Tag Archives: black diamond

Millarville Half Marathon Relay 2017

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It had been a couple years since I ran in one of the Millarville events, so what better way to get back at it than do a relay with my husband?!?!?  I signed us up some time back, but had always planned that I would run the first leg of the half marathon and he would run the second leg.  We stuck with that plan as race day approached, since I would be over 20 weeks pregnant and the first leg was the shorter distance.  Having just come off a good race time at the Lethbridge 8km Ladiesfest I knew I could pound out a good time for the 9km portion of our relay.

Our alarms went off at 4:15 am that Saturday morning.  We would be driving up to Black Diamond and do our race pickup before the event.  The drive took about 2 hours, so we arrived with about 45 minutes to spare.  There was another reason why doing the relay was the better option for us—we had to bring our dog Snoopy along for the trip.  I’ll be doing a blog post at some point this summer about what has been going on this June, but the main point is that Snoopy has bad arthritis and has been going to Calgary for doggie acupuncture appointments.  We booked an appointment strategically for after the race, since we’d already be almost to Calgary.  Doing the relay allowed one person to stay with Snoopy at all times while the other person ran!

I was off at 7:30 am with the other runners.  All relay and half marathon runners started together.  The 9km portion I was running winds through Black Diamond neighborhoods, past golf courses, and onto paved trails.  It offers some rolling hills and lots to see.  Being the first leg of the relay had the benefit of having lots of other competitors around you as your ran.  This always pushes me more!

I had my phone with me, so I voice texted Dan when I had less than a mile to go. I wanted him to be prepared at the transition area.  I crossed the relay transition with a 9km time of 48:26.08.  My splits were 8:01, 8:55, 8:56, 8:59, 8:28 for miles 1-5.  The distance on my watch clocked in at 5.65 miles and I had an average pace of 8:35 a mile.  

I went to the car (where Snoopy was patiently waiting) and we drove the short drive to the finish line at the Millarville racetrack.  After parking and walking to the finish line, we didn’t have to wait too long for the first half marathoner to come across.  It was then pretty quick having other finishers for the various distances come by.  Dan came by with a half marathon finish time for our team of 1:43.50.  His split for the 12.1 km he ran was a 55:24.57.  This works out to a team average pace of 7:55 minutes/mile.  Not bad for a pregnant wife and a husband who still doesn’t really like to run!

Dan, Andrea and Snoopy


 

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Millarville Run to the Farmers’ Market 2014—Race Report

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Today was the 3rd Annual Millarville Run to the Farmer’s Market Half Marathon. Last year, I ran this event, and you can find the recap here: Millarville 2013

I had such a positive experience at this event last year, that I decided to run it again! Two things were different though: I didn’t go up the night before, and the weather was cool and had a slight drizzle!

My alarm was scheduled for 3:45 AM today, but I woke up naturally at 3:43 AM. How does that happen? Anyway, if you read earlier this week, the husband and I are on this “Clean Eating Cleanse” diet for two weeks. This morning was breakfast number 7. I knew this “diet” could play into how my race would go, but I was using this race as a scheduled speed training workout, not necessarily a personal best. That being said, I had green tea, black coffee, steamed asparagus and two poached eggs as breakfast…not my normal race-morning breakfast. I got dressed, packed a bag to check, and hit the road at 4:50 AM.

I made it to Black Diamond Oilfields Arena at around 6:40 am. I was able to park close the the start line, went in for my morning-of packet pickup, and got myself situated. Packet pickup was smooth, and the shirts are great. Same logo as last year, but different size, orientation, and shirt color.

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The bag check was located right behind the start line, and I was able to drop my bag about 10 minutes before the 7:30 am Half Marathon gun. One thing to note about this event—they have a half marathon, a half marathon relay, an 8 miler, and new this year was the 8-Mile “Bun Run”, where participants had to consume a homemade cinnamon roll from a local bakery at (I think) two different locations during the race before proceeding! The half marathon also offered a 7:00 AM early start for walkers, where I say about 20 people took part.

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I started off the race feeling very solid! The weather was in my favour, and I pumped out a 7:26, 7:51, 7:27, 7:35, and 7:29 for the first five miles. I will note, though, that the first portion of the course had little to no incline, and was mostly flat, or rolling country roads. So what goes down…must eventually go up.

After the relay exchange point was where we hit the first substantial hill. I made mile six in 8:04. No biggie, I still had a great average pace. If I wanted to beat my 1:38:40 personal best from March it could still happen. My legs got a little tight from the climb, but started to loosen during mile seven and eight, where i ran 8:00 and 7:55.

Then came the rural highway from hell.

If you look at this overview map from my NikePlus app, you can see that long, long straightaway, which I would like to nickname “The Mindfuck.” It isn’t just a straight shot for nearly 4 miles, but it’s a straight shot that then keeps rolling upwards, going flat, then climbing up again. During mile 9 and 10 is when I started to feel the tightness in my quads and hip flexors. While I kept telling myself to go for a 7:45 for both these miles, my legs just couldn’t. I ran an 8:35 and 8:11.

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After the climb that wouldn’t end, I looked at my watch around 10.33 miles. I looked at the average pace (which was around 7:49/7:50 a mile) and I quickly assessed my pain level. I also thought about the training I had all summer ahead of me, and most importantly the big Boston Qualifying race I have in Edmonton in August. At that point, I quickly decided to run smart and run slower, coasting into the finish line. I did not quit—I just weighed my options and realized since a PB wasn’t going to happen, it wasn’t worth killing it to just run somewhere in the 1:40s. So mile 11-13 were 8:40, 9:04, and 8:15, which brought me in at 1:44.32.

After walking off the soreness in my leg, I received my sweet handmade bling, and then I broke our cleanse rule and devoured a quarter of a cheese bagel. Sorry Dan! And I also downed a bottle of water. I also immediately felt at ease with how I did! Last year, I ran this same event in a 1:52.10….I ran almost 8 minutes faster! Sure, I was 6 minutes off my personal best, but the improvement I have had over the past year and a half of doing all these races makes it all fine! I finished 36/331 overall runners, 12/213 females, and 8/47 in the 20-29 female category. You can’t have a personal best every race, and sometimes running smarter and safer is key, so that the “Big Show” goes as planned!

How did I feel after? Legs were sore, my knee was fine….but my stomach was beating me up. Did not hurt till after the race. I wanted to keel over into fetal position during the shuttle ride back to the start line, and while I drove back to Lethbridge, I had to stop at a Wayside before Claresholm. This is when I laid in the back seat on Snoopy’s blanket, wincing in pain, and napped for one hour. I did eventually make it back to Lethbridge, and now 10 hours post race, my stomach seems to have settled. Lesson learned—-don’t expect to feel like a rock star after a half marathon when you are on some whack job clean eating cleanse! Next half marathon is the Stampede Road Race in Calgary on Sunday, July 6th. I WILL NOT be on a weird diet then!

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Race Recap-Millarville “Run to the Farmers’ Market”

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Firstly—Happy Father’s Day! I hope everyone who had the chance to see their father today gave him a huge hug and told him how much they love him. I thought about my dad all day long, and celebrated him by going golfing with my husband. My dad would have loved to be out there with us golfing on a day like today. I also found this gem, which was hand crafted by myself in 1992 (I clearly remember bringing it home from school and realizing after it was laminated, that I forgot my dad’s beard….Oops! Love you Dad!)

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Now onto my race recap! Yesterday, I ran my fifth half marathon since the beginning of March-the Millarville Run to the Farmers’ Market. It was my first experience with a true “rural” route, and it was fantastic. Below are two shots of the landscape right near where the race route was! The way the day before was going, though, I wasn’t so sure how it would be. Note the hail that was smashing my car windshield as I was traveling up to Millarville:

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I made it to the package pickup, which was at the Millarville race track. This is where the largest outdoor market in Southern Alberta would be kicking off the 2013 season the following day, and where the half marathon would be finishing.

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I then took off towards Black Diamond, Alberta, which was where the start if the race would be and where I would be staying for the night. I booked a room at the Black Diamond Hotel & Bar. The check-in being at the bar didn’t turn me off, but when I went outside to find the access to the hotel rooms, I admit being a little hesitant:

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Have no fear, though, as the rooms were actually very nice! They were huge too, and had a fridge, microwave and Keurig, with K-cups! That made me very happy because I knew I wanted a cup of coffee in the morning and wasn’t sure where I would get one! I went through a walk down Centre Avenue, where there were your typical small-town coffee shops, barber, thrift store. There was a perfect little gem across the street from the hotel—Blue Rock Gallery. I was in this store for about 30 minutes. They bring in work from close to 200 regional artists and craftspeople. You would not have expected a store like this in a town like Black Diamond—it was incredible. If you want to check it out, go to Bluerock Gallery

Alarm went off at 6 am, and I was psyched and ready to go. I had seen a portion of the course as I made my way from Millarville—a rolling country highway. The hills weren’t anything I hadn’t experienced before, so I felt confident as I walked to the start. I got to the start with a little over ten minutes until the 7:30 am gun time. This is where I made my first mistake—I went in line for the porta potty. Now, anyone who does any type of race knows if you need to go, you have to make sure you do this well enough before race start. I didn’t really have to go, but I thought I may, so I wasted 8 minutes in line,and didn’t even get close to the front. The announcer over the loudspeaker was announcing “2 minutes till start time!” when I decided to forget about it and get ready to race. I think this mental block threw me off as I began running!

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My first mile was ridiculously fast. But it didn’t feel great, something was wrong, and I slowed myself down for mile two. We had already found ourselves on some long straight aways with some slight inclines, and the weather was a bit warm and sticky. I felt off. For miles 3-5, I kept talking to myself, trying to convince myself that going slow would be ok—that maybe I should just take this one as a jog. But then I started getting mad at myself, slightly disappointed. I had felt ready to go at 6 am, and now that I wasn’t mentally into the race, I was letting my mind play tricks with me, trying to convince myself to take the easy way out.

It was at 6 miles that I got my shit together. All of a sudden, I was able to dig out that energy and gusto I had thought I lost. As I approached the turn onto the country highway, Racetrack Road, I honestly told myself out loud that I could beat my Calgary time from three weeks ago, of 1:54:22. This was the first big straight away on rural road, and I had guessed it to be around 2 miles of visibility in front of me. I let myself focus on the last visible point, the top of a hill, and kept checking the mileage on my watch, it kept me distracted, as I wanted to see how close I was to my guess. Turned out to be approximately 2.5 miles of straight visible road! By then, I had started counting down my miles….only 5 to go…4….3. When I got to the final 3 miles, I started to race and push myself. I gave myself the challenge to do a better 5k time in this final stretch than I did out of the gate. I pushed through and finished the race in a time of 1:52:10!

I didn’t let the fact that I didn’t get a personal record this race bother me. I was proud of my time, as it was the second fastest half marathon time I have ever run. My 1:47:22 from Red Deer is going to be tough to beat, so I need to just be happy when I know I finished a race strong. I was even more happy with that I was able to push through and make the last half of the half count! My final 5km was what I needed to feel confident, and the race ended on a huge high note. Plus, knowing that I would be receiving an incredible handmade finisher’s medal really did keep me moving even when I was feeling a bit off! It was overall a fantastic race—a beautiful course, great swag, excellent volunteers. I would recommend this race to any runners next year, and I would also recommend checking out the market in Millarville—-I wandered through it after finishing, and it was superb! Dare I say it would be worth driving two hours on a nice Saturday in the summer to spend a morning at…it runs from 9:00-2:00 every Saturday this season!

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I have not mentioned this on here yet, but I am now taking about three weeks off from any running, and do not have a race until August 18th. Tomorrow, I go in for a Septoplasty turbinate diathermy. This is basically an “inside nose job” as I have a slightly deviated septum. The major issue is a scab that has housed on my septum for approximately 7 years. It is difficult to breathe out of my right nostril, and if I attempt to leave the scab alone, my nose hurts, is dry, and I am overall miserable. I will be posting more about my surgery, the aftermath, and if it makes any changes in my physical activity abilities. Until later—-thank you for reading and supporting me in my endeavors!