SeaWheeze

Anyone who knows yoga knows lululemon athletica. Anyone who lives in Vancouver – yogi or not – knows lululemon. And like it or not, lululemon is part of the Vancouver athletic landscape. Any runner or would-be who likes yoga – or who can’t get enough of lululemon – knows about SeaWheeze.

The SeaWheeze Half Marathon launched in 2012, making this year its fifth anniversary. Previously, all I knew about the SeaWheeze was that there were a lot of women running, and that buying exclusive lululemon/SeaWheeze gear was serious business. Not being particularly brand-driven, and owning no lululemon gear myself (except some running sleeves I got as a gift a few years back), I had never felt the urge to register for this relatively pricey half marathon.

However, when both Debra and Susan encouraged me to sign up for 2016, I decided to give it a go. Why not? And that’s where this story begins…

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Big congratulations to Eric B. who won this year’s VanRace Giveaway!
Eric will be running the 15K. Find him on Twitter here.
**Register online by Wednesday, August 24 at vanrace.ca**

VanRace Giveaway

Summer isn’t over yet! That means you still have a chance to fit in one more big race before the autumn weather starts to creep in! Enter my VanRace Giveaway 2016 below to win a free entry to either the 15K or the 30K VanRace!

Last year was the inaugural VanRace – a fantastic journey along the Vancouver waterfront:  False Creek, English Bay, and the Stanley Park Seawall.  You can read all about it in my review of VanRace 2015! The WestVanRun Crew was out in full force for last year’s race!

VanRace Giveaway

Race Details

Date: Sunday, August 28
Time: 7:30am
Location: Charleson Park, Vancouver (east of Granville Island)
Cost: $54 for 15K / $64 for 30K – or, if you win my giveaway – FREE!
Website: http://vanrace.ca/

VanRace Giveaway

VanRace Giveaway

Enter for YOUR chance to win an entry to VanRace 2016. The winner can use the entry to register for either the 15k OR the 30k! Already registered? Enter to win a free entry for a friend or family member!

Giveaway ends at midnight Pacific time on August 21, 2016. Open to Canadian & US residents – as long as you’re able to get yourself to Vancouver, BC for the race! A random winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter.

VanRace Free Entry Giveaway

Here’s me and Ethan, the winner of last year’s giveaway – thumbs up!

VanRace Giveaway

Why do YOU want to win to race 15K or 30K?

giveaway

Happy to link up with Smitha & Erica for their Wednesday Giveaway Round Up! Drop by to #WinAllThePrizes

San Francisco Second Half Marathon

It was kind of a dream come true when I had the opportunity to run across the Golden Gate Bridge – not just once, but twice – at last year’s San Francisco First Half Marathon. It was such a fun, well-organized race that within days of registration opening for the 2016 race, I had signed up to run the San Francisco Second Half Marathon.

By way of explanation…each year, the San Francisco Marathon also includes two half marathons: the 1st Half, which mirrors (not surprisingly) the first half of the marathon course, and starts alongside the marathon runners, like I did last year; and the 2nd Half, which starts at a slightly different location, but joins up midway through the marathon and ends at the same spot. My motivation for running the 2nd half was two-fold: 1) to visit our friends in San Francisco again, and 2) for a medal – and not just any medal…

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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…

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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.

Summerfast 10K Summerfast 10K

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!

ScotiaHalf ScotiaHalf ScotiaHalf ScotiaHalf

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!