Monday, April 11, 2016

That's a PR (April Fool's Run Race Report)

As usual I'm a little late getting up my race report but alas this one is a gooder!!
Last weekend was my first trip to the Sunshine Coast. I've heard spectacular things about Gibsons and Sechelt but from the 7 years we've lived on the Island we never got the chance to check out the beautiful Sunshine Coast.
When choosing my races for this year I had to reach out to my sister to help me find a race that happened near the beginning or up to the middle of April. There wasn't anything on the Island that appealed to me timing wise. For some reason she can find you a race anywhere in the world. So when we came across the BMO April Fool's Run it peaked my interest.

Going in to this run I thought it would be an easy one. It boasts a net downhill course. Much to my dismay though... it was not all downhill. 

We took a ferry from Nanaimo to Horseshoe Bay on Friday evening. The ferries were super busy but the weather was looking awesome.

We got to Horseshoe Bay and then got on the Langdale Ferry. Unfortunately due to heavy traffic we had to wait for the next (last) ferry. Needless to say it turned in to a bit of a late night.

Our hotel was a bit run down and old looking but it was clean and the manager was very nice. There were other runners staying there too. It was only 2 blocks from the start one so super convenient. 
We got a bit of a sleep in Saturday morning and wandered around the town of Gibsons to find some coffee and breakfast. 
We then hoped in the car and decided to drive the half marathon route so I could get a look at this course. I had my bottle Nuun keeping me hydrated in the car.
It became quite clear early on this was not going to be as easy as I thought. There were many rolling hills and 3 pretty big climbs. This is when I accept that this might not be a PR for me after all.

Once we passed the nice town of Sechelt (also the finish area) we got the chance to explore the area.

We came across many beautiful beaches for the kids to play.
The weather continued to impress us so we just kept stopping at different beaches to keep exploring.

After some great fun we headed back towards Gibsons so I could go pickup my race package. 
We came across some pretty spectacular views and chatted with some locals.

Downtown Gibsons has charm and character. All of the light posts have cute little bird house attached to them and gorgeous bright colours. There is some beautiful green space that overlooks the harbour.

Lots of little ponds and gardens.

The best part is the Beachcombers was filmed here. This is going to date me a bit but Beachcombers is a Canadian classic. I believe the fist episode was in 1972 and ran for 19 seasons. Of course the town is very proud of its fame.

So we of course did a few photo ops!!

So after a wonderful day of exploring we had some dinner at the local past place and headed back to the hotel for a little rest.

I woke up Sunday morning after having a pretty awesome sleep. That almost never happens day before races. I felt calm and ready to run. 
I put on my brand new Soas team tank and sports bra. Loving the new gear!!!

This was a pretty small scale race. Only 400 people. 
The race start time was set for 9:17  (I love late starts).

As I was walking to the start line I ran into some of my fellow Nuun athletes. We said our hello's and headed to the start.

After the gun went off I held back a bit. I wanted to ease into things before getting down to business. Right from the beginning you head up a hill before turning left and then left again and then you start flying downhill (for now).

The first 10km was fun. I was more then on track for getting a PR today.

Then things got ugly. The second half of the race we had some pretty good sized climbs ahead of us. Shortly after the halfway mark some guy came out of nowhere and started chatting me up. I'm pretty sure he was on a relay team because he seemed pretty spry to be chatting so freely as I was sucking wind big time. To add insult it was just as we are starting to climb our first of 3 hill climbs.

No what goes up must come down, but racing downhills is tough on the quads. I could have played things safe and not pushed so hard on the downhills but I knew we had that last big climb at 16km that was an entire km long. That is where I would lose time. So when I had a nice solid downhill I kept things rolling. 
I kept checking my splits at each km. I knew I had room not not a lot of room. When I finally hit that 16km mark and started the climb out of Roberts Creek I noticed everyone was walking. I had to make a decision. Keep pushing on the climb and run just as fast as the walkers or just bite the bullet and walk the nasty hill and just giver on the 4 km downhill to the finish. I picked plan B just walk the tough part and make up time on the downhill.

After that big climb I just let it all go. I cruised down those last 4 km. The one thing that really stood out for me was at the 18km mark there was a volunteer that told me I was looking so strong. The thing is I felt really strong. I kept my feet under my hips as I rolled down those hills. I was hurting but still feeling in control. I could hear the finish line approaching. 

My family was there waiting for me. I looked up at the clock and it was 1:47:52
I couldn't believe it. Even with a bit of walking up that monster hill I was able to finally get a sub 1:50:00
I will remind you all I was never a runner. Going in to triathlon running was always my weakest. Over the last 5 years I have worked my butt off to get under the 1:50:00
I must say reaching this goal has got to be one of my happiest moments.

I can honestly say I had a great race. It was not easy, in fact I think this was the toughest half marathons I have done. All those hills gave me a run for my money. I feel very accomplished. After this great race effort and last weeks sprint tri I'm feeling like this season is shaping up well. 2016 will be a good one I'm sure. I still have a long road ahead of me until Penticton at the end of August but I'm off to a pretty good start.

Until next time, enjoy the views!!!