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Wet T-Shirt FinishExcited, but nervous. That’s probably the best way to explain how I feel after deciding to run my first full marathon in May – the BMO Vancouver Marathon.

When Erica asked me a few weeks ago if I wanted to run the marathon, it didn’t take much persuading to convince me to sign up. Running a full marathon has been on my list of life goals since I started running x-country in Grade 9, and what better way to celebrate turning 30 than pushing my body to its limits.

I’ve run two half marathons before, finishing with ridiculously consistent chip times of 1:33:06 (2007) and 1:33:04 (2010). Assuming I can get myself back into the same shape I was in, my full marathon target time should be 3 hours and 20 minutes. That sounds awfully fast, but within reach of my body.

I haven’t run more than 10km since the last half marathon in 2010, but I shouldn’t have too much trouble getting back into running shape. Erica will be a motivated training partner and we’ve both signed up for a 16-week marathon training course at the Running Room.

BMO Vancouver Marathon 2012 MapI’m really excited about the newish, scenic course. Hopefully the kinks were all worked out last year. The race starts at Queen Elizabeth Park, heads through Pacific Spirit Park and UBC, cruises past Spanish Banks and Kits Beach, loops around the Seawall in Stanley Park, and ends at the Convention Centre. I’ve read a few race reports from last year, and consensus seems to be the course is extremely beautiful with lots of ocean views, but the big hill at the beginning is physically brutal and 10km loop around Stanley Park is mentally taxing.

My Vibram FiveFingersI’m planning on doing as much training as possible in my Vibrams, but I don’t want to push my body too hard. The longest I’ve ever run in them is 8 km, and even at that distance I can feel my feet and calves start to ache. I’ll probably end up running the marathon in regular running shoes. Training starts in the new year.

No Meat AthleteAs for food, I’ll be incorporating a lot of the recipes and advice from Brendan Brazier’s Thrive Diet and the No Meat Athlete website. I’ve been a vegetarian my whole life, but this will be my first big race on a vegan diet.

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