On October 26, I ran my last half marathon of the year. I hadn’t planned on running the Rock and Roll Vancouver. My October running event was supposed to be the Victoria Marathon, which I had been training for up until I bought my tickets for Europe with an air of finality. With the push of a button, I was no longer going to achieve my goal of running a marathon this year.
(And honestly, it was fine. As much as I hate not accomplishing a goal, I also want my first marathon to be really special. I’m one of those girls who believes the first-time for everything is sacred, so you want to do it right. And that’s why I’m saving my marathon cherry for the one race I always thought would take it – the BMO Vancouver Marathon. 2015, watch out!)
But back to the Rock and Roll. The reason I signed up for it was largely because (and this is going to sound so silly) the medal said “inaugural” on it and I thought to myself, “Huh, how often am I going to get to do the inaugural of anything?” And then, all of a sudden, I was signed up and a few days later, I was in Europe doing not one single bit of running (except after trains I was about to miss).
So needless to say, I didn’t feel very prepared to do my best in this race. My goal since the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in D.C. last April has been to get sub-2, but as my SeaWheeze recap can attest, this has been a hard goal to achieve. I decided that with little training, I would just enjoy running the Rock and Roll and see what happens.
My fave running buddy, MisoNani, was running this on to. She’d had a bad case of food poisoning a few days before so we both decided to take it easy. We consistently ran a pace of 5:45-5:55/km for pretty much all of the race, which by the way, is the nicest course I’ve done in Vancouver in awhile. I enjoyed the change of pace (pun intended) of running around the downtown core and the Stanley Park sea wall. Instead, this course went from the heart of our financial district on Hasting and Thurlow to the Railtown warehouse district over to East Vancouver, before heading back downtown to Yaletown and through Stanley Park across to the Coal Harbour side where the finish was located. Aside from lots of short, rolling hills in Stanley Park (oy vey), it was a great course with just the right amount of challenge for someone like me (the girl who lacks hill training).
It was around 18km that I noticed my time was 1:34 and I really believed in my heart of hearts that I could run the last 3.1km fast enough to get a Sub-2 time. MisoNani was very understanding and so I set off. I was fine at first, but I had to constantly remind myself not to keep going faster. I tried to maintain a steady 5:00-5:15 pace as much as possible, but then there was a hill and then, another one, this time without a downhill to help make up my time. By 19km, I was pushing it and I knew it. My knees were starting to ache, my IT band was throbbing and my hips were feeling tighter than a cork in a champagne bottle. I was hoping I wouldn’t pop before I reached the finish line. The 20km sign appeared and I told myself, “You can do this. Come on!”
Did I mention I hadn’t looked at my watch once to see what my run time was? I had it set to just show pace. I was afraid if I saw how behind I actually was, I’d just lose all heart and slow down. I wanted to know that I could push myself when I really needed to, so i didn’t look. Not once. Even when the 21km sign never appeared and I was running at 5:00/km and I was getting a little desperate. And then, the finish line loomed in the distance. The crowds cheers grew louder. My legs started moving like a machine, like the wheels on an old school train. Just chugging forward as fast I could. I think I can, I think I can. There’s brother and bf cheering me on. “Push it, Karra!” he shouts. I push. I push so hard, I’m almost crying.
And then, boom. It’s done. I’m done. I somehow manage to remember to smile pretty for the cameras as I go over the finish line. A pretty volunteer smiles and congratulates me as she puts my awesome medal over my head and around my neck.
So what did I clock in at? 2:04:24.
Not a PB. Not an improvement over the SeaWheeze. But it was a time I was proud of. It was proof that once again, I could push through pretty much anything and end up with something decent.
Thanks for a great race Rock & Roll! Congrats to MisoNani on her spectacular 2:07 time and to all the other runners.