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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

After, after the marathon

Needless to say, I fell asleep rather quickly, and easily, Sunday night, and hoping for some sort of miracle, woke up thinking, "hey, not so bad".  Then I moved...oh, all that is holy, I am SORE!  Got out of bed and after convincing my legs that standing wouldn't be so bad (I had to promise them that they would never, ever have to run a marathon again...little do they know that my fingers were crossed behind my back when I made the promise!), I gingerly made my way to the bathroom.  Why, oh why, are toilets so dang low to the ground?!  Once the blood started flowing, I was moving well enough to go across the street for some much needed Starbucks.  The one downfall of the Four Seasons is the fact that they don't have a mini coffee-maker in the room.  Mini fridge, yes, mini coffee, no.  Oh well, Starbucks is a mere 3 minute hobble away.

Coffee in hand, I puttered till I heard from my friends, and plans were made to meet up with M. (here from Germany, and such a fast runner, I don't know how much longer we can be friends!), SM and new friend, B.  I ate some breakfast (yogurt and oatmeal, leftover from Sunday), drank the coffee, showered and changed, and then headed out for the day.

Heading straight up Howe to Robson Square, I sat to wait for two of the three.  We were planning on meeting M at an Indian buffet lunch, so I went hungry.  Luckily for me, the sun was shining (weather in Funcouver has been PERFECTION!), and it was Music Monday.  That meant school bands and choirs to entertain the lunchtime crowds.  What it also meant was last minute rehearsing, so I also got to listen to the same two songs three times each!  Oh well...the sun was shining and I wasn't moving, so all was good.  Got the text that the two missed their bus, so I had another hour to wait, and I was getting HUNGRY.  It's bad to be waiting for someone to go for lunch, sitting beside not one but two lunch trucks!  They smelled soooooo good, but I resisted.  Got distracted by the music (excellent drumming group) and finally met up with the two.  We took off up the street and down Drake to the restaurant to meet up with M.

The buffet was fabulous...butter chicken, rice, chickpea curry, a fish dish, two veggie dishes, salads, rice pudding, watermelon and naan.  All for $7.95!!!  What a deal!  Ate to bursting point (probably shouldn't have gone quite so hungry) and then we wandered down towards Stanley Park.  Somehow got talked into renting bikes (um...probably last rode my bike in '95 - '96!) to tour around the park for the afternoon.  After assuring myself I'd be fine, and that we were sticking to the bike paths and not the roads in Vancouver, we took off.

It turned out to be a great idea.  After a quick picnic of cupcakes (Happy Birthday, M!), we rode all the way around the seawall, stopping for photo-ops and reminiscing about Sunday's race.  Both M. (3:18) and SM (4:58) ran, while B was awesome race support.  The quads objected a few times, especially pedalling uphill, but again, kept the blood going, which is important the day after.  At one point, we stopped long enough to run out into the cool ocean, which I so longed to do right after the race yesterday.  This is where SM proved to be a bit of a klutz, falling in the ocean, and totally cutting up her knees!  Who cuts themselves in WATER?!  Did some emergency medical attention (well, the best we could with the tissues we had on hand) and finished the loop of the park back to the bike shop, where they actually had a first-aid kit. Taped her up, and then we were on our way back down the convention centre, to see the Olympic torch and decide if we were hungry enough for dinner.

B had to leave us (good luck of UBC), but J joined up, and the four of us ended  up at Ceili's in town.  Shared some appies and a pint (real Guinness...oh, so tasty!), before making my way back to the hotel.  It was a long day, fun-filled, but suddenly I was TIRED.  After some stretching (legs totally seized up) and some vitamin I, I crawled into bed and CRASHED. 

Up this morning bright and early (crisis back home, but now averted), showered, walked for coffee, breakfast eaten (last of the yogurt/oatmeal) and now packed up, waiting to check out and head to the airport.  I really like the skytrain for this...easy and cheap.  And the station is just across the street from the hotel.  Loved the Four Seasons, and highly recommend it to everyone.  All in all, race weekend in Funcouver was FUN!  My legs will agree with me soon, I'm sure.

Should have pictures from the weekend loaded tonight.  Meanwhile, happy Tuesday, everyone.


Monday, May 7, 2012

After the marathon

I am nothing if not a wealth of information.  Learn from me, people.  Never, ever...and I mean NEVER attempt to run a marathon after a 2 month taper!  OUCH!  But lesson learned.

Needless to say marathon #7 is done.  Kudos to the BMO Vancouver team...the new course is nothing short of gorgeous.  Not too many nasty hills (there is the one long one up along Spirit Park) but what goes up must come down, right? 

Met up with DO from Calgary, also running the marathon, as we were staying at the same hotel (huge shout out to the Four Seasons for having the MOST.COMFORTABLE.BEDS.EVER!) and made our way to the train to get to the start.  Four stops away from us, and then a good 15-20 minute walk to the start corrals.  What a mob scene.  I'll post the pics later, as I forgot my port at home.  15,000 runners total, with 10,000 doing the half and the rest in the marathon.  Side note:  I refuse to call it the "full".  A marathon is a marathon...26.2 miles or 42.2 km.  Therefore you can run a Half or an Ultra, but if you run a marathon, you're running a marathon...not a full.  Just a quirk I have! 

The start was a bit of a gong show, as it took 4-5 waves to get all the Halfers on their way.  Didn't help that they started later than the 7am gun time, but I think the last wave took off across at the mat at 7:30ish.  Then it was our turn.  Queued up with a group of friends from Calgary, and waited patiently for our turn to start.  Finally we were off...

Ran through gorgeous neighbourhoods, and past some lovely parks.  There was a large group of older Japanese runners that stopped every km or so for a photo op, and one ran with a birthday cake hat, others had tweetie birds on their heads.  They were machines though...I think  they all beat me in!!  My leg eased into things well, and I thought "okay, this will be good".  It was a clear day, but some cloud cover came over at one point, which was welcome.  There was also a bit of a breeze, which I didn't realize how hard it was coming at our backs until we had to run into it for a bit.  But that just kept us cool.

The bald eagles kept an eye on us as we ran through the University grounds, circling overhead and perched atop some very tall trees.  The volunteers and spectators were enthusiastic and friendly.  Did I mention the course was gorgeous?  Headed down towards the water, running past Jericho and Kitsilano beaches, over the dreaded Burrard St bridge and then it was English Bay and the sea wall.  Eleven km of sea wall!  By the time I got there, it was packed with Sunday strollers, cyclists and walkers galore.  Many were respectful of us "crazies" running past, but quite a few gaped at us like we had two heads, and even a few asked "what's going on?", guessing the marathon has been talked about once or twice in the past few weeks! 

By this point, I was mainly walking.  My left leg was cramping all over, mainly quad, but what was really giving me grief were my feet!  My toes felt like I had squeezed them into a pair of shoes 5 times too small!  May be time for new runners.  I kept slogging along, as I am want to do, just praying for that one turn around the point when I could see the convention centre, and therefore the finish.  Finally made it, but there was a still a few km left in Stanley Park to get through, and then a llloooonnnngggg stretch UP the street before we could make the turn to the finish line.  Some random spectators got my spirits up and had me running a bit towards the end (thanks for that) and I crossed at 6:07 chip time.  John Stanton of the Running Room hanged my medal around my neck himself, knowing that I really earned it this time out.  Such a sweet man.

I came into Vancouver knowing I was not going for a PB, due to the injury and told myself that I only had to beat my previous Vancouver time (I was officially the last person in 2009!) which I did.  So, was it a good race?  Yes and no...I need to figure out what was going on with my feet, and get the leg issue settled once and for all.  But I did enjoy the race overall.  Calgary is also a new route at the end of the month, but I don't think anything they do will beat the Vancouver course.  I will most definitely (and defiantly) return to conquer Vancouver!

Now to keep moving...


Friday, May 4, 2012

Leavin' on a jet plane

I am packed, house tidied, and am just about to dive in the shower before heading to the airport.  Noon flights are just so civilized!

Leg feels last Graston treatment on Wednesday (Therapist Dave's eyes light up a little too much when he gets to use his tools...just sayin'!), and I have been very good and not run since.  I may do the 20 minute friendship run tomorrow morning, or I may just hang at the store and chat with the other runners.

Race Sunday morning (I only have to beat 6:28 - my first Vancouver time), stretching and rest Sunday afternoon, PAR-TAY Sunday night!  Again, flying back on a Tuesday, at noon, is so civilized!

I'm taking my notebook with me, so I'll blog from the scene.

Later peeps,