Chilly Chase Vancouver Half Marathon & Our Canada Vacation
My husband and I took a trip to Canada last week to start the celebrations for his 30th birthday. Of course I signed up for a race. I was overly ambitious and decided to do the half marathon distance even though I had not done a race, any distance, in over two months.
We arrived to Canada late Friday night and had to make the two hour drive to our hotel in Whistler. The Sea to Sky highway was terrifying and I was not even driving. After we tried to figure out the speed limit, everything is in kilometers, we had to navigate to twists and turns driving up the cliffs.
We drove back to Vancouver Saturday for packet pick up, which was held at the former Olympic Village. It was a foggy day, thankfully the only fair weather day we had. After packet pick-up we explored Granville Island and tasted some local food. We went to Sandbar where I got some local salmon followed by the Granville market where we bought some local cheeses and maple syrups. Our last stop was the Granville Brewery to buy some local brews.
We woke up bright and early at 4:30am on Sunday to make the drive back down to Vancouver for the race. The race start was also at the former Olympic Village. I was definitely intimidated at the race start because everyone in Vancouver, old and young, is in phenomenal shape.
At 9:00am half-marathon #10 was underway! I felt great the first few miles which took us around the waterfront of the city. The air was fresh, the temperature was in the high forties, and I felt great. I was staying in the low eight minute mark and even had a sub eight minute mile.
After mile 3 the course took us into Stanley Park which had gorgeous views of English Bay.
Around mile 4 I got a surprise in the form of a muddy trail. I was not pleased, you know how I feel about trail runs. On the positive side it was only about a half mile.
Miles 5 through 7 took us out and back around Vancouver Bay with stunning views. At the 10K mark my body remembered I was not in shape for a half marathon nor have I trained for one. My eight minute pace diminished to a nine minute pace.
The course took us back through Stanley Park and back through the city. I continued my nine minute pace and prayed for the finish line.
I finished in 1:57:30. My 3rd best time so I was happy. It was a big difference from the 2 hour 5 minute Vegas half marathon I ran two months earlier.
After a quick post marathon stretch and change we walked over to the Craft Brewery for lunch. Since I am accustomed to my post race beer (which you cannot get after non-Louisiana races) I decided to try a beer sampler. I finished off with gourmet mac n cheese, that counts as pasta right?
We toured the Gastown and Chinatown areas of Vancouver after the race.
On the drive back up to Whistler on the infamous Sea to Sky Highway we stopped to enjoy the beautiful views.
We celebrated my 10th half marathon in Whistler that night with the Fire and Ice ski show and beers at the Dub Lin Gate Pub.
On Monday I tried my luck at skiing for a second time. I was more nervous than the first time but I finally got the side to side technique down. We enjoyed my new favorite dessert, Beaver Tails, after a day on the slopes. We also enjoyed a vodka tasting in the -30 degree Ketel One Ice Room.
Tuesday we headed to the Whistler Sliding Centre, home of the 2010 Olympics, to bobsled. It was truly a once in a lifetime experience and we had a great and fast time, 125km/hr to be exact. Next we went to the Coca-Cola snow tubing park. It was this Southern girl’s first time ever snow tubing. We finished the night with dinner at our new favorite Whistler restaurant, Earls, home of the best pork buns we have ever eaten.
Wednesday was our last full day in Whistler. We had a yummy breakfast at Peaked Pies then drove south to Squamish to hike the Chief Trail. We assumed it would be an easy to intermediate climb, but nothing could have prepared us for the climbing we were about to do. It was tough and felt like we did several thousand lunges but the view from the top was worth it all. The hike took us about five hours and we climbed 3,000 feet. For our last dinner we went to Araxi. We sampled the local raw oysters and I had the Artic Char, delicious.
With sore legs and great memories we headed back to Louisiana on Thursday. Canada was absolutely beautiful. There were plenty of outdoor activities and scenery. Southern Hospitality has nothing on Canadian hospitality, the people we so friendly. We had an amazing trip!