Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Fools Run AKA BC Half Marathon Championships

Alright!! I'm finally seeing some light at the end of this blogging tunnel.  After all that racing and all of those solid results, it makes it very easy to pump these out.  Now that I have had a lovely bike ride to MEC and back and recovered and washed my sandwich board for my Mobile Thai Massage business, I'm ready to write again.  I can't believe how much snow is still on the local mountains.  What a pristine scene here in Vancouver today! Shorts and a T-shirt and blossoms and flowers galore but still crazy good ski conditions.  I don't ever need to remind myself why I moved here from Onterrible. I was certainly meant to live here, where my soul is one with the land, sea and sky.  I am one week away from being laid off from my seasonal job at Sigge's Sport Villa and I am very excited to be vamping up my own business again.  I feel more focused than ever before to make this an even more successful venture.  This summer will be a great time for me to train, work as my own boss and grow my business locally.  I will have a new website up within the next month for that but anyone who is interested can contact me for more information. I have room to do massage here at home but mostly I visit people in their homes. I bring my mat and bedding as my massage is done on the floor and do either 90 minute or 120 minute treatments at a dollar per minute. Mention my blog and get $20 off your first treatment.  If you compare my rates to local rates you will notice how fair they are.  I was trained and certified in Chiang Mai, Thailand, but am covered by most insurance companies here in BC as my school ITM is internationally acclaimed and I am fully certified.  I take my massage very seriously and do not do any forced adjustments.

That was a bit off track from the topic at hand, but as you can tell I am very excited to be free from the rigours of full time work.  I can not wait to be able to train to my full potential and rest when I need it.  If you think I've improved recently, just wait till this year has ended. Next season and from now on, there is a new David Palermo in these running shoes!  

The logistics of this years race were alleviated greatly by Teresa Nightingale the race director.  She had offered me a complementary entry based on current and past performances.  Also she had billeted me accommodation.  This was new to me. I had spent the last two years at this race paying for a lovely bed and breakfast at the finish line (with a sweet woman who would prepare breakfast and have it ready for me when I finished) in Davis Bay and splitting the cost (giving my $100 winners check) with my girlfriend at the time.  This time I was all alone to find my way.  It was important to me to be there the night before in order to get the leg up on the competition by having a full nights rest and no stress on race morning.  Teresa had sent out an email to her running group on the Sunshine coast asking if anyone would put me up as I had asked her if I may crash at her place having known her for a few years. Teresa and her husband Larry would be rising very early being the race directors and would have probably woken me, defeating the purpose of my Saturday evening arrival.  Luckily for me, Shaunna and her husband Mike were kind enough to answer the call.  I just love how "small town" The Sunshine Coast is, it reminds me of back home in the village I grew up in where everyone knows everyone and it would certainly be a pleasure to put up an out-of-towner needing room and board for a competition.  Shaunna is part of Teresa's running group and was going to be running the event herself so she was able to offer me a ride from the ferry and to the race in the morning.  Their house was a master piece and certainly trumped the B&B I had stayed at the previous two years.  Immaculately built and decorated, with a stunning property that overlooked the ocean.  The house was nothing compared to how kind and generous these two were.  Their dog was a sweet heart and a reflection of the care they put into their daily lifestyles.  They showed me to my room and allowed me use of their computer to check and update  Facebook status to let everyone know I was safe and sound.  Afterwards we enjoyed a glass of wine (Coaches orders and also a great sedative to ensure a solid nights sleep in a foreign place) and got to know one another.  Fantastic hosts and not at all uninteresting!  Before bed, they even offered me up a second pillow which was ergonomically correct (which was the only thing I didn't pack) which meant I had the exact sleeping arrangements as home.  The only difference being that their guest bed was bigger and way comfier than mine.

The last hour of sleep was spent dreaming about missing the start of the BMO Vancouver Half Marathon. (Which I'm not even running)  I awoke in a panic with that dream fresh in my mind only to realize that I had woke up 12 minutes before my alarm.  No big deal, I'll just have more time to get ready and I had a great sleep.  With the pre race food/drink into me we set off for the race start.  I love being an hour early so that I have plenty of time to pick up my race package and use the washroom and warm up before the masses arrive off the ferry.  The weather was unbelievably good again for the fourth consecutive week of racing.  The weather predictions were correct, who could have figured?? That never happens here.  I was stoked to see all my team mates and a few runners whom I hadn't see for a while.  I was feeling very good this morning.  The race start had a slight change from last year and had us going down hill with more turns and ups and downs than I would have preferred.  I would have much preferred the original start from the last two years but it didn't seem to have any ill effect.  There were no surprise superstars on the start line which made me very happy because I knew I had a chance for victory on this one.  My goal, pre race was to hang on to Gramps (Kevin O'Connor) for the whole race as I know we train at the same intensity.  He is the experienced veteran racer who never ceases to amaze any runner.  I know my improvements will one day, If not today catch up to the 'ole vet with severe determination, as I know he races with nothing but.  Through the first couple of kilometres I asked him if he'd like to work together or whether he'd like to do his own thing to which his reply was "I'm OK like this."  At that point I knew it was every man for himself.  We passed by the coach and support team (Chris, Drew's dad, Coach and Rick Horne the club's Photographer and veteran runner) with approval.  Things were going smoothly so far.  Drew was out front and setting a great sub 3:20 pace as the first few kilometres were downhill.  As we turned the first corner and made the slight uphill to flat, the race was finally on.  I felt KO (Kevin, AKA Gramps) surge along the flat section testing our might.  I hung tight as Nicholson seem to swagger forward and back and I could hear his breathing start to labour.  As we turned the next corner and approached the first real hill KO and I pushed up and through the hill as Coach Hill shouted words of encouragement from the side of the road.  I always love it when Coach is on course because I trust him with my life and the guy knows running times and his athletes better than anyone.  One last push until we get to the flat highway and we can finally relax for the second time (and probably the last time) this race.  Or so I thought.  I knew we would have to push through some pain in order to keep the pace and recover into the flat section. As soon as we got to the highway Kevin put the hammer down and took off.  I tried to stay with him but knew if I did I'd surely blow up on the hills to come.  "That Bastard!" I thought as he pulled away from me.  I thought doubtfully as I know this man knows what he's doing, "Perhaps I can close the gap on the upcoming hills because of his push now."  I kept my push forward and focused on form and technique.  I knew he was a strong fighter but I wanted this win as I had competed here for the last 3 years in a row and this was the best shot I've had since.  As I watched my team mate/nemesis pull away in awe I wondered how an old guy like that can keep getting so much better as much as this young guy??? I think of O'Connor in the highest regard and now know what my father had to do at his age to set all his records.  This man was fighting for his life and had pretty much just won the race. The invisible rope between us had snapped when we hit the highway and all I could do was fight my own battle against those hills and kilometres to fend off the warriors behind me.  I kept myself strong physically and mentally as I suffered on some of the monster hills that this beautiful course has to offer.  When I wasn't getting torn up on the down hills and beaten on the up hills, I spent the rest of the time giving myself pep talks as to why I was meant to do this.  The odd cheering family at the side of the road was enough to hold myself together.  My coach and crew was assuring me at half way that I was on point and made the rest of the hills a bit better as I climbed up from the ocean back to the highway.  It was great to feel myself recover and feel strong again as the last climb was behind me.  Honks from the passing cars made me feel appreciated and I dug deep to push my pace below 3:20 to make up for those painfully slow up hills.  I passed through the 20k mark and pushed the envelope a little more as O'Connor had disappeared from my sight on the straight away.  I know he had won and this was now a battle against me and the clock.  The final bridge was filled with cheers and I could see coach again.  I saw the clock and was surprised as to how little I had left in the tank for my finishing sprint.  I was (despite the Lack of gusto) pouring it all on at the end as I usually do.  Elated to be at the end of this challenging journey, I knew my goal of breaking my old time of 1:12:40 was now a certainty as I crossed the line in 1:11:30.  I had now accomplished something I may never do again nor had done thus far in my running career.  I had just set my fourth personal best in four weeks!  My legs almost buckled under me as I crossed the line and I was reminded of the 2010 Victoria Marathon.  I was satisfied by my efforts as I know I hadn't a shred left to give.  (sort of like writing this blog)  I was rewarded my finisher's medal and and inhaled some water as I joined my team mate and race victor KO. he was currently being interviewed by the local cable TV company but as elated as I was I had to congratulate him.  Sorry if I interrupted there 'ole Gramps.  I love you and the drive you give me to push harder even though I'm already pushing my hardest.  After a soak in the ocean (or acid bath as it felt at that temperature) I changed into some warm Icebreaker clothing and headed off for some food at the awards ceremony.

It was a successful day for the Vancouver Falcons as we dominated the podium once again.  I was once again in two weeks, the silver medallist in a BC championship race! Some fabulous unique prizes and cash and cheques were awarded.  Lots of great draw prizes and great memories were given out to all competitors to make this day one heck of a great time.  A big hats off to all the volunteers and especially the race directors for putting on an event which unbelievably gets better and better every year.  I can't wait to show up next year and celebrate this race's 35th anniversary with a hopeful win. Haha, fourth time is a charm right?? OK maybe not but I'm still gonna try.  Post drinks and dinner with the team were fantastic as well as we had all worked hard and a lot of us had exceeded our PB expectations and were ready to celebrate.  Next Up, the Vancouver Sun Run and the BC 10k Championships where I will certainly set a new 10k PB.  I'm looking to go sub 32:00 so send me some good energy and I'll keep you all posted on time from now on! Happy training you fitness fanatics! Stay awesome. I may just catch the sunset if I rush down to Kits beach woot woot!! (Damn, still have to edit this before I publish it, never mind.) Oh well there will be many beautiful sunsets to look forward to on the West Coast of Canada this summer. Hope you'll join me for some at Wreck beach.

Things I hate: Filling my sun soaked (or lack thereof) day off with 8 hours of writing.
Things I love: Gettin' er done!! And setting the bar higher and higher.

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