02 October 2013

Kelowna, BC, Half Marathon

I have a girlfriend who recently had a baby. Correction, I have a number of girlfriends who have recently recovered from suffering from pregnancy. Trust me, it's a condition from which one suffers, but, unlike shortness, it only lasts a short time (see what I did there?).

And now I've got lots of cute little adopted nieces and nephews running around! I'm telling you, some of these kiddos are going to be barefoot runners, you can just tell. I mean, look at little Owen. He is already refusing to wear shoes. He's definitely going to run an ultra one day:

Barefoot Baby

As a way to inspire some post-baby motivation (and solidify herself as a complete badass) my friend Kat convinced a few of us from the run group to sign up for a half marathon with her. The half was to take place in beautiful Canadian wine country (eh?). My love for drinking and running is well documented (here and here) so I signed up with great excitement, not realizing just how close the half was to my annual participation in the See Jane Run Race (5 weeks).

With little training, I didn't want to push my time.... that is until the morning of the race, when I decided it would be a good idea to pace at 8:00/miles with Drew and Matt. Something about the Kelowna air (read: wine) must have gotten into me.

After arising at 5am for a silly 5:45 bus that took us on a 15 minute ride to the start line, we were an hour early for our 7am race (which started at 7:07 - I'm not a fan of races starting late). At least it started at a winery! We wandered around, contemplated tasting some wine, decided it was probably a terrible idea, and lined up at the start line eagerly awaiting the start gun and plotting our strategery.

The race was mostly flat. The first five miles consisted of rolling hills, followed by a few miles during which you covered over 500' of downhill, and finished with 7 miles of flat along the lake.

We started strong, all pushing the pace up the rolling hills until none of us could talk. "Uh oh", I thought to myself at Mile 4, "this is going to be a long race." About Mile 5, Matt broke off from me and Drew, never to be seen again.

Coming down the mountain with Drew

Not our exact view, but good representation of rolling hillsides we traveled down

Much like my last half, I was DONE with this race at Mile 6. I suffered through until mile 10, at which point I nearly lost the Gu I was able to choke down. At mile 11, I almost threw up again, a pattern I would repeat every quarter mile for the remainder of the race. 

Drew and I were on track to beat my previous time of 1:46:26, but I just couldn't hold it together. At the final two aid stations I had to walk, and at one point I considered stopping altogether, but managed to hold my walking pace to a slow crawl. Seriously people, this was BAD.

But then a gal ran past me and said, "Nooo! You can't stop now! I've been chasing you for 12 miles!" I was so completely grateful to her in that moment that I picked up my trot and caught her just to say how much I needed and appreciated her encouragement.

Then, I finished out the race. Not quickly. The last mile took what felt like hours, but I finally crossed the finish at 1:47:24. Which is a totally respectable time and the 2nd fastest I've ever run a half marathon. But, after getting a PR each previous race, it's  hard not to be a little disappointed.

Suffering through to the finish line

My team, however, ROCKED IT! Matt CRUSHED his previous PR of 1:50 with a finishing time of 1:42:59! Drew finished ahead of me at 1:46:24. Drew's dad, David, finished in 1:56.22. Not bad for anyone, let alone a 63 year old. And our most impressive finisher was Kat, the baby-haver, who came in at a cool 2:14:45. Did I mention she ran that 20-weeks after having a C-Section? 

I'm confident that if we had been able to secure a 6th teammate (the number required to "compete") that Team Day Drunk would have WON THE DAY!

Matt, Kat, Drew, and Me

Post-race we captured THIS photo (sorry that we didn't get Drew's dad in it), took showers, and set off to enjoy the wine garden, delicious food, and a nap or four. In all we had a fantastic weekend full of eating and drinking and being merry.

Betty (Drew's Mom), Drew, and Matt. Not pictured: adorable Ellie Belle in her stroller.

That's a HUGE medal!

Super dog!

Mission Winery

Yes, I ate it all, and yes, it was delicous. Thanks for finding the great restaurants David!

Thanks for a fun time Team Day Drunk! Let's do it again next year.

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