Seriously doesn't have the same ring to it, does it? Melissa's 22 is what the race really is, but due to construction (curses), the course had to be modified slightly.
Drove up to Banff Friday night after boot camp...yes, I still did my hour boot camp the night before a long run. I am hard core! And Trainer Josh put us through our leg paces, with a climb up the BA hill, squat tabata, lunge/leg drive tabata and general running around. All of that past work has definitely made my legs and core stronger. Since I had already picked up my race package on Thursday (when I was helping out, and therefore earning my bib fee back...score!), I didn't have to worry about anything other than driving to and checking into my hotel.
Staying at the Driftwood again, which is an older hotel "attached" to a newer, fancier one. Funny part is the $100 difference in rate, since I still get to use all the facilities at the other hotel, but pay much less. Granted the rooms are simple and a little dated, but who cares? As long as it has a bed, a bathroom and is clean, that's all I really need. Oh, and the mini-coffee maker! Three cheers for the mini-coffee maker!! Met up with C. & K. and went into downtown to find dinner, ending up at the Elksman (something like that) for a pint of Guinness (most excellent pre and post race fuel!) and a chicken wrap with salad. Broke the carb rule, but not by much...and I did have a race in the morning.
Woke up yesterday to a glorious day in the mountains. Second day of Fall, and the temps were forecast to hit +29C! That's almost 90F, for crying out loud! I was a bit concerned about the heat...you all know how much I "love" running in the heat...but thought with the mountains, trees and altitude, it wouldn't be that bad. I was a little wrong! K. & C. walked down to my hotel, and then we all walked up to the recreation grounds where the race started. Because the race is in September, they have a wonderfully late start...10:30 for the 10k, and 10:40 for the 22. C. was running the 10, but we lost sight of her in the sea of people! I think there were 4,000-5,000 running in total, and add to that "race support" and the town's population certainly doubled quickly! Met up with my hiking ladies, M., S. and J., and ran into many others from the running groups at Eau Claire, and we settled into our pace groups in the queue. J. was aiming for a 2 hour finish, so moved ahead of us. I wanted a 2:30 finish, which is fast for me, and M. & S. were there to pace me, as they run about a 2:15 normally. Awesome gals! Heart them all!
We started, and M. was in charge of pacing. I just set Mr. Garmin for the distance and did my very best to concentrate on my legs and breathing and not obsessively glance at him every 4 seconds! We were running 10:1's, which for the first 11-12k felt pretty good. Not too fast, although we did get caught in the drag a couple of times (when the front-runners blew past us, on their second lap, and when some friends ran past too!) but for the most part, I felt pretty good. Sadly, it got hot. And that took it's usual toll. I didn't want to slow down the ladies, but I just couldn't seem to stay in the groove...so we dropped to 5:1's, and then 2:1's and then finally 1:1's...but that helped. We also picked up other runners along the way, who weren't doing so well, and said 'run with us, we'll get you to the finish line'. A lady from Edmonton joined us at about the 11k mark, and we picked up a gentleman from Calgary at about marker 15. The five of us did 1:1's the rest of the way in, encouraging each other, laughing, joking, getting to know each other, and generally having an amazing race.
And the best part?? Finishing feeling strong, upright and at 2:35:58!!!!! Even with my "slow down", I still blew my former times out of the water. Granted, it's hard to compare, since we're missing 1.35k, but I don't care. I felt great, and there was beer waiting at the finish line! That's almost better than chocolate milk...almost. K., who was my pacer for my first marathon clinic, came in at 2:49, which is not bad for her first time at Melissa's. It really is a challenging race, not necessarily because of the hills (there's really not a lot on the long course, the 10k is another story), but it is harder to run at these high elevations, and it was a hot day. And there's usually a good head-wind by the club house on the golf course...who knows why it's that spot, but it's always that spot!
We sat, rested up, gathered all the peeps together and then walked back into town to the Rose & Crown, which was SLAMMED with runners, desperate for food and more beer! We did have to wait awhile for service, but once he made it to us, was great. Had a pint (or two), and enjoyed a lamb pita sandwich (yes, I know...darn carbs) with salad and roasted veggies. I "may" have tasted some of J.'s nachos...but what happens in Banff, stays in Banff...right peeps?!
Everyone went their separate ways (some were driving home to Calgary, some off to visit other friends, me and C., back to our hotels) and then later in the evening, C. and I met up for dinner. We went to Magpie and Stump, a very good Tex-Mex restaurant in town that has been here as long as I can remember. I most definitely broke the carb rule last night, as we shared seafood cerviche, served with corn chips, and then I had the chicken enchilada dinner. I didn't eat the rice, save for a couple of bites, and left most of the refried beans, but let's face it...the chicken wasn't wrapped in a lettuce leaf, was it?! But it was good, as was the sangria (it was fruit once, wasn't it) but I was so full afterwards, we ended up walking around town, just to get the bloating down!
I slept till I felt like waking up this morning (after blacking out at 10:30!), getting probably 11 hours of zzzz's. Awesome. I should get ready and pack up, since C. and I will meet up for brunch/lunch soon, and I need to check out. Sadly back to reality. However, I need to check the lottery tickets...maybe waking up in Banff every morning could be my new reality! That would be sweet.
Hope everyone had a great weekend.
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