Are you running for women’s rights? The environment?

Howdy dudes!

Well, the Scotiabank Half-marathon went down yesterday, and overall?

NOT BAD.

Scotiabank collage

I finished with a 1:33 and placed 7th in my age group. Now while this is slower than I had initially hoped for, I think for the amount of time I actually put into my training, it is more than respectable.

Because, folks, that sub-1:30 time may have been a bit of a pipe dream.

Do you any of you other runner-peeps do stuff like that? Just assume that you should just be able to do something, without really thinking about what actually goes into achieving it?

I mean, thinking back to the Sunshine Coast half in April, I trained my butt off for that run, and it paid off – I ran a PB of 1:31.

And somehow, the outcome of that achievement was the (erroneous) expectation that come the next race I would just, well, run faster. Without putting in the proper work.

How silly can a gal be?

What it has made me come to realize is that while I can proclaim that “next time gadget, it WILL be mine!”

I just need to make sure I go for, you know, more than six or so runs to ensure it happens.

Anyways, I don’t mean to be making excuses for myself, it’s just something that I was really thinking about during and after my run, and speaking of which – IT’S RECAP TIME!

Sunday morning broke beautiful. I woke to the sunny, blue sky, freckled with the odd cloud. At 5:15am I was feeling well rested and excited.

I put the coffee maker on, and then washed my face, put my hair up, and slathered on a good layer of sunscreen.

I read a bit while I ate my breakfast – banana with peanut butter, piece of plain toast, cup of coffee, and two large glasses of water – before going upstairs at 6:00 to wake up Marc.

I cannot seem to say it enough, but seriously, he is SUCH a good husband. For all of my runs, he’s up with me, driving me to the start gate, and meeting me at the finish line. I know he’s super happy to come out and cheer me on, but he told me today that my speediness on the courses definitely helps. This cracked me up.

I LOVE HIM, TRULY.

He dropped me off at the start line at UBC around 7:00. My immediate thought was to find a bathroom, for one last pee break. My one note for the organizers is that there were not NEARLY enough port-a-potties. The line-ups for the facilities were monstrous, even with a little subterfuge on my part, I barely made it out before the firing of the start gun.

Anxiety – it’ll get you going!

Because of the long bathroom waits, I didn’t get to start as close to the start line as I would have liked, which meant that for the first 2 – 2.5 km I was bobbing and weaving in and out of people like Cassius Clay. At kilometer three, my attention briefly switched from finding my spot amongst all the runners to the AMAZING tuba band playing at the side of the course.

They were playing My Sharona.

ON THE TUBA.

I cannot really begin to describe just how epically amazing this was.

All in all, over the first 5k I was feeling pretty good – my strides were long, and my breathing quiet.

Up until I reached the six kilometer mark, and encountered five young men, each holding up signs with Forrest Gump quotes. Normally when I am running, I don’t respond much to supporters on the sidelines. I mean, they really pump me up, but I try not to channel my energy away from concentrating on the mechanics of my run.

However, if you know me, you know that I love this movie, and can pretty much quote the entire film at length.

I couldn’t help myself. As I ran past a guy with a sign that said, “RUN FORREST RUN!” I turned and yelled at him, “I GOTTA FIND BUBBAAAAA!”

He burst out laughing, and yelled right back, “JENNNNNNNNAAAAYYYY!”

I was past him by then, but I raised my hand and gave him the peace sign.

NOW. While this was all well and good (and hilarious, and I loved it) yelling out that quote really winded me, and it look me probably 1.5 km to get my stuff – breathing, stride, etc. – back in order.

“No more funny stuff Vanessa,” I told myself.

Running down the hill to Jericho beach I felt like I was flying. My mood was boosted even further when to my surprise, we ran past a bagpipe band at one of the parking lots, just up the road from Spanish Banks.

My “no funny stuff” plan was going absolutely great until about kilometer 10, when, down at the beach, I ran past two course photographers and without really thinking, I just catapulted myself into the air, and made the craziest, happiest face I could possibly muster.

The two of them laughed and thanked me for a great shot.

Great shot maybe, but that second burst of energy only served to zap me all over again.

Then I saw the split times at 10.5 km.

41 minutes.

41 minutes!? Holy Dinah, I was moving, and most definitely too quick at that.

I told myself not to think about it, and just concentrate on moving as it felt comfortable. As soon as the pace started to hurt, I made sure to adjust accordingly.

Around kilometer thirteen, I zoned in on a few women who were running ahead of me, and made a point of trying to keep them in my sights.

I cannot lie, it was over the next three km that things really began to hurt. I could feel blisters forming on both of my feet, and overall, I just felt tired.

I tried to keep my strides as short and quick as I could, especially with every uphill (no matter how minor) I encountered.

At kilometre fifteen a young woman spectator yelled out, “I love Big Sisters too!” in response to my shirt. This definitely served to lift my spirits and put a bit of a spring back in my step.

Unfortunately, this pep was relatively short lived, and even just trying to grab water at the seventeen km station was difficult.

I felt like my arm was moving in molasses and I had to really slow down to make sure I even managed to grab the cup.

From there, all I could think about was getting over the bridge and getting to the finish line.

It’s strange. I love running. I LOVE it. But there are times, I tell you, when I cannot understand what the heck it was that compelled me to take part in this absolutely bonkers pastime, and everything in my being is shouting at me to just STOP.

STOP RUNNING.

Walk. Go lie down in that cool looking grass. Make this madness end.

But somehow, I just keep trucking.

I just keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Amazingly, once I got to kilometre nineteen, things started to actually fall back into place. Nineteen to twenty flashed by, and that very last kilometer, although painful, was over before I knew it.

I wasn’t surprised when I saw the timer as I pulled into the finish line.

There was no way I was going to pull off a sub-1:30 with the pace I had held for the second half of the race.

But in the end, it didn’t matter.

Marc was there, cheering me on.

I received a lovely medal, and all the water, bananas, cookies, and yogurt that I could get my hands on.

And I raised $1,165.00 for Big Sisters, an organization that is near, and dear to my heart.

So while I chase the ever-elusive personal best, today I will sit on the couch, drink some chocolate soy milk, and enjoy.

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