Monday, 26 August 2013


After the Calgary Half at the end of May, it was going to be 5 weeks and then a short drive south to the town of High River for the Canada Day Half Marathon. The weather had other ideas. Every time I've raced outside Calgary, I've been greeted with bad weather - high winds in Quebec City, and very heavy rain in Sacramento last December. 

The Calgary Half was, for May and June of this year, a rare dry day. On June 20, it rained heavily all day, and the usual flow of melt water from the nearby Rockies came all at once. High River is so called for a good reason. It was by far the worst affected from the floods. 

Instead I entered the Mountain Equipment Co-op race in Calgary. MEC has 8 or so races a year for just $15 each, I think I'll do a lot more of them in the future. You can take your pick from 5, 10 or even half marathon in some of them. I thought I'd try the 10 this time, even though there was a hill that would prevent a PB. 
I saw a couple of familiar faces there - Paul the barefooter was there with his 2 sons. At the startline I chatted with Felix, a teenage rocket I'd last seen at the start of last year's Stampede Road Race. What chance a sub-40? It would depend on whether this out-and-back course had 2 hills or 1. 

A quick start - aren't they all - and it seemed like more than 7 weeks since my previous race. A girl who looked about 13 stayed ahead of me for about the first 5 minutes. She'll be quicker than me next year. Passes and re-passes, then I stuck with a guy who overtook me on the downhill. 
The "flat" part in the middle went somewhat uphill. 1/2k before the turnaround was a "no sub-40 min 10k today hill". The guy I was shadowing took  on some Gatorade at the turnaround, I had my own. He disappeared after that. 

It was boiling hot, a beautiful spot, but hard to keep the sub-4 minute kms coming. A quick low-5 from Paul helped though. 

Back up that 1st hill and sweating heavily. I felt like toast at the top, but was surprised to be able to hit 4:00 minute pace. It took a while to get there, and just before the end, the no-bottles-guy tried to pip me at the line. I found enough speed to stay ahead - all that for 6th place! 

So a bit frustrating to be in what I thought was PB shape but without a course to match. That said, it was a beautiful day and MEC puts on a great event. Doing some of the charity runs makes me feel a bit of an intruder at times, but this is just pure running for a great price.