We did it! We survived! No pictures for a few days (oh yeah, we're going to buy the professional ones for sure) but I'll give a little re-cap of the race:
1) I'm a slow runner. I'm talkin' SLOW. Nobody believes me when I say I'm slow, because I think I look like I would be faster (and I exercise a decent amount, so I really am in pretty good shape) - but my basal athletic abilities are very low and I have to work my way up from there. In addition, I'm one of those people that is really sensitive to the elements - heat, dehydration, even muggy spring air will knock me out flat. With that in mind, let me tell you this:
2) I was FREAKED OUT before the race. I nearly had a full-blown anxiety attack on two separate occasions. I think I was truly afraid of killing myself in the process of this thing.
3) Our time was 2:35. This was good for me, especially considering we had to climb a mountain at mile 8 (which we did at a walk). But when you think about it, this was very slow (just under 12 min/mile pace). I'm considering trying to speed up for the next one.
4) We still had a great time. It was a very high-energy race, and a beautiful route through the city and a big park off of downtown, and they had chocolate milk and big plastic "Vancouver marathon" capes waiting for us at the end. We enjoyed (almost) every minute.
And a re-cap of the city of Vancouver:
1) Vancouver is ok. It's in a beautiful location, with the mountains very close and even more water everywhere than Seattle, but the traffic was BAD (I mean BAD) and it looked slightly more run-down or something than Seattle - maybe the architecture was just boring.
2) We quickly discovered that the city prevents anyone in a vehicle from making a left turn - either by altogether forbidding it or by not giving left-turners their own light (a more subtle form of forbidding it). We learned very fast that three rights is much faster than a left, in every case except for one, when we actually wanted to turn right and couldn't and ended up on a highway leaving Vancouver with no way to get turned back around for about five miles.
3) The race route took us through the International District and the low-income East Side of downtown - and a highlight of the race was definitely running past the homeless shelter and getting cheered at by a bunch of drunk homeless people with open bottles of booze (at 8 am on a Sunday).
4) The food in Vancouver is FANTASTIC. We had Malaysian food for lunch on Sat, Italian for dinner Sat, an unbelievable mango bubble tea in between, and then a delicious brunch on Sun. Plus we filled up our trunk with Canadian ketchup chips at a grocery store before we left town.
5) Our hotel was not so great. It was near the beach and the park in downtown, which was pretty, but it was a far ways from the finish line, as we discovered when we had to walk back because there were no cabs (it was about a mile and a half). Our room was also in the middle of the Saturday Night Party of the City and we had to go out and buy some earplugs just to hear ourselves think.
6) Watch out crossing the border - it took almost an hour both times through, and I guess that's pretty good. They put a nice park nearby though so you at least have something pleasant to look at while you wait.
So it was an exciting weekend! And now I can brag about running a half-marathon in another country. Plus, we are going to be feasting on ketchup chips for at least another month (or maybe just a few days, my Studly Hubby is a large-volume snacker).