When I registered for this one - on opening day last fall - I spent my time planning on a half marathon. I registered for the half, I looked forward to the half, I dreamed about the half...you get the picture. Then the stress fracture happened and took so long to heal (I promise, I'll stop writing that soon.) and I still looked forward to the half. I even tried to figure out in August, when I was told I could start running on Sept 1, whether I had enough time to train for the half still.
Ultimately, though, I knew I couldn't and, with my setback in September, I am especially grateful that I scaled back.
I also made one more smart move. I convinced my non-runner best friend from High School to join me. She lives in New West and it would be quality time to spend together with no time goals or anything - just a walk around the seawall with a medal at the end.
With this race falling so close to Halloween - a costume was inevitable. I just had to figure out what to be. All I knew was that it would definitely be geeky. When I saw a TARDIS shirt - I knew I had my costume. I borrowed a royal blue sparkle skirt off of a K-100 team mate and raided hubby's photo props for a blue wig. It came together so easy for how awesome I think it was!
I didn't want to traumatize Coli by forcing a costume on her at the same time I was dragging her into a race...but she agreed to a sparkle skirt. Bet I can still find something that has a uniform of a purple shirt and turquoise bottoms....just give me enough time and we'll pretend that was her costume. Maybe we can say it was an Ariel costume...yeah - that's it.
I planned my travel for this trip far far in advance. I booked my flight in February and my apartment shortly after. I REALLY lucked out on both. My flight (incl taxes) was only $330. And it was Air Transat so I wasn't even bothered by that annoying $25 extra for checked baggage on the way home (I flew carryon only on the way there...but did a bit too much shopping at stationery stores...extra bag had to be bought...etc...) My apartment was on AirBNB and was an 18th floor apartment 2 blocks off Robson Street and 6 blocks from the half start line (which I was still planning to run at that point in time. Total cost for the 3 nights - $300ish. I couldn't have gotten a hotel in that area for that cheap AND I was able to save a ton of money by not having to eat out. I'd share a link to the actual listing, but I'm feeling selfish and think I may want to keep this one secret in case I go back next year ;)
Looking at the list of exhibitors before attending the expo - I kind of expected to be disappointed. Hardly any of the big names that you would expect at a race of this calibre were going to be there.
I got in too Vancouver too late on Friday to attend day one of the Expo, but apparently there were more exhibitors that showed up for Saturday anyway. I decided to hit the expo twice - once to shop and hang with runner friends and then once to pick up my bib with Coli - so I could spare her the inane discussions about the various properties of technical fabrics.
So - I arranged to meet up with Tina and Brandi at the expo at 11. It was at Canada Place - same as teh BMO Vancouver expo.
Pretty sure I was soaked by the time I walked the 6 blocks - thanks to a catastrophic umbrella malfunction. Various adventures were had. I didn't buy much, but I also never expected to. After 8 months off running - all of my run gear is like a whole new wardrobe again! So _ came home with only a new headband.
The exhibitors ranged from Brooks and the Running Room to assorted races to the usual suspects of nutrition and pain relief.
I was so happy to have a chance to chat and hang out with my Calgary and Vancouver runner girls...
and to finally meet Kirky, who I have chatted with for years on Twitter but never managed to meet.
I also loved getting to play with all of the medals. Rock n Roll has the BEST medals...though I only managed to take a picture of the one I was going to get.
Later on, Coli and I picked up our race kits. I fotrgot to get pics of the package area, but it was pretty streamlined - sorted by bib number. A table to exchange your shirt for a different size (I ended up sizing up) and a table to change your corral.
Here's the swag:
and my first time with a D tag chip...I really don't like these...
Tina, Coli and I decided to do our carb-loading at Heirloom Vegetarian Saturday night. Soooo yummy!
We woke up to a much different day weather-wise than Saturday had been. The ground was still wet from the rain, but no more was falling on us.
Coli and I had originally planned to hoof it to the start line, but in the end figured the shuttle buses to the 10k start would be smarter. We were totally blown away when we saw what they meant by shuttle buses, though.
We had been expecting a couple of school buses that would rotate trips back and forth. Instead, lined up for 2-3 blocks were a long line of luxury coaches!!! Wowza. One would depart as soon as it was full, so we were able to get to Stanley Park pretty darn fast! Very impressive. I tried to get a photo, but to was too dark from my vantage point to catch them all.
They also had more shuttles coming from Scott Road and I imagine it was a fairly similar sight there.
Because we were so early - we had ABSOLUTELY NO PROBLEM finding the rest of our group. I had never met Krista in person, but in her pregnant pumpkin costume - she was easy to spot. Plus - Brandi had decided to wear her pink skirt so Coli and I had only to follow the allergic discomfort (since we are both allergic to pink) to find them in the lot. Krista's mother in law, Cindy was also with them.
Bag check was in a series of three school buses and was organized by last name. It was pretty quick to check the bag Coli and I were sharing with warmer layers for post-race.
There were also porta-potties a-plenty to be found. I made sure to clarify that if people were guessing porta-potty from the photo I had posted of part of my costume - they were sadly mistaken.
And we took some pics of us waiting around...
Because we had all put various anticipated times on our registrations - we had all been assigned different corrals.So we decided to just go slot ourselves in wherever. As we were lining up and taking start line pictures - someone called Brandi's name and Suzanne, another runner who scaled back, joined our merry walking crew.
The view toward the start.
The view behind us. That's A LOT of people.
We then found a new boyfriend for Brandi in the crowd. Isn't he dreamy?
The race was a staged start but they managed to work their way through the corrals pretty fast and were soon at corral 12, where we were. We made sure to stay to the side so we wouldn't be holding up any of the people running it and we started at what was probably the most consistently paced race to date for any of us - though definitely the weirdest start - since I think we all had trouble holding ourselves back in the excitement of the start line.
The race started out on a roadway in Stanley Park, but at around 2k, it moved onto the actual seawall.
I truly believe that this is what made the 10k course the better of the two distances. The 10k participants got to run the majority of their race on the actual Stanley Park Seawall, while the half marathoners were running on a roadway adjacent to the seawall. Still a pretty course, but it wasn't the seawall.
The rest of the race report could play out like this - we walked and talked. Sometimes we danced.
I had a porta-potty break at 6k that caused a 5 min break, but plenty of time to do jump shots in front of Lions Gate Bridge.
It also meant that I got to see the front runner in the half marathon zoom by chasing the time clock on the back of a truck.
The only downside of the seawall course was, of course, the fact that it was not wide enough to HOLD many bands. The race planners put them in wherever space allowed, but I think the half marathon definitely got more music.
Towards the end of the 10k, my muscles were aching from being used in ways they hadn't been used for the better part of a year and poor Krista's pregnant belly was aching from the weight. We were having fun but it was definitely time to be done.
Brandi got this tablespoon of water from one super enthusiastic volunteer
And the energy picked up the closer we got to the end.
We pushed hard for a sub-2 finish. And we got it, crossing the line in 1:58. Take that all you speedy half marathoners. We can go sub-2 as well!
I got my medal
and the race was done. Now to enjoy the afterparty.
I was very excited to get to meet my very first Daily Mile friend, Courtney, after she finished the half. I just wish we'd had it together enough to snap a photo.
We grabbed our checked bags from the buses and headed to the costume photo booth to get our pictures snapped.
Spoiler - I didn't win - despite being awesome. I think it was because I fought with the booth guy to not have the finish line or Vancouver skyline as a backdrop.
BUT - Tina and I were featured on the RNR facebook page with this pic Coli took of us:
and Check out Tina's awesomekly geektastic Loki costume! She ran in those horns!
As for the afterparty - I didn't hang out long. The entire field was so muddy from the rain on Saturday.My poor white shoes didn't stand a chance. I was planning to go for lunch with Nikki and Solana, anyway, so we took off pretty quick after seeing people.
and then I forgot to take any photos at lunch - though I did get this cutey-pie shot of me and Guinness after, when Solana dropped me off at Granville Island. He is such a little snugglebutt.
Spot the bathroom break...
All in all - I LOVED this race! It was so much fun! I hope I can come back and actually run the 10k or half some year. Maybe next year - guess we'll have to wait and see. Thank you so much to everyone who made my weekend in Vancouver so very very awesome!