A blog about my adventures as an athlete, adventures with athletes and just adventures!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Vancouver Marathon Adventure

Along the Yarra River in Melbourne
One of my LONG runs in Wales along a lit path
Because of my awesome job working with Cycling Canada, traveling and time commitment I decided that Ironman training wasn't a great goal for the year. The timing of any ironman races didn't mesh well with my schedule. Sooo, looking on the race calendar, I decided that I would train for the Vancouver marathon! I have only done 1 marathon outside of Ironman (New York!!) and I had never raced downtown this amazing city that I am fortunate enough to live in!

I enlisted the help of my friend and aspiring coach Jonathan Kisiloski and decided that I wanted to train to run 3:30, which I knew I was capable of with proper training. Starting a solid program in January gave me plenty of time to build on my existing fitness and I was excited to have a goal, some guidance, some structure and attempt something that I had to work hard at, but could do a lot of training on the road.

The training for this marathon for me was quite unique as I travelled quite a bit during this time with Cycling Canada's Track Cycling National Team, I did runs in LA on the beach, in Wales, London, Australia and even on my vaycay in Hawaii! I did my long runs each week on my own, did some hill repeats, tempo runs, speed intervals and once a week trail runs when I was in Vancouver with my friend Shelley!

The marathon day was amazing! Sun, cheering crowds, motivated runners and what looked like a super fun and scenic course made for a great setting.  I got to the start line just minutes shy of the gun going off and sending the first wave of runners (which I apparently was supposed to be in) off and running. Then I was off in the second wave, and feeling strangely calm, as I started to get my "run-on" as the 42.2K journey began.

I knew thanks to Jonathan, what to expect along the course, as he pretty much forced me to anticipate what to expect and gave me a "game plan" that I was supposed to stick to. I knew that for the most part the course was flat but with some false flats thrown in and even a HILL (gasp!).
The first 10K or so was a bit downhill, and feeling good, it was hard not to "race" some of the people passing me (mostly females), but forced myself to stick close to the pacing that we had planned, knowing that I will see some of those folks later!
At this point I saw a lot of people I knew, running in my bright green Moveo logoed T-shirt (www.moveo.ca).  I heard great comments like "is that my favourite chiropractor?" and general cheering for me! I kept my eyes out for Kev, who planned to be my biggest fan (in his super quiet, unsuspecting usual Kev demeanor), as well as Jonathan who was biking around.  This all gave me some motivation to be feeling good, steady and race ready!

The first half of the course was pretty awesome, winding through UBC, and pacific spirit park, along the residential streets of some spectacular homes. There was a hill around 10K in, that people really complained about, but I didn't think it was too awful, maybe I was just in the "zone" or the "mountain running" that I had done trail running had prepped me for it. But I was just appreciating the day in general, running along Jericho and the ocean was really cool, and here is where I started to notice some of the people I had been running with for the first half of the race. I got to chatting with a few of them and found that we all had similar goals of running 3:30, and we were all on pace, with some room to spare even! One guy had a bright yellow shirt and was running with "blue tanktop girl" and so I made sure I stuck with them as we seemed to be working well together and feeling decent crossing the halfway point at about 1:47, not a bad pace.

Then the Burrard Street Bridge hit, I searched for Kev as he had told me he hoped to make it there as one of his "encouragement" spots. Not seeing him, as he miscalculated transit and what KM the bridge was at, and thus just missed me. I was starting to feel the effects of running a marathon at this point. But it hit me like a ton of bricks! All of I sudden this was REALLY HARD!! What the?!?  I used the upcoming view of the ocean, and the anticipation of the novelty of running the seawall at this point (us New West hicks don't run downtown often!). That worked for a bit as did lots of friends and supporters that were scattered at the beaches. Then all of a sudden it got super lonely out there. The views were fantastic, but my mind wasn't on the views, it was on the fact that my legs felt like cement blocks- what the!?!  I had a plan and my body wasn't co-operating at this point, then my mind joined the pity party with my legs and I was toast! There's a corner at the far end of the seawall and you can see people running for miles ahead, including yellow shirt guy and blue tanktop girl. Frowny face.  Are you kidding me? I still have to run THAT freaking far?? 2 k in your brain is a lot different than 2 K laid out in front of you!! I had a haaard time mentally with this, and couldn't drag myself out no matter the happy thoughts of ice cream I came up with!!

I usually have this "kick" at the end, that gets me through the last few kms. I think my brain just gives up and says "whatever, just let her do it". This has happened in the knee knacker, every ironman I have done and New York Marathon (much to shelley's disgust!). But not this time.. Not happening, just hurt!  I am NEVER doing this again, how ridiculous!

Crossing the finish line in 3:34 was pretty cool to be downtown Vancouver, but more cause I got to stop running (ha!). I crushed Jonathan when I nearly had tears because I went OVER my time goal and he was pretty elated for me. I did get over the disappointment, as I know it was a good time... You betcha I will be doing it again.... Wait- didn't I say never again?? How quickly things change. I guess I LOVE that pain!

Next up: Kev and I are going to team up for the Vancouver Urban Rush Challenge  to support the Canadian Lung Society then the Tenderfoot Boogie 50K trail race from Squamish to Whistler! LOVE IT!
Fox Bats in the trees in Melbourne

Running through Stanley park on a brilliant day!

Watch out for snakes- Australia
Happy NOW that it's over!
When it got light out I could see the sheep!

Training along the Thames River in London

Happened to run straight to the TOWER BRIDGE in LONDON

Along the canals in London

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