|Me at The District post run for some breakfast and Mimosas!|
I had applied for an elite entry into the Van marathon quite a ways back but it took a long time before I heard I got in. However, after running my fifth 50km race, I was feeling a little burnt out and all of a sudden was not so excited about the marathon. However that feeling only lasted a few days.
Yakima 50km was 2 weeks prior to the marathon. I did well there and took a couple days to recover before getting back to some light training for the remainder of the week. I decided not to to taper for the marathon, mainly because the weather forecast was just to nice and I couldn't imagine not getting out! Also, my eye is still on Western States 100 and I know I need to be training.
This was my week leading up to the marathon:
Tuesday: Awesome 90 minute run!
Wednesday: Great 1hr50 min run in the morning and then 1 hour easy with the MEC Meet-up group in the pm. My legs felt REALLY tired by the pm run.
Thursday: Legs feeling really sluggish today at work but managed a 50 min run with Shauna in the pm.
Friday: Climbing with Peter in Squamish! One multi-pitch route and 2 single pitch routes.
Saturday: 2 hour trail run up Mountain Highway to the 7th switch back and down via Oil Can/Baden Powell. Legs felt like they were going to explode going up Mountain Highway.
Sunday: Marathon! 3:02!
On top of that I was literally working on my feet for 8 hours a day mon/tues/wed/thurs/half of sat and I think that tires them out after some of those morning runs. I also drank a few more adult beverages than I normally would do because of the hockey game & Peter's Birthday, which led to some pretty poor eating. All in all, I wasn't feeling very confident going into this marathon! After Saturdays run of death I just decided what will be will be and I am going to go enjoy myself!
I hooked up with the NSA Marathoner's at the Lonsdale Quay as they rented a bus to take them to the start line. The fee was $10 but the money was being donated to Team FINN! Thank you Tana for letting me jump in last minute! The sun was shining and the temperature was nice, which was perfect because I had 30 minutes to hang out in my tank top and skort before we started running. I decided not to carry any water on me as there were aid stations every mile along the course. I simply brought along 4 gels - 2 in my skort pocket and 2 in my sports bra. The start line was pretty fun as it had been a long time since I had lined up with so many other people. It's not very often we sing the national anthem at any of the ultra events I do. Needless to say, I was loving the atmosphere.
With a 10 second countdown, we were off! I didn't think too much about my pace. I just started running and found a comfortable pace that was going to work for me. I was enjoying all the people cheering on the sidelines and found myself laughing out loud at all the hilarious handmade signs. One of my favorite one's was "Don't worry, I think tired legs are sexy". However, I felt that mile 2 was a bit early to be seeing that poster. I enjoyed seeing other women in skirts and other people's interesting outfits. The miles were just ticking away and I was amazed at how much fun I was having. Really quickly into the race my friend Marieve was running right next to me. I didn't even know she was doing the race and we took a brief moment to catch up. Not to long after I saw Alicia, the 3rd place female at Yakima, running with Volker Schneider, a friend of mine from Squamish. I ran with them for a bit before we all split up again.
One thing I really noticed after doing all these mountain races is that road running is WAY EASIER. or at least it felt like it. I really do feel like I am a better road runner than mountain runner as I am not a strong hill climber. I was really enjoying the mellow grade of the hills and LOVING the flats and downs. I went through halfway in a time of 1:30:11. It was one of the only times I looked at my watch. I knew that 3 hour barrier was a possibility but I did not focus on it. If it were to happen it would happen.
I just ran happy and enjoyed seeing so many familiar faces in the crowd. I never hesitated to veer off into the crowd for a high five. I even hammed it up on a few occasions and pulled out the airplane arms on tight corners. That always got a lot of cheers :) I loved seeing Peter out there on the bike. For some reason my legs were just moving and I had the energy to keep going at the same pace (without ever checking). I was passing tons of people which was reassuring. The heat was warm when you were in it but there was tons of shade and a nice cool breeze by the water.
I was coming down into English Bay and I was feeling like I needed a gel. I must have been distracted because I tripped right over a speedbump and went down hard. Luckily, I rolled out of it like a ninja and kept going. I took a gel right after that and felt much better! There were only 6 miles to go now and all I had to do was run around the beautiful Stanley Park. After a mile or so I saw my friend Alex who I have run in the trails with. I was so excited to see her as we have been chatting about the marathon quite a bit. It took me a while to actually catch up to her and we exchanged a few words. I encouraged her on and just kept moving forward. I passed a couple more ladies along the way and was so excited to see the 24 mile sign! I saw Peter and he told me that my friend Hozumi (who always starts slow and passes me later on in races, except for Yakima where he just killed me) was right behind me. I had seen him behind me on this short out and back section way earlier in the race and wondered when I was going to see him again! It wasn't until I was rounding into the last 800 meters or so that Hozumi caught me and ran with me, encouraging me to finish strong. He was pacing someone else so he stopped and let me run into the finish shoot solo but without him I know I would have been moving much slower (Thank you!).
The finish shoot was intense as there were hundreds (felt like thousands) of people cheering me in. I was running as hard as I could and for the first time since the half way mark decided to glance at my watch to see if I would come in under 3 hours. The watch said 3:02 so I knew I wouldn't but I was still STOKED BEYOND BELIEF that I pulled that time off. I spotted my mom in the crowd and that made me smile as I crossed the line, more than happy to be done.
I have run 3:02 (my PB) before back in 2006 at the NAIA Track and Field Championships in Fresno California. It was my 3rd marathon and I was competing for UBC. I had a coach and was training hard and I even tapered for the event :) I was stoked then and I am still stoked now because I know with more specific training and a proper taper I could do better.
I really enjoyed the day. Sometimes I think its all in the mind and when you rid yourself of expectations and just run, good things happen. You can do everything right and still have a bad day but you can also do everything wrong and have a great day.
Alright, no more races until Western States. I want to be hungry when I get there! Up next is a fun 50 mile training run in Zion National Park with some good friends. Can't wait! Bring on the heat baby!
See you in the trails!