On the weekend of June 4th and June 5th, I completed another double – that is, 2 back to back halfs. This was my 4th attempt at completing a double. I like the challenge. However, I picked one of the hottest weekend to run them. My first race was the North Face Whistler Half Marathon, and my second race was the MEC Vancouver race series #4 Half Marathon, which I will discuss in a separate blog.
Whistler, as most people will recall, hosted several events during the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics. The city is known as a first-class ski resort. The natural beauty and the surrounding landscape make this race a one-of-a kind. Whistler, by the way, is not only famous for its skiing, but also for its mountain biking and golfing as well. In fact, the golf course was designed by Jack Nicklaus, arguably one of the best golfers of all time. Whistler’s views are simply breath-taking. And the luxury homes around the city are simply exquisite in their architecture & craftsmanship. Even the drive from Vancouver to Whistler is so breath-taking. I would consider it one of the prettiest drives, ever!
The Whistler race started at 7:45am. My husband and I got there a good hour and a half before, just to pick up our bibs. It was such a beautiful morning. I was in awe of how pretty the mountains were. The bib pick-up was inside this art gallery which was not big but showcased some pretty neat art. Inside the race kits, we received arm –warmers and our race shirts.
Since we were early to the race, we walked around the village where the Olympics rings were situated. In addition to that, I observed that one of the luges were transformed so that kids could play with it in the playground (even I checked out the whole playground!). By then, we still had time, so we watched the walkers take off at 6:45am. As we waited, the North Face sponsors were setting up their tents, and runners began to gather around the start area.
At about 7:30am, the pacers began to show up. So I lined up behind the 2:15 pacer. Gun went off at 7:45am. I felt the pace was hard from the beginning. Maybe it was the altitude, but it took me much greater effort to keep my legs moving. By the 2km mark, there was this enormous hill we had to climb, and it was tough. So I chugged along, and realized I could not keep pace with the pacer for too long.
There were many undulating hills on the course, but when you put them all together, they were taxing on my legs. The day was hot too. All in all, I conclude that this was a tough race. Obviously, I did not run as well as I had wanted to, but I was happy to finish.
The medal was very nice and we received it as soon as runners crossed the finish line. They handed us a water bottle filled with ice cold water. Very well thought-out.
I talked to a guy who came all the way from Edinburgh, England. He claimed it was a tough one too. Plus, I ran into an old friend who moved her family to Whistler. She was so cheery and gave me a hug. We caught up with one another for a bit, and then chilled near some picnic tables. The atmosphere was very happy. Maybe all that green space helped people forget they had just raced!
At the volunteer station, everyone was so happy. Despite not running a great race, I thoroughly enjoyed myself for the day.
The drive home was so pleasant. As I was much more relaxed than a couple of hours before, I realized how beautiful that whole part of Vancouver/Whistler really is. I was snapping pictures along the way. Below are a few of them.
For anyone who has never visited Whistler, I strongly advise you do. It is absolutely one of the prettiest places you will visit, believe me.
This probably was one of the highest altitude races I have ever done. Overall, I loved the scenery, the course was hilly but beautiful, the volunteers were wonderful, and North Face did a great job as the race sponsor.