Race Report: Vancouver Historic Half 2014

One of my lunch time running buddies wanted to try her first 10k and suggested that we do the Vancouver Historic Half/10k/5k race. This seemed like a great idea during the mild October weather we had been having. She and a couple others from our running group signed up for the 10k distance, but I opted for the half, wanting to get one more in before the holidays. Fast forward a month to below freezing temperatures and I was deeply regretting having signed up for the frigid race.

I participated in the Vancouver Historic Half last year so this was my second time subjecting myself to the chilly November half marathon. However, this year was even colder than last. The only saving grace is that it starts and ends at the Stanley Park Pavilion, which means you can wait inside the warm building before the race and hurry in there after. Also, there’s real washrooms and heated ones at that!

The 5k and 10k races are out and back routes along the sea wall, whereas the half is two laps around the park. It’s the only race I’ve done that requires laps, something that can be a struggle mentally (so close to the finish line, yet so far!).

The half marathon group set off first with the 10ks and 5ks delayed a couple minutes each. We had been huddled at the start line bouncing around to keep warm but when we took off I felt instantly colder. A few minutes into the race, a lady passing me commented on how her feet were still frozen, assuming that we would have warmed up by now. I commented that I thought my feet were getting even colder, my toes having started to go numb.

Eventually I warmed up to a reasonable temperature. I had worn full length Lululemon pants, a long sleeve shirt, my Nike jacket (warmer than it looks), and a Buff headband which turned out to be the perfect outfit. The difference between being in the sun versus the shade was noticeable, and I knew I had to keep moving to stay warm.

Although it was freezing out, it was a truly beautiful day. I regret not stopping to take some photos. There were blue skies, picturesque mountains, and calm seas. Icicles had formed on some of the cliffs facing the ocean and there were birds EVERYWHERE! … Seagulls, mallards, Canadian geese, some sort of cool-looking black and white ducks in large groups just hanging out.

I took a quick bathroom break before the halfway point with the added difficulty of my hands being numb. I picked up my pace after to warm up again. Feeling pretty good going into the second lap, I was happy to take in all the sights all over again. This time the few icy patches along the path had started to turn to slush in the sunshine (still very slippery though).

I went by some of the 10k runners on their way back to the finish line and saw an ambulance leave (I’m not sure what happened, but I heard that the runner is okay). At first I wondered if I’d see my friends on their way back or if they had already passed. Then, further along, I hoped that I wouldn’t see them as it would have meant that they were struggling.

There were a few runners nearby me all moving along at similar paces. I could hear a lady running behind me for a while. She later passed me and I caught up to her near the end. I saw her inside the Stanley Park Pavilion while I was cramming a bagel and an orange in my face. She said hi and good-naturedly (I think?) commented on how my blindingly reflective jacket motivate her to pass me. I chuckled and told her I usually wear it at night but it was my warmest running jacket. I’m still not 100% sure if she was politely hinting that I should never wear that jacket around other people or just making friendly conversation.

After standing around eating my post-race food, I realized that I was FREEZING cold. I’ve done a few Try Events races now and my only criticism is that there is no coffee at the end of the races I’ve participated in, at least not that I’ve seen! I LOVE COFFEE – it is warm and tasty. Please find a coffee sponsor to hand out free coffees to me after your events! I’d even pay for one, providing I had money on me!

I made a mad dash for my car with my jaw chattering so badly that my head was vibrating. I cranked the heat, changed into my sweat pants and other warm, dry clothes, and headed home. I had finished the race in just over 2 hours and 8 minutes. This seems to be my standard “I want to enjoy the race” half marathon time. I wore my medal around my neck until I got home and placed it on my medal rack (AKA tie rack) with the others.

I caught up with the other girls by text message. For some reason they didn’t want to stand around an extra hour waiting for me to finish … I don’t know why! They finished the 10k in 1:05 and 1:08! So proud of them!

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