I can hardly believe that my next race is a month away. I remember the day where doing one race was a big deal and also very much a rare occurrence. Now, it's a lifestyle. I'm a runner. I'm an athlete. I race.
Why? I don't race to win or to prove my awesomeness. Compare me to others who join in on the very same races as I do, I'm a middle-of-the-pack average runner with nothing awesome to prove whatsoever. But the very act of choosing to race, training to race, finishing my races, and lacing up to race over and over again, I'd say that in of itself is indeed awesome and makes me stand-out in a crowd Racing keeps my running focused. I run for joy and I run for health. If I had no races to prep for, I would run for these reasons and be perfectly content. But when there's a race to prepare for, there's a goal to be set. And thus one other reason to run comes about organically: I run to continuously improve.
My next race is on June 24th - The Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon. I am very excited about this race for a number of reasons. Oh so excited!
I have run this race twice before: in 2003 and in 2004. When I ran these races, I was a much different fitness level than I am today in 2012. Oddly the 8 or 9 years that have passed and "aged" me have strengthened me and made me fitter, leaner, and meaner (but still kind-hearted, don't worry). Running my first and second half marathons when I was younger was such a big deal for me. I remember how proud of myself I was. And it was the fact that that pride never faded that I was able to convince myself a few years ago that I had it in me to get fit again, run again, and accomplish the same, if not greater things as a runner. If I could do it then, I most certainly could do it now. And I have indeed proven that so.
|Official photo from 2003. Can you believe my outfit?|
By the time 2004 rolled around, I had put on a good 30lbs or so. I still managed to run the race, and finished in 2:41:19
Since then, all kinds of things have happened. Since then, everything has changed. Since then, I have rediscovered a me, an athlete, that was buried deep inside. I'm very curious what time I will get now as the new version of me.
In October 2011, I completed the GoodLife Fitness Victoria Half Marathon is 2:10:23, shaving a good half hour off my previous best finish time. Not too shabby.
But it gets better. In April 2012, I completed the BMO Sunshine Coast April Fool's Half Marathon in 2:13:12. The thing is though that I took it at an easy effort, stopping for walk breaks, slowing to chat with other runners (the guys in the beaver suits were hilarious), and enjoy the sights. I could have very easily finished this thing much faster, but I was treating it as an easier long distance training run, being about a month before my marathon. At this point in time, 21.1km was considered an "easier" run; the week before I ran a 32km run and this half marathon was a long run in a "rest" week. How weird and ridiculous is that?
May 6th, I ran my first marathon, the BMO Vancouver Marathon. The first half of the race I took at an easy effort. I finished that first half at 2:12:11. And sure, the second half of the race didn't go according to plan. But I did it. And I had a ton of energy to spare after finishing that first half. And when any thought of disappointment crossed my mind when I saw my finish time, I realized something...If I were to double the time it took me to do my first half marathon, the total time would still be slower than the time it took to complete my first full marathon.
That means that I'm better than twice as fit at 31 as I was when I was 22 years old.
I don't want to shoot myself in the foot by predicting a finish time for the upcoming race, and then being disappointed if I don't achieve it. But I do know that it is realistic for me to say I am within reach of a new personal best finish time. I am excited to try and I can't wait to see what I can do. Either way though, I enjoy the racing experience, and plan to enjoy every aspect of this race - a race with sentimental value being my first. And a race in a very beautiful part of town.
Thank you to all my readers who continue to support me and continue to believe in me and my mission to continuously improve and be the best version of me possible. <3