Treating Myself to a Sweat Spa: Blueshore Financial Mother's Day Run Review

This year, I chose to spend my Mother's Day morning without my little family. Instead, I chose to treat myself to a morning run with friends and hundreds of other mothers. I remember feeling a little bit selfish in the morning when I managed to wake up before my little one, leaving her and my partner home as I jumped in the bus towards Downtown Vancouver. I remember justifying my decision my head. Mother's Day is about celebrating mothers and thanking them for al that they do by making them happy. What makes me happy is racing and I cannot do that while pushing a stroller. So it makes sense that I would just go out to race on my own. By the time I got to the Westin Bayshore hotel to get the shuttle to the start line, I had come to terms with my decision and was ready to just have fun.
The Spin-the-Wheel Game at Package Pickup

Before the Race
I came with my bib already pinned on as I had come to the early package pickup the day before to try to win prizes. When spinning the wheel, I did not win champagne or a pashmina scarf like I hoped, but the Lindt chocolates were a decent compensation prize and all the great items and coupons in the race package (especially the Rocky Mountain Soap and pretty race shirt) made up for it.

Once at the starting area in Stanley Park, I looked for the VIP zone as I had selected the VIP experience. It was a tent with some tables and chairs, and a shaded area where a breakfast buffet was setup. My friend and TV journalist Christine Blanchette was already there. The race was about to be her first in a very long time and she was a bit nervous, but we managed to laugh her nerves away. We picked some snacks and drinks to enjoy before the race. I had not eaten breakfast at home, by fear of waking my family up, so this was perfect for me. I stuck to simple foods that my belly was used to like apples and toast. There were many more options like fresh fruits, yogurt, pastries, and hot drinks. We also had our own bag check and porta potty, so we could just stay there and relax until it was time for us to do our warm up.

The Race

When came the time to line up, Christine and I got to meetup with fellow West Van Run Crew member and competitive age-group runner Karen McCullough. She had finished 2nd overall in the previous year and was aiming to place again this year. Knowing we are of similar speed, I hoped for the same. But right after she joked that it might be harder now that the race is a lot more popular (in part thanks to her getting the word out about it), sub-20 5k runner Courtney McEwan walked in front of us. Shortly after, two other equally fast runners showed up. That is when we knew we could no longer hope for a spot on the podium. Oh well, maybe being in a faster race will push us to run our best. Karen chose to focus on an age-group win or podium and I on a seasonal best.

When the race started, I was careful not to go out too fast with the three speedy ladies. I had made the mistake to try to stick with Courtney at another race and it ended painfully. Karen started quite fast and ended up ahead of my for the first km as she was aiming to keep up with another women in her age group. The 5k course started on the shaded side of the Stanley Park seawall, and after a few hundred meters turned up a short and very steep hill towards the park itself. As we headed towards Lost Lagoon, we started catching up with some of the 3k runners and walkers who had started before us. There was a little bit of confusion when we arrived at the point where the 3k runners had to continue straight and us 5k runners had to turn left to do a loop of Lost Lagoon. There was an arrow with 5k on it pointing to the left, but not all noticed it and I could hear some runners asking the volunteers where to go. For next year, I think it would help if either the 5k starts before the 3k or later after the 3k. Different colours for the 3k and 5k bibs could also help the volunteers point the different runners to the right direction. I had scouted the course ahead of time, so I did not slow down at the intersection and moved right into Lost Lagoon where I could enjoy some shade and a light breeze coming from the waters. It was very welcome on this hot day.
The pretty shaded gravel path of Lost Lagoon
Coming out of Lost Lagoon right into the hot mid-day sun was tough, but I knew I had only a little over 1km left to run, so I pumped my arms hard and aimed to catch up with another lady who seemed to be about my age. I knew I could not get to the podium, but I still wanted to get the best ranking possible. I eventually passed her and as we moved into Coal Harbour I could start hearing families cheering for their mothers at the finish line. I saw that the clock was still showing 21-something, so I zigzagged between the 3k walkers hoping to get a sub-22 time. I ended up with 22:07, but was still very excited. It was a lot faster than any 5k I had run before. Courtney was still there, cheering for some other runners and looked very happy with her time too. I stayed around the finish line area to cheer for my friends and got to see Karen cross in a big race best of 23:54 and first in her division, then a little over a minute later Christine finished 3rd in her age group. I was very happy fo them.

Post-race Expo

The post-race expo had so much going on that I actually ended up feeling a little overwhelmed at first. I wandered around aimlessly for a few minutes, picking up snacks handed out to me on trays like in a fancy cocktail party. Eventually, I decided to first get some water, pickup my bag at the bag check, and then claim my finish-line pashmina that all mothers were offered after finishing the race. It was more beautiful and soft than I expected and definitely a lot more practical than a medal. I love that concept and hope more races will do something similar in the future.
Wearing my finisher pashmina and posing with age-group podium runners Karen and Christine

After that, Karen suggested that we line up to get a souvenir portrait and group pictures taken by a professional photographer sponsored by BlueShore Financial. The pictures came out looking nice!

Karen and Christine then had to go, and I stayed a little longer to check out the cool down yoga stretches offered by Goodlife Fitness, enter the contest to win a gift basket by BlueShore Financial, and pick a few Swish breath powder sambles. I did not have enough time to line up for a facial treatment by Di Morelli as even though my morning plan was a baby-free one, my early afternoon one was one with the family. I had promised to meetup at noon, and did my cooldown jog to meet my partner at the parking lot. After some me-time, I was extra happy and more emotionally available for my little one and him and we ended up having a wonderful family day filled with beautiful memories.