Waaay back in October, I hopped on a plane early one Saturday morning to fly to Vancouver to run the inaugural Rock ‘n’ Roll Vancouver race.
Now, I already talked about all the nut butters I bought which resulted in my suitcase being overweight, but I completely neglected to even comment on the race. I know y’all are probably far more excited to hear about Ragnar, but it just seemed wrong to write the recaps out-of-order. So for today you’re stuck with RnR and tomorrow you’ll get to read all about Ragnar.
Being the smart runners we are, we decided to drive the 40 minutes from the airport to Bellingham to do some shopping. First we hit up Trader Joe’s and then we stopped in at Target. After thoroughly tiring ourselves out and chowing down on some Subway, we headed back to Canada and waited in a long line at the border with everyone else making it to the package pickup at RnR.
We had a fun time checking out all the stickers on the cars that were obviously (in my mind) driving up for the race.
After crossing the border we had to then drive to the SkyTrain and then get on the SkyTrain and head into downtown Vancouver.
We had a short walk (in the pouring rain) from the train station to the expo entrance. Even though I forgot my runner registration sheet at home, they had a ton of extras and I just needed to locate my bib number (again, easy to do) before I could grab my goodies.
I grabbed by bag, bib and shirt and then it was time to wander through the expo. On my list were: YurBuds (but only if they had the wireless ones, which they didn’t), Gu (check!) and BodyGlide (totally forgot to buy it #fail).
We also got ID’d for the beer after the race (of which we did not partake in) and then headed back out into the rain as it was getting late and we had a looooong drive back to Lexie’s in Langley. Originally the plan was to have dinner at Lexie’s, but then I realized I forgot my BodyGlide and we had juuuust enough time to pop into The Running Room before they closed. It was then decided dinner would be beer and Safeway sandwiches, because Safeway sandwiches are the shit.
I also decided to repack my bag knowing it might be a bit of a rush trip from the end of the race to when I needed to be at the airport at 4pm. Why, yes, it was a whirlwind trip.
We did a bit of mental math and realized we needed to leave really freaking early (I think we left at 6am?) so the alarm was set for some ungodly hour and, per usual, we didn’t have a restful day before the race and we went to bed too late.
On Friday we also realized getting to the race was going to be a tad bit tricky as the SkyTrain we had planned on taking wasn’t going to start running until 7am and we wanted to be down at the race by 7:30, so we ended up driving into downtown and taking the SkyTrain just a few blocks to the start line.
Oh, and thankfully it had stopped raining.
Lexie and I huddled inside a hotel lobby near our corral (the convention centre didn’t want to let us in to warm up) and timed it perfectly to head to our corral just as they started sending runners off. We were in corral 19 so we did the shuffle dance for quite a while before we finally made it up to our start.
We were off.
While staggered starts take a while, I’m a big fan as it removes a lot of the congestion at the start of the race and we didn’t need to bob and weave through a million bodies at the start.
This route was different (and dare I say, easier?) than SeaWheeze, but did have us running through some interesting areas of downtown Vancouver.
Similar to SeaWheeze, I was running and pacing Lexie along the route, so I paid close attention to my pace and was checking in with her on how she was doing. We took a run one mile, walk a bit approach and I could tell early on that she was feeling way better than she had at SeaWheeze.
Somewhere around the 10k mark (I think?) we ran into Tina running in her crazy Loki costume.
After enjoying some of the beautiful scenery and coming across a somewhat nervous Rocky Racoon we hit some not-so-fun hills in Stanley Park. I knew there was a nasty hill coming up around the 17km mark, so I told Lexie we’d walk up it, but then we’d be running to the finish.
Before I dive into the finish of the race, let me say the atmosphere was awesome. The majority of my races (with the exception of Disney and SeaWheeze) are pretty spread out. Honestly? I like it that way. I’m not a big fan of tripping over people. We were never alone on the route and even when an ambulance and fire truck needed to get by us (twice!) it was never overly congested.
A note: I wear headphones when I run. I get it, music is fun. BUT, if some dude has to haul ass up to you to tap you on your shoulder because you 1) can’t see that everyone is moving to the side and 2) can’t year everyone yelling at you to move, you have them turned up too loud. YOU are the reason race directors are banning headphones in races.
The race finished about 1 kilometer (this is my brain estimating distances, I truly have no idea) from the start line. In theory, it was a great idea to finish in a grassy area for the concert. In practice, because this is Vancouver and Vancouver in October is awful and rainy, it wasn’t the best idea. Lexie and I picked our way through the slop to grab our bags (gear check was busses – genius!) and waited for Sarah to finish.
Initially, I thought we had allocated sufficient time to finish up and head to brunch, but…..we didn’t. We ended up hopping in a cab and heading to Heirloom (yum!!) for brunch. Stellar idea.
Again, I had eggs benedict and added goat cheese to it. I also ate every last bite because it was amazing and I love it.
Then we went home, I changed (didn’t shower, sorry airplane folks) and arrived back in Calgary roughly 36 hours after I left.
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