Half Marathon #8 – a.k.a., who put all these hills here?

This will be brief, as I have a ridiculous amount of homework to do this week, but I thought that a blog posting to let you all know that I survived the Edge-to-Edge half marathon was in order. And I do mean survived, as this was by far the toughest half marathon route I’ve even experienced!

Alicia and I headed over to the Island on the ferry on Saturday morning and spent the afternoon enjoying the sights of Tofino & Ucluelet and, most importantly to a women with two small children and a women doing an MBA, we took a nap. A glorious, glorious nap.

Beth & Alicia, on the ferry

Alicia and I on the ferry, on our way to the race. So unsuspecting of the insane hilliness that awaited us!

I may also have done some homework and Alicia may also have enjoyed some uninterrupted reading time, powering her way through the book “Born To Run”. We are so extravagant! We then headed to the “carb loading” dinner and, since Tofino & Ucluelet apparently shut down everything by 8 pm on a Saturday night, we just enjoyed the sunset by the water and made it an early night.

Ready for my race!

Me, right before the race. Still completely unaware of the evil hills that awaited me!

We knew that there would be some hills on the route, given that we drove a chunk of it on our way from Ucluelet to Tofino and saw that there were hills. But driving the hills makes them seem so much less than they are when you have to run them. For 2+ hours. Also, we didn’t know that the hills would start almost immediately and continue non-stop for pretty much the entire 21.125 km.

Edge to Edge half marathon route
The race map. See that elevation profile at the bottom? Apparently you are supposed to pay attention to that!

There was about 4km of the race that was in the Wild Pacific Trail, which we’d not been in before, but we discovered upon entering it during the race, with the faint hope that maybe, just maybe, the horrible, horrible hills of the past 14 km would be over, that it was not only superhilly, but also was a rocky trail, so you had to not only run up and down hills for 4 km, but you also had to be super careful not to fall and break your neck on loose rocks! Oddly, this was actually my favourite part of the race1 – it seemed to go by much faster than the parts on the road and you got the occasional glimpse of the ocean, which was spectacular.

All told, according to my Runkeeper app2, we did a total of 362m of climbing on this race. To put this in perspective, that’s like running up nearly 1/3 of Grouse Mountain or 65% of the way up the CN Tower!

I should also mention that my IT band has been really tight of late and even the drive from the ferry to Uclulet resulted in my IT band feeling like burning3. And since hills are what seem to aggravate it the most, it made the race that much worse, as ever time I ran up a hill, my IT band would scream at me. Several of the hills I had to walk up, just to make it bearable. So I feel completely justified in blaming the evil hills and my evil IT band for my terrible finish time of 2:22:35. Not my insufficient training nor my insufficient stretching and foam rolling to keep my IT band in check or my extra 15 lbs of weight I’m carrying around. Nope, definitely the fault of evil hills!

Half marathon finishers!

Alicia and I with our finisher medals. Proof that we did, in fact, finish the race!

However, I do have to remind myself that I set out with a simple goals of experiencing a new race, finishing the race (without actually being too concerned with my time) and having a nice time hanging out with Alicia for the weekend, so really, it was mission accomplished. Also, race day would have been my Dad’s 68th birthday and I like that I got to do a race on his day.

In related news, Alicia and I were chatting with a lovely couple from Santa Barbara at the carb-loading dinner who told us about the Hollywood Half Marathon. It’s a flat course and you get big sparkly Hollywood star-shaped medal at the end. Sounds like a pretty fantastic way to celebrate, say, someone being done an MBA, doesn’t it? April 5, 2014 – who’s in?

  1. Where by “favourite” I mean, “the part where I least wanted to die”. []
  2. Which was slightly off, since it only registered me as having run 20.64 km, when I did, in fact, run 21.125 km. Nevertheless, it was pretty close, so I’m confident that the climb amount is close to correct. []
  3. I guess holding my leg in the same position on the accelerator for 3 hours wasn’t the smartest idea. []

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