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Scotia Bank 1/2 Marathon Race Recap

Though I did not make the best diet choices in preparation for the Scotia 1/2, I did have Dr. Noble to keep me in check physically and mentally. The alarm went at 3:30am; I had a french press, toast with peanut butter and banana slices; Alyson, a friend and teammate of BDP picked me up after spending the night previous at a wedding. Either we are still youthful, we can still ride changes to schedule, or together, our energy magnifies, because we were watchers of the sun rise, the fog against the fields, not slumped and heavy-lidded. We were the only ones at the border crossing. Took a nice little tour of the race course in my attempt to navigate – two of very few out and awake. We were directed to the elite tent 100 m. from the start line. At the elite tent, the director handed out our bibs (thank god for race day packet pickup), offered to take our bags in a personal van to the finish, pointed us to a private porto, a table lined with shirts, goos, energy bars, bottled water. Kip Kangogo was stretching himself out in the grass, a variety of feminine race kits in bright colors huddled beneath the tent, did strides back and forth on the pavement.

I went for a short warmup along UBC, on a path lined in sprinklers which streamed and misted already warm flesh at 7:15 am. The weather was perfect. The elite women all seemed to know each other, part of a race circuit positioned to compete at various Canadian races to accrue points in a payout pyramid of sorts. Our bibs also, seemed to indicate our placement, the elite A-standard females wearing F-bibs. It was a bunch of funky women: bleached blonde hair, experimental braids, crimps, some inefficient looking materials. I liked it. It didn’t seem high profile, intense, elite by way of blatant sponsorship, it seemed more individual. Whether this is true or not is questionable, but I felt good about where I was.

The director went up to each of us individually, asking if we were ready to line up. It was as if I could say No, and he would have accommodated.

There weren’t so many of us that I felt congested. The start, like the weather, like the feeling, was just right. I looked around at the other women’s legs, thinking, What constitutes strength? What kinds of things has she done? How serious is she? I didn’t feel intimidated, afraid. I felt ready, conscious of the fact that I haven’t stopped going since, probably, I started training for Boston, and that this race would be a last hurrah on my bod. So, I guess I knew exactly what I had to offer & felt safe in that. The only thing I wished for (outside of myself – leaving room for magic) was to live out the dream a friend had had of me nights before, clocking a 1:17:57. I kept that red-numbered time in my head the entire race. Even when I didn’t think it was feasible, it remained lit.

The gun sounded. Two girls went out under 5:30’s, and stayed 1-2 the whole race. It was pretty set from the start. I had that incredible first 10k where ego cloaks sanity, maintaining the first several miles at 5:40’s with a group of the F-er’s. This was a very informative experience. Coming from a track background, I haven’t fully grasped the concept of pace miles, or, that if I take it out too fast, there’s a lot more “hanging on” mileage to endure. At least I’m being honest about it, so my teammates can hold me accountable. The elites went on to maintain their 5:40 pace, and I tried to consciously ease back into the determined 5:56’s I needed to get my red numbered dream. Every time I looked at my gps, I was hovering between 5:42’s and 5:59’s. I wondered if I had put enough fast miles in the bank, that I could get away with slowing on the hills, but I didn’t have much choice once I hit them.

I’d call the course peek-a-boo-beautiful. You could look into the park, out against the water, but you were always weaving away from. I very much loved the downs, and would have liked the ups had I known them more intimately. For me, since the race started with 3k downhill, I felt like the hills were punishment. I would have rather earned my downs. Coming off of S2S, all I wanted was to build on what I had.

There were a few points when I thought, I can stop. I don’t like it. You just have to tune out, ignore how much is left, and ride the parts of the course that allow you your strengths. I got through it, finishing in 1:19:04. The elite director congratulated me at the finish line, directed me to where my things would be, to a tent set up for us to relax under (so kind). Alyson had a big smile on her face, walked hurriedly alongside the fencing to greet me with a hug. We stocked a bag full in tent freebies. Walked through Stanley Park for a while to get some of the acid out of my legs, and jumped into the car to head to the water for a mimosa, coffee, donuts. Back in Bellingham in time for beers and USA futbol at Uisces in celebration.

Scotia Bank 1/2 Marathon & 5k
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(Stats – 7/1882 Women, 1/374 25-29 Age Group, 29/3333 Overall)

-Courtney, C.A.

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