June the 22nd was the day I had been looking forward to most of all, as I was about to run my second half marathon, the Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon, and vowed to do better than my last half marathon in November 2013, where I had first started to have knee trouble, and my full marathon in May 2014, where the knee trouble was even worse. I had gone on some gentle long runs and had been continuing to train with Forerunners on West 4th – a 12-week long clinic that took us out to Jericho Park on Wednesday evenings to do drills; on Saturday mornings we did our long runs. I joined most Saturdays, but not all, so as not to over-stress the knee. I also cut out alcohol, caffeine and sugar during the week before the half marathon to see if that would make any difference. Well it seems that it did indeed, as I managed to complete the half marathon in my shortest and best time ever, and without any pain whatsoever. It was a beautiful day, a lovely easy course, and our running clinic coach was out at the Burrard Bridge to cheer us on, which was a great help as I was otherwise, inevitably, on my own. I cannot say that I ran all the way, but probably about 80 to 90% of the time I was running and I was tired by the end, however, I was extremely proud of myself, because I finished in 2:28:27 with a pace of 7:03. I had even managed the first 10K at a Personal Best time of 1:03:49! I came 2866th out of 3334 runners, 1528th out of 1883 females and 109th out of 138 females in my 5-year age category. I decided that this was my happy zone, and that I should get a few more half marathon races under my belt before tackling a full marathon again. The featured charities for this race were Cassie & Friends: A Society for Children with Juvenile Arthritis and other Rheumatic Diseases, The Kettle Society, and Spinal Cord Injury BC, but participants were encouraged to raise funds for 74 other listed charities.
As it was, I took 10 weeks off over the summer to travel in Northern Europe, though I did get in a 5K run with a couple of friends in Paris in early July. Otherwise, after the travel for fun, I then had a couple of weeks of travel for business, on planes and in automobiles and eating not very healthy food. My body seems to have weathered the storm, however, as I had not gained any significant amount of weight from the lack of daily exercise or the change in food – I was just lucky, I guess, unless I have actually managed to change my body's metabolism due to my training and diet since April 2013. Wouldn't that be nice, if it were true!
Travel finally over, I was able to start back into running on the 4th of September and just in time, too, as my first race of the Fall season was on September 13th, the Vancouver Eastside 10K. Once again, I was repeating a race from last year, this time an honest distance comparison, as both times I ran 10K. I think it was the exact same route and I do remember walking up those hills on the course last year, whereas this year I ran up all of them. There were more people running this year, too. Last year was the inaugural year of this race, and there were certainly a lot more people on the sidelines cheering us on last year than there were this year. And, even after sprinting the last few yards toward the finishing line, it was to my great surprise that my chip time this year was exactly the same as my chip time last year at 1:12:45. I was astounded, but definitely OK with the result, since I had pretty much taken the whole summer off from running and had had only two 5K- and one 15K-practice runs prior to the race, as well as another half-walk-half-run around Stanley Park (roughly an 8K distance) pushing my 91-year-old mother in her wheelchair as her birthday treat. (I walked while I pushed her chair through the sunny bits and ran while pushing her chair through the shady bits so that she wouldn't feel the cold so much.) If you compare the following results to those of the race last year (in a previous blog posting) you will see just how many more people ran this race this year. I came 1306th out of 1461 runners overall, with a pace of 7:17, 650th out of 767 females and 62nd out of 71 females in my 5-year age group. Like last year, the following charities were the real winners of this race: Downtown Eastside Women's Centre, Watari Counselling and Support Services, and Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society. Below is a photo taken at the race and “borrowed” from the Vancouver Eastside 10K race Facebook page.