Our training was interrupted. Matthew hurt his knee quite seriously in March and was unable to join me on any long runs (which I count as over 6 miles, which takes more than an hour for us) since that time. I hurt one ankle (some tendons) and then the other ankle (some different tendons) in April and May. We also took two weeks off with no exercise whatsoever when we went to Australia/Japan.
But last weekend we met up with my friend Kat in Kitsilano, and she took us for a ballbusting run up a hill in West Point Grey. Matthew joined us for a little under half of the time, and when Kat was finished with me, we had covered 12.2 miles. Significantly longer than any distance I had ever run (but a walk in the park, I'm sure, for Kat). Matthew's knee held up pretty well after the 5 miles (he has been doing physio intensively), so we were pretty confident that we would be able to run/walk the whole half-marathon distance.
We set the alarm for 5:20am so that we could fit in breakfast before leaving the house at 6am. We arrived at the bus stop at 6:10am, and waited for half a goddamn hour for the bus to arrive. I was so furious I forgot to be nervous about the race. When the bus finally did come, it was so crowded that it sailed past all the other stops. There were angry race-goers and ever angrier shift-workers at all those stops.
We got to UBC Thunderbird Stadium with about 10 minutes to spare, and lined up for the porta-potties (necessary before such a long race!). We lined up in our Green Corral (for slowpokes, at the back) at 7:28, and the horn went off at 7:30am.
The weather was totally gorgeous, by the way. Saturday was the summer solstice, so it was the second longest day of the year on race day. It was warm and bright, with a nice cool breeze in the shade. Perfect running weather.
We crossed the starting line at 7:35am I think (much better than the hour it took for us to cross the starting line at the Sun Run last year!!), and started the long jog around UBC. That's right, the first 6 kilometres were all still on UBC. By the time we saw the end of University Boulevard I felt like the race was half over. It was such a relief to finally be off campus!
I chose the Scotia half for two reasons:
- The BMO half was on the day I got back from Japan and Matthew got back from Australia, so we couldn't do that one. We're glad though, because it was freezing and raining on that day.
- The Scotia is the only half-marathon course in Vancouver with a net downhill by the end. And boy did we feel it. There were exactly two hills: one that that we had already smashed with Kat the weekend before (short, more like a gentle crest), and the Burrard Bridge. And since we were approaching from the south, the slope of the bridge was long and gradual, rather than from the city side (where we attacked it on the Sun Run last year) which is steep and breath-taking. The whole course was decidedly leisurely.
Our strategy going in was to stick together at all costs, and take walk breaks as regularly as needed. But in fact we only needed one walk-break, and that was just before the Burrard Bridge, at about kilometre 15, and we only walked for about 3 minutes. For the rest we just kept a slow and steady pace, and always stayed within 2-3 metres of each other. Matthew said later that there were times when he felt like flagging and he observed me looking effortless, and other times when I looked like I was struggling but he felt like surging, but that overall our efforts were about matched. I think that's a pretty fair assessment.
We crossed the finish line at Stanley Park in 2:15:18. This is significantly faster than we had projected (based on training, I was aiming for 2:45). All in all, a victorious experience. It's one day later, and although we're a bit stiff, we are in no way injured, and very mobile.
|Taken on my poor little cameraphone, a few moments after the race.|