Well, it’s been a good running week to say the least!! I’ve run 2 races in the last week, one on Canada Day (a 5k) and then today I ran a half marathon. Both were great, and I managed a PB (PR) in both races! Read on for all the gory details 🙂
I’ll start with the 5k last Tuesday. It was the High River Half 5k. My parents live in High River and I thought it would be a great place to run a 5k, I slept over at my parents with the girls, they could hang out and play with Grandma and Grandpa, and I could zip off in the morning to do my race. High River also has been coming back from some horrible flooding last spring, and I really liked the idea of supporting the community out there.
I was able to pick up my race package in Calgary on Sunday afternoon. Monday after lunch the girls and I drove the 45 minutes or so out there and had dinner with my parents. After dinner I thought about driving into town and driving the course route so that I was familiar with it, but I got lazy and was happy to just relax. That turned out to be a mistake in the end.
Tuesday morning my 4 year old and I were both up by 6:30 am. The race started at 8 am and was only a 5 minute drive away. I had some breakfast and coffee and headed over shortly after 7. I did a warm-up in town, and used a porta pottie. I wasn’t really sure what to expect from this race, my last 5k race was when I was barely 4 weeks pregnant with Olivia, and I was at least 15 lbs heavier. I was right at the end of a speedy streak though, so didn’t know if I had regained all my speed back or not.
At race start time I lined up right at the start line, I knew that I’d probably be in the top few racers as it was more of a fun 5k than a serious one. When the gun went off some of the lead guys really took off, I looked at my watch in the first few hundred meters and saw a 3.xx / km pace and thought, “WOAH, slow down!”, I backed off to a 4:20 ish pace. I knew that 4:20 should get me a 21:xx time and thought if I would go for it and see how long I could keep that pace up. I was feeling pretty strong at that pace, it felt fast and I didn’t have much more, but it felt like a good 5k pace. I went though the halfway mark and saw 11 minutes on my garmin, YAY – if I keep it up I can get my 22 minute 5k!!
Somewhere around the 4 km mark the course was coming towards a turn, I knew the finish line was straight ahead and slightly right of where I was, there was a volunteer marshall at the intersection, but he looked to be waving to some construction equipment that was working on the street. After trying to get his attention to determine which way to go, I went with my instinct and turned right. I knew withing a couple hundred meters that something was wrong. I couldn’t see anyone else behind me, and I knew that there had been someone not too far behind me before I had turned. I decided at this point to make my way back towards the park where the race started and ends in hopes of getting back on course. I don’t know High River super well, and there was a lot of construction going on. I headed back as direct as I could, but ended up running almost 5.4 km’s. When my garmin passed 5 km’s my time was 21:37, which would have been a huge PB! I crossed the finish line just after 23:00 minutes, and was the first female and 4th finisher! I’m super happy that I’ve regained my speed and some, it’s too bad that I made that wrong turn, but in the end it’s not a big deal either way.
Now on to today’s race, The Stampede Half Marathon!! I signed up for this race just before running the Calgary marathon. I was a little nervous about recovering from the marathon and being able to jump into racing a half 5 weeks after a full, but wanted to give it a go because I thought that I might be able to beat my SeaWheeze time from last summer, I really wanted some half marathon redemption since that race, and I wondered just a tiny bit if I had a PB in me…
Between the Calgary full marathon and this half I really didn’t do any actual training, I just ran easy, with one hard trail effort 10 days ago, and then the 5k race last week. My left calf and hip had on and off been feeling tight and so I was trying to take it easy. That was especially true after the 5k on Tuesday. I ran a couple easy runs, and did a lot of stretching and rolling to try to keep things loose.
The race started at 7:30 this morning. It is a risky time of year in Calgary to run a race, and with the start not being super worried, we could have had some pretty warm temperatures. The forecast during much of the week was calling for a fairly warm sunny day, not ideal for sure. By the weekend that had changed though and it was supposed to be partially cloudy, once the day rolled around, it was better than I would have imagined, around 17 C (62 F), and cloudy!
I met Lori (my running partner) near the start and we did a slow warmup before the start. She was running the 10 k race which started a half hour later. After the warmup and one last porta pottie visit, I was ready to roll. I lined up near the 1:45 pacer and waited for the gun.
Once we were off, I settled into a relaxed pace, and tried to keep it around 5:00/km. The early km’s of this race go around the Glenmore athletic park, then down along the River Park Dog park to a turn around point. We then headed backup towards the reservoir. The pathway around the reservoir is fairly hilly, nothing huge to start, but lots of rolling hills. I just worked on keeping my pace just below 5:00/km, but not any faster than a 4:50. My average for most of the first half was 4:56 or so. My legs could definitely feel that they were working but I wasn’t dying like in the SeaWheeze half last year.
The pathway heads down a big hill into the Weaslehead section of the park, and just before this hill I noticed that my shoelace was untied, oops! I waited until I was down the hill and had a handrail to prop my foot onto, retied my shoe and kept moving. Thanks to the time I gained in the downhill, the shoelace really didn’t cost me much time. I cruised through the Weaslehead feeling fairly good, and made it to the hill out of Weaslehead. This is a fairly significant hill, and in other races I’ve done that use these paths I’ve always power walked at least half of it. Today I decided to run it with an even effort so that I would not have to lose as much time, I got to the top and my pace for that km had dropped a bit but wasn’t too bad. Luckily after that uphill the next km or two along the reservoir is slightly downhill. I’m sure this helped my legs to recover and get their turnover back up.
It’s around this point that I passed my magic 16 km mark, or 5k left. When I race half marathons I like to pick a reasonable pace for the first 16 km’s and then when I have 5k left I try to race it in and pick up the pace. Once I hit 16 km’s I did pick it up, but I didn’t have a lot of extra speed in my legs. To start with I told myself to just try to maintain a 4:50 pace. Once I got to 3k left I pushed it a bit harder again. Then I hit the 2 km’s left mark and looked at my total time, I was right at 1:35, and knew that if I could maintain a sub 5:00 pace I’d be good for a sub 1:45 time. I pushed it and raced in as fast as my legs would take me. We ran towards the athletic park, and up towards the track, we ran the last 200 meters in on the track, and I saw Tim and my girls on the inner track. I was super happy to see a 1:44:xx on the finish clock, and crossed the finish line in 1:44:27 chip time.
I ran this race without carrying my own fuel or water, I haven’t done this for a long time in a longer race, but it went really well. I just drank water from the aid stations as they only had Ultima or water, and I wasn’t sure on the ultima, and I also didn’t want to get sticky from spilling it all over myself. I was carrying a GU just in case I needed a boost, but I didn’t use it.
Splits: 4:50, 4:58, 4:52, 4:57, 5:01, 4:57, 4:57, 5:02, 4:51, 4:59, 5:01, 4:55, 4:56, 5:03, 5:22 (up the hill out of weaslehead), 4:57, 4:53, 4:47, 4:46, 4:35, 4:21, 4:25 (last 300 meters of garmin distance)
Official results: 88/614 TOFFELMIRE, TERRY 1412 01:44:34.95 04:57 HALF30-39F 12/112 F 26/341 +00:22:31 01:44:27.75 CALGARY, AB
We hung out together in the park for a while, and then my daughter ran in the kids race. She was super excited to participate. My husband ran with her, and when they got to around 300 meters she told him that she was getting tired and didn’t know if she could keep running, he encouraged her and she turned the corner and saw the finish line and ran it in to finish her 400 meters running the whole way. She got a finishers metal and a great swag bag! It’s a great event for kids if anyone local is looking for a kids race.