Monday, 12 March 2018

2018 Pacific Road Runner's First Half Marathon

With the completion of the Pacific Road Runner's First Half Marathon, my 2018 race season has now
officially begun.

On February 11th, I awoke early to catch the Skytrain to Yaletown. The train was full of runners chatting about the race.

Once at the race, I dropped my bag off at bag check and proceeded outside.  A vast majority of runners were huddled inside to stay warm.  I wanted to be outside to acclimatize to the cold.

I found a nice stretch of road to do my warm ups.  While doing my drills, I was joined by my teammate Alex.  We chatted about the cold and how we each anticipated a slow race.

I also spotted the Mile 2 Marathon group.  We share a track on Tuesday nights.  A few of them recognized me and wished me luck.

It was soon time for the start.  I lined up in section of the start chute appropriate to my estimated time (in the back).

While waiting to start, several cars kept trying to turn onto the closed roads.  The police officer informed them when the road would reopen and the driver left in a huff.  I turned to the police officer and said, "Every time." She smiled and we began to chat.

Soon it was time to start the race.  The race director was counting down on the loud speaker and we were poised to go when suddenly, "BANG!"

We all jumped.  They had let off a firework to signal the start of the race.  I remember thinking to myself, "Well, all of Yaletown is awake now."

As the race began, I realized I was in the back of the pack.  I did not dare look behind me though.  I kept telling myself that most of the people in front of me are starting off to fast and will drop off.

I kept pace with a man in a bright green vest all the way to and around BC Place.  He must work with the police department somehow because every police officer there said hi to him and cheered him on.

I saw my friend Debra out with her camera. It would not be a running event in Vancouver without Debra snapping photos.

As the course made its way around BC Place and back past the start, the sun had crept higher in the sky.  It was beginning to warm up.

I had on a thin, paper, throw-away jacket and was looking for a place to throw it away.  I did not want to just throw it to the side of the road.  As I passed the start, I noticed that the event fencing had jackets all along it.  As I ran by, I ditched the jacket.

As, I ran past the point where I started, the same police officer from earlier recognized me and gave me a high five.

The course then dropped down to the Seawall past the Vancouver Aquatic Center.  It was at this point that my earlier prediction came true. People were beginning to slow down and I began to pass them.

During this part of the race, I took a moment to take in the gorgeous view.  The sun was out the sky was blue, and we were running on the waterfront.

Soon, I was at Sunset Beach the first aid station.  My friend and fellow TNT alum Doris was there volunteering.

The course took us further up the Seawall to Second Beach. Here, we turned right to head into Lost Lagoon.

As we ran along the south side of Lost Lagoon, we could see the first place runner on the north side.

Just before the Chilco Underpass, the first place runner rounded Lost Lagoon and ran past me.   It was a member of the Mile 2 Marathon group.  We (Coach Powell) share a track with M2M on Tuesday nights.  

As he ran past I shouted, "Looks like those Tuesday speed sessions are paying off!"

The course took us to the Chilco Underpass and onto the Coal Harbour Seawall.

At around the 5 mile mark, I matched pace with 2 other runners. We ran together for a bit and chatted about races and training.  Soon, they began to slow and I moved on ahead.

I was having a bit of an internal struggle at this point. I was running at a faster pace than I would have liked, but was feeling good.  Do I slow down and try to maintain a more conservative pace? Or do I stick with this slightly faster pace, see how long I can hold it, and get the race over with sooner?

I decided to just keep going with a pace that felt good. In this case, it was the faster pace.

We approached Lumberman's Arch and the second aid station.  I grabbed some water and some 'sports drink.'  At this aid station, it was yellow. . .  And disgusting.

The loop around the Seawall was business as usual.  Although I began to take more walk breaks than I would have liked.  Several other runners and I played leap-frog all the way to Third Beach.

At Third Beach was the third aid station. I grabbed some water as a volunteer offered me some 'sports drink.'  I asked it what color it was.  It was yellow.  I made a face and said no thanks. He then informed me had purple too.  I thankfully took the purple drink and was on my way.

At this point, I thought I was almost finished.  Just up to Second Beach then along the Seawall to Yaletown. As I got closer to Second Beach, I began to realize that this was not the case.

I still had to loop around Lost Lagoon. I collected my thoughts and mentally prepped for a bit more running.

As the course took a left toward Lost Lagoon, I stopped to take off my long sleeve.  I tied it around my waist and onward I went.

I made my way around Lost Lagoon, back to Second Beach, and walked up the slight hill back to the Seawall.

Soon I was back at the first aid station and the home stretch. I played another game of leap-frog with a few other runners all the way to the 20k mark.

I walked up the small hill by the Aquatic Center and knew I was almost finished.

I turned on the gas.

With a faster cadence and gradual downhill, I pushed on to the finish line.

As I made the right turn into the finish chute, I saw the police officer from earlier cheering me on.

Halfway down the finish chute, I saw Jen cheering and soon it was all over.

I crossed the finish line strong and as soon as I stopped moving, I could feel how hard I had pushed in the end.

Considering I had not run anything over 10k since November, I was happy with my time.  This was not a race for a PB, it was a race for distance.

After retrieving my bag from bag check, I chugged the chocolate milk I had stashed at the bottom.  I changed clothes and headed home for a much needed hot bath.

Thank you for taking the time read yet another race report.  2018 is shaping up to be a great year in and outside of racing.

Just a reminder that all my 2018 races are benefiting The Alzheimer's Society of BC.

The donation page can be found here.  As of right now, we have raised $520!

This report was written very late and I apologize.  We are finishing up a project at work and it has taken up the majority of what little free time I have.  Later today, I will begin to write my report of the UBC Olympic Triathlon I raced on Saturday.

The next race will the BMO Vancouver Half Marathon!

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