Posts Tagged ‘bmo vancouver marathon’

BMO Vancouver MarathonWhen I signed up for the BMO Vancouver Half Marathon, it never occurred to me that I might end up running the full. Having only done two full marathons before – Vancouver and Honolulu (both in 2014) – another marathon wasn’t on my radar. Until some of the wily women I run with convinced that we should tackle it together. So, after a few weeks of hemming and hawing, I upgraded to the BMO Vancouver Marathon. That’s how I got here.


Forerunners social run

The biggest news in the local running scene is the opening of the brand new Forerunners store on Main Street! How excited was I to learn that our longest run of the BMO Marathon training calendar would be the Forerunners Social Run – starting at the new store?! (more…)

Running 2017

We’re a week into 2017, and I’m still getting my bearings a bit. I was back to work on January 2, and I’ve been trying to stick to one of my goals of getting up at the same time (6am) every day. This has been mostly successful, but I’m tired. Yes, I know, 6am isn’t early for a lot of you folks out there…but trust me, I’m not a morning person!

While I haven’t fleshed out entirely what’s happening this year, I’ve got a pretty good handle on running plans for the first half of 2017. Last year was a pretty prolific year of running. I don’t anticipate doing quite the same volume of races, but I want to hit my target of 2,017 kilometres.

Rather than outlining everything I’ve got planned, here are a few of my highlights for Running 2017: (more…)

Be careful what you wish for! In a previous post I referred to my delight at running in the rain – and rain it was for my first full marathon – the BMO Vancouver Marathon!

In the morning

I woke up to the sound of rain. The previous week had been warm and humid, and there was a general consensus that similar weather on race day would be tough. Well, no worries of that happening!

Most of my prep had been done the night before. I had my usual breakfast of oatmeal made with almond milk, topped with walnuts and pumpkin seeds. Best to be prepared, I also had some toast with peanut butter and honey. Rather than use the free transit pass provided by the marathon, I took a car2go towards the start line – but didn’t realize that I couldn’t cross Cambie at 41st! So I still had to trudge along in the rain with the rest of the crowd…

I had several layers – including an Old Navy plastic bag. Waiting at the start line, I kind of felt like this:

bmo vancouver marathon

The plastic bag look

But after running into a bunch of my Forerunners training buddies, I felt like this:

bmo vancouver marathon

Plastic bag upgrade!

And after months of training, the moment had come – and we were off!

Start to KM 10

My official first marathon goal was simply to finish. My ‘unofficial’ goal was to break the 4-hour mark (so 3:59:59 was on my mind). With high hopes, I started out following the 3:45 pace bunny. But even with my speed picking up on the initial downhill, he was soon out of sight. Even so, I thought, “Maybe I’m starting out too fast.” That’s the nature of races, though – you get caught up in the momentum and the excitement. I let myself get carried along with the flow.

The straightaway across West 49th was scenic and exciting! Along the way, I saw several Forerunners peeps cheering us on, and I felt strong and motivated. The rain had started to let up, so it was smooth sailing. We arrived at the Camosun hill, but having done a few training runs at this very location, I knew just what to expect. And with more enthusiastic cheerers at the start of the incline, as well as at the top – no problem at all!

KM 10 to 21.1

Despite having visited the facilities twice at the start line, I was beginning to feel a bit uncomfortable as we hit 12km and started heading to UBC. All the way up the hill, I had been contemplating the forest on either side – but I’m a shy guy by nature and it wasn’t that desperate yet. Then a porta-potty was vacated just as I was running by, so I seized the opportunity. It was also at that moment that the Run-Walk 3:45 pace bunny passed me…

At Blanca St, there was a little out and back – and I saw two of my awesome teammates on their return trip as I was heading out. The course continued along 16th Ave until we hit Marine Dr – and then the rain started again in earnest. The next several kilometres were so wet, and I realized that I was completely soaked through, top to bottom. Thankfully, the downhill to Spanish Banks made the going a little less tough – and soon the halfway mark was in sight.

The clock told me I had crossed the line at 1 hour 59 minutes. I knew I was a few minutes faster since our corral left about 5 minutes after the elite wave. But I also doubted that a negative split was in the cards…

Halfway to 30km

The next few kilometres included the short, treacherous uphill to 4th Ave – but again, our training paid off, and I was ready for it. By now, I think the rain had tapered off again. Nearing the 25km mark, one of my good friends was cheering with gusto (thanks, Jessica!), and Emily was there with a camera – and she got this shot of me looking amazingly happy for already having run a half marathon:

Pick up those feet!

Pick up those feet!

Just before hitting Burrard Bridge, the course takes a detour through the residential streets near Kits Beach. While there was still plenty of cheering going on (the cheering station at Cornwall and Arbutus was awesome!), I was starting to feel a bit down. And it had started raining again. And just as I reached the peak of the Burrard Bridge, the unthinkable happened.

My iPhone battery died.

Why this matters

Since I started running, one of my big motivators has been tracking my runs and seeing my progress online. I especially love the Nike+ Running app, which keeps tabs on my distance and pace, and shows me awesome maps of my routes. At the same time, I’m listening to music to keep me inspired to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

The day before the race, I spent about 2 hours compiling my playlist, a collection of over 4 hours’ worth of songs that I knew would keep my spirits up. (I’ll share the secrets of my playlist in a future post!). I know some people don’t believe in running with music for various reasons – it distracts from their surroundings, it throws off their pace – but all of my races to date have included music.

In addition, I have the app synced to Facebook, so anytime someone likes my post, I hear virtual ‘cheers’ through my headphones. Another great motivator!

So when that battery went dead, three things crossed my mind:

  1. I won’t get the map of my FIRST FULL MARATHON on Nike+
  2. No more cheers for me
  3. Now I have to run naked

Here’s me relinquishing my defunct piece of technology at 30km:

bmo vancouver marathon

“It’s dead…”

Incidentally, the song playing the moment the battery died – Timber by Ke$ha (“You’re going down, I’m yelling TIMBER!”)

Running Naked – 30km to 40km

Now it’s just me and my breath and my legs. Yes, lots of other runners. And yes, lots of supporters and volunteers cheering and handing out water, sports drink, and gels. But without the music in my ears, it all seems a lot more real. More vivid. More work.

A very familiar route, along English Bay toward Stanley Park. A very encouraging “Just another little 10k!” as we hit the 32km mark. The Seawall.

Oh, the Seawall. The jewel of Stanley Park (or is Stanley Park the jewel of Vancouver?). Closed to the public today, devoid of cyclists and wandering tourists, it belongs to the marathoners. Now I can really hear what’s going on around me. Laboured breathing. Runners who are still moving at a decent pace, but whose feet scrape the ground at every step. The sound of the rain.

My feet are soaked and squishy. I sincerely appreciate the volunteers – the only other people on the Seawall – and their efforts to give us energy, but I’m finding it hard to smile anymore. Passing under the Lions Gate Bridge at 36km, the most daunting moment of the run, in my mind. And I knew it was coming. I can see Brockton Point in the distance and it looks so far away. It’s less than 3km, I realize – but at 36km I have now run farther than I’ve ever run before.

Rounding the corner at Brockton Point Lighthouse, a dramatic headwind. I think I actually say something out loud. Not a curse, just an exclamation. No one cares, though – we’re all just pushing on ahead.

And there on the Seawall, I hit ‘the Wall’.

To the Finish Line

With only 2km left to go, I feel like there’s no way I can keep going. My legs are leaden. My feet ache. I’m hungry.

I walk.

But only for 10 steps! I have to keep going. The wind has let up, the rain has stopped, I think. There’s a sign that says, “Only 1 kilometre left!” (or something similar) and I swear they’ve made kilometres longer in the last few hours since this race began. At the final straightaway, heading onto Pender, my guy is waiting for me and I know I can do this. Maybe I’m a bit delirious, but I still manage a smile as I pass by:

bmo vancouver marathon

Almost there!

Heading into the chute, with people cheering on both sides, a few hundred metres to go, I can see the finish line. What’s the time on the clock? Without my glasses, I can’t see clearly. But it doesn’t really matter. This is my first marathon, so regardless of the time it will be an automatic Personal Best!

And then it’s victory. I cross the line. Someone has wheelchairs ready, but thankfully not for me. A grinning volunteer puts a medal around my neck. There’s Coach Carey, ready with a smile and a handshake. My time? Did I break 4 hours? Nope. But it doesn’t matter. At 4:03:26, it’s pretty darn close. And I’ve done it!

There are hugs and high fives as I find my fellow marathoners, the gang who have kept me motivated through all the training. My inspirations. My friends.

Now I can say: “I have run a marathon.”

bmo vancouver marathon

Done and done!