June 21-23, 2013
Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon article
Canadian Running Magazine interview
|Saucony and Eload runners, Lanni and Krista, early in the race. CRS photo.|
Traveling to Vancouver to race has been one of my favourite weekends in the past few years. I love the sights in B.C., the delicious food, racing to win (BMO 2010 and SVHM 2012 & 2013), and precious time with my friend, Stacey. When everything comes together as you hope and dream, you can't help but get goosebumps. I work hard and should not be ashamed to admit the dedication it takes to succeed.
Before leaving, I support my husband by having the fridge full, the laundry done and the house in decent shape. Lately he's been working long hours so I wanted to make it as easy as possible. I'm often asked in interviews how I juggle it all and never want to take my amazing husband for granted. When he can, he's home for me to go for treatment during the week, does the morning shift on the weekend when I'm out running, and is a great leader with love and truth in our home.
Eccl. 4:9-10 Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.
Traveling Europe together the day after my World Champs Marathon will simply be amazing for us, on our 12th anniversary, Aug 11!
When I am away racing, often people ask if I miss my kids.This may sound terrible but nope, I do not. I enjoy Facetime and watching videos but I work hard to deserve a break and savor every moment from resting to racing. From lounging in my pyjamas in bed with a coffee after an easy morning run to multiple Whole Foods trips where I can wander aimlessly and pick great food from my candy store to focusing on what it takes to race, it's an incredible experience for me.
After we arrived Friday, Natasha Y and I decided to take the day off. Coach Rick had said we could do an easy 5 km if we wanted but I knew I would benefit mentally by logging zero km for the day. It was my first day off in three weeks. Simply changing my clothes for 20 min wasn't worth it. And Natasha felt the same way. So we enjoyed a walk down Robson St. to one of our many trips to Whole Foods. This store is amazing. Taking my time to enjoy the smells and sights of healthy and tasty food is so enjoyable for me. No kids tugging my arm or hockey practices to rush to. Of course I got the maple salmon that I craved since falling in love with it at this time last year. Natasha and I ate outside and enjoyed getting to know each other.
Later we went to a lovely reception back at the hotel, organized by Clif, Alan and the Canada Running Series crew. It was nice to meet the people who put such an amazing event together. From road logistics and construction to fund-raising efforts, I am always in awe in how they do it!
Saturday afternoon Alan had a casual q&a "Meet the Elite"event. It was a beautiful walk to the convention centre by the water and nice time with the other runners. Later I got together with Stacey and Bella and we picked up where we left off from last year. It's great having a friend who enjoys just sitting outside on a park bench to visit just as much as you. Simple and savored.
Around 5pm Natasha Y. and I went for dinner. With an early 7:30 am race start, we wanted an early dinner. We both enjoyed a brown rice noodle, tomato sauce and chicken dinner. She then met up with a friend and I slowly made my way down to the water. I got a tea and texted with Jonathan then enjoyed the beautiful scenery before heading back to the hotel to set out my racing gear.
Saturday morning we were up before our 5 am alarm and had both slept well, which was a good sign. I never worry about sleep the night before a race but when it's great, it's a bonus! Adjusting to time changes has always been easy for me. So I had a coffee and bun with honey and started sipping my eload. We got to the start, did a 20 min warm up and were on the line ready to race in ideal weather conditions.
Going into the race, Lanni and I knew it would be a good go between the two of us. We respect each other and are friends but are ready to race when it's time. My goal was to go under 72 minutes. We started out fast, quite fast. In fact our 10 km split was 33:00, only 8 and 14 seconds slower than our recent Ottawa 10 km PB's!! I wanted the win as defending champ but knew Lanni's talent would be difficult to beat. Later she said that just after the 10 km mark, I went up a hill a bit ahead of her and her legs just didn't make the move. I knew it wouldn't be a negative split with such a fast first half, rather a win for whoever could keep it together. Lanni played it safe by holding back a bit at 10 km and I took a gamble. Not once did I get into a comfortable rhythm; my heart-rate was elevated the entire 21.1 km but I was still in control...until the Burrard Bridge where "the race starts". Yikes, could I feel it then! But I kept on and was relieved to find myself a bit more comfortable once it was over, with only 2 km to go. Looking at my watch I then knew I would likely go under 71 min! I vaguely remembered looking at the course record before the race. I ended up finishing with a 70:52, 6 seconds shy of the record. I was extremely thrilled with the race because of my time and tactical decision to move ahead mid-way. The course is point to point with several gradual up and down hills so I don't know what my true half marathon PB is. Regardless, I think it's safe to say that I would have gone under 72 on a certified course. Doesn't really matter to me. Lanni finished second, only about 30 seconds behind me. Being such close competitors keeps us honest, hungry, and disciplined to go back to another 7 weeks of training.
Immediately upon finishing I again looked for Stacey. Hugs and tears in our celebration was so emotional. After a 20 min cool down, a great post race meal of a breakfast wrap and yogurt parfait while chatting with Catrin Jones and Lisa Harvey, we had the awards. As female winner, I was so pleased to be able to pick the Canadian Cancer Society as my charity for a potential matching donation.
I quickly grabbed my bag then headed out with Stacey and Bella to...Whole Foods. Again, the simple enjoyment of wonderful food (I got a "Nutter" smoothie) and visiting with Stacey was all I needed and wanted. I savored it. We then parted with hugs and tears so I could shower, pack and catch my flight home.
I messaged Coach Rick that I felt great (other than a few sore toenails) and confirmed our training plan for the next 2 weeks. Landing at midnight wasn't so bad because Jonathan was there to pick me up and take me home. I had a very short sleep so that I could be up at 5am to get in an easy 20 km and 1/2 hr in the pool before Jonathan had to go to work. The boys have swimming lessons in the afternoon so I hope to get a decent nap when Leah naps.
The next five weeks will be the heaviest training weeks of my life - and I welcome it! Like the food and friendship in Vancouver after the win and PB, it will be even better in Europe, Aug 11!
Eccl. 2:24-26 So I decided there is nothing better than to enjoy food and drink and to find satisfaction in work. Then I realized that these pleasures are from the hand of God. 25 For who can eat or enjoy anything apart from him? 26 God gives wisdom, knowledge, and joy to those who please him. But if a sinner becomes wealthy, God takes the wealth away and gives it to those who please him. This, too, is meaningless—like chasing the wind.
|We all post pictures of the things we love. Maple salmon tops the list of food faves!|
|2010 Winter Games Olympic Cauldron.|
|As Darren called it, "Breakfast of Champions".|
|Love these girls - Stacey and Bella.|
|Enjoying a tea in BC while texting Jonathan who was enjoying a tea in Ontario, just after getting the kids to bed. Kinda like a long-distance date? Yeah, we need our trip to Europe!|
|Natasha and I celebrating after our PB's, each one minute faster than expected!|
|Male winner and new daddy, Kip Kongogo.|
|This made the flight home a great end to the weekend.|
Great news with Mary Davies winning a half marathon in Duluth in 1:11:07!