It was inevitable. I had just hoped that it wouldn’t be at the Vancouver USA Marathon that I crashed and burned! HA!
As I weave together my experiences from this past weekend into a race recap, I preface all of what follows with this: the Vancouver USA Marathon (and all related events) was phenomenal and will forever reside within my heart as one of the most memorable races ever!
Energy Events put on a fantastic race and expo, not to mention the Summer Brewfest! I was so impressed with how well it was organized, the staff and volunteers, the location, the route… I can’t find fault with any of it and look forward to going back next year!
Of course, you all know that one of the biggest highlights of the weekend was the opportunity to meet Bart Yasso. He is a running legend and as I found, just a really cool, down-to-earth guy. On Saturday morning, he was leading a shakeout run that was open to anyone that wanted to show up. The timing worked perfectly because I had scheduled myself to volunteer a shift at packet pickup so I was able to make the run before I headed over to give a hand at the expo.
I feared I’d chicken out so the minute I saw my window of opportunity to introduce myself in person (we’d already corresponded via Twitter on a couple of occasions), and get a picture with him, I jumped on it!
I took the first one. He took the second one after exclaiming that he has the perfect (long) arms for selfies. Though obviously half of his face is missing. (We might need to work on that, Bart!) A group of about 25 or so of us ran a casual little out-and-back along the Columbia River, chatting with Bart, and enjoying the company of one another.
Following the shakeout run more pictures were taken with fellow ambassadors, event staff, and Bart. Then I spent a few hours helping out at packet pickup before heading home to fuel up and get some rest for race day!
Late last week I shared my good, better, best goals for this race. While the overall outcome of the race itself is not what I had hoped, I still came away with nailing two out of three so I’m happy about that. In part, I may have been over-confident. I even told my BFP on the way to the race that morning that I was afraid I might jinx myself. Oops.
My “good” goal was to arrive at the starting line confident in my training and knowing I was capable of running a good race. I felt more prepared and in better shape than the previous four I’ve run in the past year so I WAS feeling confident. My “better” goal was to PR and honestly, I was hoping for a 3:30-3:35 finish. The “best” goal, well, really made everything else pale in comparison. ; )
I decided that I was going to line up at the start with the 3:30 pace group. (Pacers are awesome by the way!! Such an asset when you have a goal time and suck at pacing yourself, like I do!) All started so well…
Splits for miles 1-13:
A couple of miles in the beginning were a little fast but I felt good and trusted the pacing team that was leading the group. Around mile 12 I started to slow a little bit and fell behind just a touch. I wasn’t too worried because of those sub-8:00 miles. Midway, it got a little hilly and I started feeling it but I still believed that I was on target and would just do everything I could to stay as close to the pace group as possible.
In my years of running and racing, I’m not sure I’ve ever experienced the dreaded “bonk”. At least until this race. I don’t know how to describe it but my performance started to deteriorate pretty rapidly. My legs, everything from the waist down, began to hurt. I slowed more and more with each passing mile. I thought about walking. I nearly cried a couple of times.
Splits for miles 14-26.2:
I was in denial for a while but eventually realized that there was no way I could recover. A second wind was not coming. I felt miserable and was stuck with at least another hour to run before I’d reach the finish line. The only solace I found was when I convinced myself that I could go as slow as I needed to go as long as I kept moving forward. Those last few miles seemed to drag on forever.
With just over a half a mile to go, I encountered another gal who was having a tough race too. We engaged in casual conversation which was a pleasant distraction. I was so grateful for that! As we made the second from last turn, the streets were lined with spectators and I knew we were close. I heard my name and saw Bob. Almost done!
Now, here is the best part. Everything that I just shared… the discomfort and the disappointment… was instantly erased when I made the last turn. Not because I saw the finish line but because I heard my name. Bart Yasso was announcing finishers as we neared and while those final few moments of the race are such a blur, all I remember is hearing him say my name three or four times as if he was cheering me in. (I swear I even heard him say something about “my friend, Hyla”…) As I got closer, he stretched out his arm waiting for a high-five. I’m SO happy that this moment was captured because the joy on my face as I finished is priceless!
My official finish time was 3:44:15. No PR. No BQ. But I FINISHED when at one point I thought I could not. I placed 13th out of 84 in my age division.
I spent the first few hours afterwards analyzing what when wrong. And then I stopped. I don’t know nor will I ever know. It was just an “off” day. It happens to even the best of the best. So I’ve shaken it off and just like on Sunday around mile 20, I’ve decided that the only thing I can do is move forward. I’d rather savor all of the wonderful moments from the weekend than dwell on the few that aren’t as favorable.
Oh, and that’s the last time I completely eliminate wine leading up to an event!!!