The Vancouver Scotiabank 1/2 holds a special place in my heart. 3 years ago (2010) I decided on a whim that I was going to run the Scotia 1/2 only the day before race day. I’d never run a half marathon before but something inside me thought it would be a”fun” challenge, and I went into the run literally not knowing what to expect. I was told that under 2 hours is a great target time so when I finished the run in 1:46 and was completely thrilled and felt great after! I then refocused on playing out my final two years of varsity soccer at UBC. In 2011 I missed the race due to travelling and since I was still focusing on soccer didn’t think about entering or training for any other distance runs. I didn’t think much about running until my soccer career came to an end in the winter of 2012….
After my soccer season at UBC ended on a low note (disappointingly and unexpectedly not qualifying for the National Championships) I found freedom in running. Running was never something I previously enjoyed doing. It was always a chore, a means to an end in order to stay in soccer shape. But now that soccer was done I found that I actually liked running without pressures of having to meet a certain pace, or time or race against other people. I loved that I could go out at any time of day, go wherever I wanted and go for as long or far as my legs obliged. It was a release and an escape from all the pressures that are attached with university life. Being able to tune into my body, headphones and tune down the rest of life was something I cherished.
A beautiful sunny saturday I headed out for a run from UBC down to Kits beach to meet my boyfriend for lunch. This was always my favorite route… it’s a scenic route down along the NW Marine Drive hill, past the dog beach, along the water and into Kits. On a sunny day it’s filled with cyclists, dog walkers, families, volleyball players, power walkers and runners all getting a piece of the action that this beautiful city has to offer. This day was like any other and I was cruising along down the hill, then felt especially enthusiastic and ran up and down the hill two more times (I must have had my frosted flakes in an extra big bowl that morning). It wasn’t until further down the trail alongside Spanish Banks that my day took a critical turn. A women came bolting out of the bushes across the street and jumped right in front of me looking hysterical and screaming. I pulled out my headphones because I recognized this women from earlier in my run. I had passed her 15 or 20 minutes previously as I was running down the big hill and she was walking up the hill. I remembered her because she was walking with her cute little Chihuahua who was prancing up the hill like it was the easiest thing in the world and I had to run on the road to pass the two of them. When she was screaming at me along the water I initially was worried she had lost her dog (since now there was no dog with her) and was prepared to run and help her find it. It took me a minute or two to realize that she was telling me that she was “going to kill me and stab me with a knife if she ever saw me along this road again.” I was extremely confused and taken aback, she was claiming that I kicked her dog…. now I’ve played a sport the involves kicking and foot spatial awareness at a competitive level my entire life, I know when I kick things and I know when I don’t and I definitely did not kick her dog, not to mention that kicking a dog is one of the cruelest things I could ever think of someone doing and would never ever kick a dog. I started crying when I realized what she was accusing me of and was very scared as the woman was getting more hostile and aggressive by the second. Passersby saw what was going on and stepped into help, the presence of these amazingly helpful people scared this crazy woman to go running into the nearby forest trails. The passerby’s had heard and witnessed the entire scene and immediately called the police for me. I was visibly shaken up form the incident but once the police arrived things went from bad to worse. Apparently a human body was found dead at exactly the same time no more than 100 yards from where this event took place. The events were unrelated but the initial undercover cops that came to meet me thought I was the person calling in the human remains that were found. After a confusing conversation it was sorted out that these were two different circumstances that happened to occur at the same place and suddenly I went from being afraid of the death threats that I just received to be so thankful I wasn’t the human body that was found near by.
This experience hit me hard and I was afraid to run by myself for a period of time. This random act of abuse by the crazy lady was taking away my freedom and serenity that I had found in running. This fact ultimately pissed me off enough that one day I stopped being afraid to run my favorite route and decided to take back my power and start running the hill and beach from UBC to Kits again. This route has turned into one of my favorite runs and reminds me that I am strong and running is something I do for myself, it’s something that no one can take away for me. Every time I run that route I say a little “F-You” to the crazy lady that almost took the joy of running away from me.
Coincidently the Vancouver Scotiabank 1/2 Marathon runs exactly along the route I was attacked. I love running this race as a reminder that I can overcome obstacles put in my path and that I need to life my life to my favorite saying “Courage Without Fear.”
Another one is officially done, dusted and in the books. Van Scotiabank 1/2 2013 was a personally challenging day for me and I am happy to say I crossed the finish line on my own two feet, beating my personal best but unfortunately not reaching my target time for the race.
Looking around the starting carrell I realized these runners meant business…. two piece suits, no music, and an air of confidence that was undeniable. The race gun went and we were off and flying, these guys were literally FLYING down the road and the remarkable part was they made it look so easy! I struggled through some calf cramping and was able to hold a solid place at the 10K mark 41 mins… wait what? 41 minutes! I definitely was surprised not only at my faster then expected pace but also about how I was feeling, I felt great! Well great may be an exaggeration but I felt like I could hold pace which meant I would definitely finish the race under my goal time of 1:30… 8 minutes faster than I ran in 2012. All was going well and I was coming into stride until the 13 K marker. The guy in front of me took a stumble and as I side stepped around him I pulled my right quad. It immediately was painful, painful enough I seriously considered pulling out of the race, but knowing I had killed myself through the first 13 K and I was over half way done on pace to meet my goal time I just couldn’t do it. I had to keep going, in my mind I had no choice but to persevere even if I had to walk the finish I was able to hold pace to see my parents at the 15 K marker an hour into the race but with just over 6 K to go I couldn’t hold pace. Every step I took was excruciating and causing me to tense up my back and shoulders to try and take weight off that leg. With no kick at the end I crossed the finish line and to my shock still was able to finish in 1:33.48. As much as it just kills me that I was so close to my goal and didn’t succeed I’m still so happy to have been able to finish the race and beat my time from last year and still came 5th in my age category.
Thank you to my family, boyfriend and friends for all of the support I got both going into an during this race. Knowing I had so many people behind me is what made it possible for me to mentally put the pain aside and push through. That support and knowing I had an awesome waffles breakfast awaiting me after I crossed the finish line!
Ps- the pictures below are slightly graphic… be forewarned! Post race feet… so pretty and feminine, poor Elliott!
In just 12 hours I’ll be half way through the Scotiabank Vancouver 1/2 Marathon 2013 and if all goes to planned I should be coming up to kits ready to tear up the burrard street bridge and cruise into the home stretch. Cruise and stumble may be one in the same by this point in the race though.
My playlist is set and after several weeks of playing around to find what songs will do the trick to keep me moving and motivated this year there is a nice little selection of everything. And I mean everything… we kick the musical features off with a handful of Disney classics like the Lion Kings- I just can’t wait to be King, before switching into some Lupe Fiasco, Eminem and of course Michael Buble and Luke Bryan. All I can say is the people running near me in the morning will be continuously surprised at the lovely selection of tunes coming out of my ear buds.
I “Ran the Spit” yesterday in Campbell river as a kick off event for National Aboriginal Day, but more on that and the RUSH-2013 results another time as they both deserve more than a passing mention in this post. As of yesterday I was happy with my pace-check at the 5K (which I ended up running almost 3 times at various speeds), so all looks good for tomorrow… except I completely lost a toenail tonight.. nail bed and all.. gotta love the joys of running! I thought the toenail suicide would end after I stopped playing soccer but apparently not!
I’m excited to be able to write an update at this time tomorrow night with hopefully positive results!
Apparently it’s time to get serious, and get seriously training! I got a little surprise last week when I received notification that I had been accepted into the Scotiabank Vancouver half marathon Elite Category.
Needless to say I am now so nervous! Having never registereed for a half marathon more than a week ahead of the event before this year I’m hoping having more time to create a training strategy will help me not embarrass myself amongst the group of runners I’ve been placed in. I applied for the elite category after talking with a coworker who handles the elite category in the local marathon. Once I found out that I technically could qualify for the Elite category in this years Scotiabank 1/2 based on my results in the race last year and my times I figured I may as well apply… the big perk was free entry. After going out on a limb and applying, I wasn’t expecting to actually get accepted . When I found out I actually got accepted my initial (and current) thought is ..”Oh My God What Have I Done?!” I’m getting over my initial shock and logging some longer runs 17-20K at least 1-2 times per week mixed in with cross training in the gym and getting my fast twitch fibers ready by doing power and speed work to help my kick on hills. I used to just do the half marathon for personal satisfaction, it was never a “race” for me… until last year’s race package pick up. The worker handed me the bib and said “good luck in the race.” Suddenly my competitive side kicked in and the fun little personal challenge Run Turned Into A Race. I knew I was only racing myself and trying to beat my best time and that’s the mantra I am carrying with me this year… Yes it’s a race but it’s only a race against myself. Beating my personal best is winning to me.
Scotiabank Vancouver 1/2 Marathon: 13.1 Miles June 23rd
CIBC Run for the Cure: 5K Oct. 6th
Night Race Vancouver: 10K Nov. 2nd
Disneyland Tinkerbell 1/2 Marathon: 13.1 Miles Jan 20th in LA
Still need to fill a few run spots! Going on the hunt for some fun runs the quirkier the better! The list is always evolving as I didn’t get to participate in a few of the runs that I had planned on doing because it was more important for my work team and I to work throughout the course manning registration, timing, water stations and giving runners encouragement!