Although we had our list of excuses ready to go, in the end, we did not need any of them. We completed the Vancouver half marathon in just less than two hours.
It was a lovely run, it started sunny and then clouded over. After ‘racing’ in Europe for these past years, I appreciate North America’s early start times (7.30 vs. 10.30), the organization of the races here and the fans.
It was the first long race Ben and I have run together, so it was extra special. We made a pact to run together and even after I hit the wall at 10 miles, he did not leave me. I insisted he go on- a true running martyr!
Which race should we do next?
Since I have been hyping this weekend’s half-marathon more than I should have, I owe you an equally engrossing recap, however I fear the video I posted just the other day sums up the experience in a wind-tousled nutshell.
Picture it- Sunday, April 14, light breaks through a cloudy sky, Reia and Buffy ask themselves- how can rain be vertical and horizontal at the same time? It is impossible, but in Edinburgh our fearless twosome soon realize it is happening before their sleep-encrusted eyes.
Out the door they head, Reia dressed like a true runner in her Falke gear and Buffy like a adopt-a-highway trash collector- hi-vis yellow. Followed closely by Ben- support crew and official photographer of our backs.
Exhausted by the time they arrive at the starting line- curses you hills, Reia and Buffy attempt to stay warm by jogging in place, hopping from one ice-blocked foot to the other and giggling about the male racers relieving themselves in the Queen’s well-trimmed hedges.
Finding themselves in corral 8 meant they had to wait an additional 10 minutes before they would even step foot over the starting line. When it happened, they were good to go- passing people at a steady rate. They even saw the sun for a minute or two.
They pass the first band- trying to play and sing through the wind, they pass the second- Reia continues to give Buffy updates on their pace. Buffy gets annoyed and tells Reia she doesn’t care. Reia keeps checking her watch- they are seaside now along the promenade in Portobello (Buffy has been here before). Support Crew member Ben is supposed to me them there- he is no where to be found.
Out of Porty, they head to Duddingston and tackle the first hill. They crush it. Nice work Reia and Buffy. Due to prior injuries, the runners pull over to stretch and respond to a text from Support Crew Ben.
Hill Two- again taken down by the girls. Nearing a flat area they speed up- Reia still checks her watch. Buffy gets excited, it’s Ben, he is cute and wet. He takes photos- later Buffy realizes they are unflattering and she questions her running style. They don’t stop, they keep putting one foot in front of another.
Another hill, this time, the hill wins. Walking a bit helps the runners relax. Once at the top it is smooth sailing down through Holyrood Park. Reia checks her watch- she says ‘Oh we only have 5 miles to go’, Buffy says ‘huh?’. Reia does not realize they had just passed the 10 km marker and for a brief moment Reia thinks a half marathon is only 12 miles. In their cupcake-fill dreams. A major mental bummer for these two.
Up though Grassmarket, the rain has stopped and they see a rainbow, one of the benefits of living in a rainy land. There is another hill, this one is a slight incline which Reia and Buffy think they can take, they were wrong, because then they turn the corner and bam another short-steep number that makes Reia’s tendonitis go crazy and Buffy’s quads and hammies squeal.
By the Meadows now, they are excited for two reasons- only three miles to go and Support Crew Ben is going to be there with friends Sarah and James. Buffy’s phone rings, Buffy answers, it is Ben tell her where to look. Posters are held up, more pictures of backs are taken as Reia and Buffy wave and run by.
The pace has slowed- Reia knows this because she is still looking at her watch. They are conscious they need to stick with the blue pacer balloon to beat Buffy’s mother-in-law’s time from her last half marathon which she did on a flat course in perfect windless and rainless conditions. Maintaining her athletic superiority over her 61 year old mother-in-law is important to Buffy, less so to Reia.
They reach the top of The Mound- the shouts of you are almost done do not help- especially when shouted by people with cigarettes in their mouths. Down The Mound- ouch-down hills hurt by this point. Through the National Galleries- Reia is getting the best, most-painful tour of the Scottish Capital.
Through the Princes Street Gradens and past the Scott Monument, this halfie is winding down. Up to the Royal Mile, the home stretch, man, would they ever arrive at the end, Buffy was trying to motivate Reia using old sayings from her days as a cross-country runner- Pain is Temporary, Pride is Forver, Running is 90% Mental and 10% Physical and Pain is Weakness Leaving the Body- sayings even 16-year-old Buffy never beleived- sorry Mrs Gavic (Buffy’s cross country and track coach).
Support Crew Ben had made it to the finish line to get additional photos, hand in hand our heroines crossed the finish line. They collected their medals and feasted on bananas at the post-race banquet. Too cold to concentrate, they left before they found where they could collect their finisher technical t-shirts.
The official time posted after showers, scrambled eggs and naps was 2.17.16.
High-five Reia and Buffy!
Over the next few months Ben and I are registered to compete in several sports events.
APRIL 14: I have finished the Rock n Roll half marathon this weekend.
APRIL 20: Ben is racing in the Tour de Lauder, his first ever cycling race- he has been training up a storm. I will be there and hopefully get to see him cross the finish line. I am going as a volunteer for Chest Heart Stroke Scotland.
JUNE 23: When in Vancouver for work- run the Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon- sure why not- a great way to explore the coast.
AUGUST 10-11: A sporty-surprise for Ben’s birthday- so excited for this one- the one clue- can you pop?
Check back for the mile-by-mile recap of all this sporty fun.
LISTEN UP… This weekend I, along with my pal Reia, will be running the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon in Edinburgh. This is our second halfie together, you might recall the time we ran the one in Paris last year. I will only make two pre-excuses- Reia has tendonitis and I have not been running as much I should have been since I proudly ran my 80 miles during my trip.
Our goal- best my mother-in-law’s last half marathon time of 2:18. Can we do it? I am hoping so, but Sue is a serious athlete and a very regular runner with her club, Bushfield Joggers.
Enjoy this weekend’s mix! If you are on Spotify, listen here, if not, what is stopping you, it is easy- even I can do it.
I am hoping by posting this, I am reinvigorated for my upcoming three weeks away.
In parallel to my working, I need to get some serious running done, I am registered for the Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon on April 14. My friend Reia (of Paris semi-marathon fame) will be popping to EDI for a few days to make memories and run- hopefully in that order.
According to Runkeeper, Reia is crushing her training, while I am just about smushing mine with my pinky toe (read, not running enough). As I travel from Mexico to Colombia to Chile to Brazil to India, these hotel gyms and I are going to get to know each other- watch out treadmills- I have a halfie to accomplish!