|2015 Vancouver USA Half Marathon Bling|
I was feeling like I always do before a race...a little nervous - did I really train enough...am I really ready? In the end I think I did train enough, but as it would turn out, this wasn't a race about me and what I thought I might accomplish.
It was warmer than I am used to - we train first thing in the morning before heading off to work - so the temps are usually in the 50s maybe low 60s. The high for Sunday was forecasted at 85 degrees (ouch). By mid morning it may have been high 60s or into the 70s I don't know. All I know is that when it's close to 70 I'm not happy. Maybe not really knowing what the temperatureis going to be would help, but that's not an option as people all around me were talking about it! I simply am not a fan of running in temps that go above 70 and really, 70 might be pushing it for me!
After a couple of miles of plodding along running and walking and running again. I noticed that one woman was going about my pace and I finally decided it was silly to go back and forth with this routine so I started walking and when she came up to me I suggested that we do this thing together. To which she said sure! That was at mile TWO-ish. Okay 11 more miles to go with my new running buddy.
So we are going along and after chit-chatting a little I asked her if she had done VUM before and she said that this was her first time AND her first half. With that I told her that I would be sticking with her and that we would be finishing together. I know what it feels like to do your first half and wondering if it's supposed to feel the way it does and will the cramps/spasms go away, do I really feel that slow...and MAN 13 miles is a long way to go!
Selu is from India - she and her family came to the US when she was 5 then went back after a few years. Once she completed high school she came back to the US to go to college. She has been here ever since. When I asked her why she started running she said to lose the baby fat...hehe...
She was grateful for the company, encouragement and support. We had been doing pretty well for quite a while until we reached probably around mile 8 or so and she was starting to feel her calves starting to spasm a little. My experience with the spasms were to just slow down and walk a bit when I needed to...so that we did. After another mile of trying to do some running we finally just walked. She was a trooper and continued on...we tried some different things while still staying in the forward motion by walking backwards a little to help stretch those calves just a little and give them a break in a way and just slowing down. Knowing that she was nearly spent, I had to tell her that there would be two more smallish hills to do and that the finish would be a very quick and easy downhill from the I-5 overpass on Evergreen. It was clear as we started over the Land Bridge at the Fort that she was losing what little strength she might have had at all. Trekking up Fort Vancouver way and snaking our way to the WSP it was very slow going, but we stuck together all the way to 13 mile marker. Once we got there she urged me to finish ahead of her. So, with her final urging I did just that, but I did mention to her that I would be waiting for her to cross the finish.
Poor thing was COMPLETELY exhausted when she finally did make it - about a minute after my finish. We hugged after she got her race medal and I told her how well she did for a first half and to keep at it, it DOES get better. She missed her goal, but really, in the big picture finishing is the big deal - there is ALWAYS next time!
She was a trooper and willing to keep going even though she was falling apart. Trying to keep her mind on positive things was the challenge, but she did it! I am proud of my new friend who I may try to find at Wahine in August. If not, I'll be looking out for her next year as her husband registered her for the 2016 Vancouver USA Half...without her knowing it. $35 deal at the expo - how can we NOT do this one again?!
The only thing that I sacrificed was my desire to PR. I feel like it could have happened because first of all, Tom and I trained more than we did for last year's VUM and I felt better this year for sure AND the 3:00 pacer was behind me (without me knowing it) and passed us by mile 7. Helping a Half Marathon Newbie was more important to me as I didn't have the same support when I did my first half.
All in all, race day was good and I got to make a new running friend. It's just too bad that she lives in Beaverton and also, we didn't exchange ANY information. No matter, I'll be on the look out for her at Wahine...oh yeah...racing goodness has hit!
The Independence Run in Ridgefield is up next on July 4th - I think I'll be recovered by then!