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Saturday, March 26, 2011

L'Arche Half

Up at 7:30, had coffee and breakfast, and then spent the rest of the time trying to decide what to wear. It was foggy and sort of snowing out, with a temp of -6C and a windchill of -9C. But running for a half, the last thing I want to do is overheat. Finally settled on my usual of long tech shirt with tech T over top, long (but lightweight) pants, running jacket and toque. I decided to swing by H-woman's to feed Miss Nermal before the race, and because I received an 8am phone call from Mom stating she was out of cat food, I swung by the vet's which is on the way to Eau Claire from H's. Big mistake...seriously, I'm buying cat food. Why are you type, type, typing like you are filling out my cat's cat here...just want the cat a bit of a hurry...can't tell I'm decked out in running gear?! Anyway, after finally seeking help from someone else, I finally got the food paid for, loaded up and rushed to Eau Claire. I was still early, but I wanted to relax before the start gun. Pulled into the parkade, found a spot and as I was walking to the meter to pay I realized I FORGOT MY FREAKING BIB/TIMING CHIP AT HOME!!!!! OMG!!!!! Jumped back in the car (good thing I do live close) and rushed home, grabbed said bib (which was conveniently right at the front door...) and made it back to Eau Claire by 9:45. Had to park outside by this point, and wait for people who have never used these meters before to pay for their time. Not that difficult, really. Pick time, insert credit card, take ticket. That's it...flat fee for a Saturday...what is taking so long?! Between the fog, forgetting my bib, stupid girl at the vets, the snow...I am really losing my good mood that I woke up with, and am looking forward to the run, if for nothing else than to sweat out some stress.

Started the race inside the building...the start/finish line was so close to the front door that everyone crammed in, and I couldn't get a signal on Mr. Garmin until after we started. Add that to list of things pissing me off today. Oh, and add the walkers that insist on starting in front of everyone who's running it...because that's not going to get in any one's way. It's going to be a long run! Speaking of...if you sign up for a race, be polite and learn the common stepping out in front of a lead runner on his way back in, just because you want to pass the people in front of you is the quickest way to get yourself killed. And if you're not part of the race, but while on the paths notice a whole bunch of people with numbers pinned to their chests, GET OUT OF THE WAY!!! Wow...frustrating today.

We crossed Prince's Island (slippery bridge #1) right away, and ran west on the north side of the river. I understand the race organizers wanting to avoid the construction area on the south side, but there's just as painful a spot on the north side, if not more so do to the mud and puddles and splashing from all the traffic along side. And the path is very narrow for one section, which considering over 200 runners hitting it at once, it could become a little tight. Once we got to 10th Street, we crossed over the river (slippery bridge #2) to the south side and ran west to Crowchild, where we crossed the river again (slippery bridge #3), continuing west to Shouldice Park. For the most part, the path was way better than I expected, considering the constant falling snow, the rain earlier this week, the melt, the freeze and the fact that none of it was cleared at all. Shouldice proved to be a bit of a challenge, when we had to avoid potholes large enough to eat a Smart car, as well as the dog walkers driving their pets to the park (ironic, I know...). Turning around at the halfway point (return the exact same way we came out, which when the one woman questioned me about what direction we were supposed to be, didn't you start where I did???), we also discovered the east wind blowing...oh boy, a head wind for 10+ km. Really having trouble finding my happy place today! Photos taken by my friend Dave show just how snowy it really was...these are running into the finish line! March 26th, people...

Played some serious leap frog with a few people too, today. I was running 3:1's today...that is running 3km, walking for 1 minute (I did a fast count to 60) as that's closed to what I run when I do marathons (walk at water stations). So a couple would pass me, then walk at their 10 minutes. I would then pass them...a while later, they would pass me and start walking. I would pass them...on and on and on it went. Lost one couple back at around the 15km mark (they were seriously annoying me!) and caught and finally permanently passed another couple at about the 19km mark. Steady was the name of the game today, and I ended on a 'not so nice' course, on a 'not so nice' day about 5 seconds off my personal best time (2:42:31). Imagine what I could do with good conditions? What made this race though was the volunteer corp. They were OUTSTANDING...enthusiastic (despite sitting outside in the cold and snow for 4+ hours - at least we were moving the whole time), encouraging and only one told me the dreaded "you're almost there". They even had chocolate milk at the end! I heart any race that has chocolate milk at the end!!!

Hung out with the group (knew quite a few runners today), enjoying coffee and a snack of egg wrap and fruit salad. Lots of chatting, laughing, them trying to convince me to bail on Calgary and run an ultra with them instead the same weekend, before we all decided to head for home. After all, it was around 3pm by this time! I decided to head to Mom's with the cat food and stop for some groceries for her at the same time, to avoid having to drive tomorrow (it's really snowing now). Once I got to Mom's and unloaded the car, she decided that she wanted to eat dinner out tonight, so off we went to John Wong's for some Chinese. We shared some pork dumplings, spicy shrimp, sweet & sour chicken balls and vegetable noodles (the fat ones). Well, by shared I mean I ate like I just ran a half marathon and Mom had a little bite of everything. Packed everything up, took it back to Mom's, split up the leftovers (again, Mom has a sample of everything, I get the rest...) and I braved the roads, heading for home. You could see that the snow was actually turning into sheets of ice on the roads (and nary a gravel truck to be seen), so I am happy that I decided to take the groceries down today. Stopped in again on Miss Nerm, got a cuddle, and came home, experiencing a minor meltdown trying to get into my parking spot, as my neighbour must have a new man in her life, who doesn't know how to properly park his big, shiny pick-up truck. Seriously's not a Kenworth. Learn to park. I had to go around the block and come at my spot from a different direction in order to shimmy and shake my little sports car into place. I am seething by now, as I left my home at 8:45am and it's now 6:30pm and I JUST WANT TO GO HOME!!!! I am still in my wet running gear, my head hurts, I'm tired...GRRRRRRRR...

Finally, the sanctity of my home. I sat in the dark (Earth Hour) watching some Criminal Minds, trying to convince myself that my hip didn't hurt. Didn't work, but the Advil I took now is! And I'll roll before I go to bed. Looking forward to the sleep in tomorrow (no Sunday run for me) but I will head down for coffee with the gang around 11. Just wouldn't be a Sunday without it.


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