run pretty run fast

a blog about running fast with style

Victoria Half Marathon and a few of the most painful miles of my life…

Five life lessons from Victoria:

1)  If you’re going to run a half marathon, train for a half marathon.

2) Run tangents.

3)  Garmin will let you down.

4)  You can will yourself to a finish line.

5)  It’s not always about the race.

Alright, the long-winded details of what was the Victoria Half.  Good thing I ran this back in October.  The details are at best a bit blurry so you’ll get the short version (well short for me).

Our trip to Victoria BC was easy thanks to our friends at the Victoria Clipper.


Victoria is a quick 3 hour trip from downtown Seattle via the Clipper.  We hopped off the boat, cleared customs and walked to our hotel.  A quick change into running gear a little shake out run to the expo, packet pick-up and back to the hotel in about an hour.  Dinner was within walking distance and we were back to the hotel again and ready for bed and an early wake-up call.

We woke-up bright and early on Sunday ready to race!  Since we were staying right by the start line we were able to run to the start.  Overall the logistics of this trip were great.

JJ, Claire (who ran a speedy new PR), Bo (who ran a speedy 1:24-25) and I made our way to the start line ready to run.  Well JJ, Claire and Bo were ready to run, I was still a little uncertain.  JJ was trying to run under 1:30 and was trying to help her along the way but if you read my last post ya know the training wasn’t going so well.  All I wanted was to do was keep up with JJ and make it to the finish line.  My plan was to run 7:00s and then pick things up the last 4-5 miles.

Here we go!

We settled into a pace and it felt surprisingly good and a little faster than expected 6:49.  I figured we were just excited and we would settle in.  Mile 2 6:47.  Hmmm, well everything was feeling good so I guess we go with this?


I tried to tuck in behind a group of people but I could tell JJ was a little restless and ready to run.  6:48.  At least we’re consistence?

We hit a hill at mile 4 (6:58) not bad for a little hill.

JJ was still feeling really good, and we hit a bit of a down hill and we threw down a 6:38.  Things were still feeling good but we settled back to 6:44 for mile 6 and a pretty amazing sunrise over the coast.

At this point I was surprised at how good I was feeling.  The past few weeks of running had been pretty bad and this… well felt pretty good.

Mile 7 we hit a hill and I started to work a little harder than planned 6:52.  And then more hills, JJ was running strong and took off and I let her go.  My pretty good running was taking a bit of turn towards pretty bad and I was just trying to get the turn around point and to the downhill.

Mile 8 6:46 and I couldn’t believe it my legs at this point were pretty much toast.  Not sure how things went south so fast but they did.  I knew I had 2 more miles in me… but 5?  Hmmm… this could get ugly.

And they did get ugly though you wouldn’t believe it by looking at my Garmin.

Mile 9 6:47 and I was in total disbelief.  I felt like I was running 9 min miles.  Mile 10 6:48.

3 to go!

Oh 3 to go.

Mile 10 had a nice little hill 7:06.

I did my best to stay in the mile and it took every ounce of mental and physical energy to just pick my legs up.  My goal was to keep my pace under 7:00s for the last 2 miles and I figured if I did that I’d be close to 1:29.

I tried to find people to tuck in behind to get to the finish but I think I was scaring them away.  At this point I was breathing so loud it sounded like I was gasping for my last breath of life (sorry running peeps I wouldn’t want to run with me either).

The last 2 miles were a blur 6:44 and 6:47!  I should hit my goal!

Or not so much.  When I saw the mile to go sign I figured I must really be bad at running math because there was no way I dropping a sub 6 min mile to get the finish.

And I didn’t (though my last .32 miles- not .1 were 6:31 pace) 1:30.44.

I was happy to cross the finish line and there was no doubt I left everything on the course that day.  I found JJ right away and was thrilled she’d hit her goal safely under 1:30 with time to spare.

I ended up running 13.32- or my Garmin is bad with hills, trees, buildings or I don’t run tangents well, or I swing my arms a lot… or it really just doesn’t matter.

What I know is this:  it felt great to find a start line again and even better to find the finish line with a group of super fun peeps.  Happy to be done we found the rest of our group (the half marathon-ers and 8k-ers) and then cheered our friends who ran the full.


(JJ’s pic because we all know I don’t take pictures of people…)

And we celebrated:


(… again JJ’s pic)

Back at the hotel we got cleaned-up and then hit the local bar for the Hawks game and hit the road.  There may have been a 90 minute window where I thought I lost my passport… maybe.

We did a little yoga on the Clipper:


And said goodbye to a pretty perfect weekend.


Overall great weekend with a great group girls… ready to do it all again next year.

Who’s in?  I promise to train this time.



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This entry was posted on January 18, 2014 by in races and tagged , , , , , , .
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