To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.
-Steve Prefontaine
Make it simple, but significant.
- Don Draper

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Vancouver Rock'n'Roll Half Marathon - Canada, Eh!

Oh Canada … I love you so much and I love seeing you via a race course! Before May I had no idea I would be finally checking Canada off my bucket list. But then the Portland Rock’n’Roll expo happened. The first thing I did after getting my bib was register for Seattle and Vancouver RnR. Well finally I can happily say I have been to Canada and I loved every single minute of my Rock’n’Roll race experience! 

The original plan was to train for this race and see how well I could run it. Well life happened. Man Friend spent nearly a week in 2 hospitals with 2 surgeries and body parts removed, so that put a major kink in the plans. I continued to run when I could but tossed aside any time goal. New plan: enjoy the beauty of Canada and meet MF after the race (he is on doctor’s orders NOT to run at all! He walked the entire 13.1- Yikes!!) So Friday morning we left for our drive to Canada and arrived at the expo within the first couple of hours of opening. Thank goodness we did – the next day the merchandise I did buy was completely sold out! As far as RnR expos go, this was very small and very quiet – but I enjoyed myself talking to Canadians and feeling tempted into signing up for a marathon again!

Olympic Cauldron
Sunday morning I was up and very excited to stop being a girl from southern Oregon and turn myself into a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police! I figured this is my first time in Canada, I’ve always wanted to be Canadian, why not get in the spirit and run as something that everybody loves?!? Man Friend and I were maybe 30 feet from our hotel door starting to walk to the start when …. Dun dun dunnnn… we were stopped by a Canadian police officer who at first really thought we were part of the RMCP. Best moment of my entire trip!!! Soon enough we were down at the start area looking at the Olympic cauldron and feeling the excitement of what was sure to be a fun race. So many people commented on our costumes and asked for photos, I guess my idea was a good one! Hearing Oh Canada gave me total goose bumps, and then I watched as MF took off in the first corral (they had an early start for people that might need more time, which was perfect for him considering!!). Waiting for my corral to start I lost feeling in my fingers. I was looking at people in shorts and t-shirts – and I was chilly in my long sleeves and pants. Hmm.

Namaste, from R0nda and Marvin!
When my corral got to the start they had us turn into one big dance party (which actually made it into the official RnR Instagram video!!). From the moment I crossed the start line I was shocked at how great I felt! I’d eaten virtually nothing for days and haven’t had serious training, but I was on fire! I pulled a Forrest Gump and just kept running. I walked through water stops to give my legs a little break, and then kept right back at it. A highlight for me was during an out and back and I got to high five a friend that I worked with at Kali River Rapids. Who knew it would take going to Vancouver, Canada to literally run into a friend from my Orlando, Florida days?!? Probably a mile later he caught up to and passed me after we did a little talking. Too cool!

The course was lovely. The people were lovely. Many times I was complimented on my Mountie costume! We ran through many different areas like Gastown, Chinatown, Granville Island area and Stanley Park. I did get in tourist mode and take tons of pictures. I decided since I had no goal I would pull over for a photo if I wanted to. Why not?!? I feel like I had a smile the entire time. I was just so happy and loving it all … until.

MF had guessed I would probably catch him around mile 6 or 7. At the 10K mark I kept looking, knowing I was running really well and if he was walking, I should find him. Maybe our math sucks!! As I was nearing Stanley Park I saw another out and back part, he was nowhere to be seen. Behind me, emergency vehicles were blaring and heading to a spot ahead on the course. Panic set in. I ran that next mile so fast just to get to the scene and make sure I didn’t see a Mountie down. By the time I got there the person was already in an ambulance. I tried to not worry but I couldn’t help it.

For the next 3 miles I was focused on relaxing and enjoying nature. It smelled so good! Clean, fresh, nature!! I did start giving myself a few walk breaks finally, mostly due to my picture taking! Such wonderful views were waiting for me, like Lions Gate Bridge, which I am glad we did NOT run across!! The closer I got to the end the more worried I was. Did MF actually end up running and was he at the end waiting for me?? Did he get taken away by the medics?? The last bit was a curvy section along the Seawall path and I looked up and caught a glimpse of my Mountie!! Hallelujah!! I kicked it into high gear and caught up with him. By then I knew I would have met my time goal and been very close to a PR – but to me finishing with him was more important. So we walked in that last mile together and crossed with a bang. Everybody was cheering for the RCMP!! We even got stopped by the RnR media people and had to a mini photo shoot at the finish area. Crazy!! Our finish made the official RnR video, too! I really didn’t expect that, but I am not complaining. I was proud to be a wannabe Canadian that day!!

Lions Gate Bridge
Got our medals and snacks and met up with my Kali friend again for some photos and conversation. The weather ended up perfect, too. Not a drop of rain to be felt! I seriously have no complaints (although I can say the course didn't feel like a typical RnR course due to the lack of many bands). I absolutely loved it! People at the expo were freaking out about the course being hilly. Um, no – compared to other courses and my own neighborhood, this literally was a walk in the park! Canada, I love you!!

Tew Legit finally running as a tew-some!