my May 7, 2017
The BMO Vancouver marathon is a race that I was super excited to run because not only is it through my “hometown”, but it’s one of the most beautiful road marathons in the world and it was my first A-race of the season and I felt like I’d trained really well for it! Months and months of road running when I would rather have been trail running… but finding myself getting progressively faster and stronger and able to run steadily for long periods of time and generally improving my pacing. I was excited to see my hard work finally pay off.
I’d actually signed up for the Vancouver marathon years earlier but never ended up doing it – cuz I hardly ran back then and a marathon would really have been a stretch. But now I was finally going to do it!!! The whole thing!!!
I’d picked up my race package at the race expo a couple days earlier so I was all set and ready to go. The run expo was nice – I always love checking out all the booths and businesses and gear showcased at running expos.
Super early in the morning, I drove out to Vancouver with a friend who was pace bunny for the half marathon which oddly started earlier than the marathon which is longer!
So many people, and good vibes at the start line. People were excited! I was excited!!!!
Near to start time, I jumped in my queue, which was actually the 2nd wave to go, near the start, and found myself a 3:45 pace bunny to keep an eye on. My goal time was sub 4 but hopefully 3:50 or less.
I moved across the start line slowly with the large group, all fighting for our place in the race. I thought my pace was pretty slow to begin with but the 3:45 pacers were seriously taking their time!!! I ended up running ahead because I wasn’t sure they’d actually keep an accurate pace at this point (I later realized they had 2 different paces in order to ensure a negative split – smart of them, not so smart of me but oh well).
Running the first 10ish km (slightly downhill), feeling strong and fast, dreams of potentially even getting a Boston Qualifying time danced through my head. Ridiculous. It probably got me going faster than I should have but oh well.
The one thing I did not realize, is that the course is significantly hilly actually! The hills that looked super minimal on the course profile were actually larger than I thought at points, but I ran up them all and loved the relief of the downhill after!!
At the half way point, my time was 1:50:12. I was feeling really great and felt like my pacing was pretty good also!!
I knew, from my Paris marathon, that the last 7-8km would be the hardest and longest part of the race for me. That would be when mentally it would become so challenging.
Apparently my mental game is stronger because I didn’t feel completely done and ready to stop, or feel the same desire to just stop and walk like I did in Paris – maybe also because there were very few people walking ahead of me and I was still passing runners and that felt good! I was exhausted as I’d be pushing hard, but I still had enough energy left to run a few more kms.
However, I did have to stop initially on my entrance onto the Stanley Park seawall as I needed to grab my last soft flask from my pack for a bit more liquid calories. That slowed me briefly and in that point, the 3:45 pace bunnies passed me and I spent the rest of the race trying to catch them! It was good motivation though and kept me pushing forward!
The last 2 kms of the race were so tough though because by this point, my joints were aching so badly!! Energy wise I was ok, and my feet were pretty good but my hips especially were like WTF is this road business you’ve got us running on so repetitively for 40km already!! Enough!!
And then, I turned onto W Pender Street and could see the finish line ahead of me, people were calling out my name and cheering me on… I felt like I had such a pained look on my face – a cross between a grimace and a smile, but I gradually picked up speed as I neared the finish line ( set on a gradual incline which set my legs on fire even more!!! who does that anyways??!!!).
(Yep that’s definitely a painful smile… more grimace and gasping for air than smile…)
I triumphantly crossed the finish line with arms in the air… completely ecstatic with my time, my performance, and feeling such extreme gratitude to see the finish line and have this road running/training on the road business over with for the rest of the summer!!!
Final time: 3:46:10. 54/259 in my age category (25-29). 205 female out of 1426. I’m super happy with those stats!!!
I’d beat my very hopeful time goal of 3:50 by a solid almost 4 minutes, and was well below my realistic goal of sub 4!! 11 minutes off a Boston qualifiying time but that’s ok. It wasn’t my goal for now anyways. If it had been, I would have spent a lot more time road running and less time on the trails! And plus, plenty of time to work on that. For all final results… look here… http://bmovanmarathon.ca/results-bmo-vancouver-marathon/results-2017-marathon
Also, common theme here, I’m shit at math so I thought I’d have a negative split cuz when I did the math in my head, that’s what I got. But really I had a positive split! Ohhh well. Still working on that pacing…
I do love having friends waiting at the finish line to celebrate with me, and it was great to see my friend TW there! It makes the joy of the moment so much more special to know someone you care about was their to witness your moment of victory, your great personal achievement, or even the moment you didn’t feel as successful as you hoped but still finishing which I think is always an accomplishment!!
I hobbled to get my medal, finish photo, and bag drop. Standing at bag drop I didn’t even know how I could stand still. My hips were SO sore and tight!!!! I dropped to a crouch and eventually after getting my bag, laid on the street and stretched it out in the sunshine along with many other finishers.
We didn’t stay long in Vancouver after the race and when I got home, I collapsed on cozy patio chair in the sunshine, too exhausted to move any further for the next few hours!
The next day, I attempted a little hobblethon run by the river… and within a couple days after that, was back to training full tilt. I was now several weeks into my 20 week training plan for Squamish and it was time to get serious about running up hills!!!
Anyways. I was really really happy with my performance. I rode the high for the week and then some for sure until the post marathon blues hit me. Post marathon blues are a very real and very depressing thing actually!! :S
I loved my 2nd road marathon but I will say, I probably won’t do one every year. Qualifying for Boston is definitely a goal of mine, but I’m not sure when I’d like to do it? Maybe in a few years if/when I slow down on trail running and drop to lower distance races vs ultra distance. Who knows what the future will hold??