After the excited of the Nanaimo Sport’s Achievement Awards, I found myself home around 11pm rushing to get everything I needed ready for Vancouver First Half the next day. I was in bed and asleep around midnight, waking up a few times as usual on race nights, then the alarm went off bright and early at 4:45am. Thankfully I don’t live very far from the airport so I honestly slept in as long as possible.
I arrived to find the airport fairly busy for a 6am flight on a Sunday morning. I had already checked in online so I simply headed straight for security. Everyone was on time so we actually got moving at 5:57am. A short plane ride (15-20) minutes and we landed at YVR. I got off the plane to a cold wind and hoped that it would die down over the next 2 hours.
I found the entrance to the Canada line and had a few minutes to spare before the train arrived. I think the sky train downtown was actually longer than the plane ride! Nevertheless, I arrived at the Yaletown station which was only about 100m from the Roundhouse Community Center with time to spare. In all, I went from Nanaimo to the race site in just under 1 hour. Now THAT beats taking the ferry any day! If only flights were cheaper!
Roundhouse was pretty empty when I arrived, so it was no problem picking up my number, checking my larger bag into bag check and hitting the washrooms. I then had a seat and waited for others to arrive. While waiting I noticed that my back had locked up, right behind my left shoulder blade. I tried everything but could not get it to release. I was definitely wishing Abe was nearby for a quick treatment.
Soon after it was time to warm up, so I headed out with Catherine Watkins and Craig Odermatt for an easy 15 minutes and then hit the line-up for the washrooms before it became too late. Unfortunately at that point I was a bit rushed and didn’t really get to finish my full warm up, opting to instead strip off and get in a few strides. It was nice to see Natasha Wodak-Fraser’s smiling face on the sidelines and I know she was just dying to hop on the start line. She would have demolished the entire woman’s field and quite possibly most of the men as well; however, after racing an awesome 9:02 indoor 3000m the night before and in the middle of prepping for World XC, it probably wouldn’t have been the smartest move.
Someone, somewhere sung O Canada and then we were off. Catherine Watkins, Anne-Marie Madden and myself soon found a groove together where we spent the next 10km basically. At that point, we could see Ultra star Ellie Greenwood coming back to us. I went through 10km in 37:38. Around this point, Catherine and Ellie started to pull away from me slowly and I found myself a few seconds back as I went through half way at about 39:40 with Anne-Marie a few seconds behind me.
Just after half way I attempted to take my first gel of the race; however, this was not going over so well. My stomach had already turned by this point so I think over the next 7km I got in about 2 small mouthfuls before I finally tossed it beside a km marker. Without the gel I started to bonk. I went down a small hill probably around 18-19km and my right quad nearly gave out. I hung on the best as I could, but I definitely slowed a lot during the last 5km fighting a battle between my bonking legs and my upset stomach.
Photo Credit: Leo Lam
The final hills before the finish were not easy and once I hit the top and the downhill towards the finish I gave it all I could give. Just before I rounded the final corner I could see the clock at 1:19:55 and I believe I muttered a few choice words before I crossed in 1:20:17 (1:20:16 chip) as 5th female. As soon as I was across the line, I could feel my back tighten up and my legs began to wobble.
Photo Credit: Rita Ivanauskas
I need to grow a butt ;)
Photo credit: Rita Ivanauskas
The end result wasn’t what I was hoping for as I know I am in much better shape; however, I do realize that considering how I felt in the 2 weeks leading up to the race which nearly made me pull out of the race before it started, it actually ended up being quite decent. I was only 19 seconds off my best time and my coach actually was surprised because he didn’t even think I would finish.
Rita captured my thoughts "that sucked"
Photo Credit: Rita Ivanauskas
Now here I am, a week later writing this blog. Am I happy or disappointed with my race? I have had time to reflect and I still have mixed feelings. Overall I am satisfied with my overall time and place; however, what I am dissatisfied with is how I handled myself over the latter part of the race, specifically the final 5km. I had a PB within my reach and I let my stomach win which led to the bonking of my legs. At the same time, I know I am in better shape and I know there is that PB in me so I will just have to try again.
Results are found here.