A note before I get into my Vancouver race: The Asbury Park Relay Marathon start time has been moved up to 7am. Because of the earlier start, I *will* be able to run with my relay team, Tramps Like Us. I'll be doing the first loop in a red shirt that says ROSALITA on the back. Say hello if you're there!
Monday was Thanksgiving in Canada, hence the North Shore Credit Union Half Marathon being held on a Monday morning. I moved out of the conference hotel on Sunday and into the Metropolitan, which offers a Runner's High Package. This deal includes overnight stay, guaranteed late checkout, complimentary valet parking, three course CARB dinner at the hotel's restaurant, and a welcome kit that includes a copy of Runner's World, a running map, and a coupon for 10% off at the nearby New Balance Store).
They even went and picked up my race packet for me. This was what I saw when I checked into my room:
The concierge also drove me to the start of the race. Yes, it's that kind of full service hotel. Thank you, Metropolitan, for making this racing experience that much easier.
Though "racing" is not the best way to describe what I did. My goal was to run slow. I'm training for the Philadelphia Marathon, and my schedule called for me to run 18 miles. So I planned to run the 13.1 of the race, then another 5 back to my hotel. To slow me down, I brought my iPhone to listen to podcasts, which I never ever ever ever ever do. I don't believe in running with music outdoors, and the phone is just too bulky to carry. I don't get it when people taken 7,000 pictures of themselves while running, either, to post on their blogs (we don't care - really). But I wanted to have Google Maps in case I got lost returning from the hotel, and the phone in case I got hurt and needed to call a cab back to the hotel.
It was an OK race. Small at less than 300 people. My big beef is that on Friday, the organizers sent around an email that they were going to shift the course to include more trails. Given that it POURED during the race, this made for some treacherous running. Most people had to walk part of the trail because it was so slippery and steep.
Because I brought my phone, and the course was mostly beautiful, I did get to snap a few pictures:
I still think I'm the only American to ever run this race. When I crossed the finish line, the announcer called "And that's Jen Miller from Collingswood...New Jersey?!" Awesome.
It's hard to run slow when you're in a race. It's so tempting to start picking people off and actually competing. I ran the 13.1 of the half much faster than I planned, even with the walking through trails part. If you can get past the controversy over banditing that Peter Sagal has stirred up in this piece, he had the same experience this weekend.
So my legs were already depleted when I then turned myself around and ran back to the hotel over the Lions Gate Bridge, which was steep but had a nice pedestrian path on both sides of the bridge.
I was exhausted and looked like a drowned rat, but I'm glad I did it. I can now add "Canada" to list of places I've run.
The only real problem I had was with my iPhone. The screen stopped working. It could have been from the run, or it could have been the age of the phone. Whatever it was, thank you to the Apple Store in Vancouver for replacing the screen for free. I was glad to have that phone when my flight out Monday night was delayed by two hours. I used the phone to contact people about alternate arrangements and start looking up hotels in case I was stranded in San Fran. Fortunately, I made my connection with a whole five minutes to spare.
So those are my Canadian stories. I'm still battling a stupid head cold, and hopefully I'll be over it by the time the Asbury Park Relay Marathon rolls around on Sunday. Say hello if you're there, too!