Monday, June 25, 2007

Vancouver and Race Results

What a weekend! Myself and a group of friends (see previous blog post) went to Vancouver BC for the half marathon. Vancouver is a really fun city to visit. It's quite expensive however, and with the American dollar being so weak at the moment, the exchange rate sucks. Lots of great restaurants and bars though. I discovered while leafing through one of the guidebooks we borrowed (thanks Jeff!) that Vancouver has a lesbian club named...wait for it..."Lick". Nice!

We checked out a tiny Japanese/sushi place for lunch on Friday, and went to a Thai restaurant for dinner that night (I forget the names). Both places were on the famed Robson Street strip, and quite good. Our rented condo was in Coal Harbor, 4 blocks north of Robson, and very handy to everything. I had to sleep on an inflatable mattress in an "office" that was about the size of a normal person's closet. It didn't even have a real door, just a sliding glass door with no curtains and NO privacy. I'm not kidding.

We walked to most places the entire weekend. Saturday was a driving day however, and we all went to Granville Island and Yaletown to check out the scenes and do some shopping. Had to swing past the University of British Columbia to see where the race started too. That night we went to Rangoli for dinner. It's a smaller, less fancy version of the highly recommended Vij's Indian restaurant, and located right next door. The food was incredible, but in hindsight, not the best thing to eat the night before a half marathon!
Note to Self: Do not eat a lot of spicy food prior to a race.

The Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon on Sunday started out nice, but about halfway through, I experienced the worst downpour I've ever ran in, and it continued through the end of the race (you can see how bad it was in the pic of me checking my watch at the finish below). I was soaked from head to toe, water running off the bill of my cap, barely able to see. I missed the kilometer markers for 19 and 20K (yeah, the 13.1 miles was marked in "K's") because I just couldn't see! Had to focus on the street surface in front of me, which resembled a raging river at the time. It was crazy. I missed my goal of 90 minutes. Official Chip Time: 93 minutes 4 seconds for 13.1 miles (21.1K). Kinda bummed about that, but I blame it on the rain, and maybe just a tad on the "kilometers-instead-of-miles" thing. I must have gained 5 lbs in just water soaked into my clothes!
Run, Robert, Run!
"Light" rain around 10K (Denise Relke photo).
Finish line!
Checking my watch in the deluge at the finish (Chris Relke photo).

Lots of food and alcohol soon followed the race from Hell...we went to Yaletown Brewing for their Sunday pizza special: all 12" pizzas were $7 and pints of beer were $3.75. They had a tasty brown ale called "Downtown Brown" that I loved. After 3 of those and a pile of pizza, I was feeling mighty fine! We did a tour through Gastown, and experienced the Gastown Jazz Festival. Very cool area. The rain came back, so we headed home and had some downtime at the condo before firing up the alcohol again. We had bought a liter of Ketel One vodka and a liter of Canadian Club whiskey at the duty free shop on the way up, and had to finish both bottles before we left (we did).

Dinner Sunday was supposed to be at Stepho's Soulvaki, but the wait was too long, and we were starving, so we ended up an another Greek/Cypriot place down the street. The name of this gem is Takis Taverna, and their food was delicious. On a side note, our server, a very attractive blond girl, had the lowest-riding pants I've ever seen that didn't show butt cleavage. Very impressive. Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah...After dinner we headed back to the condo and resumed our alcohol comsumption with some group games. Pictionary and one I hadn't heard of called Celebrities that was particularly fun, especially given our non-sober states. A soak in the hot tub (drunk, which was even better) finished off the evening, and we were all in bed (or passed out) by 12.

The drive home from Vancouver to Portland today was HELL. The border crossing took an hour, and I about lost my mind on the way home. It was a great trip, but I'm definitely glad to be home!