First and foremost, my sincerest apologies to the Surrey International World Music Marathon for this oh-so-late recap. As a marathon blogger I fully admit that I fell down on the job… Better late than never (right?!).
I ran the half marathon on 29 September 2013 and it was my second year doing this race. As my last post explained, I was not as prepared as I had originally wanted to be. I was going to go out and run to finish. After that post went up my Twitter (now real life) friend, Brandi, told me that she wanted to run the half on a whim. She was going for sub-2:30 and, as I didn’t have any sort of goal, I said I’d run it with her if she wanted me to.
On race day, Brandi and I met up near the start line. She was with a couple of other friends, one of whom (Kendall) was running her first half ever, and, after I said goodbye to Colin and Spud, we all huddled in the crappy fall weather together. Wind and rain is perfect for race day, don’t you agree? Yeah. That was a fun treat. I decided warm and soaked was better than overheating with a jacket, but it was super chilly to begin with.
We started out together with the intention of keeping with the 2:30 pace bunny. However, after only 1-2 kilometres Brandi and the others were pulling away. I decided to stick with the pacer and let them go. In the almost 5 years I’ve been running I have never once run a race with a pacer. I thought I’d give it a go. Surprisingly, I was able to keep up for the most part. I’d lose her a bit on the ups, but catch up again on the downs. I was surprised to hear, somewhere around 8km, that we were actually running a mid-6km/hr pace (pacers run 10min/walk 1min and accommodate for walk breaks). I have huge self-doubts when it comes to running fast so it was a nice boost of confidence. After that there was a long steady uphill. I power-walked most of it, but the pacer (as well as Brandi et al.) was never out of sight.
Unfortunately, this is where my race – or rather, my shoes – started to crap out. I knew my shoes were nearing the end of their running life since I’d taken them to Disneyland in the summer. But, as it was my first pair of Altra Provisioness shoes, I didn’t know the indicator for dead. In my old shoes it was always my knees. At 12km I started to get severe hip flexor pain. I haven’t had that in years! That was obviously the indicator! And so, I slowed down, walked when I needed to, and grimaced my way along for the next 9km.
At about 19ish-km I came upon Brandi and Kendall. They were steady, but both hurting and ready for the race to be over (me too)! I decided it would be far more fun to finish the race with Brandi, seeing as we intended to run together anyways. Kendall went along ahead of us, looking strong so close to the finish. Brandi and I decided it was for the best if we walked when necessary. We had it figured out that we could walk a large chunk of the last couple of kilometres and still make sub-2:30. On the last downhill we were surprised to see Solana out taking pictures (and waiting for marathoners Nikki and Krista)! Brandi went over for a hug and I kept on going, fearing that if I stopped I wouldn’t start again. At the last corner the 2:30 pace bunny was waiting. It was such a nice touch that she was around to see some of us finish!
I “sprinted” to the finish, gathering Spud as I went, and we crossed the line together. I finished in 2:27:08, taking 20 minutes off of last year’s time.
Even though I finished only a few seconds ahead of Brandi it took me a couple of minutes to find her. But when I did I gave her a huge hug! While I was happy with my time I was even happier (and super proud) that she got her sub-2:30!!
Oh, and did I mention that the medals for this race are obscenely huge?!
If you have read my blog for any length of time you’ll know that I don’t run a lot of short distance races. That all changed on 3 June. I was fortunate enough to be an ambassador for Earth Run and ran the 10k at Jericho Beach in Vancouver (there was a 5k as well). This was the perfect race to be re-introduced to the distance. There are a lot of larger 10k events in Vancouver – like the almost 50,000 strong Sun Run – but a small event has huge advantages.
1. Mellow Atmosphere. A small crowd means less opportunity for race day jitters. I knew that I just wanted to go out to complete the distance in a decent (for me) time and not having huge crowds made it so much nicer. It’s definite a family friendly event. There was a small expo with about 6 tents – some vendors, some beneficiaries. The Vancouver Aquarium and Young Naturalists’ Club of BC booths had Spud occupied for ages.
2. Small Race Field. If I was a faster runner this would be the race I’d want to go to! Such a great chance of placing since there were only 71 finishers in the 10k and 48 in the 5k.
3. Easy Package Pick Up. Considering there was really just the chip (on a returnable ankle band to be no-waste) and shirt to pick up it didn’t seem like there was much of a wait. I had a bit of an awkward moment when I had to find the race organizer to say I wasn’t on the list (my contact wasn’t present). He was understanding and gave me my items. My shirt (a unisex small) went to Colin, who’s quite happy about it. The only problem with not being on the list is that my result is just a comma since there was no first or last name. Oh well, I know it was me!
4. No Crowds. The course was on an open park path and having fewer numbers was totally beneficial. There was never the feeling that we were in the way or people were in our way. It was an out and back along the ocean and, since the weather cleared once we started, there was a gorgeous view of the mountains.
5. Affordable. The race is $25/5k and $35/10k. In Vancouver that is a great price. Generally 5k’s start at the 10k price, so that’s really something that they have going for them!
6. Plentiful Post-Race Snacks. I know this seems like a silly point, but it’s nice to roll into the finish line close to the end and know that there will still be stuff waiting for you! Oranges, bananas, water, and an energy drink were enough to tide me over until I could get to lunch. Since the race aims to have a low to no environmental impact even the cups were recycled cardboard.
All in all I had a great time at Earth Run! I was quite happy with my time (1:05:31) considering I really hadn’t done any sort of faster training. I ran/walked it, but was completely fine with that. I was breaking in my Saucony Mirage’s at the time too… My watch did say the course was just shy of 10k, but there were two variables that could account for that: I started my watch a few seconds late and user error on the flour-marked gravel path (I’m sure I didn’t run the exact same path as measured)! I think my favourite parts of the race were the atmosphere, the view, and having Colin and Spud waiting for me at the finish line.
Thank you Earth Run for letting me represent you online! I had a fantastic experience and I’m sure Colin and I will come back next year to run!
The Half Corked Marathon in Oliver, British Columbia, Canada is not as it seems. It is not a marathon. It isn’t even a half marathon. However, it is 18-ish kilometres that’s run through vineyards and wineries and filled with a lot of wine. It’s also a really good time!
Colin and I heard about the race last year through friends of ours who had participated. Seeing as we were just getting “into” wine – Colin’s parents moved into those parts and wineries are something fun to go to while we are up there – we didn’t sign up. This year, though, we were on the ball! We made sure we signed up to know when the registration date would be. We made sure that one of us (Colin – I was at run clinic prior to dropping out) was home at the odd opening hour of 7pm on a Tuesday. And we breathed a sigh of relief when we confirmed that we’d be 2 of the 600-some-odd runners/walkers. I say it was a relief to get in because it sold out in 3 minutes!
At the end of May we packed up our bags and headed to my in-laws. Conveniently it was my mother-in-law’s birthday the day before the race so we got to give her the “gift” of spending time with Spud the day after… We had anticipated making a sneaky escape from the house race morning, but Spud had other plans. He refused to go to sleep the night before unless we promised to wake him up before we left. Of course, he was sound asleep come morning, but we knew he’d be upset if we didn’t keep our word so we got him up, settled him on the couch with cartoons (because the grandparents weren’t up yet – it was 6:20am), and said goodbye.
It was about an hour’s drive to the race and we thought we’d see a ton of wildlife on our way because it was so early, but we were disappointed. After seeing 3 bears, a couple of deer, and a kamikaze mouse who almost bit the dust under our front tire on the way up, all we saw was a marmot sunning him/herself on the side of the road. So, a pretty uneventful drive.
In order to get to the race start we had to board school buses and be driven about 15 minutes to the start, at Hester Creek and Gehringer Brothers (they shared a driveway). It was quite comical to ride in a bus full of costumed adults (yes, it’s definitely that type of race!) who obviously hadn’t been on a bus in a very long time. There was a lot of shrieking from the back when we went over bumps!
Colin and I signed up for the first of three waves, mainly to beat the heat in the early afternoon. Temperatures that day ranged from 17C/63F at 9am to close to 27C/81F by 1pm so we really wanted to get done as early as possible. Of course, that’s relative since we finished in just over 3 hours… We hung out at the start and critiqued the costumes – Colin was “a runner” and I was “a runner in a sparkly skirt”. The race started fairly on time (not that it really mattered) and we ran down the drive and onto a dirt/sand path. Thankfully I didn’t get a shoe full of sand at any point! I had dusty feet, but nothing blister-inducing.
I forced Colin to Colin and I decided to run together at this race since it was just for fun. In the 3 years we’ve been running it is the very first time we have run a race together. And, quite honestly, probably the last until next year!
Our first winery with a wine/water stop (no wine at/drunks before the start) was Inniskillin. This was fun for a bunch of reasons:
- We love their wine.
- We got to sample white and red wine – don’t ask about types for any of the wineries as I didn’t even think to look – at 8:50am. It’s apparently never too early…
- They had snacks. Carrots, fig newtons, alphabet pretzels, and Timbits! Really, a sommelier’s nightmare, but breakfast for us.
- Wine tasting wasn’t a requirement, but it was obviously encouraged. 98% of the runners went in. The 2% who took the road past instead got booed.
Next up was Road 13. The good part was that we got to try their Rosé wine. The bad part was that we had to run up a hill to get it. I walked. Colin ran. After that quick jaunt it was back down the hill and over to the next winery (sense a pattern here?).
Rustico Farm & Cellars was pretty fun. After being greeted by 2 cowboys (who apparently wrangle grapes, not livestock) it was another hill. I forced myself to run up this one just to get a hill repeat out of it (I’m training for Ragnar…). The guy in the “Running Sucks” t-shirt gave me a good laugh. At the top I got a sheriff badge button that would give me a discount later in the day – good marketing, that! Had the requisite white, red, and water. Also had the added bonus of cocktail weenies. It’s amazing what you’ll eat on the run when finishing is the ultimate goal.
After Rustico we crossed the highway (thank goodness for traffic controllers – stop & go people – so we didn’t get smucked) and had a bit of a run til the next break. It was along a shaded path and across the Okanagan River. You can’t really see it in the left sign, but it says “The Drowning Machine” in reference to the weir.
Church & State was our 4th winery of the day. It was a little bit of a climb up to it, but well worth it. Another of our favourites. Colin commented that he was looking for the fullest cup so the girl brought over the bottle and gave him a good half cup (think red plastic cup size…). Goofed off a little, was thankful for the port-a-potties at each stop, and headed on.
I started to feel pretty tired at this point. I am still breaking in my Saucony Mirage’s (they’re a 4mm drop if you’re a #runnerd) and this was my longest run to date in them. When I stopped to walk on a very tiny incline Colin asked if I was doing okay. I replied that I was “lazy”. And then got an earful. So I revised it to “my legs are fatigued…” Back down the hill we went and along the river for a good while. The shade was very welcome!
Silver Sage was probably my favourite stop on the route. They had quite a few wines to choose from and it was really shady. It was quite a busy stop! They also had a lot of food – mini quiche, fruit, freezies, crackers, etc – which was greatly appreciated. We were hungry by then!
After Silver Sage it was up to Stoneboat (another walking hill…) and their citrus granita.
We may or may not have had multiple servings of that! Their part of the course was really nice since we got to run through the vineyard. I made Colin take pictures of me for my blog – here’s my favourite:
Oliver Twist was awesome too. Mainly because they had grapes in their wine and apple fritters to eat. I definitely shouldn’t have had 3 pieces since I cramped up not long after, but it seemed worth it at the time!
The stretch after Oliver Twist was a little rough. Not only did I have a food rock in my stomach, but I realized that I’d neglected to drink water at the last 2 wineries. Oops! Good thing refreshments were close at hand (unfortunately, though, coming right before a monster hill). We were treated to Sangria and cucumber gazpacho by Tinhorn. Again, not runner fare usually, but so welcome. I made sure to drink plenty of water as well. We ran a little bit more together until Colin told me he had itchy legs. I guess that’s what happens when you run slower than usual. Not that I’d know. So he took off and horrified all the people who elected to walk up the hill.
We met up again at Desert Hills. I had something white (Viognier? Gewurztraminer? Chardonnay? Don’t know.) and a lot more water. Colin stayed with me this time, but we got passed by a couple dressed as a hot air balloon and anchor. Only slightly embarrassing, but more so for Colin than me.
It was a pleasant surprise to find Nk’Mip (in-ka-meep; no, I had no idea the first time either) at the top of the hill with ice cold Reisling!
After that we only had one more stop at Quinta Ferreira before the finish. They were at the bottom of a hill because I felt speedy running down to them!
It was nice to get back down into Oliver and know the finish line was near! I didn’t make Colin cross the line holding hands (I should have) and we finished in just over 3 hours. Honestly it was the slowest, most relaxed, fun race we’ve done. After finishing we got commemorative wine glasses instead of medals (we also got a bottle of wine with each of our race packages) – with drink tickets for more tastings from wineries not on the route – and a decent bag lunch of a sandwich, salad, fruit, and dessert. We met up with our friend Laurie to eat and to catch up. Since it was getting pretty hot we headed our separate ways.
We got changed and hit up a few more wineries on the way home.
And went to bed at 9pm.
I must admit that this last recap of Hood To Coast is going to be a little picture intensive. Not sure how much there is to say about spending an afternoon on the beach! I don’t remember what time we actually got to Seaside. Thankfully we didn’t have to sit in traffic for very long – if you’ve read other recaps you’ll already know that it turned into a major parking lot. As Van #1 we were able to get to the beach with plenty of time to get settled and wander around.
|I must have taken this shot – note the slightly skewed horizon.|
|Mason, Jocelyn, Emily, Lauren, me – it’s hard to pretend to eat penne…|
There were lots of things to see:
|Lauren with Bart Yasso of Yasso 800s fame.|
|Megan running to the finish|
I’d love to be able to tell you that this is the absolute last post about HTC. Unfortunately I can’t do that just yet. I have at least 2 more and they’re important: a huge thank-you to all of the companies that supported us (no, it wasn’t just Nuun) and what I learned during what can only be described as a whirlwind trip.