5 things I learned running the Vancouver Marathon

First things first – let me just say this was my best running experience to date. All the stars aligned on the day, from the weather, to seeing family on the way, to my pacing, I even got the food and hydration bit sort of right, resulting in a ‘ran it all the way’ personal best of 3:53. I have lots of room for improvement for sure, but his was just an all round fantastic day. I can’t wait for the next one.

Just finished the Vancouver Marathon
Nothing quite like that just finished a Marathon feeling.

So what did I learn?

1. Better to be under-trained than over-trained. If you’ve read any of my posts leading up the race, you’ll know I’ve had a pretty challenging time getting my training runs in. Could I have gone faster with more and better training? Absolutely, but thinking back to both of the marathons I ran last year, I was definitely fresher, and felt more injury free than I did before. I think I did the right thing by making sure I got all of my key long runs in, and having built a decent base of miles over the past year, I had enough in reserve to put me over the line in a decent time.

2. What a difference a blue sky makes. Boy was it ever a perfect day. Clear blue skies, crisp temperatures, and not a hint of wind. Compared to the wet and windy ride we had last year, this was just fantastic. If you could ever pick your ultimate race weather, this would be it. Probably took a couple of minutes off my time.

3. You can’t underestimate the impact of encouragement. All of the notes of encouragement from friends in person, on  Facebook, wherever, had me highly motivated to run well, and absolutely no surprise that I ran my quickest split immediately after I saw my girls at mile 10. Come to think of it, there’s a life lesson there. Note to self – do more cheerleading – everyone around me is running some kind or race or other right?

4. Don’t mess around with things prior to the race. I tried a new type of running shoe out two weeks before the race. Bad idea. Think they contributed to me hurting my knee and stopping me running for 4 days. Rookie mistake. Duh!

5. You can be stupidly happy running a marathon. Sun on my face, top tunes playing on my iPod, miles of open road ahead of me. What is not to like about that?

Special awards of awesomeness go out a) to my Home Team – you continue to amaze me with your support (and no little patience) and b) to Yoko, who despite having to forego the marathon this time, still traveled up with her family and ran the second half with me. Fantastic.

While I have your attention:

It was great to see the level of support for Japan in Vancouver. Lots of Japanese runners, supporters and charitable activity going on. It made me think of two things you should check out if you haven’t already, or are looking for other ways to donate a few dollars to the Japanese recovery.

First is a great initiative called 2:46: Aftershocks: Stories from the Japan Earthquake. What I love about this is that it represents a really great use of social technology to quickly mobilize for good.

2:46 : Aftershocks: Stories from the Japan Earthquake
Buy this book now...

You can click on the link above to purchase a copy. It’s a very compelling, unvarnished and human narrative about what happened. More interesting and a better use of time and money than Farmville.

Secondly, check out Songs For Japan on iTunes. Now might be a good time to do that.

Sending us on our merry way from this post today is The Jam – Going Underground – it’s what I was listening to with a stupid grin on my face as I crossed the start line…just 26.2 miles to go.

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