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Hi, I'm Whitney! I am a middle of the pack runner who discovered the fun of triathlons in 2009. Join me in my adventures in life and training. I run with the Rush Running team and enjoy the fun that comes with such a supportive group of friends who understand what running means to me. I'm newly discovering road biking and the fun that it entails.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

SeaWheeze Half Marathon Race Recap

Race morning dawned at a lovely 64 degrees and overcast.  The weather was perfect for a half marathon.  Our hotel was about a 10 minute walk from the race start line and so we delayed heading down for as long as we could.  Finally around 6:30 we started the walk to the start line.  In our hotel lobby, the race had set up a fresh fruit stand and free coconut water.

We arrived to the race site and the DJ had the scene pumping.  The area was crowded with lots of people but we were able to run into the expo building to use real potties!  It was so nice to have indoor real bathrooms to use.  Then we began the trek to the starting corrals.  It was very crowded and people weren't moving into the corrals very well.  There was plenty of space but everyone just hung near the entrances to each corral.

We split up since Mandy wanted to go for a faster time than the rest of us.  She moved forward with wave 4 and we wished her luck!  The remaining three of us decided we needed one last potty stop and so we snuck out of the corral to visit the porta-potties.

We managed to work our way back into the corral and just minutes later it began to move forward.  Before we knew it, the race was starting.  The corral system worked really well to space out the racers but even so the first mile was crowded.

The first few miles passed by quite easily with some running through the city areas including China Town.  Some of the fun sights during this section were the tall bike riders.  They were along an elevated highway and so much fun to watch.  I even got to watch one mount his bike and it definitely was interesting to see how he got up onto such a tall bike.  Also, in China Town we got to see people doing Tai Chi and run past the Chinese Gardens that I had read about.

All along the course were km markers and they all had fun sayings on them.  The course also had signs marking when it would narrow.  My favorite though were the signs along pedestrian areas that asked others to Respect the Runners and avoid the course since a lot of the course was on the paved walking trail system.
Somehow the one sign I took a picture of turned out a little like a "That's What She Said" joke.
We had a 5K section that crossed over to Kitsilano...this included the biggest hill on the course which was actually the bridge to cross False Creek.  Just before making the bridge crossing you came up a short, steep hill from False Creek to a trio of cheering drag queens.  They had so much energy cheering on all the runners.  This was the first place where the course doubled onto itself so you finally got to see other runners.  I kept my eyes peeled hoping I would spot Mandy to cheer her on...and I did near the end of the bridge.  The cheering spectators were definitely the loudest when we were along Kits Beach!

As I returned from Kitsilano and was crossing back over the bridge one of the tall bikes happened to be riding by and playing some tunes.  The song that he had blasting almost brought me to tears...I definitely got emotional for a minute.  The song was Ain't Nothing Going to Break My Stride and it has special meaning for me.  This song is the song that I associate with my dad and running.  My dad is a strong athlete and he was big into the running boom when I was a little girl.  I'm sure my sisters and I developed our love of running from our dad! This song was part of a marathon recap video that I remember seeing as a little girl and I can't help but think of him and all that he has taught me about being the best me when I hear it.

I pulled it together...it was just mile 7 and I had 6 more to go! Around mile 8, we finally entered Stanley Park and the seawall.  We were welcomed to the seawall by some people in antique swim costumes.  All along the Stanley Park portion of the route there were lots of fun sights and cheer sections.  The mermaids were definitely a Lulu touch!

My favorite was the drum group...you could hear the pulse of their beat for quite a while before you passed them and it just resonated within you.  At this point in the race I thought I would start to deteriorate but surprisingly I just kept having more and more fun.  The fun distractions kept me going from km to km and the water stops were frequent.  My goal for the race was to run this as a training run and focus on not walking.  I only walked during the water stops.
Definitely smiling with the SeaBreeze at SeaWheeze!
Crowded course but very manageable.  

I got very confused on timing along the way.  About the 16KM mark I checked my watch and thought that I was near a 2:15 time overall.  I always hold to the belief that you shouldn't try to do math while running.  It just never works out but it does help distract you!  My math was definitely wrong as I realized when the 2:20 pacers started to pass by me.  I felt strong so I couldn't figure out what was happening with my time.  The last 1KM marker seemed like the longest KM ever in my life.  I had definitely picked up the pace and it was tough to maintain at that point in the race.
Finisher pic in front of the Olympic torch! 

I finished up and loved hearing my name as I crossed the finish line.  My finish time was 2:18:50 which was much better than I had expected.  I ended up running 8 of the 13 miles with a pace within 3 seconds of each other.  That's my best pacing of a half marathon ever...and my final mile was one of my fastest miles in a half marathon ever!  After crossing the finish, we soon received a bottle of water and our finishers medal.  Then they clipped on a kit with some aromatherapy vials for each of us and lastly we received a finisher premium to keep us grooving throughout the year...skullcaps earbuds.  They also gave each of us a wet washcloth which felt great to wipe off the grit from the run.

There was such a mass of people at the end that it really was hard to find my friends and regroup.  I ended up running into Jules in the food line and then we found Mandy and Pauline inside the expo hall.  We were all getting cold and worn out so we didn't stay around the race site too long.

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