Half Marathon #35 DONE!

Preparing for a race I have a routine, lay out everything the day before, make sure that I have everything; take a photo, post on Instagram and Facebook, so that friends can ensure that your outfit looks good; just kidding, it’s so they can find you IMG_2914[1]

It was a beautiful Sunday for the BMO Vancouver Half and Full Marathon 2013. My cheering section consisting of my supportive hubby, best friend of 32 years and her boyfriend all arrived at Nat Bailey Stadium on time, 6:05am, got to the start line at 6:20am, we were gathered at the start line, I was able to meet up with several friends from Whistler and Vancouver who were also racing. 15mins before the start I took my routine nutrition, had my last bathroom break, and had warmed up; IMG_2927[1]. I was even on Breakfast TV!! After a year in hiatus from racing due to injury, I was anxious to start.

We got on our way after a heart warming speach regarding Boston, our National Anthem, and a few words from the Mayor. I started out a head of the pace bunny I was too be following, but I figured he’d catch up eventually he was only 50ft behind me; so I kept on my journey.

At the first aid station one of my friends was volunteering, I gave her a shout out, and she returned with a shout of encouragement. I was feeling pretty good; okay we were only 2kms in; 19.1kms to go. I checked my times at each km I passed, I was impressed that I was doing 4.06m/km. My first 10KMs were at an awesome time, my split was fantastic; keep in mind, it was ALL downhill. Then at 13KMs I knew that something was wrong when my pace bunny passed me. The heat had started to get to me, 8am and 19C (66F), and the temperature just kept on climbing, 24C (75F) by the time we were done. Remember, I live in Whistler, we hadn’t seen over 4C at 6am yet! All runners were looking for shade. I cannot remember a race where runners actually took extra steps to go into the shade, like they did when we went under the Cambie Street bridge, about 75% of the people in front of me took the extra steps.

We made our way through China Town, and more screaming and cheering spectators, high fives. Then onto Pender Street, and my favorite part, Beach Street, along the ocean, where I was greeted by yet another friend who was there cheering on several Whistler runners. Always a nice surprise when it’s a friendly face half way through.

Then through Stanley Park; this is where it all went sideways. You see, I wasn’t quite prepared for the hills; yes I run a ton of them here, but I was expecting a bit flatter terrain; and I started to bonk; my great lead, was starting to catch up with me, low on nutrition too due to the heat I had taken more than I expected. Thank goodness for aid stations!! I was able to grab a gel, and some water; FYI gatorade in the eye will sting, yes I managed to put an entire cup into my eye!

KM 16.5 arrived, 15mins or so to the end, and well … wouldn’t nature call. SERIOUSLY! 10 years of racing, and this is the 1st time I’ve had to make a pit stop! Then I remembered we did start 15mins late, so I may have actually made it to the end; but who knows. Upon stopping, my ‘affected/repaired’ knee felt stiff and not normal, so for the remainder of the race I put most of the pressure on my right leg for support. WHOOPS! That lead to a lovely blood blister on the right foot. I do have a picture, but I will remain from posting due to graffic content.

Never the less, I crossed the finish line. After thoughts of quitting the race 3 times; without the shouting spectators and other runners I don’t know if I would have continued. My ‘support crew’ was there to meet me, along with my running friends who had crossed before me, a few surprise friends who waited for me too, it’s so overwhelming that you can’t help but shed a tear or two. If not just because of the pain, but the overwhelming sense of accomplishment, love and support. I thank EVERYONE that was there for me that day.

I’ve learned some lessons from this race; call it a ‘refresher course’, and I now know I can complete the next 6 halfs and 1 full I have planned for this running season. I’ll keep ya posted 😉

Happy Trails!

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