The Latest, Longest Race Report EVER!

Here is the reason that this race report is so late:  All I wanted to write about it for the last 2 weeks is “I ran; I finished; everything went according to plan, but my body decided to rebel; I’m still not over it.”  

I guess that I should preface this with:

  • Yes, I’m glad I ran my 2nd marathon.
  • Yes, I’m proud that I finished my 2nd marathon.
  • No, I’m still not happy with the result (and probably won’t be until the next let-down.  Then I’ll look back fondly on this race).  Look how long it’s taken me to write about it!
I know that everyone is extremely supportive and I totally appreciate it!  However, if you are a runner you’ve probably had races that you aren’t happy with.  Yes, I’ve learned a lot of stuff from this race (which I’ll regale you with in another long post).  But, for right now, you know where I’m coming from.  

Race report: BMO Vancouver Marathon – 1 May 2011

Saturday 30 April 2011:
  • My parents kindly offered to switch houses with us so that Spud could sleep in his own bed.  This was great.  We got to there place in the early evening and could just relax.
  • But we didn’t.  Colin was trying to figure out how to get his iPod to work on my dad’s computer so he could adjust his playlist.  I was watching the Canucks game.  
  • Apparently you can’t do any iPod stuff like that if it’s not on your own computer (or without massively messing around with someone else’s) so Colin was frustrated for a good couple of hours.  The Canucks went to 2nd overtime and lost.  Both activities were a total waste of time.
  • Set out stuff for morning.  I was very impressed that I pinned on my bib and didn’t have a mini-meltdown over it.  I refused to fiddle with it once it was on.
  • Couldn’t get to sleep in a different house.  Probably fell asleep closer to 1am and we had a 5am wake up.
Sunday 1 May 2011 – Pre-Race:
  • Colin discovered his backpack’s bladder leaked out all night from a cracked lid.  Cue rush around to find duct tape.
  • Made it to Skytrain before 6am to get downtown.  Not dressed warm enough so stood with our butts in the car idling on the other side of the platform.  I’m sure that the people in control wondered what we were doing…
  • No one on transit that early who wasn’t going to the race.  We all looked tired.
  • Shuffled down to the race site to check our bags.  Easy peasy – stick your stuff in this clear garbage bag, label with your bib number, hand over to volunteers.
  • Colin got (according to him, gross) McDonald’s coffee – love that they sponsor a race – and wandered off to find friends.  Unfortunately meet up place is under construction so we never did see any one.
  • Pre-race bathroom break.  Thankfully not too bad in the port-a-potties.  The lines were as long as I expected them to be, but the addition of sectioned off urinals for the guys cut them way down.  Please note that the mesh they used to block them off was one way see through.  Colin could see all sorts of people on the other side who had no idea that they were behind the bathroom…
  • Self-seeding “corrals”.  Not loving so much.  I stayed way in the back so I wouldn’t get caught up like I did in Victoria.  Is there a reason so many people start running quite a bit before the start line?  It’s chip-timed!  There’s no rush!
Sunday 1 May 2011 – The Race:

Km 1-10:

  • Out and back away from the water with a little loop through Chinatown at the start.  It’s just along one of the main streets.  It isn’t particularly exciting, but I liked it because I got to see a lot of my friends.  Of course, they were on their way back as I was going out…  For some reason didn’t see Colin at all.  There was a little square block we had to do at the turn around so I must have missed him there.  
  • Saw friends who came out to spectate (thanks Tamara, Fabiola and Christian!) and take pictures.  I didn’t figure out who was yelling at me until I’d passed them.
  • Saw the race leaders.  Holy fast!  I was at 3km when they were on their way back at 9km.
  • Saw a guy in a monkey suit.  Looked really uncomfortable.
  • Saw a slightly crazy lady kind of dancing along expending all sorts of energy.
  • A guy in the 8km race that ran along the same route who was wearing an over-sized crown.  Again, looked uncomfortable.
  • I felt okay during this part.  I was keeping to my slow pace and doing pretty well.
Km 11-17:
  • A little reverse loop through Chinatown and then up to the Dunsmuir viaduct.  Kind of cool since you aren’t ever allowed to walk up there.
  • Nice older neighbourhood.  Didn’t realize it was quite so much of a hill, but I plodded along just fine.
  • Got to a water stop and the volunteers were yelling “no electrolytes.”  In my head I was thinking GU2O, but they meant gels.  I was carrying my own so it didn’t matter.  Sucky for those who weren’t though.
  • Should have stopped for the bathroom here, but there were only 2 port-a-potties and a pretty substantial line up.  Note to self: you’re not breaking any records so stop if you think you need to!
  • Ran through the Downtown Eastside.  If you know Vancouver you’ll know that this is pretty much the poorest neighbourhood in Canada.  However it was sunny out, there were lots of spectators and I thought it was really pretty.  It doesn’t always look like that though…
  • Ran out through Coal Harbour and could start to see views of the inlet and mountains.  
  • Body was starting to hate me for missing the last stop.
Km 18-27:
  • Funniest moment of the marathon: traffic was really backed up coming out of Coal Harbour.  Not sure if people were misdirected or if they just didn’t pay attention to signs.  The police were out doing the best they could (I started thanking all of them after this).  There was a priest 3 cars back (who I’m assuming was late for Mass) who was yelling really loudly at the officer.  Something along the lines of “this better not happen again next year!!!” to which the cop replied, very calmly, “please take it up with the city sir.” 
  • Another water stop, but they were giving out doughnuts.  If it had been closer to the end of the race I totally would have taken them up on the offer.
  • Didn’t stop at bathroom for same reason as before.  Note to self: STUPID!
  • Started running around Stanley Park.  Really pretty especially since the weather decided to cooperate.  Made me realize how much I love Vancouver and how much I should appreciate living here.
  • Finally hit up a bathroom.  Thankfully a real one this time, but there were still lines.  Tried to appease my body with drugs.
  • Half way point!  Woohoo!  No gels again.  What?  This is what happens when the half and full share stations.  There was a really pretty mosaic of GU tops on the ground though that would have made for a cool picture.
  • Hit the little hill in the park (no were near as bad as the halfers had it).  I’d done the route before so I knew what to expect.
  • Starting to get kind of warm so start to utilize all water stations even though I was packing my own.
  • Water station in park.  No cups!  What?!?  Had volunteer pour directly into my mouth.  Had next volunteer pour water on my hands so I could wash my face…  Wasn’t smart enough to keep a cup like my friend did.
  • Begin use of all remaining bathrooms.  This was turning into a “character builder.”
  • Ran out of park and then along Beach/Pacific Avenues.  Nice view of the water.  Unfortunately also the mental killer of seeing where I had to run to (Jericho) across the water before I could turn around.
Km 28-33:
  • The Burrard Bridge.  Dun, dun, duh…  Really not as bad as it sounds.  Way worse at 40km on the way back.  My mental game started here because I was seeing friends who were on their way back.  Rough!
  • Running through Kitsilano was good.  Nice beach views.  Stations that had an abundance of GU (started stock-piling).  Rolling hills, but nothing unexpected.
  • Our friends Sean and Brenda came out at km 30 to take pictures.  We knew they were going to try to make it, but weren’t sure where they’d be so it was great to see them.
  • Started seeing more friends on their way back.  I knew that I was pretty much bringing up the rear.
  • Took GU Chomps when they were offered just to give my stomach a break.  They went down fine, but I remembered why I don’t take them.  Ugh.  Definitely a personal preference.
  • Finally to the turn around!  I had to force myself to run to the water station.  It wasn’t much of an uphill, but enough of one that I was dying at the top.  At this point (9km left) my hamstrings, quads and hip flexors were screaming at me.  I chugged as much water and GU2O as I could.  A bit sloshy as I left, but better than being dehydrated.
Km 34-40:
  • Return trip!  I don’t know when I’ve ever been this happy in a race before.  I was feeling really good about how I was running the race, but I knew that I was going pretty slow.
  • Saw a poor guy laying on the ground in the middle of the road with 2 medics attending him.  He must have had massive leg cramps because they each had one leg and were stretching him out.
  • Hit up final 2 GU stations for extra gels.  Didn’t need them at all, but if they were 6 people deep offering them I wasn’t going to say no.  Those suckers are expensive!  If I could have run with a whole box for 6km I totally would have taken one.
  • The route went through residential at this point to get down under the bridge.  I’ve shown it before, but fake it till you make it.
  • Right as I was running out of this area my knee did a little pop/slide thing that had me hop-running for a couple of steps and freaked me out.  I can handle aches and pains, but I’ll never mess with my knees.  Thankfully I had an Advil so I popped it then.
  • Coming under the bridge my knee gave me heck a couple more times so I walked for a little bit just to help it out.
  • Here’s my favourite shot of Colin.  He’s coming under the bridge and I totally think he looks like a celebrity about to kick a paparazzo’s ass for taking his picture.
  • Coming up to the Burrard Bridge I knew that there would be the Lululemon cheer station (their offices are across the street).  They were such a help.  When you are a slower runner it means so much to have people still out there supporting you.
  • Power walked up the bridge.  I so wanted to run, but my knee was worse on up-hills.  At least I was still passing people.
  • Here’s the difference between a faster runner (Colin) and a slower runner (me) coming off the bridge:


  • When you are fast there are other people around, you look focused and your feet leave the ground.  When you are slow you get the photographer to yourself, you look happy because you have to distract yourself from the pain and you shuffle like an 80 year old man with a walker.

Km 41-42.2:

  • It’s all downhill from here.  It’s also a lot longer than you’d think it would be.
  • I distracted myself by thanking volunteers (so many highschoolers looking for volunteer hours as a part of graduation requirements!) and police officers.
  • I knew that I wasn’t going to hit sub-5 hours.  I was trying desperately not to lose it before the finish line.
  • I totally chicked a guy.  Granted that it was a dad running with his daughter and that we’d been out for over 5 hours, but I needed the little self confidence boost.
  • I still cheered for myself at the finish line.  
Sunday 1 May 2011 – Post-Race:
  • Saw the rest of my friends after getting my medal.  Nice to at least say hi.
  • Found Colin and promptly fell apart.  He wouldn’t even tell me his time at the start because he got a 20 minute PR, but I forced it out of him.
  • Stole Picked up lots of food at the buffet.  Got to say the bonus of being near the end is that there is still lots of food and no lines.  They gave us a handy drawstring bag when we came into the food area so I took advantage and loaded up.
  • Got changed and walked over to Yaletown for pizza and drinks with friends.  A few of us were celebrating and a few of us were drowning our sorrows (me in pop, but it felt the same).  
  • Walking to lunch and then to the Skytrain really helped with recovery.  As much as I wanted to just sit around and do nothing it was good to have to move.  The stairs down to the car kind of sucked, but in a good way.
  • Picked up Spud and went home to lick my wounds.


5 responses

  1. Congrats on #2, sorry it wasnt the race you wanted.

    May 19, 2011 at 9:28 pm

  2. Sorry you didn't get the result you were hoping for. I've had that and nothing drives me crazier than people who tell me “oh but you still did great” when I know I am much more capable. Congrats on finishing and look forward to the next one 🙂

    May 19, 2011 at 11:54 pm

  3. Amy

    I have to admit, I'm putting on a brave face, but I'm also still licking my wounds from that race. I'm sorry you didn't have a better race. When are you going to start training for marathon #3?!

    May 20, 2011 at 2:20 am

  4. Great race report..hopefully you can pull out some good from the race and kill it on the next one!

    May 20, 2011 at 3:02 pm

  5. I'm a new follower!

    I'm sorry you didn't have the race you wanted, but I guess some of them have to be “character-builders” right? I'd never thought about stocking up on GUs at races, but now I'll have to because you're right about their expense.

    May 25, 2011 at 11:07 pm

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