The very hyped Vancouver Rock ‘n’ Roll half marathon took place on Sunday, October 26. I had already registered for this race when I was invited to a friend’s wedding on the Saturday of that same weekend. I was determined to do both but I wasn’t sure how that would turn out for me.
The wedding and the race were both happening downtown. I looked into getting a hotel room to avoid driving home Saturday night and then back again in the morning, cutting into precious time that could be spent sleeping. I soon realized I’m too cheap to spend $100+ for a hotel room. Luckily, my friend offered to let us crash out her pull-out couch.
Jesse and I had a great time at the wedding and I partook in a few drinks, lots of food, and some dancing. We decided to leave at about 11:00pm even though the dance floor was still bumping. By the time we got to my friend’s place, made the bed, and climbed into bed it was probably closer to midnight.
Worried that I had had a little too much to drink, I woke up several times during the night to chug a glass of water. I also partially stirred Vega Pre-Workout Energizer sample that I happened to have in my bag thinking it was an electrolyte powder. Despite the pull-out couch being unexpectedly comfortable, I had a pretty terrible sleep.
The race started at 8:15am so I got up at 7:00am and was pleasantly surprised to find that it wasn’t raining. I had brought many clothing options but chose to wear a pair of black capris, a t-shirt, a super light jacket, and a Buff headband. I pinned my bib to my t-shirt and put the timing chip loop on my shoe. We headed out a little later than I had planned and then had difficulty finding parking. I hadn’t even eaten breakfast yet so I jumped out of the car near a Starbucks and got a muffin.
I realized that I had left my gels and snacks in the trunk as Jesse drove away.I knew there was only one gel station during the race and that I’d definitely need to hit it up. As I headed over the the corrals, I ran into two runners that I know from the Running Room marathon training clinic that I did earlier this year. I got to my corral (or what I thought was my corral) just in time. I heard my name and turned around to see another runner that had been in the same marathon clinic as me.
The race started and corrals began to be released. As I inched my way forward I noticed a sign in front of me that said corral 10. I had thought I was in corral 8 but it turns out I wasn’t, which is probably a good thing because as soon as I crossed the start line I realized that everyone was faster than me.
It felt like everyone was passing me. I looked at my watch and it said that I was actually running a faster pace than I typically have been recently. But yet I felt so slow! I told myself not to worry about it and that my goal was just to make it to the finish and get the bad-ass medal. I hadn’t planned or trained appropriately to run this half fast. The best I could do was hope to enjoy it and try not to throw up or burnout.
A few kilometres in I crossed paths with yet another runner from the marathon training clinic. I recognized his calf tattoo as he passed me (of course). I caught up and we had a quick chat before I eased off back to my slow pace. And so I continued on averaging about 6 minutes per kilometre feeling like so many people were passing me that sooner or later I’d be at the end of the pack.
Since it was a Rock ‘n’ Roll race there were a number of music stations set up with bands, singer, or radio stations blasting music. I seemed to have bad timing because I caught several bands in between songs or tuning their guitars but the music stations that I did hear were fantastic!
At about the half way mark I did something that I’ve never done during a race before. I stopped to use the bathroom! It cost me a few minutes off my time, but I knew I wasn’t going to set a PR anyway.
I carried on through Stanley Park feeling surprisingly great and now knowing that I could make it to the finish line. I came across a woman dressed as a “snitch” from Harry Potter, which was amazing. I also passed a man lying off the the side seeming to be having a medical emergency. There were already people attending to him and calling for help so I carried on hoping that he was okay. Not long after, an ambulance and firetruck passed us runners going the other direction. Everyone very efficiently got over to one side of the road to allow the vehicles through. I never heard anything in the news so I hope it wasn’t serious and that he made a full recovery.
On the final stretch I saw a man on the sidelines with a camera and Tilley hat and realized that it was my dad. I didn’t realize that he was coming downtown to cheer me on. I met up with him and Jesse after I finished and we headed home right away. I was already starting to get cold and I had warm, dry clothes in the car calling my name. I didn’t even hang around long enough to use my free beer ticket that came with the registration!
The Vancouver Rock ‘n’ Roll Half marks the fifth half marathon I have completed. I ended up finishing with a time of 02:08:54, which is neither a personal best nor a personal worst, and which is strangely similar to the time of the first half marathon I ever did back in September 2013.