Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Race Recap: BMO Vancouver 8K

It thrills me to be writing this recap.  I wanted to run the BMO Half Marathon in Vancouver and almost signed up for it half a dozen times, but something always kept me from doing it. Then my back issue happened and I realized that I was really glad I hadn't spent the money because I knew I would not have been able to run that course.

However my good friend Danielle was running the half, so I decided to go up with her and cheer her on at the finish. Then she tempted me with entering the 8k...oh running peer pressure, how ruthless you can be. My doctor said I could run 5 miles and with this 8k just looking at me on the page saying "you know you wanna run me", I gave in and registered.  What can I say?  I'm weak for bling.

So Saturday morning came and I met up with Danielle and a couple other ladies running the half as well, Mary and Olivia, and we carpooled up to Vancouver.  Over the border and through the farmland to Vancouver BC we go! RACE ROADTRIP!!! Isn't it just beautiful!?!

We were staying at The Pan Pacific Hotel, right on the water at the Cruise Ship Terminal and where the expo was also being held. Bonus! But to say it was busy is to say there is water in the ocean.  Oye!

LOVE these beds! So comfy!

Off to pick up our packets and visit the expo!!

Wait...this is the expo? I guess I'm used to the runDisney expos because you could fit this expo into the runDisney merch area!  Oh well, guess it will help me from spending money!

Got my bib and expo bag! The timing chip was one that I hadn't seen before. It was on the back of the bib and it was foam. It was pretty cool! Went over to the table to test the chip to make sure it was working. Check! Now, I'm ready to race!

Me at the expo, I'm pretty stoked and it wasn't all that crowded either! By the time we got there though most of the good race merch had been bought, so there were no cool shirts to get for this race. Oh well, next year!

After the expo, it was time for our dinner reservations!  We went to a great little italian eatery outside of downtown called campagnolo.  I had the potato gnocchi with braised beef cheeks. OH YUMMO!
Now that we were full of yummy carby food, it was time to head back to the hotel and lay everything out for the morning! Rocking my racing essentials! Team Sparkle skirts (I layered two of them together), Pro Compression marathon socks and Brooks Adrenaline's!
So one thing I didn't understand was the timing of all the races. My race started at 6:30 in Stanley Park, however the half marathon started at 7am downtown and the full marathon started at 8am in that same location. It seemed backwards that the longer race started later since they would be running in the direct sun and heat. That was one of my biggest complaints about the races, but I digress.
So it was early up for me to catch my shuttle to the start line. At the expo they were giving out yellow ribbons to wear for Boston for during the race, so I tied it up in my hair, so did Danielle. We were ready to race!

I had a short walk to the shuttle, so I got to see the quiet city and the race set up that popped up overnight.

LOOK! Real bathrooms!!! You better believe I hit those up before I got to the start line!
I also took my ENERGYbits as my race fuel. It was a good call on my part, these little guys helped me for sure! 
I ran into Stephanie at the start line.  We started together, then she left me in the dust, she's a speedy lady!

We were delayed by 20 minutes in the cold shade of trees. Huddled together, we talked and got to know the racers around us. Then we had a moment of silence for Boston, the Canadian national anthem was sung and we had the countdown to start. I was nervous and excited! There were only 800 racers for the 8k, so I knew the crowd would thin out and I would be able to keep a good pace for myself.
Time to race! How could you not have a good race with a BEAUTIFUL course like this!!!

I had been struggling with the race from the beginning. Not having run long distances in over a month can really put the whammy on you when you are trying to race a distance longer than you have run recently. The first mile is always tough for me, couldn't get my breathing and legs in sync and I was struggling. My quads were also tight knots that didn't want to loosen up, I was thinking to myself that this may have been a bad idea.  Then I get to this clearing and you just get pulled into the beauty around you. That helps to distract the mind a bit.


By the time we got to this point the finish was just a mile away. I had battled getting settled into my breathing, knots for quads and the heat that was starting to rise with the beautiful blazing sun. Then it all seemed to go away. My music took over in my head, my body zoned out and started blazing a trail. I was passing people with ease and I knew that the finish line was going to be mine very soon. I felt like I was flying.
I tried taking a picture of the finish line, but I was running so it got blurry.  Hehe. One of the coolest things about crossing the finish line was that they announced me as I was approaching and crossing. I was all by myself as I crossed the finish and it was SO AWESOME to be called out at the finish line! I had the BIGGEST smile on my face!

This is the back end of the finish line, I had done it! I had finished my first race after injury! I was elated and most importantly, I was NOT in pain! I finished in 1:08, not great, but not bad for my first long run after injury. I'm just so thrilled I was able to run and race again, it really was the best feeling I'd had in a very long time. I just couldn't help but smile!

I got back to the hotel room to shower and change, but not before I had some requisite post-run fuel. LOVE my Picky Bars!
Now that I'm changed and blinged out, time to go cheer my friend Danielle on to the finish of the half!
Danielle made it and even got a 15 minute PR from her previous half!! It was hot and brutal for her, considering the course ran out of water at the last 3 stops before the finish!! Bad form, BMO! The full marathoners hadn't even gotten to that point yet and they wouldn't have water either. Poor planning.
Overall, the race was good, except for the strange start times for the distances and the fact that they ran out of water (and cups!) at the most crucial parts of the course on a day the race operators knew would be really hot. I would definitely do this race again and sign up for the half this time around. I'll just remember to keep my water bottles full until the end of the course. :)
I had such a great time with all the people I met on the course and the ladies I was hanging out with. I LOVE Vancouver and I'm proud to say that I RAN VAN!


  1. It looks like a really nice course! Happy for you that you got back out there and ran :)

    1. Oh Jen, the course was so beautiful and peaceful...and cool! With so many trees it helped to keep the heat down for my run!

  2. Yay for a race recap! It sounds like a great race to get back to after an injury. What a beautiful area to run! Ok, you reminded me, I have to tell me how to take a picture while running. Do you stop for a sec? Walk for a sec? Or do you actually get a good shot like those WHILE running? I have tried to practice (I need to practice for the Princess, right? LOL) and they are ALWAYS blurry! :p

    1. YAY! LOVE race recaps! The course really was beautiful, I did enjoy it a lot!
      I do stop for a sec, hold my breath and take a picture. I have taken shots while running, hence my blurry one on this post, and they usually are not clear and focused. So I line up the shot while I'm running, then just pause for a second, take the picture and then continue on running.

    2. Ok, that makes sense! I have done that before as well but didn't know if it would really hurt my time...I guess if it's a race like the Princess where I am just aiming for a finish, not a PR (b/c it's going to be a PR either way! LOL) then it won't be an issue.

    3. It doesn't actually take a lot of time, nor slow me down all that much. I would equate the time I took to take all my pictures on the course to the time it would take to walk and drink a small cup of water at the aid station. If you prep your camera while running, then literally pause for a second and take the shot, it's very minimal time.
      Now character stops...that's a whole different animal. I would equate almost an hour of my time from the Princess this year to standing in lines for pictures (oh, and also my interview with runDisneyTV). :) But those lines can really knock your finishing time up a lot, I was VERY surprised when I saw how long it was taking me to finish. I just kept telling myself it was for fun and not for time.

    4. I'm torn about the character stops! I keep thinking if I just pick a couple then it won't take THAT much time. I must have main street photos and castle photos, but other than that I'm not married to the idea of any of the characters. The pirates and the princes maybe. Should I do them on the way out (dark) or on the way back in (sweaty mess)?? What do you think?

    5. It's tough to decide which ones to wait for and which ones to pass. DEFINITELY get the pirate pic on the way back in the day time. It is too dark in the morning to get a good pic and the line is atrocious. Same with the Princes if you can wait. I wanted to get my pic with the villans so I waited in an INSANE 20+ minute line to get my pic with them. That was my longest line for sure.
      Main Street and Castle photos are a MUST! You can never get too many of those!!

    6. I love taking picture of the races (and my runs in general!). I agree that it doesn't take much time to do! At the PHM, I was dead set against taking pictures with the characters, and then I saw the first line and got caught up in the fun of it all!!! As I waited to get my picture with the pirates, I was frustrated with myself for stopping, but it was so much fun to chat with all the runners in line, that I threw my "no picture" idea out the window and stopped for every photo opportunity for the rest of the race!! I really don't know what I was thinking, no pictures at a Disney race?! lol! I was just nervous about not finishing because I was running injured! My line time was about 1.3 hours!!! But I was having a great time!

    7. EXACTLY! My line time was CRAZY long and I was so mad at my finish time. But I knew I was doing this run for the fun, not to PR. So once I reminded myself of that bargain, I had fun and took EVERY picture opportunity that I could...then ran my tail off so I wouldn't get swept! HA!

    8. Another note on the picture taking- if you're using a camera (as opposed to a phone), when you push the shutter button down, hold it down instead of letting it go right away like you normally would. Sounds crazy, I know, but when you push and let go, it shakes the camera ever so slightly and can affect your pictures. Also a good for pictures in low light. :)

    9. Good to know! I will keep that in mind when I run my next race. I go between a camera and my phone camera, depends on how quickly I want to upload pics!

  3. So glad you had a great race and that you didn't have any pain! I'm a sucker for bling as well. :)

    1. Thanks Kim! It was a good race and it felt great getting back into it!
      Though I have a feeling that I can be talked into almost any race if you tell me there is bling at the end. Except for marathons, my sisters father-in-law tried to convince me to run a marathon this December and I laughed at him.