Disclaimer: I received a free entry to North County Wine Run as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

 North County Wine Run

Two months from today, I’ll be running my 7th half marathon of 2016 – the North County Wine Run in Battle Ground, Washington. I’m very excited about this race for a number of reasons…but before I get into that, let me share a few of the important details of the race:

What? Both a half marathon and – new in 2016 – a 3-person relay option
When?
 Saturday, September 24, 2016 starting at 8:00am
Where? Battle Ground, Clark County – the south-west corner of Washington State, not far from the Oregon border

North County Wine Run

How much? $85.00 for the half marathon (increasing to $90.00 on August 25); $171.00 for the relay (increasing to $180.00 on August 25) – read on for a discount!

OK, now that we’ve got that covered, here they are…

Five Reasons to Run the North County Wine Run

1) It’s a small race

The race is capped at just over 1000 participants. Up to 800 folks running the half marathon, with a maximum of 100 relay teams. It’s not a tiny race – still big enough to have lots of excitement! But it’s also not one of those races where you’re one of 25,000 other runners. Don’t get me wrong, big races have their place. However, there’s something about smaller, local races that really appeal to me. I’m really looking forward to this one!

2) Scenic Course

Starting and finishing at the Rusty Grape Vineyard, the course will take us on a scenic loop through the rolling farm fields and vineyards of Clark County.

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Course Map (click to enlarge)

Having not run this race before, I can’t comment on the ‘toughness’ of the route, but I gather that the rolling hills are probably nothing to sneeze at! We will earn our finish line wine!

North County Wine Run

3) There will be prizes

If you’re a speed demon (unlike me), the top female and male runners receive a Magnum wine bottle (equivalent to three bottles of wine). Not that I would win this, but I wonder if I could even bring that back across the border into Canada?

There will be medals for the top 5 male and female runners, in addition to the top 3 in each age division. Again, this is not something I’m gunning for – but someone will win!

Costume Contest! The relay team that receives the most applause for their excellent costumes will get three bottles of wine to share!

Draw Prizes! Local sponsors, vendors and wineries will be offering free stuff to some lucky winners. Stick around to see if your bib number is called!

4) Unique Finisher Medals

Everyone completing the half marathon will receive a finisher medal – in the shape of a bull’s head. And not only is this is medal…it’s also a wine pourer! How cool is that?

North County Wine Run North County Wine Run North County Wine Run

For those running the relay, you’ll get a shared medal…three pieces of a wine barrel! All for one, and one for all!

North County Wine RunNorth County Wine Run

5) And, of course – Wine, Wine, Wine!

That’s the name of the race – and definitely a big draw! I mean, wine, right??

It’s entirely possible there will be a wine stop en route. But if running and wine don’t mix for you (they don’t for me!), don’t fret! There will be a selection of wines to taste from the sponsoring wineries: Rusty Grape VineyardEmanar Cellars, Galeotti’s Wine Cellar, Olequa Cellars, and Heisen House Vineyards. Bring along your ID to redeem your souvenir wine glass!

RustyEmanar   Olequac1461

Galeottis-Logo-copyHeisen

In addition, runners can also join a free mini bus tour to the five wineries – which will be offering wine run deals!

BONUS: Run with the BibRave Pros!!

If you’re a regular reader of my blog – thank you! I’ve had the pleasure of meeting a few of my local readers in person, and love having that opportunity when I travel to other race destinations. My fellow Canadian BibRave Pro – Brie (Like the Cheese) Hemingway – will be accompanying me to the North County Wine Run. Come and run with us! We’ll be sporting our BibRave orange!!

North County Wine Run

Brie & me in Vancouver – though not wearing our BibRave gear!

Have I sold you on this race yet? Here’s one more thing to sweeten the deal – a discount! Simply use the discount code WINERUN for $7 off the registration fee! Click HERE to register now! Next price increase on August 25.

Be sure to follow North County Wine Run on Facebook and Instagram!

Hope to see you there – and to raise a glass with you at the finish line!

Have you ever done a wine run? Or, for that matter, a beer run? Tell us about it!!

Summerfast 10K

This year’s Summerfast 10K was everything a local race should be – except, in my case, fast. It was well-organized, with familiar faces, plentiful prizes, delicious food and ideal running weather. Hosted by the Vancouver Falcons Athletic Club (VFAC), it was simply a great race!

I’ll admit that I’ve been slacking on doing any speed work for…well, for quite sometime. Sure, I’ve kept up with running, on weekends and a lunchtime, but I haven’t made it to any of the after-work speed clinics or pushed myself to pick the pace the way I should.

So it’s hardly a surprise that I didn’t get the race results I would have liked.

Race Day

Nevertheless, Saturday morning dawned warm and overcast. Debra picked me up and we headed down to Stanley Park’s Ceperley Meadow. There, we joined with other members of the West Van Run Crew. This year, the Summerfast organizers included a ‘team challenge’, and thanks to our fearless leader, Kirill, and our number one cheerleader, Debra – we gathered a pretty sizeable field of blue t-shirts! **NOTE: Most of these photos are courtesy of Debra herself!**

Summerfast 10K

It was just starting to drizzle when we were directed to head to the start line. I chatted with several friends…

Summerfast 10K Summerfast 10K

…and agonized over the best place to seed myself. Last year, despite giving it a solid effort, I came very near last place in my age category. With such a fast field of runners, should I hold back? Move up? I guess here is fine – and then the gun went off (several times, actually, which was confusing…but then we were off for sure).

summerfast 10K

I found myself trailing behind the 50-minute pace bunny. Because they didn’t have placard – just bibs on their backs – I hadn’t seen him in the start line crush. Within the first kilometre, someone called my name (sorry – not sure who it was!), encouraging me to catch up with the pace bunny. I did my best.

The rest of the race followed with Seawall counter-clockwise around Stanley Park. Familiar territory. No surprises. The rain held off, and although the sky remained overcast, it was surprisingly humid. I was keeping up a fairly steady pace, but didn’t feel especially speedy either.

Upon reaching the halfway mark and aid station, I grabbed some water and saw the timer hit 25 minutes. Not the pace I really wanted to be at. I forged ahead.

Around 8k, Keiko and Ben were cheering us on – which gave a wee burst of energy – but I also got a stitch in my side. Nothing too serious, but it wasn’t comfortable. Somewhere along the way, I had passed the 50-minute pace bunny, but heard someone shout that he was on our heels.

Summerfast 10K Summerfast 10K

The final stretch – we veered off the Seawall near the Second Beach pool, and turned a corner. I gave it everything I had…although the guy I just passed gave it a bit more, and hit the finish line just before me.

Summerfast 10K

My finish time was just under 50 minutes – I beat the pace bunny! – but slower than last year. And slower than I had hoped.

After Party

The best thing about Summerfast is the food. VFAC provides a delicious array of baked goods – brownies, squares, cakes, and cookies. I enjoyed my fair share.

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Once everyone had finished, we gathered the West Van Run Crew for a celebratory photo.

Summerfast 10K

The awards were distributed, followed by a number of door prizes. And then they announced the winners of the Team Challenge. Although we didn’t win fastest team (Miles2Marathon earned this honour), we definitely had the biggest team – and for this, we got a trophy and a cake! Many of the WVRC had headed back to West Van to continue running, but Debra and I stayed to the end. And, as a result, we got to pose with (and enjoy) the cake!

Summerfast 10K  Summerfast 10K Summerfast 10K

So. A big congratulations to all of the age group winners (many who are friends of mine!), and to everyone who joined from West Van Run! Way to represent! Thanks to the volunteers, and to VFAC and the race organizers – fantastic job! Finally, a special shout-out to Kimberley Doerksen for the fabulous cakes (not just ours…there were 5 in all!)

Summerfast 10K

As elite runner Rob Watson said to me – not every race can be a PB. Where is the fun in that? However, next year, I’m going to make sure Summerfast lives up to its name!

Summerfast 10K

Final Results

Chip Time: 49:18
Average Pace: 4:56 min/km
Place Overall: 144/362
Age Category Place: 11/15

Summerfast 10K – Quick Review

Social Media: Both the Twitter and Facebook accounts picked up in activity in the weeks prior to the race. This included tantalizing photos of baked goods! No emails after registration, but we had all the info we need.

Packet Pickup: I didn’t have time to go to the Running Room on Friday evening, so I just went a bit earlier to get my bib morning of. It took about 2 minutes.

T-Shirt/Swag: No t-shirt for this race, and medals only for the age group and overall winners. However, if you signed up early enough (like me!), you got a pair of Drymax socks!

Summerfast 10K

Course: ‘Fast’ (for some – not me!) and flat. Almost entirely at sea level, with views of Vancouver, the north shore, and the Pacific as you round the Seawall. Loop course, starting and finishing near Second Beach.

Post-Race: Yummy baked goods for everyone! A chance to mingle with many familiar faces of local runners. A wide array of draw prizes, including sunglasses, gift cards, and free race entries.

Organization: With the exception of a few teaser starting guns (were they warning shots?), the whole thing went off flawlessly. Great volunteers, well-marked course, fabulous after party. Well done!

Would I run it again? See you in 2017 – a faster man!

WeeklyWrap

I’m joining HoHo Runs and MissSippiPiddlin for their Weekly Wrap link up after a lengthy hiatus!

UV Half BUFF

Disclaimer: I received a UV Half BUFF® to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Anyone who reads my blog regularly knows that I’m a huge fan of BUFF® products. You can revisit my previous reviews here:

But today I’m talking about the UV Half BUFF® – half the length of the Original BUFF® but no less awesome!

When this new product arrived, I was actually a bit surprised with the size. I knew it was the small (half) size, but wasn’t entirely sure what to do with it. On the flip side, I really like the colour! I’ve been tending to stick to BibRave orange or a similar palette, but the ‘Pelagic Camo’ is a nice complement to many of my running outfits!

UV Half BUFF

A quick visit to the website tells you all you really need to know:

Shorter than the Original BUFF® , the UV Half BUFF® offers style and sun protection without weighing you down. It wicks away perspiration to keep you comfortable in the gym, on the road, at the yoga studio, or on the trails. Cyclists especially love the way it sits comfortably under a helmet without bunching.

Now, I’m not a cyclist – but I can absolutely see how this product would fit nicely under a helmet. The material is thin (but not ‘weak’ or flimsy) and wouldn’t get in the way at all.

So, what’s a runner to do?

I wore it under my cap!

UV Half BUFF UV Half BUFF UV Half BUFF UV Half BUFF

And you know what? It was great. Usually, even with a cap on, the sweat from my brow trickles down into my eyes and I need to wipe it away with a Handana or with my shirt. But the UV Half BUFF® did a great job of absorbing the moisture, and kept my eyes clear! Success!

Since we’re having a winteriest summer here in Vancouver, my UV Half BUFF® stepped up as an ear warmer last week! I went out along the water, and although it wasn’t exactly cold there was a brisk wind – and my ears were freezing. So I was able to pull the edges of the UV Half BUFF® down over my ears, and they were cozy without being too warm.

UV Half BUFF UV Half BUFF

When I’m running outside, I have to keep my bald head covered so it doesn’t burn. As such, I haven’t used the UV Half BUFF® as a headband – but since the material is thin, it would do an excellent job. I also imagine that for anyone with hair – male or female – it would work well in just keeping hair back, and out of your face. If you have hair. Which I don’t.

UV Half BUFF

In summary:

  • The UV Half BUFF® is a versatile piece of headwear that wicks sweat
  • It’s got UV protection for all your sunny summer needs (*not needed this summer in Vancouver)
  • It is compact enough that it doesn’t get in the way – great for wearing under a hat or helmet
  • There are over 30 colours to choose from – something for everyone!

Learn more about this and other BUFF® products at http://buffusa.com/!

Have you tried a UV Half BUFF®? What do you think of it?

 

 

ScotiaHalf

My role as Scotiabank Digital Champion culminated in Sunday’s race – the Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon AND my 25th half marathon or what I’m referring to as my ‘silver’ half!

With 24 half marathons under my belt and a few years of experience, you’d think I’d be ready for this significant race. And yet, race day arrived, and I felt almost as unprepared as I’ve ever felt before a half marathon.

Let me reflect on this:

1) Two weeks in May pulled me from my regular training as we (very happily!) toured around the UK. And although I continued to run (in London, Yorkshire & Edinburgh), those runs were tempered by a good dose of sightseeing / stopping to take pictures. Plus beer. So not exactly dedicated training!

2) Work has been nuts! I generally try and squeeze in some runs before work or at lunch, in addition to my weekend long runs. Since returning from vacation, however, it’s been pretty much non-stop. As a result, I slept later and worked through lunch, and training was the collateral damage.

3) My Dad is in town! This is absolutely the best thing! And since he only arrived a few days before the race, I can’t allow that to be an excuse for feeling unprepared. But perhaps I was feeling some pressure to perform, to make him a proud papa! (He is, anyway, but you know…) – plus, more beer.

Race Expo

ScotiaHalf

Dad joined me on Friday to pick up my race package. We didn’t linger too long, but did run into Debra – so, of course, we got a few photos! Since we went fairly early on Friday, there was no line-up, so we flowed through pretty quickly. My only disappointment (though I didn’t let it show on my face) was that the men’s small shirt was once again far too big.

ScotiaHalf ScotiaHalf

Race Day

It kind of snuck up on me, even though I knew it was coming. The night before, I slept terribly – tossing and turning – and the cat jumped on me at 4am. It was tough to drag myself out of bed and get my EVO so I could drive Kristin and Ron to UBC.

ScotiaHalf

I corralled myself where I could keep an eye on Mike, who was leading the 1:45 pace group. This was my goal. I’ve never actually broken 1:50 at the ScotiaHalf, but I was determined to do so this year. Mike’s enthusiasm was unquenchable, but even that made me feel like I might just not be prepared for the race.

ScotiaHalf ScotiaHalf

Went out feeling strong, and kept up pretty well with the pace group, particularly when we hit the downhill. I could hear Mike cheering at each kilometre right up until about 11km. Then I started to flag. The heat was getting to me. Nothing compared to last year, when I felt like I was melting into the pavement, but still pretty warm.

Thankfully, on Jericho Hill, Emily was there to cheer me on. That gave me the burst of energy I needed to reach the top…

ScotiaHalf

…and cruise down 4th Avenue. However, as I turned onto Alma around 15km (3/4 of the way!), I really began to struggle. Each step seemed to suck my energy. How was I going to make it?

And then – there they were! The Forerunners cheer station! Familiar faces, people who knew my name, providing that psychological push required to keep going. And freezies! (Thanks to Lucy for the photos!)

ScotiaHalf ScotiaHalf

A few twists and turns through Kitsilano, a few little hills to tackle. Making the turn toward the final challenge – Burrard Bridge – and there it was:

Three very familiar kilometres left. I was wheezing. Andrea passed me with an encouraging word. Finally downhill, and onto Pacific. 20 kilometres. Nearing the final stretch.

Dad was there taking a video! My guy was snapping photos madly! I high-fived a stranger and pushed hard!

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Only a kilometre left so I gave it everything I had…passed a few folks heading into the finishing corral, and passed the clock.

Final time: 1:47:09. A course PB! Not what I had hoped for (though Mike was there to high five me as I arrived), but perhaps better than expected.

ScotiaHalf

Greeted a bunch of folks, including my coworker, Chris – who kicked my butt in this, his first ever half marathon, with a time of 1:42:29. Amazing!

ScotiaHalf

Brunch. And home for a nap. And then an afternoon in ‘East Village’ doing our own little brewery tour!

Big congratulations to everyone who ran the ScotiaHalf! I was so happy to have the opportunity to represent and be part of this fantastic race!

Fundraising Results

AND I am very pleased to announce that I reached my fundraising goal of $3,000 in support of the BC Cancer Foundation! Thank you to everyone who contributed, and helped make this a reality! (You can learn more about my motivation to fundraise in memory of my mom here.)

Final Results

Chip Time: 1:47:09
Average Pace: 5:04 min/km
Place Overall: 703/4825
Age Category Place: 73/271

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Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon 2016 – Quick Review

Social Media: Newsletter updates are consistent and informative – not too many, not too few. The @RunCRSWest Twitter handle is fairly active, and #ScotiaHalf got a lot of attention during race week.

Packet Pickup: I took my dad along with me, and the process was smooth and straightforward. Upon entering the Convention Centre, bib pickup was right there. Following the lead of the BMO Marathon, you had to wander through to get to t-shirt pickup, and then wend your way through sponsor booths to the exit. We went around noon, so things were pretty quiet.

T-Shirt/Swag: Unfortunately, ‘ShirtGate’ reared its ugly head again this year. The men’s small shirts are simply too large. Like last year. This is disappointing because I like Asics shirts, and because I KNOW they can make smaller sizes. These are RUNNERS – we don’t like big baggy clothing. Can anything be done? The finisher’s medal is lovely and iconic Vancouver – the only thing I found funny is that it features Science World…which is nowhere near the race route. No matter – glad to have it!

Post-Race: Because I was meeting up with family, I didn’t hang around for long afterwards. There was nourishment, there were booths and photos, there was music. Had I not been so eager to get to brunch, I would gladly have hung about for a while.

Organization: The CRS West events (including Modo 8K and Eastside 10K) are consistently well-organized. I have nothing but positive things to say about the planning and setup, the volunteers, the announcements, the aid stations, the race organizers…bravo! Well done, once again!

Would I run it again? Yes, absolutely. I haven’t decided yet on what my race plans are for 2017, but it’s more than likely that Scotiabank Half will be on the calendar in the near future!

Running Scotland

This post is the final segment on our visit to the UK – read more about Running London and Running Yorkshire.

After departing York, we arrived late Sunday evening in Edinburgh, and upon exiting Waverley Station we were astounded by the amazing views of the old city. We settled in comfortably at our guest house, after some dinner and good Scottish ale.

Scotland – Day One

As planned, I set out early the next morning to do my running tour of the city. Right across from our hotel was Calton Hill, and I started running up the hill before slowing to a crawl up to the peak. The views from Calton Hill are famous – and rightly so. It’s breathtaking. To the north, the Firth of Forth and beyond, to the west and south are Edinburgh Castle, the Old Town, and Arthur’s Seat & Salisbury Crags (more on that later).

Running Scotland Running Scotland Running Scotland

Making things up as I went along, I weaved through a cemetery, passed the Palace of Holyroodhouse and the new Scottish Parliament, and reached Holyrood Park. Not wanting to attempt Arthur’s Seat at that point, I climbed as far as St. Anthony’s Chapel Ruins.

Running Scotland Running Scotland Running Scotland

Upon my return, we spent the next several hours sightseeing – starting with a visit to Edinburgh Castle. We had lunch with a dear friend we hadn’t seen in several years, and her adorable son! Then we ventured further afield to Craigmillar Castle, where Mary, Queen of Scots spent some time. The weather was perfect.

Running Scotland Running Scotland

Next on the agenda was a climb to the summit of Arthur’s Seat – an extinct volcano cone that dominates the city. One would assume it is named for King Arthur, but its etymological roots are unclear. However, what is clear is that the views from the 251m peak are amazing. And the mountain itself is covered in bright yellow gorse, which has a delicious floral aroma.

Running Scotland Running Scotland Running Scotland Running Scotland Running Scotland

We definitely earned the pints we enjoyed that evening!

Scotland – Day Two

The next day was an amazing tour to the Highlands with Rabbie’s Trail Burners (highly recommended!), which included a whisky tasting. No running involved. But we had a fantastic time, and our driver guide, Jade, was brilliant!

Running Scotland

Dunkeld Cathedral

Running Scotland

The Hermitage

Running Scotland

Queens View

Running Scotland

Pitlochry

Scotland – Day Three

Our final day in Edinburgh, I was up early and – despite some pretty intense wind – decided to return to Holyrood Park. I skirted Calton Hill once again, retraced my steps from a couple of days earlier, and then headed up the steep path called The Radical Road.

This route follows the foot of the cliffs called Salisbury Crags. Being literally the only person on the side of this mountain, with views over the Edinburgh, was a moving experience. I’ve always wanted to visit Scotland (again, as an adult) – and finally I was here. And having the opportunity to run in this ancient city was a significant part of it.

Running Scotland Running Scotland Running Scotland Running Scotland

Wended my way back through the park, snapped some photos of Holyrood Abbey, and started another day of sightseeing.

Running Scotland Running Scotland Running Scotland Running Scotland

We met another friend – someone we hadn’t seen in at least 15 years – and enjoyed a sushi dinner together. Wrapped up the evening with a pint of my new favourite beer – Deuchars IPA – a local Edinburgh brew from Caledonian Brewery.

UK – Final Day

An extremely early flight took us from Edinburgh to Gatwick, where we had a several hour layover. We decided to take advantage of the time and took the train to Brighton, visiting the beach and the Pier, and enjoying a tasty English breakfast.

Running Scotland

And then, we had to bid farewell to the UK. For now. We will be back!

Have you ever spent time in Scotland?
I’m considering the Edinburgh Marathon for a future visit…

Lucy kindly agreed to write her third guest blog on the Newport Marathon. You can read more about Lucy from an interview I did with her a few months ago at Interview with a Runner: Lucy Chi!

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On June 4th 2016, I ran the Newport Marathon on the Oregon coast. This was the race I had been training for since January. The goal was to qualify for Boston ideally – or at least achieve a personal best.

In the week leading up to the race, there were a few unexpected obstacles I had to address. One, I had started experiencing an excruciating toothache which was somewhat exacerbated by the impact from running. This was not fun since anyone who has had a toothache knows that you can’t think straight when you have a toothache. Second, I realized I was having an outbreak of rosacea on my body. It rarely happens. In fact, the last outbreak was in 2013. As one can imagine, I was naturally displeased while trying not to be too stressed out about either.

Fortunately, by Thursday, the toothache had subsided somewhat (I did visit my dentist) and the rosacea seemed limited to my torso. Otherwise, in terms of race prep, everything else was on track. I had a terrific pasta meal upon arrival in Newport, 36 hours prior to the race. I also slept well both evenings at the hotel, and the bathroom routine went smoothly on the morning of the race.

I had travelled to the race with my sister, which was also a lot of fun. This was our first race together since the Victoria Marathon 2013. Package pickup was simple the day before. There was no need to show proof of registration. Included in the goody bag were some final race instructions – 1 page, single-spaced and in 10-font. Perhaps my attention span is low these days, but I would have preferred something more concise and in larger font. The instructions did note how the course was measured and that racers would be disqualified if we ran on the wrong side of the road. That made me a bit nervous. What was a surprise was that we would not receive our souvenir shirt until after the race. I guess they really want to make you earn it!

On race morning, we met with fellow Forerunners group leader Judy, and all went to the start line together. The sun was out but the temperature was relatively cool still. On the shuttle bus to the start line, we ran into a former Forerunners friend Stephen with whom I frequently ran several years back. This was a nice surprise. Both of us had trained all winter using the heart rate method and testing with Peak Performance Centre.

The race course itself was an out-and- back course, with the start and finish line located about a 1 mile from each other. It was mostly flat, scenic and along Yaquina Bay. The temperature climbed as the race went on. Fortunately, for the first portion, the road was slightly shaded by a cliff on our left side. However, this disappeared before the 13-mile mark and runners were left exposed to the sun for quite a long period after this point. My pace started to slow naturally. All I could think of was that I wanted to finish this race strong and running. There was no doubt the middle portion of this race was tough for me on this day.

Newport Marathon

The good news in the end:  I did finish the race running and feeling strong again (i.e. no cramps). The bad news:  I didn’t meet my qualifying time nor did I achieve a personal best. However, I was not as disappointed as I thought I’d be. As I watched my qualifying time pass, I realized this race weekend was already great, as I had a lot of fun with my sister and there will be always be other races.

The race medal we received at the end also helped. All half marathon and marathon runners received a beautiful, individually-designed glass medal. It was a medal that one could truly repurpose as a necklace.

Newport Marathon

In addition to the medal and the short-sleeved technical shirt by Alanic, runners also enjoy lots of post-race food such as clam chowder and a pint of beer for free.

Newport Marathon

Overall, it was a well-organized race for a small resort town. For anyone interested in a scenic, fast course in the Pacific Northwest in the future, I would definitely recommend this race. Who knows, I may be back myself in the future for redemption!

Final Results

Chip Time: 3:43:36
Average Pace: 8:33 min/mile
Place Overall: 116/502
Age Category Place: 7/52

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Congratulations, Lucy! I’m really impressed with your efforts and even though it wasn’t a Boston Qualifier this time, I have no doubt in your ability to reach that goal. Thanks for sharing your experiences! – B.

Read other guest blogs by Lucy:

And don’t forget to read my Interview with a Runner: Lucy Chi (one of my most popular posts ever!)

 

Longest Day Road Race

Through my relatively short running career, I’ve come to realize that I’m not a short distance runner. Yet, when the opportunity presents itself, I can’t help being lured by promise of finishing a race in under 30 minutes. Sooner to the finish line, sooner to the food! And while the Longest Day Road Race didn’t start out on my priority list in 2016, I decided to throw my hat in the ring before the final price increase!

One of the other things that attracted me to this race is its role in two BC Road Racing Series: the Lifestages Lower Mainland Road Race Series and the BC Super Series (by BC Athletics). By running a minimum number of qualifying races, runners have a chance to compete in these age-group based series. And while I’m by no means fast enough to place, it’s kind of cool to be ranked against the speediest runners in the province!

I’m not going to lie, I had a pretty rough week. By the time Friday rolled around, I was cranky and disinclined to do anything but sit on the couch…let alone run a race on a Friday night. And with the promise threat of rain, my resolve started to waver. However, Kristin to the rescue! She offered me a ride – and some delightful company. So I rushed home after work, did a quick change, and we were off to the race!

The Good

Having only done the 5k once before (in 2010), and participated in the dreaded double-loop 10k last year, I was glad to have Kristin to point us in the right direction to the start line (which was not at all where I had expected it to be!). There were lots of familiar faces – my peeps from Forerunners, the West Van Run Crew, and a few folks whose names I don’t know but whose faces I’ve seen at many local running events.

Longest Day Road Race

Forerunners galore!

I won a prize! But since it was a gift certificate for a women’s clothing and jewellery store, Kirstin was the lucky recipient.

The race itself went reasonably well. There was a slight uphill at the beginning, a short, steep slope at about 2k, and a very brief incline to the finish. Otherwise, it was pretty much flat or downhill. I’ll talk about results shortly.

Post-race, there is a BBQ. Lots of food, including (lukewarm) veggie burgers (or meat burgers for the carnivores), veggies, fruit, brownies with ice cream, cookies, drinks, pudding…pretty much anything you could ask for. And since the weather turned out to be quite ideal for an evening race, we enjoyed it all while sitting on the grass in the sunset.

That’s right…sunset! No rain at all!

Longest Day Road Race Longest Day Road Race

The Not-So-Good

Generally, I’m quite positive when it comes to my race reviews, and try to give the benefit of the doubt when things don’t go as well as expected. But having participated in a fair number of races in the past few years, I’ve become a bit more…discerning. And, unfortunately, there were a few things about the race organization this year that left me wanting.

Setup – Although Kristin beelined us handily to the start line, things unravelled a wee bit at that stage. Weirdly, the entrance to the race area was through the finish line…there didn’t really seem to be any other option, with fences and whatnot. We started looking for bib pickup, and wandered around for quite a while before finding it rather hidden amongst a bunch of other sponsor tents. There were no signs or volunteers pointing us in the right direction. I was confused.

Longest Day Road Race

Gear Check – To be fair, we may have dallied before heading to gear check, but we gave ourselves about half an hour. There were just two stalwart young volunteers at the gear check, fielding request/demands from some of the 1,000 runners attending the event. They desperately needed help, but no one was around. Although we got our bags checked in time for the race, we left a long line behind us, and I suspect others weren’t as successful. I saw a few folks running with backpacks, which I don’t imagine was their intention.

Start Line – The Start Line was down the hill about 100 metres, and the only way to get there was by walking through the Finish Line…just as the Kids’ 1k was finishing. I found this exceedingly odd, and the poor kids were dodging hundreds of adults heading in the opposite direction. Unlike last year, when the 10k started about 15 minutes after the 5k, we all started together. Crowded in and unsure how far forward to be (I mean, the 5k-ers might want to head out faster, right?), there was an unassuming cap gun – no announcement, no warning, and a minute before the scheduled start time – and everyone was off.

Longest Day Road Race Longest Day Road Race

…And within metres of the Start, an SUV heading down the road towards us. Because, somehow, they ended up on the course. No worries, they stopped, but we all had to flow around them. Something went wrong.

Rubbish – I’ve already mentioned the BBQ. It was great. Food. Yum. And then it was time to go and nary a garbage can or recycling bin in sight. Seriously, it wasn’t a huge space, and we wandered about for almost ten minutes carrying our trash, trying to find somewhere to put it. In the end, we had to go against the flow of people who were still picking up their food, to find the one bin at the end of the food line. It made no sense. I was frustrated.

The Race

In the end, for all my whining and complaining, I enjoyed the race. I had very low expectations for my own performance, having done very little absolutely no speed training in the past month. But as I approached the Finish Line, my running hero Rob Watson was there shouting ‘Sprint! Sprint!!’ and I did and I surged uphill and passed at least three people and got there sooner than I imagined I would. It was not my best time, but it was not the flattest course, and I was pleased with my results. And it was all over in less than 30 minutes!

Longest Day Road Race

Longest Day Road Race

Rob Watson giving me a thumbs up!

This race has been around for at least 10 years. It’s a good race, great local representation, and good food. I was disappointed this year…but I believe with some small tweaks it can be made better. Last year was better. I trust that next year will be better, too.

Final Results

Chip Time: 24:05
Average Pace: 4:49 min/km
Place Overall: 168/715
Age Category Place: 38/104
(I mentioned this last year, too…rather than 5- or 10-year age groupings, I was in the 40-59 category!)

Longest Day Road Race

*Special thanks to Debra Kato for pretty much every photo in this post!

Longest Day Road Race 5k – Quick Review

Social Media: There wasn’t a lot of social media activity, but regular email updates kept us abreast of the event as it approached, and the pre-race instructions were quite detailed.

Packet Pickup: Although there was package pickup at the Running Room on Thursday, I just went to the pickup table (once I found it) on race day.

T-Shirt/Swag: You could get a t-shirt for purchase – but I have more than enough race shirts, so no need to buy one! No swag or medal for this race.

Course: A fairly straightforward loop of the UBC campus – slightly uphill at the beginning and end, and briefly in the middle. Otherwise, a substantial downhill in the first kilometre, with everything else reasonably flat.

Post-Race: A great BBQ with loads of good food, music, festivities…quite a good bit of fun! Draw prizes, too!

Organization: As noted in more detail in the full report, this year’s organization left a lot to be desired. The ‘festival’ setup was extremely confusing, bag check was understaffed, and the start line was chaos. I really think there’s some room for improvement, with just a few tweaks.

Would I Run It Again? I’m kind of on the fence. While I’m glad that I ran the 5k after 5 years, the rushing from work to get to a race kind of stressed me out this time around. Let’s give it a solid maybe.

WeeklyWrap

A bit late in the game, I’m joining the Weekly Wrap-Up with MissSippiPiddlin and HoHoRuns!