St. Albert Fall Challenge Half Marathon.

I can think of no better way to spend the first day of fall than by running a half marathon on some of the most beautiful trails ever. We are pretty fortunate in this city to have such great paths to walk, run, and bike on. The leaves are changing, making the trails, along the river especially, even better! I had a bagel with peanut butter and banana about an hour and half before the race began. I think race days are about the only time I eat bagels. It’s not like I avoid bagels the rest of the time but they are such dense carbohydrates and that makes them good specifically for fuelling my body for a long run. We pinned our numbers, laced up, and headed to the event. My mom started an hour earlier than I did so she left before me. 

There were 18 walkers who started at 8:00 am with my mom, the rest of the races, 5km, 10km, and half marathon, started at 9:00 am. It said it was five degrees outside when I left the house and I think when we finished it was about fifteen. The Runsie was perfect.

It is a small race, but starting a few hundred people on a path that is no more than 2 meters wide is a little tricky. The race was a loop along the riverside path, the 10 km event did one loop and the half marathon did two. I thought I would hate the double loop thing but it was actually pretty nice. Ignore my luminescent legs. 

I reached the turn-around in the loop and it felt like we had been running for less than two minutes! It was really awesome to be running on the same path that I do my usual runs on. It felt really familiar and easy.

I didn’t have any goal in mind or a specific time, I just ran however fast I wanted to. It was definitely less stressful when I didn’t have a finish time or pace number floating around in my head the whole time. When a mile time would pop up on my Garmin I didn’t even care what it said! 

We both like to smile a lot when we exercise. Endorphins can do that to you!

I didn’t plan on racing the event or running anywhere near the pace of the Edmonton Half Marathon but when I put that race bib on I have no control over how fast I go. I pulled off 7:34 min/mile. Due to the fact that my mom started an hour earlier than I did and walked the race we ended up getting to the finish line at almost the exact same time! She waited for about thirty seconds.

This is what she considers “finishing together.” I think someone wanted their toe over the line first. I am so happy that she waited for me, it was really fun to finish at the same time! The official results aren’t in yet, but according to this gun time I ran it in 1:37:55. My mom did it in 2:37:55. 

We immediately discussed the fact that the course was only 12.93 miles. What is that?! The finish line is at the top of a little hill. I think the last thing anyone wants to do after running (almost) thirteen miles, is climb a hill! I guess that makes the finish even better because you really want to stop running at that point.

Third half marathon of the year, fourth in my lifetime. Pride can’t escape my face after these events. 

My dad conveniently timed his bike ride to see us cross the finish line! It was an awesome moment to have the whole family there! I must thank him for the valuable advice he gave me before the run… “Kris, if you get nervous I have a strategy for you. Left, right, left. If that is too complicated, try right, left, right.” It got me to the end.

There was a bar-be-que at the end of the race but a hamburger at 10:45 am was not extremely appetizing. Orange slices on the other hand… yum!

I would like to thank my official photographer today! He chased us around the course and captured my grimaces, smiles, and plenty of albino limbs flailing. Thanks Stuart!

My splits in this race ended up being 7:16, 7:35, 7:27, 7:27, 7:39, 7:27, 7:25, 7:39, 7:40, 7:48, 7:43, 7:48, and 7:33 for an overall pace of 7:34 min/mile (12.93 miles). I felt myself getting slower and slower but really didn’t mind. I placed fourth for women.

Of course we had to take a “pride picture” with our t-shirts from this race. Beautiful weather, running, family, and knowing that it is the first day of fall which means I can start wearing boots and scarves every day = an amazing day. 

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