The First Half Half-Marathon

first half marathon

I came into this half marathon with little to no expectations. With a pretty hefty race schedule on the horizon, I couldn’t really afford a taper. I signed up based on a deal with myself that it was a train-through tempo kinda deal.

When I hit the 10k sign at 39 something, I was a little surprised… and pretty determined to keep on.

The course heads out to the Stanley Park seawall, the site of so many Vancouver races. Not being from Vancouver, you might think the seawall would be the most enchanting place to run in the whole of this great city.

It’s cool the first 800 times. And then it’s a bit like a sitcom: everyone so alone and isolated but sharing in the experience enough to laugh at the same jokes. You can see people – forever. But they look like a line of ants in various neon hues.

There is one part in particular that hurts my soul: that stretch by third beach. I have no idea why. It’s beautiful. It’s a beach for goodness sake. But it killllllllllls me.

I made a deal with myself that I’d run strong through it… but deals are made to be broken as they say. Still, I didn’t slow much… so I guess that’s a win.

I’d seen John and the girls now on course a few times, which kept me clicking on. I was also glad that John worked my calves and quads out the night before and the morning of. They were tired – but they could have been very sore on top of it.

By the time we hit the gravel trail at Lost Lagoon, my legs started protesting. Every step seemed jarring and awkward. My feet seemed unable to anticipate the ground.

The last few miles were just a matter of keeping my legs moving. I focused on a quick arm swing and light feet. Those last few short steep hills were as brutal as I remembered. I slowed dramatically but pushed on at the crests.

Coming around to the finish line, I was bathed by the warmth of familiar voices screaming for me. Best run club ever. Best friends ever.

To make my new 1:25:12 personal best even better, five other girls crushed the course and Dan broke 90 for his first time.

It isn’t always easy but it’s always worth it

It isn't always easy but it's always worth it

I didn’t feel like running today. It was one of those “haul your butt out of the car and get moving at whatever pace your legs will take you kind of days.”

After a week of being sick, I have been chomping at the bit to workout – and with the gorgeous sunny fall weather, outdoors. But for some reason, when time came to put stroller rubber to road, the enthusiasm waned.

It wasn’t the best run, but it’s done and I feel just awesome having finished it.

What do you tell yourself to get through a tough workout and is it always worth it in the end?

Stroller at the Sun Run, Race Report, 2013

Stroller at the Sun Run, Race Report, 2013

I know, I know! Another race report. Last one for a while, promise.

I hadn’t planned on running the Sun Run with a stroller. I did it last year and I swore, “Never again.” It took me over an hour to get to the start line with a cranky baby in hand and a full bladder in tow. The rest of the run was spent swerving, dodging and spending every ounce of energy with the focus of a Jedi Warrior to not run anyone over.

Ama was a little bummed that she couldn’t run the Boston Marathon with me and as my constant training companion, she deserves to enjoy the events just as much as I do.

Saturday was my first day back post Boston. 5k easy. OK, not easy. The quad in my good leg (of all legs) seized up on me 3k in and I had to hobble/walk back. Luckily, my wonderful friend Yun was there to push the stroller and I back home.

I showed up race day planning on walking it, stroller and all.

In a show of support for Boston, all those participating in the Sun Run who were at the marathon were invited on stage to join in a moment of silence to a beautifully played trumpet solo. And after it, we were led, along with the big ticket runners, to the starting line.

They saw the stroller and hmmm’d. I don’t know what John said but something about me being courteous and the world record holder for female stroller push… they let me in and told me to stay out of the way. I of course understood why they wouldn’t want me in front, nothing would grate at my soul more than getting in another runner’s route to a PB.

Luckily I am used to running in tight fast moving packs with a stroller and instead of running for speed (which was not happening anyway), I ran to stay out of the way and send love to the fasties blasting past me like I was the hobbled stroller mama I was.

Ama and I had a great time. I was so happy to have her along to enjoy the moment.

Never has there been a race quite like this one was for me. Seeing the sea of blue and yellow ahead, being out there, running again. Running again with others like me. Those that had felt the pain in Boston. Those whose hearts still ached.

The spectators were louder than ever before, the air fresher, the people happier.

I felt that we were all out there running for the sheer love of it. I know Ama and I were.

Several people in our club got PBs that day. One even lopped 3 minutes off of her time despite being almost 10 years older.

Ama and I ran 46 minutes. No where near my fastest 10k time.

Like most of my best races, it wasn’t the time that mattered. That makes two of the best races in my life in one week. Both injured, uncomfortable and slow… but I was loving every minute.

I am reminded of some wise words I heard recently, “Life is too ironic. It takes sadness to know what happiness is, noise to appreciate silence, and absence to value presence.”

Not that I wouldn’t appreciate running injury free, but I’ll appreciate a run how ever I can get it.