March 9, 2013, my first ever half marathon. I went into it saying I just wanted to finish, didn’t care about the time, just doing this for fun, I’m breezy! And then I finished in 2:01:49, and boy did those 109 seconds do their best to show me how very not breezy I was. So two months later, we did a little family trip to Vancouver, where I ran the BMO half, with the express goal of finishing under 2 hours. First and last time I ever ran a race with a specific goal other than finishing.
A lot happened in the next five years. I did a run the year challenge in 2015 and got a lot faster. Then an extremely pesky plantar wart tried to kill me and I got a little slower. Then I went through menopause and got a lot slower. I’ve (mostly) accepted the fact that that I’ll never run a sub-2 half again. I did it 19 more times after that first one in Vancouver, so I guess I’ve had a good run, so to speak. And now that I’ve stopped caring about results and just run like a normie, I am way more relaxed on race day. Which means I can actually have fun during race weekend, which means it was time for a no kids, just the girls weekend in Vancouver starring Bax and Barr!™
What a perfect weekend away! One of those magical trips where everything goes right. Killer weather, no traffic, we even had a hot border patrol agent.
Some highlights, if you’re ever planning a trip and you’re without kids so you don’t have to spend an entire day at Science World. Tartine, home of spicy tuna melts, excellent pies, and my new favorite thing, avocado toast. (Thanks, millennials!) We went to both locations, and they were a little different, so you should also go to both locations, to be thorough. The Black Lodge, a Twin Peaks-inspired restaurant serving vegetarian comfort food; it was really thoughtful of them to open a business just for Jessica. I’ve never had real pulled pork, but their veggie pulled pork was everything I dreamed it would be and then some. The Shipyard night market was the coolest thing with the most beautiful views, and I’m so annoyed that nothing in Seattle really comes close. There’s another night market in Richmond, and we definitely would have gone to that the next night to compare and contrast, but sadly they weren’t opening until the following weekend. Kind of unfair that they have two nighttime outdoor flea markets with live music and food trucks while we have zero. As always, I suck at remembering to take pictures, but I did notice that my room had very flattering lighting, so here’s the first of the exactly two photos I took on this trip.
Oh right, this is a race recap. Sunday morning was very warm and sunny, even early in the day. I was so glad I wasn’t doing the full,* because even with the 7 am start time, it felt pretty hot running the half. The full didn’t start until 8:30 so I’m sure it got a lot hotter. This is overall a great race, with a beautiful course. For the most part, it’s well organized, but they really need to put in more port-a-potties at the start. I managed to get into one before my corral was starting, but there were plenty of people who had to make a hard decision, and maybe ended up with some chafing. Enough said about that.
BMO is knows for being a fast course. It’s a nice downhill start, and mostly flat for the rest of it. I was not feeling fast by any means, but I never feel fast anymore. I may have been feeling exceptionally low on energy because we did a lot of walking the day before, and I recently found out my iron is very low. So this “fast” course felt like a bit of a slog to me, but I was able to just take my time and enjoy it. The warm weather definitely wasn’t helping, but there were a lot of shady stretches that felt like very refreshing areas of refuge. I was losing steam toward the end, but as we rounded the last corner I was ready to power through to the finish. That last corner was after my Garmin had beeped for mile 13 so it was a rude awakening to see how far away the finish line was after that. That final stretch was loooong and kind of brutal and was way more than .1 mile. My watch said 13.4 at the end and I felt every step of it. Oh well, if an extra .3 miles is what it takes to get that 78 cents on the dollar exchange rate, the trade was worth it!
*I’m always glad when I’m not doing a full.