May 05, 2015

Vancouver Marathon: Race Recap - Week 16/16

The 2015 Vancouver Marathon

To say that the marathon went well is an understatement. I am now head over heels over the moon in love with the marathon. What once seemed torturous, and scary, now is amazing and exciting, exhilarating and a challenge to be conquered not shied away from, and I can honestly say I can not wait to run another.

Okay, let's get the exciting business out of the way.
HUGE, huge! New marathon PR of 3:53:47.
A new best of 31 minutes. Along the way I also snagged a new half marathon PR of 1:47:36.

My race plan was simple. I had a really great training cycle, I felt strong so my plan was just to run as fast as I could for as long as I could. Which I knew could end up badly and I could crash and burn, but I really, really just wanted to see what I could do.

You could not have asked for better weather, clear blue sky, no clouds, and warm enough for shorts and a tank. It was a but of a walk to get to the start line from the train, but oh so worth it for the lovely point to point course.

I was in the red corral, which was the third one back, and as we were lining up I noticed that the 4:00 bunny was in the corral ahead of me. So I knew that if I wanted this I was on my own.

The gun went off, my corral started about 8 minutes back, so got off to a quick start. I easily fell into a 5:00/km pace. There was a lot of downhill, and running at sea level is glorious. The first 9km clicked by so fast. 5:03, 5:04, 5:12, 5:03, 4:58, 4:56, 4:42, 4:59, 5:14.

At 9km you hit the Camosun hill that is 1km long. Coming from the land of no hills, it was pretty steep. I was grateful for a water stop halfway to the top. I just put my head down and counted down the blocks to the top, 5:51/km.

Shortly after 10km I passed the 4 hour pace bunny from the corral ahead, so even without looking at my watch as long as I stayed ahead of the pace group I would be more than golden.

At this point I tried to just keep pushing the pace, and I would reevaluate at the half way mark how I felt. 5:16, 5:08, 5:22, 5:09, 5:10, 5:04, 5:17, 5:20, 5:15, and then I realized I could get a pretty sweet half PR if I picked up the pace so km 20 was 4:40, and 21km was 4:24. As I said before I hit half in 1:47 for an 8 minute PR.

I was still feeling pretty good, and I now had a 13 minute cushion to get sub 4. It was knowing this fact that derailed my race a little bit. I knew there was no way I would run slower than a 2:13 half, I was feeling good. So I was less mentally strong and gave myself permission to take it easier than I think I could have pushed myself.  5:16, 5:32, 6:43, 5:42, 5:48, 5:40, 5:40, 6:18, 5:43.

At 30km you cross the Burrard bridge. I was all smiles coming across that thing I was feeling great, and the long downhill towards the seawall was so great. 5:19, 5:50.

At 32km you head onto the seawall for the last 10km I quickly stopped to text my friends who were also running, and my husband that I had 10km left, and had just passed 2:52. I had over an hour to run 10km. I have not run 10km in over an hour in years so I knew I was good. I was giddy with excitement, but kinda also gave myself permission to take it easier as well. 6:29, 5:37, 5:43, 6:23, 6:41, 5:57, 6:02, 5:41, 5:54.

With 1km left I could not stop smiling, I picked up my pace and pushed it in with everything I had left. 4:02, last 0.4km @ 5:01/km.

For a finish of 3:53:47!

I did it! I finished sub 4 with plenty of room to spare.

This race has given me so much confidence. I know I could have easily run sub 3:50, or even 3:40, if I wanted to that day, I know that my legs had it in them if I wanted them to be up to the challenge. And in the future I can't wait to see what I could do. Regardless of not pushing myself as hard as I could have, I am so so happy with how this race went, and was so glad to feel that race magic feeling.

Funny story, my husband was waiting at the finish line, and knowing I was so close he was choked to see the clock click past 4 hours before he could see me, little did he know I started 8 minuted after the clock, so I knew I got sub 4 and he didn't. He thought I was smiling to try and make myself feel better, not because I had just blew all my expectations for myself out of the water.

Clearly I had an amazing race, and if I could I would run this race every single year, hands down.

I finished blister free and brimming with joy. I can't wait to see what I can accomplish next. I am now only 1 minute away from taking a full hour off of my half marathon time, and I think I would like to see a full hour come off of my marathon time too. I know I can run a 3:24 in the future, and look forward to the training that will get me there!

Also I am so proud of my friends Sarah and Graeme who both completed their very first marathons in Vancouver! So, so proud!

April 28, 2015

Marathon Training: Vancouver Marathon Week 15/16

This is the final countdown!

Last check-in before the race! Next post will be a race report! So crazy.

Anyway, taper-time was in full effect this week I ran a total of 45km last week, so pretty much a little more than half of what I am used to. Feels like I have so much free time. So how do I fill this free time you ask? well I check the 14 day forecast at least 5 times a day, I update my 'to pack' list with just about every running thing I own... just in case, and I analyze every run I have done in between January & now.

I am ready to run. It might rain, it might be hot. But I am going to give it my all, and that is all I really know.

On a related note, I am so glad my race is in Vancouver, my run on Saturday... on a treadmill, why you ask? because it snowed a foot on the weekend. Not cool mother nature.

Oh and because I was on the treadmill... I was too close to the weights. I could not help myself... I just lifted a few I promise. Okay a lot. And yes, my muscles are very sore. Would not recommend 6 days before a marathon.

I have some goals, sub-4 obviously, but most important to me, is to cross the finish line, and not declare that I hate running. I really want to enjoy the race. That is my A goal.

On that note... Let's do this!!! Seeya on the other side.

April 20, 2015

Marathon Training: Vancouver Marathon Week 14/16

Week 14/16

Only two weeks left to go! I am getting so excited/nervous, but mostly excited, because I am feeling really good. I am pretty sure I am in the best shape of my life right now. I can run faster/stronger than I ever thought possible, and my mind is focused on running a good race in 2 weeks!

Monday & Tuesday

After my 22 mile run the day before I was very grateful to see 2 rest days in a row on the schedule. I really needed it! I stretched foam rolled, and did some karate to keep things loose.


I met my friend to do some 800m repeats. 1 mile warm up followed by 800m fast with 400m rec x11. The 800s paces went as follows: 4:29/km, 4:34/km, 4:36/km, 4:27/km, 4:22/km, 4:33/km, 4:46/km, 4:47/km, 4:41/km, 4:41/km, 4:39/km. Then 1 mile cool down. It felt really good. Looks really pretty too!


8 miles easy. Wind was pretty strong so I was pretty surprised to see that my "easy pace" was actually 5:18/km. I am really hoping that these 40-50km/h winds don't follow me to Vancouver.


5 miles easy. My legs were tired. but I got it done. 5 miles sounds so short to me now that I knew I could easily get it done. 5:16/km.


Met a friend for what was suppose to be a short easy 4 miler, but let me tell you add strong wind and pushing a stroller into the mix and you get one tough workout. At times I really was not entirely convinced I was moving forward. 5:44/km


I had 16 miles to do, which somehow sounds really reasonable now. My friend had her first 20 miler ever to do. Wanting to support her but also wanting to get some faster miles in my plan was to run 2km with her, run 1km fast, and then double back to meet her again. This worked out really well I think! I was able to be with her for a good portion of her run, (particularly when she ran a 7 minute half-marathon PR) but still get in 10 faster kilometres. I ended up feeling really good, and finished with 18 miles. Overall pace 6:16/km, faster km between 4:33/km & 4:52/km. It showed me that I can easily throw in some faster paced kilometres, even when I have run a considerable distance already.

Total: 73km

I can't believe I only have 1 long run left (12 miles - easy peasy) and then the next weekend is the marathon. :)

Also a year ago this past Saturday I ran my first marathon. It is crazy how much has changed in a year. I went from doing something that I thought was impossible, so hard and challenging, to this year being able to easily do my long runs feeling strong. I am excited by how far I have come in my running, and am very excited to see where it will take me in the future.