And I can happily report that although it was by the skin of my teeth, I did it! And what an amazing course to accomplish this goal on, and in my hometown to boot.
And it still allowed for some expansive and awe inspiring city views, the course definitely showcased the city and all that it has to offer.
My BIL Jeff and I decided we were going to run this half with D-money, my SIL Nicole and niece Cameron cheering us on from the sidelines. Which was definitely helpful for me (I needed the mental boost).
Jeff and I had to wake up fairly early - 6am and hop on the SkyTrain from downtown Vancouver south towards south Cambie. Basically for those of you that don't know what I'm talking about, we headed away from downtown. The SkyTrain line ups were outrageous (and silly me, I thought they might let us catch the train for free - chump).
It was pretty chilly for early May so I brought a sweater to check in (for the first time ever) and was worried we would cut it so close to the start time that I might just have to ditch my sweater. It might be a super old and ripped sweater that D is always trying to get my to throw away, but I really like it!
Needless to say, we made it to the start and to the gear check in the nick of time.
I had registered myself to finish the half in 1:50 so that I wouldn't be stuck behind a bunch of slow people or walkers.
Alright, before anyone gets mad at me for this, let me explain...I really wanted to finish under two and needed all the help I can get. I understand that I was doing what I was trying to escape from but what can I say? I'm an arse, alright?
Anyways, I was in the first corral. Yeah, crazy right??? The corrals seemed to be broad finishing ranges. Anything less than 2hrs was in the first corral so I was around a bunch of thin, tall runner types.
Mentally, I wasn't really in the game - I had been feeling nauseous, and was pretty blah about the whole thing (hello, pregnancy that I didn't know about yet).
So when the gun went off and we started to run, I was taking it pretty easy. And I was getting past left and right. It was crazy. Even two dudes in full suites passed me.
But I didn't care- I was running down Cambie Street and across the Cambie Street bridge staring right at the beautiful snowcapped North shore mountains and BC Place Stadium. It was amazing! I wanted to stop right there and take a picture, specifically for when I wrote about this. But of course, I didn't run with my phone. But it looked a bit like this:
From Cambie street we ran through Yaletown to Pacific Street, through English Bay to Stanley Park. It was in Yaletown at kilometre 7 that I finally saw D and Nicole - with Cameron napping in her stroller. It was a huge mental boost for me - and was definitely needed.
Here's the pic Nicole snapped of me at this point:
Once we hit Stanley Park through English Bay we hit the pool and turned around to run past Lost Lagoon, the turn around at this point was another big mental boost for me...I was beginning to fade - again. I'm pretty sure in my head I was just saying blah, blah, blah, BLAH. Oh look, pretty park. BLAH. But again, I was able to find a focus and change my mental state. A woman in front of my was wearing her hip pack waterbottle (I have a Camelback one). Anyways, she dropped her full water bottle and just carried on, I don't think she even noticed. A man in front of me was considering picking it up but didn't bother. So I decided to put some good karma out there and sprinted up to get it without getting in someone's way. Then I sprinted up to her, which was further than I had realized and passed it off - I think this was a huge factor in my under-2 finish. I felt pretty good about myself at that point and it last about 4km, which got me to the 1km left point.
Then it was a mad dash to get in under 2.
I wasn't quite clear on where the finish would be here I knew I was close but I couldn't see it anywhere up ahead, my Garmin had died, and I didn't want to ask anyone - I was too busy trying to breath at this point. I saw a left turn ahead, then another left and was beginning to freak!
As soon as I started into the first left I turned on the boosters, I didn't feel like I had much in me - I heard Derek shout my name and knew it was close.
Crowds cheering, I hit the second left and then BAM! there was the finish a mere 100 metres away. I couldn't breathe but I just ran for that darn blue banner. When I looked down at my trusty ol' Timex I saw 1:59 and knew I had finally done it.
Three half-marathons in one year, I was able to cut off a total of 15 minutes from my first one in May 2011 to this one in May 2012, I kind of wanted to cry, or die. I wasn't sure. Both might have been okay at that point. Maybe just curl into a ball and pass out....
Anyways, I grabbed a ton of water and my medal at the finish - posed for my finisher pic and headed to the gear check and Derek. I'm pretty sure I was beaming from ear-to-ear. Well, until I actually took my first few steps after my adrenaline rush had dissipated. Then I probably looked like I was searching for my walker.
This was the first half-marathon where I had to battle a mental blockage, and I did, while accomplishing a major goal. It was also my first realization that I might actually be able to start considering myself a real runner. A sub-2hr half-marathon finisher baby! And then of course, I immediately set my sites on loftier goals - like a 1:52 in my next race - The GoodLife Victoria Half-Marathon - where victory would be mine once again.
But of course, I know now that 1:52 wasn't meant for me in 2012.
There's really nothing quite like setting a physical goal and achieving it. Mental goals - like getting a B.A. or a masters, etc. are awesome, but putting your body through the ringer and seeing what it's really capable of - is just amazing. I look back on that morning in May, five months ago and I can feel all those emotions again. They are still so real for me. And still so amazing. I'm looking forward to 2013 and seeing what I can do again...
And now for the official numbers...
Overall Place: 2,811 out of? (The race holds about 10,000 half-marathoners)
Chip Time 1:58:17 at a 5:37 per km pace
10.5km time: 59:02 Last half: 59:15 (pretty steady pacing)
Age Category: 244/848