On June 2nd, I had the pleasure of running the Victoria Goddess Run, a run that gives participants three distance options: 5K, 10K, and 21.1K (half marathon). It was my first time running this race, and I opted for the half marathon distance. The half marathon is one of my favourite distances to run, and I was looking forward to pounding the pavement on a brand new (to me, anyway) course.
The race started on time, and for the half marathoners that meant we were on our marks at 8AM sharp. Fortunately, it was a beautiful day (they don’t call it the Wet Coast for nothin’), and everyone was in good spirits. One of the best things about entering a road race is the atmosphere: everyone is nervous, excited, and happily anticipating the moment when they cross the finish line. After 21.1KM, that feeling of accomplishment is the proverbial cherry on top of a very long, very tiring cake.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the challenge running presents me (honestly), but while I was looking over the elevation charts of the course earlier on in the week, I didn’t anticipate the hills to be as big as they ended up being. At the 7.5K mark, I practically climbed up the stairway to heaven! Needless to say my personal mantras (“You are strong! The faster you run, the sooner you’re done!”) came in handy, that’s for sure. (Note to self: Train for hills! It will only make you a stronger runner.)
On the bright side, the course eventually took us down said hills, where I gained some speed and made up (a little) for lost time. I stopped at almost all of the water stations after the 12K mark and grabbed a gel at mile 8 to keep me going. While I did bring my own gels to take at my convenience, I couldn’t pass up the chocolate GU they were handing out at the stations. I am a sucker for anything chocolate, so this was the easiest decision I made that day.
I’ll be honest, the trek to the finish line was an upward battle before it turned into “rolling hills” and a down hill finish (YAY!). Rather than receiving a medal when we crossed the finish line, every Goddess, no matter which distance she chose to run, got a necklace instead, a really special touch by the race organizers. What made the day even more special though was knowing that my mom and sister were running their first 5K, my aunt was running the 10, and my cousin was running her first half marathon. It was a family affair, and I was happy to be doing something I love so much with the people I love so dearly.
After making my way through the crowds at the end of the race and finding recovery fuel from the food tents, I went back to the finish line so I could watch my sister and mom cross it. I hooted and hollered at everyone running by—yes, I am that runner on the side lines—and was so proud as they came into sight. It was an amazing accomplishment for all of us.
Overall, I highly recommend registering for the Victoria Goddess Run in 2014. It is an all women’s race (sorry, dudes!) where lovely ladies from all ages lace up their shoes and hit the pavement for a good cause: during the registration process you can donate to local charities in the Victoria/Vancouver Island area! Paying it forward, running an awesome race, and receiving a necklace when it’s all said and done!? Perfect. I will definitely be out there next year (with some hill training under my belt).
To all those Goddesses out there who ran alongside our Runner, Congrats! We’re lacing up for next year.