Vancouver Race Recap

This week's stats:

  • 58 miles
  • 10M with 1M @ 542, 2x800m @ 240/238 with 2:00 jog, 1M @ 536, 2 x 400m @ 80/76
  • Half Marathon Race in 1:17:55, 4th place, with splits of
    • 5KM: 17:58 (547 pace)
    • 10KM: 18:41 (36:39) 601 pace
    • 15KM: 18:41 (55:20) 601 pace
    • 21.1KM: 22:35 (1:17:55) which is 18:30 5KM pace / 557 pace

It is very unlike me to not do research about a race and its course before I sign up.  I made an assumption, based on the fast times two of my friends posted at Vancouver, that the BMO Vancouver Half Marathon would be flat and fast.  Boy, was I SO very wrong!  I even convinced two other women - Jenna and Emilee - to do the race as well, with the misled expectation of getting a PR.  Face palm.

The course can best be summarized with a text from Jenna afterwards:  "Did you see that on Garmin, the course had 890 feet elevation gain."

So, there's that.  Here's how the course unfolded:  first there was a a very steep downhill for the first 2 miles.  Then there was a steep uphill for 600 meter around 6KM.  Then about every 1-2KM there was a hill that would pop up and just zap my legs of energy.  But, regardless of the hills that made me have splits so slow that I thought for certain the markers MUST be off, the course was beautiful and I left wanting to move to Vancouver.  

The elite coordinator, Lynn, is an Olympic Bronze Medalist in the 3,000M from the famed 1984 race with Zola Budd and Mary Decker.  Lynn did an incredible job putting on a fantastic event and making sure the elites didn't have to worry about the small things.  

At the start of the race, I figured my best case scenario would be to get fourth place, given that there was a Canadian national champion (Tasha Wodak), an African and one other who had much better PRs than me.  My goal was to come in fourth then.  I went out in the first 4KM trying to pace myself on the downhill, knowing there would be at least some small climbs later in the race. 

By 5KM, the top 3 women were so far in front that I knew I just had to maintain my position to reach my goal.  After 6KM, I was running with a pack of men and there were not any women around.  We climbed up another big hill back in downtown Vancouver before making our way to Stanley Park.  Here, I ran with two guys side-by-side, until they would drop me on a longer uphill.  I would eventually catch back up to them on a downhill, but it was rough for me mentally on the hills.  With 5KM to go, I was seriously doubting why I thought this course would be fast, but I knew that didn't matter at the current moment, so I focused instead on staying with the dudes around me.

With one final turn, we rounded in for a loooong 1000m climb up to the finish line.  It was absolutely brutal.  Crossing the finish line, I walked over to Peter immediately and said  "I'm definitely not doing Bay to Breakers."    I feel like this is a good indicator of how crushed I felt coming out of this race.  As I waited for Jenna, Erin and Emilee to finish, I reflected on my thoughts about the race and what's next.  I realized that this was my slowest half time in years.  All in all, with training for a track season for the first time in a decade, moving and consistently training since January, my body was ready for a break.   I decided to take at least a week off and go from there. 

Overall, it was a blast exploring Vancouver both during the race and after.  It's such a beautiful city with incredible food, super nice people and spectacular views!  I definitely learned my lesson to do better research next time before I convince athletes I coach to do a race for a PR!