Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon 2015

Posted: June 28, 2015 in Race Reports
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Scotiabank Half

I usually wait until the end of the post for the ‘big reveal’. But I’m really just so happy that this is going to be my opener. For the third year in a row, I have participated in the Scotiabank Charity Challenge, raising funds on behalf of the BC Cancer Foundation. I’m thrilled to announce this year’s total: $3,140!

This is a huge shout out to everyone who helped me in this journey, both financially and in the form of encouragement and moral support. I’m so pleased that the BC Cancer Foundation will have a bit of extra funding for their important research. It gladdens me that something positive has grown from the loss of my Mom 3 years ago.

And now we’re off to the race!

But first – a quick note that I’m linking up with Tara at Running ‘n’ Reading for another Weekend Update!

This is my third Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon, and my fifth half marathon of 2015 – squeaking in just before the middle of the year. In the week leading up to the race, the weather in BC has gotten progressively warmer. The prediction for Sunday was in the high 20s, very possibly a record breaker.

Before bed – with Sunday’s prediction

Package pickup

Canada Place is just two blocks from my office, so I took an afternoon coffee break and popped over to the expo, meeting up with Forerunners buddy Emily. Timing was good, I guess, because there was hardly a soul there. Bib and t-shirt pickup was quick and efficient, and then we chatted with friends at the Forerunners booth and the Timex booth.

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Wow, my head is shiny


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Canada Place reflected in the Vancouver Convention Centre

The biggest disappointment for me was the t-shirt. I actually love the design – whoever came up with this nifty Burrard Bridge word picture deserves kudos. The colour – bright lime green – isn’t my favourite, but I can handle it.

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But the size is ridiculous. At first, I thought I had the wrong size. But no, it’s a small. I asked if they had extra small. No. Just to confirm, I compared my 2013 (red) and 2014 (orange) shirts – and the same brand (Asics) has grown remarkably! In retrospect, I should have tried trading it in for a women’s shirt, but there it is. I ended up wearing the 2013 shirt for the race, and was complimented (by someone ‘in the know’) on how well it fit!

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Race Day

Because the Scotiabank is a point-to-point course, it’s necessary to make the one-way trek to UBC. Last year, I quickly found a car2go and zipped out. This year, I had promised Emily that I’d pick her up – but when I checked my app the closest car2go was nearly a kilometre away! No matter, after water, oatmeal and coffee I did a ‘warmup’ run to the car (and started sweating right away)!

Burrard Bridge

Burrard Bridge – to be crossed later today

Slowed down enough to pick up Emily en route, and when we arrived at UBC it seemed that everyone had had the same idea. There were car2gos everywhere! But we found parking and headed to the start line.

It was the place to be! We ran into my YMCA trainer Lisa, Debra (thanks for the photos!) and Bev. We went for our respective potty breaks – men’s urinal station at this race meant I could go twice – gabbed with a bunch of the Forerunners gang, and then headed to our corral to get the party started!

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The First Half

Emily and I started out together, and I was feeling pretty strong. We got to cheer the elites as they were headed back while we were still going out. It was pretty shady and there was lots of energy, but it was already getting warm. Soon enough, Emily pulled ahead and I lost sight of her.

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I was still feeling pretty strong by 5k, and focused as best I could on cutting the tangents as the road curved toward the Marine Drive downhill stretch. I tried to keep my pace pretty steady, rather than pounding down the hill. Then things flattened out, and the shade disappeared as we ran along the beach.

I crossed the halfway mat at 55:22 – and knew at that moment that the hardest was yet to come, and that this wouldn’t be a PB race!

The Second Half

I swear the second half of any race is when things get interesting. Anomalies aside, the first half is usually pretty uneventful. The second half is real.

Laurel was cheering from the sidelines – I haven’t seen her in ages – and that gave me a bit of an extra boost! But the heat was starting to get to me, and my pace flagged a bit. So hot. And sweaty. And a guy in front of me farted. And the sun continued to shine.

I was ready for Trimble Hill, and one of the volunteers was bellowing encouragement like a boot camp trainer. I saw Steven and Bob as I went by, and pushed hard to reach the top. Another downhill then, with Strawberry PowerGel being handed out. Left onto Alma, and it’s only 14k…2/3 of the race done, but still a long ways to go.

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The biggest shock of my running career to date happened on Point Grey Road. Trying my best to maintain a positive spirit, I saw a single runner headed towards us. Not part of the race, obviously, just out for her usual run. Jovially, I called out, “You’re going the wrong way!”

Her response: “F*** off!”

I’ve censored myself, but this was a full-on expletive. No smile or hint of irony in her voice.

I kind of laughed and I might have said a quiet, “Wow, sorry…” But this single event really affected me in unexpected ways. On the plus side, I was so distracted that I briefly forgot the heat and the pain. A lot of thoughts went through my mind.

Who does that? 

Probably like 50 other people had already said the same thing and she was tired of it. Was I the first one she cursed? Did she continue on down the line? You know I wasn’t the last one to say that!

Was she angry and bitter because she couldn’t run this race due to an injury?

Why didn’t she just move over one block to avoid everyone? How could she not realize there was a race today?

In the end, once the race was done, I tweeted this to the world (having had about 6km to think about it):

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This is going to stick with me for a while.

The last kick before the Burrard Bridge was the toughest. On Cornwall, I actually walked while downing some Gatorade. If I can help it, I don’t stop because it’s so hard to start again. But start again I did, albeit slowly. As we rounded the corner by the Molson plant, the digital clock told me it was 9:15, and 20 degrees. Uh uh, no way. Definitely hotter than that!

Up and over the Bridge – according to Strava, not one of my best efforts. Coach Carey was there to cheer us on.

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So far to go…

The end was not too far off. It was shadier here, with an ocean breeze that felt good but provided increased resistance in my weakened state. At 20km I increased my speed as best I could.

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The energy and crowds swelled, I did my best my best to not let anyone pass me, and finally reached the finish line with a whoop and a sigh. Done.

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Had a quick debrief with a few of my peeps, grabbed some sustenance – then found a car2go for a quick trip home, a shower, eggs and toast for breakfast, and a well-earned nap!

Final results
Chip time: 1:50:55
Average pace: 5:16 min/km
Overall: 693/3561
Age ranking: 56/172

*My slowest half marathon time in the past year – but don’t worry, there are more to come!

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RACE REPORT

Overall
One of Vancouver’s top races. I love the point-to-point with amazing views, excellent volunteers, a positive crowd, and fundraising component.

Packet Pickup/Expo
Quick and efficient. Bib, t-shirt, expo, bib confirmation. Timing was good, so no lineups – smooth sailing. The expo was a little ‘light’ – would like to have had a bit more excitement – but maybe that’s the tradeoff for arriving during a lull.

T-Shirt/Swag
T-shirt design is fantastic; size is awful. Compared to the small men’s Asics from 2 years ago, it’s like we all gained 30 pounds and grew two inches. One of the volunteers told me that men were declining the t-shirts altogether because they were too big. I’ll never wear mine, which is too bad. This was a major fail (not sure who’s at fault, but there it is) – and my only complaint for this race. Love the medal, especially the lanyard design.

Course
It’s a net downhill, but when you’re not running downhill, it’s like there’s a slight uphill the rest of the time. Painful late in the race, especially Trimble and Burrard Bridge. But scenic as heck, familiar routes. Solid Vancouver experience, especially for those from out of town.

Aid Stations
Excellent – I used every one. I wish they wouldn’t mix it up – Gatorade first, water second…but then water first, Gatorade second. Just keep it consistent. But the volunteers were great, told us what was coming, and had cups at the ready. With today’s heat, a sponge station wouldn’t have been out of line. But solid nonetheless.

Post-Race
Yogurt, PowerBar, bananas, cookies, Oasis juice, bagels – the usual fare. Nothing outstanding, everything required. Also, booths set up for all of the charities…except BC Cancer Foundation, which surprised me. I tried to find someone who could trade my gigantic shirt for a smaller women’s…but no one seemed to have a clue. I gave up and went home.

Race Management
As per usual, CRS West put on a fantastic race. Organizationally sound, from registration to communication (both email and social media), through package pickup to execution. Flawless, with the exception of the t-shirts, as noted above. Nicely done!

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How was your weekend? Any races?

Have you ever been cursed at while running? How did you feel? How did you react?

 

Comments
  1. Sherry says:

    What a great recap! That’s too bad about the shirt size. That is a shocking response from the runner! But well done in your race and great job with raising so much money for your charity!!

    • bjcjapan says:

      Thanks for all of that, Sherry. I feel like, all things considered, it was a pretty fantastic day!

  2. I’ve never been cursed at by another runner, period. Wow, that would definitely shock me!

    I just picked up my packet for this weekend’s race & I’m glad I ran it last year – I knew their tees run small & sure enough they did. Glad I went up a size because my usual size would not have fit.

    Sounds lime you had a great race even in the heat (minus that f#%@er!).

    • bjcjapan says:

      I have done one race (not this one) several years in a row, and their shirts have run small one year, large the next year…totally unpredictable. But at least I found a size that fit – I don’t think that will be the case this year! One of my female friend runners is going to give me hers to try! And ultimately – a great race! Haha

  3. Kelli says:

    Wow, crazy to get a response like that from the random runner. I’m trying to think what would ever prompt me to do that and I really can’t think of anything. Nice effort on the half – point to point courses are interesting.

    • bjcjapan says:

      Haha – yes, Kelli – I’m baffled by people who respond like that because it would never occur to me either. But there you go. As my Dad says, “It takes all kinds!” Thanks so much!

  4. Ima Mosier says:

    Congrats on the fundraising! That is quite an accomplishment. Also congrats on your race. Even though it was a slow race for you it looks like it was an extremely hot one, so that is going to take a toll on your pace. And, yeah, maybe she was having a bad day, but some people are just jerks. Be glad you aren’t one of them. 🙂

    • bjcjapan says:

      Thanks so much! Glad to hear from you! 🙂 I appreciate the kudos on fundraising – but it’s not because of me, it’s just the support of so many amazing people!! I’m lucky to have these folks in my life. It’s true the heat takes a toll – but one of my friends got her PB AND second in age group…so it’s different for everyone.

      And ya, some people are jerks – but mostly everyone I’ve encountered during my running journey has been amazing!

  5. Wow! I can’t believe that runner said that to you! I’ve never had that happen while running. A few years ago, one of my boys was home from school with an asthma attack. We went out to the store, and an elderly man made comment that my son should be in school. I replied that he was sick. “Then he should be at home”, he said. At that point, I figured I didn’t owe him an excuse, so I politely (I thought) told him to MYOB. “F— off”, he replied. I was stunned! Yikes!

    • bjcjapan says:

      Wow – that is absolutely ridiculous! I guess it always surprises me when people come up with things like that, because it would never occur to me. But we just never know what’s going on with other people, I realize. Life goes on! That’s what running is about, too, right?! Thanks, Wendy.

  6. Congratulations!

    Bummer about the shirt – the design and the color are cool, but how odd about the sizing. And the race really should be consistent about what’s at the water stops.

    Sounds like you had fun and pulled off a good race despite being cursed at and any other issues 🙂 Maybe she hadn’t realized about the race and HAD to get her run in and just felt stupid. No reason to curse, but I think it’s admirable of you to come up with so many alternate explanations for her behavior. We never know what’s going on with someone else, she could have been in some horrible situation mentally or emotionally, and you were a safe outlet.

    Onward!

    • bjcjapan says:

      Onward indeed! There are setbacks all along the way – sometimes physical, sometimes emotional. Thanks for your encouragement!

      Crazy t-shirt size issues are my key first world problems when it comes to races! Really, it just gives me a topic to discuss! Haha

  7. Sharon says:

    Nice recap! Congrats on another half marathon finish! Sorry to hear about the response from the runner. She was probably having a bad day! Also great job raising over $3K!!

    • bjcjapan says:

      Thanks Sharon! If nothing else, cranky runner gave me something to talk about! Ultimately, it’s about the race and about the good things that came out of fundraising.

  8. Emily G says:

    Just reading this now- great recap, and fun to know all the little things, especially when I ran the race too and can relate to them. Loved those boot-camp dudes at the bottom of Trimble hill. Nice to see pics- Debra is definitely a valuable friend to have around since she always seems to have her camera! Thanks again for picking me up and congrats on your amazing fundraising effort!

    • bjcjapan says:

      Thanks for being a part of this and for keeping me accountable. It’s great to have you as a reliable and supportive running buddy, and you have no idea how much that means to me. Congrats on doing an amazing job in your race – very proud of you!

  9. Kristin J. says:

    Did you see the rogue cooler filled with sponges at Cornwall & trimble (maybe?). If I hadn’t been so dehydrated, I probably would have cried tears of joy ;).

    I think it’s so awesome you used this race to raise money in honour of your mom. A PB is always nice, but I think your PB-ing in fundraising deserves even more cheers!

    • bjcjapan says:

      Gah! How did I miss those?? Someone else mentioned that too. Oh well!
      Thanks for your kind words. This year’s fundraising surpassed 2014, which makes me really happy!

  10. Frank says:

    Congratulations Bradley! OK, I promise I won’t ever say
    (“FO”) to you ever again in choir . . . although possibly
    quite justified 🙂 Yes, shocking during a run. Runners are
    clean and polite folks. Low-lifes belong in choirs.

    Especially shocked and sorry to hear that someone actually farted while running a
    very long race right after breakfast . . .

    Yer pal Frank 🙂

    • bjcjapan says:

      Thanks a lot, Frank! Feel free to curse away…at least I know from whence it cometh! 🙂

      Appreciate all of your encouragement and support. Look forward to singing with you again soon!

  11. Donna says:

    My admiration for you and your committment to the cause continues to grow, Bradley. Thanks for this thoughtful and insightful summary of the lead-up to, and experience of the race. Your determination and grit, especially when the going got tough, reflect the ongoing battle against cancer. Congratulations to you on your tremendous contribution to cancer research, and on your triumphant race finish!

    “The harder the conflict (race), the more glorious the triumph”. Thomas Paine

    Your Loyal Fan,

    Donna

    • bjcjapan says:

      You are too kind, Donna. Your support through all of this has made such an impact, and I truly value it. I don’t know if I’d call the race finish triumphant, but I gave it my best shot!

      Thanks and see you soon!