Last week I ran in the Vancouver Starbucks Run for Women (June 9, 2012), held up and around UBC/Pacific Spirit Park.
Starbucks Run for Women
This would be my first attempt at a road/trail race. Before the race I had no idea that it was a trail race. I had done no preparation, and knew that this wouldn't be my fastest time for a 10km. We arrived pretty early to the starting area, along with a sea of purple t-shirts and eager athletes to start the race. After a talk by John Stanton and Olympian Jennifer Heil, we were all called to the start line to start the inaugural race. After a short countdown, we were told to smile for the camera's as we passed the start line, and then we were off.
I knew form the get go, that I was going to struggle with the race, I was coming off a bad cold, and still had sinus issues, and I also forgot my water bottle. I set off with a slow pace, determined not to use up all my energy in the beginning. With lots of people jostling for positions, I found my happy pace. At the 1km mark was the first water station, and I was happy to have a short break to take in some water and have a breather. And then I was off again. After running down the side of a road for (what seemed like) a while we headed into Pacific Spirit Park and there I was official running through the trails for the first time.
I found the going to be pretty tough, and after a week of rain, the trails had not yet dried out, so there was plenty of mud and slippery rocks. I found the paths to be overcrowded, and they had not closed off the trail to others, so a few times I had to run around loose dogs, be wary of oncoming bikes, and the general public who were walking the trails. I found myself slowly losing confidence in my abilities, and starting to struggle with negative thoughts after only running 4 km's, for the first time, I thought that I would not be able to complete the race.
I had to conserve my energy and to do this, I decided to walk up the hills, and run slowly down the hills. My legs were killing me, and I had a feeling that my IT bands were not going to be very happy with me after the race. They started tightening up on the first downhill part. I was dying to come to another water station. I believe that there was meant to be a water station at the 5.5km mark, however it felt like forever to get there. I kept looking at my watch and felt that I was running further then the markers had stated.
After I got to the second water station, I once again slowly took my time going through there, enjoying my breather, and knowing that I had under 5km's to go, I would take the rest of the race at a slower pace, I had relief knowing that I had a chance of completing my race. The final KM's of the race was pretty much like the beginning of the race. Up and down hills, trying hard not to run directly through the muddy trail. I played tag with people in front of me, trying to keep pace, and not let them get too far ahead of me.
Finally I could hear the cars on the road, after what seemed like forever. I was waiting for the final water station (9km mark) so that I could take in some more liquids, as my sinus issues were really waring me out. To my disappointment the water station was closed by the time I got there. I was a little disappointed, but I knew that I only had another KM or so to go, so I told myself to hold on, and that there would be a bottle of water waiting for me at the end!
Slowly but surely I made it onto the final hill, in preparation for the finish line. I huge wave of relief swept over me, as this had been one of the more challenging races that I had run in. (Mainly due to my own self doubt). I ran up the final hill to the finish shute, and I couldn't be more happier at that point to finally finish the race. I really like that we received a finishers bracelet once we finished. It was a nice touch, and so different from the other medals I have received.
Overall I ran the race in 1:19:31.52. By far my slowest race, but perhaps my most rewarding. The money raised went to the charity Plan Because I Am A Girl Project a program that I am hoping to support further in the not too distant future. I hope to be able to run this race again next year. Next year I will be prepared, train for it, and wear proper trail running shoes.
Next planned race for me, Vancouver Scotiabank Half Marathon (June 24). My goal is to finish in under 3 hours, I just want to finish the race, with little training, and hope not to injure myself for the beginning of my training for the New York Marathon.