Sunday, May 5, 2013

A super-hot, but beautiful Vancouver Marathon...

Phew, well that's done. Today I ran my first Vancouver Marathon (and sixth in total) and it was a real hot and sweaty one.

Racing for the Finish Line
Racing for Finish Line Vancouver Marathon
I have to say that even though it was hard to run in this heat, it was a beautiful marathon. From start to finish there was green everywhere, combined with the clearest, crispest blue sky I think I've ever seen.

My first Canadian Marathon
Vancouver Marathon corral flags
For once it wasn't a super early start (I still got up at 4.45am though), but after today I wish that the full marathon had started before the half marathon and not at 8am.

Preparation is everything 
Marathon running kit
It may be freak weather for this time of year in Vancouver, but it really was too late to start and heating up already.

Black Corral Vancouver Marathon
Black Corral Vancouver Marathon
For me there was no time to acclimatise to running at the beginning, with full on heat up to 73° during the race. I've trained in L.A. in the Summer in hot weather, but never been in full-on race mode like this.

Getting ready to run

Fortunately there was shade from the tall pines in most areas and a welcome breeze, plus the views of the surrounding snow-capped mountains, beautiful sandy beaches, sea planes and overall nature in bloom more than made up for the heat.

It seemed like a real female-friendly race, with lots of real runners and a very fast pace overall. Maybe because I was in the second corral but I didn't spy so many costume runners, especially compared to the costumes at the Honolulu Marathon.

Fun supporters along the course
May the course be with you Marathon sign
There was quite a bit of support along the course though, including all the friends and family supporters and the locals with their fun signs to keep all the runners inspired and entertained.

There was also a real sense of camaraderie amongst the runners too which was really sweet, with lots of yellow ribbons for Boston amongst the see of colourful running gear - in girls hair, worn as bandanas, tied to arms and wrists, pinned to running clothes and belts. it was all very cool and inspiring to see.

I ran over Burrard Bridge
Burrard Bridge Vancouver
The course had more hills than expected (and rolling ones at that), especially in the first half of the race. Not to wish away the race and the spectacular scenery, but I knew that once I reached Burrard Bridge I'd be almost on the home stretch.

I prepped and ate well in the days up to the race, so I felt strong until the very end, despite the heat. Fortunately the Stanley Park Seawall and its scenic view was very inspiring and helped transport my mind those last 5-6 miles.

Last dash to the Finish Line
Last dash Vancouver Marathon Finish Line
As always, my support system Charlie was there near the end to snap some pictures as I raced by along Pender Street.

Vancouver Marathon Finish Line
Vancouver Marathon Finish Line
But overall it was so hot (I really shouldn't complain so much about it being such a glorious day), plus a tougher course than I imagined it would be. Still I managed to get my third fastest marathon time.

Finished the Vancouver Marathon in 3:50:26
after Vancouver Marathon
And that's it for the time being. Time to rest and recuperate. No more marathons for me this year. My shoulder, neck and knee need time to heal (although I still like the idea of carb loading on occasion).

I'm looking forward to seeing the official race photos, but now it's time to put my running shoes away until October at least, when I'll start training again for the L.A. Marathon 2014...

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