This past weekend, I had the chance to get out of town for the weekend. I was giddy at the prospect of escaping the city even if it was just for a couple of days.
A friend of mine had arranged two cabins in Gibsons for the weekend- and almost all of us planned to run the April Fool’s Half Sunday morning.
Saturday morning, a group of four of us who would be carpooling, congregated in a gas station parking lot to begin our weekend away. Exciting start. I hadn’t met the driver before, but being friends of friends, I figure we would be safe. I know, talk about riding in cars with boys.
Pargol and I arrived in the gas station moments before a Silver Ford Escape screeched into the lot. Three out of four. Group member number four had yet to arrive. At 9:48am group member number four showed up and apologized for being late. With straight faces, we told him we had been ready to leave without him. As if.
Gibsons was cold and blustery, but the cabins were incredible – think ocean view, hot tub, cabins nestled in the woods. Being the only girls in cabin no. 1, we ended up with the bedroom, queen sized bed, and ocean view, leaving the boys to fight over couches and loft spaces.
Our weekend was filled with board games (which were er, a little more competitive than I expected), exploring the beaches, red wine, hot tubs, and enjoying an ocean view. And oh yeah, the race.
I should mention that the guys in our group could really really run… As in one guy could run 1:15 and ended up in the top 10 overall as well as winning his age group. Another guy told me he was average – He could run 1:31. Gulp.
Wasn’t going to be passing anyone of them any time soon. Ha.
Sunday morning dawned bright and early. Though a nine am start meant that we didn’t need to leave until 8 am. It was cold, and wet. As we drove to the community centre where the race started, we passed orange cones marking our race route. And the early starters (some of ahem, which looked like they could finish well in advance of three hours).
After multiple bathroom stops, some warm up, and trying to keep warm in the community centre, we headed for the race start. It was an incredibly anticlimatic start. Ha. Most of us didn’t know the race had started, until people started shuffling forward. Oh well. And it was gun time only….
Wasn’t feeling fantastic, wasn’t feeling horrible. Split the first 10km in 45 -46 minutes which worried me a bit as that was the fastest 10km split I had ever run in a half marathon (although for a split second in my delusions of grandeur I figured if I could split a faster second half, I would get a pb. Ha).
I probably should have done a better job of controlling the downhills as in not letting myself running crazy fast, but oh well. The hills weren’t massive, save for one but it was definitely a rolling course, and employing a similar strategy as I did for the First Half wasn’t the brightest.
At 14km came the beginning of the nastiest climb (which I had been warned about), and at 17km I was ready to cry. My splits had crept over 5 min a km – I think I clocked a 5:40km here. Though I have to say secretly, I was glad we had run 10 repeats of Nanton because this hill was not as bad as Nanton.
Mercifully it was mostly downhill from there, even though by this point my legs were so tired – I wondered how I was supposed to finish the race. With one km to go I caught up to one of our group (it was his first half ever and he hadn’t run for four weeks) so really, I wouldn’t consider that an accomplishment in anyway for me .
Just for the 21km marker, I caught up to a 55 plus year old guy, but darn it, could not pass him, and ended up finishing a split second behind him. For the record, I definitely had more in the tank left at this point in the race during the First Half.
I wasn’t thrilled by my time – but April Fools was good ppreparation for Vancouver, and I learned some lessons. (i.e. pacing, pacing pacing). Going a little slower in the first 5 – 10km may have resulted in a better time and considerably less suffering. And no, you can’t bank time…
And yes, I know it is a net downhill course, but I found racing this particular course a little tougher than I expected – I wasn’t prepared for all the ups and downs. Lessons learned. Next time…