The first section of the race route was through a bit of Stanley Park and finally we were able to gain a slight momentum as the first toilets and water stations approached and the least experienced runners made stops. Down Beach Avenue it became a little easier, consequently, but then most people stopped running once again so as to walk up the hill toward Burrard Bridge. The bridge itself wasn’t too bad nor was Burrard Street after that and by now the sun was out so Vancouver was looking more cheerful. The longest stretch was down 2nd/6th Avenue and for a while there, it looked like we were getting into a jam ahead, as we could see the mass of runners and walkers ahead of us. Finally, the last bit was over the Cambie Bridge and into the BC Place Stadium area where the finish line was located. A good course, but I felt I really could have run faster had it not been for the walkers blocking our path.
The results were as follows: I finished the 10 kilometres in 1:08:34 at a pace of 6:51. It was almost a personal best, but not quite, as I managed to complete the 10K run in Jericho Park on 30 March 2014 17 seconds faster. Once again, I blame it on the walkers who disregarded the rules to move off to the right and let runners pass them on the left. I came 18,524th out of 43,106 participants, 7,864th out of 23,762 females and 444th out of 1,831 females in my 5-year age group. I even beat by eight and a half minutes the time of a high school classmate of mine who was always more sporty than I back in the day and had run this particular race a few times before, whereas it was my first time. Needless to say, I was happy about that!
Exactly one week later, on 4 May, I proudly completed my first marathon race, the BMO Vancouver marathon (42.2 kilometres), despite it being a miserable, wet day! Imagine how well I might have done, had it been sunny and dry! Definitely not my fastest race, because at about kilometre 23 I had to start walking due to knee pain. I did not get first aid until reaching kilometre 30 something in Stanley Park. Once a nurse had taped and bound my knee, and her colleague had supplied me with a bottle of water, a banana and a space blanket, I was then able to hop along the route à la Terry Fox for a while. At the next First Aid station, a couple of kilometres on, I was able to get an Ibuprofen to alleviate the swelling and, more importantly, the pain so that after the medicine kicked in I did manage to start running again for the last few kilometres. Two guys on bicycles doing the sweep kept me company for a while, but had they told me that there were three Japanese runners just ahead of me, I might have made the extra effort to run past them.
Nonetheless, the important thing is I did make it through the finish line before the deadline and many people never managed to do that. However, like I told the First Aid guys, I was determined to finish and finish it I did. Here are a few statistics for those of you who like them. I came 3,774th out of 4,934 full marathon participants, but I also finished the half way point (a half marathon i.e. 21.1 km) at a Personal Best time of 2:52.51 (despite the time wasted at 2 toilet stops). My chip time and pace time were seriously compromised due to my knee pain, but I will state that in the full marathon, I came 1,623rd out of 2,118 females, and 138th out of 185 females in my 5-year age group. And I only started running 13 months ago! It only goes to show that if you want to achieve something personally and you train for it, then you can! I can also tick this goal off my bucket list!
In the first photo below, I am waiting in the last corral to approach the start line. Hopefully, you’ll get an idea of just how wet it was … and the rain continued throughout the day! The other photo shows the finisher medal, the souvenir t-shirt, the sponsor’s gloves, the bandage that was wrapped around my left knee during the last few kms around Stanley Park and an example of power gels that were handed out during the course after about the 15th km, along with copious cups of water.
The charities gaining from this race are as follows: Down Syndrome Research Foundation, Ronald McDonald House British Columbia, Canuck Place Children’s Hospice, Habitat for Humanity Greater Vancouver and Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
Not sure how my knee would manage future races, I nonetheless went ahead and ran a shorter 8K race on 25 May 2014 in the Kerrisdale area of Vancouver. The purpose of the Oasis Shaughnessy 8K run, which went along a double loop through the hilly part of Shaughnessy, and started and ended at the Kerrisdale Arena at West 41st Avenue and West Boulevard, was to support the BC Epilepsy Society. BC’s Lieutenant Governor, Judith Guichon, was on hand to congratulate the runners. There was a constant drizzle accompanying us throughout the race, but it was not as bad as 4 weeks ago and manageable. The course was well marked and the downhill section at the end helped me achieve another personal best for an 8K time of 00:55:22 beating my 8K run of 23 March (9 weeks earlier) by 2 minutes and 36 seconds. With less participants to compete against, I placed 221st out of 260 over all, 99th out of 127 females and 11th out of 14 females in my 5-year age group. My knee? Yes it was sore, but I pushed through nonetheless, and I might take an Ibuprofen before my next race (a 10K at UBC) on 13 June as a preventative medicine.