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?"...um, 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...
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