Friday, 1 July 2011

The first race

May 31, 2009.
I had registered for the Calgary Half Marathon the previous year. It had been a case of "I could do that". This had been in doubt for the month leading up as I had developed ITB syndrome (links backside to the knee on the outside of the leg) 4 weeks before. Staying on the bike for 2 weeks helped it go away, but in my first run back it happened again. Only hope was to stick to the bike again and hope come race day.

I set myself a target of 5 minutes per kilometre as it was a good round number my math skills could cope with. Left home at 5am with A-Chang (my wife) and was at the start line by about 6:10.

(behind the guy in the bandana)
I'd never worn a dry-wear running shirt before, so wore the official one (most don't I've learned). I was amazed at how well it worked even with the amount I sweat. One less thing to worry about.
First km I did in 4:30 as I was just flying along with those at the front whom I started with. "Slow down" I said. Somehow I did the next one in around 4:20.
I got the pace under control, but then the "sequence" started. Soreness above the knee, becoming tight just below the hip, however after turning off 17th avenue and still thinking about the novelty of having run in the middle of the road on Calgary's main bar street, it seemed to vanish. After getting onto Memorial Drive at around the 10km mark, the leader came back the other way 6km ahead. "Turn around and you'll only finish 10 minutes behind" said one. "Cheat" said another, might have been me who said that.
After the turnaround, I found myself a little behind schedule, so I sped up and re-passed about 20 or so surprised runners. It was then when I started feeling "burning quads" as I call them - no energy left in the muscles which then start to break themselves down for energy. Lactic acid?
Anyhow, I phoned A-Chang with 2km to go as arranged - she was just leaving Starbucks with JL from work who had never met her. I left a message on her voicemail before the race that A-Chang had her hood up with shades on and looked like the Unabomber. I was made to wait a few seconds for an ambulance to go past, presumably to see to an out of breath runner I had seen being tended to by volunteers a few minutes before.
Finished in 1.46:15, in 410th place out of 2,846.

The ITB seemed to have forgotten itself, which was fine by me. Still, I went to my chiropractor about it and started a long running series of "leg work", in contrast to the previous years of "fat guy with bad back"!

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