I have a feeling this is going to be a long post… it’s going to be both a race report, and a ‘fun, girls weekend in Vancouver’ report. Let’s start with the race… actually, no, I’ll start at the beginning of the weekend.
Lori and I flew into Vancouver on Friday afternoon. It was a quick, uneventful flight. We took the SkyTrain from the airport to Downtown Vancouver – which by the way is awesome. I haven’t been to Vancouver in a long time, and the train is fantastic, it’s super fast and easy. The station was about a km away from our hotel, so we just walked down Robson to get to our hotel. After we got checked in, we walked over to the Race expo and package pickup. We had heard that there were some huge lineups earlier in the day, so we were a little worried about how long it would take. It turned out to be super fast, there was no line up at all when we got there. We also quickly checked out the Lulu exclusive SeaWheeze store – there looked to be some nice stuff, but it was pretty picked over, and neither Lori or I were feeling super spendy, so we didn’t shop long.
Friday night, we met a bunch of mom friends that I’ve met online through some running forums. It was super fun and exciting to meet these ladies, some of whom I have ‘known’ since I was pregnant with Maiya. We got a great picture of the group of us.
Lori and I got back to the hotel around 9pm. We both had to pump before bed (we’re both still nursing babies), and get all our clothes and gear for the race laid out. I think we had our lights out shortly after 10pm (11pm Calgary time). It was a strange night. I lied down, and did not feel tired at all. I wasn’t nervous for the race, or thinking about it, I just was wide awake. I did not sleep much at all that night, and every time that I rolled over Lori seemed to be awake also. I drifted on and off between 3am and 5am when our alarm was going to go off, and got out of bed just before 5. The race started at 7 am. We both pumped again… a bit of a pain, but totally worth it for our babies! We got dressed and were out of the hotel around 5:30 ish. We relaxed in Starbucks, drinking some coffee and having a bite to eat before the race. At around 6:30 we wandered down to the start, used the porta potties and seeded ourselves. We had a choice between 1:00-1:45 and 1:45-2:00. We decided to seed at the very back of the 1:00-1:45 group because we didn’t want to be dodging slower runners who hadn’t seeded themselves correctly. It worked out really well as I didn’t really feel like I was having to dodge runners at any point.
Here is Lori and I before the race. It was crazy how many people were decked out in lulu gear – I guess not super surprising since it was put on by lulu, but Lori and I were rocking our InkNBurn instead 🙂
KM’s 1-6 (Splits: 4:52, 4:56, 4:54, 4:55, 4:45, 5:03)
In retrospect, I went out WAY too fast. The first 10-11 km’s had a lot of rolling hills, nothing huge (other than the Burrard Bridge – which I was cursing), but just a lot of rolling. I was running along with the 1:45 pacer quite a bit of the time, but he was going out pretty fast IMO. I felt good to begin with, and just let my legs take me. I think I should have held the pace back a bit during the first half-2/3rds of the race. That WAS my plan, but I also wondered if I was capable of running a 1:44 ish type time, and thought if I ran a bit faster maybe magic would happen and I’d have a PR that day.
KM’s 7-14 (Splits: 5:11 (up the bridge), 5:09, 4:58, 5:04, 5:26 (back up the bridge), 5:03, 5:01, 5:01)
We crossed over the Burrard bridge during the 7th km. The bridge going this way isn’t too bad, it’s a bit of an up, but totally doable. I was starting to tire, but feeling ok during this section. There was lots to see all along the race route, they had people doing fun yoga poses on rocks, balancing. There was also people dressed in drag cheering – which is VERY Vancouver 🙂 . We ran up towards UBC, but not too far, and just a bit uphill, then turned back around and ran back towards Burrard again. The hill back over the bridge suuuucks. I ran the Vancouver marathon in 2005, and the route went up and over the same bridge. We had to run back over it during the last 7-8 km’s of the marathon and I remember it being very difficult. I had always wondered if it was the marathon that made it difficult, or if the bridge really sucked that much. It really kicked my ass during this half as well. Here is the bridge – and yes I did take a picture during the race… what else did I have to do anyway 🙂
KM’s 15-21 (Splits 5:10, 5:13, 5:12, 5:16, 5:19, 5:03, 4:52, 4:17 (last 300m’s)
It’s pretty obvious from my splits that this is where I started to fade. From the course profile, this is where I should have been turning it on, but there was no ‘it’ left. I started to contemplate taking a gel at this point – and also should have done so as soon as the thought entered my mind. I don’t know if I’ve ever used a gel in a half before, but I carry them with me in case I need one. I did take a gel – somewhere after km 15, and in doing so so managed to drop a water bottle and lose my headband :(. I don’t really know if the gel made much of a difference. The km’s seemed long and difficult from here out. I was battling a lot of mental demons here. Lori was running behind me at this point but I wasn’t sure exactly where and I kept expecting her to pass me. I had seen her at the turn around and she was very close behind at that point. It was during the slow km 19 that she passed me. I let her go for a few hundred meters, and just kept plodding away in pain. Then I gave myself a pep talk, said to stop my whining and step it up. I tried to ignore the lactic acid and pain in my legs and turned my toughness back on. I made it into a contest with Lori and pushed hard to catch up, I passed her at one point, and then she passed me, and then we were side by side until the very finish. She pushed hard at the end, I didn’t have quite as much kick as she did, but we crossed the finish line within 2 seconds of each other.
My Garmin time was 1:47:40, about two minutes off my PR time, and about a minute faster than the Calgary Half from the end of May. I’ve been thinking about the race a lot since I finished, and I was feeling down about it right afterwards, but the more I think, the happier I am with it. We are all our worst critics I think, or at least I sure am. I think I could have executed the race WAAAAY better, but all things considered that is a GREAT time. I had surgery just 2 months ago, and have been fighting my way back ever since. I also had a baby just 11 months ago. I know I have another PR in me, and will beat that time, but it won’t be this year. I’m excited to keep training this fall, and hopefully have a great race in Seattle in December.
I haven’t posted my official results from the timing chip because they somehow got messed up. According to their results my time was 1:48:33, which is still a great time I know, but I also know that my garmin was accurate because Lori’s official time was 1:47:38 and I crossed the start and finish lines with her. I emailed the race organizers (because I’m anal like that), and it doesn’t sound like they are going to change the results – though they are contacting Sports Stats, the company that did the timing, to see if they can figure out where the mistake was. I’m ok with it, and will just use my garmin results. I would have been much more annoyed if I had PR’ed the race.
The race itself was amazing. The scenery was beautiful – I love the seawall in Vancouver, it’s beautiful. There was a ton of crowd support, lots of fun things going on around the course. I didn’t use the water stations, and just carried my own gatorade – I wasn’t sure how crowded things would be with a race this large (10,000+). The swag at the end was amazing, there were cool moist towels for us to wipe our faces with, a water bottle handed to us right away (this should be a given but doesn’t seem to be…), a set of aromatherapy pain relief bottles, and a pair of skull candy ear buds! The food was also amazing, it was like a brunch with muffins, mini quiche, and a waffle with blueberry compote!
As promised, this post is getting very long! I’ve only made it to approx 9am on Saturday, and we spent the whole weekend there 🙂 I’ll just do a quick wrap up of the rest of the weekend though. I had a blast on Saturday, we spent most of it eating and drinking. Lunch was sushi, then we went to the beach and dipped our legs in. I was wishing that the water was colder so I could count it as post-race icing, but it was still nice to stand in the ocean! We had a drink and some appies next to the beach, it was glorious to sit in the sun and just relax. That evening we had a pre dinner snack of Oysters and another drink, YUM! Then we went for dinner at a great restaurant called Joe Fortes. It was a bit unassuming, I had even eaten there before, but didn’t realize how good it was. There were no tables when we first arrived, so we wandered up to the rooftop patio/bar to see if there was room for a drink, as Lori walked up she looked over and saw Tim Burton and Helana Bonham Carter eating!! THAT was pretty cool 🙂 We plotted ways to get pics of them, but also didn’t want to be annoying pestering jerks and interrupt their dinner, so no pics. They were sitting about 5 ft to the left of us in the pic below – with a wall between us.
The next morning Lori and I were complete loser moms and couldn’t sleep past 6am (7 Calgary time), so we got out of bed, threw on our running clothes and headed out for a recovery run. Our legs were pretty tired and sore, so we walked down to the sea wall, and then ran just 4k. Afterwards we sat and enjoyed a Starbucks.
Overall, it was an amazing weekend. I had a lot of fun, and it was a great break from the craziness of home. My hubby did a great job with the girls, and they both were good for him this weekend. He is away for business this coming weekend, so I get the returned favor of single parenting this coming weekend 🙂