Calgary Police Half Marathon – Race Report – Extended Version
“Toenails are overrated.” The best sign from the race.
Not my sole objective for this year, Sunday morning was more of a training run than a race. I was stoked nonetheless as this was my first half marathon without coming off the bike; FRESH LEGS!
This race has been plagued by some pretty nasty weather in the past, luckily for me this year was not one of them. The temperature at race time was 5 degrees with a slight wind out of the west. Not too bad in Calgary. In April.
Package pickup was on Friday and Saturday; no pick-up was allowed on race day. The main gym at Mount Royal University (it will always be College for me, by the way) was easy to find and navigate. It was the easiest and most efficient package pickup I have experienced in my short-lived competitive career.
Race morning was more of the same, well-organized and easily navigated. I hung out inside as I wanted to keep warm, and maybe even do a quick warmup on the track. With 10 minutes to race time, I headed to the start to find me a decent spot.
Run – 21.2km – Glenmore Reservoir (and surrounding area)
I started out conservatively, trying to keep mind that 21k is a long way to run, and being a typical triathlete, I always want to go as fast as I can right off the start. Did I say triathlete, I meant man…..
I passed a lot of runners in the first 5k, averaging 4:20/km; so much for holding back. The road was pretty packed, but there was also plenty of room to navigate around the slower runners. The course narrows once you enter Glenmore park, and I was glad that the pack had thinned out by then. I had to stop and tie my shoe around km 4; I really need to figure out a better system. No problem, as I got right back on track going up the next hill.
Passing behind the RockyView Hospital, I said little something to my son Oliver, as he was born there earlier this year. I miss you buddy.
Through the aid station, and on toward Heritage Park continuing to hold a 4:20/km pace, and still passing runners. At km 7, there was a cheering section from Lululemon; we could hear them for 3k on either side. They were the highlight as they made each runner feel like an old school wrestler heading to the ring; high fives for everyone.
Once on the south side of the reservoir, the pack had separated into decent pace groups and it was harder to pass the runner ahead. I set my sights on a group of 5 runners and kept trucking along. I caught up to them around 1k later, the first being racer 523, more on her later. After passing them, I could feel a runner right on my heels. Up to this point, I hadn’t been passed, and I wasn’t about to start. I picked up the pace and dropped him from my shoulder, heading to the hill at km 14.
That hill sucks. I am no stranger to the Weaselhead hill, but there is something about a race that makes you forget about how high and steep it is. I have never been happier to hear the sound of bagpipes as the Calgary Police Service Pipe Band was playing at the top. I hit the aid station and pressed on.
I mentioned runner 523, well she had been tagging along with me for about 3k, and unlike the previous runner, I couldn’t drop her. My legs began to tire, and my pace was steadily dropping into the 5:00/km range. She, along with 2 other runners, passed me on 50th avenue, about km 17.
From here on I struggled to keep my pace in below 5:00/km. My legs were just too tired and I was feeling real hungry. I pushed thru it and crossed the finish line with a burst of speed.
Result: 1:41:32 4:48/km Average 166/1289 Overall 25/92 Age Group
Highlights: Held a great pace over the first 15k and when I struggled physically, mentally I was strong.
Lessons: My pre-race and race nutrition was too little for a long distance; I was hungry and my energy faded at km 16. I will wake up 3 hours prior to the start of my next race, eat, then either take a walk or go back to sleep. My pace was too fast at the beginning, causing me to lose my legs after the hill. Need to pace over the first half, then negative split the second half.
This is a great race, and I will definitely be back for next year. It is a worthy cause, and hey, to support our Police here in Calgary, why not go for run?
Question: Did you race in the YYC Police Half this year? How did it go? What was your nutrition plan?