I’m writing what will likely be my last blog post before Calgary Marathon weekend which starts for me around 4:30pm Thursday when I get my race packages! To say that I’m excited is an understatement. This is how the weekend will unfold for me:
Thursday: go the the Expo after work with my best guy friend, Chris. I’m picking up my half marathon and 5K race packages and Chris is picking up his 10K and 5K packages. I’m proud to say that I’ve converted another person into running doubles on race day. We’ll probably walk more of the 5K than run but let’s be honest, we just want the bling and to continue our tradition of doing this race together which we started last year. I’ll be getting a spray tan Thursday night as well because I want to have some colour for the rest of the weekend’s events!
Friday: Sleep in! That probably means a 7am wakeup but it’s much better than my usual 4:45am. I’ll be heading to the Stampede Grounds for 9am to volunteer for a few hours doing things such as pulling out the course signage and sorting it (totally my thing, so excited!).
At 1pm I’ll be in the Speaker Series with 4 of my fellow ForeRunners! We’re going to tell you our stories, why we love Calgary Marathon, answer questions and probably convince you that you want to be a ForeRunner as well ;)
After this I’ll be heading home to get pretty for the VIP event which I’m invited to as both a member of the Board of Directors and a ForeRunner. I told you you’d want to be a ForeRunner! I have my dress and heels picked out and flip flops as backup for when my feet start to hurt ;) Here I’ll chat with Elite Runners, host families of out of town Elites, The Running Room founder John Stanton, Jordan Alicandro of The Biggest Loser, sponsors of the Marathon and volunteer committee members in addition to my fellow Board members and ForeRunners.
After the party I’ll head home to change into my comfy clothes (ie. lululemon), grab Joey and head to the airport to pick up my friend Sarah who’s coming in the run the 10K and 5K. Yes, I brought her over to the dark side and got her to sign up for a double header too!
Saturday: Sarah is saving me and taking my place in the volunteer room at the grounds for a bit as I will be heading down to Eau Claire for The Running Room’s free 3K Friendship run. I get to represent Calgary Marathon, share some race day highlights and answer questions! After this is the Tweetup (#RunYYC and #RunSocialYYC) so get down there and tweet about everything race related!
I’ll drive up to the grounds with my BFF Carol who’s volunteering as well. I’ll run between the expo and grandstand building to volunteer and introduce the fabulous people we have in the Speaker Series. At 1pm I’ll be Speaking again with 4 more of my fellow ForeRunners. Come see us! Sarah and I will kick around the expo for a bit and then watch Jordan Alicandro in the Speaker Series.
Then it’s home to rest, hydrate and fuel up! A reasonably early night for us as Sunday morning’s wakeup call is something disgusting like 4:30am…
Sunday: RACE DAY!!! OMG!!!! I’ll probably cry a few times such as when I cross the finish line of my 31st half marathon. Usually I don’t stress over half marathons but I’ve been fighting plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis for months and haven’t run more than 10K since my last half on Feb 8. I know, I’m sacred. BUT if I have to walk, I have to walk. I know I can run 10K so whatever!!!
After finishing my race and getting lapped by the elite marathoners I’ll head out to watch the 50K winners come in as well as some marathoners achieve their BQs! Food, hydration and a change of clothes will happen over the next few hours before the 5K start at noon.
5K!!! I love a good 5K especially when it’s with my best guy friend. Last year at Calgary Marathon we walked his first 5K, this year he’s doing two races! It’s so inspiring and fulfilling seeing your friends doing things they never thought they would. There’s actually quite a few of us doing the 10K or half and 5K. In other words, there are quite a few bling addicts. Or as Tina says, people suffering from FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). She had to explain it to me but that’s SO me!
5K will be done before 1pm and we’ll cheer on the last batch of 50K and Marathon runners as they cross the finish line. Watching the last finisher cross will definitely turn the waterworks on. I encourage you to join us as we cheer him or her to the end. A trip to Village Ice Cream is totally in the plan. Salted Caramel ice cream, you WILL be mine!
So, now that I’ve probably bored you by telling you every single detail of my race weekend, let’s talk about the super random tips I have for you to make your race weekend fabulous. It should become very apparent that I have a Type A personality after you’re done reading this.
1. HAVE FUN! No matter what your race goal is or what number race this is for you, enjoy every single second. From the Expo to the early morning wakeup to smiling for the cameras and at people with awesome signs cheering for you. Enjoy the sweat and the tears, celebrating your fellow runners as they achieve new goals, the bright yellow jackets and white cowboy hats that the race crew will be wearing, the Jugo Juice samples at the finish line (YUM!), the food trucks, beer gardens, entertainers on the course… Have fun and smile because you are an incredible human being.
2. Thank people. Thank volunteers because they work SO hard to keep us happy and well taken care of. Thank the people who give you your medal or hug you as you cry at the finish line. Thank the musicians out on the course for sharing their talent with us, the people who make clever signs, the course marshals who make sure we stay in the correct lane on centre street bridge and in East Village and the runners who encourage you along the route. And don’t forget to thank your running buddies, friends and family who supported you through your training. Without them this experience wouldn’t be nearly as enjoyable.
3. Headphones: don’t wear them! I’m notorious for running with music but I’ve challenged myself to run my last two races (10Ks) without headphones and I survived. I know, it’s a miracle! In all honesty though, if you must wear headphones, PLEASE only put one earbud in or have your music down low enough that you can hear other runners and the course marshals. This is a huge safety concern which is why I feel the need to highlight it.
4. Since you’re not running with music, talk to other runners! Don’t talk their ears off and respect if they don’t feel like chatting but you never know if you’ll meet your next best friend or spouse (here’s hoping for me!) just by being friendly. Say something encouraging or something silly (try, “all of this for a free banana, hey!”). Also, if you’re busy talking, you’ll be too distracted to notice how tired or sore or hot you are! Or if you do notice those things, complain about it, you’re likely not the only one feeling that way. Make sure you’ve got a hint of sarcasm in your complaining though, no need to ruin the experience for others ;)
5. Get everything together for race day the day or night before. That includes filling your water bottles, setting out your race outfit (remember it will warm up quickly and running increases your body temperature) including shoes and underwear, preparing your pre-race meal as much as you can and put the pins on your race bib. Don’t forget things like a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, bodyglide (to prevent chafing), bandaids for your nipples (men!),
6. Put together a post-race kit of food and clothes. There will be food and water after you cross the finish line including FOOD TRUCKS but I always recommend bringing a favourite portable snack with you so you if you’re a picky eater such as I am or just to have something familiar. If you’re parking close by or have a spectator joining you, fill a cooler, cooler bag or backpack with some coconut water, water, chocolate milk, fruit, chocolate, chips, whatever you normally love to eat and drink after a training run. If you’re checking your bag you can add things that don’t need to be cold. A change of clothes is easily checked or stored in your car or spectator buddy’s backpack. I usually bring a full change including a hat (especially if you’re out in the sun) and flip flops. Some wet wipes will make you feel fresh too! If you’re like me and running two races, a change of running clothes isn’t a bad idea either. Don’t forget a warm layer as your body will cool down when you’re done running.
7. When you’re done your race, stick around! I totally understand if you need to walk to Starbucks (closest is near Sunterra Market on 1st and 11 ave SW) to get your favourite sugary drink but then get your butt back to the grounds or along the course to cheer on other runners. It’s incredibly inspiring watching people finish distances longer than you ran or running the same distance at a slower pace (because they’re out there longer) and they appreciate your presence. There will be lots of things to keep you fed, hydrated and entertained at the grounds so there’s really no reason to leave! You can have a nap later ;)
8. Be Social! Get on social media and share your race weekend experiences with your friends and followers. All runners get a free race picture so share the heck out of it. Let’s show them that Calgary Marathon is the best darn road race out there!
9. Be proud of yourself. Whether you achieved your time goal or not, you got out there and ran and you had a brilliant time. You have sore legs, a tired body and a shiny new medal. Celebrate how awesome you are and thank yourself for dedicating the time to make your life more fulfilling.
See you on race weekend!!! <3