Race Recap: The Grand Banana

Back in September I was pursuing on Facebook when I came across a contest that Yana Hempler Fitness was organizing. She was working with MEC Victoria to giveaway race entries to The Grand Banana 5k/10k/Half Marathon. I completed all that was requested of me and waited to hear if I was a winner. Later in the week I found out that both myself and my friend Cindy were chosen as winners. YAY!


We had the option of choosing what distance we wanted to run and I registered for the half marathon. I hadn’t run that distance in a long time, but I figured if I could run and hike for two hours to do the Burgoyne Bay 17k the weekend before I had the legs for a half. I looked at the run as a challenge for myself to see what I could do. In the end I was going to run my run.

When I woke at 5:00 am it was really raining and I really didn’t want to run in it. As pretty as it sounded there wasn’t anything I could do to stop it so I decided not to dwell on it. I had my coffee and eased into the morning because I had prepared my race stuff the night before.

Cindy picked me up at 7:45 am and we drove to Elk/Beaver Lake where the race was taking place. She was running the 10k and it started at 9:00 am where mine started at 8:30 am. As we got out of the car we saw Matt and Jordan, two members of the Frontrunners Athletic Club we run with. I then saw James, my friend who kept me company on the run back for the Olympic National Park adventure. He was running the 10k race too.

I don’t feel the need to be at a race a long time before the start so I had just enough time to use the bathroom and do a quick warm up before we were off. Once at the start I caught up with a few more runners I know. Like all races we were counted down and away we went. I was very happy it had stopped raining.

And were off!
And were off!  PC: James

Elk/Beaver Lake has a 10k trail that goes around the lake and since a half marathon is 21.2km I was running it twice with a little extra detour off one of the trails. The extra part was uphill which by the time I reached it for a second time I was feeling the climb.

For the first half of the run, I followed behind a girl who had a ton of energy. She was waving her hands and cheering as she met the volunteers at various intersections of the run. It was great to see and as I went by her I said, “I love your energy.” She said, “Thank you but it’s fading.” She wasn’t finished her first lap yet so hopefully she picked up some fuel at one of the aid stations. Another girl and I played cat and mouse for a few kilometers and then she stopped for water at an aid station. I didn’t meet up with her again and ran the rest of the race on my own.

As I came to the end of the first lap I started to think about the next one. Why hadn’t I just sign up for the 10k? I then started to meet the 5k runners and in the lead was Matt. He took first for the 5k race. Way to go Matt! A bunch of kids ran by me and many were dressed in Halloween costumes. It was fun to see and a bit of a distraction. I saw a few other runners I knew and one lady was running her first 5k ever. She did great and is now thinking of running a 10k. I love how running becomes addictive once you decide to start. I can say that is what has happened for me.

I had been tracking my pace on and off throughout the run and even though I wasn’t going to be setting a personal best I was keeping a steady pace. I felt good about that because I have a tendency to start out too fast because I get carried away with the crowd. I then pay for it for the last few kilometers before the finish.

As I approached the last aid station there were at least three people cheering and very excited for the runners coming through. It was great to see and made me smile. I then noticed The Fitness on the Go hat on one of the girls. It was a trigger for me as I follow the owner on Instagram. It was Kylie and she put it together at the same time as me. She said, “You’re my Instagram friend.” It was nice to finally see her in person because we have realized through pictures that we have both been at the same event but never met.

I was only a couple kilometers away from the finish and the rain was really coming down. I felt strong and felt like I picked up my pace a little to complete the run. It was a bit of a ‘quiet’ finish because everyone was huddled under tents trying to stay dry. I saw James and took shelter under his umbrella while we chatted. He had a good run and I found out later that he got first overall in his age division. Whoop!

It was a day for medals because Cindy placed second in her age division for the 10k. My friend Kristy, who is going to Boston with me in April was first in our age group and I placed second with a finish time of 1:39:35. I was the third female overall for the half marathon.

I am happy with my run and glad that I did it. I didn’t melt with the rain and it wasn’t until after the run that I was cold. I got to see some of my running friends and challenge myself. It was a good day and if I hadn’t of been signed up for a race I may not have done my own run. I find registering for races and events make me commit.

Are you that way? Do you register for events sometimes as motivation?



4 thoughts on “Race Recap: The Grand Banana

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