Going the distance

After nearly 4 weeks of travel, I'm back in the "Minnie Apple" for the foreseeable future. I spent a fantastic 2.5 weeks in Michigan visiting friends and family, with a brief stop back in MN before departing on a long weekend to Vancouver BC to run the Seawheeze half marathon and have a kick ass weekend with a great group of runner gal friends, new and old. Incidentally, this also checks the box for #52 on my "100 Things" 2015 List to run a destination race.

The race itself was simultaneously a high point and a low point of the weekend for me. The course was breathtaking (and not just because I was running!), with the first half winding through the vibrant and eclectic Vancouver city proper, and with the second half scrolling along the perimeter of the rocks, trees and cool, deep turquoise waves and mist that define the Stanley Park seawall. In hindsight, I wish I had taken photos of the spectacular course during the race, not to mention the awesome entertainment along the course (synchronized spinners! bands floating on platforms in the harbor! bubbles! dancers! mermaids!). However, just completing the run took an intense slice of my focus and effort. Unfortunately, despite my consistent and diligent 10 weeks of training leading up to the race, I fell severely short of my time goal and finished the race in a disappointing 3+ hours.

Prior to this race, I've never been the victim of the dreaded "runner's stomach." Unfortunately, I can claim that feat no more. I felt great for the first 12 or so kilometers, but disaster grumbled and threatened soon after. Let's just say it felt like a true gift from the running gods to spot, right before the start of the seawall portion of the race, a full restroom facility with NO LINES, shining like a lighthouse beacon to this lost sailor, visible just beyond a lineup of porta potties. Strangely enough, I also witnessed a stream of runners waiting for said potties, because HELLO, there was a REAL BATHROOM with NO WAIT just 50 steps over yonder! What are you crazies doing in that long line to enter those stinky caves of despair?!

I'll leave out the dirty details (runners know what I'm talking about)...but I will say that little side trip not only added several minutes to my time, but really zapped my energy and my confidence for the remainder of the race. After dealing with my stomach woes and rejoining the race, I became keenly aware and overly focused on my flaring plantar fasciitis, my aching joints, my hunger, that super loud talker behind me who wouldn't shut up...and my inner monologue took a turn to the dark side.

I won't lie, I almost (almost) broke down and cried during those final kilometers of the course, disappointed because I couldn't go the distance. Until I realized that wasn't true at all, I just wasn't going to be able to do it according to my original plan, training and vision. Instead, I knew had to reinvent my vision to match my current circumstances. In this case, that meant to turtle-style the remaining kilometers of my run...slow, steady, breathe in and out, one foot in front of the other, even if that meant a slow walk. I gave myself the best pep talk I could muster, allowed myself to receive energy and inspiration from the beauty of nature that surrounded me, and I managed to very slowly chug along for another 3k or so before giving into an even slower shuffle/walk for the final 5k.

Sometimes sh*t happens (and sometimes it literally happens...ahem...oh, eff it all, I should delete that but I'm NOT GONNA). Let's try this again...sometimes life has a funny way of not giving a crap (oops, I did it again) about our carefully laid plans. And when that happens, we can choose to roll over and give up...or we can choose to adjust our plans and go the distance anyway.

I chose to go the distance.

LM and me (pre-race) in front of the Olympic Cauldron at the Vancouver Convention Center, 
sporting our freshly applied Lulu race tattoos. (photo credit to CWK!)

That's me! Day before the race, with the seaplanes and the Vancouver Harbor as the backdrop.