My thoughts about the Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon changed drastically in 8 weeks from “I’m going to PB this fast course!” to “I hope my leg injury doesn’t keep me from running.” I had a lot of ups and downs, as you can see in this post here. I was able to bounce back… I stayed off the road for a few days and swam to keep the cardio up without adding more stress to the legs. I managed to run twice that week including my last scheduled long run, a 12k… and I felt great! Fast forward to taper week where I ran about 6k one day and did a November Project workout the following day and my legs were just bagged. I wanted to do one last shakeout run before the half on Sunday but I decided to just rest. I also visited my physio where he re-aligned me, showed me some exercises I can do to strengthen those muscles and how to tape to support my knee. I was a little skeptical but I did it anyway. Leading up to the half marathon, I wasn’t worried about not being ready, I was worried if I could even run at all. I stayed optimistic though and started getting excited about my 2nd half marathon.
PS I can’t believe this photo below got me over 200 likes but I’ll take it!
Pre-race gear shot featuring @lululemon @asics @spibelt @honeystinger @nuunhydration @fuelbelt Hoping for a good race tomorrow at the @runcrswest #scotiahalf – obligatory gear shot… Geez even my fuel and hydration are pink ? #prettyinpink #running #runvan #runchat #bibchat #runninggear #halfmarathon #runningshoes #vanrun #runnersofinstagram #instarunners
I had prepared everything the night before so all I had to do was stretch, foam roll and make breakfast. I got up at 5:15 and surprisingly I had a decent sleep. I still felt pain in my leg so I was getting really nervous again but I did some test runs and it seemed to be ok. For breakfast I had oatmeal with banana and a glass of water. For fuel, I brought with me 3 nuun tablets, Honey Stinger chews and gel. We arrived at UBC by 7am and I decided to run up and down a block to test it out… thank goodness, my legs felt great… hence the gigantic smile on my face below!
At that point, I couldn’t wait for the race to start. My confidence was coming back at the right time. We walked over to the Blue Corral (2:01-2:30) and I saw a familiar face… it was Bradley on the Run and thank goodness his Twitter handle was on his bib, I called out to him and introduced myself. So nice to finally meet a Twitter-runner-friend after following his updates for months. We wished each other luck and parted ways. Cuski had to leave too so he can get to the turnaround point in time for some photos. It was time for me to get it all together and psyche myself up.
The first 10k was mostly along Marine Drive. I was not a fan of going south and then turning around because it feels like you haven’t really gotten anywhere. At around the 5k I was back to where we approximately started. Not to mention the road was kind of boring… it was wide and nice but just… boring. I was worrying about my leg this whole time but it didn’t even bother me… in fact, I felt strong. What hit me like a brick wall was the heat. I was drinking like no tomorrow and the heat quickly drained my energy. By 5k I already had to stop for a break, which was a bit disheartening but I started up again soon since I knew a big downhill was coming up. The downhill portion felt good but the heat was really getting to me. I had to stop at every aid station since the 6km mark to get some water. It was a tough slog but I managed to get to the 10k mark by my usual time (just over an hour). I knew the worst was yet to come and I couldn’t wait to get out of the beaches section and get to Kitsilano where it’s familiar territory. What’s worse… my gel fell off my belt :S I was hoping for fuel and fast. As a side note, there were some people in costumes yesterday and kudos to them for being covered head to toe, surviving the heat, running 21.1 km and finishing! Unreal! (There was also a chicken and a yoshi.)
This is where the sun really kicked my butt. I felt like I had no energy, I was very tired, uncomfortable, and feeling a bit hopeless. It was definitely not a PB kind of day so I decided I just wanted to finish (preferably under 2:30). With my second goal in mind, I kept going as much as I could. I noticed people weaving to get from shade to shade but I thought, what’s the point? You’re just adding meters for a measly bit of shade. At the Powerbar station, I bit the bullet and tried one of their gels. I grabbed one without looking at the flavour and thank goodness it was good… I think it was cookie dough or something similar. Next on the route was Kitsilano… a route I’ve been running recently so I was familiar with the terrain. I still had a lot of walking and drinking breaks though. I’ve had to pour water on my head, back and shoulders at aid stations just so I could keep cool. It was survival mode and I felt bad for the many people I saw on the side of the road being tended to by paramedics. I hope they’ve recovered. I knew that the Burrard Bridge was coming up and I had to save whatever energy I had left for that. I’m glad I did because I motored up there and passed a few people. I couldn’t do it the whole way though, I was so drained. So I decided to take a photo of the bridge. So cool eh?
At this point it was 3 km to go so I was feeling pumped. It was also mostly downhill again so I did the best I could. I looked at my watch and I still had a chance to get within my B goal (under 2:30). Not gonna lie, I still had to stop at certain parts but I definitely felt a rush of adrenaline because I knew the end was near. There were also more people cheering at this point, which helped motivate me. On Pacific/Beach we shared the road with cars and despite the traffic cones, I noticed people were still crossing the line. HELLO!? Are you guys crazy? Safety first people and stay within your side of the road! I saw Cuski at around 500 meters before the finish line and I struck a pose. This is probably one of my favourite running photos 🙂 Notice how I look like I’m having more fun than the guys running the 5k? 😛
Despite the scorching heat I managed to finish under 2:30 and I’m so ok with that! Chip time 2:25:37!!! @runcrswest #scotiahalf #runscotia A photo posted by Jeannine Avelino (@vcbride) on
I crossed the finish line in 2:25:37. I will take that! With all the heat, walking breaks and 1 bathroom break, I was only 7 minutes slower than my BMO Half Marathon performance. I guess I won’t beat myself up for this… the course already did 😛 Some of my CTV colleagues did the race as well and I was able to catch up with a couple of them, Scott and Allison.
Check out my race on Strava here.
Expo & Swag: I picked up my package on Friday at around 1pm at Canada Place. Pretty smooth sailing, got my bib right away, the shirt was the correct size and I like the shirt. See the photo above of my colleagues modelling the guys’ and girls’ versions. Oasis also gave a free juice box to each runner. It was a very small expo. Asics was a main sponsor and gave out $20 off coupons for purchases over $100 (too bad I had already bought shoes). I also was able to buy a new hydration belt by Nathan. I haven’t tried it yet… decided not to try it for the half but it felt nice when I wore it. I felt bad for the speakers… there was hardly anyone in the audience so they were basically talking to no one, but what do you expect on a work day? Not really much here… didn’t wow me.
Course: The course was as described… fast with lots of downhills but Marine Drive was quite boring and as I said earlier, I didn’t like turning around. I would probably rather loop Lost Lagoon to get to the finish or something else. The hills were nicely spaced out and without the heat, PB’s will definitely be attainable with this race. The course was well marked per km (not miles) and there were course marshals directing people where to go. It was impossible to get lost.
Aid Stations: They had an aid station every 2 km it seemed, which was GREAT! Lots of water, helpful volunteers (thank you for filling up my water bottle several times), and lots of gels. No complaints here.
Medal: It’s very pretty! I love how the downtown skyline is carved onto it. It’s smaller than the BMO medal but does size really matter? 😛
Would I do this again?
Yes yes yes!! I need to do better… I know I can! The question is… will I be doing the BMO and the Scotiabank back to back again? Time will tell! What’s next for me? The Four Winds Brewing Beer to Bacon charity run on July 18th! Will I see you there?!
Photos by Jeannine Avelino and Carmen Marin