Monday, 11 February 2013

First Half 1/2 Marathon (what doesn't break you, makes you)

This pretty much sums up my weekend (okay, my week...and pretty much my life lately): awesome runs, and even better friends...(also, cats, trails, and creeping on shirtless ultrarunners).

Meghan decided to do the race as a fairly-last minute decision, and stayed over at my place the afternoon and night before the race. After a pre-race-dinner of beets and quinoa, we grabbed Katie (who was ready to again brave my parking skills) and headed over to the Ezzat's to watch "Unbreakable", a movie about the 2010 Western States 100mile race. The video was about the fight for first place (and a new course record) between Geoff Roes, Anton Krupicka's bare smokeshow torso, Killian Jornet and his white Salomon spandex short shorts (Ramsey; "they're euro"), and Hal Koerner. The movie made me want to race hard. The movie made Katie want to "just go super natural, let it all go", like her crush Anton, which I think means not shaving all summer? It was great to chill out with friends...and even get in some cat time.

go time
I bounced out of bed before my alarm, put coffee on, and tried to make conversation with a slightly less awake Meghan. She indulged me for a morning viewing of my favourite 2011 North Face 50mile video. She also managed to convince me not to wear my toque to race in - I wanted to go for the Anton Krupicka "natural" look.

I made us leave way too early to jog down to the Roundhouse (all the way in the wilds of Yaletown) to check a bag. This gave us time to stand around a couple thousand nervous runners, and get cold. This also gave me time to "borrow" physio Ramsey's gloves (I asked for them to keep my hands warm pre-race, and just sort of didn't give them back...). It was cold, the gun went off....and everyone went off like bats out of hell. It's a bit demoralizing, but this is pretty much how any race/VFAC workout, ever, goes for me. I found Allison, and we chatted and did our best to hold ourselves back to a pace that wasn't going to make us vomit in the first 15 minutes.

so much thank you
The best parts of the race, hands down? All the amazing team members who came out to cheer for us. Racing hurts - it's supposed to hurt - and when the niggling conversation of "why the fuck does my main hobby involve pain and sweat?" start, it's great to have all my friends cheering you on. I saw Brooke about 6k in (and I could hear her even before I saw her). The best was Katie with her HUGE AWESOME SIGN, including my favourite inspirational quote ever ("What doesn't break you, makes you.") So many people came out to cheer! It was a reminder of why I love VFAC so much: in every race, things start to to fall apart, and it's a huge victory to keep going when than happens. No matter what time  I get, I love the feeling that my teammates are there supporting me every (somewhat painful) step of the way.

The start of the race was feeling good - I can be sure of this up to 8k in. At exactly 8k, my menopausal Garmin froze. No amount of button pressing / swearing could re-set it. I couldn't even set it up as a straight-timer / clock. On tempos, I try to run and not look at my watch (too much). I know this is how I'm supposed to run. And I usually am able to do it - but it's still nice to have my Garmin to look at, just it case. Like the running equivalent of a safety blanket. Suddenly, all this kinda-zen, kinda-far-out "listen to your breath, run with joy, sense your body" shit that I talk about...was actually happening.

No, Garmin, fuck YOU.
I was still running, so I just focused on distracting the runners ahead of me with my signature pregnancy noises and chasing down hardcore Sunshine coast trail runner Meghan. It took me the better part of 4kms, but I finally caught her with a butt-slap. Instead of hello, her greeting was: "I feel nauseous". (welcome to road running, Meghan!).

this kind of sucks
With about 6k to go, things started to hurt - normal. I had no idea what pace I was hurting at - I did know that I was coming up to the second beach underpass again...and there was Katie, yelling: "Just pound it out!". At second beach with about 3k to go....there was Lucy! She had run all the way over from 21st and Marine in West Vancouver to come out to cheer. Amazing.

The last bit of the run I just worked to use my BCMC power-hiking skills.  I pushed up the last mini-hills: under the Burrard bridge and then up and under the Granville bridge. Then I rounded the last corner, saw the clock, and thought "holy shit how'd that happen?". I finished in 1:25.32, 3rd age group, 12th overall...and really tired.

It turns out that when there is a very small finish area, and many people are coming through, you are not supposed to block the way to wait for your friend to come in. You are maybe also not supposed to yell: "Fuck yeah sub-1:27!!" when she rocks a 1:26.10 half marathon and huge PB.....sorry PRR, and thanks again for putting on an amazing race.

1:25.32 and 1:19.26 (FYI my legs are the ones on the left)

recovery run
I woke up Monday morning feeling a bit stiff, sore and creaky. I guess 21k of concrete does that to me. The best way to loosen up? A physio-approved trail run with Ramsey and Meghan. Thankfully Meghan was a bit broken from the day before - even so, the first uphill climb was a bit of a shock. I found my trail legs, and had an amazing time weaving over slick roots, wet rocks, and rolling climbs. It was misty and perfect - even when I took a superman-style wipeout.

The run ended like many of my trail runs: one last uphill, me saying something about walking it out, and Meghan: "just suck it up."

Now...time to sabotage my race weight and watch the rain.

1 comment:

  1. I was chasing your heels for most of the race -- until you disappeared in the last few kilometers. Do they even bother printing logos on the front of VFAC jerseys? Nobody would ever see them from that angle... Well done!