run 13km but trudging through the city streets made it difficult and exhausting.

(Follow me on instagram to see my video of my run – you can hear what the cold crunch of northern snow sounds like http://instagram.com/ragrobyn)

Today’s run has to be the most difficult 11km run I have ever done. Period. That includes the run I did when I was dehydrated or the run I did in the pouring sideways rain. Today’s run ended with a trek UP Walterdale Hill (FYI – that was stupid and it is a ONE and DONE hill…not again this winter!) after running on un-shoveled sidewalks and roadways. Lumpy, uneven paths are difficult to navigate.

BUT.

Millcreek was ploughed by City Tractors and it was gorgeous running.  I ran down the creek into the river valley. I was hit on by Hobos who wanted to kiss me, I said no thank you. Then they asked if they could run with me, I said, no thank you. They were disappointed, I was a little scared. Running in the opposite direction of them and towards the University Run Club Men made me feel a little happier.

The biggest issue I find with running in the winter is the cleats I have to wear. Running without them is too scary for me. I easily lose my footing and am thankful for the solid feeling my YakTrax Run provide me. But, my feet get tired quickly. I was at about 8km and I wanted to pop the cleats off. If I remember correctly, it will take me a few weeks to build up the strength in my feet again. It should make me feel like I am flying for the WDW Half Marathon!

Next week, my coach has me running 5k on my long run and then 15km the following week. I have to say, 5k almost feels like a waste of time, but 5k I shall do. Why? Because I trust him. He hasn’t let me down yet.

Meanwhile, keep warm and Happy Running!

 

Why Would I Stop Running?

1476023_668049609912757_266164373_nI had a conversation the other day with a person who tries to be kind but after decades of being mean and nasty, words still come out wrong. She had called me to see how I was doing, we speak to each other and ‘catch up’ about once a year….and only if she calls.

She had asked me about my progress on my running and my weight loss because apparently it is how you look that defines you. I had NO IDEA  ← insert a heavy sarcastic tone here. I always thought it was the things you do and they way you treat people that define you.

At any rate, I told her about my weight loss  – it has tapered off but that happens. It leaves in waves and the tapers off. The suggestion was to drink shakes or smoothies to boost something or rather so it will kickstart me again… Um – get ready for more sarcasm – I had no idea she was a nutritionist too!! I ignored her helpful suggestion and told her my Doctor, my dietitian and I had a plan and its working great. (apparently if it was working great I would be thin by now) I also told her of my running life – its hard right now because of the new snow and the windchill makes it disgustingly hard to want to go outside – but I do it.

Then she asked me what will happen to me when I stop running altogether? It would be a shame to get massively fat again. WTF? Why do I have to stop running?

Apparently, it isn’t as awesome as cycling and I should switch now before its too late.

Really? Too late for what? Armageddon? The Zombie Apocalypse? I am pretty sure I don’t have to quit if I don’t want to. In fact, my Doc and I were just talking about up coming races and how I preregister to keep motivated because I always need to know what is coming up next so I don’t fall into the Marathon Blues ever again.

The Marathon Blues is a phenomena where you train super hard for an event and then once it is done, you have nothing to look forward to or train for and life feels like it is missing something. I told my Doc I have 4 half marathons for 2014. That will keep me going in spite of the snow.

I am currently waiting for the sun to come up because I don’t feel like running with my headlamp today. And I am hoping the wind will slow down when the sun is up…at the very least it will look warmer than dark and foreboding out.

As far as I can tell, there is no real good reason why I have to quit running or why I would ever stop. When that day comes, I will deal with it then. Meanwhile, being 46 I have a good 20+ running years ahead of me if I continue to play it smart. Between me, my Coach and my Doc – we have it covered… Thanks.

Now please excuse me, I have a 5k in shin deep fluffy snow to run.

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Running Down the Rabbit Hole

Tomorrow is Kathy’s Race for Pancreatic Cancer and I am suppose to be in it.

I am not.

Mostly for awesomeness reasons.

I had some time today, so I ran the course I would have run tomorrow and its dry out there which makes it lovely. The gravel in some spots is a little slick – not hard packed like it was in the summer, but nice just the same. It was frosty but this time last year there was snow and it had STAYED for the winter, so quite frankly, I will take the blue sky sunshine and dry ground because the less I have to run in my cleats, the better.

013I signed up for a Virtual Race last month, Running Down the Rabbit Hole. She opened the race up to 50 more runners, if you are an Alice fan, do it! It is an amazing medal and it spins which is super cool. It is the biggest medal on my wall. The race coordinator is stellar! Today I earned my 10k Running Down the Rabbit Hole medal. I ran the course I would have run tomorrow, and the entire time I kept thinking…I should cancel my half marathon in January. I am not ready. I am too slow. What was I thinking?

Then I thought – So what if I get swept? It won’t happen before I get to run though the castle. Who cares? I will have fun and that is all that matters….I am SUCH A LIAR TO MYSELF.

I want the medal. I want to succeed. I need to get my ass outside and train dammit! Today was a great start. Actually, Last week was a great start. I haven’t lost my fitness levels but I obviously am not getting to the speed I wish I was. C’est la vie. (look how French I am!) I can not be angry with myself if I try my best. This week, I will likely log 40km or so walking. It would be awesome if its more…but we shall see. Meanwhile, I am out of races until January. This is a good thing. It helps me focus and if something comes up between now and then, the good news is I have the fitness level to enter on a whim…I love that.

Happy Running!

There is a race with a medal? I am IN!

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The last time I wrote here, I was talking about fall and how lovely it is out. I may have mentioned how I enjoyed my run. On Thursday, I got an email from the running room telling me the  30th Annual Fall Classic 5 and 10 miler has a finisher medal this year.

Whaaaat?

Thursday was the last day to register AND it was package pick up. I am a sucker for an awesome medal. So I signed up, drove to the 109th street store and picked up my race package.

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This is the first race I entered on a whim and without focused training for it. What does this mean? Goal #5 met and complete. My base is such that I can hop into a 5 miler or a 10k and it is just a regular run for me.  This blows my mind. January, I was training for a 10k to complete in AUGUST, that was going to be my big distance for the year. These are the medals I have collected this year( except the medal on the far left – that is my very first Half Marathon medal for walking), I have a virtual race in November and that medal will come then,024 but my racing is pretty much over until January for the WDW Marathon weekend where I will run the 5k, the 10k and the 21.1k. I am scared about the half. I am just so darn slow. Yet I am making progress.

This morning I got up and carpooled with the Trusty Steed. He was walking the 10 miler with his team. They had decided weeks ago. I jumped in last minute because of the medal, they go because breakfast is served after.

The 10 miler walkers left at 8:30. I was going to hang around until the 10 miler runners left. I was going to be in that group even though I was only doing 5 miles. Why? I am slow. I talked to the race director about it, he was cool with it. This is the nice thing about a small race – no corrals. I have never been in a corral position before – I imagine it will be intimidating. I thought the 10 milers would leave at 9:00. I was wrong. I sat outside waiting until 9:45 before we left. I was cold. My legs stiffened up and my back was cold. It took me a good 3k before I felt warm.

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My finish time was 1:26:15. I know…slow. BUT – I checked out my Garmin stats. April 7 was my first 5 miler and my time for that one was 1:34:30. I was 8:15 faster today. That makes today a PR. Cool! I will take it. Progress is good. It’s funny how my running feels so slow – way slower than it did in the spring yet comparatively, I am zipping by. Sure I am last…Who Cares? Well…I kind of do a little bit. I hate people waiting for me. But still, shaving 8 minutes off my time is kick-ass awesome.

The course was lovely all along the north side of the River.

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It is the last part of the Marathon Course – somewhere around the “wall”. I thought about that as I ran. Then I thought about the time I cheered on runners at the Marathon. I wasn’t a runner yet, but here I was cheering for them and now I ran right past that spot. It’s funny how your life takes unexpected turns.

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When I saw this photo, I was shocked at how much smaller I am getting. It shows on calorie burns on the Garmin too. I am burning less…that kind of sucks but the bright side is it means I am not working as hard to do better. That is awesome. Weighing less is better for all my organs and my heart thanks me.

ShirtFinalThis was also my fist run for my new team Do Away With SMA (DAWS) I can’t wait until my Team Jersey comes in the mail! I invite you to check out my blog post over on the team page. If you hadn’t heard, we are running 500 miles in 19 days for Families of Spinal Muscular Atrophy (FSMA). Well…when I say WE I am mean THEM – I am the kick-ass Crew with band aids, ice packs and potatoes – apparently Mitch needs potatoes on the grocery list 🙂 Check out all the shenanigans here. And don’t forget to enter the Prize pack, you can win a Team DAWS Jersey, Sweaty Bands, Whimsy gear and some other great swag!!

So…where did YOU run this weekend?

 

Crisp, Cool and Perfect

I committed an unselfish act of stupidity Sunday. I gave my mom the last of my Voltaren.

To be fair, I love my mom and she needs it more than me. Secretly, I hadn’t had knee pain for a while so I figured I was done with it.

HA!

Oh well, I only had one uncomfortable evening, today it’s better. My bursa sac filled with fluid and its better today. Its been a while since I pushed myself. If I am being honest, I have gone through the post marathon blues syndrome….again.

Getting myself out there without a training schedule sounds great but it doesn’t really work for me. I need more structure. I need a calendar that tells me how far I am running today.

Clearly, I have slacked off for 2 months and now I have a WDW Marathon weekend to prep for and, well…. I need to up the training now.

I was worried I would lose my fitness level and be back at square one again.

I went out for a long-ish run on Monday morning just to see how far I could go. The good news? 5 miles or so. The better news? my initial pace was my race pace – 10:30…but then I had equipment problems and needed to adjust the shoes and long story short…I was a bit slower in the end. However, it was the best run I have had in a long time.

The weather was perfect, cool and crisp with the sunshine sparkling through the trees. I could have used gloves to start off with, but I was fine once I got going. It was perfect. I ran for about 1.5 hours. A good start to see where my fitness is.

Today I will hop on Danger Bike and give her a chance to annoy my knee then I will run again tomorrow. I heard Belgravia Trail is stunning this time of year, or perhaps I’ll check out Emily Murphy Park. But it doesn’t really matter where I go. It’s my favorite time of year to run.

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The New Run Club

I joined a new run club. It’s kind of exclusive. Please don’t be jealous…seriously…don’t be. It isn’t  great.

I ran yesterday for the first time in 2 weeks. I finally felt better. After strapping on my shoes, I noticed my cleats, I am thankful I don’t have to wear those…yet. Soon enough I imagine.

It was cool but sunny and spectacular yesterday. Blue sky and the colours of Autumn. I headed out on my trusty trail behind my house. For some reason it is my fall and winter running trail, it felt right. I didn’t set a distance goal. My goal was to head out and see how I felt.

I made it past the creek and decided to turn right. I had never run that way before. I was struggling with consistency so I decided to run 30sec, walk 15 sec. It sounds slow, when actually it is fast. I ran faster than I expected. This is the Jeff Galloway method. He is trying to quality for Boston doing this, he will do it too. I kept my pace under 10 min/km You can laugh – people do miles with that pace, I can’t yet. But for a kilometer, that is a race pace time for me. Pretty decent considering I had been off for 2 weeks. I made it to the pond and that is where I got my initiation into the new club. The Hurl Club. That’s right – I lost my breakfast. My team mates welcomed me into the fold. One even said “Welcome, we have cup cakes…or at least we did.” HA! True true…

I know Jeff Galloway frowns upon hurling. Quite frankly, I do too. There are apparent reasons for this. It could be lack of hydration. I packed water, but never once drank – that is a real possibility. The other is pushing too hard and fast, I didn’t feel like I pushed, but running 30:15 sec intervals really feels fast. OR it could be a combination of both.

At any rate, I don’t recommend it.

But I think it makes me an official runner at this point.

Happy Running!

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Edmonton Marathon Weekend V2.2: Is it fair to compare it to Calgary?

For as long as Edmonton and Calgary have been around, there has been a rivalry between the two cities. Both are comparable in size, both have major league sports teams, both have easy access to the Rocky Mountains and both have great summer festivals. For an Edmontonian (Me) to travel to Calgary and declare my civic pride, I risk ridicule and good-natured teasing. It is a lot like sibling rivalry. However, when the going gets tough, Calgary and Edmonton stand together. Great examples are when the tornado smashed through Edmonton and Calgary experienced devastating flooding. We stand together like family.

We are similar enough that I don’t think it is unreasonable to compare Calgary’s Marathon Weekend to Edmonton’s Marathon weekend. Since I attended Calgary’s big weekend May 25 & 26 and I also attended Edmonton’s big weekend August 24 & 25, I think I can do a reasonable job. However, this of course is subject to my opinion. There were great things about both weekends and terrible things about both, but all in all they were great events.

So let’s get started, shall we?

Let’s start with Expo.

Calgary Package Pick up

Calgary Package Pickup

 

Edmonton Vendors

Edmonton Vendors

Event Calgary Expo Edmonton Expo
Package Pick up Located at the Big 4, a huge venue with lots of room. Calgary had lots of space very little waiting and the volunteer spent time telling you what to expect. No longer located at the Expo Center, the venue was changed to The Chateau Lacombe. Package pick up was tight and the lines were confusing, the volunteers were rushed but excellent.
Chip Check Did not have Chip Check One guy was checking chips, so even though you had very little wait time for package pick up the line for chip check was insane. 1 guy???
Parking $15 unless you had your bib number, then it was free. Free in the hotel parkade to expo goers
Vendors There were several vendors who offered product for sale and had excellent variety and mediocre deals. Only a couple of vendors offered a few items but I found a gal who made custom compression sleeves for my calves SCORE!
Charities Team Diabetes and Team in Training were well represented and so was Right to Play with Martin Parnell signing books. Team Diabetes and Team in Training were well represented and Team in Training talked to about the Women Nike’s Marathon in San Fran, I am in! Kid Sport was well represented.
Other Races Calgary is a mecca for fun runs and longer distant races. They had reps from all over Alberta, Western Canada and California. New York City Marathon and Vancouver Marathon were promoting their races as well as a couple of cycling races.
Speakers Several speakers from Canadian Medalists to book authors were scheduled. None

Best Expo? Calgary had more variety, Edmonton answered more of my questions and was WAY swankier.

Transportation and Parking

Item Calgary Edmonton
Parking Very limited on race day and $15 Tons of parking at Edmonton Expo Grounds. $5 prepaid pass available at the Expo, $12 on site.
City Transportation The C Train was easily accessible and most people used it. Wouldn’t let you purchase a special event ticket for the return. Station was walking distance from the start line. The ticket line on the return trip was insane. LRT is fairly accessible and plenty of people used it, although most people drove. Public transit tends to be less popular than people self-driving. Why? Wow-let’s just say the city is working on it. LRT offers a special event ticket and can pre-purchase a return ticket which means fewer lines when it is time to go home.
Road Blocks Calgary Police is an awesome job blocking roads and directing traffic. Not very chatty. One confusing intersection had us running into oncoming traffic, it was scary. No one was paying attention. Edmonton Police did an awesome job blocking roads and directing traffic and had the added bonus of being chatty and friendly. One car pulled out of a parking lot and nearly ran me over. The Police Office took a piece out of him and fixed the situation.
Road Conditions Calgary had a lot of potholes and ankle turners. It was spring and winter plays havoc on the roads. The bad sections of the roads were spray painted in neon as warning.

Edmonton wins best parking and Calgary wins best public transit.

Race Course

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Calgary Start – Where are the pace bunnies?

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Edmonton Start, Lots of bunnies every where!

 

Items Calgary Edmonton
5km Morning Race- same time as the other races, no opportunity to run 2 different races. Evening Race – this race was the night before the bigger events. It gave you an opportunity to run 2 events. The Evening race perfectly showcases longer summer days in Edmonton
10km Morning Race same time as the other races, no opportunity to run 2 different races. Evening Race – this race was the night before the bigger events. It gave you an opportunity to run 2 events. The Evening race perfectly showcases longer summer days in Edmonton
21.1km Morning Race In the spring 4C Morning Race in the summer 16C
42.2km Morning Race In the spring 4C Morning Race in the summer 16C
hills Yes – each race had hills but the marathon distance had a significant hill about the half way mark. No – fast and flat
location Along the Bow River and downtown Along the North Saskatchewan River and into residential
views Running beside the Bow is nice Running beside the NSask is spectacular
Crowds A very well promoted race. All of Calgary knew about it and came out to cheer or run it. 15 000 participants over 4 races. The streets were practically empty. Not well promoted. Hardly anyone heard about it. Over 2500 participants for all the races

Calgary was a circular race, Edmonton was an out and back. I liked being able to register for multiple races. There were other runners who like it too. Calgary’s race morning was pretty exciting with everyone there. It was a cluster F*** at race start. They were big enough to have corrals. The evening race was fun, the kids race 1k was first then the 5k and the 10k left at the same time. An evening race during sunset is lovely and the view was spectacular in Edmonton. I am giving the win to Edmonton.

Course Amenities

Amenities Calgary Edmonton
Food The post-race refuel food was located downstairs in the grandstands. It wasn’t advertised well and you heard about it through word of mouth. After running 42.2km who wants to walk stairs? Lots of chips and granola bars. They would only give me one bottle of water and wanted me to take juice. Right after medal and water pickup, the food tent was part of the exit. Lots of variety and even had wraps! Gave me two bottles of water was cool with me not choosing juice.
Water Stations They had a water station about every 3k-5k. Gave a choice of Water or Gatorade and gel 3 stations on the way out and 3 on the way back (about every 3-5k) – same stations. Offered GU Brew or Water and gel.
Port-a-potties There were easily 50 at the start line and two at each water station Zero at the start line and 2-4 at each water station. Northlands provided facilities – but not enough for the volume of people at the start.
Massage Therapists Pre-purchased post-race massage $15, race day purchase $20 Post-race massage $20
Pancake Breakfast The Stampede association provided a pancake breakfast – not sure if there was a cost. None, but Tim Hortons provided coffee
Booths/vendors Lots was going on, a real party atmosphere but couldn’t see what was in the tents because of the volume of people in a small space.

Nowhere to sit

A few vendors were lined up on the way out of the Race Park. Lots of room to move around, Sofa and Chairs were set up for runners to eat their post-race food.
Massage Tent Could not find it. Well marked, easily found inside next to the casino. Long wait 30-60min. Well worth it.

Stairs post marathon are just stupid. Be kind to rookie athletes Calgary! Edmonton wins the post-food category because of location, quantity and sandwiches.

Calgary wins for party atmosphere. Calgary Stampede association knows how to throw a party – hands down winner.

Medals

Calgary had a new medal for every race although I am not sure why they didn’t wait until next year to have the big reveal for the 50th anniversary. These medals had a cool factor and so did the shirts. The 42.2km was a belt buckle. Usually you need to complete an Ultra-marathon for a belt buckle. This was cool and at the Stampede, if you were caught wearing it, you won swag from the Calgary Marathon Association. Way to market yourselves Calgary Marathon!!114

Edmonton had a new medal this year. It no longer had the Canadian Derby theme attached to it. I think it should go back to the old Festival Marathon theme since we are Festival City. The detail on the medal was exquisite. I like di-cuts and detail. The Alberta Legislature is the prominent feature except you don’t really see it on the course. The different distance medals were differentiated by the ribbon. Interesting how in Edmonton the half is red and in Calgary the half is blue, while the full in Edmonton is blue and the full in Calgary is red. Coincidence?

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I didn’t put volunteers into the equation because quite frankly, Alberta is second to none when it comes to people stepping up to help out. These two events were no different. Lots of help, everyone was smiling, kind and supportive. I love volunteers!! As a runner, I always make sure I thank them as I run by “Thanks for volunteering!” People like hearing thanks and knowing they are appreciated. Without their support, there would be zero road races for me. I pay it back by volunteering one race for every race I run. You get groovy swag for helping out, and its fun.

The winner? Tough call, it might be preference. I am giving it to Calgary for size and variety but Edmonton wins for detail.

Looking at both events, I am thinking carefully about where to spend my race dollar. I really want to be a part of the 50th anniversary in Calgary because they do throw a great party. Which distance? Hmmm, I am leaning towards the Marathon but I am not sure yet. I will see how I improve in January. How about Edmonton? I don’t think I will do the half or full in Edmonton. It is just too lonely out there to go that far, but I will do the 10k because Saturday night was a lot of fun! Now, I would love to see Edmonton Marathon weekend become a massive success, so I think I will see if I can help out with organization. I am a big believer in put up or shut up, and Edmonton made huge gains this year, maybe they could use some more help.

Happy Running!

 

 

 

Edmonton Marathon Weekend V2.0: The ChatterBox Chronicles

I am not a stranger to Edmonton Marathon Weekend. My first time going was 2010. I was a spectator standing there cheering for people thinking…Why would any one do this??

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Fast forward a year later and there I was talking to a guy at the water station, he asked me why I wanted to walk this. I replied with “Last year I couldn’t understand the appeal, this year I do. I am walking because someone said it would be too hard. I laugh in the face of hard, HA!”

Last year I didn’t sign up. I went to cheer people on instead. Then came some inner drive to RUN. So I ran…kind of like Forest. I just ran. Then I figured I could run 10km. Never did I think I could run farther.

You know the details of my training. I ran farther.

IMG_4566This past weekend I had the opportunity to run with my girl for the first time ever. She entered her first 5k race. IMG_4570She wanted a medal and I know that feeling!

So we signed up for the Edmonton 5km together.

IMG_4572As we stood at the start line she was nervous. She asked me “what happens if I fall?” I said, “I will pick up  and kiss you better, then we keep running.” Then she asked, “What happens if I am last?” I said, “Sweetheart, as long as I am in the same race as you, you will never have to worry about being last.”

She hugged me and we set our Garmins. We were ready. John Stanton called the start and we were off.

The problem with the chaotic start is I run too fast. I went out at a 7:45/km pace. This is lightning speed for me. My race pace was going to be 10:30. By the time I got control of my speed, my daughter was long gone.

1150242_10151860697776337_397909244_n1001267_10151860681051337_791461993_n We passed each other and she was so excited she double high fived me. I crossed the finish line 10 minutes after her for my fasted 5k time EVER. I was moaning earlier in the week about how slow my 5k was at AN HOUR! IT TOOK ME AN HOUR on Tuesday – wow…that was my slowest time and a short week later, I ran my fastest, 51 minutes. It may seem slow to you but it is HUGE progress for me. The confidence booster I had been needing.

As I ran past my girl and my dad at the finish line. The look on my girls face as she watched me finish was worth every pain, ache and bad day. I could see pride. She told me that 4k is just right and 5k is too far. She hugged me and said 21.1k feels impossible. My Dad hugged both of his girls and declared his pride, I was hugging my girl and telling her how proud I was of her. Its funny how emotional you get after completing goals.

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My ChatterBox is now excited about her next big race. The Family 5km in WDW. She takes after her mama, the lure of the medal. My next big race was to be the next day. Back to back races, 21.1km  – I won’t lie, I was more than a little nervous, but more about that tomorrow.

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