Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon (Race Recap)

Sunday, June 24
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Half Marathon #63
Province #1
Half Marathon Country #3 (!!)
Weather - Mostly overcast, mild, perfect

Obviously it seemed like a brilliant idea to run the Scotiabank Vancouver half marathon. Sort of an unspoken part of our ultimate racing goals are to also hit up all the provinces. It's pretty expensive to fly directly into Canada, but since we were already pretty close, it made sense. Never mind that we would have been running a FULL marathon the day before. Details.

It looked like 140 miles to Vancouver. About 2.5 hours, but we had to allow time to get across the border, and since I haven’t been to Canada since I was a kid, we had NO clue how long that might take. L was driving, and I’ll admit that once we got on the highway, I dozed off a bit. I really tried hard not to, but I was EXHAUSTED. We stopped in Mt. Vernon and got Starbucks, and that really did help me to wake up a bit. I saw that there was a Lululemon outlet and I really hoped that we would have time to stop there on the way back. The drive to the border was uneventful, but the highway signs were advertising a SEVENTY minute wait. Ouch. The waiting was pretty long, although I think we “cruised” through in 45 minutes.

Pretty cool Canadian flag!
"The Best Place on Earth"
I turned on the Garmin at the border, only to discover that apparently my Garmin only knows New Brunswick, which is obviously NOT where we were. I quickly used my phone to take screenshots of directions to the hotel and race in the morning. Without an international plan on our phones, those would have to be turned off too. The directions worked great and there was minimal traffic into Vancouver. However, we couldn’t seem to find anywhere to pick up something for dinner. It was about 8:00, and we didn’t want to go off our main road in fear of not being able to find our way back with no map. We lucked out and found a place called “Big Daddy’s Pizza” that had lasagna for $4.99. Got our food to go, then headed back to the hotel, which we managed to get to without getting lost.

Don't worry, L is driving
We managed to get behind some tourists with no clue who took forever to check in. We finally get our room, and have dinner.

Courtyard of the Days Inn
L goes to bed right after. Meanwhile, I’m still trying to figure out how on earth I’m going to get all my new stuff back to Colorado. So I’m trying to pack as much as I can, also while trying to get my stuff ready for morning. My shoes are still drenched from the rain in Seattle, so I make the (obviously brilliant) decision to race in my new purple Pure Flows. I figure, what’s the worse that can happen? I have Pure Flows at home that I ran 6 miles in the first day I got them, so I didn’t think there would be much of a break in period. Pleased with my decision, I finally made it to bed around 10. I felt mildly “broken” and sore, and nervously fell asleep.

Race Day

I woke up more than once. Apparently, this far north it gets light EARLY. 4 something in the morning and I was sure I had overslept. In reality, we got up around 5:25, and got ready to go. We weren’t sure when checkout was, and on our way out, we stopped at the office but no one was there. Oh well…

We managed to find our way to the start with no trouble, although upon arriving we found out that there was no free parking. And we had no Canadian money. We stopped in a metered spot (requires payment 7 days a week…) and picked up our bibs. Then we found a parking garage across the street that took credit cards for then TEN DOLLAR parking. Grrrrrr. It was pretty chilly out, so we decided we would sit in the car until 7, a half hour before the race started. We were on the second level of the garage, and the stairs down… mildly painful. Major sore are was inner thighs. Ouch. The line for the bathrooms was the most insane thing I’ve ever seen, probably 200-300 people. No kidding! At least the line moved pretty quickly, and I think we were only about 5 minutes late starting.

This is the "wash room" line - it goes all the way to the light, then to the left and down MORE. Insane!
The announcer called the course one of the “most scenic” – so I had high hopes for a pretty course, even if it was painful and horrible for me. First steps… hmmm, this isn’t too bad! I hesitatingly told L that this didn’t seem like it was going to be too awful. Thankfully. The beginning of the course was not that interesting. It was on street and it was VERY crowded (thanks to us starting late). We had to dodge a bit, but really, we were keeping a good pace, definitely faster than we had the day before. The air was chilly but not cold – perfect running weather. I loved that the course was in km and that every single km was marked. I felt like I was making a TON of progress. First aid station was at 3km, and that’s when we saw the leaders heading back (the most boring part of the course – an out and back on a highway).

Somewhere in the first km or two
4km ALREADY???
The next aid station was at 6km, and I was still feeling ok, but the “back” was a gradual uphill and I was already starting to feel more aches and pains in my legs. Luckily we hit a really pretty downhill area, along the bay. Reminded me a bit of the pretty park area we had run in Seattle. I was enjoying this part!

We kept going back and forth with this old guy that must have had a billion keys or coins in the back of his zippered shirt. MOST ANNOYING SOUND EVER. Anyway, we were maintaining a great pace, and I was feeling pretty good. However, I did have to stop around 14km to use the bathroom. L had really freaked me out with a description of the course and the elevation profile that she had found on their website, but I really didn’t think it was that bad. Ran by what looked like the Lululemon corporate office – dang, can’t stop! We got to see a lot of the bay and harbor, and Vancouver looked really pretty amidst the clouds.

Lululemon Corporate??

I was doing great until we hit the bridge. I think it must’ve been around 18km. It was a pretty long gradual uphill and my legs were so tight. I stopped briefly to take a couple of pictures, which helped to loosen my muscles a bit. Then we were rewarded with a nice downhill. We really started to push the pace when we got past 19km. We passed the noisy guy with the keys and really pushed for the finish. I hate when I do that too early, because as usual, I get close to the finish and my legs just lock up and want to stop. L didn’t finish that much ahead of me, and we crossed the line just over 2:18. By no means one of my better times, but considering we ran a marathon yesterday, I’m perfectly ok with it. Our marathon splits yesterday were 2:29/3:01ish so 2:18 was pretty fast, comparatively.

Much steeper than it looks...

My shoes look AMAZING

We grabbed some cookies (oatmeal raisin and chocolate chip) and a Gatorade recovery, took a quick picture, then we had to find the shuttle to get back to the start line. We found it with no problems, and there wasn’t a wait. There was, however, a TON of traffic, and it took probably 40 minutes to get back to the car. 

We ran over that bridge back there!

Bib #3547
Official Time - 2:18:07
Official Pace - 6:33/km
Official 10km - 1:04:35
Overall Place - 3032/3838
Gender Place - 1579/2182
Division Place - 262/356
Garmin Time - 2:18:09
Garmin Distance 13.20 miles
Garmin Pace - 10:28
Mile 1 - 10:17
Mile 2 - 10:13
Mile 3 - 9:59
Mile 4 - 11:03
Mile 5 - 10:16
Mile 6 - 10:16
Mile 7 - 10:25
Mile 8 - 10:06
Mile 9 - 12:05 (bathroom)
Mile 10 - 10:17
Mile 11 - 10:32
Mile 12 - 11:05 (bridge)
Mile 13 - 9:35
Mile 13.1ish - 10:01

Reversing our directions and we did NOT get lost. We stopped at a Safeway with a Starbucks (turns out it was a mall) and even managed to find a dollar store that was open where we were quickly able to get our Canadian souvenirs. SCORE! Heading back to the hotel, we are hoping checkout was noon.

We arrive to our room at 11:42 with the phone ringing. They want to know if we are staying another night. Turns out checkout was 11:00. Oops. We shower super quick and are out just after 12:00. Our plan is to get across the border and eat in Mt. Vernon. Turns out we ended up on the business loop instead of the highway and it took FOREVER to get to the border (seriously, over an hour). The wait was about 25 minutes, and by the time we got to the Five Guys in Mt. Vernon, it was already 2:30. No time to stop at the Lulu outlet L

Ever eaten at Five Guys? Turns out it is the best food ever. And it was actually more than we could eat. Who knew? Thankfully, the traffic in Seattle was pretty minimal, and we dropped off the car around 3:45. L’s flight was at 5:45, but mine was not until 7:00. I spent my time participating in #runchat on Twitter, and my flight actually left on time. I was flying Frontier and actually paid the $6 for tv, although I dozed off about an hour into the flight. What’s up with me sleeping on flights lately?? Crazy. We landed a few minutes early (shock) and then I headed to get my car. It was at least eleventy billion degrees outside (80??) and it was almost 11:00. SO HOT compared to the 50s and 60s we enjoyed over the weekend. I was actually the first person dropped off at my car (score!) and even with a quick stop for food on my way home, I got there around midnight.

I managed to cram all my stuff into THAT ^
What. A. Weekend.

I’m so glad that I was invited along to the bloggy event and that I got the invite to the Brooks/Onlineshoes.com event. It was great to see everyone again. Can’t wait until whatever is planned next year! (I vote something OTHER than RnR…)


  1. Amazing how u can run a hald the day after a full marathon. Congrats!!

  2. You guys are awesome and you looked adorable.

    Note: always share fries at 5 Guys, they give way too many.

    I like how your report is in km. How Canadien of you.

  3. Love your Vancouver outfits. I ran the BMO Van Half that is in May (2007) and looking at your photos, the course for this June race is MUCH nicer. Next time = ScotiaBank Van Half.

  4. what a petty course! and love the medal. not sure if you have been to a lulu outlet but the one in orlando was pretty disappointing. it wasn’t that great of a deal and it wasn’t the “good” stuff at the outlet.

  5. Great, you fit all the shoes!! AND the cooler! Nice work.

    And great job on the half. I'm pretty freaking impressed after hearing all about the marathon the day before. This is why I have a running shrine to you in my basement! ;)


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