Sunday, May 31, 2009

Calgary Marathon Report

Hold on tight and come for a ride with me!

First of all, my hat is off to the organizers of the new Calgary Marathon and all the volunteers! A job well done and you get 10/10 in my books!

I only had one monkey on my back and that was wondering if I would find a good parking spot or even a parking spot. As it turned out, there was tonnes of parking in Bridgeland. That was my only worry and once I got that dealt with I could focus on the task at hand. I checked my bag at bag check, made two bathroom visits then headed to the start line where I seeded myself accordingly. After a few minutes the gun went off, and off I went. Well, not right away, it took a few minutes to get to the matt then once I beeped I said "game on" and off I went.
My game plan was to do 10&1's, run at a pace of 6:30 min/km and have a gel every 55 minutes. The weather was perfect. I was enjoying the new route especially along 17th Avenue. I remember turning onto 14th Street but I don't remember how we got onto Memorial Drive. I was glad when the half-marathons did their turn around. I'm not use to having lots of runners around me. I realize hills are my strength, thanks to all that mountain climbing. Shaganappi Trail was not an issue. I slowed my pace by about 1 minute and enjoyed the scenery to the west and when I looked to the east, I wondered if any children were watching us from their hospital rooms.
Then it was on to spend some time at the University. No new lessons to be learned here today. My game plan was going as planned. I was on target at 2:20 at the halfway mark where I got a hi-5 from Karen. After my term at the University, it was on to window shop at Market Mall. I didn't have my binoculars with me so didn't see much. Then we veered away from main drags and big buildings and meandered through residential neighbourhoods. The kilometers passed, the houses passed and before I knew it, I rounded a corner and was back on Shaganappi Trail for the long downhill. Here I was able to take 30 seconds off my pace and enjoy the cruise to the bottom and getting ready for the long, straight stretch ahead.
I had my last gel (4th one) but it didn't sit well in my stomach and I didn't feel the lift from it like I did from the previous three. It could have been cancelled out by the fact that I was getting on with the game and reaching the mid 30 something km distance.
Then between 38 and 39 kms a wall popped up. It wasn't brick, but more along the lines of a wooden fence where I could weave from side to side through the pickets. I was still with it but not to the extent I was for the first half of the race. I knew I could finish but I knew too, it wasn't going to be in my goal time of 4:42. I was O.K. with this and was at the point, I would take the finish any way I could get it. I got it in 4:48:52! There's something about the cheering and hollaring and clapping coming down the home stretch that gives me a boost of energy to get the job done.
I had only an ounce of energy to finish smiling, upright, making the victory sign! But that was it! Thank you to the medics who softened the blow when I hit the pavement on the other side of the finish matt. I wanted to get up and go celebrate but they seemed to have other plans for me and started to walk me to the medic tent. I said I was fine that I could carry on and I really thought I could until they let go of my arms and down I went again. Geesh! I went with them where I got to sit in shade with ice on my legs, a blanket around me, with two cups of gatorade and a bucket at my feet. That last gel was just not doing me any favors. Thirty minutes under their care and I was good to go!
Climbing mental mountains is not my forte but climbing physical mountains is. Bring on those mountains, I am ready to hike. It's time now to start training to hike 5 days straight!
I am proud of what I did today!
I love my big honkin belt buckle medal!


  1. Way to go, Andra! Sounds like you gave it more than your all, considering your post-finish condition. Hope you are eating and resting well tonight.

  2. Congratulations Andra!!! Wow, it sounds like quite the day for you. Sorry to hear about hitting the wall a bit, and then the adventure at the medical tent afterward. I am so glad you are okay. It sounds like you ran your best race today. Put your feet up and enjoy a great recovery meal. You deserve it!

  3. Sounds like you gave it 110% Well enjoy the recovery!

  4. Alexandra, congratulations on a great effort; it is such a wonderful achievement to successfully train for & complete a marathon - sounds like it was quite a tour and you clearly gave it all you had! Bit scary there at the end!

  5. Congrats, Andra! I'm sorry I missed seeing you!!

    Yes, parking was very tricky, I agree!

  6. Good job on the run. I wish I got the fantastic feeling from the gels but they just seem to roll around my guys for 42km so so.

  7. Congratulations, Alexandra! Wow, I am so impressed with how you did. Sounds like you had an intelligent plan that got you through to the end, including being able to deal with a wall. Good for you!!! Did it take you a whole week to feel better?

  8. You ROCKED IT!!!!!!! Congrats!! What a strong showing for your first marathon =)

    The finish line sounds scary but I'm glad you got taken good care of by the medic, I hope they were cute too booth! I think it's a sign you gave it all, you should be proud!!!


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