Tuesday, February 18, 2003

Trail Note

Although it's now well over a week ago, my Vancouver half marathon is still trail-note-worthy. I ran the race last year, had a blast, and set a PR with a finishing time of 1:51 and fifty-something seconds. I felt so good, and so fast, that I started thinking that I might actually be able to qualify for the Boston Marathon (I would have to finish a marathon in 3:40) and the road to the 10/13/02 Chicago Marathon began. In retrospect, I think that I overtrained for Chicago, running too many 20+ mile runs and not enough hill and / or speed workouts. By the time I ran the marathon, my knees were hurting every time I ran longer than 7 miles. Between all of those long painful runs, and a disappointing marathon finish (3:53 is good, but nowhere near the time I had hoped for), I was pretty burnt out on running. All of that changed last weekend.

The Vancouver course winds its way around the island upon which downtown Vancouver is located. The city of Vancouver is surrounded by scenic bays and majestic mountains. The course is one of the most beautiful I have run. Being that it's on the water, it's also quite flat (big plus). The weather last Sunday was ideal: high 30's warming up to the low 40's, overcast, with very little wind. The race was limited to 2000 runners, so we crossed the start line running (this is very rare) and I never felt pent-in by other runners. I tried hard to keep my pace slow in the first half of the race, knowing that starting too fast too early would not make for a fun finish. It worked, and I found myself gradually speeding up over the course of the race. I felt good, the spectators were nice, the other runners were great, the location was fantastic, and I was running well. I started grinning around mile 10, and I held that goofy smile on my face for the last 3.1 miles. I finished the race beating my time from last year by about 30 seconds.

Since then, I've felt really good running. It's more fun and somehow easier than it's been in a while. I feel more like one of those runners I read about in Runners World, and less like a poser in Nikes and tights jogging along. That race somehow re-energized my running efforts. It's pretty cool when that happens. I'm not energized to the point of signing up for another marathon in 2003, but we'll see about 2004.


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