My first half marathon…I don’t even know where to begin. (Spoiler alert: I had an AMAZING race and am still on a high two days later)
I know I was “supposed” to put my recap up yesterday, but I was too busy eating/sleeping/eating to do much more by the time I got home at 7pm on Sunday.
Let’s rewind back to the beginning, though shall we? My friend who I was supposed to see ended up working when we arrived in Calgary on Saturday evening, so her parents suggested we go to the restaurant she works at for dinner! Cue panic. Like a boss, I had brought ground turkey and sweet potato with me, but I didn’t want to annoy everyone so I decided to just try and figure it out. I ate blackened chicken (which apparently means spicy?!) with most of the spiciness/skin cut off, fingerling potatoes (in a lot of oil) and roasted asparagus. I felt pretty full after and got really worried because of the amount of protein/fat in the meal but I tried to stay calm because that helps with digestion. 😉
I think I fell asleep around 10-11 ish, woke up at 3:30am and then went back to sleep until my 4:30am alarm. Sweet potato + PB went down the hatch and I (tried to) stay relaxed while getting ready. Yes I put makeup on, judge me.
There was a cup of coffee in the car en route and we arrived at 6am, an hour before the start. TMI: I tried multiple times to go to the bathroom before the race without success. This made me nervous but at that point what could I do? So I forgot about it and before I knew it, I headed off to my corral!
There was SO MUCH ENERGY at this race it was unbelievable. The half marathoners, full marathoners and 50kers all started at 7am so it was veeeery congested. I pushed my way to the back of corral B (sub 2:10) and couldn’t get any farther than that! There was music blasting for the first few minutes but there were so many people around me I was sure I was running 10 minute miles. Turns out my first 3 miles were 8:42, 8:52, 8:45.
I actually stayed around this pace until mile 8, which I’m not going to lie, definitely surprised me. I had been feeling very comfortable running between an 8-8:30 pace in all of my training runs (long runs a teensy bit slower) so I was expecting to be around that with all of my wonderful carb-loading, taper and race adrenaline. But the last thing I was going to do was push too hard in the first half of my first half (see what I did there?) so I just ran whatever I felt like.
The course was marked in kilometers and my Garmin is of course in miles so I felt like I was hitting milestones every 2.2 minutes. 😉 It was very motivating and I feel like if there had only been mile markers it would have felt like a century between each one!
I actually remember quite a bit from the race – I really focused on soaking it all in and enjoying it, and not zoning out or wishing it was over. Even though I started majorly suffering around mile 9, I still didn’t want it to end! I told you runners are insane. 😉
This is sort of what I felt like throughout the race:
Miles 1-3: YAY RUNNING!!! I love this song. There are so many people cheering! Look cheerleaders! Oh no I am running down a hill…I am going to have to run up this. I feel really good! Time to listen to some H-Duff. There’s the 3km aid station! That was fast. Thanks for that lovely sign that said “You are NOT almost there.” Definitely needed that.
Miles 4-8: Run, run, run….Oh look, there is a 18km marker. Too bad it’s NOT and actually only at like 7km. 5 miles where is that gosh darn 8km marker. Emma you need to learn how to run tangents. SO this is awkward I have been running for sixty years and still haven’t gotten to 10k?! Maybe I missed it and am closer to 15!! Nope…there it is. More awesome signs! (insert great running quotes that my foggy brain can’t remember)
Miles 9-10: This out and back stretch never ends…that half marathoner coming back looks like a tank. This out and back stretch never ends…I am never going back. I will just continue going out for six hundred thousand years. Just make it to mile 10. At mile 10 there is only a 5k left!! But you don’t want this experience to end…get it together, Emma! *struggles to convert 10 miles into kilometers so I know when there is only 5k left…* It’s not like I could just subtract 5km from 21.1 or anything. 😉
Miles 11-12: Oh 16km marker how much I love you. Now that you are at mile 11 you can think about what Fuelled By Lolz says about “You can do anything for 15 minutes!” Although you will be longer than 15 minutes but that’s okay, it’s the thought that counts.
Mile 13: Time to push it. Time to push it was at 5km left so GO REALLY FAST!!! 1km is so long omg I might die.
Mile 0.22: That sign is telling me 500m to go and says I should give it my all…what is 500m in miles? I’m tired.
Finish: I’m dead. I died.
0.01 seconds after the finish: I WANT TO DO THAT AGAIN OMG BEST EXPERIENCE OF MY LIFE!!!
My official chip time was 1:53:07 and I am absolutely thrilled!! There was a moment when I thought I would push for a faster time but I am so glad that I didn’t put any pressure on myself and just ran whatever I felt like – I haven’t been able to stop thinking about this race and I can’t wait to do it again next year! I also want to run a race every weekend now.
In all seriousness though, I am so grateful that I was able to have such an amazing first half marathon experience! My mom and her friend came out to watch and I just felt so encouraged and supported! Pretty darn proud, too. Thank you Calgary Marathon, I will definitely be back next year!
And thank YOU if you made it this far. You rock!