Sunday, April 1, 2012

Race Report: BMO Sunshine Coast April Fool's Day Half Marathon - April 1, 2012

This morning, I finished my fourth half marathon - The BMO Sunshine Coast April Fool's Half Marathon, from Gibsons to Sechelt, B.C. I must say, running a half marathon race as part of my training for the May marathon was an excellent idea. I'm buzzing with the runner's high, so excited to keep training, keep working hard, keep enjoying the experience of endurance running, and continue to get fitter.

Me after earning my 4th finisher medal!
This race was a huge ego boost, and a bit of a test of my marathon training. Sure, this was an "easy week" in the grand scheme of things with the training plan (I know, it sounds ridiculous...). But after a killer long training run, there's nobody on the side of the road ringing cow bells and offering high fives, no finish line to run through, and certainly no finisher medal. This was the full race experience, nestled in my marathon training plan, and it was perfect.

Just about to cross the finish
Preparing for the race, I decided to take today easy, and not focus on finish time. But as the race progressed, I was feeling the best I had ever felt on a half marathon race. And I mean it: the best EVER. So with a few kilometres to go, I decided I would push myself a bit harder than planned. 

My official finish time today was 2:13:12.

This finish time was just 2.5min shy of my personal best in a half marathon. And this was in a relatively difficult course (undulating hills the whole way), and a cold day. The sunshine in the photo came as a surprise late in the race. :-)

What was different today, compared to my personal best half marathon race (i.e., Victoria in Oct. 2011), and compared to other half marathons before that, was the perceived effort and how I felt after crossing the finish. I felt like I was taking it easy today, even though I wasn't really (in comparison to other versions of me). It felt like a training run, not a race. 

In previous races of this distance, the 21.1km was daunting, but today, it was an "easy" distance I had a load of confidence in tackling after doing a 32km training run just a week ago. 

At previous half marathons, I struggled at the end. In fact, at Victoria, I was in quite a bit of discomfort when I crossed the finish. Today, I finished strong, with a giant smile on my face, easily able to keep running. 

Recovery has been more or less non-existent (except I am incredibly hungry, surprise, surprise). After Victoria, I was hurting and then got a bad case of the flu.

So this has given me confidence that my training for the May marathon is *working* :-) I am indeed getting stronger, or as I like to say, "leaner and meaner". It gave me a chance to test out my fueling strategy with the tempo I'd like to try for the marathon (which will be a much flatter course (but also much longer...) than today). Everything worked! 

I'm also confident that I can train hard to attempt a personal best in a half marathon at the Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon in June.
With Cam near the finish at Davis Bay beach.
This was a beautiful course and a fun run. I would definitely like to do this race again in the future. It's small scale (they cap it at 700 registrants), but full of fun times. It was a nice excuse to go somewhere I haven't gone before and see lots of it on foot. With a very reasonable entrance fee, beautiful souvenir shirts, and the convenience of being able to take a ferry over the day of the race, made this a great little day trip. 

It was super special for me too because I went with my sweetheart, Cam, my biggest fan and supporter, and he was excitedly awaiting me at the finish line with camera in tow. <3

We did it!
And the other person who made this race special was my good friend, Patti! We ran the first 10K together before parting ways to finish separately.  It was so nice to run together again, and confirmed to me how special it is to have a running buddy - someone who just "gets it", someone who loves running too, and someone who you LOVE to talk to and love to have by your side while running a beautiful course. Good job Patti on your finish today. <3


  1. Hi there! Just found your blog via Twitter. Congrats on your HM and good luck on your full! I'm training for my first full right now.

  2. I had a blast running the first half of the run with you! Too bad I needed a washroom break! You really rocked it and I'm sure you will have a terrific first full marathon next month!

  3. Hey, thanks PlantFueled! Welcome to my blog; please visit often (I'll check yours out in a moment too!). All the best with your marathon. When is it? Mine will be my first too.

    Thanks Patti! You're such a rockstar of a friend, you know that?!

  4. Hi Zahida. I was directed to your art website through your brother, Nad. Coincidentally I was on the Sunshine Coast last weekend, too. My husband Gregory also ran the April Fool's Half Marathon. (My own personal best -- though I don't run anymore -- was in the Scotiabank Vancouver so you should do it!)

    1. Hi Andrea, thanks for visiting my site! Hope you enjoyed your time on the Sunshine Coast too. It was a great race. I've run Scotiabank twice before and am definitely running it this year. I think I'll be prepped for achieving my personal best there. I wasn't running hard at April Fool's, but I'll go all out for Scotiabank :) Let me know if you have any questions / comments about my art!