It is true what they say though, the energy of all the other racers and the people cheering you on really does carry you through! And it carried me through the first 13k!
The first half went by so quick and I loved that! I guess it's because I had so much else to focus on than myself which I'm not used to. My running is usually so internal. I focus solely on myself, my breathing, my music, my body. This race was so much more external. I was watching other runners, listening to the sounds around me, watching all the entertainment and awesome supporters.
Matching shorts : )
There was a hill out of downtown but because it was so early on it was totally fine. We still did our 10's and 1's to pace ourselves properly and not go out too fast but I found myself really wanting to take advantage of the downhill and skip any walk breaks then. Jeff had to tell me to slow down a few times but I just felt good so kept going and about 3k in we passed our 2:30 Pace Beavers.
My daughter's father was working the first aid station so we stopped a bit there to talk to him. Along the way we had some awesome entertainment of big old fashioned bikes, Tai Chi demonstrators and just lots of strangers offering high fives and support. I can't tell you how cool it was to get a high five from a total stranger telling you how awesome you were.
Before I knew it we were at 5k and then 6k. I celebrated each of these markers with hands in the air and a big cheer. I can't believe how awesome I felt. We were still ahead of our Pacers at this point. We also settled into a certain group of people going our same pace. They would pass us on our walk break and then we would pass them. It was the first time I had ever run in a large group and it really helped because you would focus on a person in front of you that you wanted to pass. Jeff was just having the time of his life. He high fived everyone in sight and thanked every volunteer he saw.
I think this was around 9 or 10k and I was celebrating having completed the first part of the bridge.
My brother was following the route on his motorcycle and we finally saw him under the Burrard St Bridge just after the second aid station. It was awesome to see him there and that kind of support gives you an extra push. He ran along with us for a bit and cheered us on. It meant so much to have him there.
We looped around and started to head towards the bridge. This would be a milestone because I knew that when we tackled the whole bridge we would be more than 1/2 way through. But not before a big hill came up! It was funny because we came around the corner and there was this collective groan from the runners around me. It wasn't long but it was fairly steep. However at the top was a group of fabulous Drag Queens! What a great way to distract us from the hill!
At this point we started to pass the earlier pace groups on the the other side of the road. I couldn't help but feel jealous. A lot of them looked pretty tired though. And then it was time to go up and over the bridge. I walked a bit leading up to the bridge so I could run the entire first half of it. I did just that and then started flying on the downhill part. Jeff and I were dodging and weaving a lot here and started to get stuck behind people a lot. But I was still feeling really good so weaved wherever we could and passed a lot of people and the first part of the bridge was done! We were still ahead of our pace group at this point.
We ran into Kits for a bit before turning around to head back over the bridge. This side was harder because the incline up is a lot longer. I walked more than I wanted to but told myself it was okay as I still had 10k more to run. I took advantage of the downhill again and made up some time.
As we were heading to English Bay our pacers started to pass us again. Oh well, all I could do was just run my own race. We came across a big group of raccoons at this point and Jeff proceeds to walk towards them to get a picture. Yes, exactly what we need is for him to get taken out by a raccoon 1/2 way through our first 1/2 marathon!! What a guy!
I was starting to tire just a little at this point but nothing I couldn't handle. I knew we still had to tackle the Seawall so I had to find all the energy I could.
Me heading into English Bay
And find it I did! At English Bay we saw my sister in law Jenny, her husband Scott and our niece and nephew Ela and Lochlan. What an awesome sight they were!! They had signs for us and silly hats! I loved it. We stopped to give them hugs and high fives! That put huge smiles on our faces!
How much their support meant shows with the huge smiles on our faces!
So the Seawall.... you either love it or hate it. You should love it because it is all flat and so beautiful but on this race it was my nemesis. I was starting to get really pooped when we got a third of the way through the Seawall and this is where I really started to slow down. I could still see our pacers but they started to get further and further away. I was only a little discouraged. It just meant I wouldn't be making Goal 3 but I was still determined to make Goal 1 and 2!
I found the Seawall too isolating. There were no more large cheer groups and the runners had thinned out a lot since it was a narrower pathway. It was eerily quiet so I found my energy drain along with the surroundings. Now that I could focus just on me and my body, it brought me out of my adrenaline rush that had been carrying me. It was now time to rely on myself.
At around 15k I had a bit of a scare. My stomach started to cramp a bit and I had a bit of a cold sweat going. I was worried that my stomach issues from earlier had returned. I decided to stop at a port o potty just in case. The line wasn't long but it was taking forever. We probably waited 2 or 3 minutes and then suddenly the cramping went away and I decided to skip it and just keep going.
I was tired but kept going and kept telling Jeff to push me. Before I knew it we were at 18k!! I was so excited to be close to finishing but then the damn inclines out of Stanley Park came!! Any incline at this point took that extra bit of energy that I just didn't have. And they just kept coming! I can't even call them hills but it wasn't flat and I was cursing that they would do that at the very end of a race. At the final aid station, the volunteer told me there was only 2k more to go. I told myself I could do 2k in my sleep!!! Well that didn't work because I just felt like I was sleep walking! My legs were so heavy at this point and I was swearing a lot at the tiny hills! Lol! I just wanted to be done! Jeff was super encouraging and kept telling me we were almost done and I could do it. I knew I could too, I just had to dig deep! I was in no pain at all, just tired and was stopping way more than I wanted to. I was not at all used to hills at the end of a long run.
We were finally out of Stanley Park and there was one more damn hill! The lady at the top said, this is the last hill and then you only have 600m more to go!! I could have kissed her!!!
And then we saw the 400m sign! I was elated!! I was feeling the adrenaline surge again as the cheering started. We then saw my brother again and my brother in law Brent on rollerblades. He was alongside us clapping and told us to finish strong. I was so happy at this point. A flood of emotions came over me and then I saw my whole family and the waterworks came! I was so overwhelmed and emotional when I saw the face of my sister, mom, daughter, sister in law, niece and nephews. I choked back tears and high fived them all. That was one of the best moments for me. Seeing all their faces meant the world to me! I love my family!
Spotting my family!
My sister was running along side us and I could see her crying so that got me going again! Bunch of crybabies!
I am so emotional here! Lol!
Jeff and I picked up speed and crossed the finish line holding hands and smiling as big as possible!
We did it!! We did it together and I couldn't have been more proud of us!
After we got our medals, we hugged at the finish line and I just let the tears flow. I cried out of sheer happiness for what we had accomplished together. I did something no one ever would have thought I could do. Most of all me!! I cried knowing my family was there to see me finish strong and proud of me.
We then got some nice little gifts, a Saje aromatherapy recovery kit and SkullCandy earbuds. A very nice touch!
They were also handing out cold towels to cool off and wipe down with. Luckily the weather was perfect that day so I never felt too hot.
We then saw Zyta and I was sooo happy to see her! We gave each other a big hug of congratulations. She finished strong and was feeling good as well! So proud of her!!
I honestly could have cared less what my time was but the official Chip time was 2:37:11. I made Goals 1and 2 so I was happy with that. Would I have liked to have been faster? HELL YEAH!!! But there is plenty of time for that. Yes, after the great experience I had, I can say that I want to do another one! SeaWheeze 2014 here we come!
Celebrations and hugs at the end!
My sis. We were bawling here!
My daughter. She was proud of me, can't ask for much more than that.
My brother in law and my mom
My little brother
Our niece and nephew. Jenny was taking all the pics. Thanks sis!
Sis and nephew
Overall, SeaWheeze 2013 was an amazing experience!! Jeff and I really had the time of our lives and are so grateful that our very first race was such a positive one. The whole event was so fun!! I never thought I would say that about a 1/2 marathon! Thank you to Lululemon for putting on such a cool, fun, well organized race, complete with all the entertainers, cheer stations, aid stations and overall support. Thank you to all the amazing volunteers. Without you, many if us could not have made it to the finish line. Each and every one of you had a hand in our success! Thank you to my awesome family for being there for us. Thank you Zyta for doing this with us and being such an inspiration.
And most of all, thank you to my husband for being by my side every step of the way. I love you.