This was the weekend – the big run. We flew out to Vancouver on Friday, taking advantage of our mid-afternoon flight time to sleep in, finish packing and take a trip to the thrift store (Jon scored a very sweet winter jacket for $9.99). This was Jon’s first trip to Vancouver (and really, last time I was out that way I didn’t see any of the city) so we gave ourselves Saturday to do some very low key sight-seeing. Luckily, the sun was shining on Saturday, making it pretty enjoyable for walking around. After a lazy morning, we started by picking up our race packages near BC Place and then caught a water taxi over to Granville Island for lunch. After everyone finished their selections from the market, we wandered there for a little bit, checking out whatever it is you check out.
After that we caught the water taxi over to the other side again, and walked up the beach path towards Stanley Park. I love the smell of the ocean, and the waves and all the greenery and the flowers! We turned off at the lagoon, and headed over to Coal Harbour since we were running through Stanley Park the next day, and our walk was getting too long for a day when you’re not really supposed to be exercising. Then we did what we were supposed to be doing (relaxing) and had an ice tea and watched the boats for an hour or so.
After that we walked over towards the Steam Clock where Jon and I had a dinner date with some friends (carbo loading). End of sight-seeing and time to get into running mode!
After all the sunshine on Saturday, we woke to a grey and cloudy Sunday. We put on our running clothes, grabbed our Garmins and shoved in some granola before heading back downtown for the race. My amazing sister played the support team roll – getting up early with us, escorting us to the race, calming my pre-race fears and taking all our extra clothes just before the race so we didn’t have to stand around shivering. This being my first big race (I haven’t run a race since 2007!) I wasn’t sure what to expect when it came to starting, but things went much smoother than I’d imagined and before I knew it, I was running a marathon!
Of course it was raining, and rained right up until the 13 mile mark (after that it was on and off). My sister was dedicated enough to stand around in the pouring rain until both Jon and I had passed the 6 mile mark to cheer us on, but we don’t fault her for heading home after that. Jon and I split up after the first couple of miles, and I didn’t see him again until the turn around in the last 15 km of the course. Being a much faster runner than I am, he was well finished by the time I crossed the line in 4:19, and was there to greet me with a hug and kiss.
Turns out all my fears (not finishing, not finishing fast enough, not training enough, not training right, etc) were unfounded. Even with the rain, I ran exactly the marathon I wanted to run – my time was what I wanted, I felt strong at the end, and I enjoyed it! The last 8 miles were not very much fun (up hill, down hill, up hill, down hill), but I felt really great right up until mile 13, and OK until I had to start running up hill around mile 18. Of course today I’m stiff and achy, every move I make is accompanied by a groan or whine, but I think it was worth it. We’ll be back out running by the end of the week (if our bodies cooperate) and looking forward to our next race!