Race Recap: Breaking 1:09, Setting PB’s, and Enjoying the View

First-Half-Marathon-Vancouver

The time has come:  FINALLY (as the Rock would say it), Trevor has returned to racing half marathons. I’m starting this one out with the thank you’s. Thank you to everyone that wished me luck leading up to the race – my immediate family, the BVH/MitoCanada/New Balance crew, the Calgary running community, my friends that don’t understand why I can’t stay out past 10pm on a Saturday night but respect my ambitions, and everyone else who cheers me on from the Winnipeg to Europe to Sydney Australia, and back around the world to Calgary. The next round of thank you’s go out to the race sponsors (Pacific Road Runners, Forerunners, Mizuno Canada, Muscle Milk) for putting on another fabulous race. The final round of thank you’s go out to the world class Canadian national athletes that came out to cheer on the crowds – Rob Watson, Natasha Wodak, Rachel Cliff, Catherine Watkins, Maria Bernard – because it’s the power of the people that keep us runners going.

Now to the goods – holy smokes am I ever fired up! Yesterday was incredible. Leading up to the race, I put in some solid work – from running a couple 95mile weeks while working 12 hour days, to hammering down workouts at the olympic oval – everything seemed to be in the making for a 1:06/1:07 finish time. My race confidence came back and the support from my peers was increasing. Everything was lining up perfectly for race day.

I knew leading up to the race, I was in with some tough competition – Jeremiah Ziak, Jim Finlayson, Jeremy Deere, and Olympian Dylan Wykes – but I knew that if I ran my race, I would be right up there with the guys. So skip the nitty gritty and lets get on with it! The gun went off and there we went. About 100m into the race, Jeremy gave me a pat on the back and said “go get him” (referring to Dylan), but I knew that if I did, I’d pay the price. I actually contemplated it for a K, but quickly came to my senses and held off. About 3km into the race, I found myself all alone in second with a beautiful view and the smell of fresh ocean air. For the next 18k, I ran by myself.

So, what goes through the mind of a person running 18k all by themselves? Well, first off, it was an absolutely perfect day out there – sun shining, fog off in the valleys, not a cloud in the sky, and the wind at a minimum. It was at about the 10k mark that I lifted my head, looked around and took in the scenery, thinking ‘it’s not everyday you get the opportunity to enjoy this. I’m home, I’m healthy, I’m doing what I love’. But then 2k later, I seriously contemplated dropping out because running your hardest for an hour is flippin’ tough! All of your muscles hurt, your form starts breaking down, and if you’re pushing hard enough, you’re probably at your ugliest. But then it hit me, everybody at home is cheering you on, your friends want to see that finish time, and dropping out is worse than disappointment. So I put my head down and continued on. From that point, I prayed (which is typical of me), focused in on the moment, and ignored all pains raging through my body.

From kilometer 19 – 21.1, I don’t remember a thing. I knew I was behind Dylan, ahead of third, and that the finish was near – so I gave it hell. Up and down a couple hills (and according to Strava, there was 400m of elevation gain through those hills, which is a GPS lie) and into the finish. All I remember is giving the lead cyclist a high five when he pulled off to the side then proceeding to cross the line at 1:08:56 – a new PB by 11 seconds. The time wasn’t what I was hoping for, but a PB is a PB and that’s all that matters. After the race, I had the honour of chatting with Rob Watson and the rest of the competition. Those moments and the experience alone made the 27 hour trip to Vancouver worth it. Overall, yesterday was an amazing day, and I can’t wait to continue training hard leading up to the Calgary Half Marathon Championship, where I hope to put Calgary on the podium.

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