6:15am. I woke before the alarm, but I didn’t want to get out of bed yet. The sun was out, it was early & it looked gorgeous out, but I wanted a few more moments of the nice warm comfy bed before I began the brutal attack I was about to embark on.
6:45am. My shorts, runners, bib & fuel were all waiting on the floor for me. I got ready & headed downstairs to wake up my sleeping angels. They were excited to be cheering me on, but I knew the early wake~up time was going to hurt them
7:05 am. We were out of the house & off to hit a Starbucks. I had a latte before my 10k & thought it was a cool thing to continue. Plus the caffiene could only help get me started on such an early morning!
I’ve never felt the kind of energy that was at the starting line. Over 3800 people (not including the over 1300 doing the 5k) stretching, laughing, checking straps & warming up. It was beyond electric. I quickly kissed my 3 man cheering team & went to find a place amongst the runners. I wasn’t nervous, or scared. I was curious to see if I could finish it, & if I could at what time (& cost). When I signed up for the 1/2 what seems like ages ago, I had to make a guess as to what time I would finish. I had absolutely no idea, so I did what any crazy person would do, took a total uneducated guess! Maybe it wasn’t so uneducated. I knew at that time that I could do a 5k with Callym (my 8yr old) in about 30 minutes. So I multiplied that by 4 & added a bit more for walking stints. 2 hours & 16 minutes was my guess. We’d see!
Before today I entertained a few race schedules. I wanted to make it easy to keep going. I didn’t want to push so hard that I was unable to finish. I came up with 5k run & 1k walk, 4k run & 1 minute walks…. It was all just numbers in the end. I didn’t know what was going to happen! When I do my ‘training’ there are a ton of 14% hills to contend with & I wasn’t sure there were going to be many of those. Numbers can sometimes lie….
7:25am. A loud voice yells out. “Five Minutes till Start Time. Five Minutes”
I have to go pee.
7:28am. The voice is back. “Two minutes till Start Time. Two minutes”
Everyone is starting to make their way to the front now. I follow them because I don’t want to be left behind. I don’t want to start in the back or the middle, so I make my way up as far as I can. I don’t hear a gun or anything, but all of a sudden everyone is running. I smile. And run. I’m looking for my cheer team. They’re there on the right waving with big smiles. I wave back. I’m running!
As in every race I’ve run the first km seems the longest. My music is playing (Adele), my fuel is jumping around in my shorts pockets, but there is no sign of the 1k. I’ve never been to this area of Vancouver so I don’t know what to expect. But the view, I’ve been told, is going to be worth it.
2km. So far so good.
3km. I see flashing police lights up ahead. I wonder what’s going on. An accident? Someone’s hurt or in trouble?
Then I hear the cheers & I see them. There are 4 young guys running! There was an article that talked about some Olympic athletes that were doing this 1/2 as their last stop before London. I wonder if it’s them. It looks like they are what’s making the wind. It’s so incredible seeing that, that I actually feel a lump in my throat….
whaaaaaaaat? Am I crying? In a race? WTF is the matter with me. I shake it off, but not in time because here comes the first woman runner of the pack. And that’s when it happens. I’m crying. Running & Crying. (For the record, that’s a Real Hard thing to do)!
Now I’m wondering (in my naive mind) how far ahead they are. If I’m at 3k, they’re at 5? 6? I look down, it’s 14 minutes. Must be 5k, but I make a mental note as to where they are so I can double-check.
I pick up the pace & Adele sings out ‘chasing pavement’.
5km. I have a personal best now. I just finished 5k in under 27 minutes.
6km. I walk a little. I want to try to walk an entire km, but that doesn’t happen. I feel antsy, & it’s not fun. So I start running again. Still no sign of where the leaders were when I saw them.
I need fuel. Vega to the rescue!
Finally! There it is. This is where I saw them. The wind makers & the amazing woman runner. Intimidating, Incredible & Inspiring all at once.
8km. I still need to pee, but the line up for the porta~potties is 10 long. I keep running.
9km. Calf stretch.
10km. My time is better than the 10k I did last month. I smile again!
This area of Vancouver IS amazing. The breathtaking views are keeping the smile on my face. I can see Mountains, Incredible Estates, the Ocean & Majikal Forests. Then all of a sudden I do a double take on the man on the side of the road. It looks a little like my Uncle Norman…. Wait a minute, it IS him!! I’m waving & smiling. I want to yell out ‘Uncle Norman, I’m here’! But then he sees me & it’s so cool! This entire run I’ve seen people yelling & screaming for family, holding up signs for friends & taking photos. & now there is someone (besides of course my incredible supportive & wonderful men!) that’s there. It was something quite unexpected, & so I did what any 1/2 Marathon runner would do.
(again, VERY hard to run & cry at the same time)
14k. I’m running through an area called Grey Point. I was told that David Suzuki may still live around here. His is the Charity that I’m running for. It’s beautiful around here. I cry.
15k. Porta~Potty line up is short so I finally go.
16k. Fuel again. I pick up the pace.
17k. I just realized that this is the longest I’ve ever run. What happened that my 16+ milestone slipped by me? Calf stretch & 1 minute walk.
19k. Nearly there. I walk up the bridge. I forced myself to walk up most of the bridge so I could run the entire rest of the way. It’s hard to have all these people run by me, but I know it’s ok.
20k. There are signs everywhere. You’re nearly there they say. Gosh I hope so, my legs are sore, my insteps are killing me, & I’m just tired of crying! But I pick up the pace again. I didn’t come here to just run. I want to crush my first 1/2 Marathon!
Then I see it. I hear it too. You can’t not hear it. I’m nearly there. Wait…. that lump in my throat is back….
Why is this race such an emotional thing for me?
I’m scanning the crowd now like a computer scans for new software. I want to see my Cheer team. I’m worried I’ll miss them thru the tears.
I see them. Smiling & cheering! I pick up the pace as much as I can to cross the finish line.
I see the time. It says 2:17.
I’m a little disappointed actually, as funny as that sounds, but I missed my time by a minute!
I was handed my medal & found my boys. Sore legs & a thirst I needed to quench, we walked around the park picking up banana’s, cookies, water & juice. The place was packed. It was such a great feeling, just being around all these amazing athletes that had just put their bodies thru an amazing & at times brutal endurance.
It turns out that my time is actually 2hours, 15 minutes. So I did crush it. I did it. And I’m so proud! My Cousin came by to say hi aswell. So sweet to have so much support!
I spent the rest of the day walking (crazy right) around Vancouver. We hit Ikea, Gorilla Foods, Toys R Us & a few more places. I wore my medal. Can you tell how proud I am?
Over all I must admit that this was an INCREDIBLE experience. It’s something that I want to do again & again. But maybe only once or twice a year. For my main run, I think I’ll be very happy to stick with (& improve on) my 10k.
How do you feel about Running? 1/2 Marathons & 10k? Do you run them, do you think people who run are crazy (like I did just 3 short years ago)? What did you do this weekend?
quick note: a Big Huge Congrats to everyone I know who went out & did the Tough Mudder in Whistler! You guys are amazing!!!