My husband's family lives in Port Alberni, BC. And while it is on the island, it's about a 2.5 hr drive away from beautiful Victoria, BC. This is about the same drive between the cabin and Kelowna that we did in 2008 so I figured it wouldn't be such a big deal.
However, that was before my youngest son ended up being sick all weekend and I spent most of each night being up with the poor little guy. We are lucky our kids are good sleepers so after a few nights with very little sleep I felt like a zombie. Not exactly how you wanna feel going into your 11th half marathon and second half marathon in 7 days!
|A rare moment of him sleeping...|
I made record time and arrived in Victoria faster than I can run a half marathon. Exactly 2 hrs, oops, lead foot I guess. I managed to get there in time to see the early marathon start and then headed off in search of the race-day bib pickup.
|The Parliament buildings looked|
really pretty all it up in the pre-dawn
|"Throwaway chic" at it's finest!|
Immediately I was freezing. The temps would end up being quite comfortable but I would have given anything to have a pair of gloves at the start. Brr. Immediately my hands were numb and it bugged me because I just felt like crap right away. I was cold and unrested and quickly getting grumpy. Grrr.
If you read my post the other day ("To PR or not to PR..."), I had been toying with the idea of trying to get a new PR. I decided that I would give it a try but in that first few kms my heart sank because I just knew I couldn't do it. It was a pretty defeatist and weak way of thinking but I felt like crap and just didn't think it was going to be a good run. Then I felt embarrassed that I'd have to admit I didn't do it (get a PR) and then that made me grumpier. Whoops.
I tried to find a groove but just couldn't. I felt like my cold, stiff legs were constantly trying to catch up my upper body. My legs just felt behind. We were headed into a really pretty park for the next few kms and all I could do was be grumpy. Where was that positive attitude when I needed it? Oh I know, not anywhere in my stiff, grumpy, freezing body!
When we got to the highest point in the park I couldn't help but feel a bit optimistic because I caught a glimpse of what our view would be for the next chunk of distance. It was really pretty but I was still struggling along.
And then it happened. My friend from the port-o-pots came along (queue the singing angels here). We started to chat and catch up and it wasn't very long before I forgot that I was running what felt like my crappiest run ever and it was a total saviour. We exited the park and started along down the coast, so pretty and so much better running with a friend. I wasn't sure what our pace was going to be like but since I still had it in my grumpy little mind that I would like to PR, I decided to keep pushing a little and see what happened.
And what happened was that we continued along for the next 10kms and it was great. My run was completely turned around 180 degrees and I was enjoying it. Phew! We chatted and met up with other runners she knew and enjoyed joking and laughing with other runners and spectators. It was a really nice, friendly atmosphere. Having her run along with me took my mind off my so-far crappy run and I guess having my spirits lifted my body followed suit and I felt so much better. We managed to keep up a pretty good pace but when I unfortunately lost her around the 18km mark, I glanced down and didn't think I'd be able to PR after all.
My new and incredibly tough and always PR'ing runner-friend Solana (of Cavegirl on the Run) has been encouraging me to find my "beast mode" when I'm out there on the course. And even though I didn't think I could do it, I had her "beast mode" theory in my head and decided to keep pushing anyways. I'd never get tougher if I didn't push and it was really only about 20 mins left so I tried to find that beast within me.
I guess I could only find an itty-bitty beast because I felt like I was going to die by the time I neared the finish line. I sure hope they didn't catch me on camera in that last km because I'm pretty sure I had a wicked-grumpy grimace on my face. I wanted so bad to tough it out and just go for it but I'm not good to doing that and the discomfort kept me from going as hard as I probably could have. I guess I'm still just a beast-in-training.
When I finally saw the finish line I pulled out whatever I could find and sprinted. I should have started sprinting a bit further back (mental note for next time). It felt like forever after crossing the line before we got our medals and something to drink but thankfully it was chocolate milk so I was happy. I reluctantly checked my Garmin and it wasn't a PR but it was close and that made me really happy considering the crappy start I had to the race.
|Our pretty medals...|
|And check out how nice the back is...|
|Cold in the shade of Parliament|
|A kind runner offered to snap this one|
Here are the official details:
- Chip time: 2:10:42 (45 seconds behind my 2:09:57 PR)
- Average pace: 6:11/km
I know that for a good part of the race my average pace (including walking breaks) was sub 6:00 min/km so I'll have to go through my data to figure out where I slowed down. I think my block to finding "beast mode" is more a mental one than anything. The lack of sleep in the last few days prior didn't help but I think in future I need to psych myself up a bit more to go out there and rock things.
The drive home was a lot longer than the drive there but with such a beautiful day I had the sunroof open and the tunes cranked way up. When I got home I put on my bathing suit (but left the compression socks on for a bit) and headed down to the dock for a bit of sun. Our weather has been so lovely it was a huge treat to rest after a big race on a dock, in a bathing suit in October! I mustered up a bit of courage and even jumped into the lake for one last hurrah of the year before heading up for Thanksgiving dinner.
|Post-race recovery doesn't get much|
better than this!
So it started out poorly but got turned around completely thanks to a running friend. The Running Room taught me how to run but also taught me how to find strength in those around you when you need it the most. If you're ever in Victoria in the fall I highly recommend this event, the course was absolutely gorgeous!