the fifth one

(i got back home at 11:30 p.m. after an 18-hour day that included a 20-kilometer run and “backpacking” through a foreign city. while i wrote this up on the flight home, don’t expect it to be the most coherent and i’ll try to look out for typos but no promises….)

i think only one of my readers has a passing interest in my marathon recap/sagas but i’ve got a long one concocted here for anyone else arriving here because they’ve googled “burnco calgary international marathon 2005 results”….

the night before, i carb-loaded at the olive garden where we waited 35 minutes for a table and the meal was just alright. i was in bed by 11 p.m. and woke up at – get this – 1:30 (feeling refreshed, but it was probably an illusion), 2:30, 4:30, 5:00 (to a kid crying in the hall), and 5:30 to 3 alarm clocks and a wake-up call.

lesson 1 of the day : my straight hair is a nightmare to keep in a ponytail during physical activity. but staying in a hotel with the shoddiest water pressure for rinsing out shampoo plus some residual dust from the rodeo the day before left an unruly mass of tangles amenable to a ponytail that can survive 2 hours of jostling.

without much ado, we arrived at the start line (thank you stampede and hence frequent trains service even sunday at 6:30 a.m.!). we saw the full-marathoners set off at 7:00 a.m. with a bang.

my race started at 7:30 and i sought out the pace bunny(ies) because i managed to forget to bring a watch. there were 2 2-hour pace bunnies, one went straight through while the other did 10-and-1 (10-minute runs followed by 1-minute walk break).

i stayed with the 10-and-1 2-hour pace bunny fairly well for the first ten minutes, hanging about 10 meters back to watch the dynamics of his “groupies.” if he went towards the curb because a walking break was approaching, i observed some uncourteous groups cutting off other runners in order to stay with the pace bunny. if the pace bunny sped up, there was some immediate surge forward around/through other runners.

at the first water station, a bit after the first walking break, i slowed to a walk. no sense in choking on the gatorade that powers me. and i lost the pace bunny because he did not stop for water.

left without a watch or pace bunny, i had to revert to an old trick : to listen to 3 songs and walk for the first minute of the fourth song, and repeat. it might have averaged to 10-and-1….

the first song always went by quickly because the first minute was spent blissfully walking. you’d think the second song would go quickly but it would never seem to fade at the end. by the third song, i was just trying not to stop prematurely by running very slowly through it.

at the outset, the route looked mind-bogglingly boring, heading west 8 kilometers, then backtracking 7 km over the same route, then heading 3 km east over a route you wrap up by backtracking over. how much fun could that be?! due to the staggered starts of the full, half, and 10K-er’s, it worked out nicely that the people you see on the other side of the divider weren’t just people outpacing you (discouraging) or people slower than you (yee-haw!), but an assortment of marathoners done a turn unique to their route then overlapping ours and plenty of 10 K-er’s who began after we did.

for the first time i’ve experienced, we had to clear the center of the road for a police escort of the full marathoner in the lead as he passed us. the second and third runners had to weave among us even if they were closer on his heels!

sometimes, i really wanted to take a break after only two songs instead of three (who would know?!) but for a few 10-minute sessions, i could persuade my weary body to continue because i was listening to mariah carey and thinking about her great legs and how they did not come from slacking off at running….!

even with music (my first time bringing it along), i was unfathomably bored and cannot imagine liking spending 5 hours to myself or loving my music enough to do a full marathon…. 20K does a number on my body too gross to go into detail…. so doing a full in toronto has been downgraded to a remote possibility….

the east (second) half of the run was thankfully supremely nice as it was along the bow river with the downtown core in sight.

the very last kilometer of the race contained one bridge and one overpass – tough terrain for the end but we were coming off a downhill to coast towards the finish line – nice!

at the time, i could only tell that i had come in before 2:06:28 and (dyslexic that i can be) i thought all day my time was then 2:07:something but when i was set straight, i realized i had finished in 2:05:something again!! =D

(if you’ve stuck with me so far, here’s a pic of me right after the race. i inadvertantly colour-coordinated what with navy top, light blue shorts (borrowed from Lil’ Sis for their feature of having pockets), light blue runners (as per usual), and a really light blue race bib (unexpected). hee.)

here are all of my results…
912 of 1,615 finishers in the half-marathon
408 of 932 female entrants
83 of 168 female entrants between 25 and 29
2:05:34 chip time
9:35-minute mile

so i got the answer to the question i posted last week, as to where calgary will fall. so far, my results have been saint john ’04, vancouver ’05, calgary ’05, p.e.i. ’04, and halifax ’04.

whew! and the season still has some races to go….!

the interesting part is taking stock of my capabilities and deciding how the rest of the season will play out. i’ll let you know when i know.

On this day..