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!