Alright, it’s been about 2 hours since I crossed the finish line on this one and I have some mixed emotions.

I’m just going to say it: I was aiming to finally go sub-2 hours on a half marathon, but finished in 2:05 instead (unofficial time because I forgot my timing chip at home. Good ol’ Garmin watch has me at this and I’m sticking to it). On the one hand, it sucks, but on the other, I had a great time doing this race.

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To be honest, up until a month ago, I had kind of forgotten that SeaWheeze was coming up. I was so focused on what was supposed to be my first marathon in October (but now I’ll be travelling during that time instead) that I was quite relaxed with my pacing during my training runs, keeping it at a cool 6:00-6:15 per kilometre. I had planned to use SeaWheeze as a training run and not race it. But when my travel plans firmed up and it was certain that I couldn’t do my marathon this year, I got it in my head to try for a sub-2 time.

I thought it’d be easy to jump down to a 5:30 pace for the race and achieve my goal, but it was not to be. Here are the lessons I learned:

DON’T FORGET YOUR TIMING CHIP. What my official time would be kept plaguing me in the back of my head and in the end I had to go off of my sports watch. Maybe I finished earlier than I thought…I’ll never know now.

– Pace yourself well. Because I didn’t have my chip, I was trying to follow a friend who was aiming for a 1:45 time. I ended up going too fast too early and used up most of my energy. Had I been just a tad more conservative in the beginning and picked up speed in the middle and sustained it, I probably would’ve hit my goal. Instead I was gassed by 15km.

– Have a device that tracks your pace and keep your eye on it. I tried to follow the 2:00 pace beaver around 5km and kept up for awhile. But when we hit the long downhill on Burrard St Bridge, I ended up going faster and lost the beaver. This would’ve been great if I had paid more attention to the pace I was going at afterwards. I had been so reliant on finding the beaver that I never figure out the right pace to maintain. I’d just ebb and flow from too fast to too slow. And when the beaver finally caught up, my legs felt like lead.

– Match your training runs closely to what you hope to achieve at your race. As mentioned, I had been training at a slower speed and never really picked it up for the goal I had set for SeaWheeze. I also trained at 10-1 and decided it would be a good idea to never take breaks during the actual race. This ended up with me being forced to take several long walking breaks from 15-20km because my body was slowing down.

– High fives provide major power boosts. I don’t know why, but when I stick my hand out at runners on the other side of the loop and they high five me and I get about 5-7 of those in a row, I go faster and the struggle stops being real for a few seconds. It really helps – try it next time!!

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In the end, I just made a few bad calls with this race. They’re easily fixable for my next one (haven’t decided which one to do yet) so I hope to achieve sub-2 there. The nice thing about having to stop racing in the middle of this half marathon is that I was able to enjoy it more than I had been instead of pushing myself past the point of exhaustion. I also didn’t end up injuring myself, which was important. I’m proud of myself for recognizing when my body had had enough and for still running (albeit very slowly) through the pain. Oh SeaWheeze 2014, you have taught me much more than you know.

Congratulations to everyone that did this half marathon! And thank you to the amazing organizers and awesome volunteers. Now, to digest my 2nd brunch (thanks for the awesome Runner’s Brunch, Bearfoot Bistro!) and celebratory mimosa from Yolks!

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Flower arrangementI’ve been struggling for the past few days to find the right way to write my novel and it didn’t help that I’d watched The Book Thief last night. It was such a masterpiece of storytelling – great plot, fantastic dialogue and exquisite word choices – that I wanted to echo it in my own writing. I can only imagine how much better the book is and it’s now on my reading list. Anyway, as I rewrote a scene this morning, I kept deleting words until finally I let my stream of conscious go and write whatever. It was crap t o say the least.

Afterwards, I went on my last long run before SeaWheeze next week (18k since I’m still following my marathon training plan for fun). Usually when I go for a run, I come up with some really good ideas for my novel. But two hours later, I was physically and mentally exhausted. The right idea just wouldn’t come. Although I did do some good, hard thinking about what kind of person my main character is.

When I sat down again to write, I was hesitant. Should I just keep writing off of the crap from earlier? Should I try again?

I ended up doing the latter and without even realizing it, about 45 minutes later, I had a scene that was actually good. And it was perfectly setting up another scene that I had been struggling to keep or not. It was such an awesome feeling to come out of my writing cloud and realize that sometimes to write a story, you just have to let the words come. You can’t force it.

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Mindy and Danny. Image from: The Vulture

Disclaimer: There are The Mindy Project spoilers in this post. Turn away now if you know what’s good for you and finish the current 2 seasons of the show. You will be glad you did.

Ah, the rom-com sitcom. I can’t remember the last time I watched a really good TV show that had all the trappings of one of my favorite movie genres: romantic comedy. I just finished binge-watching The Mindy Project over the past two days and I have to say that I’m on a little bit of a major high right now from this show.

There is nothing I love more in books, movies or real-life than opposites/enemies finding out that they are actually perfect for each other. I didn’t think Danny and Mindy would work out, but the writers of the show did a fantastic job of planting the seeds for this relationship throughout the first season of the show. You knew it was coming, and you wanted it to happen, but you didn’t know when or how. It’s the same kind of writing that gets me to stay up late at night reading a romance novel, especially the young adult fiction kind.

There’s just something so cute about the way teenagers fall in love. The hormones, the cliques, the self-consciousness…there’s so many things keeping them from seeing what’s been in front of them all along (i.e. the best guy friend who’s memorized her favorite Chinese take-out order). And then, when she gets the guy of her dreams, she just truly believes in her heart that he is the only one she will ever be with.

That’s a fun world to escape into sometimes. But what was so great about The Mindy Project was that Mindy dated a lot of guys who weren’t all frogs. You got to go along with her as she learned how to be herself and to be honest about her feelings, something that is very hard to do when you’re dating someone new. And through it all, she managed to find Danny, the best kind of friend, who comforted her, listened to her, challenged her, and of course, infuriated her.

The show writers knew how to get you to fall in love with this couple and to root for them and it was so satisfying when that first kiss finally happened. Perfect setting, perfect set up.

As an aspiring novelist, these are the kinds of stories I love to tell. They may be cheesy at times or hard to get through, but they make us smile so hard while we’re reading that our cheeks hurt by the end and we barely notice (actually, we can barely stop smiling). I want to write stories about two people who take a long time to fall in love and the circumstances that come up preventing them from getting to that long awaited first kiss. I love the idea of love and I hope that the stories I write do this amazing feeling justice.

Well done, writers of The Mindy Project. You guys make falling in love both funny and awesome.

Image source: The Vulture

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