What happens when you get the chance to earn four medals over the course of a weekend, even if it means you have to run a 10km on Saturday and a half marathon on Sunday?
Ummmm OBVIOUSLY you jump for it!
This weekend was my last big race weekend of the year, and it definitely did not disappoint. The Rock ‘n Roll Marathon Series is notorious for handing out bonus bling for running multiple races within a calendar year, and since my schedule hasn’t allowed for any destination races yet I was stoked to hear about the Remix Challenge.
Whereas last year the 10km and half marathon took place on the same day, they decided to split them up this year and to offer a bonus third medal to anyone who completed both. Add to that the medal I received for fundraising for the John Volken Academy ($545 baby!), and you’ve got a lot of shiny new bling.
I absolutely love race weekends. Between the excitement of package pick-up, the expos, chatting with other runners, and the actual runs themselves, I feel like it’s Christmas! I enjoyed the expo a lot more this year than I did last year, mostly because Nuun was there sampling all of their delicious flavours.
They had a lot of great gear for sale in the store, and tons of other race organizers were there promoting their races which got me thinking about what I want to tackle next year. There was also a sweet deal for registering for the 2016 Rock ‘n Roll Vancouver races, and about 5 minutes after my friend said she was done with running we were both registering for next year’s half. The free tank it came with was a pretty good motivator 😉
Despite my IT band behaving for the most part these past few months, I was still a little concerned about the 10km. The Seawall, while absolutely beautiful, is not a great place for me to run. There’s an inwards slope along the path, so regardless of the direction I run my hips are always at a weird angle. I can run 20km through the city no problem as long as I watch my pace, but I can’t make it more than 5km along the Seawall without that familiar pain on the outside of my knee.
My runs have been feeling really strong lately (thank you deadlifts and metabolic circuits!), so I REALLY didn’t want to risk anything. Kirstie and I decided to take it easy and opted to walk most of the 10km. We ran the first kilometre with my friend and badass client Indira, and then walked for the next 7km.
It was a gorgeous day for a walk and gave us a good chance to catch up since we rarely see one another anymore. At about the 5km mark the 1 hour pace group passed us, which we thought was totally weird. At 7km the race veered off the Seawall for a quick little uphill loop, so we took this as a good opportunity to run. Shortly after getting back on the Seawall the 1:10 pace group passed us, which again seemed weird because we were walking.
We decided we probably couldn’t do too much damage at the end and opted to run the last two kilometres, leaving us with a surprising finish of 1:20. Not bad for a 7km walk and a 3km run!
We skipped the free beer and headed back home. I got in a couple more hours of work, went back to the expo to pick up some posters for the Show Your Bib program, and then went out for my go-to pre-race meal of a steak and baked potato. It never fails me 😉
The Half Marathon
I always wake up far too early on race morning so I can spend an hour loading up on water and electrolytes. I don’t get pre-race jitters before runs anymore, so it was nice to just chill out, catch up on my social media, and read through a few articles while I alternated water, electrolytes, and coffee.
Kirstie showed up at my place at around 7:30, and we headed outside to meet Indira and walked over to the starting line together. The beauty of living downtown is that it’s a fairly short walk to the start of any race!
I feel like pretty much every runner I know was participating in this race. I ran into a few of the women I work with and of course got some pre-race selfies with them, saw some friends from the hotel, and was pleasantly surprised to see Richard (@blingwhore) made it out just in time for the race!
It was about a 15-minute wait until our corral headed out, which gave us lots of time for pictures, selfies, and dancing. And then we were off! I kept my intervals a little longer than I have in previous races, running the first 10 minutes straight through and then dropping down to 4 & 1’s. We kept a fairly consistent and conservative pace throughout, falling anywhere from 11:30-11:50.
My race experience has dramatically changed since I let go of my sub-1:50 dreams. While I’m not saying it’s never in the cards for me, I have accepted the fact that right now it’s just not feasible. Once I stopped resisting my body and started listening to it, I remembered how good it felt to just get out and run. And to be grateful for the fact that I’m able to run at all, regardless of how slow it may be!
The course is fairly flat with a few good hills – nothing too crazy, but just enough to make you feel like a badass as you power your way up (again, thank you deadlifts!). It takes you through Gastown, East Van, Yaletown, and then of course Stanley Park. If you’ve never visited Vancouver, I strongly recommend you come run this race so you can get a glimpse of all the different neighbourhoods!
I didn’t pay too much attention to the bands playing because we were too busy yapping, but it was definitely a welcome addition to the course! However I find the support is always great in Vancouver races, so you’re usually never alone with your thoughts for too long.
By the time we hit the final 5km I was feeling great and knew it was time to pick up my pace and drop the walking breaks. If my IT band did decide to give me grief, I knew I could make it through 5km without things getting too intense 😉 I ran the 12th mile at 10:30, the 13th mile at 9:25, and the final .5 mile at 4:20 for a 2:28 finish, something I’m totally happy with.
Having gone from 1:57 to a 3 hour finish was pretty rough for me at the start, and I’ve been hovering at around 2:30-2:35 these past few races. So we’ll call this a post-injury PR 😉
After the race we picked up all our bling, took some pictures, and then headed out for a celebratory breakfast. All in all, a totally fantastic weekend filled with fun, friends, and more kilometres than I’ve ever run in a two day span.
I’ve got ideas for what I plan to accomplish during my off-season, but until I’ve got things totally set in stone I’ll refrain from sharing them just yet 😉
Did you run this weekend? Have you ever run a Rock ‘n Roll race? Do you ever run just for the medals?