Checking In From Vancouver (4/29/2022). Vancouver 2022 Looms

Good morning from Vancouver BC Canada.

Arrival at Vancouver Airport on Wednesday began with a relatively harrowing experience. First, I get off the jet and noticed I couldn’t find my keys in any of my bags. I even went back to the aircraft to verify I hadn’t dropped them at my seat (which I hadn’t). I usually keep the keys chained on my belt with a watch lanyard, but though I remembered transferring them to my duffel bag for safekeeping I didn’t see them in the bag. Had I dropped them at security in Vegas or elsewhere?

I left that behind for the moment and walked down to Customs at YVR. The kiosk ticket spit out an ominously vague number 00 ticket, and when I got to the border agent (fortunately that wasn’t a hassle as it was in prior trips) he handed me a colorful placard with my ticket and told me to take it to the exit. I was among the (un)lucky few to be selected for a random mandatory COVID test.

I figure, no big deal, we’ll knock this out, I’ll get the results and be out of here soon. Uh, no. Lest I forget, I’m in Canada. And any government functions don’t move particularly efficiently in Canada.

I’m directed to the Covid test aisle and walk through the double doors… into the back of a long line remininscent of the airport security checkpoints during holiday season. Except that line moved like NASCAR compared to how this line was moving. It was more like a Chicago expressway in mid-afternoon. Ten minutes passed and I did not move.

I curse my fate wondering… did going back to check for my keys lead to being randomly selected, whereas if I just walked straight down it wouldn’t have happened? Did stopping to let that couple of young girls pass ahead of me out of the kiosk section, that if I walked ahead of them one of them would have been picked instead? Had I been randomly selected by my kiosk number, and I was going to be “randomly” selected by the kiosk no matter what?

After that ten minutes (and some choice grumbling from the other visitors ahead of me), the line began to move a bit faster. After about 30ish minutes of waiting I get to a counter, where a nice lady had to manually enter my information into the Canadian federal health system (so I have that going for me, I guess).

I was given a slip and sent down another aisle to another line (fortunately nowhere near as long) where I waited another 10 minutes or so before a nice Chinese attendant led me to a much less nice, rather surly Slavic doctor who asked me some basic questions with the hospitality of an FBI interrogation opener, swabbed my mouth and then right inside of my nostrils (way better experience than prior Covid tests), told me I’d have results in 1-3 days and sent me on my way.

I walked out about 45 minutes after I expected to, with the following knowledge:

  • Instead of a comfortable amount of time, I now had less than an hour to get to my currency exchange spot in Downtown before they closed today.
  • Unless they were in my duffel and I missed them, my key ring was likely completely gone. Unless airport lost and founds got substantially better in the last 10 years, I’d have to get several new keys and a couple of new tags, including my gym membership tag.
  • Most of all, if for some reason my Covid test came back positive in the next couple days, this trip was basically over and I would not be running Vancouver 2022 after all.

So, whatever excitement I had that morning heading to the airport was understandably dampened. Oh, and I still had to get to the hotel and check in, still get Canadian currency, still go and get something to eat, still get some basic groceries for tonight before turning in, and maybe get some sort of a run in before the last one. I was hoping to do my traditional Stanley Park seawall scouting run after arriving, but with all this it was going to have to wait for tomorrow.

I was exhausted. I still got out and ran about 1.4mi before getting dinner and groceries. Running at sea level in cooler climes definitely felt much easier, even though the trails and park were super busy because (if you didn’t know) it had been raining for the last month straight in Vancouver and the weather had finally cleared today. People were definitely happy to be outside, at least.

Yesterday I did some more bag searching first thing, and fortunately found that my keys were hiding in a compartment I had checked earlier. So that crisis was averted.

Siwash Rock along the Stanley Park seawall in Vancouver

I got out for morning coffee and breakfast, waited out some abundant sunshine before some clouds returned, then headed out in mid-afternoon for the seawall run. A sizable portion of the seawall had been closed for months due to storm damage in January, and it had JUST re-opened fully the day I arrived. So, lucky me.

I stopped along the way and took a ton of pictures (by request back home) on a very easy 7mi+ run, and am actually a bit sore. I had managed to keep my run streak going up until my flight (it’s now at 59 days), but it may be time to end it today so I get some extra rest.

This morning I finally got the news that the Covid test was negative, clearing the final hurdle for this race… well, aside from weary legs. I’ve mostly rested this last couple weeks, but true to form, Vancouver has required quite a bit of walking.

Garmin’s a lot better at tracking my Vancouver walking than my old Fitbit was the last time I was here, and yesterday alone I walked over 7 miles, not including my easy run around the seawall. Over 14 miles total! Much of the walking was out of necessity: To get to the store for necessities or to key eating spots I had to walk over a mile one way. I’m taking it easy however much I can on these walks, but it’s still time on my feet.

I’m fortunate this morning to have found a good coffee spot open early only 4 blocks from my hotel, plus there is a coffee place right next to my hotel (which is alright) for tomorrow morning. I can venture about 20-30 feet in steady rain much better than a mile or so.

Good thing too (and this may help with compelling me to rest) that tomorrow morning it’s supposed to rain somewhat heavy, so I won’t want to be outside at all until that’s done. There are a couple of okay dining spots near the hotel, so once I finish business at the expo I’ll probably stay close to base until Sunday morning’s marathon.

Runalyze’s numbers on my training and fitness have settled the last couple weeks, and now I’m thinking I’ll just run this marathon out and not worry so much about goal times. Training went okay at best, with some clear base training gaps I want to work on filling in this summer (whether I run another marathon in the fall or not). Though I did a good portion of what I wanted to do in training, I left a lot on the table, as my body just couldn’t do much more than I ended up doing. But I also learned a lot in the process, and have a much stronger idea of how to get it done sustainably next time.

If I have one actual regret, it’s that I wish I thought to bring more Tissue Rejuvenator than I ended up bringing.

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