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Sunday, April 17, 2011

Worst Race Ever

I'm not going to lie. As soon as I looked out the window, any thoughts of a PB flew out of my head and landed with a thud on the snow. Despite obsessively checking my email and website all morning, the race was not cancelled. Runners really are insane. Loaded up the car and headed off to the start point, Mount Royal University. Normally a 10 minute drive for me, and it was up to the road to get into the parking area. Then, after sitting on said road for over 15 minutes without moving very far, I began to get nervous. Race time of 8am was rapidly approaching. Granted, it was a chipped race, so your time doesn't start till after you cross the line, but still don't want to have to start the race a good hour behind everyone else! Finally, taking the cue from another brave/frustrated soul, we pulled over to the field (former army base) across the road, and parked. If it was illegal, fine, give me a ticket. I have a race to run. I'd say probably a hundred of us were parked there by the time I reached the start line. Despite an email from the Race Director saying the paths would be clear and cleaned, and icy patches sanded, they were not. We started down the roadway (not cleared) which was loose sand like consistency by the time 5,000 feet pounded over it (2,500 runners in this race). We weren't even out of the University grounds yet when the first ice patch - okay "rink" - reared it's head, putting several runners at risk...basically put your feet down and slide. Finally, after weaving through the neighbourhood on crappy roads, we reached the pathway system...just as nasty. The police biking along side were great, as they did their best to make sure all of us runners were safe, checking for ice and stopping any wayward drivers. And the volunteers made this race...their enthusiasm in the face of very cranky runners was a ray of sunshine. Which we got none did not stop snowing the entire race. Boo. Had to resort to some serious trail hiking/climbing to get through some areas, as the snow on the ice made for some serious conditions. Heard that one runner fell so hard, she blacked out. Good thing it was right beside the hospital! A friend of mine fell twice (I witnessed one fall) and I'm sure there are many runners icing butts and hips all over the city right now. Did I mention the conditions were pure crap?! I didn't feel well this morning, which was not helped by the snow. I've not felt "right" since my return from Montreal, which I initially thought it was the rich meal on Tuesday, but now I think I brought back a wee bug with me. After all, I flew in a germ tube twice and took the train. Your body (despite 2 doses of Emergen-C a day) can only take so much canned air and recirculated germs before it gives in. Anyway, I just was not feeling the race, and the weather, despite knowing there was nothing I could do about it, was really affecting me as well. By the halfway mark, I was walking, trying to get my stomach to settle down. Then we entered Weaslehead. Last spring I decided to run Weaslehead, not knowing then that the City does not clear the path - so imagine 2,500 runners entering an area that has not seen dry pavement since last October!! Nasty does not even begin to describe it. Trying to keep your footing was so hard, as we slipped and slid everywhere. Then we had the hill...yes, to enter Weaslehead, you have to go down a pretty intimidating hill. Imagine it covered in a good foot of snow and ice. The volunteers had managed to throw some dirt/rocks/sand down one section, but unfortunately not all the way to the end. So after carefully picking our way down the one section, we had to make our way to the metal railing and hang on for dear life, going down the rest of the hill sideways and one precious step at a time. Seriously grumpy by now!!!! Walked through Weaslehead (there was no way I was running on the uneven surface of snow and ice) and up the hill on the other side, which was in better condition. Walked with another runner, who was training for Halifax, but couldn't believe what we were running in today! She did her winter training indoors on a dreadmill. Wow. Once up the hill, I decided to give the running thing another try, telling myself I could walk if I didn't feel good. I managed to run most of the last 6km, which I was happy with. Finally, back to the finish line, crossing at the 3:11 mark. Like I said, no PB's today. I do believe this is my worst time for a Half, but that's fine. I was upright, uninjured and...well, I can't honestly say I was smiling. Grimacing was more like it! After some juice and a banana, I left the race (it had wrapped up by this time - they expect everyone to be done fast, I guess) and headed to Mom's for a quick check-up. Then off to the grocery store for some vegetables...I had too much rich food last week, and I need to cleanse the old body. Finished a bowl of chili with avocado for dinner, and am just dragging right now. It's almost time to go to bed. Work beckons tomorrow, but at least it's a short week! Later,


H-woman said...

Insane is right. No way would I have risked life nor limb in conditions like that. Walking to work was bad enough. =)

Barefoot Neil Z said...

If they cancelled races due to the weather in Calgary, there would never be any races. Great job getting through this one. Was my slowest ever too! (i did run the last k barefoot tho, and yes, it was very cold)

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