BMO Half Marathon – my non PB that was

BMO is always going to be a race that holds a special spot in my heart, as it was my first half marathon in 2013. I really enjoy the course, as it has a good downhill to start, pretty scenic and let’s face it the medals are pretty nice. The downside of it was the price, and this year when they sent out the email over it, I looked at the cost and thought, “nope… I am not going to do it.”

Krista mentioned in Vegas that she had dropped down to the half at BMO instead of doing the full, and if I was running we should run together. I knew Krista was quicker than I, and with knowing the course I figured we would be able to pace me to a PB.

I wasn’t too willing to pay the price of $119 at this point so instead I bought someone’s bib who was not able to run. Did I mention that I decided to sign up a week before the race, and this was going to be my 3rd half in 3 weeks? (More on my stupidity afterwards)

Sunday was pouring rain. I was lucky enough to be able to spend the night with my amazing friend Candice downtown so I didn’t have to stress on parking and how to get to the start from Langley. I took a cab to the start line. I originally planned on wearing my short sleeve shirt, but with how bad the rain was coming down, I threw on my long sleeve Nike shirt before gear check, and kept the short sleeve overtop.

Gear check went smooth and quick. Stupidly I packed my phone without letting Krista know where I was going to meet her so panic set in. It seemed everyone who I knew was able to spot me, and then finally Krista, Stephanie and I met up. Krista took this quick selfie of us, and it’s the only shot we got.

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The pace bands we had were for 2:22 which gave a buffer for my PB, so I was feeling nervous, and at the same time excited. We started off down Cambie Street which is always so incredible. When you look for 4km and all you can see is a sea of runners, it’s surreal and awestruck. Our pace was quick, much quicker than what I was used to and my legs felt heavy. We skipped our first walk break to take advantage of the hills.

And then came the naked chicks. Yep, you heard me. 2 ladies whom I hope to heck were still drunk were pressed against the window of their apartment waving. My first thought? “Damn, I wish my body looked that good.”

And that’s more or less where things started to fall apart. My stomach was hurting, my legs were heavy and I felt like I was fighting a headwind the whole way. I don’t remember much of the course. I remember Krista being beside me and so positive and telling me we were doing amazing. I kept looking at my watch and checking how we were doing pace wise. I kept trying to be positive, but deep down I knew it wouldn’t happen.

We hit Stanley Park, and the course goes through the Park instead of the SeaWall so you don’t always know where you are. When we hit 16k, I pulled over to the side and started dry heaving. If there would have been anything besides GU in my stomach, I probably would have thrown up. Krista was amazing. She kept saying we were going to finish, but she made sure I set a pace that I could handle. We walked a lot more than I would have wanted. I had to stop probably 3 other times to heave, and I worried that maybe something with my hernia was acting up. (Thankfully my surgeon said no, it’s just pushing my body too hard, so one less stress removed)

We hit the last stretch of the course, and I felt like lead. At this point there was no PB for this race. My goal was to cross upright and hopefully under 2:30. Krista never left my side. She stuck by me through my struggles and kept positive and telling me how awesome I was doing. I cannot express how much this meant to me, having her stick by my side no matter what. We crossed together, got our medals, grabbed our gear and I got changed. At this point I was thinking I should take myself to emergency at Richmond Hospital. Krista was ready to drive me, but I ended up just coming home, and emailed my surgeon rather than go when it might have been nothing.

When I got on the SkyTrain, I called my Dad and cried. I was heartbroken over not reaching a PB, and how bad I struggled and feeling like I had let Krista down with not pushing myself harder. I was devastated over how I could barely move, and I felt like I had been hit by a semi truck full force. I couldn’t walk down the stairs without going sideways, and I was wet, miserable and just done.

More or less, my body was done. I should have never ran BMO. Sometimes I do not listen to my body when it is telling me things, and I think I can do everything. In the last 2.5 years I have underwent 3 massive surgeries. I have ran 8 half marathons, and started trail running as well. I have been burning the candle at both ends with poor sleep, poor diet, and not giving myself the time to recoup that I need.

I emailed Run For Water last night and said I couldn’t pace bunny the 2:30 half that I was supposed to be doing in 3 weeks. I woke up this morning with a dehydration migraine that was causing me to dry heave and not be able to see straight. I called in sick to work and stayed in bed for more or less 15 hours sleeping for almost all of it. Not to mention the 3 hour post run nap I took yesterday before bed as well.

Pure exhaustion on my part. Thankfully, I have some pretty amazing friends who made me feel a lot better last night. It’s amazing how we sometimes don’t see ourselves the way others do…

So instead of being down on not hitting a PB at BMO, I have decided to come away with this as being a PB in a different way. Last year I ran the course in 2:50:48. This year my official time was 2:29:36, which means for this course I set a PB of 21:12 in the span of a year. And that? Is pretty damned amazing. For how I felt to still be so close to my best time, is bloody awesome. And to have 8 half marathons under my belt in 365 days, with having 2 major surgeries which prevented me from running for almost 4 months, damned impressive.

I am going to race my 5 Peaks race this weekend. I will do the Sport instead of the Enduro and will start slowly training, both on the trails and improving my sleep and eating for Baker Lake on October 4. I will not be signing up for anything I am not already racing, and will listen to my body.

But next year? Next year I plan on kicking some major ass at BMO.

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Vegas Half Marathon

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Race recaps really are one of the hardest things for me to write. I struggle over what to say, and want to be able to capture how I felt in words, which isn’t always easy. Vegas was my slowest half marathon ever. But at the same time, the fact I got to enjoy running the race with Kendall and Krista made it one of the best runs that I have ever had.

I somehow managed to convince Kendall last fall that going to Vegas over Easter to run a “once in a lifetime” half marathon was a brilliant idea. With us running Whidbey Island half 6 days earlier, we would also be eligible to apply for Half Fanatic Status which was a bucket list goal of mine. The game plan was to complete the race, no time goals, just crossing the finish line.

We grabbed the shuttles from the hotel to the race site, which was rather convenient. Downside was the fact nobody seemed to know there was a race going on, or where to go for the shuttles. The drunks in Vegas seemed to think we had already run the race, which was amusing.

I’d say the course was slightly drunk. Seeings how the race was in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Shelby Mustang, the course was on the Nascar Speedway. There really isn’t a lot of options on where to run 13.1 miles in a confined space, so there was some looping, backtracking and zig zagging. Mile 11 was passed 3 times… 3 times!

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See?? Drunk!!

I must admit it was really cool to be out on the track, for all of 5 minutes. Kendall and I started out with Krista, but she soon pushed ahead of us while we kept it at a leisurely pace. Normally I set my Garmin for 10 & 1 intervals on race day, but I just let it run. No sense intervaling when your goal is just to compete.

Krista eventually backtracked to us, and the 3 of us spent the rest of the race together talking and just enjoying our run. Oh, and taking pictures!!

It was hot, we were slow, but the race was great. Random people chatted us up, and even photo bombed pictures

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This was my first half that I did not carry my own water. I am usually pretty anal about that, as I have been struggling with cramping and dehydration. I carried gu, salt pills and utilized the 10 water stations on the course for my needs. I have to say, for how hot it was the volunteers did a good job of ensuring there was always water. Only one station was struggling but they were at a section where runners were hitting both sides of the table. But still a good job.

The big downside to this race was at the finish. There was no food, no water, and even the advertised beer for the runners was not there. I couldn’t care less over the beer, but I was very disappointed over the lack of food. I was given a small bag of Pretzles when I crossed. Thankfully because I know what my body needs I packed food, but still was not impressed.

Other than that, crossing the line my official time was 2:58:48. I still need to apply for half fantatic status, but it was amazing. I was so thankful to Krista and Kendall for joining me in my crazy idea. It really was an awesome experience ….. Despite some chafing.

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I honestly love my Handana and would recommend it to anyone who needs something to wipe your face, or nose during a run.

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By far my favorite picture from the whole run!

I do have to say my New Balance 880 were amazing. I wasn’t sure what I would think of them when I first got the shoes. But I wore them for both Whidbey and Vegas no problems. My feet felt great no aches at all.

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Love this medal!!