First, let’s start with the good news: my Fall Classic half marathon this past Sunday went down pretty much exactly as expected. I sandwiched it in between a 5½ km warm-up and a 5½ km cool-down for a total of nearly 32km. Overall, a great training day.
I didn’t have a chance to grab an espresso before hubby and I left the house for the start line, up at UBC, and running up there was no place along the way to grab one. So I was a bit disappointed that I’d be missing out on one of my usual pre-race rituals of an using caffeine as an ergogenic aid.
However, the minute we arrived at UBC, I spotted a McCafe trailer set up with FREE COFFEE!!! I know, I couldn’t believe it either haha. And then just as I was thinking oh, but I wanted an espresso not coffee (I know so picky lol), I caught sight of a sign listing the at least half dozen options, including espresso!! Oh McDonalds, haha, who knew you’d come to my rescue one day!! It tasted really good too 🙂
It was just a bit cold at the start line, which was perfect because I know if I’m comfortable at the start line I’m going to be uncomfortable (too hot) during the race. The weather continued to be pretty much perfect – cool and slightly overcast, but not a drop of rain. It was a bit windy at points… Nothing worth complaining about though!!
Hubby paced me the entire race – which was a very special treat. He was a really great pacer, even despite the fact he was a bit cold himself cause he was barely running his easy pace (ah yah haha I have a speedy hubby!!). He encouraged me the entire way and pushed me just enough to help me know I did my very best. I left everything I had on that race course. He also would slide in front of me when it got windy to try to help shield me from the wind!
The organization of the race was on point. There was so much going on – 3 different race distances (a 10k and a 5k along with the half) that all started at different time and bag checks for each one. But everything was set up and organized so well I encountered zero problems or challenges. The fun games aka beer challenge over to the side of the start line – the ring toss and beer pong – looked like so much fun and I really wanted to win a mason jar glass with the RunVan logo on it, but I was so cold after the race I went straight inside!! Ahh, next time!
The course itself was pretty good, beginning up at UBC and looping around Old Marine Drive – I don’t mind a hilly or rolling course, but don’t think I’d ever purposefully search out a double loop course again. That said, it wasn’t as bad as I’d thought it might be – and in an odd way, kind of nice to know exactly what the second 10km held in store.
There were 2 hairpin turns. Essentially, the same hairpin turn, but had to do it twice over since it was a double loop. I actually barely noticed it the first time round, but on the second round it felt much harder – like all my momentum went to zero and I had to turn the engine on again.
I smiled a lot. Even when it got really hard – at kilometre 17 when my bunny pulled ahead of me and I knew it was because I was slowing down slightly – I made a pact with myself to not make any dying faces. I’m pretty sure I succeeded this time. I actually failed at this the week prior, in the Great Climate 10k race – the only picture I found of myself online taken by a race photographer, I look like I’m about to die. Literally. Dying. It was so bad hahaha! So far I haven’t found any dying pictures of me for this one lol!
I passed a number of other racers in the second half. It’s only because hubby paced me so well that I was able to maintain pace (for the most part). One of the racers I passed was a girl in a white top. I made mental notes of each runner I passed, thinking I must now stay ahead of them!!
With literally one kilometre left to go, the girl in the white top passed me back!! I tried to keep with her, but felt like I had nothing left in my legs, absolutely zero.
Then hubby left me, with 300 metres to go, and as he did, he told me to “Go get her!!”
So I did. I pulled some speed out of who knows where and raced that girl to the finish line and beat her, coming in at 1:45:38 (chip time) woohoo!!
Okay well – I thought I beat her, but it turns out I tied her – our gun times were identical to the millisecond, haha!
All in all, you couldn’t really ask for a better day, right?!!
I know, I know… You’re waiting for the BUT.
So actually, there really is no but. No bad news.
The only thing is that I’d be lying if I said a tiny part of me is sad I’m not in top shape and able to run a PB. Ahh haha my personal best is 1:36:25 and I know it’ll take a miracle (okay, make that some really serious training) to dip below that. But at the end of the day I think the competitive side of me will never fully let go. And maybe that’s okay.
For now, I really honestly am having fun with running. When I was training for my Long Beach Marathon, I was running 110-160km per week. Now I’m running 50-70km per week (Strava keeps me honest lol). I’m putting zero pressure on myself and it feels really good to have this much needed downtime. Racing for fun, really is (mostly) fun. And I’m going to keep doing it – this Saturday at the Moustache Miler 5k and the week after at Seattle Marathon, to name a few upcoming fun races.
But don’t worry, my competitive side will get to come out and play soon enough 😉