Friday, October 16, 2009

Okanagan Marathon Race Report

My brother Steve lives in Vernon, BC which is about 40 mins or so from Kelowna, where the Okanagan marathon took place last Sunday! Since the race started at 7am we had to get up at 4:45am so we could eat breakfast and be ready to leave by 5:30. Several things screwed us up from leaving on time...I didn't change my watch back 1 hour for BC time so when I set my watch for 4:45am it woke me up at 3:45 which sucked! So then when I fixed it, I either did it wrong or I slept through the alarm and ended up waking up around 4:55am. Apparently Steve knocked on my door but I didn't hear it.

It was a cold morning and I was slow getting ready and we left the house a few mins late. Then after driving a couple of mins I realized I forgot my hand bottle and we had to go back and get it...and so by the time we left a second time it was 5:45...woops. I thought it only took a half hour to get there but that's to the outskirts of Kelowna. After getting every freakin light possible on the way we ended up getting there at 6:40ish, parked in some residential area, peed in the bushes, stripped down to our racing clothes, and ran to the start as our warmup. It was -10 C in Kelowna...holy F! Of course there were some crazies in their singlets and short shorts...I was in 3/4 tights, long sleeve, vest, baseball hat and gloves...turned out to be the perfect amount of clothes for me!

There were too many people to get through as the half marathoners were starting at the same time so we climbed the fence to get into the coral and started right up front. The gun went off and as I watched Steve take off I thought, ok well that's the last i'll see of him! I had intended to do a slower first km to warm up a bit but when I looked at my watch it was at a 4:15 min/km pace and for some reason I just couldn't make myself slow down! So I said what the heck and I just went with it...figured I may as well experiment and see how long I can keep this pace up...might work well or I might die a slow and painful death!

Even though I had a quick pace going on the first 5km seemed to take FOREVER...and because of the cold I couldn't feel my legs for probably the first 10km...they felt so numb and my stride felt super awkward. When I got to the 10km marker I was a little shocked to see my time was 44 mins...only 2 mins slower than my 10km PB! That kind of freaked me out and then I was definitely worried I went out too fast! But, I still felt good so just went with it.

As the sun finally started to come up, I finally began to warm up a bit! My friend Paddy caught up to me around 13km and we would end up running together off and on for the next 20km or so which was nice. At the 16km there is the first timing mat and here we part ways with the half marathoners. I crossed at 1:09 and was pretty pleased with that time! The last time I ran a 10 mile race my time was a heck of a lot slower than that!

Anyways, I was pumped that all the girls that had been around me were all going to the right for the half marathon as I went on to the left. Soon after that an aid station came and people were cheering at me and kept telling me I was the first woman through in the marathon. Instantly, I was like oh no, really? I don't really like to be told that...kind of feels like they're jinxing me...then I end up running scared for the rest of the race and am always just waiting for a woman to pass me!! I would continue to hear I was the first woman for the rest of the race from volunteers as well as spectators along the way.

Around 18 or 19km we bagan the lone hill in the was actually a pretty long gradual hill but it wasn't a big deal...I passed a lot of people going up this hill which I liked. Up ahead I saw the leader in the marathon round a corner and continue on down the hill. I was like sweet, I'm gonna see Steve in here! Two more guys come out and then Steve pops out shortly after...I was so pumped for him being in 4th place! We were both yelling at each other and cheering and as a result my heart rate instantly skyrocketed, as did my pace since I was so excited! I thought, Shit Deb, take it down a notch, you're going to die before the halfway point! I reached the half marathon point at around 1:32-1:33...4 mins faster than my half PB! Of course then you start thinking, wow I wish I could double that and run the same time for the next half...I'd get a 3:06 or something!

I knew that wasn't going to happen when I hit the 30km mark and almost instantly felt like hell. The road was taking it's toll on my legs huge...they hurt so much, as did my left foot with the whole plantar fasciitis garbage i've got going on. I looked at my watch and was not happy with what I pace slowed huge! With 10km to go Paddy kept talking me through it and giving me words of encouragement before leaving me to suffer on my own! The next 8km were pretty much a blur and I don't know how I got through it without stopping. My pace was still decent but just not where I wished it would be!

Then the 40km mark came and I hear 2 people behind me...I look to my left as a guy goes by...then I see a shadow ahead of me as the next person starts to pass...all i think is shit, that's definitely a girl...and I look over and i'm BUMMED! Getting passed with 2 km to go and zero energy to go with her, sucks!!!! She didn't get any farther ahead for a while so I thought maybe she'll die or i'll have enough energy at the end to pass her. I have to mention here that these last few kms were a friggin gong was super confusing and there weren't any volunteers around pointing you where to go as we ran through these last few subdivisions. So a bunch of us (and later I would find out, a huge number of marathoners) took this little 500m or so loop that was meant for half marathoners only! We get to the end and it says half marathon turn around point. A few of us stopped dead and were like WTF? Did we go the wrong way? There was nobody around to tell us anything so we had no idea if that had been right.

Anyways, blah blah blah that was annoying, got over it, finished the race and that's that. I couldn't catch the girl that passed me, nor did I care in the least at that point...and I placed second in 3:12:07....taking over 7 mins off my best marathon time. Not too shabby!

The results were posted and they have me and the 1st place woman in 2nd and 3rd and we're like WTF? There's no way...who is this woman that they say ran a 3:03 chip time/3:07 gun time? And if she really does exist, why would she start 4 mins back from the start of the race if you're going to likely win...why did she not pick up any of her awards at the end...why did she cross the 16km timing mat in 2:19 (a full hour and 10 mins after me) and not cross any other timing mats? Despite all of this and chatting with the race director about it...he was a total ass and it was obvious he didn't believe us but told us he would look into it. I decided to email him about it on tuesday and just got a response saying "it's under review". Today I noticed the results have finally been changed and she has been removed from the first place spot! I have a feeling perhaps she was a marathon runner or walker that decided to only do the half and the results got screwed up and they placed her first. Anyway, here is the link to the results...and check out who took 2nd place overall in the marathon...Steve!! Mister mountain runner decided kind of last minute to run his first road marathon and he killed it...2:54!

Oh wait, update...just noticed they have already adjusted the times for those doing the extra loop and they've got me down as running a 3:09...too funny. Weird. I wonder if I mentioned it to the race director when I was talking to him after the race and that's why he changed it? I'm pretty sure without the extra 500m loop or whatever it is they're saying it was that I didn't run a 3:09! That's crazy. I'm sticking with my 3:12 thank you very much. I don't like all of this adjusting times business...until I run a marathon where it says 3:09 when I cross the line then I ran a 3:12. They adjusted one of the guys that placed behind Steve and he has ended up infront of him now and pushing him to 3rd. Whatevs. Like I said this race was a bit of a gong show! And what about the people that will say they did the extra loop when they didn't, just so they could have their times adjusted? You know there's definitely people out there that will do it. I'm sorry but if that's what you have to do to qualify for Boston...well that's just about the lamest thing I've heard.

Ok that's it, that's all i've got on the topic. I'm still recovering this week and haven't done a bloody thing! I drove home on monday and celebrated the end of my racing season that night with a friend and we each drank a bottle of red wine. So good! :) My legs still hate me and i'm not sure when i'm going to attempt my first run but i'm planning on enjoying some hiking and camping this weekend in Fernie! Woot!!



  1. Deb, congrats on a huge PR and 2nd overall!!!!! Thanks for writing a great race report -- it is nice to hear what goes on at the front of the pack. :-) It's kinda crazy what happened with the course -- so frustrating. I hate when organizational eff-ups happen like that.

    Now you'll have come to Chicago next year so you can break 3 hours! :-) Congrats again!

  2. That rocks! I will never be that fast:( Way to go, congratulations. I hate a crappy race director.

  3. Nice report Deb. Good on you going by feel and then toughing it out. Your positive 2nd half split isn`t so bad if you go with a 3:09!

  4. WOW what a shit show that turned out to be! Either way congrats to 'Team Pipe Line' (two words) for continuing to kick some ass out there!!

  5. Cool report, brings back memories I could relate to. I did the extra distance as well but they never adjusted my time. But as you say it was a gong show and we can chalk it up to that. I think I won't be doing this race again for another 4 years due to being ineptly run... I too have done nothing since but tomorrow is a 20 miler as Vegas looms in the distance.

  6. I love your race report; very well written, funny and exciting. Congratulations on your super time!

  7. Congratulations on the awesome race result! Great job with the race report. It sounds like the race sure had a bunch of problems. Glad to hear they got you in the position you earned.

  8. I haven't said Congratulations yet!
    CONGRATS! So I said it before, but I'll say it realize you have a huuuuge amount of talent, right?!? RIGHT?!
    Nice work Deb, that's a pretty frickin' sweet marathon time. Imagine if you did some speed work/leg speed stuff....