Tag Archives: Nike sportwatch

Race Recap-Edmonton Half Marathon

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I ran my first Edmonton Half Marathon two years ago in August 2011. It was a disaster. I had been on vacation (to Disney World, duh) and gotten back on a Friday night. I headed up to Red Deer for a night with the in laws, then to Edmonton Saturday to spend time with Dan’s cousin. Sunday was race day, and all the lovely vacation food and beverage that was still in my system messed with my capability to run the race well, thus running it in 2:34:09. A disaster.

So when I registered for all my races this year, I naturally ignored history and signed up for Edmonton again. It was originally slated to be run on August 18th, two days after I would return from my 16 days in Disney World—–familiar set up, right? Well, race organizer had to switch the race to a week later due to a scheduling conflict, so I had a little over a week from my return from Disney to prepare mentally for this race.

For my stateside friends, or people generally unfamiliar with Canadian geography, Edmonton is the capital of Alberta (not Calgary), and is located about 5 hour north of Lethbridge, a little south of centre of the Province. Everything else North of Edmonton is a lot of space….national parks, oil fields, etc.
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So onto the race itself. Well, first, the expo. Rumor was that the race organizers were having trouble dealing with Northlands (the start/finish line sponsors, huge exhibition grounds) this year, as this is why the original date got switched, due to a scheduling conflict. Also, the expo and packet pickup was usually at Northlands Park, an incredibly easy to access location. It got switched to a hotel in downtown Edmonton, conveniently located in the middle of construction. It was a nightmare to get to. My friend Kelly and I managed to find our way there, but didn’t spend too much time at the expo. Kelly started running half marathons just in the past 9 months or so, and trains with a group from The Running Room in Edmonton, so she saw a lot of people she knew there—a few of the people she runs with were the Pace Bunnies for race day.

Before leaving the expo, we also bought our parking pass, which did not allow in-out privileges. This was by no fault of the race organizers, but this was Northlands adding something else to charge people up the ass for. I know for a fact two years ago I did not pay for parking. I paid for parking in Calgary, but that race was downtown with limited space, and you had to be at the Stampede Grounds before 6 am to get into parking….so that seemed acceptable. If we didn’t buy the $5 pass that day it would have been $12 on Sunday. Ridiculous. But, we needed it so our husbands could come back and watch us at the finish.

The morning of the race offered excellent race temperatures. I actually had to wear a short sleeved shirt instead of just a tank top! Kelly and I were both a little slow going in the morning, as we had the bright idea the day before to go to the West Edmonton Mall indoor watermark. Probably not a great pre-race quest, but we had a blast and its not like we are champions or something! Anyway, got dropped off at Northlands around 7 am, with plenty of time to use the restrooms, stretch, and get prepared for our 8 am start. The full marathon started at 7:30 am, and we viewed it from inside the Northlands race track building.
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The Edmonton course is always billed as “fast and flat” and our shirts stated this too. The total elevation change in the entire half marathon course is a whopping 12 meters. This is what actually got me nervous as we waited to start, since in all fairness, anyone used to the general high elevation in Alberta should be rockin’ this course. But, we saw two years ago, you can self-destruct at any time.
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We made the mistake of not getting down the the start chute until the last 9 minutes. There was no way I could get up farther in the pack to where I wanted to be (in between the 1:45 and 1:50 Pace Bunny). So after the gun went off, I spent the first half a mile of the race slowly making my way through the pack. The race was an out and back course, that led us into Chinatown and downtown Edmonton, then through some gorgeous neighborhoods, and back. Below is the course map, and it is similar, if not identical, to the one two years ago.
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I have lamented this before, but the one thing I really struggle with is a consistent pace. And this race was no different, in that I start out faster than my average pace should end up being, and I do this for about 5 km. I then start to slow down to where I ideally want my pace to be, but end up going way slower for miles 7-10 than I want. I hit my half marathon wall of frustration at around mile 9. It is always my slowest. I have ran enough in my life I should be able to know what 8:15 min/mi feels like and stick with it, but I am still working on it. Also, I forgot my Nike Sportwatch in Lethbridge, so I had to use the Nike+ app on race day, which I do have to say is awesome, but since I had my phone in my fuel belt pocket, I didn’t have a visual to look at, just the voice cues.

With my complaints about my pace, when I get to the last 3 miles I can always put on a smile and know the end is near. I haven’t fully decided if I like out-and-back courses better than a route that is all different, but it is nice going back over something you did earlier that morning, and being able to picture how much further you have left. Since I am not from Edmonton and don’t visit often, it is not like I know the area and landmarks well, but since I ran past the beautiful overlook of the river at about 2.5 miles, when I returned past it I knew I didn’t have much to go! I rounded into Northlands and was able to see my husband and Kelly’s husband behind one of the gates. I think Dan, my hubby, was surprised to see me actually finish in a decent time, given the vacation the first half of the month and our day at the waterpark. My chip time when finishing ended up being 1:51:58, which is my second best half marathon time ever! A far cry from the 2:34:09 two years prior! I conquered Edmonton!

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After receiving my medal and some water, I trekked back to the Northlands entrance so I could watch for Kelly. I highly recommend anyone who finishes a race and feels up to it, to go back and cheer on some fellow runners as they finish. I know I appreciate as a runner having the cheers from strangers. And I could tell that many runners enjoyed having those words of encouragement, and me telling them its just a “right turn and a left turn into the finish line!” It was also neat because as I was walking out to watch for Kelly, runners who were coming in to finish were congratulating me for already being done—it was pretty neat. Kelly came in and set a PR for herself, finishing at 2:11:50! There were 1719 participants in the half, with 998 of them women! Kelly finished 417/998 in our gender, and I was 114/998.
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I had a great time at the Edmonton Half Marathon, and would consider doing to again, as the course is gorgeous, it really is fast and flat, and it is a great race location since we have family and friends to visit. This really could be a PR course for me if I trained for it in mind, so I might set my sights on that next August, since I won’t be doing as many races as this year.

(Also, I got to meet quickly with one of my fellow Dopey Challenge runners who is part of the same Dopey Training Group as me on Facebook! Saskia lives in Calgary, and we were able to meet up after finishing the Edmonton Half! It was great meeting you and hopefully you do come down for the Lethbridge Police Half Marathon in two weeks! Otherwise, see you in January!)

My 28 Year Love Affair with NIKE Shoes

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Some people are very into brand names. Whether it is for every day apparel, workout clothes, jackets, vehicles, food, or whatever, people stand by products they love and trust. Sometimes, these brand-addictions go through phases. You try new things out for while, and maybe stick with the new and improved item, or maybe you go back to the brand you have always loved. Over the years I have acquired and disposed of running gear. And while I do admit that I never use to spend much money on running gear, there is one thing I have always gone back to—Nike running shoes.

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As you can see, maybe my parents conditioned me to stick with Nike. Those lovelies were my first “walking shoes.” My mom still has them in the original box down in the basement at her house. She even has the original receipt, because she is crazy. They were bought on August 1, 1985, from the Stride Rite store at Southridge Mall. They were a whopping $15! Growing up my parents always bought me Nike shoes for athletic shoes. I can picture a bunch of my favorites in my head. Even through all the weird fashion trends of the 90s-ying yangs, smiley faces, rainbows, glitter gel, snap bracelets, bodysuits, stirrups, chokers, Tommy Hilfiger, and everything else god-awful and tacky—I stuck with Nike running shoes.

Once in high school, I did have to start getting some legitimate running shoes for track, not just whatever was on sale at Kohls or Finish Line. Rodiez’s running store in West Allis was the place to go. High school track athletes got 10% off! I know that in sophomore year I had a pair of blue and yellow Adidas spikes. But, junior and senior year, I went back to my roots. I can keep telling myself now that maybe that is what got me into running the 1600 meter run and doing my best I ever had. I even proudly displayed my Nike spikes in one of my senior photos!
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When I got into long distance road races, I knew I needed a solid shoe to train and compete in. I went back to Rodiez’s while back home one time from UW-La Crosse and they recommended the Nike Air Pegasus. I have been in love ever since. My first full marathon, the Mad City Marathon 2004, I rocked these. Second marathon, also Mad City, but in 2005, I had a new pair! That race is the one where the course was closed at 5 hours and 15 minutes due to heat index issues and humidity. You can see the shoes in the sweaty photo below, and actually my full Nike outfit.
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I admit-after that race I know I switched around at some point. I don’t know why, but my and Air Pegasus went on a break. I tried some New Balance ones, but the arch was terrible and I got horrific blisters. I had a pair of Saucony too, but it just didn’t feel right. I was meant to run in my Nike Air Pegasus.

I have now owned approximately 7 pairs of Nike Air Pegasus. This might be a little low of an estimate actually. When I went into Runner’s Soul in December 2012 to purchase some new shoes, all I had to do was say to the clerk “Nike Air Pegasus, size 7.5.” Tried them on for good measure and I was in and out in five minutes flat. It always feels good to get that fresh new pair of shoes. I especially loved how these ones looked brand new. The grey and the blue is sweet. I want to go buy some crazy neon laces to put through too and make them pop. But while new shoes look and feel great, there is something about wearing these puppies in, getting them dirty, wet and bent, that feels even better.

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So that is my love affair with Nike shoes. I still buy some Nike shirts and other apparel-my watch is the Nike+ SportWatch GPS and I am in love with that too. But I do wear other brands when it comes to outer wear gear. I have a mix of NorthFace, Lulu Lemon, New Balance, race shirts and Nike. But when it comes to my shoes, only one brand is meant for me. Nike.

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My dad was a Nike supporter too! Here he is looking so thrilled in Disney World, sitting next to the Lego man at Lego Imagination Centre in Downtown Disney. Just Do It!

First Race Complete! A Recap of Sorts!…

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On Saturday, March 2nd, I competed in my first race of 2013, the Hypothermic Half. It was sponsored by the “Running Room” and held down in Indian Battle Park by Fort Whoop-Up in Lethbridge. I was a little nervous to see how this race would go, since I had been sick since around February 20th. The last long run I had done when training was 9 miles and that was in Friday, February 15th, the day before I went to Los Angeles. I had mentioned in the last few posts here that I attempted running when sick, and that didn’t end well. So, to say I was anxious is an understatement.

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Race start was 9:00 am, with the ‘sleepy-head’ race scheduled for 10:00 am. When I had gone to pick up my race packet up on Thursday, I became aware the route was pretty simple-run twice around the park, down past the police firing range and the country club, loop back, and do it again. However, when we were running, it became clear that this was slightly incorrect. You had to do the same loop three times, only you went around the park once instead of twice.
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I had my Nike SportWatch on during the race, and after the first of three loops, it became clear that this was not going to add up to 13.1 miles. It was going to be under. This is the first time I have been in a race where the distance wasn’t as advertised. I don’t know if I were to go back to the Running Room website if there would be any note about this, but I guess I could have guessed it would be like this, given the low-key atmosphere of the start and finish line. It was not chip-timed, and there would be any 1-2-3 finishers age groupings. It was just for finisher’s medals. Since I am by no means an elite athlete, this didn’t bother me too much, but I do like having that more competitive feeling, and to have results to see at the end is always good. But, I decided I had to make the most of it.

My pace started off ridiculous-I did my first mile in 8:02 and my second in about 8:07. It started to slow down a few seconds each mile, getting towards my comfort zone pace of 8:45 minutes a mile. This was good in a way to make this rookie mistake of going out a bit fast, since it was my first race. It also showed me I was capable of it! The pack started to distance themselves after around mile 3. In our 9:00 am starting group, there was about 30 people. For the whole race, I was running in the #4 or #5 spot. This proved difficult since there was such a gap ahead of everyone else, and the few ahead of me were that much faster—I was pretty much pacing myself and running alone this whole race.

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My legs started getting that heavy feeling around mile 7 and 8. If there had been people for me to “chase” and keep me moving it would have been great. It actually worked out timing-wise that the 10:00 am group, with around 20 runners, started just as I was heading in to start lap 3 of 3. This brought my pace back down to where it should have been, as I had slowed to a 9:20 for one of the miles. Having people to go after and keep up with strongly helped on the last lap.

In the end, the distance my watch mapped was 11 miles, 2.1 miles shorter than an actual half marathon. I finished with a time of 1:36:43. Had this been a true half marathon, I am confident I would have been under two hours, which was my goal given my sickness, and probably be more close to 1:55, which I would have been ecstatic about.

Race results are usually the one thing you can’t delete, or that you always find online. Since this wasn’t chip timed, I don’t know if there are any results being kept. I didn’t see anyone writing my bib number down as I crossed, but who knows. I know, though, that I started off this season strong. It was a great confidence builder! It felt really neat to finish #5 in this small group in our time slot. I actually finished #2 for the women in our group. This shows how small the race was, ha! But I felt strong and proud at the end.

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I will be taking a solid week off of running to recover. I am still hacking up junk from my throat and chest, and I am heading to a mathematics conference on Wednesday in Philadelphia. So the week off will be perfect. My next race will be in April, the 10-Mile Road Race, sponsored by Runners Soul. I need to register for it today while I am thinking about it!

Also, thank you to everyone who has donated to my charities I am racing for, either American Heart Association or Heart & Stroke Foundation (Canada). A few friends donated the past couple days leading into the race! I have currently raised $585 for American Heart Association and $465 for Heart & Stroke Foundation! My goal is $1000 to each charity by the time I run my culminating race, the Goofy Challenge, in January 2014. I feel confident we can make this happen well before the race, and then keep raising money and awareness leading up to the event. Thank you to everyone who has shown support for my cause of running in memory of my father, Andrew A. Lammers. He would be so impressed with the donations people have made so far, and so proud to see all the races I have registered for. Thank to anyone who has donated money, read this web page, shared this web page, or just reflected on the memory of my dad. To infinity & beyond!

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