May 3rd: Final training week and my BMO Vancouver Half Marathon on Sunday!

Canada Place - Vancouver Convention Centre

Canada Place – Vancouver Convention Centre

The reality of running my BMO Vancouver Half Marathon Run this coming Sunday really hit home when I picked up my race package at the Vancouver Convention Centre at Canada Place in downtown Vancouver this morning.

The convention centre was packed with hundreds of other runners who were all, like myself, quite excited and full of anticipation. I treated myself to a bright yellow singlet, a stylish red tee shirt and some new socks for race day.

Strictly speaking, one should not wear anything new on race day. However, my current socks are worn out and I also need a bright running shirt so that my wife Marjory and our two children can find me among the thousands of runners that will be out on the course on Sunday morning.

Mundy Park - off trail path

Mundy Park – off trail pathway

This final training week before the run has been comparatively restful and relaxing, but not without some concern.

As I suspected at the time, my 5K run last Monday did turn out to be my last training run.

Having experienced some groin pain and then after much deliberation, I decided not to run again until race day. I did not want to risk further injury and thought it wise to give the groin more time to heal.

In the meantime, I have been stretching, icing and then applying heat to the affected area. Hopefully, this will avert or at least minimize any problems during the race.

Wednesday was a beautiful day, so I decided to go for a walk and explore the less-travelled paths off the main trails among the woods of Mundy Park.

Judging by the tire marks in the muddy parts of the trail, it has to be the local mountain bikers that frequented these trails rather than runners and walkers.

Walking rather than running that morning turned out to be quite exhilarating and refreshing. There were times when I did not really know exactly where I was or which was I was headed but that just made it more fun.

Moving along the path at a slower pace also afforded me the opportunity to reflect, contemplate and give thanks for an incredibly satisfying and enjoyable 4 months of running.

Statistically, over the last 4 months I ran a total of 55 training runs and 403K. My four longest training runs ranged from 14-17K and most recently I have been running at a 6 minute per km pace.

Sasamat Lake

Sasamat Lake

Comparatively, before I started my half marathon training, I was only able to run for a maximum of 30 minutes at about an 8 minute per km pace maximum.

That’s quite a performance improvement, I think.  I am most pleased with my progress as well as my hard work and determination!

Equally important, I feel that I have managed my training well and have progress without adversely impacting my concussion and tinnitus symptoms.

Although I still experience daily headaches and tinnitus symptoms, they do seem much less severe now than they were before I started my training.

I firmly believe that my training program has increases my endorphin levels, which has helped reduce my stress levels and consequently my stress-related  concussion and tinnitus symptoms. The fog is gradually clearing!

I do not think that I would have been able to achieve this without the self-management knowledge that I gained from the University of Buffalo Concussion Clinic’s ‘running rehabilitation’ program that I followed for about 6 months last year. The program was recommended to me by my psychologist and physiotherapist at the Coquitlam Concussion Clinic.  Thank you so much!

Throughout this final week of training, I have had the opportunity to reflect on all of the beautiful trails that I have run over the past four months.

There’s Port Moody Inlet, Mundy Park and Burnaby Lake and others that I have run many times and will always enjoy. Then there’s the many new running trails that I discovered, such as the Pitt River Dyke and the Sasamat Lake trail. I enjoyed them immensely and will undoubtedly run them all again in the future.

Stanley Park seawall - 3rd Beach

Stanley Park seawall – 3rd Beach

Highlights of my training included the opportunity to revisit runs that have run many times in the past but not for some time.

A prime example would be our very own world-class iconic run – the Vancouver seawall around Stanley Park. It’s one of the most beautiful runs on the planet!

Over the past few days, I have been looking forward to my half marathon race on Sunday morning.

Although I still have some concerns about my left groin pain, I have now rested it for 5 days, so hopefully it will not be a problem on race day.

I am therefore feeling confident that I will have a good race. I have worked very hard over the last 4 months and have prepared well.

Now all I need to do for the rest of the week is to stay positive, eat healthy, drink lots of water, rest and relax, and get two really good night’s sleep!

On Sunday morning, our family plan is to rise around 4:30AM. It’s supposed to be warm and dry, so I will dress in shorts and my new tee shirt or singlet for my run. I will enjoy a light breakfast, and then we will head off in the car, and drop me at the Canada Line.

PoCo Trail - Pitt River Dyke

PoCo Trail – Pitt River Dyke

While Marjory and the children find a restaurant and have their breakfast and then find a spectator cheering spot on the race course, I will be riding the Canada Line train down to Queen Elizabeth Park and the start of the race.

I’m hoping to arrive at QEP at around 6:15AM so that I have sufficient time to stretch, prepare mentally, soak up the atmosphere and be ‘ready to go’ at the start line for the 7AM starting gun.

My heart is racing a little faster just thinking and writing about race day. I still have two sleeps to go!

If you live in the Vancouver area, be sure to come to the race and cheer everyone on. It’s a great spectator experience; I am sure that you will have a terrific time.

Finally, I want to take this opportunity to give all of my fellow runners my sincere best wishes and lots of good energy for a great race day on Sunday.

I’m looking forward to seeing all of the cheers and smiles, and to saying hello to some of you.

Good luck and God speed everyone!

John - good luck everyone!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s