Thursday, August 20, 2015

SeaWheeze 2015 Half Marathon Race Recap- A New PR!!!

I've been chasing a half marathon PR since my 1:54:14 finish at the NYC Half in March 2014. Since then, I have ran six official half marathons and come very close three times. I've been training for the NYC Marathon for six weeks now. I'm using NYRR training (the same one I used for the NYC Half) and I truly believe in how they work. Each time, I've become a smarter, faster and more confident runner.
I went into SeaWheeze with a wait-and-see attitude. I planned to either race it or have fun and race my next half two weeks later. Despite doing almost everything "wrong" the day before, I woke up with fresh legs and a little voice in the back of my head telling me to go for it. 
I had set my alarm for 4:30am since I would be driving the 45 minutes in to Vancouver and needed to get there before they closed the roads at 6am. I changed into my race clothes, loaded our suitcases in the car (we were flying home a few hours after the race) and hit the road. I ended up parking near the convention centre and checked my bag around 6 o'clock. It was a little chilly, and lightly raining, so I hung out inside waiting for Ange to arrive. We had planned to run the race together for as long as we wanted but knew one of us may take off at some point. It had stopped raining so I decided to stick with my plan to run in shorts and a tank top.
We both used the bathroom (yay for indoor washrooms) and walked the five-minutes to the starting line around 6:40.
My ONLY complaint about the race was the wave/corral system. They had them clearly marked but the pace bunnies were standing, all-together, in the first section (clearly marked under an hour and 30 minutes.) Ange and I didn't feel comfortable standing where we shouldn't be so we hung back in what we though was the second wave (under two-hours) but ended up actually being in the third wave. They released waves every four minutes so luckily we didn't have to wait too long. Plus, I think everyone else was likely confused since we seemed to be running with people going the 
same pace we were.  

2014 Starting Line (courtesy
As the horn rang at 7:10, Ange and I exchanged nervous "here we go" smiles and started moving. The first mile had an uphill. I remember joking I felt like it was Seattle all over again. Thankfully, it was short and over before our legs really noticed. Both of our Garmins decided to go a little crazy. At one point, we both looked down and saw 4 minute miles as our pace. I felt like I was flying just not that much ;)
We hit the first mile around 8:30 (according to Ange) and I remember thinking that was a little fast out of the gate but, if I kept it up, I would PR. Soon after, Ange and I lost each other when we hit Rogers Arena but we had promised to run our own races.
When I lost Ange, I decided to find someone else to run with. I spotted two girls slightly ahead of me and made it my goal to catch up to them and stay with them for as long as I could. They were running about an 8:30 mile which felt surprisingly pretty good. 
The support along the course was amazing. I remember hearing the organizers say there were 21 different cheer stations. The loudest was on the other side of the Burrard Street Bridge. When I first signed up for the race I heard the bridge was one of the toughest parts of the race. It's an out and back portion so you cross it, run down a street, and then flip back and do it all over again. The bridge was tough but seeing Ange right before the second trip across motivated me to keep pushing. She looked like she was feeling strong too and really enjoying herself.
Burrard St. Bridge (courtesy

The course has a number of hills. It's definitely not flat and not a typical PR-friendly course. Check out this elevation map.
The run along the seawall was gorgeous and easily my favourite part. I thought about how beautiful the city of Vancouver is and how much I miss living on the west coast. In a different world, I'd be back there in a heartbeat. I took a lot of photos and a few "runfie's" along the way but lost them when my phone died. You'll just have to believe me when I tell you it's absolutely gorgeous. Thank you Seawheeze for the photos from last year ;)
After leaving the seawall (around the 18km mark) we hit a hill. A big, steep hill. I was struggling to keep pace and lost the girls I was running with but kept pushing. They had another cheer station at the top with bubbles (fun!) and it made me temporarily forget about how hard I was working. My pace slowed a little (about 9:15/mile) but I made it. I texted my family, at this point, and let them know I was on my way soon! Their response "wow, fast" was enough to keep my legs moving.
As I rounded the final bend I could hear the roars from the crowd along the finish line. I began sprinting and scanning the crowds for London. I found him, on top of my friend's shoulders, and waved. I saw him mouth "go mommy go" and I was off.
I passed the finish line and threw my hands up in the air.
I had finally got that PR I had worked so hard for!
FINISH TIME: 1:51:44  (8:31/mile average)
Overall Place: 959 out of 7641
Female Ranking: 565 out of 6302
After the race, I met up with my family for some congratulatory hugs and photos. Then I grabbed my free Lululemon hat, towel and snacks (this race rocks) and then headed over to the Runner's brunch. I ended up running into Michael in line and ended up chatting with him as we waited in line for our waffles, fruit and yogurt (yum!!) We then made our way over to the torch for another meet-up, photos and great conversation with friends.

Of course, London tagged along for the experience. He LOVES race day almost as much as I do ;)
I was happy I finally got to spend some time with Gregg from NYC Sweat. We've been online friends for a long time and he's just as awesome in real life ;)  I'm excited to spend more time with him in NYC in a few months! 

After saying goodbye to my friends, I met up with my family and wandered around for a bit before it was time to head to the airport to catch our flight back to Lethbridge.

Which one of us raced? ;)
I'll be back next year SeaWheeze!!
Registration opens September 16th and last year sold out in 35 minutes!

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