Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Vancouver Marathon - Race Report (42K/26.2m)

Well, Marathon Sunday has come and gone and I've finally recovered enough to gather my thoughts. There were two big advantages to running a marathon in my hometown. One, was of course the familiarity factor - although I wasn't as familiar as I thought with some of the hills. The other, and more important advantage was having so much support from friends and family along the way.

I ended up with one more supporter when another runner, S, picked me to run beside at around Mile 2 and we discovered we were both trying for a 4:15 finish. We ran together off and on until around the half-way mark then I didn't see her again until she was about 100 ft. in front around Mile 20. She had a GPS Garmin thingy so it was easy to stay on pace (even tho I kept missing the mile markers)...

I saw my friend MI and her little girls around Mile 9 (altho I heard them and their noisemakers first so they must have spotted me). Somewhere after that between 9 & 10 I actually stopped THREE TIMES to fix my left shoelaces (too tight / too loose / too tight ). Then, out of the blue my Dad & Sister appeared with big signs at 10 - in the middle of the 'hood.

Nice scenery, thru Gastown, past Coal Harbour, around the Lighthouse at Brockton Point, through the second growth rainforest of Stanley Park, around Lost Lagoon...Then there was Mom at 16 in the park waving a big Canada flag (which made her easy to spot). There was only one other person the whole race with such a flag, so it was quite unique.

Big crowds on Beach Avenue after the quiet bit in the park....My friend DS and I nearly bumped into each other at around Mile 17 (at Denman & Davie) - which was our planned meeting point - and then he had to run ahead to get a pic with his goofy Polaroid. Super hilarious!

After that...a big mother of a hill running up Pacific Avenue...partway up I spotted my Signif-Oth. IB standing quietly and looking slightly concerned around Mile 18. Then it was up and over the Burrard Bridge to Kits.
Lots of crowd support after that, and it was definitely needed. Things became exponentially more difficult. Spotted a coworker at 19 & then again at 22, who took a couple of pics. Made it up Cornwall/Pointe Grey Road (big hill) because I had an appointment with my gf's SC & AS, but instead found my Dad & sis again (surprisingly) at Mile 20 & then 21 on the way back. They had to have driven all the way over from the bad part of town, so it was a great bonus to see them again.
The next few miles are a bit of a blur. I threw out my time goals and went into "just finish the thing" mode. Many hills, some walking, wondering who's idea this was...I stopped taking my Cliff Shot Bloks around Mile 21 (which was OK because I had already taken 7 of my planned 8 blocks). I was somehow able to avoid doing the "survivor shuffle" and managed to at least LOOK like I was still feeling good.

Corner after corner revealed one hill after another...Each one seemingly bigger and longer than the previous. Pulled out my nearly full 4th bottle of Gatorade and tossed it onto the grass near the Planetarium. Somehow it just seemed way too heavy to bear.

Finally made it ack over the bridge into downtown, buoyed by the increasingly noticable crowds. Made the last turn on Pacific Boulevard and found my sister with the silly sign again around Mile 25.2 (the home stretch). She ran behind me yelling until she hit a gate and crashed (this all happened out of my view range)...

Last 100m was ABSOLUTELY INSANE...LINED with spectators yelling and I spotted my Dad & IB again. I think I went deaf around that time because all I could hear was myself breathing like a freight train coming down the track. AS & SC (and mom) were there too and saw me finish - but I was "in the zone" (more like in survival mode) and missed them.
Time on the clock read: "4:22:59" and I was happy to have made it under my middle goal (between good enough and fabulous).
All in all a very interesting experience, though I don't recommend it. Too many hills (esp. at the end).

Thanks again to all my supporters out on the course and in cyberspace!! Someone else will have to do it next time...

P.S. I was pleasantly surprised to find out my official time was 4:20:56


Brooklyn said...

great race report. Wonderful to have such excellent family support.

Lesley said...

I enjoyed your race report! I've been trying to decide whether or not to run my first half marathon on the NC coast (already registered for it), or do the race in a neighboring county the week before. Have the support of friend and family on the sidelines sounds pretty darn tempting!

Congrats on finishing the half! I look forward to being able to say the same thing in November.


Anonymous said...

would you recommend the Scotiabank or the BMO half marathon for my first marathon?

Nicole said...

I haven't actually done the BMO Half ( only the full) - so I'm gonna say Scotia. Also, Scotia is mostly downhill which is nice.