Wow, it has been while since my last post!
Today I completed the Vancouver Historic Half which I somehow convinced a couple of my friends and Jesse to do with me. It was their first half, my second half, and Jesse’s third half. The route was two laps around the scenic Stanley Park, keeping mainly to the sea wall and included breathtaking views of the west coast.
We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day – the skies were clear, the ocean was calm, and the air was crisp. It was a little chilly, but hey, it is the end of November! I wore my usual Lululemon full length “wonder under” pants with a Nike hoodie with a high collar to keep my neck warm, a Running Room head band which covered my ears, and those cheap little gloves you get from the drug store for a dollar. I threw caution to the wind and wore my new running socks and new SPIbelt even though I’ve heard you shouldn’t wear new gear during a race.
I didn’t know what to expect for this race. It took quite a while for me to fully recover from my first half a couple months ago. Every time I went for a run after, even a short run, something would hurt or ache. I’m not sure whether it was because I finished a little too strong, because I didn’t move around and stretch enough after I finished, or if it was simply because I had ran 21 km for the first time ever!
During this round of half marathon training, I was unsure whether I was improving or fighting to get back to where I was at before my first half marathon. My longest run in October was only 11.5 km and it was painful. I didn’t feel fully recovered until November rolled around and I was able to complete 16 km, 19 km, and 15 km long runs. Since it is now dark in the mornings and dark when I get home from work, I have been waking up early to run on the treadmill. I felt like I was working hard but was going painfully slow. Despite my struggles, I still managed to log 11 training runs in October, for a total of 77.5 km, and 9 training runs in November, for a total of 89 km.
To my surprise, I felt great and once the crowd thinned out I was running at a good pace. There was a great forward momentum when the 10 km and 5 km runners joined us after their delay starts. After their turn around points (their routes were out-and-back whereas the half was two laps around the park), the herd thinned out and I had to consciously push myself forward and keep from falling back into an easy pace. Slowly and steadily I passed other runners.
At 17 km, I realized that I had a shot at finishing in under two hours. I was still going strong and didn’t want to finish the race with excess energy. I took it up a notch … or two. At 19 km I had a sharp pain in my shoulder and a cramp in my side. I had to slow down a bit but still tried to power through focusing on breathing. There was a short hill at the end and I crossed the finish line at … 2 hours and 30 seconds. Even thought I didn’t quite make it, I am really happy with my time and I managed to shave 8 minutes of my previous half. Plus, now I can save the under two hours goal for my next one.