Thursday, October 16, 2008

Race Report - Royal Victoria Marathon

Sunday October 12th started very cool, crisp, and dark. The weatherman predicted a temperature of around 10C (50F) with a sun and cloud mix. Perfect! At 7 am, sporting my new $12 dollar green and black thrift-store fleece I headed out for a 15 minute walk to the race. When I arrived I was lucky enough to watch the start of the Half-Marathon, and saw the leaders run by, preceded by a motorcade - lights flashing. That got my heart pumping.

Pretty soon it was time to line up behind the start line and I spent the last few seconds before the gun listening to Cypress Hill's "Rock Superstar" - which made me feel really tough. The gun fired, off came the ugly warm-up clothes...and we were underway.

(I'm in the red top and black tights - don't blink!)

The first few miles took us on a meandering tour through downtown Victoria. The twists, turns, and gentle hills kept my interest. We passed the Empress Hotel, the harbour, and the stately legislative buildings.

At mile 5, I passed Ian and my Dad and found myself in the green and gold foliage of Beacon Hill Park. The clouds parted and warm, golden light spread out across the sky.
The next phase took us into the established residential streets of Oak Bay. Quite a few local neighbourhood folks were encamped on the ends of their driveways and in their front yards with noisemakers, signs, and refreshments. What the crowds lacked in numbers they certainly made up for in sincerity.
After we left the residential section we settled in for a long march along the Pacific on Dallas Road from mile 11 to 16 and back. Here, as well as throughout the rest of the race, there were evenly spaced gentle hills to keep things interesting. The spectators thinned out even more and for the most part it was just the runners, the road, and the shore. It was a very peaceful atmosphere with the wide expanse of the ocean spreading out on one side and a winding road unfolding beneath our feet.

After all that solitude I was very happy to find my friend Stephanie and her Mom enthusiastically waving and cheering as I went by mile 17 and then again at 29.

Throughout the journey I did have a lot of work to do. I phoned Ian every 5 or 6 miles and filed a report. I walked and drank at all of the water stops and ate 3 cliff shot bloks every hour. I kept scanning the sidewalks for Ian and my Dad, who might appear at any moment from behind a large tree or parked car. Finally, and most importantly I had to remember my mission: Make it to mile 20 feeling great and ready to start the marathon!

(Here I am at mile 20 getting a last drink from Ian)

It's safe to say my strategy worked. I ended up seeing Ian and my Dad at least 5 times and I think each time they were surprised to see a smile on my face. Aside from one episode of aching toes (which was quickly remedied with Advil) and a couple of breaks to stretch stiff legs - I did arrive at Mile 20 feeling pretty great. Around mile 21 I accepted a tiny cup of beer from one of the Oak Bay folks and dug in.

In the end I did feel pretty crappy the last 3 or 4 miles but I kept reminding myself that this was going to be my last really long run for a loooong time, and that helped keep my pace up.

I crossed the finish with a chip time of 4:10:41, beating my previous record by 10 minutes and blowing my "best case sceneario" goal of 4:15 out of the water. Thanks to all my supporters and I'll keep you posted on the recovery...


Anonymous said...

I'm thrilled to read that this marathon was mostly uneventful. I know it's more exciting to read about struggles and upheaval, but knowing what those hurdles do to your morale and to your likelihood of doing another marathon, I'm happy to hear that it was a calm race and that you enjoyed yourself.

Do you think it was enjoyable enough to run it again in the future? I certainly enjoyed cheering you on, and am kicking myself for giving up half-way through half-marathon training.


Nicole said...

Hey Steph! Thanks for the cheers!!I would definitely run it again! So nice! Maybe even next year as a backup plan (if I don't get into New York). Hey - its never too late to start training!!

:) Nicole

Jesse said...

Congrats on the PR Nicole! That solo photo of you with the sunglasses on is pretty bad ass :-) -(@JesseJstreet)

jeannie said...

Congratulations on breaking your record and beating your anticipated time! Keep up the run! You look great!

Andrew - Six Minutes Public Speaking Blog said...

Congratulations, Nicole!
Great race, and great race report.

It sounds like you ran a very smart and careful race, and your discipline paid off with an outstanding result.

Enjoy the rest. Good luck as you set your next goal.

Michael said...

Way to go Nicole. Sounds like an excellent race and and a stellar time to boot. I'm pretty well recovered from Minni and I'm starting to train for the Hypo-half marathon in February. Yes, nothing says "Winnipeg" more than running 13.1 miles in -40. I have a friend running NY so I'll be following that one closely. Thanks for the great race report. Congratulations on a race well done. Mike

Kevin said...

Hey, this is a cool report (and an even cooler blog) and thanks for stopping by my blog with the nice comments...Great job on the PR....I am soooo ready for my marathon, but, alas, I have 8 weeks to go.

Anonymous said...

I think its awesome that in such a short time since you've started running, you're travelling all over running marathons ! Of course I'm a little biased, I think its simply amazing! mom

kara said...

Wow - great time. I used to live in Victoria - many years ago.
Love Beacon Hill park and the route along Dallas drive. Must have been a very scenic race.
I'm envious.
And you get to ski Whistler too!
; )
Keep on running