It's not something I ever pictured myself having the desire to do. For much of my "running career" I stuck very close to the 5k mark. The idea of running further than that seemed daunting and simply unappealing.
The spring after Simon was born began a shift in this mindset.
I trained and completed a 10k race.
I found the training to be motivational as it forced me to become much more focused, determined and "hardcore" about my running. Having a goal to train for kept me dedicated. I would find myself running in conditions I would never before have deemed appropriate for running (rain, snow, wind, frosty days). To say I was a "fair weather runner" prior to this would be a slight understatement.
This shift brought about a sense of pride and enjoyment in my running that I hadn't known before.
I started to resonate with those (crazy!) people who claimed to "love running." I began to get glimpses of the ever-illusive "runner's high." I also cherished the "alone time" in a new way since becoming a mother.
The 10k race was an exciting accomplishment and the atmosphere on race day became something I craved to experience again. And it was on that day that I realized I would be willing to push myself to train and run the half.
Hence, this year's undertaking...
|(January, prior to our first run)|
We began training in January. A very cold, long, dreary January. Which transitioned to cold, dreary February, March, April and May. (it's got to have been the worst winter/spring in Calgary's history and definitely not the ideal year to choose to undertake this endeavour). Nonetheless...we persevered through a VARIETY of weather conditions...
We started with runs that were under 5km. In fact, my first run was 3.5km. And it was tough. I was only 3 months postpartum at that point in time and had spent the year prior dealing with the longest, toughest pregnancy. I was definitely out of shape.
Slowly but surely our distances and stamina increased. We started "the climb" (adding a km each week) and soon we were facing distances above 10k on a weekly basis. We got to know the paths along the river/Memorial (and their ever-frustrating closures) quite well and found ourselves further down the paths than we would've imagined.
Having my sister as a training partner was a pretty special experience. It was companionship, encouragement, and motivation all wrapped up together. We made a good team. Our pace was similar. Our goals aligned. Our music tastes helped each other out. Our need for snacks and bathroom breaks was common ground. I will cherish the time spend running, mostly in silence listening to our own music, side by side.
Although the training started to become a bit all-encompasing towards the end, it was without a doubt time well spent.
|(Scott decided to join us for a training run.|
He appreciated our pace)
- 43 training runs
- 305km travelled
- 33.5 hrs
|(just a bit of gear required)|
Apparently race days start E A R L Y. We had to be at the start line for 7am, which meant getting up before 5am. But, the adrenaline kicked in early and carried us through. As soon as we got to the C-train station and joined our fellow runners, there was no looking back.
We were blessed with a beautiful day. Sunshine. Warm, but not too hot. No rain. Or snow. Thankfully - we had had more than enough of those elements.
The atmosphere was, once again, incredible. It feels like you are part of something so big and exciting. And there's a commonality and sense connection between you and all the racers around you.
Soon enough, we were OFF. Scott left us behind pretty quickly. Jennette and I found our groove, running side by side for the most part. Passing people. Taking in our surroundings (taking note of many cool restaurants and cafes to check out). Laughing at some of the signs. Stopping at every water station ;)
The kms seemed to go by pretty quickly. And fairly easily.
A pee break at 12k, cost us a few minutes on our time but was well worth it!!!
After our potty break, since we had lost our pack of people going at our similar pace, we spent most of the remainder of the race weaving around and passing people. This kept things interesting and exciting. It probably made us feel like we were going faster than we were (although, our pace definitely picked up at that point).
It was at around 18km when Jennette really (really) picked up her pace. It was a struggle for me to stay even a good bit behind her. But I was determined not to lose her. I was determined to cross that finish line together. I pushed it and had to give it all I had left in the tank. In the last (and longest-seeming km) she slowed down to accommodate and we crossed that line together...breathless, thrilled, a bit nauseous and so very proud!
Post race is pretty much the funnest thing ever! You're so pumped from your accomplishment and there's so many treats to be had! We took full advantage of everything offered. Juice boxes have never tasted to refreshing! Free Jugo Juices. Oreos, bananas, power bars. And it's quite fun to partake with no guilt since you've just burnt almost a days-worth of calories. There were also free massages that might have been the highlight of the day altogether!!
|(starving and so excited for foooooooood|
- 6.20/km pace
- 1hr 19min
- 1608 calories burned
I must admit, I'm pretty proud of myself. Especially of the fact that Bridgette is just 8 months old and still nursing! I had to wonder how many other nursing moms were out there running and figured I was among a pretty elite group in that regard.
There will definitely be a next time. Who's in???
other things of note (in no particular order)...
- best post-run snack: chocolate milk and a shared peanut butter cookie from Starbucks
- best post-run recovery: epsom salt baths
- lululemon gear is very sturdy...withstands wipe outs with out even a slight damage to the material (despite some fairly major wounds underneath!)
- bathrooms along our training route:
- Eau Claire (nice cold water for drinking out of the taps as well)
- Tri-It store (along Memorial)
- Extreem Bean cafe
- running socks are WELL worth the investment!!! (*thanks Daniel)
- energy gels are disgusting, the gummy candies are better but the absolute best are "TABS" (Dex4 Fast Acting Glucose goodie bombs)
- favourite songs:
- "People Like Us" (Kelly Clarkson)
- "Holy Ground" (Taylor Swift)
- "My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark" (Fallout Boy)
- "Timber" (Ke$ha)
- "Roar" (Katy Perry)
- "I Love It" (Icona Pop)
There are a few people in particular who I need to express my thanks to...
Scott. Thank you for your support, encouragement and willingness to watch our kids while I took off to run a few times a week.
Mom. Thank you as well for all your support and help. Particularly with watching my children...especially on race day. It couldn't have happened without your help.
Jennette. You were a great partner. Thanks for endeavouring on this journey with me. Shall we do it again one day?
Kayla. Aka: COACH. Thank you so much for sharing your expertise, keeping us on our game and for your excitement. Next time, we'll all race together!!!
Laura. Thanks for being my neighbourhood running buddy. Knowing I had someone to run with made all the difference on those weekday runs.
Our sponsors. Thank you to everyone who donated to our cause: the Alberta Cancer Foundation. It was so encouraging and motivating to know that you stood behind us in that way.