Running – the next step!

Running became a serious part of my life in 2021 when I quit drinking. I decided that I wanted to get healthy and start running again and walking a ton.

I changed my morning routine. Instead of waking up, making my coffee and having breakfast watching YouTube in the morning, I made my coffee and jumped on the treadmill. I started with 30 minute Netflix shows. I get up even earlier now and I’m up to 50-60mins of walking in the morning.

I started running on short distances, then got an Apple watch in April 2021 for my birthday, then I started running for fitness. Then I committed to running my first marathon in Calgary in September 2021. You can see below how my walking and running really escalated up to September race day.

Month/YearWalkingRunning
April 2021 (started tracking data)188 km21 km
May 2021234 km55 km
June 2021215 km88 km
July 2021 (commit to marathon)138 km185 km
August 2021135 km257 km
September 2021 (marathon month)153 km132 km
October 2021172 km96 km
November 2021191 km93 km
December 2021160 km46 km
2021 – Walk & Run chart

I followed a marathon training program but perhaps I did something wrong. The escalation in running from May –> June –> July –> August is a little shocking to see. However, I did assume that the walking I was doing during the week was adding miles and counted towards my training. In fact, I always wondered if I was walking “too much” during my training so you can see my walking dip in July thru September.

I pretty much dedicated last summer to marathon training! It’s one of the hardest things I’ve done.

So throughout the winter 2021 and into early spring 2022, I enjoyed walking, and then maintained long run Sundays. I figured that by walking 10 km daily plus long run Sundays, I would maintain my running shape. I also starting running outdoors again in March. I hoped that my treadmill training really prepared me for faster road times.

  • December 2021 = 4 runs between 10 – 15 km
  • January 2022 = 4 runs between 9 – 19 km
  • February 2022 = 7 runs between 6 – 20 km
  • March 2022 = 8 runs between 5 – 18 km
  • April 2022 = 5 runs between 9 – 23 km

May 2022 – Calgary Marathon

I signed up for the round-up package half marathon coupled with a 5 km run. Basically, you finish your long race (10km, half, full or ultra), then come back at noon to complete the 5 km. My final training in April & May finished with a couple of 21 & 23 km distances and I had been training at a higher pace, hoping to break the 2 hour mark for my half marathon. I felt I was ready! But I had no idea what a 3 hour break was going to do to me.

Calgary Marathon Results

I’m happy to report that I reached personal bests in competition in both the half marathon and the 5km. I mean, if you want to split hairs, I may have run a half marathon when I was 30 (20 years ago) and broke the 2 hour barrier. But that’s my only other official event and it was so long ago, I can’t even remember my final time.

I MET MY GOAL FOR A SUB-2 HOUR half marathon. Chip time 1:56:37. I dedicated my training to reaching this goal. I followed the 2 hour pacer for the first half of the race, pulled ahead in the next 5 km and then fell behind at 18 km when I stopped for a bathroom break. That was a little shocking! I put in a hard last 3 km!!

Unofficial 5km finish line photo

Then 3 hours later, after my muscles had time to seize up, I ran a sub 30 mins 5 km race. Chip time 27:33. I finished as the 6th top male in my age category. What? That’s so amazing! I was hoping to run 35 mins…I had no idea that sub-30 was possible after running the half in the morning. Of the five runners in my age category, four of them only ran the 5 km race. That’s amazing! (Kudos to the guy that finished a marathon in the morning and then finished top-5 in the 5 km!)

I don’t want to toot my horn too much, but in theory, the top 5 runners in my age group for the 5 km were all from Calgary. So, in theory, I was the #1 – 5km male runner in my category from Northern Alberta! 🤣

I’m extremely proud!!

It wasn’t just me. This is an event we share with friends. Due to a health issue, one of our friends missed the race but we were able to celebrate with his wife and experience this together.

Dennis, Paula (wife), & Tammy (great friend)

Officially, Tam, I beat you by 1 second in the half marathon! And I had a little more left in my tank for the 5 km. 2022 Calgary Marathon will always be the year I got you! 😁 But seriously, I’m proud of you. That was a gutsy finish in both races for you! And a 7th place finish in your age category for the 5 km. Awesome!

After last year’s marathon, I found myself overwhelmed and balling at completing my life long milestone. I wasn’t sure I’d ever be able to finish a marathon and I really had no idea of how much work and effort goes into training. And then how hard race day is to complete.

This year I was emotional for my wife. I knew the extra 5 km was going to be hard for her. I tried to “warn” her about a couple of things, but until you’ve been thru it, it’s hard to describe. And partly, you don’t want to steal that experience from people. Experiences like these help you grow and make you a stronger person!

I’m so proud of my wife who signed up for the round up event as well and tackled a 10 km walk in record time and then walked another 5 km at noon. What an accomplishment. You’ve come so far in a year with your fitness. Keep it up!!!

At the end of the day on Sunday, I had a chance to sit on the deck by myself and I just cried and balled for a good 10 minutes. I couldn’t contain my happiness. I was so proud of what we accomplished. I was so emotional over the training and getting to the finish line. I was just overwhelmed with emotion. There is just such a wonderful feeling with races of setting a goal and reaching it.

SPECIAL THANKS

A really big thank you to the Calgary Marathon team hosting another really great event! There are a ton of passionate and supportive volunteers. There is a ton of race day support that really helps. I love all of the high 5s and signs and music! The race day experience is always great. The medals are beautiful and I’m glad they didn’t get stuck on a boat outside Vancouver! What a great experience!!! Thanks!

Alternative half marathon finish photo

A really big thanks to Dale and Tammy for planning this event with us. Sorry you couldn’t make it Dale. Thanks for hanging out and supporting us Tam! You had a great run yourself. We’re proud of you!!! Love you guys!

A big thanks to my cousin Tyler and his wife Lisa. You never hesitated for 1 millisecond when you heard that we needed help with accommodations last minute. You and Lisa were amazing hosts! Thanks for the special food, smoking BBQs and pour over coffees. We felt very special and well taken care of at your place. Thanks!

Thanks to my wife for supporting this journey of mine and participating with me. It’s awesome to be able to share hopes and dreams with you. I’m so proud of what we’ve accomplished together.

Wrap Up

So what’s next? I have no idea. I’m just enjoying staying healthy. I’ll continue to walk morning and noon. I love jumping on the treadmill in the morning with my coffee. I also enjoy my virtual call walks with my good friend at lunch. And I really like the scheduled long run Sundays.

So for now, I’m going to enjoy my accomplishment from this weekend. And wait for the next event to start my next training program.

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