Tag Archives: edmonton marathon

Disneyland Half Marathon Recap

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So this is a few weeks late. Not too bad considering I came home after Dumbo Double Dare and started work five hours later, and then went to Vancouver for a wedding three days later. I need to get this recap posted because I just did another half marathon back in Lethbridge yesterday, and I don’t want to be behind on my recaps! This one won’t be long anyway….I think….

I went to bed early on Saturday night (around 9:00) because I had had trouble sleeping the night before since it was warm outside. My 2:30 alarm went off and I got ready in a zombie-like state. The best part was going to 7/11 dressed as Snow White to get coffee and some drunks heading home after a night out saying “What the fuck?!?

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Ali and Kevin parked and got me to the staging area by 4:00 am. There were a lot more people milling around this morning compared to the 10km. The DJ was there getting people pumped up. I was set to go! I headed to the corrals around 4:45 and placed myself in the outside of Corral A, near the front. I wasn’t necessarily trying to go for some epic time that morning (I was actually nervous how my knees were going to hold up since I had just done Edmonton Full Marathon the week prior) but I wanted to be out front to start, since the course is rather narrow.

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I knew when I started I wanted to push hard early on, so to avoid the warm Anaheim sun. I was not going to stop for any pictures during the race, as I would rely on Marathon Foto to capture any of me as I went by. (I have purchased the photo downloads of both races from them and will post a pictorial of my favorites in a separate post!)

The first mile was my fastest. I blew out of that gate. I ran a 7:17. And before I knew it, I was already in Disney’s California Adventure! The course for the half brought you into the parks much quicker than the 10km, and it also brought you through it somewhat in reverse. I got to run past World of Colour without having to run on the wooden boardwalk, run down Cars Land towards the Radiator Springs facade. As I cut between DCA and Disneyland I was able to see Ali and Kevin for a brief second. Running down Main Street was fantastic, as people who had purchased ChEAR Squad packages were allowed on there, unlike the 10km where no one was able to spectate. The thing I realized early on, that would keep me pumped throughout, that since I was near the front of the group, I was one of the first “costumed” runners people would see. A lot of the hard cores don’t normally dress up, especially the guys, and many women may just have a sparkly skirt on. It was fun to have kids and adults yell “Go Snow White!”

By the time I was out of Disneyland property, I had run miles 2-4, in 7:29, 7:31, and 7:51. I was concerned how running on the streets of Anaheim would go, as I was unsure how “entertaining” it would be. I had read tons of reviews of this race, and people almost always said how great the support and entertainment was on the city streets. Now, I was actually able to see what everyone meant!

This was not a bunch of empty roads full of commercial businesses. The roads had many clusters of spectators cheering loudly. Spectators had awesome signs and music blaring. There were various ethnic dance groups performing as we ran by. I remember a Mexican & Hawaiian troupe specifically. There was also a mile long stretch going through highway underpasses that could have been dreadful. This was remedied by our own personal classic car show. Car afficiandos would have LOVED this, and while I don’t normally care for looking at cars, the tailgate-style atmosphere and pride of the car owners was incredible. Miles 5-8 were 7:44, 7:32, 7:41 and 7:55.

There were close to 20-25 cheerleading/Pom Pon teams and high school bands entertaining throughout. Families of these kids were there watching the event also. Jumping ahead of myself, near the end when my knees really had taken a beating and I was sweaty from the humidity and heat beyond belief, the thing that kept me going was running by the band kids and cheerleaders, giving them high fives. I felt a connection to them, as I was in high school band and a Pom Pon girl for all my years of high school. And also, when you get to Angels Stadium, the entrance into it, the exit out of it, and while running the bases, was lined with Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. I was a Girl Scout until 9th grade and after I graduated high school, worked for one summer at Camp Alice Chester, the Girl Scout Camp I grew up going to. Without being too sappy, seeing the scouts, the marching bands and the cheerleaders gave me flashbacks of my life 10-15 years ago. I got emotional about it, because I’m a piece of crap like that. But it pushed me through.

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Those last miles were tough. My body hurt, my legs felt like trash. But I wanted to finish strong. The crowds that lined the finish area of Downtown Disney were electric. I even found some energy in my reserves to help push me in just under 1:40.00. My final miles were 8:02, 8:00, 8:00 and 7:44, bringing me in with an official time of 1:39:57. I had completed the Dumbo Double Dare Challenge, and also earned my coveted Coast-to-Coast medal. The combination of doing the Dopey Challenge in January and now Dumbo in August is unreal and unmatched, in my opinion.

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Will I do this race again? YES. I love Disney. I love visiting my best friend. I love running. This course is fantastic. The race swag is second-to-none. The time of the race is right before the school year starts, so traveling here is doable. While it costs a pretty penny to fly down to California from Alberta, it is still more affordable than going to Orlando. And Ali and I are in the talks of doing Dumbo together next year. This race will always be special to me, and I can’t wait to do it again and again.

Edmonton Marathon Recap

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This past Sunday I participated in the Edmonton Marathon.  I had signed up for this event in hopes to qualify for Boston, as I failed to in June at Calgary.  I felt better trained and prepared; my head was in the game.  And the weather, other than the mugginess, was perfect-it did not feel like an August day!  Starting race temps were around 50 F, and only got up to just above 60 F.  However, this story did not have the exact fairy-tale ending I was hoping for….  

 

Here’s the story.

 

My husband and I headed up to Edmonton Saturday morning.  We had stayed in Red Deer the night before so this drive was relatively short, compared to the 5.5 hour straight drive from Edmonton back home to Lethbridge would be come Sunday.  After checking in to our hotel (Coast Plaza Edmonton) we walked the ½ mile to the Shaw Conference Center where packet pick up was.  This was a new location this year, and the facility was very nice.  I don’t know if it was crowded the first day of pickup, but by Saturday at 2:00 pm the place was dead.  Not tons to look at either.  I picked up my race bib, got my shirt, and back to the hotel to get things settled.

 

 

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I made a plan with my husband of spots for him to try to be at during the race.  I focused a lot on the second half of the course, as that would be when I would really need the help.  I had pasta for dinner, laid out my clothes and food items for the morning and went to bed around 9:00 (didn’t fall asleep until 10:00).

 

We walked back to the Shaw Conference Center that morning, as the start and finish lines were located here.  I felt mentally and physically set for the challenge ahead.  After kissing my husband, and my dog Snoopy, good-bye I filed in to the starting corral near the 3:30 pacer.  I knew I had to start of strong and find my pace quickly, so when the race began, off I went.  I got into a great groove and I was feeling positive about my pace.  My first five miles clocked in at 7:41, 8:04, 7:52, 8:10, and 8:03.  I was more than set!

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I had seen my cousin Erin and her friend about mile 3, and that was a great boost of energy.  I had been hoping to see my husband at mile 7 or 8, but he was nowhere to be found.  After we did the turn-around, he still wasn’t there.  I was still doing great at my pace, running miles 6-9 in 7:51, 7:55, 8:13, and 7:58, but I needed a familiar face.  The course is indeed flat, but you are curving through some neighborhoods quite a bit, and the streets aren’t lined up with spectators.  I started getting a leg cramp in my right leg (the leg that hasn’t been causing me issues!) and there was a pain in my IT band area.  I tried to avoid thinking about it.

 

I finally made it on a busier street, heading back towards the downtown Edmonton core, when I spotted Dan, Snoopy and Erin.  This was a huge boost that I needed at that point to bring me to the halfway!  I was still on track, though the pain was still there.  I told Dan I needed pretzels and more Nuun tablets the next time I saw him, and off I went.  Miles 10-13 were 8:05, 8:07, 8:15, and 8:16.  I was beginning to slip, but I was still on pace.

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Miles 14-17 was when my mind started going.  In my head, I wanted to keep going for that 8:00 minute mile pace.  I was telling myself to go get it, but I started to waiver in my pace consistency.  It was like what happened in Calgary at the start, but was happening now.  Miles 14-17 were 8:00, 8:27, 8:25, and 8:10.  I still was on pace to be under 3:35:00, but no longer under 3:30:00.  I could do it, and I felt pretty proud of my mile 17 time, because that was the mental mile I needed to get past.  The pretzels I had received from Dan during these miles helped, however, they couldn’t make me fly…

 

Mile 18-22 were a struggle, but it was at mile 21 that I just became unglued.  I knew I wouldn’t quit, but I realized that as each mile passed, Boston was slowly slipping away.  Miles 18-22 were ran in 8:31, 8:28, 8:21, 8:42, and 9:41.  Those miles began after I saw Dan, Snoopy and Erin for the 3rd time, and as I ran by I yelled “I need you to run with me.”  Neither of them had a chance to get out there and help me at that point, and I don’t think it would have done any good.  I knew with how the route was, I would be looping back over to where they were stationed, so I hoped one would join me for the home stretch.  Running through those neighborhood loops with my legs tightening up and being alone was extremely tough.  When I made it back that way, I had about 4 miles left to run.  I was hurting.  Bad.  Dan joined in with me as I was running, and he really thought I had a chance to still get Boston.  If my legs weren’t in the pain they were in, I could have potentially made up time.  But I was slowly coming to the realization that my body just wouldn’t let me do that.

 

Dan ran with me the rest of the raceIn his blue jeans.  And brown North Face canvas shoes.  I use the term ‘run’ loosely because we had to walk at points, I had to stop at points, and I gimped at points.  He kept telling me I couldn’t quit—I wasn’t going to quit.  I was going to finish.  As I realized Boston was gone, I did also come to the realization I could still get a personal best.  It would be close, but I could.

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I managed to get my last mile back under 10 minutes, which helped me get in to the finish at 3:44:59, beating my previous best by 1 minute and 23 seconds.  Those final four miles were run in 10:50, 10:21, 11:30 and 9:50.  I never full out lost it with tears that day, but as I came in to the finish my eyes swelled.  I was thinking about my training, about this race, about how much my legs hurt, about how close my time had been to the correct pace, about the last 2 years of running, about my dad…There was so much going through my head.   Sure, I didn’t make the time I had come out to get, but I had calmly talked to Dan as we jogged the last 4 miles that I would be OK with it.  I think he was actually surprised how calm I was, how I wasn’t throwing a fit.  Four years ago, when I was still all out of sorts about personal losses in my life, I would have lost itBut I am in a better place now.

 

This wasn’t a true failure or defeat, though.  I did not ‘lose.’  Hell-I got a personal best!  I’ll take that any day of the week!  As for Boston-Boston will always be there; I have the rest of my life to qualify for it.  I will qualify for Boston and run in Boston someday.  I will, I can promise you that.  It just didn’t work out in the cards this weekend that I would be running in 2015. 

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The full marathon is a different type of beast, and it’s very hard to tame.  They have a mind of their own.  I can barely move today, and my body feels like it is just shut down.  I want to curl up in fetal and sleep for 24 hours.  I am going to continue with my half marathons, 10 km races, Spartan Races, and other distances I can find.  Maybe I’ll do another full marathon in the near future, but it won’t be for a Boston attempt at this time.  There would have to be a special reason for me to sign up to do the 26.2 miles again anytime soon.  I will keep searching out new races in the area to support and try, and also keep heading back to my old favorites.  I am also hoping to get more people into the act of running, because it is something EVERYONE can do.  I love coaching cross country, I love getting kids excited about long-distance running, and I love getting friends and family members involved who maybe otherwise wouldn’t have.  Running makes me happy, even when I am in as much pain as I am after doing 26.2 miles.  The pain I feel in my body is worth it, because if I didn’t keep running, I would be in more pain than this.

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