In the spirit of doing one post a month….here’s my June recap.
In it, I’ll be talking about Coulee Cactus Relay, Ladiesfest 8km race, the kickoff to Berlin Marathon training, and what’s ahead!
Coulee Cactus Crawl
This event is run every June here in Lethbridge. In 2013, I stupidly signed up to run it solo. It is 35 km of coulee trail running and I was NOT prepared. You can read about it here. I had originally planned on going to watch Provincial Track & Field this year, but with bad weather in Red Deer (where it was hosted) being predicted, I decided to stay in town. An acquaintance had mentioned a week before that they needed a fifth relay member to their team. I reached out to her on social media to see if I could fill the spot…with the small…small….stipulation that I had a very small person who would need to be taken care of while I ran my leg (Andy). I felt find in asking this because this acquaintance is the daughter of someone I taught with the past years at WCHS. I asked if she could check with her mom if she wanted to play “Grandma” that day and the answer was YES! I was in!
This WAS SO MUCH FUN! I was on a team with Emily, her boyfriend, her brother, and a friend of theirs. Emily’s mom was there to help with Andy as we went from the different relay transition stages. I was leg 2 of the race, and it was a shorter segment (5.75 km) so when I set off on my portion I was right in the midst of runners. People could run solo or on a team, so early on many runners are closer together. Knowing I only had to do less than 6km of the race versus a full 35km was incredible. While I don’t train on the trails in Lethbridge, I felt comfortable on my leg of the race because 1.) I had been on portions of it before 2.) It would only be around 5.75 km long 3.) I was an early leg in the relay so we would still be right in the thick of things and surrounded by other runners.
The race weather was beautiful-full sun but a cool breeze. We saw Evan off for the start of the race and headed to the transition area. As we started seeing runners coming in I did start to get nervous. I wanted to make sure I delivered! We didn’t have to wait too long before seeing heaven making his way on the ridge of the coulee. I got the timing band from him and off I went. Since I knew I only had less than 6 km to run, I knew I could really try and push it. My splits were 8:03, 9:25, 9:15, for the first three miles and then the last 0.84 was 9:47. That last section included the lovely “Puke Hill.” As I came in to the transition area and passed the band off to Wes, I immediately heard Andy WAIL! I found out here had been so good the whole time waiting for me, but it was just at that moment that he lost his mind.
We had so much fun watching all the runners and making our way to the different transition areas. Andy was really good too! When we finished, Andy was even sound asleep in his stroller. We were definitely one of the earlier teams to finish, but weren’t really sure of our standings until awards. We found out we placed 3rd in the mixed team division under 40! Our time was 3 hours and 22 minutes. We all earned a nice handmade medal. And all while waiting for the awards, we were able to sit in the picnic area at the Elks Compound and have Theoretically Brewing beer and tacos from Taco Time. I seriously went home and told Dan that this was one of the best days EVER….running, time with Andy, time with friends, sun, beer, and food.
This was the second time I’ve done this women’s only race, with the first time being last year while I was pregnant (Ran a 43:54). So, I pretty much knew I would get a personal best (barring an all out disaster!) I got pretty nervous at the start of the race simply because of the sheer numbers of women in this event. I do a lot of races in town, and there are never this many women! Turns out there were 730 women in this race today! I knew who I wanted to stay near while racing, so I headed out strong going down Wendy’s Hill with my mind focused on just doing the best I could.
Miles 1 & 2 went really well, but mile 3 was a struggle. It got better at the turnaround while we were heading back to Whoop Up, because then we ran past all the other women behind us. I saw lots of people I knew, got high fives, and most importantly, some motivation! I pushed up Whoop Up Drive and was able to move up a placement overall as we did the final climb up. I finished in a time of 36:46, which was actually 2:30 minutes behind 1st overall and then 1:30 minutes behind 2nd and 3rd overall. I placed 4th overall! My splits were 5:59, 7:08, 7:27, 7:19, 8:52. It was a great feeling finishing this high on the leaderboard all while being about 7.5 months postpartum. I also walked away with a handmade mug for placing 1st in my age group (1/117).
I really have been meaning to do a full post on this, as it’s a very big deal! We are just a few short months from the Berlin Marathon in Germany! Dan and I had our kickoff party at Runners Soul a few weeks ago and got to meet everyone in town who is travelling out there. I believe there are 17 runners in the group.
There are weekly long runs on Saturday morning that we can take part in. We had our first one last weekend. At just 10 miles, it isn’t that long of a run. But, we now have a new challenge to these runs-the stroller. Since Dan and I want to do the long runs together, we need to bring Andy with us along for the ride. Literally. We each took turns pushing him for about 2 miles at a time before switching. It was a great training run, as we ran the 10 miles in a time of 1:25.44 with an average pace of 8:34 per mile. I am really hoping that all this stroller training pays off when race day comes, as it definitely makes it a tougher workout!
Training for Berlin is the main focus this summer, and I am using my old Vancouver training plan. It’s hard to find longer distance races during the summertime, but I did find two short races to do while I am home in Wisconsin. Dan and I will be doing the Firecracker 4 on July 4th, which is a 4 mile race. I am also doing the Storm the Bastille 5km event near the end of my trip, which is a night race in downtown Milwaukee.