13 Feb 2018

Race Report: Vancouver First Half Half Marathon

I finished my first half marathon! This past weekend, on Sunday, February 11th, 2018, I finished the Vancouver First Half Half Marathon! And holy smokes did it feel good!

Start line at the 2018 Vancouver First Half Half Marathon
I had anticipated finishing around 1 hour and 52 minutes. And I finished the race precisely at 1:51:58 (chip time), with an average pace 5:18/km. Overall, I am extremely happy with that result! First and foremost, I finished the race. Second, I beat both my goals: keep pace right where I wanted (under 5:30/km) and finish under 2 hours. Click HERE to view the full results.

To top it all off, it was an amazing day. Cold, but clear sky and dry (no rain). We have been having an incredibly wet winter so far, so the sunshine was a welcome change and it made for an absolutely perfect race day.

Finish at the 2018 Vancouver First Half Half Marathon
And now, my race appetite has been whet! I loved the whole experience.: the anticipation before the start pistol, running in a large group, pacing myself against the runners around me, the little battles for position, and the continuous encouragement from course marshals (all volunteers) and spectators.

Long runs alone can get quite boring (thus I usually listen to podcasts during my longer runs). But the race atmosphere was arousing. My mind was focused the entire time and I relished the experience from start to finish.

Coming closer to the finish, I was almost overwhelmed with a sense of accomplishment. When I passed my family about 30 metres from the finish, I felt an enormous sense of pride and I realized that, in addition to accomplishing one of my own goals  I was also setting a tremendous example to my kids that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to (incidentally, one of my son's favourite songs at the moment is Lose Yourself by Eminem, the radio edit version of course, because it is an intensely passionate song about accomplishing your goals).

Me approaching the finish line at the
2018 Vancouver First Half Half Marathon
When I started thinking about entering a half marathon last fall, a friend of mine recommended the Vancouver First Half because it's flat (I am a Richmondite after all) - suggesting that because it was a fast, flat route, it'd perfect for a first timer. And she was right! The only challenge, of course, is training through the rainiest and coldest part of the year (December, January, February). I wrote a post in September starting to think about running a half (click HERE) and another one in November when I committed to the Vancouver First Half (click HERE).

And now, it is time to set my sites to the future and what comes next. I am hoping to do another one or two half marathons this year in addition to a few other shorter races. Possibilities include: the BMO Vancouver Half Marathon in May, the Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon in June, or the SeaWheeze Half Marathon in August.

At this point, I also want to thank all of the race organizers, Pacific Road Runners, Forerunners Vancouver, and all of the volunteers that made this event possible. Thanks for putting this amazing event together. The experience was incredible! And I definitely hope to do this one again in the coming years.

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