This is easily my favorite half marathon. The Woody’s 10k, half marathon and full marathon all take place along Red Deer’s beautiful trail systems and the volunteers and crowds are always fantastic. Going into this race I had a few goals but my top two were to set a new personal best and to win. The week leading up to the race I had put in one of my biggest training weeks yet. I had done 5 rides, 5 swims, 3 runs and a very much needed hot yoga yin session. With triathlon season coming up so fast, I didn’t want to taper too much and give up the opportunity to get in some quality sessions. I thought if I took Saturday easy (the day before the race) I would be fresh enough to nail my goals for the race. Friday night ended with a hot yoga session and Saturday was a short 30 minute run in the morning and then it was time to put my feet up till race time. It worked perfect and I woke up Sunday morning with my legs feeling ready to run fast and my body ready to hurt.
Spending race morning in your own bed is a thing of beauty. Unfortunately that’s not something I can get use to, as it probably won’t happen again this year. I woke up 2 hours before race start and had a banana and a cordycep tea from Four Sigma Foods. After that I did some light foam rolling and started to put on my race gear. At 45 minutes to race start my wife and I made the short 5 minute drive down to the race start. It was a cold morning at -1 degree, but I had still opted to run in a singlet. It was the same singlet when I won Woody’s half in 2012 so I was hoping to keep the tradition going. I met up with my two training buddies and we headed off for a short 2 mile warmup. We stopped halfway through our warmup to cheer on the 10k racers. As expected, Kieran McDonald crushed everybody and was the 10k champ easy. We headed back to the start line to get ready. I stripped down to my race clothes and took my place at the front of the pack and waited for the countdown.
The gun went off and I started out fast. I felt confident that I could run fast the entire race and decided the day before I wasn’t going to have much for race tactics, just to go for it from the start. After the first 10 seconds there was just two of us and he stuck right behind me for the first few minutes. There was a volunteer standing at the mile 1 marker giving out splits and by that point I had already started to increase the gap on him. I went through in 5:20 and I heard the volunteer tell him he was 5:23. When I heard that I knew I could drop him for good if I punched the gas a bit more. I ran the next two miles even faster and opened up my lead to 15-20 seconds. After that point, it was a solo mission and all about trying to maintain 5:30 per mile. The race went by fast and I was happy to see on the finish line clock that I was going to break the 1:13 mark. I ran a strong race and was happy with my effort and result. Knowing a lot of people in Red Deer and getting so many “Go Dusty!” all day long was very encouraging and I appreciated it!
The next couple hours of the race were spent cheering on friends and trying to stay warm. My two good friends Cory and Jen surprised me by showing up to watch me race, completely unexpected but awesome. My wife and I spent a couple hours hanging out with Cory and Jen in the gymnasium where the awards were going to be. When 1 pm rolled around it was time for the awards to get started. I was happy to go up and get my picture taken with my trophy, cheque and other great race prizes. This year Red Deer artists Dawn Detarando and Brian McArthur made some incredible beer steins for the overall winners of each race (pic below). They also designed this year’s finisher medals as well as some very nice decorative tiles for anyone who won their age group category. It was refreshing watching how happy everyone was as they went up to get their well deserved awards. I’d like to thank the race director Jason Hazlett for putting on a fantastic race and the volunteers who did a fantastic job. Lastly, I’d like to thank my sponsor Four Sigma Foods once again for keeping my immune system bullet proof and helping my performance. I’ve had 3 wins in my last 3 races and new personal bests in each one. The one big difference I’ve done differently on race day is replacing my usual pre race coffee by taking a pack of cordyceps. It’s made a big difference performance wise and I hope my results can speak to the power of mushrooms! It is something that is overlooked among so many athletes and something that a lot of athletes don’t know about. I specifically take chaga for my immune system and cordyceps for my performance and energy. If you want to try either of these products, send me a message. Congrats to everyone who raced! See you at the next one.