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I ran a marathon (Part 2)

I ran a marathon. (Part 1)

 

Once I got to the skytrain station, there were a few other runners on the platform waiting for the train.  All of them wearing half marathon bibs.   For a moment it made me a little envious because of my love for the 21.1km distance, but I’d put in all the training and I was ready for the full 42.2km.

Once we got on the train, I looked around and it was full of nervous, spandex clad people all making their way to the start line.   There was one guy in the corner in jeans, sitting alone. I bet he felt out of place on this morning and was wondering what the heck all these people were doing on his usually empty train!

As I looked around the train, I started to make up stories in my head about the other runners.  There were the 2 friends sitting across from me. I decided this was an annual even for them and they train for it together every year.  There was the guy about half way across the train from me,  he was talking up a storm to two other runners near him.  I decided it was his first half marathon based on all the nervous energy he had. By the time we got to the station near the start line, I had made up a story behind almost everyone on the train. It was a good distraction from my own nerves!

Once the train arrived at the station, I just followed the crowd to the race expo & gear check.   Once my gear was “securely” checked in it’s see through plastic bag, it was time to head over to Science World to meet up with folks from my Running Room clinic!  Next it was time to line up for the Porta Pottie with the lovely miss @jonesee90!  It was lucky we lined up as early as we did, since the line ups were so long! Once we were done, we headed to the start line ans positioned ourselves somewhere between the 4hr pace bunny & the 4:15 pace bunny.

Jen & I had agreed before the race to stick together for the first 10K, then reassess, so we headed off together on the first leg of the race.

I have to say that I don’t remember much from the beginning of the race.  There are a few things that stick out though.  I remember when we saw the lead pack heading back towards us on the other side of the street, the speed at which they move is amazing! And to think that they maintain that for the entire 42.2km is mind blowing!  I remember seeing some guy running  towards us, pointing at us and taking a few seconds to clue in that it was @D_amian_ running like he stole something!  I remember passing the 8K participants as they headed out ont he first half of their race & seeing @jonesee90‘s family & one of my Weight Watchers members in the pack! This is also where we sa a visually impared runner & her guiding tackling the full 42.2km of the marathon. Now, if that isn’t inspirational, I don’t know what is.

I need to take a moment here to say how proud I am of Jan.  She is definitely a Weight Watchers member that others should look up to.  After hearing me recount the story of how I joined a learn to run class and thought I was going to die, she marched down to the Running Room and signed up for the same class and has been progressing quite nicely since then!  This was her first 8K race, having only just reached the 8K disntace in training weeks earlier, and it was so great to see her out there with a smile on her face, enjoying the run with everyone else.  But watch out Jan, you know what’s next???  It was after my first 8K race that I decided to run a half marathon! 😉

I tried to keep an eye out for other members of Team #yyjrun, but I didn’t manage to see anyone else.

After the 10K mark, @jonesee90 & I reassessed and decided to stick together until the half way point. We were running quite well together, and keeping each other company, so it made sense to stick together.

Somewhere between the 10K point & the halfway point, I remember seeing a guy run to the side of the road and whip it out in plain sight to take a pee.  He was standing BESIDE the bush, not behind it.  There is a thing called ‘race etiquette’ but apparently people don’t like to follow it!  And that is a topic for an entire other post.

Shortly after the 10K mark, we passed Rogers Arena home of the Vancouver Canucks. One the side of the building there was a GIANT post of my “hockey boyfriend’, #14 Alexandre Burrows. That distracted me for a minute, but I managed to refocus and continue on my way.  Next it was through downtown Vancouver, and out to Stanley Park, probably the prettiest part of the course by far.  The ocean on one side, and tall trees on the other.  This is where we reach the halfway mark where @jonesee90 part ways & I see one of the things that angered me most that day.

There was a water stop near the halfway part, and due to poor planning on the organizers part, it ran out of water cups.  You see, this stop was shared by the half marathon & the full marathon, and I guess they just didn’t budget enough cups for both groups. But that’s not the problem. The problem I have is with a fellow runner berating a VOLUNTEER because there were no more cups.   Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t really think that the average marathon runner should even consider heading out on the course without carrying their own hydration & nutrition.  I learned long ago that races run out of cups and it is better to bring your own than be left hanging.  But putting that aside, how is it the volunteers fault, and how does yelling at them and making an ass of yourself help the situation at all?

After Stanley Park, it was over the Burrard St Bridge and in to Kitsilano.  The thing I remember about this stretch of the course, leading from the park and over the bridge is the spectators.  If you have never run a marathon, you have no idea the value of the spectator to the runner. There is nothing more uplifting than having a complete stranger read your name off of your race bib and cheer you on.  At this point you are two hours in, you are tired, you are losing motivation and you are starting to ask yourself why the heck you thought this was a good idea in the first place!  It is at this point that the cowbells, the cheers, the screams, the words of encouragement and the smiles actually brought a tear to my eye on more than one occasion! Luckily, I had my sunglasses on so no one could see!

Once we came down the other side of the bridge and in to Kits, this is when I really started to struggle. If I was honest with myself, I would probably admit that I went out too fast and should have taken it easier in the first half, but where is the fun in that.  In Kits, I was in a neighbourhood I am somewhat familiar with, so that was kind of nice.  What wasn’t so nice was W 4th Avenue, and the hill up to the hairpin turn!  Man,t hat sucked the life out of me, but at least there was a long downhill stretch after that.  Next we weaved around corners and along the water front, to a point int he race that really stands out in my mind.

Here you are, 38km in to a marathon, running along practically at sea level, and you look up to see the Burrard St Bridge above your head, knowing that in the next 2km you will run up & over it.  The good news is when you realize that it is all downhill/flat from there to the finish line.   Speaking of the finish line, as it got closer, I started to feel the emotion of the day building up as I realized that this whole marathon running thing wasn’t a one shot deal, I was capable of doing it more than once.  It was then that I really felt like a Marathon Runner!

By the time I saw the 41km marker, I started to fell like that finish line would never get here.  It seemed as though with every step I took, the finish line was getting two steps further away!  Then it finally happened, I was coming down the last stretch, the finish clock was in sight, and so were the volunteers waiting to put my medal around my neck!

I don’t know where it comes from, but this is where I get this crazy last wind, to push me, full steam ahead, across the finish line.  It must be the medal, calling my name!

Once I crossed the finish line, I had my picture taken with my medal, and then I waited for @jonesee90 to come through the chute.

There we were… both of us, real marathoners, we had completed our second marathon!

To be continued…. (with the story of the rest of the day)

 

 

 

 

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2 Comments

  1. Jon Suk says:

    Awaiting the next installment with rapt anticipation…

  2. a guy says:

    awsome work !