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Race Report: First Annual Kamloops Half Marathon

Posted Jul 31 2012 11:25pm
I am so excited to be writing this race report - mostly because I had no idea I'd even be doing this race.  I was back up at the cabin this past week and had a 20km training run scheduled for Sunday.  Since I'm a bit scaredy-cat to run on the lake road because of the bears, I was super excited to find out that the First Annual Kamloops Half Marathon was being held the same day.  It was so awesome to be able to add such a lovely event to my schedule last minute.

Our cabin is on Shuswap Lake, about a 1.5 hr drive from Kamloops.  Since the race had a nice early 6am start to beat the heat I had to be up and out the door much earlier than I'm used to.  It was still pitch black when my alarm went off at 3:30am and it was pretty much just me and the truckers on the highway between Kamloops and the cabin.

I was thankful they had no-hassle, day-of package pickup.  The park was pretty easy to find and it didn't take long to get my race number.  I took the opportunity for a quick port-a-potty visit, chatted with a few other runners and then headed back to the truck to get ready.  I always like the last few mins in the car before heading to the start.  It's my time to get excited, then get calm and do all those little last minute things I need to do - attach my number, lube up my toes, take my pain meds, stash my beans and just generally get ready.

When the announcer signalled we were minutes from the gun, I headed over to the chute and found myself a spot.  The race was a nice small field of runners, I think they said about 200 runners.  At first I was kind of intimidated - everyone seemed to know each other, a ton of the men wore no shirts and the girls, well they just looked hardcore.  I thought for sure I'd be the only one running 10:1's but I put that aside and decided to just have a great run.

Being that this was a last minute race, I didn't think too carefully about a race strategy.  All I had decided was that I would go out and see how things went.  I knew the course was flat so I figured if I felt good I might try and push a little, but I planned to wait and see.  Before I knew it the gun fired and off we went.

The course started off by leaving the park via some lovely paved trails and then headed out onto the street to head north and then alongside the river.  It was so early and the temperature was just perfect.  It didn't take long to settle into a rhythm and hunker down.  The sun was just finishing coming up and the tunes sounded great, pretty much right from the start I felt like I was having a good run.  I could tell I was running faster than my usual long run pace so I decided to just see how long I could keep it up.

There weren't actually any km markers along the course so I found that I didn't really check my distance and time all that often.  I knew the splits I had to achieve if I wanted to come in at a comfortable 2:15 and also for a 2:10 finish, you know, just in case I was feeling speedier than usual.  I also knew the average pace which is what I kind of used to guide me through the first half of the race.  The run along the river was just beautiful with the sun coming up over the mountains.  Before I knew it we were at the turn around point and headed back towards town.  I knew at that point that I was keeping up a speedier pace so I carried on.

We eventually worked our way down to a lower path that was right alongside the river.  It was so so pretty.  I hadn't been stopping for pictures along the way because I was trying to keep up my pace, but I just had to stop here because there was a train crossing the river and my oldest son is so crazy about trains these days, it just made me smile.  You'll have to take my word for it - that black line on the horizon going into my right ear really was a train!

From this pathway we got onto a nice quiet neighbourhood street that also ran along the river.  It was a mix of pathway and wide shoulder and it just so felt like a lovely Sunday run instead of a half marathon race.  I was enjoying myself so much and felt so awesome that my running is getting back to where I was feeling pre-injury.

By the time we hit 15km I was still on pace for a great finish.  I was feeling pretty pooped from the increased effort but I figured I'll never learn to push myself if I don't ever push myself.  I just kept dialling in the good songs and putting one foot in front of the other as fast as I could.  Suddenly we were back at the park and had turned the corner to the most beautiful river and mountain view.  The start/finish was in a park on an island so there was lots of pretty riverside running.  I was surprised to see the finish line arch so close because I knew we were only somewhere around 19km.  And then that's when I realized, the finish line was close, but the course went the long way around the park to get there.  I was tired and even though i'd already run 19.5km it killed me knowing I had to run all the way around the parking lot to finish.  ha ha.

When I finally had the finish line in my sights I poured on the last bits of energy I had left and tried to sprint for the finish.  I am always amazed how you can dog it for the last km and then find the energy to pick up your pace right at the very end.  As they announced my name I let out a squeal because I noticed the time on the clock.  I had PR'd and I was super excited.

The volunteers gave us warm handshakes as we received our medals and gently guided us off the course.  It felt like such personalized attention and it was really nice.  I was super pumped about the PR but had to sit for a moment to catch my breath and watch some of the other runners come in.

I couldn't help but walk over to the clock and snap a shot as it hit my old PR from BMO in May...

And since I know you're just dying to find out...

  • Clock showed 2:09:46 when I crossed
  • Garmin Time: 2:09:47
  • Official Gun Time:  2:09:57 PR
Since it was a gun start-timed event I'm not sure why there is a 10 second discrepancy between what the clock showed and what the chip recorded, but heck, it's more than 2 minutes faster than my old PR so I'll take it!

I was already elated about a shiny new PR so imagine my excitement when I got to the food area to find Subway sandwiches, lemonade and chips, glorious chips!

Yes I know it looks like a face.  I kind of did that on purpose...
I cannot say enough how much I enjoyed this event.  Not just because I got an unexpected PR, but because of the race itself...

  • At $45 (even last minute) it was a great deal and I LOVED that you had the option of purchasing a shirt if you wanted it (if I had registered before a certain date the shirt would have been free)
  • Awesome flat course - who wouldn't like that?
  • Fantastic early 6am start time.  I got my race all done and was back at the cabin sunning myself on the dock by 11am.
  • Great volunteers - it seriously felt like a family member was welcoming me across the finish line
  • Awesome awesome awesome finish line snacks - I will always run for Subway and chips!
  • Beautiful medals

So all in all it was a terrific day.  I loved that I was able to take advantage of a nearby race to make sure I got my training run covered while on vacation.  I'm a pansy when it comes to bears at the lake so it was a treat to visit nearby Kamloops and run this awesome race.  I am ecstatic that I got a new PR.  Sure the course was pancake flat, but maybe there really is hope for me to beat that elusive 2hr mark someday.  

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