When: Oct 20, 2018                    Where: Edmonton, AB

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The event that started it all for me in 2013. 2018 was my 5th time running this race. I missed 2016, because we were in Vancouver. In 2013, I had just started running to get fit and found out that I liked it. A co-worker of mine said that I should do Kathy’s run. This race is in honour of a co-worker that we lost to Pancreatic Cancer in 2011. So, I signed up for my first half marathon. I had never run close to that distance before but it sounded like a great goal and raised money for a great cause so I signed up. Skip forward to 2018, and this is now my 23rd half marathon.

The first year, I just wanted to finish and didn’t even know that people set time goals. The second year, I did not train very much and thought, if I could do it before, I could do it again. This was a big mistake and taught me a large lesson. If you want to do well, you need to train. My third year was still difficult but I was beginning to learn about pacing and fueling. My fourth year, I was now training for my first marathon and used this race as a practice run and felt good. This year, for number five, I decided to just have fun and not worry about time. As a result, I blew away my previous best time on this course.

My Kathy’s Run Spank the Panc Half Marathon Stats:
2013 – 2:17:14
2014 – 2:41:19
2015 – 2:17:14 (yes, exactly to the second the same as 2013)
2017 – 2:00:52
2018 – 1:55:07 (watch time, chip time was even faster but course was short)

This is a beautiful course in the Edmonton river valley and has some hills. I started out at a casual pace and walked up the first switchback. Then I resumed my casual pace until the second switchback hill and walked up it too. Then something happened, and I took off on the down hills. I was feeling great by the 7km mark and decided to push even harder. By the time I hit 11km, I was still feeling refreshed and smiling and decided to go a little faster still. In the past, the final 5km here have been my nemesis, not this year. I did not even feel tired this year. I was running loose and loving it. I hit that last aid station with just over 2km to go and I flew on through.

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Special thanks to Jill (www.jsakowskyphotography.com) for getting a great picture of me coming across the bridge 2km away from the finish. I finished strong, got my medal and a water bottle and then kept on running until my watch hit 21.1km (the course came up a little short for me). I have never felt this great at the finish of any half marathon before. I was also only 43 seconds away from my personal best half. So, what did I learn this year, that I am capable of more than I thought I was. This race came just 13 days after my second full marathon and perhaps knowing that I could do the full gave me more confidence for this race. I am not sure exactly what my secret was, but I hope to repeat this feeling at my next half.

I had pasta for supper the night before and some leftovers for breakfast. On the way to the race I had a bottle of water and a protein bar. On course I carried my handheld water bottle, had 2 gels (one with caffeine, one without), and one package of Cliff Bloks. After the race I had half a muffin and a bottle of water.