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Monday, November 15, 2010

Last Chance Half Marathon, Calgary 2010. A report!

Results are here.

This was a very different run for me. I went into it with a bit of a mission.

Mission: Push as hard as I think I can push for 21.1kms. Did I succeed? Yep. Did I hit the wall? yep. Did I run through the wall? yep.

My 2:01:43 marks my second best half marathon time. My best is 1:58:30, which was my first half in May of 2009, when I was at my top level of conditioning and 15 lbs lighter than I am right now. If I had’ve ran that race with the same mindset I ran this race, my time may have been significantly better. It’s all between your ears people. I have learned that my mind doesn’t have to listen to my body. If my mind would have listened to my body today, I would have layed down and cried for a little while at 18kms, while waiting for a cab.

I had a mission and I achieved it. A little too well. Kelly asks me at about the 4k mark. “You ok with this pace?” me: “yep, i’m doin’ something”…

That’s right. I crashed into the wall. First time I came head to head with the dreaded wall.

I was cruising along at a sub 2hr half marathon pace, really enjoying the effort. I had fuelled really well, my feet felt great, my breathing was strong, and while I was feeling the effort, it was a good feeling. At the 18k mark my legs quit on me. Lead pipes. wet noodles. Just couldn’t make them go. I did everything I could to pick up the pace. Quicker strides, I actually walked up a could short rises in the path to see if I could trick my legs into thinking we were not running. nope. I tried to pick a runner up ahead to try and pick off. nope. I thought about one foot in front of the other, but my legs just ran out of gas. I also had my unfortunate foot smash earlier, so there is that.


The stats tell a very interesting story. I’m not sure the first 4k of the heartrate averages were correct. they seem weird to me. I did get a wicked side cramp from 4k to 8k, but it didn’t seem to affect much in the stats. I do know it was a struggle, but in my experience told me it would go away and I would feel really good, which happened. Then I smashed my foot.


To be honest, I haven’t been training very hard. I made the comment to some friends afterwards that I have had more race runs than training runs in the last 3 months.

BUT! I pushed as hard as my legs would take me! it wasn’t pretty but I pushed it. No crying. No bitching, just effort. Suffering and pain, self doubt; all cast aside to push to a really good time for me.

Barefoot Paul took this video of me crossing the line… it pretty much tells the story…

Speaking of Barefoot Paul, he is a local runner that I met at the Run for Sight 5k back in Sept. Great guy. I barefoot run, but Paul lives the barefoot lifestyle to the fullest. I bumped into him at the package pickup on Saturday. He was barefoot.

Here is my interview on the run with my good friend Paul. Paul finished in 1:49:xx. Wow! great work. Best comment of the day came from Paul, “I’m just going to see how many people I can pass!”

Thanks for the camaraderie Paul! Notice the shirt. Barefoot Runners Society. Did you know there was such a thing? I belong!

007 DSCF2767DSCF2776 

The run was pretty super except for the last 3k, and here is the visual evidence of the rest of the race:

Welcome to the Run, by Neil and Kelly…

Questions from the Gallery…

Hanging around at the start. there is Darren S. in the white shirt waving. He just returned from an injury to run a 1:4x today! Yeah! DSCF2752

Remember Adam from the Gorilla Run? He is in the blue shirt below. We had no Idea who he was at that race. But with the magic of blogging AND the awesomeness of Twitter, Adam and I are fast friends. Well Adam is fast. 1:29 flat today. Wow! Also, there is a recovering ankle injured Joanne and run buddy Kelly too! Not sure what red shirt lady is doing in the back there.


Ally was there to cheer today!


So was Ron…


Well, here we go! Saw 2 others wearing Vibrams today! One Girl in the pink Bikilas too.


Winding our way…


We reached the point where we started to see the fasties. There is Adam again. Giving me the cool guy finger gun motion. What’s up Cool guy? haha. DSCF2770

I met Bernie today. Richard Blaznfast is a blogger I follow from Calgary here, commented and said I should look for Bernie, and described him as Fast and Bald. hehe. I met him in the waiting area at the Y, and when I saw him I knew right away it was Bernie. With compressions socks and those shoes? you better be fast. Am I right? both Richard and Bernie are going to be running the St.Georges Ironman in Utah in the spring! best of luck to you both!


General running over the shoulder shot. Who from this photo will contact me this time?


Here are Mariea and Susan! Way to go Ladies!


Damn Joanne and her photo op.


Best picture of the day. Martin Parnell and his wife Sue. See that #216 bib? that means today is his 216th Marathon distance run this year. 34 more to go. I will be running his final Marathon on Dec 31st for Sure! What an inspiration! Marathon Quest 250. Have a read. Dean K. has nothing on this guy. Martin ran 7k before the race, then ran the race, then ran the extra 14.1k. Here is his blog post from today. Seriously, put his blog in your readers. It’s worth it!


The race course was terrific for spectators. easy vehicle access to multiple points on the race course. We got to see Kelly’s family a few times. Here is her DH, DS, and DD. DD says as we pass the first time “He REALLY is running barefoot!”.  Also, see the fella in the blue jacket in the background? He snapped the next photo.


Might be one of my best race photos! Thanks Doug! get healthy and back to racing soon ok! Doug’s wife Barb started running the same time I did a couple years ago and has now ran multiple half's, as well as 2 marathons! way to go Barb!

Neil LCH

And just to finish off, Here is Jackie. I met her out on the race course. we were playing leapfrog for much of the way. Well… up until I crashed and burned, when she smoked me to finish very strong. Happy 49th Birthday Jackie! I can’t think of a better way to celebrate.




  1. Onward indeed! That looked like pretty barefoot friendly course.

  2. Aw, I'm impressed by how well you pushed yourself beyond The Wall, Neil.

    Congratulations on another race - I loved the footage of you crossing the Finish Line while some kid is asking for Gatorade!

  3. Awesome job! Great race and (barefoot) recap.

  4. Enjoyed reading and watching your report. Hope your foot is OK.
    How cold was it? Your toes aren't even pink.

  5. You don't look like you're suffering in any of those picks. You're a natural. Just don't, you know, kick the ground and stuff.

  6. way to push through the wall!! loved all the pics and videos!

  7. Woo hoo! Congratulations.... great pics!

  8. If you don't hit the wall now and again you forget where it is. Great job with not a ton of training! Congrats!

  9. Great report and cool videos!

  10. Great report as always. Awesome run. Honestly I bath every day!!

  11. So Cool.... - congratulations - i talk about you to all my friends and now I came across this blog; I am Magdalena, it was my first marathon and I consider it one of the best experieces of my life (had few - lol) - trained very hard and it paid off, is there a club of some kind where I could belong, i dont know anybody who is into running etc, anyways everyone keep warm!!!

  12. Magdalena: If you come back here, send me an email! nzeller at shaw dot ca. Congrats on your awesome first Half Marathon! I looked up your time, great work!

  13. Great report!!! Pushing THROUGH the wall is awesome.

    Although, I will admit...since I'm not good at km/min pace, I'm going to assume that you were cranking out sub 6 min miles and actually ran 20 miles instead of 20k. Nice work!!!