On Sunday I ran my second-ever marathon and my second-ever BMO Vancouver Marathon! Last year when I ran it the weather was wet, windy, and miserable but we lucked out with the weather this time. It was a beautiful day!
The forecast had called for sunshine and highs of 18ºC so I had picked out my BibRave tank top and Nike shorts in advance. I decided that I would wear my hydration vest since I had been training with it and I needed pockets to stash gels, chews, Body Glide, and my giant iPhone 6. There were lots of water stations and I didn’t want my pack to to be too heavy so I only carried a little bit of water in it. My shoes of choice were my purple Nike Zoom Pegasus 31 Flash which are super comfortable and I always get compliments on! I finished off my outfit with my favourite pair of Under Armour socks and a Saucony hat to keep the sun off my face.
Jesse drove me and a couple friends down to Queen Elizabeth park and would later meet us at the finish line. He wished me luck as we made our way over to the corrals. The three of us planned to run together but we had all technically had been placed in different corrals. We chose the middle one, where another group of running friends were. A volunteer gave us a hard time about being in the wrong corrals but eventually just walked away frustrated. I’ve never seen anyone actually care. We were in the right corral for the our planned time, just not the times we had all input into the registration over four months ago.
We weren’t in the corrals long before the national anthem was played and the countdown began. Less than 10 minutes from gun time, we were outta there! Right away I could feel stiffness from my legs, I assume from the slopitch double header I had played on Friday evening. I hoped that they would loosen up after a couple kilometres but soon realized that wasn’t going to be the case. I came to the realization that it was going to be a repeat of last year. This time I had an advantage though … I knew even if my legs felt like lead, that I would make it to the end! Besides, things could be worse … I could have been running a marathon in full firefighter gear!!!
I continued along drinking, sweating, chatting, and putting one foot in front of the other. By the halfway mark my legs felt like they should at the end of a 35 km run. The good thing about feeling terrible for a good portion of a long run is that you don’t seem to hit the wall. The whole thing is a wall, or more like a giant swap that you are trying to trudge through.
Despite the discomfort, I was in good spirits. I had great company, beautiful scenery, and friends and family waiting at the finish line. What’s a few hours of suffering anyway?
We passed a race photographer and I decided to do a jump pose, which I instantly regretted. I’m not sure what possessed me to do that!
As we powered up the Burrard Street Bridge I took solace in knowing I had the home field advantage now. This was my turf! I’ve ran the bridge and portions of the sea wall on numberous occasions. My dad was waiting after the bridge and caught a couple photos of me as I ran by (practically a blur, I’m sure).
I saw a half marathon participant wearing his medal near the entrance to Stanley Park. Until that point, I hadn’t even thought about the medal! Now I HAD to make it to the finish line!
Shortly after we passed under the Lion’s Gate Bridge we talked to a volunteer on a bike. He informed us that the back of the pack was just reaching the halfway point and we could walk or crawl to the finish line and still make it in time. Whew! But luckily it didn’t come to that!
We wound our way along the sea wall to the finish line on Pender Street downtown. FINALLY it was almost over! Friends and family cheered me on those finally few hundred meetings into the finishers chute where I felt like my legs might collapse at any moment. I got my medal from John Stanton, got a couple photos takes, and grabbed all the food I could see.
I proceeded to make my way out of the chute where Jesse was waiting for me. I urgently sat on my favourite post-marathon curb to regain my composure, wash the salt off my face, and drink a juice box. After a few minutes I hobbled over to get some photos with friends and family.
Jesse took us back to the car to change before going for lunch with everyone. I don’t think it’s ever taken me so long to put on clothes – my legs almost cramped a couple times! I put on my new amazing shirt from my friends at Run Like A Girl, a pair of comfy shorts, and my Sketchers.
The whole big group of us went to the nearby Cactus Club for lunch where I demolished a very satisfying veggie burger, fries, and a beer.
We headed home after a quick stop at Starbucks. I used my free birthday drink to get a venti soy s’more frappuccino. It was freaking delicious!
My goals for the race had been:
- Finish in under my precious time of 04:20!
- Just finish!
- Have fun!
I am happy to report that I successfull completed the last two but unfortunately I missed the first one by a few minutes! My final chip time was 04:22. I’m not too disappointed though. My ultimate goal is to run for a long time, not a fast time. I’m hoping there will be many more opportunities to PB in the future!