Heyyyy everyone! This post has been a long time coming (only a month and a half), but I’ve been enjoying some time off from running/talking about running (jk I still talk about running and annoy everyone with it).
So here it goes!
Thursday night Dan and I loaded up the car and made the trek out to Vernon BC (~7hr drive) fueled by cookies and Lil Jon sing-alongs.
Friday Jamie and Jeff were due to arrive, and on their way in I met them at the Log Barn to hang with some goats. This place was AMAZING. Not only are there goats pretty much everywhere (including walking above the parking lot on a little goat bridge), there are DINOSAURS. My mind was blown and I think I hyperventilated for the first 10 minutes I was there.
On top of the goat bridge there are some pullies and wheels where you can put some corn in a can below and the goats (on the bridge) will use their goat smarts to pull the food up and eat it. Very amusing. I highly believe in pre-race goat-related activities.
Afterwards back in Vernon, I went for a quick 2 mile run (avg 7:35/mile) which felt great until the end when I got gut cramps and almost had to find a bush to seek digestive refuge in. Luckily I made it to the house in time and crossed my fingers that this wouldn’t happen on Sunday during the race.
Saturday we drove down to Kelowna to pick up our race packets. The start/finish was located in City Park right along Lake Okanagan and it was a beautiful day. The race expo was small, with a Running Room booth and a couple other vendors. One particular vendor, Torq, was selling some of the typical race fuel (gel, brews, bars) so I decided to sample them. And OH MY FREAKIN GOD they were tasty! The texture was great and left no aftertaste. I bought a few flavors and I can’t wait to try them out on a run.
We strolled around Kelowna for a bit then went back to Vernon for a carby stirfry dinner and followed by the obvious: pie. Actually, this was pie-time on steroids. Three different flavors plus chocolate cake. Oof.
Sunday morning came quickly. I had a restless sleep (probably due to the pie x 3 and cake x 1 induced sugar rush) and when my 4am alarm rang I sprang out of bed and got my gear on (spoiler alert: I was wearing ALL the colors. You’re welcome, spectators). I went for a little 10 min jog, did some yoga and hip stretches, ate my Pro Bar and a packet of instant oatmeal, filled up my bottle with Kona Cola Nuun and set out for Kelowna.
I was able to park about a block away from City Park, and I stayed in my car (frantically texting Jamie) until I saw some other runners making their way to the start. I hopped out and did the same. It was a pretty chilly morning, but thankfully there was a warm tent next to the start to hang out in.
I went pee about 3 times, and said hi to my friend Morgan in the line up. You may have remembered her from a previous post. She’s fast.
They ushered us towards the start at 7am (15 minutes before the start). I lined up right in front of the 4 hour pace bunny. The crowd was excited and friendly, and the girl next to me wished me luck. The back of her tank top and it said “I am running my first marathon for my mother, my best friend” which melted my heart. I said hi and cheered her on when I passed her later on.
Anyways, everyone sang the national anthem and the announcer said some encouraging words before the gun went off about how this is the accumulation of months of training, and no matter how we do we have achieved so much already (or something of that sort). I got a little choked up (big surprise), then we were off.
Mile 1: 8:49/mi – The 4 hour pace bunny passed me, but I focused on relaxing knowing they were doing 10s and 1s (aka run 10 minutes, walk one) so I would soon pass them.
Mile 2: 8:49/mi – Passed the bunny, and remained in front. Big sigh of relief.
Mile 3: 8:29/mi – We were well into an industrial area by this point, and ran up one of the only “hills” on the course. I was into it and feeling strong. Despite the industrial surroundings, the scenery just outside Kelowna was hilly and pretty.
Mile 4: 8:36/mi – As I was heading into an out-and-back, I saw Morgan running towards me. We got excited and waved.
Mile 5: 8:42/mi
Mile 6: 8:32/mi – As I was coming back towards the start/finish area, I knew Jamie would be there and starting soon. This got me all excited. I hoped I would see her on my second loop.
Mile 7: 8:28/mi
Mile 8: 8:41/mi
Mile 9: 8:48/mi
Mile 10: 8:40/mi
Mile 11: 8:33/mi
Mile 12: 8:39/mi
Mile 13: 8:18/mi – I think I was excited to be halfway done.
Mile 14: 8:30/mi – As I was heading into lap 2 of the course, I noticed the 10k runners were on their way back to the finish. Eventually I saw Jamie and we yelled and waved at each other. That was cool.
Mile 15: 9:05/mi – I think the pain started to set in around here. My quads were burning and I was burping up salted caramel Gu. Not fun. I knew the ‘hill’ was coming up but not looking forward to it.
Mile 16: 8:28/mi – As I started up the hill, Britney Spears came on and this gave me a cheerful little push to get myself back in gear and my head in the game.
Mile 17: 8:50/mi
Mile 18: 9:03/mi
Mile 19: 9:07/mi – Heading towards the start/finish area, I saw Dan, Jamie and Jeff. Dan was holding out honey stingers and waffles in case I needed them. I ran towards them, gave everyone a quick semi-hug, threw my arm warmers at them and ran away.
Mile 20: 8:56/mi – You can never underestimate the power of seeing loved ones on a course, and I managed to just squeak under 9 minutes for the next two miles. I went into the last lap with my burning quads and a blister forming on my left 4th toe (due to some sock slippage), but knew this was the last 10k and I could do it.
Mile 21: 8:58/mi – I started around here to chase people, but one little older lady kept passing me. She must have been under 5′ tall. I mentally cheered her on. I saw Morgan again coming back towards the finish. Damn girl!
Mile 22: 8:22/mi
Mile 23: 8:59/mi
Mile 24: 9:10/mi
Mile 25: 8:57/mi
Mile 26: 9:09/mi – Right before we dipped down under the bridge towards the park I heard my name being called and saw a work friend cheering for me! I forgot she also came to Kelowna that weekend. Nice surprise.
Mile 26.2: 8:06/mi – Bjork’s “Army of Me came on as I entered the park. I rounded the corner to the finishing chute and saw Dan, Jamie, Jeff, and now Dan’s mom and sister at the corner. They cheered and Jamie ran along my side to the finish as I sprinted. The clock read just over 3:51, so I knew I was under that.
I slowed to a walk crossing the finish line and I guess they had forgotten how to walk because I was wobbling all over like a baby giraffe. The volunteers handed me water and threw a medal over my head, and some guy asked if I needed help. But I had my target in sight.
Dan was standing at the exit of the chute and picked me up as I sobbed with happiness and relief. Jamie and Jeff joined us and we picked up my checked bag and found a spot on the grass to stretch and talk about the race.
Dan’s family and Morgan found us. She came in at 3:20, and first in our age category! Jamie also crushed her 10k PR.
I had one blister, on my 4th toe. ONE. My feet are usually a mess after so this is a serious achievement (however pictures are available upon request). THANKS PRO COMPRESSION!
Afterwards we shoved our faces full of mini burgers, salad and poutine, then Jamie and I went to taste wine at Mt Boucherie winery (the Okanagan has no shortage of vineyards) and ended up splitting a case of the Reserve Gamay (saying that makes me feel fancy).
Later that evening, since it was Canadian Thanksgiving, we had a turkey dinner where I hurt myself for a second time that day. I ate so much I couldn’t even contemplate dessert. I felt like a snake that overestimated how much it could process then gets stuck with an entire cow/child/whatever inside.
Thoughts on the Race
I enjoyed the race. The temperature was perfect and I enjoyed the course. I carried my handheld water bottle, but in hindsight I don’t think I needed to. There seemed to be enough water stations and were frequent enough. Often I found when I got thirsty, a water station was around the corner. Also it was my first time doing a two-loop course and I liked it. The second time around you know what’s coming up and where you are. It’s also nice seeing the same spectators out when you pass them a second time. These people have serious dedication to supporting their loved ones and/or perfect strangers which is nothing to scoff at.
I’m happy I PR’d. Very happy. And although it wasn’t huge, I feel as though it was my redemption for the shitty summer of getting flooded out, injured, and all the resulting stress. I felt comfortable running, there wasn’t really any point where I started doubting myself or got sick of running (aside from wanting to finish so I could go drink with my pals). I could’ve probably pushed a bit harder and shaved off a bit of time, but I knew I was doing alright for pace and was enjoying myself.
The night before the race my mom texted me saying that she “summoned the Stan angels for me”. The next day I kept this in mind, and every time I would start to get tired I would think of how proud my grandparents (living and passed on) would be to see me right then. I thought about the long lineage of strong, intelligent women on both sides of my family, and that I’m a product of their lives and their struggles. I am who I am due to my genetics and upbringing, and that makes me proud.
I’m breaking up with Gu. I carried exclusively the Salted Caramel flavor for the race, which was delicious, but I can’t handle the Gu burps it produces. And it’s not just that flavor, it’s all flavors of Gu give me the burps and the burps taste artificial and metallic and awful. I’ve tried the Gu Chomps and those gave me stomach cramps. I know they work for some people, but I’ve come to terms with them not working for me. Sorry Gu, it’s not you, it’s me and I need to find a gel that’s right for me. I know the Powerbar Gels work, but they make me feel kind of crappy for a day afterwards. I’m hopeful for the Torq gels I mentioned above but I also want to give the Honey Stinger gels a try, and maybe even plain honey.
I think due to carrying the handheld bottle my upper body was all over the place (from what I can determine from the race photos). Now I’m super conscious of this and I don’t think I’ll race with a handheld in the future. Seriously, I look so wonky.
So that’s that. My last marathon of 2013. I’ll talk more about what’s next in a later post, and promise I’ll try to be better about blogging. I had a good blog-cation but I don’t want to abandon it completely. I have some big goals in the works.
My race in stats:
Gun Time: 3:51:14
Chip Time: 3:50:44
Overall Place: 150/539 (28%)
Gender Place: 48/261 (18%)
Category Place: 13/48 (27%)
Avg Pace: 5:29/km (8:48/mi)
And finally, for your viewing pleasure I will leave you with this….
(Clips were taken at 9km, 15km, 30km and the finish. If you watch closely you can see Jamie running along the side <3)