Well after all my nervousness and stressing the weekend was a success. Saturday morning we shipped two of our kids off with friends for the day and packed up the other two and headed to the ferry terminal at horseshoe bay to pick up my sister, Chelsea. Chelsea was coming over to run the BMO Marathon with us. The day was gorgeous! I don’t think there is anywhere more beautiful than Vancouver in the spring! We arrived at horseshoe bay early so the kids could play at the park and walk the shoreline. We also wanted to visit our favourite fish and chip stop so we could load up on carbs for our run in the morning!
We had a big plate of fish and chips then headed across the lions gate bridge to the race expo!
We picked up our bibs and walked the expo for a bit. The only bad thing I can say about this marathon was that we got placed in the wrong corral and I got the wrong size shirt. We got an email a few months back to go in and edit our information. It required us to input our shirt size and expected finish time. I did do that, Greg did it and Chelsea didn’t. I was worried I wouldn’t get to start with Chelsea because she didn’t get her time in, but it turns out we were all placed in the LAST corral and were given a large t-shirt. I was a little annoyed by this but GREG wasn’t happy. It’s not that we wanted to be closer to the front for “status” purpose. The problem when you start in a slower corral is that you get behind people who are slower than you and navigating around people really does burn a lot more energy then you need to use. It’s also harder to find your pace because you speed up and slow down so you can pass people or navigate around them. So we were a little annoyed but we let it go.
It was really busy at the expo and we had the stroller with Britain in it so it was a bit hard to navigate around. We decided we saw enough and headed home.
We took it easy that evening, we ordered pasta and pizza and I started to hydrate. I put a few NUUN tablets in my water. Knowing we had to get up at 4am I was hoping to get to bed early. I was exhausted at 7pm, but unfortunately once it was time for bed I couldn’t fall asleep. I laid in bed watching mindless tv hoping to fall asleep. It never happened … … I think I fell into a light sleep around midnight and tossed and turned until 4am. Getting up that early wasn’t a problem because I was already awake.
We got up had a cup of coffee and a bagel and we were off to the sky train. Surprisingly I wasn’t nervous or anxious at all. I think I was too tired. The sky train was DEAD. I thought it would be full of runners but there was barely anyone on our train. We had to get off that train and get on another line to get us up to Queen E park. That train was busy. We got on the first stop and there was standing room only, as we stopped at each additional stop more and more people crammed on to the train. I started to get claustrophobic, my heart started beating out of my chest and I started feeling like all these people coming on the train were stealing my air. I held tightly onto the handrail and tried to get my self under control. I told Chelsea that if I felt like I was going to faint and she better be ready to catch me. Luckily the doors opened one more time and nobody got on. I was thankful for the door opening and letting in more air. I could breath again! We were only one stop away at this point and I began to relax. We made it to Queen E park and it was a short walk to the start.
Everything ran very smoothly there after. We found our corral and by the time we used the bathrooms and Chelsea and I shared a Power Bar it was time to move forward. The race started at 7am, by the time our corral was released it was about 20 after.
Greg took off and Chelsea and I started at an easy pace. The first 2k’s were a lot of weaving in and out of people, I kept a little ahead of Chelsea navigating the way. Part of my race plan was to run according to my heart rate and not my pace, eat a GU at every 6k’s and drink when I needed.
This course is a very fast course it starts with a downhill and has only little hills throughout the course. We were able to run a fairly quick pace on the downhills and maintain our race pace on the up hills. It was a beautiful day the sun was out but it wasn’t too warm yet. The BMO course was a point to point course that took us through the most beautiful parts of Vancouver. We ran down Cambie Street into China Town. I took my first Gu here, Chelsea and I walked for about a minute while we rehydrated and ate our Gu. Once passing through China Town we hit Yale town with its historic building and awesome restaurants. We ran along English Bay and into Stanley Park. Once we got into Stanley Park we hit a mat that marked our half way point. I told Chelsea we were half way and she replied “that’s it?” She was doing a great job sticking with me and basically running at my pace. I really didn’t slow down for her at all. I told her to keep going and in two k we would stop for another minute to drink and have another GU. The next few kms were though Stanley Park. The soaring trees and the shadows they cast were energizing for me. I breathed in the fresh ocean air and absorbed the energy from the soaring pines. I told Chelsea to do the same. Breath in all the energy and out all the pain! I was feeling GREAT. I’m not sure how Chelsea was doing, she was sticking with me but her face looked like she was in a little a pain. I tried to talk her through it.
At 12k I felt it was a little early to take GU again so I asked Chelsea if she was okay to run two more k before we stopped. She said okay, but I know this stretch was hard for her. There were a few little hills that made it hard. Once we got through Stanley Park we hit the Sea Wall. It was a gorgeous day on the water the big ships were sitting on the water so calm and peaceful. By that time we were at about 15 k. I told Chelsea we only had 5ish k left. By this time the runners were done chatting with each other and everyone was focused and looking within themselves for the last bit of strength they could find to get them to the finish. I remember just hearing the sound of pounding feet against the pavement, the rest was quiet.
With about 3k left Chelsea was complaining about calf pain and she started to fall behind a bit. I tried to maintain my pace knowing I was going to meet my goals if I did. I looked back to see if Chelsea was still with me but she had dropped off a bit. I knew we only had 3k left and she would be fine so I continued on. The last little bit was the hardest part of the race. The cheering crowds got larger I started running at a 5:46 and 5:37 pace for the last 2 k. As we ran up Pender I thought I was almost there but I couldn’t see the finish line, it seemed to take so long to run the last 500 metres. Finally we turned the corner and the finish line was in sight! I had done it. The gun time showed 2:38 or something but I knew I had done MUCH better than that because we started at least 15 – 20 after the gun. Chelsea’s official time was 2:13:17!!!! and Greg’s was 1:49:30 & I was 2:11:54!
For our first 1/2 Marathon I think we did great! This was an outstanding course, it was very well-organized and I would recommend this Marathon to everyone. There really is nothing more beautiful than Vancouver in spring time. Even if it was raining it still would have been a great course. It has a few easy hills but is mostly downhill which makes it fast therefore the chances of getting a PR is very good! I loved it! So if anyone wants to do it next year come on out and join us! I will definitely be doing it again next year.