On Saturday I took part in my first destination run and I ran in the Whistler Half Marathon. Cindy has run the race a few times in the past and had nothing but good things to say about it and the weekend away.
We left at 8:00am on Friday morning and drove to Nanaimo to catch the 10:40am ferry. Once we arrived on the other side of the water we had a two hour drive to get to Whistler. The views along the twisting highway are spectacular. You can see snow covered mountains all along the way and at the base of them pretty blue water. As much as I wanted to look I made sure to keep my eyes on the road.
Once we arrived in Whistler we checked into our hotel and then headed to get our race packages at The Crystal Hotel. When we walked in we saw various tables set up who were sponsors of the race. Cliff Bar had taster cups for you to try with one of their three flavors of Cliff Shot Gel. I tried the raspberry and liked it which was a good thing because it ended up being the flavor I grabbed around the 9k mark of the race. Cliff Bar was also giving out mini Cliff Build Bars and Cliff Bars which we grabbed. Out of the two I like the texture and consistency of the Cliff Build Bars the best.
At the back of the room is where we got our race kits. Once I got mine I checked out what was inside and found a North Face t-shirt, arm bands and a water bottle. There were also different pamphlets with information about Whistler and other running events. It was a great bag of swag.
As we were leaving the room we had our picture taken by Rob Shaer. I liked this part of the race kit pick up because I have never had that done before at previous races. I think it is neat to see a picture of us with the background showing what race we took part in even though we know we did it. It’s the little things like that I enjoy about being part of events.
We decided we would wander the village and shop a bit. We enjoyed the Cliff Bars we were given as snacks to hold us over until supper. It was nice to just be part of the sites and sounds of the weekend. We saw many North Face bags being carried so we knew we would see them at the race in the morning.
For dinner we went to a restaurant called BG Urban Grill that was just around the corner from our hotel. It had a nice patio with lots of sun and seemed perfect for just relaxing. It was a great for people watching and the food was pretty good. After dinner we went back to our room to get ready for the big day because start time was 7:50am. It’s a good thing I like mornings!
Morning came and neither of us had a good sleep. The beds were comfortable but I know I was just anxious about the run. We had got up, had our typical race morning breakfast in the room and then walked about five minutes from our hotel to the start. It was great being so close and a big thanks to Warren for finding us our accommodation.
We did our warm up run and made sure our bodies were ready to go. We dropped our bags off at the bag check and headed to the start line. Once at the start there was a lady going through a warm up before we started. It was fun to be part of and good for me to keep my body moving while I waited. We were given a one minute count down and we were off.
Typically the whole morning of a race I have a nervous feeling but I didn`t feel the nervous energy until the 30 second count down started. With my iPod already playing all I had to do was press start on my Garmin as I crossed the line. I was ready to go! My goal was to run the race in 1:40 or under.
Before the race I had looked at the map briefly with Warren but didn`t know the area all that well so it was hard to picture what the route would be like. I had heard from Cindy and also a few others that there were hills but mostly they were in the first 5k and then the rest was pretty flat. Well, that was not the case once I got out there. It was pretty hilly the whole race and our biggest hill climb came a few meters into the 2k mark. We ran Blueberry Lane for 1k and it was a long, long hill. I said to myself `What goes up must come down` and did it ever but there was another up at the bottom of that down. I passed a runner on the climb and she would make up ground on the downhill. We did this various times until eventually I stayed ahead. I did see her at the finish and congratulated her on a great run.
As I ran along I could look up and see beautiful snow-capped mountains and even saw a few hawks or turkey vultures flying overhead. There were people out in the neighborhoods holding up signs and a few people dressed in fun costumes. There was one girl dressed in gold who I saw after the race and told her thanks for being on the course and helping to motivate. There were also kids out with bubble machines as well which made me smile.
I was physically feeling good for the first 10k and making good time. As I ran toward the halfway marker I started seeing the top racers coming towards me. As I turned to come back on the same path I started looking for a few people I knew. Two of the girls I used to work with, Amanda and Diana had mentioned they would be running so I was hoping to see them. I never saw them on the run but did catch up with them afterwards which was nice.
I started to mentally and physically fade and I still had 7-8km left of the race. I had been doing my best to talk myself through the run and telling myself that I could do it. I reminded myself again and again that there was a Cows ice cream cone waiting for me once I was finished but I had to get there. Then when that didn`t help me anymore I thought of Warren and how I had to hurry up and get done so I could tell him about the run. I used anything I could to help get me through it.
Every corner I took I was hoping I was on my way back towards the finish line. As I made my way through the village I got excited because I thought I was close to being done but then I looked at my watch and realized I still had 6k to go. At various points I could see runners coming towards me so I knew that I would be coming back the way that I came but where was that turn around marker?
My legs were moving as fast as I could get them to go. I had been feeling rubbing and burning in my toes and heels for the last 7k or so and I was ready to get my sneakers off. As I came to the finish line canal I heard “Go Kyla! Go!” It was Diana, one of the girls I had been looking for while running. Her voice and cheer gave me the extra push I needed to finish.
After I crossed the line I received my poster and then just moved to the side. I needed to catch my breath and just stop moving. I also knew that Cindy wasn’t too far behind me and I wanted to see her cross. She finished in a time that she was happy with and I finished in a time of 1:39:41 and placed third in my age group. I was very happy with that and placing was an unexpected surprise.
After the race I was drained and quiet while we enjoyed the sun and festivities that were happening. I had never had a race tire me out so much both physically and mentally but after having time to think about the run I have decided that I would do it again. One thing I would do different is train on longer hill climbs and have more hills in each training run. I would also start my run with a few tough hills a couple kilometers in so my legs get used to running tired sooner. I already have the route mapped out in my head and it is one I can do from my front door.
Overall I had a great girls weekend with Cindy and enjoyed my first destination run.
What was your toughest race? Have you tried it again or thought of a way you could maybe train for it better?