There are so many comparisons between an election campaign and a marathon.
There is the grueling distance, the competition and the many onlookers. For anyone who has run a race, whether it's 4 kilometres or 42 kilometres, you know not to spend all of your energy in the first few legs.
The first week isn’t over in the 2012 election and the Wildrose are in a position they have only dreamed about before. Depending on the polls, they are either neck-and-neck with the PCs, or quite possibly, maybe even a few steps ahead.
The latter is largely inconceivable for many in this province. For too many PC candidates, the biggest competition was to win the nomination for their party, not the actual election. Suddenly, the security of the blue Tory blanket is gone.
What’s troublesome at this early stage for Danielle Smith is whether she has peaked too soon. A gradual climb over the weeks of the campaign must be the ideal path to victory. But now, she may no longer be on the attack, but on the defence.
If she truly is in the lead, Albertans will take a much deeper look into exactly what this new party has to offer in candidates, policy and attitude. And with the early momentum, Albertans have plenty of time to take a look.
The pressure will surely intensify on Smith. Can she keep up the momentum? What happens if the next poll shows she’s slipped back behind the Tories; will people start second-guessing the results?
It’s all just a question now of whether the Wildrose have peaked too soon in the race or whether they’ll be able to keep up the forward momentum and stay on track.