"First Half" Half Marathon – Race Report!

Grey skies and mild weather set the tone for the “First Half” Half Marathon yesterday. A far cry from the blue skies and sunny weather of the day before. Regardless, as far as runners go, the conditions were near perfect.

The “First Half” is toted as a fast, scenic course around the Stanley Park seawall, but, as most of you already know, the extreme weather conditions caused much damage, forcing the race organizers to re-route the course up Prospect Point. I was, as I’m sure many others were, not thrilled about this change. But runners we are and run we will.

In keeping with tradition, I started out too fast, crossing the first mile at 7:16 .. I still had Jeanne in my sights but not for very long (probably only for another 8 seconds). After that, I saw no one else from the club. Somewhere around 2 miles, just under the Burrard bridge, I saw something roll down the hill .. looking closer, it was my footpod – something that was hooked onto my shoe, which would give me my pace ..!! So, off i go to retrieve and hook it back in. Not ideal to happen so soon in a race and potentially could have thrown me off my game plan but it was probably a blessing in disguise as I was likely still running too quick. And I was.

The conditions stayed mild but the winds were coming off the water as we circled around the northeast portion of the seawll. As we rounded the corner towards Second Beach, the winds died down. I was wondering where we were going to turn up to Prospect and lo and behold, there it was. Now I know I’m not the strongest on hills .. actually probably quite weak so I was not looking forward to it but I did my darndest. That’s all i could ask of my poor body. I surprisingly did alright trekking up the hill and was relieved when i crested the top of Prospect Point. Following the course around a turn, I was crushed. I had somehow forgotten that it’s not a full downhill to get back to the seawall … it goes down, then up .. then down, then up .. then down .. and, of course the danger of a long downhill is the pounding on the quads. So i pounded away.

When I reached the bottom, I was definitely getting tired. Circling around Lost Lagoon, although it was not as bad as last year with its loose footing because of the gravel, it posed a struggle. Likely, it was more because of my fatigue than the difficulty. I managed to plod on through the last few miles and ran through the finish line with as much strength as i could muster.

Leo, who was volunteering at the finish line, was my saving grace as he caught me with open arms. I held on to him tightly — you see, I’ve been struggling with Plantar Fasciitis and my prediction on this race was a bit of a crap shoot. =) I didn’t know how well i would do based on a few things – if my feet would hold up, if i could handle the pavement pounding since i haven’t been on pavement for over 3 weeks (the Icebreaker 8k being the exception), how i would manage Prospect Point, and with Boston being my focus, i had been training at a much slower pace. Regardless of all of this, I am extremely happy with my time. Not a PB but just under a minute off. Not too shabby for a gal with bad feet.

Shortly after seeing Leo, Paul Newton was there – he was there cheering everyone else on and his support is so greatly appreciated, as is everyone else’s. He came over to congratulate me and I was thrilled to see him.

Hans, our unofficial LGRR photographer was there, cheering everyone on and snapping a few shots – I’m sure we’ll be seeing a few of his photos soon. Michael Campbell-Burns, with his undying support and enthusiasm, also came out to cheer us on!

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