After two very busy but very fun days working the Sparkly Soul Inc. booth at the expo, we headed home through an almost monsoon (!) to get ready for the next day’s race. Being a local event there wasn’t too much I had to get ready, except for a Ketchup costume!
As we worked, Sarah and I discussed all of our costume options and since we were going to be running together we wanted costumes that matched in some way. I had such fun feedback on the fries costume that we tried to come up with a companion costume…
A pile of felt, one empty plastic beverage bottle, a glue gun and 30 mins later, my trusty sidekick Ketchup costume was done! With that out of the way, it was upstairs to bed. I may not have trained as hard as I’d liked to but I could at least still get a good night’s sleep.
Before I knew it the alarm was going off and the first thing I did was grab my phone and check the forecast. I couldn’t believe it, looked like we were in for some nice weather after all!
Our drive into town was uneventful and we made our way to the secure parking that was provided as part of the RnRVAN VIP Package. Just a couple blocks away and good until 1:30 pm, excellent!
The VIP Lounge was hosted in the Renaissance Hotel and was just steps from the starting corrals. It was so nice to arrive at the hotel and have a warm place to go have breakfast, stretch and chat with other runners. I didn’t really know who to expect would purchase this package and it looked to be a real range of people from elite-looking runners to event staff/media and tons of people dressed up and looking for a fun time.
The VIP Package included private gear check so after we made sure our costumes were all in order and we had everything we needed, we handed our bags to the staff and sat down for a little stretch. It looked like we were going to avoid the rain but it was definitely chilly outside and it was so nice to be able to stretch and relax in the warmth of being indoors.
With a few minutes to go we all ambled outside and pretty much straight into the corrals. As usual, it was fun hearing the laughs and comments as we walked by. There was a bit of confusion as to where we had planned to meet up with one of our other friends but we found our way into the corrals and got ready to go!
One of my favourite things about Rock ’n’ Roll races is the energy at the start line. The energy is great at every start line but for some reason the RnR start corrals are always my favourite. I was even happy to have a few new Twitter friends recognize me and introduce themselves while we were waiting.
As we stood there waiting and our corral advanced, Sarah and I chatted about our race strategy. Awhile back we had discussed the idea of her pacing me to a 2-hr finish and I’d agreed. With my mediocre training in the past few weeks, I had to be honest and told her that I’d try to keep up that pace but if I couldn’t, I’d have to slow down.
I’m not really sure what I was thinking. I think in my heart I knew I wouldn’t be able to run at a 2-hr pace but I always kind of have that part of me that believes I just might find that everything aligns and I’m feeling awesome enough to pull it out the hat anyway.
We got started and found ourselves easily running in the low 5:00 min/km pace range. We were running just ahead of the 2:00 hr pace bunnies so I tried to set my pace to keep things that way. And for the first few km this strategy worked great. We ran straight through the cobbled streets of Gastown which was awesome and as we made our way around the Eastside those 2-hr bunnies were still behind us.
We lost the bunnies somewhere along Prior Street and then around 9 km we met up with a group of friends from Langley and ran along the beautiful False Creek Seawall with them for a bit. This course was turning out to be just beautiful and a totally different combination of Vancouver’s favourite places to run. Shortly after the seawall I heard my name called and there was my good friend Candice cheering!
By this point we were about 11 or 12 km in and I was starting to feel a bit tired. I wouldn’t normally be losing steam but let’s face it, I just wasn’t my usual self. I wanted to see how far I could keep up this pace on pure determination and stubbornness but I knew we were coming up on the hillier section of the race and wasn’t thrilled.
As we headed into Stanley Park and up the first big hill near the Rose Garden I had to slow down to a walk. Boo. I haven’t done that in ages but my legs were starting to get tight and I was pooped – I was definitely feeling my lack of stretching in the past few weeks.
This whole section through Stanley Park is quite rolling and I knew it was going to be hard regardless. And it was. I was disappointed that I couldn’t keep up our pace but so many other runners were chatty and friendly through this section, it kind of helped ease that disappointment. I knew we had only a few km left once we hit the seawall and I could rest my weary legs.
We finally hit that final stretch and while the crowds had been pretty good the whole way, the spectators were everywhere along this section. Even though I was dead tired, I couldn’t help but smile as they all cheered and laughed at our costumes. The sun was shining as we ran to what has got to be the most beautiful finish lines I’ve ever had the pleasure of crossing. Vancouver, you are one beautiful city!
After getting our medals we had our pictures taken for the costume contest and then headed over to the VIP area. At the finish line, VIP pass holders had access to a heated tent with a beautiful catered lunch buffet and open bar. I was so happy to drop my gear and grab some Oasis juice before hitting the buffet.
It turned out to be such a beautiful day so we sat at the tables in the VIP area and enjoyed a beer and some snacks. It was such a great atmosphere with everyone sitting around at the tables chatting and sharing their race stories.
We also had our own private toilets, a tent with free massages and our personal gear check where we could access and leave our bags while we had lunch.
I had never purchased the VIP package at the other RnR races I’ve done but after having this opportunity to try it out, I’m not sure I could do a Rock ’n’ Roll race without it! By the time you tally up your parking, breakfast, lunch, open bar and massage you’ve easily spent more than the cost of a VIP upgrade. I can’t wait to plan this into our future RnR races!
After a whole year of looking forward to this event, I couldn’t have hoped for a better day. Our weather held out, everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and as usual, Vancouver did not disappoint with it’s beautiful places to run. It was a pleasure to welcome so many new runners to our city and I look forward to this event growing over the years to come.
As for me, I think it’s time I retire the french fries costume but don’t worry, 2015 holds a whole lot of opportunity for new costumes!