Posts Tagged ‘Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon’

It was 5:15am, slowly it was time to get out of bed.  My ride to the race was coming to pick me up at 6am. I grabbed a mini-bagel with peanut butter and my homemade jam a teeny bit of coffee and got dressed. I didn’t really know what to wear as it was pretty cloudy — with one horrible dark grey cloud over my neighborhood. I ended up no bringing anything warm but did wear my long running tights and a short sleeved shirt (not the race shirt itself, I never wear that until after the race). At the start it was perfect, I was chilly but not completely uncomfortable. We got to the start line around 6:30 (after waiting in stupid traffic) and I spent ages waiting in the portapotty line up. I don’t know if it was just slow, there were fewer available, or that being located farther away from the center of campus meant that fewer people could find bathrooms to use. But it worked out, I did my thing and got to my meeting point on time.

What on earth was I doing so early this morning? The Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon.  It’s a beautiful race, it starts up at UBC and takes us around campus a bit, down Marine Drive, along the beach, 4th Avenue, Point Grey Road, Past Kits Beach, Over the Burrard Street Bridge and ending up in Stanley Park:

Some call it the most scenic Vancouver Half Marathon. I’d agree with that! It’s a great race course, and I particularly love it because it’s part of my usual running neighborhood. They changed the course slightly so that we don’t loop as long on 16th as in the past — and we get more time at UBC before we head down the hill. I think this is a great change!

I run this race every year. This year, we started off nice and steady, I felt strong throughout the race — other than my foot bugging me near the end (I’ve had a nagging injury), I don’t think I pushed it as much as I could have going down marine drive but we had a rule — hills either up or down we keep running. As it turns out we only skipped one walk break, the rest of the hills were timed pretty well. I’d brought enough hydration for myself, and only got water once to dump on my head. By about 10k I began to regret wearing what I wore because it became a GORGEOUS day!  I was definitely wearing too much, but I wore the wrong bra — so I had on a standard sports bra rather than the more stylish kind that can be worn alone. Had I chosen the correct bra, I would have stripped down to it for the last part of the race.

At roughly 15k my running partner started to fade. She’d told me at the start of the run that her hip was bugging her and that if she decided to stop and walk a bit more that I should go on ahead.  So I did. I tried to keep up my pace, and I haven’t checked my garmin data yet, but I felt strong. I kept going but at around 18k my nagging big toe joint injury (dance related, I believe) I knew it was okay enough to keep going so I tried to push through it. 18k is roughly at the start of the burrard street bridge, and was exactly where I was standing for the Vancouver Marathon not that long ago. It meant the world. It was exactly that moment when my energy was flagging and I was digging deep to make it up that last hill.  They made me smile as they jumped and screamed for me!

I made it to the end feeling strong and happy with how I’d done.  I knew I was no where near my course PB but given the foot thing, the winter’s dislocated ribs and the 1000 other insane things that have gone on I was in a great position. My long term goal of breaking 2 hours is still far off.  But the coolest thing is this is the first time I’ve heard my name announced as I crossed the finish line! It made me find that teeny bit more.

You know, really, I have only one criticism of this race: the race fair. I love the fairs, generally it’s a chance to see what other races are out there, see different businesses in the running community. Sometimes organic or natural fuel (gels, drinks etc) are there — given my new no dairy thing I’m looking to change my fuel. But this time there were a couple of booths that are always there. I was pretty disappointed, because as much as I love Sporty Jewels, I wasn’t going to be buying anything this year. There was nothing there worth visiting.

But all in all it was a great race. After the race, I spent time with my running peeps comparing our days, and then we all went home to shower and change before our traditional post-race brunch. I spent the rest of the afternoon pampering myself and relaxing.

So today was a great day, even though my 2008 race will still stand as my course PB.

So what’s next?

  • Bootcamp — we’re doing another session of bootcamp. I’m hoping that I can get to that next level of fitness, break through a fitness blockade I think I have up and build more strength. This will mean being very diligent with my nutrition, and lots of careful planning — both for meals and for fitting in my workouts.  It’s going to be hectic, but I hope I will achieve my goals.
  • Marathon — I’m going to start training for my Second Full Marathon. The plan is do to the Portland Marathon on October 4th, 2009. It’s a bit of a challenge to me to train for this marathon, given summer and holidays and travel plans. But it’s important to me to be strong and healthy when the bend in the road happens. So, October is early, so it’s my first post-bend goal.  More about fitness goals later.
  • Yoga — I need to do more yoga. After bootcamp’s done I’m going to use yoga to complement my running.
  • Planning ahead — I need to spend some time planning my workout schedule from now until the end of the year. It’s going to vary month to month depending on schedules but, as a friend pointed out, I owe it to myself to make my health and fitness a priority. So I will sit down and have consistent goals. I may plan to run the half marathon in Seattle late November. But, that’s to be considered and planned.

For the next few days though I’m going to be taking it easy, hot yoga tomorrow, easy jog Tuesday (if I have the energy to wake up early in the morning), long slow run Wednesday morning (if my legs feel okay). Then it will be hours and hours of dancing in Austin, Texas! For now though it’s time to sleep and rest well from today’s race as I dream about the future and think about my future plans — in all areas of my life.


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It’s a small consolation for not going to a blues party in Portland tonight. I’ll admit that driving 10 hours for a short party (there and back) is not my favourite idea of fun — especially with not sharing the driving.  But I was prepared to go, but my gut said ‘BAD IDEA’ this morning. Fortunately my passenger felt the same way so we called it. Instead today, after my last long run before the Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon I came home and relaxed a bit and convinced myself that a $0.50/Ib savings is worth it to drive to Langley for Strawberries rather than staying closer and going to Richmond.

So I did went and got a flat of strawberries, grabbing another bundle of Rhubarb while it’s in season too. Maybe I’ll make more Strawberry Rhubarb muffins like these from last week:

Strawberry Rhubarb Muffin

There are a few places to get berries around the lower mainland. I’ve done some pricing. It’s always cheaper to do U Pick but that’s pretty time consuming and more fun to do with friends. So I just bought a total of two flats. Besides my time is worth more than the $0.50/Ib savings it is to do U Pick. So I’ll have just under 30 Ibs of strawberries frozen which will hopefully be a wonderful treat in the dead of winter while I’m busy and stressed (I’m not going to make Strawberry Jam this year — I still have lots from last year — not to mention blueberry and blackberry. I think this summer I’ll plan to make two batches of raspberry jam. I think that will get me through, at least until next summer)!  Plus, buying these local berries is much cheaper than the individually quick frozen berries sold at Costco (my fallback if I run out before this time next year), so I think in the interest of planning for what’s next, this is a fantastic way to save money. I’m trying to stock up right now so that I have a deep freezer full of basics I can use. Frozen local fruit (in season), chicken, veggies, and lots of soups and freezer meals. I want to be ready for the busy-ness of the fall, the inability to find time or the energy to cook — and I want to be ready to keep myself from eating out too much.

My strawberry adventure took me to langley — last week’s flat was from Krause Farms, this weeks from Driediger Farms. It would have been delightful to share that with friends and make a fun adventure out of it, but alas, this time it was just me. Quick in and out, but this farm had a lovely picnic area, a place to get fresh fruit smoothies, the chance to get tours of the farm and it was very pretty!! I’ll be going back for blueberries and for raspberries later this summer (blackberries I’ll pick at the cabin as always), and hopefully the upcoming Blueberry and/or Raspberry Adventures will be shared.

Speaking of eating out. Yesterday I ended up eating out twice, and need to nip that in the bud. It can’t keep happening — I need to limit that to special occasions, there have to be other inexpensive ways to hang out with people that don’t involve restaurants!  So I’m spending a lot of time thinking and planning and am trying to find tips and techniques that will help me to save funds. What are your tips and techniqes to save money and reduce your budget? What do you do with your friends that are cheap or free so that you’re not constantly spending money to be social?

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Last night I had the hardest time getting to sleep, but such has been the case of late. It was mildly frustrating though because I knew I was getting up at 5am to eat properly before today’s half marathon.

Today was my third time running the Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon and it was a bittersweet day. Other than not sleeping well, I awoke feeling ready to face today. I had my usual pre-race breakfast of oatmeal, a banana and yoghurt.   I spent the rest of my time puttering about and getting ready for the race. All those last minute details — gels, keys, sunglasses.  Paul, my running group coordinator, picked me up at 6am and we were at the start line at UBC at 6:20am with a vanload: 8 people and a large boisterous chocolate lab.

After a final pit stop, losing each other a few times and general chaos, we were at the start.  I was over the start line about a minute after the gun went off, and started off nice and steady.  I found my breathing was really laboured today, probably some effects from some sort of allergy that’s had my congested and sneezing and coughing all week. Also, my heart rate shot up and stayed up the entire race. The first 8k were around the campus and is generally full of small rolling hills that until you run a race on them, you don’t notice.  Then we headed down the long hill at NW Marine DR and along the beach. I knew by the time I reached 8k that today wasn’t going to be any PB, I just wasn’t feeling great. So I settled into my, slower, full marathon pace and decided to enjoy the morning. It was a gorgeous morning! 1000x better than last year! For anyone who ran the race last year who is reading this, you will remember feeling like an icy drowned rat. It was wet and cold. I was so wet last year I had to hold my pants up to keep them from falling off, they were very heavy and saggy with water.

Not this year. I couldn’t ask for more perfect race conditions, it makes me wish I was having a better race day. It was overcast when I woke up but the report said no chance of rain. So I dressed quite lightly and even by the time we were waiting at the start it getting brighter and brighter. But it was still with high light cloud, which is really great because it meant I hardly needed my sunglasses, and we weren’t dying from the heat as we were in the 2006 race.

By the end of the race, I just pushed myself to finish. I wished I had a runnig partner with the same goals as me so we could commit to working towards the goals together, I usually find that when I run with a partner we push each other when we each need it and we both run faster, and more consistent together than alone.  Not long now, though until my running partner’s baby’s born. I know she’ll need to adjust and recover, but I hope she’ll soon be back in running form. I miss her particularly on days like today.

Crossing the finishline was good. I was glad to be done the run, this route is one of my favourites, and I certainly run it for pleasure when I go out for runs! But, how I was feeling at today’s race made me sigh with a bit of frustration at how I was feeling. That being said, checking my time compared with last year, I am about 1min faster this year than last year, so it’s a course record for me. So that’s positive. But it’s also about 5min slower than my PB, and it’s about the same time as my marathon split, so essentially not that long ago I was able to do the same thing as today, but twice. Yikes.

Looking at my Garmin data, I can always tell when I’m struggling — my average HR was quite high, and didn’t ever drop. That’s always a sign that I’m not doing well physically. Last time that happened on a run, I ended up with bronchitis for 2 weeks and I ended up starting my new job with no voice.  So tonight I start ColdFX to help make sure I stay healthy.

So my plans:

1. DO YOGA! I really feel stiff, inflexible and sore, so I need to get some yoga done. I’m going to see if I can find a Saturday morning class on Granville Island so I can still meet up with my gang post run.

2. Train for the OIM (Full — Canadian Thanksgiving) with my running room running group (Sunday mornings).

3. Find a bootcamp that runs 3x/week for August and likely September.  I really need to get some cross training in.

4. Think seriously about repairing, or replacing my bicycle so that I can cycle commute to things more.

5. Find a half to run for around the end of August.

After the race was over, we hung out and cheered everyone on and flaked out wrapped in the thermal blankets.  Then one of my running buds and I went to Kits pool and sat in the shallow end to help our legs.  It was very soothing.  Not quite an ice bath but it was relaxing. After the pool we met the gang for our traditional post-race lunch at Milestones and then went to a beach BBQ where I’m afraid I wasn’t very social. By this time it was hot and gorgeous so I flaked out on the grass and napped in the sunshine. Unfortunately I missed another event I was supposed to attend, but I was so wiped I just needed to nap.  And that’s just what I’ve spent this evening doing. Napping. So now I have no food for lunch tomorrow, so I’ll likely have to buy something. But I’m feeling refreshed and ready to re-vamp and change my training for the rest of this year. Who knows, maybe I’ll get my goal PB yet in 2008.

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