Today marks the end of the major training for the Calgary Marathon!! My running partner and I met up with another friend Sara, and ran our final 20 miler of this training cycle today. The Calgary marathon is a fairly challenging course, it isn’t advertised as being a fast race, and has a decent amount of elevation gain in the first half of the race. See the course profile below:
We decided to run the first half or so as our final training run, so we mapped it out and started fairly close to The Stampede grounds at The Talisman Centre. We ran the course route through the Stampede Grounds, then across the river, by the Calgary Zoo, and into Bridgeland. The race course does a great job of taking you on a tour of a lot of Calgary’s interesting neighborhoods. There are a lot of cheer zones, and people out to watch the race. Last year I ran the half marathon and distinctly remember that though I was sick, the crowds were energizing and exciting, really keeping my head in the game when I felt like taking a Nyquil induced nap.
Today we had a printout of the course map, and used it as our guide to navigate the city and get through the course. It really made me appreciate the course marshals and volunteers. We came to a lot of traffic lights, and instead of cruising through them as we’ll do on race day, we were forced to stop and wait for the light to turn. This gave me a chance to snap a few pictures, but on race day, I’m going to be very happy to know that there will be Calgary City Police, and race marshalls directing traffic and ensuring that we can keep on cruising through each intersection.
The first 10 km’s or so are fairly flat, taking you through bridgeland, and then back to the South side of the river. After this point you enter the swanky neighborhood of Mount Royal. There are a lot of interesting houses to see, that will hopefully distract you from the hills that you are running up during this portion of the race. Near the summit of the hills you run by the dog park or River Park that borders the Elbow River. Next the course runs through the old army barracks neighborhood of the Currie Barracks and Garrison Woods. You also run through the campus of Mount Royal University. There are some welcome downhills at this point.
We carried on through the official course until we hit 17th Avenue SW when we continued East towards the Talisman Centre and our starting point. The course here goes West and North to the Bow River, and the city pathways along the river. We are very familiar with this route as it is a frequent path that both Lori and I take when we’re running. It is really flat and very nice to run along the Bow, so we didn’t feel like we needed to include this portion in our last long run and will still enjoy the potion of the race that goes past this point.
We finished up our long run with a sub 6:00 per km pace and felt really good with this. My legs were definitely tired by the end of this run, and I’m eager for taper, and a bit more rest on my legs in the coming weeks. Today’s run was also a big confidence booster as our overall long run pace was much better than it had been, with more hills than we usually run. Hope fully this bodes well for a sub 4:00 hr finish on June 1st!!