Tag Archives: relay

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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Moonlight Run 2015 – 10km Race Recap

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The Moonlight Run in Lethbridge, Alberta, is the largest running event of the year.  They offer a 6km and a 10km event-the 6 km had  1739 participants and the 10km had 526.  The unique factor about the race is in its name—it starts at 8 pm at night and you run down in the river bottom with the light of the moon marking your path.  This year would be my fourth time running the Moonlight Run, and I had set some high expectations for myself.  Ultimately, I wanted to beat my previous Moonlight Run time from last year (47:27) but I also wanted to place well.  While I wasn’t training specifically for a 10km, as I am now right in the middle of my Vancouver Marathon training, I had been getting in lots of speed work and was feeling strong.  Only time would tell.




I was nervous and anxious all day.  That’s part of the trouble with a night race—-you have all day to think about it and get worked up!  I had my clothes picked out even the night before, and I was getting antsy by 6 pm.  I even attempted a nap earlier, but I just laid in bed and played on my phone.  My husband was also going to participate in the run (he said this was to show his support for my craziness) and I somehow managed to get him to leave the house around 7 pm.  We live a whopping five minutes from the race start by car, so we got there real early (but at least had a great parking spot!). I wanted time to calm my nerves—I would find some of my running friends from marathon club and chat, and I would also find students and teachers from my school who were at the event.  Our music department volunteers every year at Moonlight Run and the kids do a great job at the tasks they are given!  I also needed to find the kids who had signed up to run, as while I was nervous and anxious, I knew they would be even more so!

I eventually did my warmup and got settled into the starting corral.  It was self-seeded so I wormed my way up to the second row of people…right near the front.  I knew I wanted to head out strong and by being at the front this would help out.  Plus, your gun time would be used for placings, so I wanted to be near the starting mat.




After the national anthems, the horn went off, and the 10km had begun.  The first 1/4 of a mile was a blur, as I just had my focus finding my pace and finding a space in the pack.  I knew I was going out pretty fast, plus this first mile stretch was all downhill.  Hopefully this wouldn’t come back to bite me.
As we headed down Wendy’s hill, the firefighter pipe and drum band was playing.  This is an awesome thing to witness as you are running down into the dark river bottom!  At the bottom of Wendy’s hill, after a loss of 203 feet in elevation (according to my Nike app) I hit mile one.  I ran my first mile in 5:32….what the F$&K?!?   Ok, granted, this was downhill….but this is the FASTEST I have EVER ran a mile in my entire damn life.  My high school best in the 1600 m (mile run) was a 5:47.  Yes, that was on a flat track….but still.  Holy crap.   I was screwed.  At what point in this race would I fall apart?  
The next mile heads out towards the bridge and to Tollestrup construction.  As I headed out north before the turnaround, it was very easy to find your spacing in the pack.  No one was next to me, you had room to move your elbows, and the darkness didn’t really take a toll, as there was lots of open space and the sky was clear.  Mile 2 was hit partway down this path and I ran it in a still ridiculously fast 6:35.   The fact I was able to keep up a faster than normal pace after barreling down a deep incline was a shocker to me.  There had been a small elevation loss of 66 feet during this stretch, so negligible compared to the first mile.  At the turnaround, it got to be a little tougher as now you aren’t running alone on the path.  All the other runners in the 10km who are behind you are heading north as you head back south towards the bridge.  Many have headlamps that are shining bright in your eyes, so you must look down at the ground.  And some people aren’t aware of the runners already heading back so they take up 3 people across the path.  I was sure my time would slow greatly at this point, expecting somewhere in the 7:30s.  I managed to get to mile 3 in 7:01.  I was nearly halfway done and already had a personal record breaking 5km time.  I needed to keep it together.
Since mile 1 I had been placed as the 5th female.  I knew this for sure as I counted the women ahead of me at the turnaround.  During mile 4 I had wanted to gain some ground on runner 4.  This proved to be tricky, as while I am knowledgable of this part of the course, it happens to get quite darker in this section.  The tree coverage is greater, it is harder to see the sky, and the path has many “gentle” rolls in it.  I made some ground on about three or four men, passing them while no one passed me, so that felt good.  We were heading toward Whoop Up Drive basically blind, and I was trying to move as quick as I could without freaking out in the dark.  By getting to Whoop Up there would be lights on the bridge to illuminate the sky above.  I ran mile 4 in 7:16.  
Mile 5 was when I knew I had to keep it together.  While the hill would be my last battle, this would be where I could either keep it up, or lose it all.  My body was feeling great, so I knew this would be a mental battle.  I moved on to the next turn around, near the water treatment plant, where then the runners looped back on a gravel/paved road section.  This is relatively well lit and would take us to Fort Whoop Up, and the path we needed to take back to the finish.  My feet start to feel heavy as I am on this gravel/paved/stone road.  I needed to keep it moving but was starting to get worried.  I knew I was on pace to get a personal best, and I was scared to lose that.  I was running with no one immediately in front of me or beside me…but then I heard a familiar trot behind me.  It was my friend Glenn from run club.  Glenn has a very distinctive cadence in his run, and Glenn, I mean this kindly, I think it is because you are so short that it is so obvious.  I mean, I am short too so I am sure my plodding is distinctive.  But I knew it was Glenn coming up behind me as we neared mile 5, and this gave me a huge push.  Glenn is a seasoned runner, a veteran, who qualified and ran in the Boston Marathon last year.  He works hard and trains hard.  We mumbled a couple things to each other as we approached mile 5 (which I ran in 7:27). I knew I needed to “race” Glenn up this mother of a hill for the last mile in order to achieve my goal of a personal best.
Having someone who you know is faster than you at a 10km race run next to you is some motivation, let me tell you.  This last hill is adjacent to the steady main road we headed down during mile 1.  The 10km runners got to run up this wonky, almost-too-cruel bike path that has so many pitches and switch backs that if you saw it in daylight you would laugh.  Every time we hit an incline, I powered my short-ass legs up, passing Glenn each time.  I think I pissed him off each time, because then he would pass me when it would level out.  This cat and mouse game went on for about three or four cycles as we climbed up this beast.  Eventually, Glenn surpassed me once we got to the top and away from the steep inclines, and off he went. I powered all the way up and made it to mile 6, which was right next to Galt Gardens, in 8:36.  Not too shabby for doing a 268 feet climb in elevation.  The 10km runners were now side by side with 6km runners as we headed to the finish.  I again got into a runners’ haze and didn’t pay attention to any faces around me.  I rounded that last corner and finish in my personal record smashing time of 43:47.45…beating my Moonlight personal best by nearly 4 minutes 30 seconds, and beating my regular 10km best by 1 minute 50 seconds!

I had never been able to catch any of the women ahead of me.  I closed in on number 4, but 1-3 were way too far ahead.  While my time this year would have gotten me 1st for women in this same event last year, that was not the case.  I placed 5th out of 292 women and 34th out of 526 overall participants in the Moonlight Run 10km 2015.  And while I could have been upset about that, I was nothing but ecstatic.  I was mainly in a state of shock when I finished, as I couldn’t believe how I ran that time.  I then found out shortly thereafter I placed 1st out of 55 in the 30-34 female age category!  An age category first place in this big of a race is a huge accomplishment for myself! 






I found some of my runner friends after finishing and we were are able to congratulate each other on our accomplishments.  I wasn’t the only one who hit a personal best, as Bob and Jeremy also achieved ones of their own.  Of the 8 of us who are part of our Waterton to Glacier Relay Team (100 mile relay from Cardston, Alberta, to East Glacier, Montana) 7 of us were at the race that evening.  Julia did not run but was an awesome volunteer yelling support as we reached the top of the hill.  The other six of us ran the 10km and 5 of us placed in our age categories.  Also placing in their age groupings were two of my students, who medaled in the 6km event!  They placed 4th and 5th in the 16-19 female group!




Moonlight Run was everything I had hoped it would be and more.  Will I run an epic personal best every year at Moonlight?  Probably not.  But will the race itself keep being as memorable of an evening?  I definitely think so.  Moonlight Run is a top-notch running event in my “new” hometown, and I look forward to it every year.  This was the 28th running of the Moonlight Run and I can only hope that I am able to run in the next 28 Moonlight Runs! 

Race Recap-Grizzly Ultra Run Relay

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On Sunday, October 14th, I participated in my first ever relay trail race, the Canmore Grizzly Ultra Marathon. I actually had never intended on running in this race, until one day in September I received a message on Facebook from a Dopey Training Crew member who lives in Calgary. Saskia and I had talked online after realizing we both lived in Alberta and had joined the same Dopey Challenge training group. We even met up at the Edmonton Half Marathon in August. So when all of her relay members for the Grizzly Ultra started bailing on her, she got desperate and asked a random girl (me) who lived in Lethbridge, loved to run, and who she sorta knew.

I said Yeah! and she signed me up. After some discussion, we decided I would run the first leg of the 50km relay, which was a 14 km portion. This leg was described as a “fast, non-technical leg for runner’s with lots of endurance.” The difficulty was 3 out of 5 claws. (Get it….claws….like grizzly claws….yeah).
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I went to Calgary the night before, as Saskia let me stay over for the night. I almost didn’t want to come, however, as Friday night I slept for a solid 12 hours because I had started coming down with a cold. And Saturday, even though I had a race the following day, I was suppose to do 7 miles easy. I just couldn’t. I took a 3 hour nap instead. I was feeling in rough shape. All that sleeping and then trying to go to bed early in preparation for a 5 am wake up call didn’t add up well for a great pre-race nights’ sleep. I think I woke up every hour.
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We headed to Canmore at 6 am Sunday. We had all sorts of camping gear packed, as we needed to set up a base camp area outside the Nordic center for when we were done/waiting for our legs to start. Trish, our leg 5 runner, drove out with us to the Nordic center. This would be her first race….ever! I didn’t find that out till later during probably Adele’s leg 3, but it was very cool to know we had a total race newbie. Adele and Greg, the leg 2 and leg 3 runners, were meeting us there. Saskia would be doing leg 4.

I have to say, once we got to Canmore, I got a little nervous. The only other previous trail race I have done was my Coulee Cactus Crawl. I was very thankful to be the first leg, as it meant my pre-race prep would be the same, and I wouldn’t be sitting around for hours after the official start for my turn. I had studied the diagrams of elevation for my leg of the course, and I had a positive attitude about being able to handle the terrain. When the 9 am start came, I was set…off I went with all the other Leg 1 runners and soloists!

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The other nice thing about being the first leg of the relay was having people surrounding you during the whole 14km. It started to spread out more by around 6 km in, but I always had people directly in front or around me. This helped with my pacing and also pushed me. The leg I ran was a wide double-track course and only occasionally did the terrain become rocky and rough. There was only one hill that slowed me down quite a bit, but then we hit a turn around and going back down it was awesome!

Since there are no mile markers on the trail, I kept referring to my GPS to get a better idea of how much more I had to run. Being in the woods made it interesting, as you had no real idea to where you were in relation to the finish line….there was no way to see through the trees! I could sense, though, when we were getting on the home stretch, as we ran back on pieces of the beginning of the race. I could hear commotion and announcements through the trees, and soon we hit the paved main road….I was almost done!

I pushed my way through to the finish in a time of 1:13:20! I was pleasantly surprised with my time, and I definitely think that Erin telling me I could get the 14 km done in under 1:20 really pushed me. It was a little chaotic finding Greg in the relay exchange area, as I had to stop quickly and was a little disoriented. Soon he had our timing chip and was off, and I got my finisher’s medal!

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The rest of huge day was spent going from inside to outside and trying to stay warm as we waited for all our runners to run their legs. I felt fantastic during the run, but the hours that followed led to an extremely runny nose and an overall feeling of garbage. I tried to keep my mind off of the fact I was starting to feel petty sick by watching for our runners coming back and also keeping an eye out for Erin as she came through for each leg.

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In the end, our team finished with a time of 6:13:24. It was awesome. Seeing all our runners come in at the end of their legs and then our next runners head out to start their leg, but it was especially cool to see Trish finish for us, since it was her first race ever! This race was organized very well and the scenery was next to none….beautiful! I would definitely recommend this race for runners looking for a change of pace an a challenge! We are all already talking about doing it again next year, and now we all wouldn’t be strangers!

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