When I left off telling you about our fun in Vancouver and at the SeaWheeze it was still the night before the race and I still had visions of a new PR in my head.
When I woke-up I immediately felt nervous. More nervous than I have ever felt before a race even the full marathon back in May. I put on my race outfit, made some coffee, ate a Larabar, and made my Vega pre-workout energizer (the full sugar one) to drink on my way to the start line.
In hindsight thought #1: I didn’t eat nearly enough pre-race than I should have. I’m not sure what I was thinking but a Larabar just didn’t cut it as a pre-half-marathon fueling option. Tasty? Yes, but not nearly as calorie dense as my body required or is used to eating.
Leanne left a little earlier than we did because she would be lining up closer to the start line. Krista and I decided to place ourselves between the 2:20 and 2:30 pace beavers. We decided not to follow the pace beavers and instead wanted to run our own race using our trusted 10:1 run:walk ratio.
I was all smiles before we left the hotel.
It was really crowded when we got to the start area, they were ushering us around the building so we could get into our corrals, and honestly, they could have been leading us anywhere and we all would have followed. Once we wiggled our way through the crowd right between the two pace beavers we found Stephanie (actually, she found us) a new friend I made on Instagram who came to run the SeaWheeze all the way from Ottawa. I still can’t believe we managed to find each other but I’m so glad we did. We ended up running over half the race together and it was awesome meeting her. She reminded me so much of a friend from University.
Once we crossed the start line I kept a close eye on my watch to make sure we didn’t go out too fast. I knew the key to getting a PR was to run a smart race at the beginning and then pick it up at the end. And that’s just what we did. We kept a slower pace and enjoyed each others company. I ran with my water bottle because I didn’t want to stop at the water stations in an effort to save some time, even if it only amounted to a few seconds.
In hindsight thought #2: I was so glad I chose to run with my water bottle. The water stops, especially at the beginning, were so busy and log jammed that it was nice to be able to pass them by and continue on my way.
Everything was going great when we hit the Burrard St. bridge. It was a short uphill onto the bridge, a nice long decent off the bridge where maybe I picked up the pace a little too much. I was still feeling great at the point. Fueling and hydrating as planned and having fun.
We ran for a bit and then we turned around.
And had to run back across the bridge.
The nice long decent we ran on the way out was now a not-so-nice long ascent.
I stuck with my 10:1 ratio but really wanted to stop and walk the bridge. I felt my pace slowing down, and Krista and Stephanie slowly began to fade off into the distance in front of me. Once I reached the top I used the brief downhill to my advantage but as we came off the bridge, at the 6 mile (10K) mark I knew things had taken a turn for the worse.
In hindsight thought #3: I should have walked that darn bridge like my body and mind were telling me. I don’t know if it would have made a difference but I know it couldn’t have hurt. Could’ve, would’ve, should’ve.
And that, my friends, is where my dreams of a PR started to drift away. All of a sudden I got the chills and was covered in goosebumps. I felt clamy and Krista later informed me that I no longer had the running glow but looked pale.
Then to make things even worse we made our way onto the Sea Wall. Running by the ocean, on an overcast day, with sprinklings of rain, while having the chills is not fun.
I kept to the 10:1 ratio but my pace slowed down considerably. I kept telling Krista to go ahead but being the awesome friend she is she stuck with me for as long as her achilles would let her. When my walk breaks got longer she eventually went ahead because it was better for her to run than to walk. I kept fueling and rehydrating, even stopping at a water station to refill my bottle and grab half a banana (thank you SeaWheeze for having fruit on the course!).
I forged ahead the best I could and knew I was going to cross the finish line no matter what.
In hindsight thought #4: I probably should have stopped considering my symptoms were characteristic of heat exhaustion but I didn’t know that then. Live and learn. Thankfully nothing bad happened.
Once I made it out of Stanley Park I saw Krista waiting for me. I felt bad because I know she could have had a good finish time but she was running for fun and I am forever grateful she waited for me. Shortly after we saw Leanne and she stayed with us until the finish line and snagged an action shot of us in our matching Team Fox jerseys.
I was never so thankful to see a finish line. There were cold towels at the end and even though I still had the chills it felt really refreshing to wipe down my face. We got our medals and finisher bonuses (yea for my first pair of good headphones from Skull Candy) and made our way towards food.
I kind of wish the SeaWheeze provided bagged lunches like most races do instead of the gourmet brunch they had going on. While we pondered whether or not to wait in the long line for waffles we had the pleasures of meeting Matt Mitchell, a Team Fox mentor who ran an amazing race at the SeaWheeze.
Go Team Fox!
We chatted with Matt for a bit and he took a picture of me, Leanne, and Krista.
Then I asked Leanne to take a picture of my tail.
Honestly, wearing my Team Fox jersey and tail helped me more out on the course than I thought possible. We had many people thank us for running for Parkinson’s and I loved all the cheeky comments I got on my tail. And for the record, I don’t even know the tail is there while I’m running, in fact I am constantly checking to make sure it didn’t fall off.
So needless to say, I did not get my PR. I actually ran my slowest half-marathon to date. I was pretty down about it for a while but now that I’ve had to reflect on the situation I have come to terms with the fact that this was not my race to PR.
Not all races are going to be great races. We can go in feeling super prepared but realistically we are never fully prepared for the unknowns that can happen at any point on the course. I ran the first part of that race the way I wanted. If everything had continued that way I know without a doubt I would have gotten my PR.
But I didn’t.
And there is no point on dwelling on it anymore than necessary.
Because at the end of the day I still ran a half-marathon.
I still had fun with amazing friends by my side.
I still had a great race weekend.
I still get to hang another medal on my mirror.
In hindsight thought #5: I can think about all the things I could have changed or done differently all I want but it really doesn’t matter because I can’t go back and change the outcome. All I can do is use what I have learned at my next race and move forward.
I eventually started to feel better after a shower, some rest, and some food. We decided not to partake in the Sunset Festival and instead called it an early night.
Before I go I just wanted to give a gigantic thanks to Krista and Leanne for being the best running friends a girl could ask for. If only we lived closer to one another.
Until next year, SeaWheeze.