So I was in this little town named Vancouver over the weekend. Maybe you heard of it? Apparently they hosted some sporting event called the Winter Olympics. It was apparently quite the big deal. I flew in for a one night stay so I could run the Inaugural Vancouver Oasis Rock n Roll Half Marathon.
We (the hubs and I) left Edmonton about 6 am. We boarded the plane with several other runners planning on doing the same thing. I knew a ton of people from RunClub, my work, and just bumping into people on local run paths. I am not a morning person, so I slept the 1,5 hours to Vancouver.
We arrived safe and sound inspire of the Pilot telling us about the massive head winds and demanding the attendants sit and buckle up. I thought about the possibility of death briefly then fell sound asleep. We gathered up our carry-on luggage and headed straight for the train into the city. 45 minutes late we were ensconced securely downtown tucked into a Starbucks eating breakfast and getting our bearings. The Hubs was TOTALLY lost. He kept want to go in the opposite direction. It was beginning to annoy me and I finally said…just follow me. I had the great fortune to be trained in navigation by my grandfather the WWII navigator. Sure he made me cry while teaching me how to do it, but I can now find my way across the world with a map and a compass. Screw you Suri! I’m solid!
We got to the Listel hotel in one piece, although I was a bit tired of saying…No, its THIS WAY…
Dumped our baggage and headed to the Expo by 9:30 AM. We could have walked but I was hearing my Coach’s voice “Save the legs!” Right, so we hopped onto transit once again and I must say, the best app in the whole wide world is Transit. It’s brilliant and works in every city.
If there is a more beautiful city in North America… please invite me and show me. For now I think it is Vancouver. The sea, the mountains and the green is SPECTACULAR! I bought some Brooks RunHappy Clothing and a sticker for my car – I am now the annoying person who brags about milage on her bumper 13.1 baby! That’s in Miles. 21.1km for you metric babies. You bet I’m bragging. Its a big deal. If you don’t think so, join me next time. 13.1 is half of nothing. It’s a fine distance on its own.
After Expo we spent time at Canada Place just taking in the view. Amazing.
People kept wanting to take my camera so they can take my photo… I’m good thanks. I selfie and runfie because I’m cool like that.
From there we hopped the transit once again and headed for Granville Island. Home of the Market and the Grandville Island Brewery. These were the two things I wanted most on my trip…and an Umbrella, but an Umbrella isn’t a practical carry-on item for the plane, so I went without even thought the rain came down in buckets ALL DAY LONG. In Edmonton is rains like that for 10 minutes and its done. All day rain is something else and it gives me hideous hair, however, I think I still want to live coastal.
The Market was amazing, I knew to go where the crowds were so we secured bagels, yogurt and bananas for $6. It was a delicious pre-race breakfast. We took photos for Chatterbox because she is determined to live and work in the TV industry here. She enjoyed the sets she has seen on various shows and was thrilled to hear about the thriving theatre district.
We returned to the Listel for a pre-dinner nap, then trudged out in the downpour, fight the Umbrella People for sidewalk space. Riddle me this: you have an Umbrella, yet you still need to walk under the awnings where it is dry poking people in the eye with your Umbrella. Why?
We woke up bright and early for a 8 AM race start. That meant 7 AM awake and leave by 7:30 to walk to the start at Convention centre. 24 corrals and I was in 23. #24 got to leave at 8 because they were slow. Lucky them…wish I knew about that because the Grim Sweeper was on my tail the entire time. It makes for a stressful race and fast one for me to avoid his clutches.
I snuck into corral 17. I needed the extra time, I knew to stay to the right out of the gazelle’s way. Hubs was worried we’d get caught. Of course I am that person who thinks “What is the worst thing that can happen?” They can kick me out…big deal. I wasn’t the only one doing it either…not that it makes it right. Slow people need more time to finish. Putting us last doesn’t make sense. This race was full of people who understood runner etiquette – I am LOOKING AT YOU DISNEY RUNNERS. When you are going to walk, put your hand up and move to the right. Don’t STOP in front of someone. This made for a smooth race. Except for the lady telling walkers they should AT LEAST TRY…WTF? Has she ever walked that far? Walking is a legitimate sport.
I ran my fastest 10k ever, when I say ran I mean walked…with running on the downhill. For the record, Vancouver is kinda hilly and not in a good way. I found my runs to be smoking fast which isn’t good when you have to monitor your heart rate. But still…. smoking fast is fun and AWESOME. When I say fast…I mean for me. I was running last January at 12:30 km/min. Sunday I was running 8:40 km/min. THAT IS A HUGE DIFFERENCE!!
By the time I made it to Stanley Park, the sun was out and the sky was blue, no rain at all! But my feet were soaked and shredded. The humidity was high and it was cold – that’s right – cold for me! I was freezing by 19km. Soaked thru with moisture not being able to dissipate because of the high humidity. The hills through Stanley Park were brutal for the end of the race, it just sapped me of all my reserves. However the view was stunning.
When I ran across the finish line I was thinking “this is the longest 500 meters in the WORLD” The finish line was up hill, the start line was up hill…really Competitor Racing? Really? I have come to the conclusion that although I think Edmonton has some good hills for training, I am kidding myself. Clayton is right. It may be a sea level, but the hills are hills. I need better hill training for The Donald. It will only serve to make me stronger and faster.
The finish line had blankets…. YES! Because I was cold. It also had free beer, YES! because I like beer and especially after running. It didn’t have bananas, or bagels, but it did have granola cereal….Awesome? And it did have those yogurt power bars that taste like plastercine. The pretzels were good with the beer, and I was satisfied with my time. PR for me, 45 minutes faster than Calgary. How did that happen? I have no idea….I think it was due to the sea level part. I train at 2300 feet. OR it’s because I did what I could for training. I get the go ahead to actually begin running in a week. A WEEK! WOOT! Bad news though, I feel like I need to start from scratch building those running muscles. I can do it. I have a plan.
To get me going in the motivational department (because lets face it, why train when doing next to nothing made for a great race) I am joining the Doctor Who 50 Mile Ultra. I need to record my milage for the month. The first one to reach 50 miles, wines.. I don’t expect to win, but it will keep me motivated and I get an awesome medal for it. I thought about doing the 100 miler, but that’s just silly. To far too fast. I have learned my lesson in that department.
Anyways…back to the Rock n Roll Vancouver. What did I think?
- Calgary had WAY MORE MUSIC on their course. Way more! That was disappointing. I had to wear my ear buds because the silence got to me after a while.
- The cups were too full. There was a ton of water and Gatorade but filling a cup full makes it hard to hydrate.
- The start line at the bottom of a hill is stupid.
- The finish line at the top of a hill is stupid.
- There was NO BAND AT THE FINISH. What??? It was a Rock and Roll event! Maybe this is always the way it is done, but Calgary did it better, and I am by no means a Calgary fan. They just put on an awesome event.
- The course was well marked. There wasn’t a lot of volunteers showing the way, but it didn’t matter because it was clearly marked with road closures and pylons.
- Not lots of cheering spectators but I am good with that. It’s normal for Canada.
- The course was BEAUTIFUL. Well done picking it out Race Marshall! The only ugly part was Rail Town, but the music was great thru there.
- The Medal was AWESOME! The Lion from the Lion’s Gate Bridge? Nice choice!
- Would I do it again? I don’t think so. Not because of the event itself, but there are so many other Vancouver events I want to try, like the BMO Full and Half Marathon, the SeaBreeze and maybe hop over to Vancouver Island for the Victoria Half Marathon! I would however, go do the Portland Rock and Roll or even Chicago. Vancouver is an amazing place to run!
Next race: The Santa Shuffle, 5 km twice around Hawrelak Park here in Edmonton. Last year it was -42C. Fingers crossed it will be a tad warmer this year.