Sunday, January 25, 2009

Vancouver Half Marathon Report

I did it! It wasn't a spectacular race for me but it was beautiful and exciting and very fun.

I knew it was going to be cold, so I thought a lot about how to dress for the 35 ish temps. I decided I'm a shorts girl to the core and I'd just layer up top and wear gloves and tough it out. I did not know, however, that it was going to SNOW! I saw a couple flakes yesterday but they said there could be a few flurries.. but this morning there was a legitimate layer of snow. Yikes! I decided to stick with the planned outfit- my North Face shorts, UA sleeveless layer, long sleeve tech shirt (my blue Boston one, which I wear when I'm feeling insecure, hehe), and gloves. It worked fine for the race.

The snow was beautiful and the Vancouver Lake area looked amazing. I've raced in cold weather but never ran a race in snow! Of course the above-freezing temps slowly melted the snow and made a nice layer of slush on the roads and trails. The course ran about half on a road and the other half on a paved bike path. The road wasn't bad, but the trail was yucky.

So the goal for the race was to try to run about 1:45. In retrospect, I should have been more realistic but whatever. I knew when I signed up for this race that the timing wasn't ideal... I ran a marathon 7 weeks ago and took about 3 weeks off after (including feasting like a king during the holidays, shut up you did it too), so I've really not been training for this. I ran like 25 miles a week for the last three weeks. I ran a long run of 10 miles two times. So not much. I knew I could run it though and why the hell not. :) Plus, Emily wanted to do it and it was going to be fun just to do our first race "together."

We picked up our bibs and did a little warm up before the 10:00 am start (love that!). We lined up close to the front because it wasn't chip-timed and we're conceited like that.

We started off very excited and very strong. We knew right away we weren't going the pace of the people around us, so we started to let them pass. A lot of people ran past us! Eventually we got caught up by a group more our pace. After seeing the third split I knew I couldn't maintain the pace so I told Emily to go on ahead. We were technically even ahead of HER pace, so way out of my range. I ran a couple more strong miles right behind her and then I slowed and she disappeared into the wild white yonder.

The middle miles were on a paved bike path through the park. It was way slushier than the road was and inhibited my pace. It definitely changed my stride a little..I felt like I wasn't getting that last little push off your toe because that's where I would slip. With every. single. step.

By the time I got back to the road at mile 8.5 or so I was just sick of it and generally getting tired. My lack of training was shining through! I had so far to go still and didn't even want to do it. I actually considered quitting. Like seriously considered it. No real reason, I was just over it. Well, I didn't end up seeing Zach where I thought I would and hardly got to talk to him when I did see him... and by that time I decided I'd just finish the stupid thing. I knew I had never quit a race and I decided today wouldn't be the first time I do. I also decided I wouldn't walk at all. The last few miles weren't as bad but I wasn't running any faster. I rounded through the park and could hear the finish line ahead and figured I would come in under 1:50, so I was happy with that. I was soooo glad to be done!

It's funny because looking back I basically did is a 5 mile tempo run followed by an 8.1 mile GA/Cool down (see times below). An excellent workout, not an excellent racing strategy. Anyway, I'm glad I ran some with Emily and maybe helped her from going out way to fast.. and the pace felt great at the time. I wanted to run faster later in the race but my body was not having it.

I saw Emily on my home stretch and was so glad to hear about her race after. She totally rocked it!! We checked the results and we both placed in our age groups! We waited around in the freezing cold for the award ceremony where we both received beautiful souvenir beer mugs! Hell ya!

Another very cool thing was that after I finished I knew I would get to see Cindy come through the finish because I had spotted her in the race! We've never actually met but I knew she was running and I'd seen her picture. Of course she is even more beautiful in person! :) She ran a very good race too and seemed to have fun. Cindy- It was so nice to meet you! We'll have to get together after the next one... sorry I seemed to have lost you after you got your medal. Great job out there! :)

I'm just relaxing this afternoon/evening... I am actually pretty sore! Slow time does not equal not sore. I have to admit I was pretty dissapointed in myself but I've realized where I really was fitness-wise, and that it's Ok! I've settled on calling it a helluva workout and a very fun day. :)

official stats:

1:49:02/8:19 avereage pace

3rd place AG/20
127 OA/338

first 5 miles in 39:22 (7:50 average pace)

last 8.1 miles in 1:10:38 (8:43 average pace)


surprisingly snowy morning

its freezing!

warming up

a couple hundred people at the start. around 34 degrees.

mile 3 smiles!

almost done with the slushy trail portion around mile 8.5

about mile 12

looping through park in final mile

near the finish

My photographer and #1 fan

picking up my winner's mug!

post-race mimosas

souvenir mug takes a trip to the hot tub

Youtube video of the start:


kelsalynn said...

I've been stalking your blog all day waiting for your race report... first of all, CONRATULATIONS on an awesome time. I know it's not under 1:45 like you wanted, but it's pretty DAMN close and considering the slush you ran in, I think you did fricken amazing. I can imagine how your stride would have been much shorter and just different in general b/c of the snow.

You should be totally proud of yourself, I AM!!!
Let me also say that you have HELLA SEXY LEGS GIRLFRIEND! The picture of you with your "#1 fan", your legs look amazing!

Also, I officially feel bad for complaining about 50 degree weather. =)


aron said...

WOOO congrats jen!!!! great report and very awesome pics! even though it wasnt the time you wanted you still did amazing!!!! a sub 1:50 is a great time and you should definitely be proud of yourself, especially given those COLD conditions. great job!!!

Alisa said...

Great job...despite the rough patches. You finished! Yay! And placed in your age yeah!

I love all your pictures...especially the post-race drinks hehe =).

Sarah said...

Zach needs to be the official photographer of all our races! They look so great! And good job not quitting - since you did fantastic! We need to get Cindy into our meet-ups!

Burger said...

Wow - great pics on what looks to be a cold, cold day.

Great job out there and great time - especially considering the conditions!

Inga B said...

Congratulations! I am going to have to agree with Kelsalynn - "pretty damn close" even with the snow and slush and everything leading up to the race!!! So two big thumbs up from me :)

Petraruns said...

Congratulations! Less than 5 minutes of a very ambitious in those conditions I think you did extremely well... Slush is awful to run in and the worst thing you could have done was fall.

Love the photos - Zach is good! - and you look very strong and confident. Well done and keep that lovely smile on.

Jen Rife said...

Um, is that SNOW on the ground in the pictures where you are wearing SHORTS? I'm pretty sure SHORTS and SNOW do not go together! Congrats on an awesome race!!

Mir said...

Sub-1:50 in those conditions after a nonideal training cycle is awesome! I hope you're not too disappointed, because I think you should be proud!

Now I really want a mimosa. :)

kristen said...

Way to stick it out when you wanted to quit so badly. Very inspirational - and hey you can't beat that souvenir. Great Job!! You looked great in the pics despite how you were feeling.

Kim said...

AWESOME RACE!! holy crap you kicked butt!!!!!

Marathon Maritza said...

Congratulations!! You kicked major bootay! I know it wasn't the time you wanted, but seriously, it looks like non-optimal conditions and, hello! Cold! And yay for mimosas and beer and #1 fans, oh my!

P.S. I agree, your legs do look awesome in that pic. :)

Cindy said...

i am so glad that i got to meet you!! you are just as nice and cute andfriendly as i thought you would be! you know, it's funny i thought about just bailing when i ran past the parking lot and saw my car.if i hadn't checked my gloves and hat, i might have- ha! it sucked to see everyone partying at the picnic area and still have over a mile left! well, you did really well. that's FAST!

Anonymous said...

Great job!!!! The pics are awesome and I cna't believe you were rocking shorts! I would have been a totally wuss and been covered head to toe! lol Congrats on placing as well :)

Amy said...

Any race that starts at 10am and hands out beer mugs needs to be praised! Great job sticking it out. Remember, the hard runs are the ones that build mental toughness. Something you'll need come November. Congrats on a great race and not giving up! (and getting 3rd!)

Anonymous said...

Nice job. I think you ran awesome. What great pictures. Looks like a nice and pretty race, maybe a bit cold, but nice!

Zach said...

Great job yesterday! I'm sure that mug will get plenty of use :)

Oz Runner said...

running through snow/slush..yikes
..great job on the run, and great time, got a mug even....enjoyed reading your race report....loved the description of the mental battle during the race.

Beth said...

Congrats! I'm sorry the race wasn't exactly what you had hoped but i think its a great result especially considering the conditions.

Amy said...

(thanks for your comment on my blog....I really appreciate the advice). I know I'll at least be drinking this week! :) Seriously though, thank you.

Kelly said...

Great race! Your time was awesome. And, I think I have your same northface shorts (really lightweight?) and I'm thinking about wearing them to my first half this spring. If running buddy doesn't make me wear a skirt...

Chad in the AZ Desert said...

That looks way too cold for me, but great job with the race!

ShirleyPerly said...

Oh my, that snow and slush would have done me in!

Way to gut it out and finish the race. I'd be happy with a sub 1:50 half in those conditions and undertrained. Congrats on third place!!

Donald said...

Those pictures are great. I love the alternating B&W with color for the snowy shots - it's like the only difference you can tell is the color of the runners' shirts and jackets. Very artsy.

Doesn't make me want to be there, though. Congrats on running through the cold.

KK said...

This post is f'ing hilare. My favorites:
-Wearing the Boston shirt when feeling self-conscious.
-We're conceited like that
-Shut up, you know you did it too

Way to wrap your head around the mission and finish the task despite feeling frustrated and over it. Definitely a character building experience, esp in the snow. But you had a great "workout" run and an awesome finish-congrats on the beer mug! Does this mean it's now officially on to IM training?

Julianne said...

Omg, a 10 am start time? How awesome is that? Holy cow, you ran sub 8 min mile the first 5 miles? Geesh. Are you sure you want to run with me??? :-)

Great race report and congrats on finishing 3rd in your age group!!

Um... I can't believe so many people ran in shorts in THAT weather!

Ewen said...

Shorts in the snow! Showoff.

I like "near finish" - would be perfect with the walker rubbed out.

Great race - got to be worth, oh, 1:42 on a sunny day :)

Nitmos said...

Congratulations! That's still a pretty strong run considering the conditions and timing of the event. P.S. I love those coast pictures previously. Very nice. You are going to have a great 2009.

AddictedToEndorphins said...

Umm--are those shorts you're wearing? And there was snow on the ground?? :) You're crazy! Congrats on the race. Loved the report and all the pics. Rest up!

melinda said...

Congratulations! That is an awesome time. You are so fast! Also, I love your photos. The scenery is great.

Also, thanks for your comment on my blog about my swimming! I figure, if I am the slowest, I have the most room to improve :)

Austin is wonderful.. but so is Portland!

N.D. said...

Great job and time! Eek , it does look freezing!

P.O.M. said...

That's a great time my dear. Damnnnnnn it looked cold. It looked slippery too. I'm sure I would have slipped and landed on my coolo.

Ted said...

You... you... you ran in short in this freezing weather? Amazing ! Those mimosa looks so good!

Congrats on completing the Half Marathon.

kelsalynn said...

Hey Jen, I hope your recovery period is treating you well!

Michele said...

Another awesome race and report.
You may not have gotten the time you wanted but you finished when you wanted to quit. Money in the ironman bank!!!

Steve Stenzel said...

NICE JOB!! That's a great pace, AND you got 3rd in your AG. So don't be disappointed in that!!

Great photos too!!!

And I wrote this in the comments on my blog, and I thought I'd let you know....

"No, sorry Jen, but he actually cried on Idol. I know he's a judge on America's Got Talent, but this was him crying watching the live finale of Idol.

I'm such a loser for knowing all that..."

Yep, we're BOTH losers for being a little too involved with reality TV. We need help.