I heard about the Vancouver First Half when I started my last round of marathon training. I didn’t sign up for it, however and it sold out in a day. It’s a popular race for runners training for the BMO Vancouver Marathon because it’s around the time when you’re starting to do distances over 20km (if you follow the Running a Room training plan or similar). Also, it’s in its 26th year, very well organized, and a beautiful route. Last year I ran the Fort Langley Historic Half which occurs around the same time.
They don’t tell you what time registration starts so I woke up at the crack of dawn to see if it had opened. It was, so I signed both Jesse and I up and went back to bed. Pretty much everyone else I know signed up too including my friend (and marathon training counterpart) and her husband. It would be his first half marathon, and as I later found out, his first race over 5k.
The day of the race we carpooled downtown and searched for parking. We ended up in a spot with a 2-hour time limit BUT it was free until 9am. It was just after 8am when we parked so I set the alarm on my phone for 9am and used the pay-by-phone app during the race to put 2 hours on the meter.
After running on Saturday and realizing how warm out it was, I decided that I would wear shorts and a light, long-sleeve shirt for the race. I also wore my flipbelt with my phone, a bag of dry mangos, and a bag of dried figs in it and sported my Run Like a Girl buff. I used the Glympse iPhone app to transmit my location to my parents who were spectating in Stanley Park.
We walked down to the start line and into the back of the corrals. It was a bit brisk out but I knew I’d be warm once I started running. The national anthem was sung and the gun/firecracker went off!
Jesse and I ran together and my friend ran with her husband. It seemed an appropriate tactic for Valentine’s weekend. We carried along at a 6-something pace amazed at the beautiful views of the fog lifting off Vancouver. I snacked on my dried fruit and drank sports drink at all the stations.
Near the end, Jesse started to fall behind and told me to go ahead. But I hadn’t ran this far with him to not cross the finish line together! I slowed down a bit but once the finish line was in sight he said “let’s sprint!”
Our time was 2:17:54. We got our fancy medals and headed over to where our parents were spectating to watch our friends finish. We later all went out for a celebratory lunch at Boston Pizza.