Friday, 25 May 2018

2018 BMO Vancouver Half Marathon

When you need to get in a 2 and a half hour training run, why not do it and get a medal for it?

That is exactly what I did on May 6th when I ran the 2018 BMO Vancouver Half Marathon.
I had set out my gear the night before so in the morning I could get ready, grab my gear, and head to the train. 

Every year the masses walk the long way from the train station to the start line.  While this leads right to bag check, it is (to me) a waste of time and energy. With no bag to check, I walked the quicker route to the start line. 

This next section may get a bit graphic, but if you an endurance athlete you will understand.  Before every race I usually poop twice, once first thing in the morning and again before the race start.  One look at the line ups for the washrooms and I knew I was not going to get my second poop done in time.  I thought I would be OK, but more on that later. 

As I walked back to the start line, I saw my friend Karen and stopped for a photo.
I made my way back to the last start corral (I was not placed here based on estimated time, but because I registered late).  I stretched and did my warm up routine.

As the first corral started, we all packed in, patiently waiting our turn. 

A few of us began chatting about the race, our goals for that day, and our goals for future races.  I made a comment about how I was built more for distance than speed and a gentleman replied, "Like a steamroller! Powerful and slow but you get the job done!" 

I smiled and said, "Or like a bulldozer."
Soon it was our turn to start.  I made sure to place myself on the edge to ensure I was not trampled by those starting out to fast.

I crossed the line and started my watch.

The start of the race is an immediate climb, I knew better than to start out too fast.  On my slow and steady climb, I saw Debra. It would not be a race in Vancouver if Debra was not there with her camera. 
The course took us to Cambie Street, where we turned right and started the long downhill into downtown.  I knew from last year that it is very easy to run this section to fast.  I stuck to my pace as others flew past me.  I made note of a few of them telling myself I'd pass them in Stanley Park.

On my way down Cambie, I felt a tap on my shoulder.  I turned to see the fellow triathlete from the UBC triathlon and Cultus Lake Triathlon.  It's always good to see familiar faces out on the race course. 

As we approached Cambie Bridge, a boy (dressed as Lego Batman) and his father were out cheering. They were holding a sign that read, "Smile, Run Happy."
Just before the bridge was the first aid station.  I grabbed some water and took a salt pill and was on my way across the bridge.

Once over the bridge, we were met with a large cheer section.  The clear leader of this group encouraged us in such way that I could not tell if she was a head cheerleader or a Preschool teacher.  The tone of her voice made me feel like I just finished my juice box. 
The course then took us past BC Place to a short out and back. At the turn around, a volunteer holding a sign with a picture of Homer Simpson holding a sign that read, "The end is Beer!"

The course then took us into Chinatown and up a hill into Gastown before turning again into Yaletown. 
Once in Yaletown, I heard a voice in the back of my head telling me that I better poop, and soon.  I told myself I would at the next opportunity.  A few blocks later I was in line. 

After my pit stop, I continued through Yaletown, eventually following the same route at the Pacific First Half.  I saw Lego Batman again, gave him a high five, and thanked him. 
As the course took us down onto the Seawall, I took in the sights.  We are very fortunate to have such a beautiful city to call home and run in. 

Somewhere between 10 and 11k, was a very large video screen.  As runners passed, individualized videos of friends and family cheering flashed up on the screen.  They must have had a booth at the expo to pre-record words of encouragement to specific runners.  As the runner's timing chip was read, the messages would be played.  I found this to be a fantastic idea and will remember to look for the booth next year. 
At about 11.5k, I saw Andrew and Brenda out on a run. They cheered me on as they passed.

At 12k we passed the 8k runners as they awaited their start time.  As they cheered us on I jokingly called out to them, "You are the smart ones!"

As we ran toward Second Beach Pool, I saw Alison, a fellow Team Powell Athlete, on her bike cheering me on. 
The course took us past Second Beach Pool, to a quick out and back, and back near the pool.  I saw Alison again as she tried to get video of me. 

The course then took us along Lost Lagoon before heading under Georgia Street and into Stanley Park.  

As we ran up a small hill near the rose garden, I noticed that most people around me were walking.  I then realized that I has only walked the aid stations.  Normally, I would need to take a few walk breaks during a race but not today.  My new goal: No walk breaks except aid stations.

 As I ran thought Stanley Park, I took some time to look up.  I mean, how often do you just look up?  I looked a the tops of the trees as they reached for the sky and was once again reminded of how fortunate we are to live and run in such a beautiful city. 

At 15k, there was a split timing mat and a very encouraging volunteer.  I did not know it at the time, but there was video being taken.

As we made our way out of Stanley Park, there was a band playing this song:

After singing along past the live band, I began to see alot of the race shirts for the half marathon.  I thought to myself, "Is it genius of torture that they put the course map on the back of of the shirts?"

Soon after, I saw my friend Patty.  We caught up on life and races and even manages to get a great picture together.  She was helping to pace a few friends and soon dropped back to help them. 
There were a few more hills as we made our way around the Seawall to Coal Harbour.  Once again, there were lots of people walking.  I kept with my goal and kept running.

At about this time, I began to notice some familiar people.  It was all the people I saw running to fast down Cambie Street.  My strategy had paid off!

The course evened out as we passed the lighthouse.  This was were I hit the wall last year.  Not this year, I was actually picking up the pace!

At 19k, I was spurred on by a group of Japanese drummers.  At this point, you could look across the water and see and hear the finish line.  I always thought it would easier to just swim across the water than run around it. 

As we reached Devonian Harbour Park, the course narrowed and became very crowded with walkers.

I kept pushing my pace as I navigated my way around the walkers.  I knew I only had less than a kilometer left.

The course took us up Georgia and then to Pender.  Now the finish line was in sight. I found the fine line between pushing the pace and keeping my heart rate down as I ran ever closer to the finish.

Then I crossed and the race was over.  I looked at my watch and realized I was under my time from last year by quite a bit (would have been more if not for that poop break). I had not set any goal, so beating last years time was a great bonus.
I saw Karen again and we snapped a few more photos.
I met up with Jen, grabbed some food, then headed home.  All in all, a great day!

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!
The next race will be Ironman 70.3 Victoria!

No comments:

Post a Comment