This weekend I competed in the BMO April Fool’s Half-Marathon on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia.
Somehow I managed to pull out the best run of my career, finishing the course in 1:31:36, and coming 7th out of all women (3rd in my age group) and 29th overall (out of 537 participants).
To say that I am stoked would be a bit of an understatement, but I am very, very tired and as such, there is a bit of a competition between my exhaustion and my happiness.
So as I sit here in front of the fire, clad in nothing but an over-sized t-shirt and sweatpants, I am mostly just very comfortable, and very cozy.
And that’s pretty awesome.
Marc and I left for Gibsons on the last ferry on Friday night, eager as we were to avoid the Saturday ferry traffic, and just get comfortably ensconced in our race-weekend digs (the paradise on Earth hideaway I have so often written about) as soon as possible.
His parents were also up for the weekend, and were lovely enough to accommodate our late check-in. As such, we tried to be as quiet as possible when we arrived a little after eleven o’clock at night.
Despite our own knackerdness, the lateness of the hour had made us absolutely ravenous and we spent a good fifteen minutes loitering about the kitchen, stuffing our faces with the delicious sushi we had not been able to eat earlier.
If you haven’t had the chance to sample the Maple Roll from Okonomi Sushi, YOU HAVEN’T LIVED.
Then we went to bed and slept for nine and a half hours.
Saturday, in an effort to conserve as much energy as possible, I did pretty much zilch.
Highlights include: listening to a lot of good music, completing the NYT Saturday crossword, enjoying a beautiful jaunt about the harbour with my parents-in-law in their boat, and finding this record:
This is why I married a (half) Swiss man.
I mean, they are LITERALLY singing about ham.
I love it.
That night, after eating my fill of spinach and cheese ravioli, grilled veggies, salad, fruit, and rhubarb and strawberry cake, I read a little before falling into a rather (for lack of a more eloquent word) crap sleep.
My dreams I tell ya, they are CRACKED.
The next morning I woke up to my alarm at 6:15 and immediately checked the weather outside.
Then I made coffee, and read the newspaper.
I’m pretty weird and slightly superstitious when it comes to my race-day preparations, so I like to do everything in the same order as I have in the past:
- Drink water.
- Drink coffee.
- Drink more water.
- Get ready
- Eat a banana with peanut butter.
We were out the door by 7:30, and although the day was cool and the wind was making its presence known, the skies were still clear.
This was a terrific sign, because I’ve never run a race without a pair of AWESOME and GIANT sunglasses, and I didn’t want to end this streak to end at this run.
To combat the cold, I wore my long lululemon running pants (I normally loathe ye olde cult of LULU but heck if they don’t make a cracking running pant), a long MEC running top (SO GOOD) and my ScotiaBank half-marathon shirt (for great memories).
The ride to Gibsons was about forty-five minutes, and to pass the time, Marc and I sang along to this sweet mixed CD I recently made. (Highlights included a raucous version of Sisters are Doing it for Themselves and Third Eye Blind’s Never Let You Go.)
Once we got to the community centre, I picked up my race package and then proceeded to go to the bathroom five times.
Phantom pre-run pee here people. LOOK IT UP.
Before I knew it, it was 9:15, and it was time to head to the start line with all the other competitors.
Marc, playing paparazzi, took a number of snaps of yours totally unaware.
Oh, and also this one:
(Of this I was aware.)
I like to start as close to the start line as possible, so I huddled up with all the other elite runners and counted down with the course marshal –
5…4…3…2…1…- and they’re off!
The first part of the race I felt that I was running really fast. I was a bit worried that perhaps I had gone out a little too quick and, believe it or not, I actually wondered perhaps if I should have peed one more time before setting off.
At around the four kilometer mark I felt as though I settled into a good rhythm. As we maneuvered in and around one of the town’s residential neighbourhoods, I tried to focus on keeping my stride as long as possible.
Around the six kilometer mark we were back out on the highway, which if I’m honest, was pretty miserable, what with the wind blowing right into me, and the traffic creating even more of a head wind.
But soon enough we were back into beauty central, running down side-streets flanked by gorgeous arbutus, douglas fir, cedar, and alder trees.
It was also around this time that the terrain began to get really hilly.
And we all know how fun that is, don’t we?
Kilometer seventeen was a mixed bag, because I felt absolutely destroyed after cresting a massive hill, but overjoyed because Marc’s parents were there waiting to cheer my on.
And from there, believe me when I say that it really did seem to be over in a flash.
My right foot felt very hot, so I knew that I had a blister forming, and my knees were a little sore, but otherwise, I felt great as I put the pedal to the metal for the last four kilometers.
As I ran past the final aid station at kilometer nineteen, all these little girls yelled out. “WE LOVE YOUR SUNGLASSES!”
That was all I pretty much needed to get me through the homestretch.
As I rounded the very last corner, I caught sight of the race clock, and I couldn’t believe that it said 1:31.
I sprinted as hard I could across the finish line, totally incredulous that I had run so fast.
Then I met up with Marc and his parents and had the chance to take many funny photos.
After, it was time to chow down on some cookies and yogurt, and head back to town.
So in the end, it was a really brilliant day.
I must give a HUGE thank you to my lovely cheering squad (the amazing Mr. M and his parents) and the fab organizers of the race.
I’ll for sure be back.
You can count on it.