I’ll be honest, the lead up to this race was absolutely not what I had hoped.
The original plan was to come into the race two weeks after running a half and to have fun with it. What actually happened is the longest I ran was 10km and I spent the entire week leading up to the race in near tears because of back pain.
I think I’ve only mentioned it once or twice, but I occasionally suffer from some pretty severe back and joint pain. It used to be constant, but since I started running, I actually very rarely have pain. A year ago I pulled a muscle when moving a dresser by myself (tip: don’t do that) and I’ve had two flare ups already in 2016 while I’m pretty certain 2014 and 2015 I had zero or one.
I went to barre on Wednesday in the hopes that getting active would help and ended up popping Motrin like candy on Thursday. I had hoped to get out for a shakeout run on Thursday, but after spending all day near tears, I opted to relax and go to bed early.
Friday I worked a half day and then went to a department team building event. I was exhausted by the time I made it home, but remembered to lay out (by lay out I mean throw into a pile) my clothes for race day, and my bathing suit for relaxing in my mom’s pool after the race.
I set my alarm for 5:00 on Saturday (it’s true, I can only wake up early for flights and races) and was in bed shortly after 10. Surprisingly, I slept really, really well and was out of bed at 5:05. I know it’s an early wakeup when Merlin hears my alarm and continues to sleep instead of begging for food.
I was dressed and out the door shortly after 5:30. The race didn’t start until 7:30, but I had a roughly 45 minute drive to the Millarville race track (PS – does anyone want to go to the Canada Day races with me??) and then needed to hop on a bus to drive the 13km to Black Diamond where the race would begin.
My mom drove to Black Diamond and picked up our bibs (there were options for pick up in Calgary, but the day they were downtown I wasn’t working downtown, so I wasn’t able to grab them) and I arrived around 6:45. We pinned on our bibs, made a port-a-potty stop, stood in the sun (it was 4C on my drive in!), and made one final port-a-potty stop before lining up with the half marathon start.
I didn’t have any kind of plan going into the race except to survive and enjoy myself.
My mom and I started running together, but I knew she’d lose me eventually as she’s always been faster than me and she actually trained for the race 😉
The first half of the course took us through and around Black Diamond before heading to the main road between Millarville and Black Diamond at around the 9km mark.
As we turned onto the farm road, we could see the infamous hill looming about 4km in front of us. Anyone who has done the Run to the Market will tell you about this hill – it’s a doozy. My goal was to run to the base of the hill and then see how things went up the hill. I didn’t bring my Garmin and decided not to use RunKeeper (I don’t have a good reason for that – I even brought an extra phone battery with me), but looking at the elevation profile, the hill is very nearly a mile long.
The first cinnamon bun stop for the 8 miler was just at the base of the hill and I opted to grab a sample of a bun and a water before tackling the hill.
I lost my mom about 1km before the hill and missed seeing her turn off to the bathrooms, so when I heard someone calling out at my as I was walking and snapchatting up the hill, it took me a minute to realize it was my mom. I kept pace with her down the hill for a bit, but she took off really strong and my lack of training was making itself known. Instead of being dumb and pushing, I relaxed and enjoyed the sights and the race signs.
Just before 18km my left knee started to get a bit cranky so I alternated walking and running knowing there was only 3km left and I could definitely push through it. Finally my knee loosened up and I started to push a bit more leading up to the finish. I have no idea what my pace was for the last 3km, but I do know that no one passed me during those last few kilometers.
I had the elapsed time on my Fitbit so I’d periodically check my time at the kilometer markers and I figured I’d likely be able to finish right around 2:20 and came in with a chip time of 2:19. Given my lack of training, I was super happy with my result.
My mom finished in 2:11. Note that this is after she waited for minutes at the port-a-potty, caught up with me at the hill, passed me on the hill, and still beat me by 8 minutes. Yeah, she’s pretty speedy.
I had such a great time at this race and I can easily see why so many people recommend it and return year after year.
After the race my mom and I wandered around the Millarville Farmer’s Market and I was really impressed with the number of vendors out. Again, this is something I’ve heard so many good things about, but never got my act together to actually check it out. It runs every Saturday until the fall and admission is $3 to park.My race recap of the @Millarville Half Marathon is up on the blog! #runyyc #runchat #runtothemarketClick To Tweet
After wandering for about half an hour, it was time to drive back to Black Diamond and then follow my mom to her place for some quality time in her pool. The only pain-in-the-butt part of the day was getting out of market as there was quite a bit of traffic congestion – I think it took us close to 20 minutes to finally get out of the facility. A note for next time, I’ll see if I can park closer to the exit instead of right next to the buses for the trip down.
I spent the rest of the afternoon visiting with my mom and her husband while floating in her (heated!) pool and drinking some adult beverages.
After dinner we caught up on the show jumping from Spruce Meadows last weekend and then I hit the road to head back home. I made it home by 10 and immediately crawled into bed as it has been a long, but wonderful, day.
Do you prefer big races, or small local races?
I’ve really been enjoying participating in the smaller local races this year.
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