Race Report: Goodlife Victoria Half-Marathon

(Several of the photos in this post – especially the ones at the start of the race – are courtesy of Lauren! Also, this post is long! Consider yourself warned πŸ˜‰ )

Hi friends! I started writing this blog post from the beautiful ferry ride on yesterday morning. I miss Victoria already. What a beautiful, beautiful city. I cannot wait to go back!

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So I guess you’re all waiting for the race report, hey? Sunday was such a great race day with perfect weather – overcast and about 10 C! I’m so proud of us all! Alarms were going off in our hotel room at 5:45 AM on race day and Leigh, Lisa and I bounded out of bed to get ready.

The three of us were fueled and dressed within an hour so we left to walk the two blocks to the start line around 7:00 AM. Our hotel was in the perfect location. Lauren didn’t start her marathon until 45 minutes after us but she was a good sport and got out of bed and came to the start.

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Once there we had time to hang around and take some photos before the crowds of people really started rolling in.

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I’m so glad Leigh french braided my hair! I wish that I had someone to do that all the time, it kept out of my face perfectly during the race.

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I had been debating on my race outfit all morning and finally at the last minute I decided to send my coat back to the hotel with Lauren and just wear a t-shirt and shorts. This was a very good decision. Here we all are in our final race outfits:

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Before long it was time to start running. Leigh, Lisa and I all had similar time goals so the plan was to start together and stay together as long as possible!

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Mile 1 – 9:15

With around 5,000 runners this was a crowded race and we spent a lot of the first mile weaving in and out of people. It was definitely a bit mentally exhausting to start the race that way.

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Mile 2 – 8:44

Around mile three we headed into Beacon Hill Park. Now, I must say, the website for Victoria marathon boasted a “flat” course but I would not call this course flat AT ALL! It had tons of rolling hills. Granted they were small hills and the highest elevation we reached was 100 metres, but it was still a lot of up and downs and I found that really hard on my legs and they got tired and sore fast.

I did a ton of speed training for this race but not a lot of hill speed training. I definitely would have benefited more from that – check out the elevation profile below to see all the up-and-downs we ran.

Mile 3 – 8:40

Mile 4 – 8:54

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It was around mile 4, that we went up the first hill in the park and Lisa powered up ahead of Leigh and I. She was on fire and that was the last time we saw her until the end. She did SO awesome. Read her race report here.

Leigh and I stayed together running in front of one another or beside one another but not really talking because we were so focused on our goals (you can see Leigh just ahead of me in the photo below).

Mile 5 – 8:44

Around mile 5 we came out of the park and started running along the pacific ocean. Words and photos cannot describe how stunningly beautiful this part of the race was. It was amazing. I would highly recommend this course and would come back and run it again in a heartbeat!

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Mile 6 – 9:06

Mile 7 – 8:47

At mile 6 I started playing mental games with myself. My 10K split was around 54 minutes and I started thinking “omg, I have to run SEVEN miles in an hour. I can’t do that, I can’t do that” I had to remind myself to take it one mile at a time so I started focusing on each mile individually and the goal was just to keep it under 9 minute miles.

Mile 8 – 9:08

At this point we were just zig-zagging through some residential neighbourhoods and the route was very rolling with the inclines. I was struggling and just kept telling myself to dig deep and push hard. Right before heading back out of the residential area I stopped to walk through a water station and I saw Leigh go up ahead of me. After I was done taking my fuel I sprinted to catch up with her. We then ran beside each other for a couple of miles.

Mile 9 – 8:47

Mile 10 – 9:12

We came back out along the water again at this point. It was so beautiful! Sadly I was running too hard to get a non-blurry photo πŸ˜‰

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At mile 10 I turned to Leigh and said “fuck. My legs are killing me” the guy beside us was like “it’s just around the bend!” I’m thinking ha ha. I have a garmin, I know it’s another 5K! At this point my legs and the front of my quads were getting so sore that I had to drop back from Leigh and let her go.

I hit mile 10 in 1:29 and thought to myself “I have to run 5K in under 30 minutes. I can do that”

Mile 11 – 9:24

The last three miles were the hardest miles I’ve ever ran. My legs were so tired and sore and I had to dig deeper than ever before to get through them. I just kept reminding myself how MAD I would be at myself if I gave up mentally and came in at just over 2 hours. My legs were so, so tired at this point from all the little inclines and pushing so hard.

Mile 12 – 9:04

I wanted to stop SO BADLY at mile 12.5 but I forced myself to push on and reminded myself it would be over soon.

Mile 13 – 8:48

Mile 13 – 13.1 – 7:59

Final Garmin Stats: 13.24 miles / 1:58:20 / 8:57 avg pace

Final OFFICIAL results: 1:58:18, 814/3231 females, 83/277 in my age division

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As soon as I crossed the finish line and saw that I’d beat my sub-2 hour goal I was ecstatic. But I came to such a sudden stop after sprinting in that I found myself stumbling around a little bit and getting dizzy. I was so, so sore from running so hard! I was immediately grabbed by a great volunteer and taken into the medic tent. They sat me down on the bed and without even being able to control it I started peeing!!!!!

I immediately stood up and was like, “omg! I need to go to the bathroom. I just peed a little!” The lady laughed and said it was fine and took me to the nearest porta-potty. I’d felt the urge to pee the last 5K or so of the race and figured I’d just over-hydrated. Apparently I really did leave it all out on the course that day because I could not control the peeing if my life depended on it!

After I got that under control I went to find Lisa and Leigh! All three of us PR’ed! What a great day! Also please notice how Lisa is glowing in the photo below and Leigh and I both look a little sick. Ha!

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We all hobbled back to our hotel room to shower and eat before heading back down to watch Lauren come in. It was so fun cheering the marathoners in and Lauren completely KILLED her race! She looked so strong after 26.2 miles of running – she also PR’ed! I’ll let her tell you about it on her blog πŸ˜‰

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After the marathon finished the four of us got ready and went in search of some FOOD! Then we went back to our hotel and napped for a few hours before going out to two Irish pubs for drinks and appies that night. No photos but it was a really fun last night. We definitely had something to celebrate since all four of us got great PR’s in our races.

I got one last photo of Parliament all lit up on Sunday night. I am absolutely enamored by Victoria and cannot wait to go back. Hopefully soon!

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Monday morning we all said our goodbye’s after an hour long bus ride and 1.5 hour long ferry ride to get back to our cars in Vancouver. I was truly sad to say bye to these girls. This weekend was just what I needed and I had so, so, so much fun. I miss them already!

41 Responses

  1. Becky says:

    What a great report! I’m so proud of all of you, but Amber, what a way to push through! Haha, I can totally see you going “omg I just peed a little!” Thanks for the great trip recaps!

  2. GREAT JOB AMBER! I am so proud of us for all making our goal. It’s a great feeling to know that all 4 of us PR’s and make our toughest goal for the race. I thought the course was beautiful. The rolling hills were tough, though, and it was grueling to keep seeing the inclines coming up ahead! But we freaking did it!!

    Love that last photo. Victoria is truly magical. I would go back in a heartbeat!

  3. Raquelita says:

    Woohoo! All four of you rock! Congrats on the PR!

  4. Heather says:

    Congrats to all of you! You did an awesome job!

    Sounds like an awesome race too! I may just have to look into that for next year!!!

  5. abbi says:

    Congratulations on a great race and killing your goal!!

  6. lisa says:

    great job!! You rocked it!

  7. Ris says:

    Congratulations! I’m so happy for all of you! You guys are awesome!

  8. erin says:

    whoo hoo! congrats to all 4 of you! it had to be fun to run a race with 3 other friends!

  9. Lauren says:

    Congrats on the PR & pushing through! It looks like a beautiful course too.

  10. That sounds like a fantastic course and beautiful city! You did a GREAT job managing your race and put up a really sweet PR. I know it feels so good to break 2 hours for the first time. It’s quite an amazing accomplishment really.

  11. great photos! and good job on the pr!

  12. Holly says:

    Congrats on making your PR πŸ˜€ We almost went to Victoria for our honeymoon but ended up going to Hawaii instead, because it was cheaper. Imagine that, eh? Victoria is definitely beautiful though!

  13. Stefanie says:

    Wow! What a great race! Sounds like everything was perfect: the weather, the people around you, the course… Great job, Amber!!! You rock!

  14. Leigh says:

    Congratulations again on your fabulous PR Amber! Thanks for letting me play cat and mouse with you πŸ™‚ Those rolling hills hurt, but we showed them πŸ™‚

    Can we be back in Victoria already?!

  15. phampants says:

    Congrats on breaking 2!!!!

  16. Jen says:

    I’m so excited for you! I’m so impressed that you really did leave it all out there, what a race!

  17. Stephany says:

    Super big congrats, girl! Sounds like it was a tough course but you powered through. Running can be such a mental game, can’t it? So proud of you!

  18. Chrysta says:

    Congrats on accomplishing your goal!! I had a similar goal to you and I PR’d that day as well. It seems like there so many PR’s that day…goes to show you that I was a perfect day for running! I’m glad your crew had fun here in Victoria :).

  19. steph anne says:

    Awesome job!!! Congrats on your PR! πŸ™‚

  20. Nicole says:

    Awesome job!! I knew you would be able to pull out a sub 2 hour HM!!

    Love the braids!!

  21. Jess says:

    Congrats Amber!!!! way to break 2 hours!!!

  22. Michaela says:

    Congratulations!! I knew you could do it! (And let’s just call the peeing “peeing with joy”!)

  23. Kyria says:

    You guys rock! I KNEW you could do it! I am so glad that you all PR’ed (and you PR’ed and P’ed!)!! I love that you pushed it so hard that you couldn’t control yourself. THAT is some dedication, woman! Your photos are great. Victoria looks like a beautiful place!

  24. Kelly says:

    I’m so glad you all did SO awesome in the race!!! You really did do everything you could to meet that goal so you should be really, really proud!

    I love your french braids too. Caroline did that for my triathlon and I loved it too. It looks really nice in pictures too πŸ™‚ (yes I do everything for the pictures).

    Also thank you for adding yet another area of Canada I want to see. I’m starting to think my trip next summer is going to be a month long!

  25. paige says:

    Holy F-bomb, Amber pants! You kiss your puppy with that mouth? LOL πŸ˜›

  26. Congratulations Amber!!!!! You worked hard in training and it showed in the results!!! πŸ˜›

  27. Naomi says:

    Ahhhh you met your goal! Congratulations! I have driven this course before so I am familiar with it and I love it! Great race report – I am definitely putting this race on my “must do” list!

  28. Meghan says:

    Great job! What a fabulous weekend in Victoria. I didn’t end up doing the full marathon, I downgraded to the half at the last minute due to injury. Turned out to be a good decision as I PR’d as well, so you can add one more to the list!

  29. Congrats Amber!!! What a race!!

    (I laughed a little at the peeing part – hehe – sorry ;-))

  30. michelle says:

    This post makes me miss Victoria! I went to university there for 4 years between 2002 and 2006. Great job on the awesome time!

  31. J says:

    You did it!! Congrats on the awesome PR! Awesome report! I used to french braid my hair for every bball game in college but I had a teammate who would do it. I can do it on my own head buts its not as tight and usually falls out a bit. I wish I could do it better so I could wear it all the time for running – it really keeps the hair out of your face!

  32. nicole says:

    amazing amazing job gf

  33. You are amazing Amber. You did such an awesome job! πŸ™‚

    Umm and the peeing thing . . . . yah . . . I understand. It happens.

  34. Awesome job Amber! And what a beautiful course to run. I hope you are still brim min with pride!

  35. Congrats on your PR! A sub 2 half —that is great!!

  36. You left every ounce of energy out there – THAT is the way to race! πŸ™‚ all the speedwork & training, right there in your goal. Congrats, Amber!

  37. PRs all around? Way to GO ladies! Congratulations on breaking 2 hrs Amber! That is so wonderful!

  38. […] out and following it religiously. Something that worked really well for me when I was training for my last half was taking it week by week. So, for now, my plan is to run with the Running Room three times a week […]

  39. […] and a top moment for me but I’ve never felt so proud of my running performance as when I crossed that finish line in 1:58:18. That race was hard for me and I left EVERYTHING out on the course to achieve my goal but I did it […]

  40. […] this will be the 4th year of our tradition! First, we did the Portland marathon in 2010, then the Victoria half and full in 2011, we took a break in 2012 but did the Chicago marathon in 2013 and now we’re all heading to […]