To recap Stampede Road Race in the simplest way possible: FANTASTIC!! To be a little more specific….
- Race package pickup was not downtown, which I love because I hate having to pay for parking just to quickly run in, get my stuff, and leave. Volunteers at package pickup were also very friendly and instructions were clear.
- The race tee is AWESOME! It’s a Puma tech top, super super soft fabric, vented on the side in contrasting colours. This shirt will definitely be getting a lot of wear! – the colours and logo are cute, it’s comfy, and it fits well.
- The race package was great. I got 2 packages of Honey Stinger electrolyte chews, a Stinger waffle, a sample pack of Stoked Oats, and a bunch of ads for upcoming races. Most of all, I didn’t get anything that I didn’t want or need like a cotton t-shirt, a bumper sticker, etc.
Race day turned out to be quite nice. I planned to wear a long sleeve top, but changed at the last minute before leaving the house, as I thought I might overheat. That turned out to be a good decision – short sleeves were sufficient for keeping me warm! Parking was a bit of an issue, as the parking lot was full by the time we got there, and there wasn’t a lot of street parking available. However, I do appreciate the fact that they at least assigned parking to a fairly large lot, otherwise that would have been a disaster. We abandoned the car in a place that definitely wasn’t a real spot, but wasn’t a fire lane either, and thought that should prevent us from getting a ticket!
This was my first race experience with my Bluebuds, and I enjoyed them a lot. We were told at the start line that we were only allowed to wear one headphone, and that suited me just fine. I put one in, tied the other one loosely around my ponytail to keep it out of the way, and I was good to go! I love running cordless, love love love.
The course was nice, and scenic enough, but I didn’t like the fact that we ran on asphalt and cement sidewalks the whole time. Perhaps this is just a weakness of mine, since I train on gravel paths mostly, but I found it to be hard on my body. The race finished with a short trip over some grass and up onto a rubberized track, which felt amazingly good after all that hard surface.
Post-race was great too!
- No medals for 5 or 10k, but Half Marathon participants got really cute ones that looked like sheriff’s star badges!
- Personally, I like to always reserve a little in the tank for a sprint to the finish. This probably isn’t efficient, but it’s fun, and my favourite part of racing. So, I kicked it up for the last 100m and barreled my way past a few ladies right at the line, only to hear the announcer say “and that’s Lindsey coming across the finish, bringing out the elbows! She’s really serious about this, folks!” Hah! At least that made me finish with a smile!
- THANK YOU for keeping the exit to the finish line clear!! That’s something that I find most irritating when I am going full steam ahead and have to stop abruptly to avoid flattening someone’s grandma who is waiting for them at the line. Big thanks to organizers, spectators, and participants here for keeping the exit area clear and allowing me to walk it off!
- Water and juice boxes were plentiful at the finish area, despite the line for post-race food.
- Breakfast was a good ol’ Stampede staple: pancakes, sausage, and lots of syrup! Although I have been sugar detoxing, I decided that if there was any day that I could afford to indulge, it was after 10k, so I allowed myself a couple of flapjacks.
- Cobs Bread was handing out scones and fruit. Their scones are the best, so I gladly took one for free!!
- Neil Zeller Photography took commemorative finisher’s photos and the best part is you can download them for FREE! I so appreciate a race where I don’t have to pay $15 per image, or else resort to selfies on my iPhone.
If you live in or near YYC and have never done this race, it is a must do. After such a great experience this one is definitely being added to my annual favs and I will surely be back again for 2014. If you don’t live in Calgary, think of this as just another great reason to come visit, and while you’re at it, check out the richest rodeo in the world and The Greatest Outdoor Show On Earth: The Calgary Stampede!