Royal Victoria half-marathon, October 12 2003

As usual, I wasn't nearly well-trained enough to consider doing this race, but that never stopped me before.

The Victoria half and full marathon takes you on a gorgeous route, starting in the core of downtown next to the Empress hotel, looping briefly through urban Victoria, and then settling along the coastline of Victoria. The coast is picture perfect, looking out over the San Juan islands and the Olympic mountain range.

This race takes place in mid-October, right when summer is breaking and fall is rolling into the pacific-northwest. The 8,000+ runners woke to rain, blustery wind, and a chill. I was doing this race with Paul and Yvonne. Paul and I managed to find each other 10 minutes before the race started, and wandered over to the starting area. The like most race starts, the participants are crammed shoulder to shoulder behind the start line, packing the street for a full city block. As it turned out, we settled into a spot right next to Yvonne, and then the race started.

I lost sight of Yvonne right away, but Paul and I ran together for the first 4 miles, getting through the city at a good clip - about 7 minute 30 second miles. As we spilled out onto the coast, and then temporarily ran back uphill to do a little loop through Beacon Hill Park, Paul raced on ahead, and not wanting to flash myself out, I ended up doing the rest of the race on my own. Right around mile 8 my pace slowed noticeably, and my legs started to feel empty. Unfortunately, I wasn't packing any food, and though there were plenty of water aid stations, I wasn't going to get any calories for the remaining 5 miles.

As it turns out, I slowed down to nearly 9 minute miles, and crossed the finish in 1:49:48, for an average 8:22 pace. I'll take it, but I think I would have shaved nearly 10 minutes if I had something to eat with time! I'm used to calibrating my food pipeline for cycling or trail hiking, in which case I have a 2 hour gas tank before I hit the wall. Looks like 1:15 is my limit running without food.

Paul finished the half-marathon in a blistering 1:35 pace. Yvonne did the full marathon, and finished in 3:45-sh. Spectacular on both accounts!