On Sunday May 3rd, I completed my fifth BMO Vancouver half-marathon, enjoying a steady 8:19/mile pace, facial exfoliation, and unfulfilled sugar vomit along the streets of Vancity. The husband also scheduled a visit from Toronto to support me, and I showed my appreciation by photo-bombing a few of his #selfies.
Don’t Screw It Up
The BMO offers many things to love: its fast route connects Queen Elizabeth Park, Cambie Village and Cambie Street Bridge, Chinatown, Yaletown, and Stanley Park before ending in Coal Harbor; the happy off-leash dog bouncing among frightened runners; minor hills arriving at just the right time; cheering fans holding SEO signs and eager volunteers holding tiny cups; its Smurf-blue gloves. The downhill on Cambie lets you savor eventually passing younger runners who rocket too quickly from the BMO start.
When the sun is warm, sky blue, and wind soft like last weekend, the BMO Vancouver half teases, “Hey, I am setting up a perfect race for you. Don’t screw it up with your cockiness.”
Training By the Gut
This was the first time in years that I had trained myself for a half-marathon, and I was a bit apprehensive. For months, my gut and legs informed the weekly session and volume plan. I developed a pattern of tempo runs on Tuesday and Thursday (their total mileage equaled the upcoming long run), a long slow run on Saturday that increased by 1.5 miles each weekend, and then a 30 to 40 minute run on Sunday to stretch out my legs. My longest run was 12.5 miles two weekends prior, and on race morning, I was uncertain if I could complete the race without walking.
But I did not walk. In fact, I had an awesome run in the sun.
I had negative splits (except mile 10 – Curse you, Stanley Park!) My final time was 1:49, about seven minutes faster than 2014.
I paid attention to my body temperature level, keeping cool by running in the shade, pouring water on my head, and sucking from crinkled cups at the aids stations. I stayed inside HR Zone 3.
Because several layers of dried salt accumulated on my body, splashing water on my crusty face and then scrubbing with my wrist band let me exfoliate dead skin cells off my face. It was a nice, unexpected add-on to the registration fee.
Nutrition worked out fine with a tasty tangerine gel about 20 minutes prior to run, thicker chocolate gels 35 and 65 minutes in the race, and another tangerine sucked down the final 15 minutes for comfort.
I risked a sugar vomit with that final gel, and that’s ok, because sometimes an efficient and fast purge is all you need to move faster.
I crossed the finished line with a sprint, ignoring my aching feet and chopping arms. I think that underscores I was faster than, but not as strong as, 2014.
Add this race to your season if you are looking for a fast course through a beautiful city.
I’m already excited to run and exfoliate next year.
What Changes Will I Make For 2016?
- Drink pickle juice to increase sodium and potassium in-take.
- Build core and glute strength.
- Own my corral placement.
- Have a faster and stronger run.