By Renee Howard
After being gently prodded by Joe (and by gently, I mean relentlessly over the last two weeks), I’m finally ready to recap and thus relive my first Half Marathon.
Back in early October, I decided to run the Hypothermic Half Marathon. Since registering for the race, I’ve had a number of people ask me “Why would you want to run a half marathon?” This is very quickly followed up by “Why would you want to run a half marathon in the winter?!” To be completely honest, I asked these same questions to myself nearly every Sunday morning, at 8 am while just about to start a long run…
In reality, training for this race wasn’t terrible. I would hazard a guess that this year was, for the most part, the best that winter running conditions could get in Edmonton. The majority of my training runs were done in temperatures between -10°C and 5°C, I never once wore grips on my shoes, and only a handful of times did I have more than three layers on my upper body! In the fall, I knew that the projections for winter 2015/2016 were for a mild winter with less snow than usual. So I took advantage of this and tried my hand at winter running!
It’s funny because I’m supposed to be writing a race report, but after 17 weeks of training most of what I want to share are things I’ve learned, funny moments, or weird winter running quirks that I’ve picked up since starting my training back in October. So much so, that I would have to say that running the race was the easy part! There are lots of things I could say about winter running, but I’ll stick to my given task, and write a race report.
I like the Hypothermic Half Marathon race because the proceeds benefit Nature Alberta. The cause is important to me and I’ve volunteered as a course marshal a couple of times so I knew this was the race I wanted to do. Though the course isn’t much to write home about (two loops along Ada boulevard starting and finishing at the Highlands Golf Course), the reason most other people run the race is for the breakfast! This was apparent from the very beginning when the announcer’s pep talk mostly comprised talk about how good the bacon would be at the end, also very early into the race when the people I was running with were counting down the minutes until they could get bacon, and again at right around the 15 km point when I passed a group of runners chanting bacon, bacon, bacon to match their steps. As a vegetarian, the bacon wasn’t really doing it to keep me going, but I knew there would be breakfast potatoes available so that was enough for me!
The looped course, though not very scenic, was actually very motivating to run! I passed other members of my training group multiple times on the course, I high-fived my much faster friend as she flew by me twice, and I was able to run past my spectators four times. Plus, there’s nothing like a group of race marshalls watching at the corner, cheering you on to keep you running when you really want a walk break (thanks Tonya ;)). Overall, it was a really good first half marathon race!
While I didn’t beat my Goal A of under 2:30, I did achieve my Goal B of finishing upright and smiling. I’m already planning for my next race, knowing I will train a bit differently to surpass Goal A next time. My struggle now will be integrating cycling into this summer’s training schedule to be able to keep up with the rest of the Fiera Race Team. See you all on the trails! Results are here!
Photo of my fast friend, Katie, and I (2484) taken minutes after I crossed the finish line. Also a great photo of the on-site facilities…