I just felt like running (a half marathon)

Yesterday I ran the best race of my life.

I took part in the Surrey International Music (Half) Marathon and finished the course in 1:32:40. Not quite the sub-1:30 I had originally hoped for, but a solid six minutes off of my previous fastest time.

To say that I was (and continue to be) super stoked is an understatement.

This is something that I am really, very proud of. I trained hard, rested up, ate well (look Ma, no junk food!), and watched Chariots of Fire the night before running (CLASSIC).

And when the time came to kick some ass?


Oh and even crazier still?

I placed third overall out of all the women competitors and thirty-first overall. Like, out of all the runners!

How nuts is that? I mean, we’re talking mixed, salted, 60% peanuts here.


On Saturday, M and I walked down to the River Market here in New West for a sunshine filled brunch, and also so I could pick up the foods I like to eat the night before I run (butternut squash ravioli with pesto, rye bread, and dessert – vanilla ice cream.)

Later that night, as previously mentioned, Mr. M and I snuggled up in bed and watched Chariots of Fire for some last-minute inspiration.

It’s ridiculous how much I love that movie.

(I also have mad love for – and a bit of a crush on – the character of Lord Lindsay. He’s just such a foppish privileged prick. The scene where he practices hurdling over the hurdles with the champagne? Love it.)

This morning I woke up to an absolutely stunning sunrise.

There is something insanely calming about eating a banana with peanut butter, sipping on a steaming hot mug of coffee, next to your little cat, staring at a creamsicle coloured sky.

Soon enough, it was time to wake up the mister, and get our butts out the door.

We skytrained it to Surrey Central and upon our arrival took in more of the sunrise inside SFU’s main atrium. There were a ton of runners about, stretching, gabbing, just generally getting their game faces on.

You could definitely feel that there was a buzz in the air.

As the minutes ticked down to the start of the race, we wandered over to the start line chatting with a few of the participants, taking some photos, including this one of my race day nails:

Is it weird that I am almost as proud of these as I am the outcome of the race? Because goodness knows I have a hard time painting my nails as it is, and I just love this combination of colours.

With about eight minutes to go, M bid me farewell, wanting to get to a different part of the course in order to take photos and cheer me on.

When the gun went off, I was very close to the start of pack. I wanted to make sure that I didn’t go out too fast, but I was feeling really good so I figured I would push myself from the start, focusing on keeping my strides long and breathing consistent.

There weren’t a ton of spectators lining the route, but M met me at the 7km and 18km markers; my brilliant and beautiful friend Stamata met me at two different stops along the way (the 8km and 10km I believe?), dressed in her amazing-as-all-heck pajama pants, hoodie and chucks (!); and M’s parents met just before the 12km mark.

I cannot begin to say enough about how important it is to have people cheer for you along the course. It really, REALLY pumps you up.

When my hips started to feel it like mad (sometime around the 19km mark) it was the support of the crowd that really helped me solider on.

Speaking of that blasted 19th kilomenter, I finally experienced something similar to what I imagine “the wall” is like (let’s call it a “mini wall”).

It was brutal!

The only thing that kept me going was the thought of just getting myself to the 20km marker. That and a TON of self-talk.

(I should also take this opportunity to stress the importance of shortening your stride during these testing episodes.)

On the whole I knew that I was running a good race, but didn’t know exactly where I was in terms of positioning, especially in relation to other women out on the course.

Having started so close to the start line when the gun went off I knew that my chip time would be very, very close to whatever was going to be displayed on the clock at the finish line.

As I neared the end of the race, I saw 2:01 on the clock (the marathoners having begun thirty minutes before us halfers) and I just gave it everything I had – pumping my arms, lengthening my stride –and WHOOSH!

Before you could say tight hip joints – it was over.

I heard the emcee announce my name, and something about me being the third woman to cross the finish line.


I was so shocked and exhausted, that when the woman handed me my medal, I automatically went to shake her hand, and she was all “What the eff?”

So I kind of just shook her hand without her shaking mine back.


But oh, how I laughed and laughed.

And then I celebrated! I drank some sweet, sweet chocolate milk, got a free massage at the athletes expo, listened to some of the entertainment, and stretched.

Speaking of which, I could probably stand to stretch some more. I’m not going to lie – I’m a little more than stiff.

So there you have it friends – another life milestone achieved.

Until the next time!

Published by

Vanessa Woznow

Writer, runner, ranter, reader. I write about all things.

37 thoughts on “I just felt like running (a half marathon)”

  1. Seriously, there are so many pictures of you running without touching the ground. You are amazing!! :D Congrats on the finish!!

    1. Duuuude, I cannot even begin to tell you how much it made my morning to see you not once, but twice on the course! Seriously, all the thank yous are belong to you!!

  2. That’s great. Next time you will do it in 1:30!

    The only thing that I run is after the ice cream truck.

  3. 3rd of awl the galz is durnd aymayzeeng.
    i will re-read. and here you are, settin’ PRs … (& as you have no doubt chuckuld @, my ONLY GOAL in any race is NOT to set the PW). that’s still darned close to 7/mile, and you’re young! (for a runner! — you’ll (if you don’t become a heroin addict or get lost awn yore weigh) continue to become faster for 10-some years (at least!). AAAAAWsum, man!

    1. Thank you sir! I am very happy with the race – still have a big smile plastered all over my silly face. Hopefully, as you say, I will just continue to improve. Must stake out my next race…

      Also, the concept of a PW always makes me laugh. (Most things you write to me seem to do that!) :)

    1. I KNOW RITE? (Urg, sorry for all capitals – but I get really, really jazzed up over it. My husband has to stop me from constantly taking photos/commenting on it.)

  4. Fantastic work Misses!
    I don’t understand why on earth you would want to work that hard but I am impressed that you had the will power, stamina and drive to do so!
    Go Little Misses!

    1. Thank you so much! Gah, I am blushing!

      Lol – I totally get what you mean though. Sometimes (particularly after a bad training run for example) I start to question my own sanity, but what can I say? 99% of the time I love it – makes me feel alive in a truly phenomenal way .

      Thanks for the lovely comment!

    1. Thanks Phil! Random fact: when I first see your name, I always think of Foghorn Leghorn (your last name reminds me of leghorn at first glance.) The more you know eh?

  5. Ethel!!! I’m so proud of you!! Seriously, all smiles over here. What an accomplishment – and to have a 6 minute improvement in huge!! So excited for you and the celebration was well deserved. A toast to you, mi amiga!!

    1. Awwww, Ms. Audrey – you make me blush and smile at the same time!! Thank you so much for such a lovely note – I too am super stoked about the outcome. Your support really means so much to me!

      1. i know she’ll do a ‘good’ marathon … she’ll plan, she may jump, but she’ll do it. half an M is darn far, and her time bespeaks a fairly efficient ‘evolved’ cardiovascular (combined with awesome leg muscles) state of being. and i like how she continues to (with strength, i mite add) hold her shoulders and arms up high. mine sag, sooner or later, usually sooner …

  6. Wow…congratulations on a fantastic time!!! Ill be happy if I make it in the cut off time when I do my first lol….oh and awesome post I kinda felt like I was there cheering you on…

    1. Thank you so much! Glad I could recapture some of the drama of the race :)

      And best of luck on your first race! You will rock it – just remember to listen to your body and have fun!

  7. That’s a crazy fast time. Well done! I too am on a quest to dip sub 1:30 (my PR is 1:30:47), but I guess that’ll have to wait until the spring. Alas!

      1. contact me via email re; “the obvious”. and i’ll tellya that i’m sorry about something. (it’s unfair, i’m wartchsching craigferguson: ) RELEASE THE KRAKKEN

  8. FECES! i would have to be ON STEROIDS and running down (non-paved) HILL with the wind at my back to even be within a -minute per mile of what you’ve done. You have only just started. okay, it’s early, but, oh, keep this up, and can i be part of your team at the 2020 olympix?

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