Tag Archives: fort whoop-up

Claus Cause 10km Race Recap!

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November 16th, 2013, marked the day of the annual Claus Cause run. This is another great event hosted by Runner’s Soul, and along with picking up your race registration, you are asked to bring non-perishable food items in for donation to Lethbridge Food Bank. Upon trading my boxes of granola bars in at packet pickup, I received my bib and an awesome Claus Cause Buff! This was a nice takeaway from a race, considering we all have too many race t-shirts to count!
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The event had both a 5km and 10km, which started at 9:00 am down at Fort Whoop Up. The 10km route would just be the 5 km twice, which was just fine as it was relatively flat. The only challenge with this course, which I have mentioned before in previous posts, is that the curviness of the paths can sometime pose to be a mental problem.
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The weather was very overcast at race start, but perfect temperatures considering it was mid November. My husband kept telling me it was supposed to snow, but I chose to ignore him. As everyone got set for the mass start of the 5km and 10km, Erin from Runner’s Soul made some announcements. When she started talking about people to watch in each event, it came to my surprise when she said “…in the women’s 10km, watch strong local runner Andrea Lammers-Pottage…” I looked at my husband, but I don’t think he knew what my face was thinking…..holy crap, now I have to do my best.
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I went out pretty fast, as I knew the first loop of the route would be more competitive, since the 5km was at the same time. There were 177 runners in the 5km and 86 in the 10km, so if I wanted to be with a pack of people I needed to stay near the front now. As I made my first lap, I felt strong. I could do that same pace again! I was at this time in the lead for the female 10km racers.
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I had more motivation than a normal 10km since this would be my last 10km race of the year. If I wanted to PR, now was the time. And my friend Lauren from back in Wisconsin had bet me if I ran faster than 46 minutes (my personal best was 46:32 at the time) she would donate $46 to American Heart Association.

I had one mile left and I knew my pace was on to beat the 46 minutes, but it would be close. I just kept trying to keep those legs moving around the curve before Whoop Up, and once I saw the finish in the distance I couldn’t slow down. I came in with a personal best time of 45:37, and had kept my first place position for women!

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When I finished, I felt so elated and just happy to have done it. It started to sink in I had earned another personal best, and then I realized that over the course of a little over a year, I had been able to drop my 10km race time from 50:27 to 45:37…..about 5 minutes have been knocked off! And of course, I have in my mind I can break 45, given if I have someone right in front of me as a pace bunny the whole time!

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So that snow Dan mentioned? Well, it conveniently arrived about an hour or so after race start. By award time, the snow was pounding down and it had gotten cold! The pictures are hysterical because it looks like I am in two different events, but it proves to be an amusing time lapse.

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I have one more race this year, a 5km Santa Shuffle, in two weeks. I just registered for it, and while this Claus Cause was suppose to be last, I need to find something between then and Dopey in January! What else will I be doing until the Dopey Challenge? Well, other than getting the mileage in and doing four days in a row of buildup to mimic Dopey. I needed a race In-between to keep me competitive. And if you are in Lethbridge, look for me on the roads today and wave—At 2:00 today I am heading out on a 14 mile tour of the Westside of Lethbridge, and it looks like by then weather will be pretty solid, with a temperature of 37 F and clear skies.

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Race Recap-LRPS Half Marathon…Finding Motivation Where You Least Expect It!

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The Lethbridge Regional Police Half Marathon for Special Olympics was held on Saturday, September 14th, 2013. They were hosting a 5km and 10km in addition to the half marathon. All events started at the Lethbridge Lodge on Scenic Drive, and all ended down at the police firing range in the river bottom.

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Dan came with me to the start if the race to catch a few snapshots of the start. It started a little later than the 8:00 time. It was amusing to me, as it was being organized by all the police officers, and the main issue with starting on time was making sure the entrance and exit from the Tim Horton’s on Scenic Drive was blocked so the runners could go by. We didn’t need to be hit by some crazy folks getting their double-doubles!

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All three event distances ran together from the start until you hit the Lynx Trail on Scenic. The 5km and 10km turned down the steep descent, and the half trucked onward. This was when I hit mile 1 and realized that yet again, I was going too fast. My second mile slowed down so much, and ended up being my slowest split of the whole race. I had to get with the program, otherwise I would be lucky to even finish the race in sub-2 hours.

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As I was running next to the cemetery on Scenic, an old man tinkered past me—-I heard his steps coming my way, and as he got in front of me he said “nice pace!” He was decked out in short-short running shorts, a red and yellow marathon race sleeveless shirt with French writing, and a buff on his head. I started talking to him….his name is Barney, he has been running for 40 years, and he is in his upper 60s. I started running with Barney as we headed down into the Sugar Bowl, and the conversation we were having was fantastic. I started picking up my pace, and so did he, as we ran down the green strip to South Parkside Drive. Found out that the shirt he was wearing was from a marathon in France, where the goals as not to run your best time, but to stop at as many places as possible on the course and drink wine. He finished that one in 6:15, and was a little boozy by the end.

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As we ran down Parkside Drive, another older man named Graham came up behind up. Barney knew him, and it turns out Graham is sort of a running icon in the running circle of Lethbridge. Graham is a little younger than Barney, and had moved from England to Lethbridge 30 years ago. Barney told us to keep on pushing and to go ahead of him. He thanked me for running with him all that time, as did I. Graham and I headed into Henderson Lake, where we ran together around the lake and chatted. He told me how my form was fantastic and so was my breathing. When he found out I was only 28, he also talked about how I have my whole life ahead of me to reach my running peak and potential—-that most women distance runners who compete in half marathons and more are their best in their mid 30s to 40s. After we got out the park and onto 9th Ave South, he told me to pushed ahead and he would be right behind—-his goal was for around 1:50, but he also said that at his age, just finishing is a goal in itself.

Miles 9-10 are usually my hardest spots in a half. This race made those miles feel like nothing, as a natural decline in the neighborhood kept my stride smooth. We now hit up to the Lynx Trail and it was our turn to go down to the river bottom. This trail is about 3/4 a mile, with a pretty steep decline, that if you’re not careful, you’ll ruin your quads. I barreled down to the river bottom and now I only had 5 km left.

The last 5 km was tough, due to the fact it is so windy down on those trails, and the spacing between competitors was far enough apart you could not see anyone behind or in front of you. It felt as if you were running alone, your own race. I was realizing I was getting really close to possibly running my fastest race ever. This motivated me to keep on trucking through, past Helen Schuler Nature Centre, and down past Fort Whoop-Up and Indian Battle Park. As you finished the race following the trail near the dirt bike park, you could see the fork in the road and then the finish. I went up a small incline, and then the goal was on sight! Down the gravel road, I finished in at 1:46:42, a whole 40 seconds faster than my previous best of 1:47:22 in Red Deer this May!

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I wandered into the park area, only to see Graham come in one minute later, at 1:47:41! He came over and gave me a huge high five and handshake, thanking me for pushing him. Then Barney came in at 1:50:27! Seriously, these men are in a class of their own, and it am so grateful I got to run with them during this race. It is a good thing that I was hitting a wall around mile 3 when Barney decided to pass me, because I had some of the best race conversations ever while running the LRPS Half Marathon. Thank you Barney and Graham for being a huge inspiration!

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Race Recap-Coulee Cactus Crawl, AKA the Hardest Race I Have Ever Ran

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June 1st marked the fourth race weekend in a row, with myself previously doing the Spartan Sprint, Woody’s RV Half Marathon and the Calgary Half Marathon.. So naturally, I thought it to be a good idea and run a 20+ mile trail race in the coulees of Lethbridge. Yes, I did know what I was getting myself into—-the coulees and landscape of Lethbridge is extremely cross country and challenging. But I figured I was up for the challenge.

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I went into this race telling myself this was for completion, not time.. I was fine with that, as looking at previous years’ results, there were many DNF (did not finish) results in the solo categories. You can enter this race as a solo runner, or as part of a relay team with up to five runners. The way the five legs were set up created a few repeat areas in the course, as relay transition areas were located on flat areas at the top of the coulees. These spots also had water, which I used to refill my hydration belt, and a good resting point, which I took advantage of for a few minutes each time I reach a peak.

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The weather in Lethbridge had been questionable all week and inconsistent—some days reached 80 degrees, and other evenings we would have a hailstorm. The weather at the high noon start time of the Coulee Cactus Crawl was in the mid 60s, reaching the 70s, with very little cloud coverage. For a short 5k, this would have been fantastic. The cloud coverage didn’t show until about 3.5 hours in. But, regardless, the race started at Fort Whoop Up at noon, and away went all the first relay members and all the crazy solo runners.

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I felt pretty strong the first leg and ran all the hills, until I hit the incredibly cruel climb to the college parking lot where relay exchange #1 was located. No exaggeration, but this incline was about 50 meters at a 75 degree angle of elevation.. Once to the top, you checked in with the volunteers, who recorded your time (no chip timing). People in the exchange area then realized how much of an idiot I was, because my bib had a black number that was between 1-30. All relay e members had red numbers greater than 100. Runner #1 checked her sanity level, got some water, and barreled down the hill to continue on leg 2.

The long and short of the race was that as I moved on, I knew for my own survival and wellness, I would need to walk up any steep-grade hills as I felt necessary. Some I could run the first time I met them, and then later, I would have to power walk. Yes, I had done some of these “obstacles” before on marathon club runs (the wooden stairs by the Sugar Bowl are a bitch) but there were some very narrow, unstable areas that I had to be cautious around, mainly because I wasn’t use to these extremes. I did see some fantastic areas of south Lethbridge that I did not know existed. I plan on using these trails in the future with my husband and dog, as the views were gorgeous and breathtaking. I have a new appreciation for individuals who call them selves trail runners, as it takes a different level of athleticism to complete this type of course competitively!

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By the time I finished, 4 hours 56 minutes and some odd seconds had passed. The course totaled 21.5 miles, as told by my Nike+ GPS watch. If you are curious of the route, elevation, and craziness of this route, click the link below, as it shows my turtle-like paces through the terrain:

Andrea’s Coulee Cactus Crawl Run-2013

I ended up not finishing last, which was fantastic. I was one of four women to run the race solo. I even got a medal for finishing 2nd in women under 40! (There was only two of us, but hey, I will take what I can get!)

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This race was a great experience, and I am happy I registered and mustered on through.. I got to see parts of the city I live in that I never knew existed. I gained a new appreciation for runners who partake in trail running and ultra-race events. I also want to thank Runners Soul for putting on this fantastic event, as the concept of being able to do a relay race through this beautiful landscape is fantastic. Also, the chance to run it as a solo idiot is fantastic too 🙂

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First Race of the Year-Tomorrow!

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My first half marathon of 2013 is happening tomorrow! It is the “Hypothermic Half.” It is a local one right here in Lethbridge, hosted by the Running Room. Being that I have been sick the last week, I am just hoping to be able to feel strong throughout the race and look forward to receiving my finishers medal at the end!

I will be doing a full race recap tomorrow afternoon, but if anyone is in town and wants to come down and watch, here is the info! It begins at 9:00 down at Fort Whoop-Up. The course seems fairly mindless, as we loop twice around Indian Battle Park, head down to the police firing range and back, only to do that same sequence one more time. The benefit is the easy viewing from the trails down in the river bottom, and the fairly level elevation. Dan will be there taking photos, but he will be lonely, so other spectators are welcome!