Monday, May 3, 2010

Vancouver Half Marathon pre-race report

We drove up to Vancouver after work on Friday, with only a 20-minute wait at the border, and an otherwise speedy journey. Got settled in at the lovely Sylvia Hotel, had a fantastic dinner, and a really nice walk around the neighborhood. I imagine that it's fantastic in the summer, being so close to the beach.

Saturday morning we got up, went for a walk along the water, and then stopped in at Milestones for breakfast -- fortifying us for the trek across town to the marathon expo. We walked in the general direction of the expo... but didn't really know just exactly WHERE expo was. We finally ended up accosting a man carrying a bright blue "BMO Marathon" bag, who pointed us in nearly the right direction (well, eventually in the right direction... but the long way round).

Expo was... chaos? Pros: they had a live band playing on the outdoor stage. Fun! Gave it a sense of adventure. They also had a sign-scribble booth, which I always love, and they gave out bright blue "disposable" gloves -- a nice touch.

Cons: You had to snake through the exhibitors to get to the packet pickup... AND snake through them again to get back out. In the end I didn't want to look at anything, I just wanted to GET OUT! I think a one-way system might have been better, somehow.

But we got in, got our packets (names on bibs! hooray!!!), and eventually made it out again.

Not being very good at staying off our feet, or relaxing, we spent the rest of the day walking all around Vancouver, admiring the sweet Vancouver Olympics merchandise (such lovely mascots!), stopping in to get the Body Glide we forgot to pack (thus spending out Running Room token that the race organizers sent!), and having a nice dinner with a chatty waiter who wrote us a nice note to wish us good luck in the race.

We didn't stay out too late, and got home just before dark to attach our timing chips and bibs and lay out our race stuff for the morning.

The alarm went off at 5:45, with a backup at 6. We dressed quickly, ate some bread and cheese we bought the night before, and headed downstairs at 6:01. I had been watching the taxis in the nearby taxi rank, and didn't worry too much about getting a ride. We asked the front desk to call, and ended up joining forces with two other runners -- running their first race.

The driver dropped us several blocks from the start, so at first we wandered around a little hesitantly, but soon we saw others heading the right direction. We actually walked along the finish chute to get into the start/finish area, arriving at about 6:30. We immediately got into one of the two giant -- but fast-moving -- lines for the banks of porta potties. Ah, Canadians, so polite, so orderly, so happy to queue. By the time we got in and out, it was 6:45, so we decided to see what the start area looked like.

Well, they didn't have corrals, though they did have some "pace bunnies" (wearing pink bunny ears), and we saw a 2:30 sign, so got to a side fence a ways behind that. Some more milling about, a few words, and then a not-very-stirring rendition of O, Canada. (I think I was the only one singing...) And then, with a blast of a horn, the elites were off, with the announcer shrieking "Photographers! Look out! Get out of the way! Photographers!", which made me laugh. And then, a few minutes later, we shifted forward a bit, and we were off.

1 comment:

rstaffel said...

I have a hard time with this kind of suspense. Part II, please! XOXO