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
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.
Wow, my head is shiny
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.
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!
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 – 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!
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.
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.
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):
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.
The end was not too far off.
So far to go…
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.
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.
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!
Chip time: 1:50:55
Average pace: 5:16 min/km
Age ranking: 56/172
*My slowest half marathon time in the past year – but don’t worry, there are more to come!
One of Vancouver’s top races. I love the point-to-point with amazing views, excellent volunteers, a positive crowd, and fundraising component.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
How was your weekend? Any races?
Have you ever been cursed at while running? How did you feel? How did you react?