Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Race Recap: BMO Vancouver Half Marathon

In case you missed it, I posted the recap of the BMO Vancouver Marathon kids race HERE yesterday.

Let's kick things off with the EXPO. It was held Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the new Vancouver Convention Centre. Since I'm an ambassador for the race, I had a volunteer shift Thursday night at the course maps. I basically got to chat to a bunch of first-timers who needed some reassurance they weren't crazy (which I loved and will absolutely do again!)

While I was there, I picked up my bib and the kids' bibs. Package pickup was quick, and easy, and took only a few minutes. I also had a chance to wander through the expo. I met up with my Mizuno Canada team and chatted briefly with them for awhile which is always nice! The expo had everything you could want and lots of yummy samples (which is always a hit with London when I'm dragging him to these things haha!) Plus, I ran into many runner friends, including KRIS which always makes me happy!

Sunday morning was race day. I was up at 4:45 to eat my pb sandwich and 500 ml of water. Mom decided to drop me off at the start since transit from where she lives (in White Rock) wasn't operating early enough for me to get there in time. Since it was so early it only took us about 40 minutes which was nice. The race gives free transit passes to all the runners which is handy since there's no parking in the area and the start and finish lines are in different locations.

Once I arrived, I headed to the hospitality tent (ambassador perks) and stayed warm which I stretched and use the porta-potty a few times. It was nice to chat with some of the legacy runners (who were wearing special bibs and receiving VIP treatment for running the race 15 to 25 years!!)

At 6:40, I headed into my corral (I started up front behind the elites which was a treat) and nervously waited for through the announcements, O'Canada, and warmup. Even though this was my 11th half marathon I still get nervous before any race.

Before I knew it, we were off! The first 3km of this race are downhill. It was a nice treat and helped calm the nerves. My goal was to run a sub two but Coach Suz had given me some specific paces to try and keep. My first 5 miles were supposed to be around 9 minutes, followed by 8:30 for 5 and then pick it up for the final 5K to the finish. Well, it didn't go exactly as planned but (spoiler alert) I hit my goal!

So, after flying through the first 3K things flatten out until we hit downtown and then the rolling hills started. I honestly throught this course was a bit more flat! The hills were tough and definitely took the wind out of my sails. At one point, I ended up seeing Kris behind me on the course and we both smiled at each other. She was looking strong and I had a feeling she was going to catch up to me at some point.

My only complaint about the course was that I wish we ran along the Seawall more. We could see it but were running alongside it, on the rolling hill roads, and all I wanted to do was get down to the wall where it was flat and more scenic. I DID appreciate the shade from the trees however!

Although I wasn't hitting the paces 5+ miles in I was happy with my pace and expected I would finish sub 1:55. I was enjoying myself and high-fiving spectators and thanking volunteers. I was cheering on other runners and had a constant smile as I thought about how far I've come since my forced time off post-injury.

And, then I fell.

I don't exactly know what happened but somewhere around the 9-10 mile mark I felt myself falling and put my hands down to brace myself. I fell hard on the pavement and knew I was hurt. I only had one ear phone in so I heard the collective gasps as I hit the ground. That's when I saw a guy (a cute one at that) run over to help me up. I was a mixture of totally mortified and extremely grateful. I keep telling him I was okay but I was definitely shook up. I don't know now if I tripped over something or the heat (it was a hot one) caused me to momentarily lose my concentration. Either way,  I'm so thankful for his help and that it wasn't worse!
I started running again but had definitely slowed down. I didn't wan to fall again and my elbow, hand and back were hurting. I peeked down at my arm and saw blood and decided to just focus on finishing.

Kris caught up with me about half a kilometer from the finish line. At this point, I was hurting and wanted to be down. I had slowed way down. I am SO GRATEFUL to her because she pushed me to keep running and finish strong!!! I loved the fact we got to cross the finish line together!

Time- 1:58:15

Overall: 2346/8594
Category: 191/844
Women: 915/5061

Splits: 846, 836, 847, 840, 914, 855, 840, 856, 919, 914, 904, 908, 856, 1:54 (last .23 mile)

After the finish line, the medical team pulled me into the tent and started cleaning me up (first time in a medical tent and hopefully the last!) I was only in there a few minutes and they were so kind (although one guy did ask me how the heck you fall during a race hahahaha)

I made my way back out and went to claim me medal. That's when I saw the Running Room Founder John Stanton handing them out. I jogged over and insisted on grabbing a selfie before he placed mine around me neck. He's so sweet and I could spend hours listening to him talk running!

From there, I found Kris and we made our way through the finisher's chute where they had drinks, snacks and even sandwiches! I grabbed a few things before making my way to the hospitality area for some more food and to grab my gear check bag.

After the race, Kris and I headed down to the Olympic torches for some photos and to relax. She also let me eat half her watermelon (#loveher) which tasted incredible!

Soon after, my friend Jordan joined us for a quick chat. He was the at-home winner of the Biggest Loser, a few years ago, and I'm so proud of him for all the hard work he puts in to stay healthy. He's my workout buddy anytime I'm home and a constant source of inspiration and motivation!

London and mom joined us about an hour later and we enjoyed some time in the sun before heading home to White Rock for a late breakfast, celebratory mimoas and gelato (I think I need a gelato detox after this trip LOL!!)

Overall, I though the BMO Vancouver Half Marathon was an awesome race. It was well organized, I love the medals and the volunteers and crowd support were great!

I'll definitely be back!

Next up, two shorter races (both with London) and then the Calgary Half Marathon and San Diego RnR Remix Challenge! 

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