HOW IS VANCOUVER SO BEAUTIFUL??!!!
Back now from a great trip to Vancouver- my fourth one to boot. While I didn't come away with the outcome I was hoping for- it was still such a fun trip- and you know- sometimes you gotta still work hard even when things aren't going your way. (IS THAT MY NUMBER ONE TAKEAWAY LESSON FROM RUNNING OR WHAT?!)
So we left for Vancouver on Thursday (this has been my M.O. for the last 4 times because the race is on Saturday). The day before we left I looked at the weather to help with packing. 80's. Heart dropped. Gah. After months of really pinning all my excitement and hope on this race, I just didn't want to read that the weather may be a little tough. I needed all the help I could get. I had come down with a bad cold less than 2 weeks before the race- fever, cold sweats, working the entire week from home instead of going into the office. So the week before the race I ran 17 miles total for the race. Not ideal. I didn't love that I basically reduced mileage that much and then only did one hard workout in those two weeks leading up to the race. I just didn't feel ready or like I had any pop or readiness in my legs or body. Not the best feeling to go into a race with. But everyone kept encouraging me and I tried to think positive, even though I could just tell my body wasn't ready to get back to it.
Friday morning we headed to the expo. As usual, it is a lot of fun and they have a lot of really great/quality vendors that made it more interesting. They gave us bags, a waterbottle, and some sunglasses at the expo- plus some NUUN (MY FAVORITEEEE!). We tried to not walk around too much - because really who needs to completely tire themselves out from a half marathon they are already feeling a little not ready for. Luckily the Olympics were on so we headed back to our hotel room and watched them.
We were less than a mile from the start which was the PERFECT distance to use as our warmup and made life sooo easy to not have to worry about how to get to the start/race morning logistics. This is literally the easiest of any of my races to get to. And I get to wake up the latest for this race. Last year I woke up at 6 am and race starts at 7 am. HAHAH.
We ran down to the start- and it was already warm and humid (80 percent humidity, y'all). I didn't feel REALLY great about the fact that it was so humid, but what can you do. Gotta play the cards you are dealt. Tijuana 3 weeks before was also very humid- and I still pulled off a respectable time- so I was hopeful.
Race started and I took off settling into my goal pace- I never quite felt that thing where everything comes together in a race- but I was able to hold goal pace for awhile. It was fun seeing all the spectacles along the course (the bridge that had a spin class lined up cheering us on, mermaids in the water along the seawall, tons of different cheer groups in random costumes). I bopped along and listened to my music and tried to hold back in the beginning- and then once we hit some hills- I was now trying to make myself push. Pretty much at mile 6 I was spent. To be fair- it was a very long "tempo" for just having been sick- and I wouldn't have made myself do this much "work" for a workout if I hadn't had a race scheduled.
I slowly started slipping off goal pace and was watching my average pace slowly get higher. UGH. I fought it so hard. I definitely could feel that it wasn't my day. I hadn't been feeling great lately- or had much pop since Tijuana (maybe that took too much out of me) and my dumb cold in the summer- so it honestly wasn't a HUGE surprise- even though it was disappointing since I had put all my race eggs in the Lululemonbasket. So I just focused on doing the best I could under the circumstances. I focused on trying to pass people and I let that carry me. I was so tunnel visioned from fatigue that I didn't enjoy the second half as much or notice as much as I should have- but I was just struggling to get to the line in one piece and the whole time hoping that a second wind (either internally or literally THE WIND) would push me miraculously to the finish line in a PR.
The end was NEVERENDINGGGGG. And then they changed the course so once we hit 13.1 I was just so confused what was happening since we were not where we have ended for the last 3 years.
I came through in 1:39:11- for 13.26 miles. I had been pinning so much of my hopes and excitement on this race and once again, things didn't work out for me. I was exhausted and kinda wanted to cry. But I had already told Lindsay and Carrie that I would run them in. So I grabbed a bottle of water and started running back. Along the way, I decided to start cheering for everyone and telling them "If you're gonna go, go now- you're almost there." I think race cheering is one of my favorite things ever. It totally emotionally recharged me to get to cheer people on as they were so close to the finish. I saw Lauren Padula who was with a passed out runner and gave her my water bottle. I finally found Linds and literally cheered her on and pushed her to the end (she only hates me a little bit now). She also had a tough race and didn't hit her goal. I know how rough the end is for me- so I was happy to be along for her. She did like 2 mins/mile faster on the last mile that I ran with her- so it kinda worked.
Then once I got Linds to the finish line, I went back for Carrie. I found her a mile back. It was such a warm day and people looked like they were dropping like flies. The course got pretty sunny and Carrie soldiered to the finish line. Her first race back after THREE YEARS! Isn't that nuts!
A couple days post the race, I actually feel less sensitive about it. I didn't give myself time right after I finished to mourn another rough ending- but once I got back to the hotel room and was recapping it for Tyler- there were definitely tears. It can feel EXHAUSTINGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG to put in endless work, to try and do everything right with my training, food and rest, and then to see what seems like imperceptible gains on race day. I KNOW that I'm in a different place- a 42:31 10k in July definitely shows that. I'm going to keep enjoying the journey and working hard until things start clicking for me. Running is worth it. ;-)
We got to enjoy a few days in Vancouver after the race. Active recovery is my favorite! ;-)
You better BELIEVE I'm signing up for Lululemon Seawheeze next year? Who else is in??!