Canadian Derby Half Marathon Recap

by Leanne Vogel (Healthful Pursuit) on August 22, 2011

1 year of preparation, 1 torn patella, 56+ hours of physical therapy, 190 mile drive, multiple bowls of rice pasta, sprinkled with a couple moments of fear… and I’m officially a half marathon finisher.

Yes, you read that right – I finished it.

I was majorly doubting my ability to complete this race. I’d tried to run 5km on Wednesday, got 1.25km in and was hit with sharp knee pain. Not exactly the best “last run” before a race.

In an effort to keep active but also let my body recover, I hit the pool on Friday and Saturday for 30 minutes each. Thankfully, it worked… and also reminded me how much I miss swimming.

Pre-race

We headed to Edmonton on Saturday morning with a lunch bag full of goodies and massive butterflies in my stomach. The plan was:

  1. Pick up my race bag
  2. Check in to the hotel
  3. Nap
  4. Go for dinner
  5. Hang out

After taking a couple of wrong turns and threatening our GPS for taking us down the wrong streets, we found the race expo and I found my tag.

Number 2339 – my new lucky number. I say that every time I pick up my race bags. It will never get old.

We headed downtown to check in at the Fairmont MacDonald. We got such a sweet deal on our room and they were able to supply me with a microwave + fridge for free.

The bed was comfortable, the room was warm, and the shower was powerful!

Once we were refreshed with an hour long nap, we decided to take our cameras out for a stroll before dinner.

A stroll turned into a bit of a hike [which you shouldn't do the night before a half marathon]. But there was a festival, I couldn’t help myself!

After walking around for an hour, we went out for gluten-free pasta and headed back to the hotel for an early night.

The race was set to start at 8am so we woke up at 5am to pack and prepare things. I whipped up a batch of homemade electrolyte solution for the run then made a quick smoothie followed up with a quinoa flake bake I enjoyed 1 hour before the race.

Too much food. Gosh, I was so full.

We waited at the start line for what seemed like forever. I stretched, did loads of jumping jacks to get my heart rate up and lined up behind the 2:15 pace bunny.

I haven’t seen pace bunnies at any of my previous races, but was eager to see if running in a group would help me hit my goal of completing in 2 hours and 15 minutes.

The course

The course was 1 loop, which was nice because I knew what to expect on my way back.

It was flat, scenic, and there was ample running space, not like some races where they try to fit 1,000 people on a walking path.

The only thing I didn’t like was running on broken down asphalt. There was about 2km of the stuff in total and it was brutal on my toes. But all in all, it was a really great course.

The race

I knew going into this that there was the potential that I would get 1km in and my knee would flare up. I also knew that if I could pass the 5km mark with no pain, I’d make it until the end. Not necessarily the most positive outlook, but I was having a hard time shaking off Wednesdays knee pain.

1km passed, no pain. 2kms completed, no pain. Before I knew it I was at the 4km mark and about a quarter of a km from the 2:15 pace bunny. I decided to take the next 5 minutes to get up to the pace bunny and stick there as long as possible. The pace bunnies were doing run 10 minutes walk 1 minute; exactly how I train; so it worked out perfectly.

I stuck to that bunny like no ones business. The 10km mark sailed by, the 15km mark approached fairly quickly… and then it started to get challenging. I grabbed for a medjool date I had tucked in my water belt and tried to encourage myself by blasting the music.

The time started to slow down, my legs were cramping up. All I wanted to do was stop, but my heart told me to keep going and there was no way I was going to let that bunny leave my side.

18km

Last water station and second last 1 minute walking interval. I drank 4 dixie cups of water and tried to shake off my exhaustion with another medjool date before picking up the pace.

19km

I kept repeating to myself “2km to go, less than 13 minutes. 13 minutes of my entire life.” I set my favorite song to repeat and I pushed harder.

20km

We could see the finish line. We were 1 minute away from our 1 minute interval walk and I knew I wouldn’t make it if I didn’t shift to a walk and gather myself for a moment.

The deal was: let the bunny get ahead of me for a minute. When he starts walking, I run to him, walk with him. When he starts running I PUSH myself as hard as I physically can and get to the finish line under my goal.

And that’s exactly what I did.

21km

I was happy crying so hard I could barely breath. I was running so fast I felt like I was going to puke. I was so close to finishing this… under my goal time.

I passed the finish line and melted with emotion. I was trying to control my tears but they were flying all over the place! Ack, even writing this and seeing the pictures has me all teary eyed.

I’ve never been as proud of myself than I was in that very moment.

Results

Race stats

  • Chip time: 2 hours 14 minutes
  • Average heart rate: 165 bpm
  • Max heart rate: 187 bpm (the last 30 seconds)
  • Placed 469 overall out of 766 women in the race
  • Place 153 out of 240 in my age division (20-29)

Things I said I needed to work on from my last race + how I did…

  • Propelling my leg behind me — learned that this can cause some massive groin issues. Never again.
  • Push myself a bit harder: aim for a faster pace when training. — I pushed myself so hard there were moments I thought I was going to puke.
  • Continue to square off my hips — mastered!
  • Send my knee some positive thoughts! — I was sending my entire body positive thoughts and energy throughout the entire race… especially the last 5km.

Things I need to work on for my next race…

  • Continue to push myself harder and increase my pace
  • Get better at learning how to deal with the stress that comes with racing
  • Put together a list of positive thoughts and run through them before each race
  • Join a running group or clinic

Finishing this race with tears of joy affirms just how much I love running, so much so that I may have gone straight home and registered for another half. Oops… how did that happen?

Next steps

I leave for my yoga retreat in just a couple of days. I’m planning to take a week off from running, do a lot of yoga, swimming, and walking. I’ve been looking at joining a running club when I get back from vacation and continuing to train for one last half marathon for the season and maybe a couple 10kms. Then, it’s onto the treadmill I go!

What a fun time. Thanks for all your good lucks and best wishes! You were all in my thoughts as I pushed myself over that line.

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{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga

CONGRATS!!!! What an awesome race and love the recap!!

And the yoga retreat coming up…sounds perfect and like the perfect counterbalance to all the running. Lengthen those hamstrings back out :)

The camera shot with you. Love it.

I posted about lenses. L is For..was the name of the post.

Ask Kevin what he thinks I should get of the 3. I know he’s totally up on this stuff. Or if you know, tell me! The more opinions the better!

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Leanne (Healthful Pursuit)

Thanks Averie! That shot of me with the camera was me saying “Shoot! I should probably turn the camera ON if I want to take pictures!” The best thing in life is the ability to laugh at yourself. I’ll read your post and let you know what Kevin thinks for sure. Also, thanks for the recommendation on camera bags (from a post you did awhile back) just ordered a teal and purple one from PorteenGear. Can’t WAIT to get it.

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Kristin @ eat healthy. be happy. live well.

Yay! Congrats on finishing under your goal time!!! I know it’s tough to get through that last three miles. When I got to mile 10 of my half, a little angel came running up beside me and asked me if I liked to talk while running. She helped me make it the rest of the way! Glad you had the pace bunny (I’ve never heard of them!) to keep you moving through the last bit! Congrats and thanks for the awesome recap of it!

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Aine @ Something to Chew Over

Wow thanks for sharing this Leanne! Your experience is incredibly inspirational to me – I just started running about 6 weeks ago so it’s really exciting to read about doing a half-marathon. I’m doing 6km in 30 minutes now so it’s still a way off for me but it’s great to start thinking about doing races like this!

In fact I’m going to research some races now :)

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Stephanie

WOO-HOO! YOU DID IT!

Congratulations! What a proud moment! I’m glad that you were able to finish without too much pain. Be kind to that knee for the next few days!

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Susi May

Congrats! That is great!

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Chelsea

Way to go girl! I know exactly how you feel with finishing a race crying with joy. I was holding back my tears so much when I ran my first 5k after so much training ha.
This was such a good and thorough race recap as well! I really enjoyed reading each and every word that you wrote :) I can’t wait to write mine from my race on Saturday!

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Holly @ The Runny Egg

Great job on your race!!!

Have you posted a full picture of that tattoo on your chest? I love it!

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Evan Thomas

Congratulations! I remember my first half marathon and that feeling of accomplishment at the end. Great job meeting your goal!

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Clarkie @ Beloved Green

Kudos! I remember practically crying after my first half marathon. I was proud of myself for finishing it, and you should be too!

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Lisa @ Healthful Sense

Yea!! Congrats my love :)
I have a love/hate relationship with the GPS too haha!!

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Kaitlyn@TheTieDyeFiles

Congratulations!! What an accomplishment, and under your goal time!! You must be incredibly proud. When I ran my half marathon I hit a wall between miles 8-10. There was no crowd cheering us on and it got difficult and boring. But after mile 10 I was feeling good again!

I run with a team, it’s a great way to get and stay motivated!!

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Jenny

Whoo! Yay! Congratulations… times ten! You definitely deserve to be incredibly proud of yourself! Finishing half of a marathon… and, as you said, spending a year training and enduring instances of pain and injury and overcoming those times – those are all amazing things.

Great photos… Hope you enjoyed Edmonton! Thanks for sharing your journey along the way and your ultimate success. :) Again, congrats!

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Faith @ For the Health of It

Aaaah, SO proud of you!!! Congratulations Leanne!

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Kristina @ spabettie

YAAAAY! girl, I am so happy – excited for you! I am energized by this recap, great job!! and the photos – beautiful smiling girl! :)

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Nora @ Natural Noshing

WOOHOO! Congrats Leanne! What an awesome accomplishment and beating your goal time, I defiintely know that’s a great feeling!!! I LOVE the last picture of you! You look so happy, as you should be!!!! Love the recap and photos :)

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Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table

HOORAY!!!! 2:14 is a GREAT time. You rock!!!

What a perfectly timed yoga retreat – enjoy some well-deserved stretching and relaxation. :)

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Jayme @ Runner-n-Spice

CONGRATS – what an awesome race recap!! I loved all the photos from your race! I have the Edmonton marathon on my to-do list.

You mentioned that you have one more half for the season – which one? I’m training for the Army Run in September, in Ottawa right now.

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Leanne (Healthful Pursuit)

I’ll be doing the Last Chance Marathon November 13. Good luck with the Army run!

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Selina

YAY!! Congrats on an amazing race!! You are so inspirational!! I hope one day I can accomplish this too!

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Leanne (Healthful Pursuit)

Thanks Selina! If I can do it with all of the injuries and rest time I had to take to get here, anyone can! Good luck :)

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Heather

CONGRATULATONS!! What an awesome time. It always feels great when you accomplish a goal. Great Job!! Can’t wait for your next race recap.

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Emily

Holy crap, am I ever proud of you. <3

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Leanne (Healthful Pursuit)

Thanks Emily!! Lunch date when I’m back in Sept?

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Tasha

Congrats! I found your blog about a week ago and have completely fallen in love with it. Keep up the GREAT work!!!

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Leanne (Healthful Pursuit)

Thanks Tasha :)

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Anja @ AnjasFood4Thought

Congrats! What a good race you must have had. I can imagine the concerns with the knee before. It would freak me out totally. Have you got any other races planned for the near future? You will surely benefit from a Half Marathon training on shorter distances. Keep it up!

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Yolanda

You totally 100% rocked this!!!! Your time also, by the way, is amazing!!!

Happy happy happy for you!

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Sera

Well done! Yoga after a good run/swim/bike always hits the spot, especially a retreat. Enjoy and recover well :)

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margaret bobb

Leanne–you are amazing! CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!!!! …soooooooo happy for you!

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Leanne (Healthful Pursuit)

Thank you!

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Caroline @ Out of Liney

Leanne, I’m so happy for you! Fairly new reader of your blog, and I can say that your recovery from your knee issue (gosh I can relate to those hours of PT) and perseverance in running, yoga, and “healthful pursuits” is really inspiring. Keep up the great work!

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Leanne (Healthful Pursuit)

Thanks Caroline :)

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Amanda K

Congrats! I think I forgot to comment earlier, but I definitely meant to. You are so awesome. You just really are! Way to go!!

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Leanne (Healthful Pursuit)

Thanks Amanda! hehe I was about to type “thanks amazing”… which YOU are :)

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char @ char on a mission

Congratulations on the awesome finish of your first half!!!! My first half is on Sept 25th, and my palms started getting sweaty just reading about your first one!!! What an amazing accomplishment and I can’t wait to accomplish mine now!!!! You rock!

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Margaret

Awesomeness!!!

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