Sunday, May 16, 2010

BMO Vancouver half marathon recap

On Sunday 2nd May I completed my first half marathon, it was a great experience and I was really proud of what I achieved and what my body did for me. 

The day before the race I was at a wedding and was quite worried about not being able to eat properly, drink enough, get to bed early enough etc etc. On the contrary though I ended up chugging ton of water which I think really aided me during the race, fully hydrated it the way you want to be! I ended up going to bed at about midnight and had to wake up at 5.15am, I set my alarm to Ke$ha 'Tik Tok' and woke up feelin' like P-Diddy and raring to go!

After brushing my teeth with a bottle of Jack I pulled on my running gear (carefully laid out the day before) and had a bit of breakfast. I was planning on having the breakfast of champions, oatmeal, but I was feeling kind of nauseous and nervous and didn't think it would be the best idea! A piece of toast and banana worked out pretty well. 

I went and met my parents (my Dad ran the race too and my Mum was supporter extraordinaire) and headed to the start! Dad and me managed to get our way pretty close to the front of the start line so we could get over the line almost as soon as the gun went off and just as the gun went off the rain began, Dad sped off leaving me in his dust and away we went!

First thoughts going through my mind were, "Here we go, I hope this isn't too awful, my pants are falling down" Yes I made the rookie mistake of purchasing a new outfit (gotta look the part right!?) from lululemon but didn't test it out beforehand. The pants just kept falling down and I couldn't get them tight enough and it was extremely irritating. Eventually after fiddling around with them for a while I got them tight and could concentrate on running this race! 

First 3 or 4 miles felt hard, it was raining, progressively harder, but then I saw my mum in Gastown, waving and cheering me on and I had a big smile on my face, I felt proud as I ran past her! 

After this point I started to get into a nice groove, I was feeling good, had some energy gel and I was starting to think "I've got this" - the power of positive thinking seriously does wonders! I was shocked at how good I was feeling and how few times I had to walk. 

As we entered Stanley Park I knew there was a hill coming up to take us up to Prospect Point. My game plan was to walk up the hill (I had not done any hill training - something I definitely need to work on for a marathon in San Francisco!!) I got to the top of the hill in decent time (helped by the fact we had done a test run up the hill a couple of days before so we knew what we were in for) and then there was the fun bit of running down the hill! Wheeeeee! 

Once we were out of Stanley Park I knew we were on the home stretch and I was getting to the point where I was running further than I had ever run before. This is where it started to get difficult, out of the shelter of the park it was cold and the rain was really coming down. I turned my music up and dug my heels in, I knew soon enough I could be in a hot bath with a medal round my neck.

Finally the finish line came to me - my time was 2 hours 20 minutes. I grabbed my medal, high fived someone, got a plastic blanket and my photo taken! 

I hobbled home with my legs screaming at me and wondering why I put them through such a distance and jumped in a nice hot bath. It felt good, and what made it even better was munching on my favourite Marks and Spencer's crisps my mum had brought from home for me while in there. BLISS! :D 

My legs were achy for about 3 days and my knees were really sore right after the race. I could have stretched better to combat this, but I kind of felt like the achy legs were almost like a badge of honour, ever heard the phrase "Pain is weakness leaving the body" 

There are a few things I think worked for me for this 1/2 marathon:
  • Properly hydrating the day before the race
  • Being in a good mental place, positive thoughts really pushed me through
  • Taking on energy gels during the race. Risky move for me as I had not had energy gels before but they agreed with me and I felt like they gave me that extra push when I needed it
I felt really proud my myself and completely surprised myself in my ability, it gave me the confidence that with the right training a marathon is a fully achievable goal. 

When is the next race!? :D


  1. Excellent. Well done. What are these energy gel things? (Emily T)

  2. Hi Emily, thanks for the comment :) The energy gels were Powerbar gels that you take with water and are basically a blast of electrolytes, carbs, sodium and sugar to help increase endurance. I had the strawberry/ banana flavour which tasted pretty good!

  3. Loved reading this Sarah! I would have to agree with chugging water the day before, I know the Sun Run was only 10k but I was still nervous so I drank so much water the day before and that was my best run yet. Can't wait for the next one!