1st Half Marathon – 1:59:52

My body was *this* close to quitting on me last week.  On Wednesday night, I started to feel very ill, and woke up the next morning with some sort of food poisoning.  I called in sick to work, missed classes, the whole shebang. Thankfully, the stomach problems only lasted 3 days, and I was able to eat normal food again and go for a quick 20 minute run the day before the race. 

 This was not part of my training plan for the week, which consisted of a 13km, a 10km and some intervals. Instead I lay in bed and ate crackers.  I bet if that didn’t happen MAYBE I could have run faster? I am happy with my time, though – my goal was first to run it in 2:20, which turned into 2:15, then 2:07, and finally I decided that if I ran it in under 2 hours, I would be happy.

My first half was an awesome experience.  I actually got really jittery and nervous heading downtown at 6:30am for the race, jumping out of my dad’s car and into the street while stopped at a traffic light (we couldn’t really get any closer) to join the throngs of people excitedly heading down to the Parliament Buildings.  My feet were numb, and I ended up spending about 20 minutes in line at the porta-potties, JUST making it out about 2 minutes before the gun went off.  The course was packed with runners for the first bit; it must have looked bizarre to anyone facing down Johnston street to see a wall of people in spandex heading towards them.  I started out fairly strong, then lost momentum on Johnston street, only to regain it again heading down Cook.  Heading into Beacon Hill park, the lead runner was making his way out with a police escort; he must have had a good 3km lead at that point. 

After exiting Beacon Hill, I found my pace (and my 45 minute running track, which I thought got erased and panicked because I love it).  It was so great to see people out on the street watching and cheering you on.  I was a little confused when people were yelling “Go Bri!” – I would look back thinking maybe my friends had come to watch, but I didn’t recognize the people at all.  Everyone was so supportive and awesome up through Oak Bay, and at the turn around point I had a second wind (or maybe the Cliff shots kicked in) and ran at a 5km pace.  Coming up Clover Point, I began to hurt a bit, but was distracted from the pain by watching the wheelchair racers, the first pack of the marathon runners heading out onto Dallas road, the folks dancing in ’50s-style garb, the “coach” in his plastic Elvis hair, the strange man standing alone watching in a fedora and trench coat I noticed earlier (creepy), and the encouraging signs near the end telling me that “hills are my friends”.  I was looking at my watch every two minutes by this point, and was kind of unsure where the finish line was; I saw flags, but nothing that said “finish”.  It was only until I was 100 meters away that I realized I was almost done.  I looked at my watch one last time, 1:59:36, and sprinted as fast as I could over the timing mats.  I ran under the clock at 2:00:36, so I knew it would be close.  I thought I might have passed out from running so hard at the end, but managed to shuffle along to get the timing chip removed and have the metal placed around my neck.  I spotted Tyler, (my bf) who was beside me for one second at the start of the race until he took off and ran a respectable 1:44:02.  

Tyler said he won’t be doing that again, but I think he will.  I know I will – what a great experience.  The volunteers and race organizers were amazing and did a spectacular job.  Next year I’m going for the full 42!

I’ve already signed up two more races: the Bear Mountain 10km in November, and the Maui Oceanfront Half Marathon in Maui in January.  I’m going there anyways for a holiday, how could I not do it!  I’m hoping to run it in 1:50, although I’m concerned about training in the cold and snow and racing in the humid, hot sun.  I’ll be spending a lot of time on the treadmill this winter, I guess.