I registered for the BMO Vancouver Marathon back in about November. I was feeling really frustrated and defeated after my summer marathons (Calgary & Edmonton) as I didn’t come close to qualifying for Boston. I ran 3:46.22 and 3:44.59, respectively, at both of these events….well off the qualifying standard of 3:35.00. So when I decided to give my Boston qualifying attempt one more shot, I wanted to pick a race I hadn’t done before. And a race that was known for being a good course for qualifying. It was suggested to me by many people that Vancouver was the course for me. Sea level, rolling downhills, late Spring, spectator support, large city….I registered, booked a flight, and started thinking about my training.
I have mentioned before I had Dean Johnson create a training calendar for me. It was a 16 week training plan, which he took into account my previous fitness achievements and levels. Each day had set paces I needed to achieve and unique workouts. Dean went above and beyond and updated my training plan to reflect the success I was having in half marathon and 10 km distances in late winter/early spring. This training plan held me accountable, as I kept a log of how each workout went in a Google Doc, and it really pushed me above and beyond what I thought I was capable of.
So here comes May 1st. The day I travel to Vancouver. I was nervous, anxious, excited, scared….basically a pile of emotions. I had been training specifically for this event for 16 weeks, but as I drove to the Calgary airport, it occurred to me that I really have been training for this since my first half marathon in May 2004. I wrote about that half marathon here, as it was a race I ran in a daze….it was less than a week after my dad passed away unexpectantly from a heart attack. I have been running long distances ever since.
So this race was important. I have been committed to running long distances for now over 11 years. Some years were low, some have been high. The past two years have been a steady high, with breaking personal records, getting podium at local races, and feeling like I am in the best shape of my life. It was also low when I didn’t get that coveted Boston qualifying time. I was out on this run to prove to myself I was worthy of running in Boston.
The expo was held in Downtown Vancouver at the convention centre next to the Olympic torch. I had stayed with my good friends Alex & Tim in Burnaby the night before, and they were nice enough to drop me off down at my hotel for the night, which was near the expo. This hotel wasn’t originally in the plans, but my cousin Erin is too nice and booked me a room. She would be staying there too! I wandered over to the expo, and this is when I first started getting the chills….the expo was right on the water, it was a gorgeous, crisp and clear day, and the energy was high. Packet pickup was extremely fast, and before I knew it I was on the merchandise floor. There were not tons of vendors, but enough things to look at. I bought a Run Van tanktop, which I know I will wear lots in the summer, and some more Nuun tabs from their vendor table. Included in our race package (which was a drawstring backpack) was a commemorative shirt (which I really liked….a short-sleeved charcoal grey tech shirt), our race bib, and a transit ticket for the race morning.
I ended up going back to the hotel to nap in the afternoon, as I didn’t sleep well the night before and was a bit worn from all my travelling. Actually, before the nap I ordered pasta for lunch via room service. Eating that in bed while watching HGTV was fantastic. I was wide awake then when Erin and her friend Rob were ready to go get food for supper. We went to this sweet market nearby and bought sandwiches and salads, headed to Stanley Park, and had a picnic. The weather was gorgeous and this was a very relaxing way to spend the evening. We were back at the hotel somewhere around 7:30, which gave me tons of time to wind down and get prepared for the big event in the morning. I even was able to head to bed by 10 pm and slept great! Now I just needed the following Sunday to be the best run of my life……