Monday, June 25, 2012

Vancouver USA Half Marathon Race Report

It's been awhile since I've set a big goal for myself and took the time and dedication to achieve that goal. When I say that, it makes me sound like I've been some sort of lazy person the last few years. I admit I haven't been the most motivated person with big major goals but that changed when I found my love for running. With that being said, I challenged myself to a 12 week training program in hopes to complete a half marathon. I didn't worry how I was going to follow and dedicate myself to this program but with my mind set that I was just going to do it (Nike says to just do it, right?), I just did it. I received advice from more seasoned runners that as a beginning runner, I had to trust the program, respect the distance, and follow the program with no serious modifications. This was important to do if I wanted to be successful on race day. Well, I did just that and completed my first half marathon last Sunday. I asked one of my friends if she wanted to run the race with me and she gladly said yes which I was so excited about!

Getting our bibs at the race expo. I was the lucky winner of the Nike+ Sportwatch GPS drawing they had!
The night before the race, I didn't get much sleep. I had nervous jitters and had trouble falling asleep. I barely got 5 hours which was a bad thing. I had to get up at 6am and get myself ready to run over 13 miles with thousands of people. I had planned on getting a full 8 hours of sleep and to be well-rested. I'm sure this had a lot to do with one of the reasons why I lacked energy during the race.

It started at 9am and my husband decided to come with me and to stay for the whole race. I was concerned about how he would entertain our son for over 2 hours but thankfully, it was at Esther Short Park where the farmer's market is located and plentiful park and playground for Everett. On the morning of race day, my husband got up early with me and cooked me the breakfast of champions. And no, it wasn't Wheaties. It was my favorite, egg on top of whole wheat toast. I pretty much eat that every morning.

I had to fight a bit of anxiety and mentally ward off panic attacks with being around so many people but I managed to focus on the race ahead of me and relaxed myself into the excitement that was in the air. You could feel how excited and hyped up everyone was so that helped and motivated me. 

Just a countdown away from gun start. Can you see me?!

I look excited but I was just really nervous.

Well, the race itself was tough. Much tougher than I anticipated. My goal finish time was 2:10 but I came in at 2:27:28. Far from my goal. I contribute this to 3 factors. These factors were conditions that I did not train in. The weather that day was hot. The sun was out and it didn't help that the course had us running right at it. I didn't have a hat or sunglasses so the sun just beamed into my face pretty much the whole time. Secondly, it was very humid. We don't get a lot of humidity here in the Pacific Northwest but this day, we had it. Thirdly, the course had hills. Hills and hills and hills. As I approached them, I convinced myself that walking was not option. Well, it obviously was. Walking the first hill, I was disappointed because one of my biggest goals for the race was not to walk. As I looked around me, everyone but a few were walking all the hills. You can tell a seasoned runner from a beginning runner and even these seasoned runners were walking. Seeing that made me realize I wasn't just being a wimp. Aside from the hills, I walked here and there between miles 8-12 and you could tell the heat had gotten to everyone. 

I've learned a lot of things I will do differently for my next half marathon but one of the main things I will do would be to wear a fuel belt. I slowed down and even walked through some of the water stations due to the lines but if I had had my own water on me, I could've shaved off a minute or two off my finish time. 

I spoke to a guy after the race who was an avid marathon runner and I was telling him how tough this race was for me and he admitted that this course was one of the toughest he had ever done. I thought to myself, "so, it wasn't just me?!" I had fun and enjoyed the post race atmosphere and was excited to have completed my first half but I was a bit down for not reaching the finish time I had set myself for and for having to walk parts of it. You live and you learn though. I've definitely learned what things I'll do and not do for my next race and I'm already itching to run another one. A lot of people have told me that marathons are addictive and I didn't quite understand what was so addicting about them. Just run one and you'll know why. 


  1. Awesome report! I'm so proud of your for finishing! Even though you didn't meet your goal time, at least you can now say that you are a "Half-marathoner"! And you have a time to beat for your next one!

    Congrats! And you look great after finishing such a tough race! :)

  2. PROPS SKM! ;)
    It sounds like you did AWESOME for your first half marathon. What an awesome achievement!!!!

  3. Awesome job for completing your first half! You should be very proud of yourself and your time is excellent. Your main goal should always be to finish, which you did! I like to set easier goals for myself so when I come in well above it I feel better and more accomplished. I do want to run a sub 2:30 half though. And you did that! And you look great!

  4. This was an awesome recap of the race, I am glad you got some verification that you were not being a whimp. I am considering running harvest days half only 2 weeks later just to see what a race would be like without my monthly visitor. But definitely waiting till foot traffic half is over to decide.