This weekend, I got to check something off of my bucket list. I ran an international marathon. The Vancouver Marathon, which took place this past Sunday May 6th, was my 3rd marathon to run. Drew and my friend Jed flew in from Austin and the three of us drove 6 hours north across the border into Canada. After the border patrol fired loads of questions at us to make sure we weren’t terrorists (How do you know each other, eh? Friends from college. What are you doing in Canada, eh? Running a marathon. Why are you running a marathon, eh? That is a good question, officer!), we were allowed into the great nation of Canada.
We picked up our race packets along with the 6,000 other crazy people running the marathon, checked into our hotel, then headed to Steamworks to carb up on pizza and pasta. We didn’t do any sightseeing on Saturday because we wanted to preserve our precious feet and get plenty of rest for the big day. Sunday morning we followed the other runners down the street, into the subway and toward the start line at Queen Elizabeth Park. Jed, the elite runner that he is, left us in his dust as he took off in hopes of a record-setting race time. Drew kindly ran the first mile with me then said, “You can do this, Mary Leigh!” and took off on his own as well. So I put in my headphones and turned on some motivational jams as a soundtrack for the lovely sights of Vancouver BC. I have to say, running a marathon is a great way to see a new city. We covered lots of ground (42.2 kilometers to be exact) and saw the University of British Columbia, The Stanley Park Seawall, ran across the Burrard Bridge, and finished downtown.
Around mile 6, I ran by a little pack of people who came out to cheer and they yelled, “Way to go, Mary! You’re doing great.” I’m pretty sure I shot them the most confused/shocked look, because I didn’t know how they knew my name! Do I know these people? Then I realized that my name was written in big bold letters under the race number on my bib. And for the rest of the race, people were cheering me on by name as if they had come out just for me. (Sidenote: Drew bought his racing bib from an injured young man named Juan, so when he ran by people would yell, “You can do it, Juan!”) One of the great things about running a marathon is the encouragement. People were yelling things like, “Looking good!” and “You’re my hero!” That will put an extra hop in your step.
Surprisingly there was never a point in the race in which I wanted to die, nor did I ever stop to walk. I actually felt pretty good the whole way and finished in 4:06:34 – a new personal best! Jed finished with a great time despite a foot injury and Drew finished a few minutes before me despite not really training (which means he got to check "run an off-the-couch marathon" off of his bucket list). The 3 of us painfully limped back to our hotel, took showers and a nap, went out for burgers, fries and a beer, then went back to the hotel and went to bed.
We were about as sore as could be this morning and watching us waddle down the street was surely entertaining to all in sight. Due to our lack of energy and desire to walk as little as possible, we didn't do much sighseeing today either. We had breakfast at Central Bistro, strolled by the beach at Stanley Park (where the boys harrassed innocent runners by telling them to "stop running - it's aweful), packed up and headed home. It was a great weekend and we accomplished what we set out to do!
the beautiful route
post race with our medals and brown bag lunches
revisiting the "scene of the crime" - kilometer 31 (mile 19)
where things started falling apart for the boys
enjoying the sun and happy to be sitting and not running
Just Do It
"In running, it doesn't matter whether you come in first, in the middle of the pack, or last. You can say, 'I have finished.' There is a lot of satisfaction in that."
- Fred Lebow, New York City Marathon co-founder