This long weekend, I took advantage of the extra time and I headed up to Whistler to get a look at portions of the course. For those of you who are lucky enough to call Whistler your home, you are at an obvious advantage in that you can literally train on that course. You are all probably Blueberry Drive masters. I’ve been up to Whistler numerous times, but never as a runner. I am familiar with certain parts of Whistler, but certainly not all the running routes and trails. I felt I needed to at least get a taste of just what I’ve signed myself up for.
I went up with a friend of mine on Saturday. She is a non-runner, so I had no intentions to run that day. We simply walked a portion of the course. I had my course map all printed out and we left from Olympic Plaza looking like a classic set of tourists. My main goal was to see what this infamous Blueberry Drive is all about. I needed to see just what I was going to be facing. I had heard and read much about it. I have another friend who has been up on several occasions and she tried to describe it to me. I needed to see it for myself. Well…. that really is quite a hill!!! Like everyone says, it’s not steep, but it really does seem never-ending. As I trekked up with my friend, all I could think to myself was, “Wow… I am really going to have shift any and all of my expectations when it comes to completing this race….” For a true rookie runner, who has barely been running for a year, and tackling a first half marathon, I really picked quite a doozy of a course!! Whenever anyone asks me what made me choose the Whistler race, my answer is always, “… because, if I am going to tackle a half, I wanted it to be somewhere really really pretty….” Well, I did accomplish that. Whistler is one of my favourite places to go. I can tell already that it will be a truly beautiful run. Hopefully, if I can conquer Blueberry Drive, maybe I’ll be able to take in the rest of the run.
In the end, we basically ended up walking the 10km portion of the course. I didn’t have the heart to ask my friend to walk anymore of the course. It was a lovely day to be out walking, but 10km is a fair distance for someone who doesn’t run. ; ) I’ve heard that one of the highlights of the run is when we reach Rainbow Park. I’m looking forward to that. The hills might be the end of me, but I have bowed down to the reality that I will simply run what I can and I will power walk what I must. It’s just the way it’s going to be for me.
I came home with a shifted perspective on what I have signed up to do. I did my last long training run on Sunday and my next runs will begin my tapering process. There is a part of me that is relieved that I finally get to start tapering my long runs. 10km seems like a much more reasonable distance, which is saying a lot for me. It was only a few months ago when just the thought of reaching 10km left me feeling beyond overwhelmed. On the flip side, with the relief of having reached the tapering portion of my training, the other side of me is wishing I still had at least another month to continue training.
In hindsight, I realize am not 100% confident about facing this race. I feel about 80% “ready”. I probably should have done a few more 10km races, but what’s done is done. This is happening whether I’m ready or not. I’m relieved that the race is finally almost here and excited to take on the challenge, and yet, I’m filled with a certain level of trepidation at the same time. I will most likely not finish with a great time. I’ll literally just be happy to finish. I’ll be even happier if I am not the last one to cross the finish line (not that there’s anything wrong with that!). I am facing a challenging course. I should have done even more hill training. I should have pushed harder on my interval training runs. I am not a ‘natural’ runner. I have no natural hidden gifts when it comes to running. I can hold my own, but I am certainly not fast, and it does not come easily for me. I will never be an elite runner, and at this point, I know that the half distance will probably be my limit. At this point, I much prefer the 10km distance. Is it too late to scale back?? Never mind. I know none of my friends will let me do that. ; )
That being said, I’ve worked really hard to get to where I am now. I know that I have a lot to be proud of. This time last year, I wasn’t even a runner. I took on a personal challenge. I am trying something new. I’ve been as diligent as I can with my training. All I can do now, is continue to stay healthy, try not to get injured, eat and sleep as well as I can, and hope like crazy that on June 7th, I’ll find my lucky running groove. I’m as ready as I’m going to be at this point. I’ve pushed as far as I can at this point. Whatever happens on June 7th will happen. As for Blueberry Drive… as that quote says, “It’s just a hill. Get over it!!”