If you’ve been following along on Solana’s blog you know that I, Carol, have been training for my first EVER Half Marathon! I recently did a post reviewing my training plan, which you can read here. If you want to read about how Solana rated my training (my mean coach), she posted about it here.
Spoiler : I ran a great race, and am thrilled with my results!
Nice bling, eh?
The Surrey International World Music Marathon was absolutely great! The weather was perfect and I felt ready to start my first ever Half Marathon!
Richard, Solana, Jay, and myself parked at Edmonds and took the skytrain to the race start. Solana’s friend Katy, and her fiance Eric met up with us on the skytrain. We arrived at the start line with lots of time to find a bathroom, and get ourselves ready to run!
Standing at the start line, I felt calm, and confident in my training. I felt like I was prepared and ready to run my first ever half!
Before I knew it, the starting gun went off, and Solana sped away from Katy and I. Fortunately Katy and I run about the same pace, so we started off running together. We were running at a pretty good clip, a bit faster than I was planning and I was a bit concerned that maybe I had gone out too fast, but I managed to keep pace with Katy. The first few km’s flew by, and although I was worried about it being a bit fast, I felt strong.
At about 7km I lost Katy for a few km when she peeled off at a porta potty and it felt much harder for me to run at steady pace alone. I would pick out people in the pack and pace myself with them but then found myself passing them. I lost my focus for a bit and really felt like I was really slowing down but after the race when I downloaded my Garmin Forerunner data, I saw that only one lap was below the rest and was really not that slow…I guess maybe it was all mental and how I was feeling?
I had worn the belly dancer jingly skirt from the previous week’s BELIEVE run and received a lot of happy comments from runners and spectators…they all seemed to appreciate the fun of it, and that helped me keep my focus…I was not invisible.
I enjoyed the parts of the race where there were spectators cheering us on. I also enjoyed many of the signs especially the one that said “Good Luck Random Stranger”. The music stations idea was a lot of fun but several of them either weren’t playing when we ran past or were playing really mellow or quiet music. The Korean station with all the loud drums was definitely my favorite!
Katy finally caught back up to me and I was very happy to see her. She was running strong and I told her to go ahead if she wanted to increase her pace. She told me she thought maybe she had “shot her load” catching back up to me. I was really lucky to have her back as the final 8k were hard and we joked and encouraged each other.
At 16k, we said “We got this, only 5 more to go, no big deal, we can do this”.
With about 1km to go, Solana appeared and proceeded to run us in. Katy managed to kick into another gear but I could not stay with her. Solana stayed with me and badgered me and I did manage to squeeze a bit more out of my tired legs but I sure did not have the kick for any sort of sprint like I have been practicing. I guess I really did leave it all on the course!
I crossed the finish line at 1:58:02 and was so excited to be sub 2 hours!
My official stats : 2/28 Women 60-64, 91/590 females, 305/1183 overall participants!
Myself, Solana, & Katy enjoying our post race chocolate milk & bananas!
My comments on the actual Surrey race & course :
- Very cute Addidas Race Shirt – fits really nice, and is good quality
- Ginormous Finisher Medals
- Whole bananas, chocolate milk, bottled water, juice after the race for all the runners
- Very friendly volunteers
- The Cultural Music stands
- KM’s were well marked, easy to see, & accurate
- Reasonably flat course
- Easy to get to on Skytrain
- Perfect running weather – late September – Sunny but not too warm
- Excellent race announcer
- SportsStats was great for checking timing, they even updated my facebook page with my finishing time!
- Although I did not need to use the porta potties, I was watching for them and felt that they were few and far between on the course – I didn’t see many at the start either – most people were going inside the SFU Campus
- The water stations were not evenly spaced around the course, and some stations only had Gatorade, which I avoided because I didn’t train with it
- I would prefer to run a more ‘picturesque’ course
- I haven’t been to many expo’s but this one seemed to be lacking
- I did not experience any issues, but I heard there was lots of traffic issues, including cars driving onto the course and almost into runners
- Race pictures are REALLY expensive to purchase
- Finish line was not a good viewing area for spectators with flags blocking views of runners (My SIL did not get a good picture of me finishing )
- Not enough garbage cans/bins in the start/finish area
- Difficult course for friends/family members to spectate
Although I have not run in many races, I thought that they did a great job on their first attempt! I will definitely keep the Surrey International Music Marathon in mind for next yr!