My day started abruptly at 3:45 am with my dad calling to tell me he was outside of my house (my ride). I had set my alarm for 4:30am as I was expecting him at 4:45. He was so anxious about sleeping in to pick me up that he mistakenly came over early. lol!! It’s been a tradition for me to have my dad drive me to my races and love that he does that for me. I wouldn’t start a race any other way. I need that ‘knock em dead’ and the pat on my back from my dad.
It was pouring rain on Saturday morning and very dark so I was having a mini freak out about wether or not to wear a Tuck And Flow LS over my What The Sport Tee. After talking with my coach via text (she was racing SW too this weekend) we decided that I’d be fine without the long sleeve and I just needed a hat or visor which I had. I stopped in at Starbucks and grabbed an espresso to gather myself before meeting my team at their hotel and to power me through the morning and I’m really glad I did. I needed that coffee after a sleepless weekend of shopping shenanigans. It was a lot of fun walking with my group to the coral and getting pumped up by the crowd together. We didn’t race together as we all have different times and goals but we were a team anyways with matching outfits. By the time we where walking down to the race start it had stopped raining and it was a lovely cool 14*c with overcast. Perfect running weather! Especially after the heat wave Vancouver had just a few weeks ago. So many people had personal bests this race and I think it had a lot to do with this great cool weather after all that hot weather training.
I felt really ready to run thanks to my awesome online running coach that has helped me train. I’m annoyed at myself that I didn’t get my time goal that we worked towards and it was my own fault. It sort of fell apart for me at around mile 10 at the start of the seawall and I think I could have done it 10 minutes faster but I would still have been over my goal time by 10 minutes. Which is a lot. I know I am capable of a faster time. My speed work in training showed me that and I know exactly when and where I wasn’t pushing myself hard enough. I know I waisted a lot of time with a port a potty break, taking tons of pictures, feeling queasy suddenly at mile 10 when my adrenaline started to come down and then giving in to the urge to walk after mile 10. I should have kept running at that point. Thinking back I think the seawall portion of the run may have been harder because it is a lot windier there and colder and so when I slowed down to walk when I felt queasy (about half a mile) I cooled down too much. I should have kept moving to warm up. I did so great on the bridge, the longest incline, which was my favourite part and some of the hillier parts of the course that I don’t really get why the seawall part is so much harder for me. The seawall is all flat and you are getting so close to the end. Also, to be honest my June training wasn’t as focused as it could have been. I think that period when you really start to ramp up the miles in training is critical and that is exactly when I started to pull back a bit with training. Vacation, heat wave. Life. negative self talk. Fear of the distance.
It is also really mentally hard when you are a slow runner and you are running amongst mostly walkers. It really makes it a lot easier to give in to the urge to walk when the going gets tough. Next year I want to push myself in training harder to be in the faster group so I force myself to keep up. My first 10 miles I was at my goal time despite the bathroom break but I lost the plot after that. I’ve done three half marathons and my first one was my fastest, my second one was my slowest and this one was right in the middle of the two. I’d like to beat my fastest time and I definitely want to run sea wheeze again next year. My plan is to keep up with the running and keep my base going, but for the next 6 months instead of working on distance I want to really focus on speed and track work along with crossfit.
Despite the fact that I didn’t make my time goal and that I dogged it in the last 3 miles when I could have kept going, I had a really great race and a ton of fun. I felt really good, I felt strong and the distance of 13 miles felt challenging but entirely doable. the first 10 miles flew by like a breeze. Even better is that my recovery from this race is the best of all three of my races. I feel a bit achy, but the only thing that is really bothering me is being over tired from lack of proper sleep on Wednesday, Thursday and waking up so early on Saturday. I remember my first race I felt miserable for a good week after the race, and probably very dehydrated and didn’t feel normal for another week after that. My second race was pretty similar to my first.
In my training runs, I never ran with water on my short runs but brought some with me in a handheld on my longer runs. I brought mine along for this race but at the last minute, since it was nice and cool out I opted to leave it behind and that was absolutely the right choice based on the weather. There were plenty of water stops along the route with both water and Vega hydration and I took both, first I drank the vega, then washed it down with water. I also used honey stinger chews for this run the same way I used them on my long training runs. Nothing for the first three miles and then 1-2 chews per mile after that.
For those of you wondering, the Seawheeze isn’t an especially hilly course but it does have some annoying long hills. The Burrard Street bridge is about 830 meters long and half of that is a steady incline towards the middle. The total elevation gain for the course was 751ft and my longest run pre race was a mere 357 ft gain. Although most of my mid distance runs during my training where very hilly and about 380 elevation gain so the hills on this course didn’t touch me at all this time.
All in all this race was a success for me. I would have loved to have gotten my goal time but I think this race was more about me getting back into the challenge of training after being off of it since 2012. I have a lot of fears when it comes to running and so I wasn’t confident last year that I’d be able to do another half marathon again. Now that I know how entirely doable it is I want to keep going. I’ll absolutely be signing up for Seawheeze again!