Tuesday, May 6, 2014

BMO 8K Race Completed!

I've just completed my longest race yet.  The Vancouver BMO 8K.  I've been looking forward to it since November when I signed up to do it.  Back then, I was just hoping not to get swept off of the course.  That was still my biggest fear.  Not finishing, or not being allowed to finish but I did it.

Friday after work, my friend Jill(who was running the full marathon) and I headed down to the race expo to pick up our race kits and take a look around.  I had a great time and I was so excited to get my bib and race kit.  When you first arrived they had the route maps done up so you could see the route.

Sunday morning, I was awake long before the alarm, the alarm was set for 6am.  Awesome husband and I wanted to leave the house no later than 630.  The shuttles from the finish line to the start line were only going to be running from 730-830 and since this was my biggest race to date, both distance and the number of participants.  I didn't want to leave anything to chance, especially with the rain that we were having.  It was pouring rain all night and it was still raining hard when we left the house.

It takes around an hour for us to drive from home to Vancouver, and we were blessed with very little traffic on the way in.  We made our way downtown and parked at the convention centre, then made our way up the few blocks to the gear drop and shuttle pick up.   I had packed a dry bag on Saturday night so that I would have dry clothes to change into after the race.  Drop off of the gear went smoothly, I said goodbye to my husband and jumped on the shuttle that was about to leave.  The shuttle is greatly appreciated as the course is a point to point and there is no parking at the start line.  The only draw back to the shuttle, was that our particular driver dropped us off quite a distance from the start line, and couldn't even tell us what direction to go to get to the start line.

So envision, 30 people standing on a street corner in downtown Vancouver with no idea of where we were supposed to go.  Fortunately I had my cell phone with me and we were able to get directions off of it to get us to the right general area, 1.8km's from where we were dropped off.  Quite a few of the people were more than a little cheesed off, but what can you do?

I arrived at the start line area and headed up to street level to cheer on the half marathoners who were passing by, our start line merged onto the full and half marathon course.  Cheering everyone on and clapping for them was the only way to keep yourself warm.  It was raining so hard that even my "Rain" proof jacket was soaked through by the start of the race.  While cheering on the half marathoners I was fortunate enough to see a couple of friends and cheer them on by name as they ran past.

It was soon time for us to start, I made my way over to my corral and did some warm up stretches, before I knew it the countdown was on.  It was really crowded at the start, there were over 2000 people doing the 8K so it took a couple of minutes to be able to get going.  I decided to just walk the first little bit, as you couldn't really run, but a few minutes in the crowd spread out a little bit, and by the time we reached the underpass into the actual park, there was enough space to actually run quite easily.

The course through the park is beautiful, even in the bucketing rain, by the end of the 2nd kilometer my jacket was off and tied around my waist and I was really enjoying my run.  I stuck with my 3:1's as it was quite hilly in spots, and I knew that the finish line is an incline and I knew that I wanted to run it in.

There were a lot of volunteers and people cheering throughout Stanley park, but I didn't really get the enormity of the race until we came out of the park, headed up towards West Georgia and took the turn onto Pender.  There were hundreds of people lining the route cheering and ringing cowbells.  Although I was tired by this point the energy from the crowd when I  came around the corner gave me.  The boost I needed.

I heard the police motorcycles coming up behind us and volunteers were telling us to stay to the right as the first marathoner was coming through.   He ran past me as if he was just starting his race and wasn't at the end of it.  It was amazing to see!

I was also lucky enough to see my husband along the fencing and managed to get a high five before I made the last dash up towards the finish line.   I was so proud of myself when I stopped my watch after crossing the finish line and saw that I did my 8K in 1:23:14.  http://connect.garmin.com/dashboard?cid=9638406  After checking Sports Stats who did the timing I was thrilled to see that I came in about 3/4 of the way through the pack, I finished 1406 out of 1868.  I wasn't the caboose!

The  finisher's chute was very well organized.  After I crossed the finish line there were dozens of volunteers giving out the medals, you walked a few feet and stood where there were a bunch of photographer's to take your picture, after that was the water table where you were handed your bottle of water,  a few more feet down and the volunteers were handing out the nutrition boxes, then for us 8ker's we headed out of the finishers chute to go down to the festival area where our gear was waiting for us.  My only complaint about the gear being where it was, is the fact that they didn't provide a change room for the 8K people to get changed in, and once you had left the finisher's chute you weren't allowed back in.  It was great to have the dry bag, but not so great that there wasn't anywhere to actually go and get changed other than a port a potty.   I opted to walk back to our car and get changed in the back seat where the windows are tinted with my husband standing in the door holding up my towel.

After I got changed and we stopped at Starbucks to get a nice warm drink, we headed back to the course so we could cheer on the marathoner's as they came through, I wanted to cheer for my friend Jill as she came through.  She figured she would be around the 4-4:30 time frame as she was using the marathon as a training run for her Ultra Marathon that is at the end of May.  Once we cheered Jill to the finish line we headed back to the car to warm up and head home. 

Starting Line, we're off, finished and taking shelter from the rain, my finisher's medal.

All in all, it was a great day.  I had a lot of fun, and I really think I could have gone further if I had signed up for a further distance.  The 10K race I had signed up for in June has been cancelled so I need to figure out where I can fit a 10K race in before I tackle a 7 miler in October, and maybe, just maybe, I'll be back at the BMO next year to do the half marathon.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Run Clinic, 28 (83) degrees and no water = Not good!

I had my last run clinic before my big 8K race on Sunday.  I'm super excited as this is what I've been training for since November.  I started the Run Clinic on January 7th and 5 months later it is finally time to race. 

I was a little nervous about what to do for tonight's run clinic.  The schedule had us doing 10:2x3 and I just wasn't sure about that.  I did the 8:2's last week, had a good run on Thursday night and then had a horrible run on Saturday and Tuesday.  I went to clinic a little early so I could speak to Janet the head leader for us and she advised me to go on my own and do the 5:1's, but to do it on a route that I would at least see everyone else.  I headed out with my usual group and stayed pretty close to them until my first walking interval, and then they were gone. 

It was extremely warm out tonight a gorgeous 28(84) degrees.  I haven't run in anything close to that warm yet and I have to be honest.  I wasn't ready for it.  I didn't have water with me, and I know that I didn't drink enough water during the day, just because of how busy I was, out of the office and in meetings when I was there.  So that was not a good combination. 

When I passed the other group of runners heading the other way, Kobie gave me a high five as I went by and Janet asked me if I was all right.  I was doing pretty good at that point but I was flipping hot.  My own stupidity.  When I caught up with Janet a little while later, I don't think I was looking so good, she looked at me and asked me how many more intervals I had to do.  I told her I had two more and I kept motoring on.  The sun was beating down and it was hot.  When I got around to the university, I decided to cut through to the path where it was shaded.  I was barely running at that point, in fact I'm pretty sure I could probably have walked faster than I was running but oh well.  My head was pounding and I could hear the blood pumping in my head.  Not a good thing.  I ducked into the university and found the women's washroom where I dumped water on my head and on the back of my neck.  I felt a little better after that but decided to just walk the rest of the way back to the store. 

Once I was there I texted my friend J (who was out with another group)  to ask her to let Janet know I was all right and was heading home as no one was back at the store yet.  Just after I did that Janet pulled in and wished me luck on my race on Sunday.  I felt a little sick as I got in my car, so I headed to my parents house(only 3 blocks away). 

I went in the front door and was awash in cool air, thank goodness for air conditioning!  I felt a little sick to my stomach so I got some water from the fridge and guzzled it down, refilled it and then went to talk to my dad for a few minutes.  I felt better after cooling down so headed home where I showered, ate some dinner and drank two more bottles of water.  Thank goodness for Brita water filters and my trusty water bottle that is never far from my side.

Needless to say, this was not my best run.  In fact I'm fairly certain I can say it was my worst.   I feel a little disappointed in myself, for being so dumb and not taking water with me, but it was a harsh lesson learned.

Tonight's run by the numbers. http://connect.garmin.com/dashboard?cid=23160255

Thankfully the temperature is only supposed to be in the mid to high teens for the BMO 8K on Sunday.  If all goes to plan, I'll be good to go.