My role as Scotiabank Digital Champion culminated in Sunday’s race – the Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon AND my 25th half marathon or what I’m referring to as my ‘silver’ half!
With 24 half marathons under my belt and a few years of experience, you’d think I’d be ready for this significant race. And yet, race day arrived, and I felt almost as unprepared as I’ve ever felt before a half marathon.
Let me reflect on this:
1) Two weeks in May pulled me from my regular training as we (very happily!) toured around the UK. And although I continued to run (in London, Yorkshire & Edinburgh), those runs were tempered by a good dose of sightseeing / stopping to take pictures. Plus beer. So not exactly dedicated training!
2) Work has been nuts! I generally try and squeeze in some runs before work or at lunch, in addition to my weekend long runs. Since returning from vacation, however, it’s been pretty much non-stop. As a result, I slept later and worked through lunch, and training was the collateral damage.
3) My Dad is in town! This is absolutely the best thing! And since he only arrived a few days before the race, I can’t allow that to be an excuse for feeling unprepared. But perhaps I was feeling some pressure to perform, to make him a proud papa! (He is, anyway, but you know…) – plus, more beer.
Dad joined me on Friday to pick up my race package. We didn’t linger too long, but did run into Debra – so, of course, we got a few photos! Since we went fairly early on Friday, there was no line-up, so we flowed through pretty quickly. My only disappointment (though I didn’t let it show on my face) was that the men’s small shirt was once again far too big.
It kind of snuck up on me, even though I knew it was coming. The night before, I slept terribly – tossing and turning – and the cat jumped on me at 4am. It was tough to drag myself out of bed and get my EVO so I could drive Kristin and Ron to UBC.
I corralled myself where I could keep an eye on Mike, who was leading the 1:45 pace group. This was my goal. I’ve never actually broken 1:50 at the ScotiaHalf, but I was determined to do so this year. Mike’s enthusiasm was unquenchable, but even that made me feel like I might just not be prepared for the race.
Went out feeling strong, and kept up pretty well with the pace group, particularly when we hit the downhill. I could hear Mike cheering at each kilometre right up until about 11km. Then I started to flag. The heat was getting to me. Nothing compared to last year, when I felt like I was melting into the pavement, but still pretty warm.
Thankfully, on Jericho Hill, Emily was there to cheer me on. That gave me the burst of energy I needed to reach the top…
…and cruise down 4th Avenue. However, as I turned onto Alma around 15km (3/4 of the way!), I really began to struggle. Each step seemed to suck my energy. How was I going to make it?
And then – there they were! The Forerunners cheer station! Familiar faces, people who knew my name, providing that psychological push required to keep going. And freezies! (Thanks to Lucy for the photos!)
A few twists and turns through Kitsilano, a few little hills to tackle. Making the turn toward the final challenge – Burrard Bridge – and there it was:
Three very familiar kilometres left. I was wheezing. Andrea passed me with an encouraging word. Finally downhill, and onto Pacific. 20 kilometres. Nearing the final stretch.
Dad was there taking a video! My guy was snapping photos madly! I high-fived a stranger and pushed hard!
Only a kilometre left so I gave it everything I had…passed a few folks heading into the finishing corral, and passed the clock.
Final time: 1:47:09. A course PB! Not what I had hoped for (though Mike was there to high five me as I arrived), but perhaps better than expected.
Greeted a bunch of folks, including my coworker, Chris – who kicked my butt in this, his first ever half marathon, with a time of 1:42:29. Amazing!
Brunch. And home for a nap. And then an afternoon in ‘East Village’ doing our own little brewery tour!
Big congratulations to everyone who ran the ScotiaHalf! I was so happy to have the opportunity to represent and be part of this fantastic race!
AND I am very pleased to announce that I reached my fundraising goal of $3,000 in support of the BC Cancer Foundation! Thank you to everyone who contributed, and helped make this a reality! (You can learn more about my motivation to fundraise in memory of my mom here.)
Chip Time: 1:47:09
Average Pace: 5:04 min/km
Place Overall: 703/4825
Age Category Place: 73/271
Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon 2016 – Quick Review
Social Media: Newsletter updates are consistent and informative – not too many, not too few. The @RunCRSWest Twitter handle is fairly active, and #ScotiaHalf got a lot of attention during race week.
Packet Pickup: I took my dad along with me, and the process was smooth and straightforward. Upon entering the Convention Centre, bib pickup was right there. Following the lead of the BMO Marathon, you had to wander through to get to t-shirt pickup, and then wend your way through sponsor booths to the exit. We went around noon, so things were pretty quiet.
T-Shirt/Swag: Unfortunately, ‘ShirtGate’ reared its ugly head again this year. The men’s small shirts are simply too large. Like last year. This is disappointing because I like Asics shirts, and because I KNOW they can make smaller sizes. These are RUNNERS – we don’t like big baggy clothing. Can anything be done? The finisher’s medal is lovely and iconic Vancouver – the only thing I found funny is that it features Science World…which is nowhere near the race route. No matter – glad to have it!
Post-Race: Because I was meeting up with family, I didn’t hang around for long afterwards. There was nourishment, there were booths and photos, there was music. Had I not been so eager to get to brunch, I would gladly have hung about for a while.
Organization: The CRS West events (including Modo 8K and Eastside 10K) are consistently well-organized. I have nothing but positive things to say about the planning and setup, the volunteers, the announcements, the aid stations, the race organizers…bravo! Well done, once again!
Would I run it again? Yes, absolutely. I haven’t decided yet on what my race plans are for 2017, but it’s more than likely that Scotiabank Half will be on the calendar in the near future!