The Banff Marathon took place in one of the most beautiful places in the world, and while I didn’t hit my goal, I’m happy to have finished it. You know how they say you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink? Well, you can put a sprinter into a distance run but you can’t make them a distance runner. My ACTN 3 sprint genes just don’t have longevity. But, I’ll tell you about my race so readers can see that you don’t have to be a hard core runner to enter races and to talk about them.

BMO Kids Race

We bashed into Banff on Saturday in order to get the kids signed up for the BMO Kids Race. Ace was super excited at the chance to run a race in Banff and to get a medal. Ryan Jr. was not so excited- she kept saying she didn’t want to do it but I told her she had to do it because it was a life experience and she would be glad she did it when it was over.

The race was SO cute! The 3-5 age group was absolutely adorable. The 6-8 year olds were a competitive group. There was a 10 kid pile up at the start because the pushed each other down. It was funny/sad because some of the kids got hurt.

And then it was the 9-12 years old turn to run 1km. Ryan and Ace went to the back. After the first corner of the start Ryan Jr. was ahead of Ace and Ryan and I were so proud and thinking “we knew it!”

On their first lap, Ryan was actually well ahead of Ace and I yelled at her to keep it up. When Ace ran by, I told him to catch his sister.

We waited at the finish line and Ace was the first one to come in. He’s such a sweet kid because he sped up at the end but wouldn’t pass the little girl in front of him, even though he could have if he really tried.

We waited and waited for Ryan. I was starting to think maybe she just quit the race and sat down somewhere. But then I saw her walk around the corner. She walked into the chute and we were all yelling “Run through the finish!” But she refused. It wasn’t until the last few steps when the volunteers holding the ribbon told her to run that she jogged in.

After, she told us she had twisted her ankle on the grass and had to walk after that. Too bad, because she was doing so well! I asked her a couple hours later if it was worth it and she quickly replied “No.” Guess I won’t be turning her into a runner like I had hoped.

But I was still so proud of these kids. It was so cool to see them participate in an activity that I enjoy and to see how excited they got about their medals.

During this time, however, Ryan kept belly aching about having to wait for me to finish my race. “What are the kids and I going to do for 2.5 hours?” “We’re going to get so bored.” I told him there were museums, and walking paths, and the hot springs was just a short drive away but he said he would get lost so all he could do was hang out in Central Park all day.

After awhile I had enough. I knew it was going to be a hard race and the last thing I wanted was to get texts saying “Where are you? Hurry up. We’re bored.” So I told him to stay at the hotel with the kids. He said he would come and not complain, but I knew that wasn’t true and told him it was fine.

Race Day

I got up bright and early and hit Rocky Mountain Bagel company for a gluten free bagel with peanut butter and banana and a cup of black coffee. But while I sat there couples and groups came in with their bib numbers, excitedly talking about the race, I was struck with an overwhelming feeling of loneliness. Here I came with my family and yet I was all alone. And this negative mentality stuck with me the rest of the day (to my detriment).

The race didn’t start until 9:30 a.m. and I got there at 8 a.m. I’m glad I did though, because it gave me time to go watch the 10k. On the website, they said that they didn’t allow headphones during the race and you could be disqualified, so I left my TomTom bluetooth headphones at home. When I watched the 10k, almost everyone had headphones! Damn it! Luckily, I had a couple generic workout albums on my phone so I ran to my car for my phone headphones so I would have music.

I lined up with the 2:30 group as my goal was to beat the 2:38 I logged at Seawheeze last year. But I was in a bad headspace. Most people were there with someone, or were talking to their loved ones on the side and it made me cranky that no one was there for me.

But when we headed off, I was feeling good! I ran the first mile in 10:30 (which is fast for me) and for the first 6 miles I was cruising!

I only stopped to take off my jacket and transfer my bib onto my t-shirt, but I felt strong and my legs felt good.

It’s a hilly course with steep hills and gradual inclines. But my hill runs had prepared me and I felt pretty good doing the zombie shuffle up those hills.

At mile 2 I put my headphones in. I originally wanted to try and run without music and to enjoy my surroundings, but really all I heard was my own breathing, cars on the highway, or people chatting. The minute I put in music with a fast beat I felt myself speed up and it felt great.

At the 6.5 mile mark I glanced down and realized my pace had slowed waaaaay down. I was going at a 13:30 min/mile. So I willed my legs to speed up at least to a 12 min/mile and I was able to keep this up until mile 7 where I hit a wall. BAD!

My legs were done. My left knee ached, my hips were tight, those feet of mine did not want to go. I kept telling myself as long as I jogged I would be fine. And I learned that it is possible to jog at a 16 min./mile pace! Ah! During this time I was just SO DONE. My legs were done, I hadn’t trained enough, and no one cared enough to wait for me at the finish line so whatever.

Running is a mental game and I was so stuck in this negative mindset that it set me back. I did have one nice moment when I stopped jogging and my body language must have said it all because a runner behind me rubbed my back as she ran by and said I was doing great. It made me feel a lot better actually.

At last, we were back in the townsite with two miles to go. I willed myself to keep jogging and I alternated between walking and jogging at a 15 min/mile pace. As we passed spectators and they cheered for me, I felt a little like high school cross country where I always came in last and people’s parents would cheer for me saying ‘good effort’. They needed me to finish so they could start the boys race.

I was so relieved to pass under that arch. It took me 2:45- way more than my goal of 2:30 but I can blame that on the elevation right?

I snapped a quick selfie and headed straight for my car. It was 12:40 and we had a 1 p.m. check out. Ryan called and got it pushed to 1:30 p.m. so I could take a quick shower before we left.

You know what ‘s harder than running a half? Running a half and then immediately sitting in a car for 4 hours. OUCH! I’m a sore unit today.

But all said and done, this is such a beautiful race and I LOVE how environmentally conscious the organizers are. You can read about their sustainability goals HERE. And it looked like a lot of people made this race part of a vacation as large groups of people were running together or cheering on the sidelines.

I think, however, my half marathon attempts are done and I’ll stick to little 5k’s until I’m old enough for Masters track.

Unless it’s Seawheeze! I’ll always be up for Seawheeze!

What’s the hardest race you’ve ever run?

How do you overcome mental blocks while racing?

10 thoughts on “2017 Banff Half Marathon Race Recap

  1. Congrats, gf!!!! Hey, I’m going to be car-camping like a hobo in/around Waterton the first week of July. Are you free to come meet up for a hike?We’re planning on doing the Lakeshore Trail & Lineham Ridge for sure.

    1. Thanks Becky! It’s a crappy feeling isn’t it? Next time, I’ll be getting together a posse for a race like this. 🙂

  2. I love your honesty!! Great read.. thank you!! I agree.. sometimes we just have to get out of our heads!

    1. Thanks Cheryl! I think it’s so important not to sugar coat life or make it look a certain way- especially in today’s society of showing only the best side of things.

  3. But you did it!! Great job, and huge props to Ace and especially little Ryan!
    That’s reeeeally too bad Cat couldn’t go with you. That probably would have made it more enjoyable eh!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *