Monday, May 07, 2012

race review : BMO Vancouver Marathon 2012

Wow wow wow, what a race!
As promised, the views of the spanking-new Vancouver Marathon 2012 course were magnificent. From gorgeous tree-lined neighbourhoods of Cambie and West 49 (imagine running underneath leaves of green and deep red), to the forest of Pacific Spirit Park (even spotted a raccoon!), and finally a stunning cityscape with a backdrop of majestic mountains and immensely gorgeous ocean view along the Stanley Park Seawall (although, having to run against the strong sea breeze from KM 31 to 38 was really challenging!). Words can't even describe how breathtaking it was! I really regretted not having a camera with me, for serious.

And to finally have a clear, sunny Spring morning after three days of rain? I truly felt blessed  :)

Malaysia & Shoe4Africa reprezent!

As for the race itself, I must give major snaps to the superb support from the crowd and volunteers. Although not as massive as the NYC Marathon, the Vancouverites who did come out never ceased to cheer us on.
But I gotta say that the killer rolling hills from the start through KM 14 were B-R-U-T-A-L. There even was a time when we were forced to go up up and up for almost 6K's straight (from KM 8 to 14), steadily climbing about 100m of elevation! This, of course, totally messed up my rhythm. And, worse still, the steep downhills was the beginning of my ankle trouble which stayed with me till the very end.

The calm before the storm...
So, how insane is it that I actually made a friend while walking to
the starting line all because we wore the same Running Skirt?  ;)

To make matters worse, my tumtum also started acting up early on in the game, but I refused to let it get in the way of my race. I was, however, very worried about how it would react to GU gels but thankfully my tumtum held up and eventually got better.
Just when I thought nothing else could go wrong, for the first time ever in a race I experienced cramps in my calves... At KM 39, no less! This was a major letdown as it prevented me from doing sprints towards the end. In the last mile or so, the cramping became so intense that it threatened to force me to quit running but I knew I had to just HTFU if I wanted a sub-5 finish.
So you can imagine my delight when I heard the emcee announcing my name and "4 hours 59 minutes XX seconds" as I was crossing the finishing line. Did I really make it?
Another metal to add to my collection. FYI I've got five 42K medals so far  ;)

Sadly, not according to the result page. Next to my details, the chip time read 5:00:28. I am absolutely gutted :( Why oh why does the official distance (read: NOT my Garmin's reading) have to be 42.59K? That extra 300-or-so-meters robbed me of my second sweet n' sublime sub-5 finish, man!!!  =P
Oh, well. Despite everything that happened today--coupled with my most challenging 42K campaign by far courtesy of (1) the return of an old injury to my right ankle in January, (2) my introduction to ITBS in February, (3) a course of antibiotics no thanks to a persistent cough, as well as a crazy gastric attack in March, and (4) spraining my already injured ankle just two weeks ago--I survived and for that I am truly thankful. 

On to the next one, I say!

Vancouver Marathon 2012... CHECK!

Sunday, May 06, 2012

t - 1 !!!

Just short video blog--my first ever!--on The Day Before The Vancouver Marathon  ;)

Saturday, May 05, 2012

t - 2 !!

And so it's been raining and raining and raining every morning and afternoon since I got here on Tuesday night (it is now Friday night in Vancouver). Today, though, it rained less and when I was out doing my final training run, I even had to endure a pretty strong glare from the sun towards the end. 

Everyone including the various weather predictors say that Sunday will be sunny(er) so I'm definitely gonna keep my fingers crossed. I have, however, gotten myself a water-resistant windbreaker just in case  ;)

Anyway, I am now bunking at my sister's pad while she and her kiddies are on a weekend getaway in nearby Victoria with my folks and other sister. Though I've been here on two separate occasions before this over the last four years or so, the view from her TV room still takes my breath away.

The breathtaking view from my sister's TV room

Burrard Bridge

From the other corner of her apartment, you can see the majestic Burrard Bridge, which will mark KM 29 of my 42K race this Sunday! Unfortunately, my family members will be cheering me on in spirit as they only get back from Victoria on Monday, but my bro-in-law and his mum will be waiting for me at the finishing line so all is good  :)

Anyway, I will end my post today with some photos from the last couple of days. Enjoy.

My sis was all smiles at the gorgeous sight of the Stanley Park Seawall.
I managed to trick her into doing her very first 10K at the very place
where I did my first non-stop 10K training run in Dec 2009. Sweet!

This breathtaking place will be my playground from KM 30 to 40 at the Vancouver Marathon this Sunday ;)

Inukshuk spotted!

Rania and Roen, my cheeky monkeys!  :)
With Queen Rania; this was the very first shot of me on this trip. Doesn't she look like me?  ;)

Thursday, May 03, 2012

t - 4

After a trying 24-hour journey--which included SG-KL-HKG-VANCOUVER flights as well as 3.5-hour layovers respectively at KLIA and Hong Kong International Airport--I am finally here. Phew!

The flight over this time around was pretty terrible for me. The travel-sickness pill didn't work, and so I was feeling nauseous a lot especially during the final-leg looooooong-haul flight. It's been a while since I've puked on a plane, and was rudely reminded of the feeling twice this time around  =P  Not fun.

It didn't help that the Cathay Pacific economy class seats are tres uncomfortable; I much prefer the ones on Qatar Airways as they somehow felt roomier. And, while CX had a superb range of entertainment choices on board, the earphones provided were so crappy that it was impossible getting the volume up to acceptable standards. Thank gosh for my white iPhone ones!

Also, someone somewhere stuffed up my Special Meal request and instead of normal vegetarian meal they went and ordered Hindu vegetarian ones for me. They were too rich and spicy for my liking and ended up upsetting my tumtum  :(  If you're wondering why I didn't just go with the Muslim meal option, it's because somehow airlines would usually serve lamb for this and me no likey lamb. 

By the way, I've since learnt the term Lacto-Ovo (or Ovo-Lacto) Vegetarian, which, in the Western world, is the norm for most vegetarians. It means a person who doesn't take any type of meat but consumes dairy products and eggs. In airline speak, they use the acronym VLML to indicate a Vegetarian Lacto-Ovo Meal. I have amended my booking online for my return leg on the 18th, and will report on the taste factor then  ;)

Good morning from rainy Vancouver!

Anyway, it is now 7:42am and it's been drizzling since I woke up at 5ish. Although I'll be praying hard for a clear Sunday morning, think it's best to prepare myself mentally for a wet race-day.