Now What?

After the highs of the weekend, is anyone else feeling a little deflated? What a weekend though! For me, it started on Friday with a trip to the expo to collect my race packets, listen to speakers, speak with some of the other forerunners, work at the 5Peaks booth, hang out with friends and make some great new contacts. Then, a quick change in the washroom, and off to party!

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Race day came around fast (4.30 a.m alarm) but the sunrise on the drive in to Calgary made the early start worth it!

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Happily, I had my VIP status printed on my race bib so was able to get coffee and breakfast in the VIP area which was great. Then it was time to head to the corrals for the start. My goal was to run the half without any pain and to have fun, which I did. I had originally signed up for the 50k again but changed a couple of weeks before the race due to ongoing injuries. Initially, I was very disappointed to do this, mainly because I wanted that huge, shiny medal so much! but it was the right decision. I finished the half marathon feeling great and met up with some of the other forerunners to hang out in the VIP area.

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While we were waiting for the 5k to start, we sat and watched some of the other finishers coming in, which was very inspirational. The 5k was a fun run and a good way for me to loosen up after the half marathon. There were so many people, runners, walkers, kids, strollers so it was very crowded, especially at the start but we had great fun chatting to people and spotting other friends along the way. Finish line, and another medal!What a fun day! The weather was beautiful, the course was great as usual, the spectators were totally awesome and everything about the race organization was spot on, from the packet pick up, to the post race food and not to mention the totally awesome medals!

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So… Now what? well registration is open for next year!
http://calgarymarathon.com/register.html

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Who’s Ready for Race Day?

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At last it’s race week! All that training is going to pay off and now you’re tapering, right? Ok, so maybe you didn’t train as much as you’d planned, maybe you got injured, or life got in the way. Maybe you’re starting to second guess yourself and doubt is creeping in. Can you really do it? YES! Yes. you can! Here are my top ten tips for race day:

1. Trust your training. You may not have done all the running you were scheduled to, but you have a good base. The adrenaline on race day will see you through a lot.

2. Now we are just a few days away, make sure you get enough sleep, eat healthily,hydrate and if you decide to run before the big day, make it easy and enjoyable.

3. Collect your race packet and visit the expo, it starts on Thursday at 4pm. http://www.calgarymarathon.com/expo.html?lang=EN Use this visit to figure out how you’ll get to the race and what time you want to be there. (Always allow more time than you think you’ll need and allow for transport delays as well as long lines for the porta potties!)

4. The night before, get everything ready. Clothes, race bib, drop bag, any drinks or gels you plan to use, cash for the c-train, phone for all those selfies and bring a large garbage bag to wrap yourself in while you wait at the start line. It may be a little cool early on and you can stay pretty warm inside a garbage sack!

5. Apart from the elites, everyone else seeds themselves. Think about where you should start. Look for the pace bunnies. They have signs stating their estimated finish time so look for the one nearest your pace and stand near them. If you are planning to walk, you need to be nearer the back of the pack. If you are planning to run fast,then you should be nearer the front.

6. The corral just before the start of a race is a truly exciting and inspirational place to be. Look around you at all the other racers, think about all the sweat and tears that have got everyone this far! Enjoy this special atmosphere. This is what you trained for.

7. There’s the gun, and you’re off! Take it smoothly for the first little while. Everyone is trying to find their pace and a clear space to run. After the first mile or so, things settle down and you’ll find your sweet spot. Enjoy it!

8. If things don’t go quite as planned during the race, don’t worry. Sometimes, no matter how well you’ve trained, your race might not be the one you wanted. This is ok. Enjoy the different experience and use it as a learning opportunity for the next one.

8. Race etiquette is important. Here are the biggies:
i. Don’t run side by side with a large group of friends. This prevents anyone being able to pass you and is annoying.
ii. If you need to slow to a walk or stop, raise your hand and move over to the right. It’s the same as when you’re driving and need to make a manoeuver, please look behind you before signalling and then make your move.
iii. Again, at water and aid stations, don’t just stop dead. Look around for other runners and allow them space.
iv. Don’t photo bomb other runners’ pictures! Of course you want to wave your arms and stick your tongue out for the photographers, but please don’t dive in front of other runners to do so.
v. Remember to thank our awesome volunteers. Without them, there wouldn’t be a race.

9. At last! The finish line! Collect your totally awesome race bling and celebrate your awesomeness! When you’ve done this, taken your photos and eaten something post race, come back and watch others finish. Even more than starting lines, finish lines are very emotional places with runners achieving goals that they never thought possible. You may even see a marriage proposal like last year!

10. Relax, rest, enjoy your achievement and begin to think about the next race!

Good luck everyone, and have the best race day ever!

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Exciting News!

Here we are, a whole new year and a whole lot of races to sign up for! I know I said ‘never again’ but it appears I signed myself up for the 50k again at Calgary marathon. This is how it happened.. not being huge party animals, husband and I were sitting at home on New Year’s Eve, discussing which races we wanted to do in 2015. He decided to do the half marathon this year and I was toying between the half and the full. Then he whispered those special words in my ear, ‘You do know there’s a medal for the 50k this year?’ That was it.. click, click, enter.. Yes, I am that shallow, I have a very strong attraction to shiny things!

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A few days later, I had the exciting news that I had been selected to be a Forerunner, one of the ambassadors for the 2015 Scotiabank Calgary marathon. I had followed the Forerunners last year, and found their stories very motivating and inspiring and hope that I can encourage others this coming year.

You can read more here: http://calgarymarathon.com/forerunners.html?action=1&pID=149

Growing up and well into my adult life, I never had a single positive thought about exercise and would avoid it wherever possible! The reasons why I decided to run are another story, but the feeling of crossing that finish line after completing something you never thought possible, is truly empowering.

I have a real love of running Calgary. Not only is it a beautiful course around my home city, it was my first marathon.

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and my first ultra.

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I’m so excited and honoured to be able to encourage other runners this year and look forward to meeting everyone.

I am a Marathon Maniac!

As many of you know, I was a fairly latecomer to running. It wasn’t until I was 35 that I voluntarily ran a step that wasn’t away from a wasp or some other insect.

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Once I ran in my first race, a 10k at the age of 46, I was hooked. I loved everything about the event: the preparation, the training, the excitement at packet pick up, the buzz on race day, not to mention the feeling of success and accomplishment that I had done something I never would have imagined possible! Well, the races got longer and more frequent and when I had a few half marathons under my belt I read about a group called the Marathon Maniacs. Members of this group are exactly as described – marathon maniacs! As I read the criteria for joining I was amazed that anyone would ever do that, let alone, actually want to do that! Well the idea obviously took root in my mind and eventually I qualified to join their sister group, the Half Fanatics.

The last few years, I have found it very empowering to set myself goals and my goal for 2013 was… yes, to qualify for the Marathon Maniacs! I already knew I wanted to run the Calgary marathon and so I looked around for another one close to that date.  For the first level, I needed to run two full marathons within a 16 day time frame. Handsome Husband decided that Rock and Roll San Diego was the one to do! That worked out perfectly for me because it would mean a mini runcation in that beautiful city, but not so good because it was just one week after Calgary!

Eventually race day for the Calgary marathon dawned and I was feeling good! I had trained, rested and was hoping to beat my last time. We set off running and all was good. The miles (or kilometres in Canada) ticked past and when the half marathoners split off, I settled into the rest of my run. Until 30k (18.5 miles) I began to get bad stomach cramps which worsened and resulted in two porta potty visits! I also developed a huge blister on the ball of my foot and maybe this affected my running gait because my hip flexors hurt, as did my lower back! I really struggled the last few miles, had to walk a fair way.( I’ll stop the injury list there because I know my mother will read this and be even more convinced that I should stop running before I damage my joints!)

I eventually finished with a time of 04.58.52, very disappointed with my performance and worried if I was going to be able to run another marathon in a week!

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We left for California on the following Thursday and spent a wonderful few days in the San Diego area before race day arrived. Well, I was very nervous and wasn’t looking forward to the run at all. Luckily, I had spent so much money at the expo that I had a VIP porta potty pass which allowed access into the VIP potties at the start line (If you have never seen these… wow!)

As the pre race nerves got worse, I decided to focus on the fact that I was getting to run in a beautiful place in perfect running weather, and forget about everything else. To cut a long race report short, it was great! No stomach issues, no blisters and hardly any leg/hip pains until the last couple of miles. Apart from having to walk up a killer hill at mile 21, I didn’t need to walk at all, and finished in 04.46.06.

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As I was handed my medal, I felt a little emotional. Although I hadn’t been  happy with my Calgary performance, I am amazed and proud that I am now officially Marathon Maniac #7283!

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