Monday, May 06, 2013

Vancouver Half Marathon Race Recap

Finisher! Couldn't be happier with my race!

After 4 months of training, it is all over. I'm thrilled for the race to be done and I'm so happy with how I did. This may have been my slowest half marathon but I had great mile times and felt really good on the course. I felt so cheerful the entire time.

Pre-Race Prep Shot! So many nerves!

I woke up at 4:45 am, full of nerves and anticipation. I got ready and headed down to the lobby to meet some friends at 5:50. I ended up meeting another runner and we both walked to the SkyTrain station together. It was her first half marathon and I next saw her at mile one when she zoomed past, yelling "Hello Rebecca!" I can get behind that enthusiasm!

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I met my friend at the train station and off we went! I was nervous about taking the train out to Cambie and finding the start but there was nothing to worry about. Everyone else on the train was going to the exact same place. I guess the train isn't a busy place at 6 am on Sunday morning. We had a long walk from the station to the start but it was a good warm-up for the race.

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Laurie and I spent some time trying to use the porta-potties along with the other 10,000 runners. At 6:55, we gave up and headed up to the start line.

Mama running buddy!

The race officials had said there would be corrals for the start but we lucked out and there weren't. I was thrilled because Laurie and I were in different corrals and I really wanted to start with her. She's a lot faster so I knew that would be the last time I saw her but I wanted to at least have the thrill of crossing the start together.

Vancouver 1/2 Marathon

The race start was delayed by about 10 minutes but we finally were off! I crossed the start at 7:25 am and flew down the course. The first few miles were downhill and my legs were enthusiastic about that. I had a few 13:16 miles which were faster than any of my training runs. It's amazing how you go faster in a crowd of 10,000 people than you do alone. The buzz of the crowd pushes you. I ran straight for the first mile and a half. I usually run for 5 min and walk for a minute but I saved that for later. I just felt like running and so I did.

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Molly and Scott found me around mile 5. Molly giggled when she saw me. Scott snapped some goofy photos and they both cheered me on. Then I was off again! The course started out in Cambie and curled around to Chinatown and through Yaletown before heading into Stanley Park. The city streets were full of people cheering. They had the best signs. My favorite was "Go! Stranger Go!" and "Your Mom and I are so proud of you".

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Vancouver is a beautiful city to run through and I love how you go from city to forest on the same course. Stanley Park was a welcome respite due to the heat. It was a hot day and I've been training in 45 degree weather. 65 feels super warm when you are not used to it and out running. The clear skies and sunshine was very welcome though because I've done races in the rain and those are miserable.

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I finally used the port-potties around mile 10 and text Scot to let him know I was 3.1 miles away from the finish. By then, Scott had met up with some friends. One of them had run the race in sub 2:00! Our friend's kid is almost three and got to meet Molly at the finish. He is now smitten with Molly. She thought he was pretty darn awesome herself. So while the kids were having a lovefest, I was still ambling along. My miles were getting a little slower. I had a few 14:01 miles and then my longest of 16:12 at mile 11. Mike 11 was hard for me. I just wanted to be done and I was tired. My legs felt like lead and I got a little dizzy. I walked, snacked on my sports beans and drank more water. At the next water stop, I chugged some Gatorade. Then I felt better and started running again.

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The chute at the finish was looooong. You could see the finish arch in the distance but it never felt like it was getting closer. The crowd along the chute was great! They cheered! Yelled out our names (our bibs had our names on them) and pushed us on. It was so appreciated at that point. The woman marathon finisher flew past me at the very end and I was impressed!

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I couldn't find Scott and Molly at the end but I had gotten a text from them cheering for me so I watched that and then texted that I was heading to our meeting spot. I grabbed two bananas (I had been dreaming about them since mile 6) and a water and started walking. I got to our meeting spot but couldn't see them. I didn't trust myself to stop so I texted that I was going to the hotel and like a robot kept walking. Scott called me when I got to the hotel and they were at the finish so I headed back. It was on,y a few blocks and I think the walking helped. I met up with the group and they led me to food. Halfway through our meal, I realized I was supposed to text Laurie about lunch. Oops!

Finisher! Couldn't be happier with my race!

I texted Laurie and they were having lunch. She completed her race in 2:18 and I was so happy for her! What a great birthday present to herself!

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All in all, I enjoyed myself and had a great time. I'm thrilled to be done with this race and don't really care that it took me a lot longer to finish than my friends. We all had a great time and we all covered 13.1 miles. My legs are still telling me about their adventure. I plan to rest them this week. Then I'm running a 5k on Mother's Day because it sounded like fun.

Race Stats:
3:18:30 Half Marathon (13.1 miles)
1:34:50 Halfway (6.5 miles)
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