Archive for the ‘Training’ Category

Forerunners social run

The biggest news in the local running scene is the opening of the brand new Forerunners store on Main Street! How excited was I to learn that our longest run of the BMO Marathon training calendar would be the Forerunners Social Run – starting at the new store?! (more…)

Forerunners Half Marathon

With the cancellation of the First Half Half Marathon due to inclement weather (snow and ice, to be exact – read the whole story!), many folks felt they didn’t have the chance to ‘earn’ their medal. But two weeks later, the folks at Forerunners made it possible!

Forerunners Half Marathon

Thanks to Karen & Peter Butler – the fantastic owners of Forerunners Vancouver for 30 years – and Coach Carey Nelson, the Forerunners Half Marathon became a reality!

Social Run – the Forerunners Half Marathon

The run was promoted to the local running community – a free supported half marathon to ‘make-up’ for the First Half. It coincided with our usual Saturday training run, so it was a great opportunity for us to see familiar faces, as well as some new ones!

In order to get in my full training distance, I started out by running from home – a 4km training run. As such, I got in a full 25km!

Forerunners Half Marathon

We gathered, as usual, at Forerunners on Fourth Avenue. The store is not used to seeing such huge crowds, so everyone was crammed in prior to the beginning of the run. Fortunately, the owners of Double DD Pizza – next door to Forerunners – opened their space (and bathrooms!) to accommodate the masses of runners!

Forerunners Half Marathon

Karen Butler

Forerunners Half Marathon

Mayling aka I *Heart* Running!

Forerunners Half Marathon

Coach Carey provided an overview of the running course, and then we gathered across the street before heading out on our 21.1km jaunt.

Forerunners Half Marathon

The course is a familiar one, since many of our training runs take us in the same direction. We ran west along 4th Avenue, before cutting down to Jericho Beach. We ran along the water, taking in the views of the mountains in the distance, and the cloudy skies. The snow and ice which had frustrated our running in the past few weeks was no more – back to the usual Vancouver, a few puddles, and a little bit of rain.

Our first stop was at the 5km water station, set up just as the road started sloping upwards toward UBC. Some Gatorade, and some music to pump up our energy.

Forerunners Half Marathon

Upwards and onwards until we reached UBC – and then proceeded to loop around campus. But not before reaching our second water stop (and bathroom break) at the halfway point. Thanks to Christoph, fighting an injury, for stepping up to support us en route, along with Coach Carey.

Forerunners Half Marathon

Ben Kotanen / Peter Butler

We completed the loop back at the top of the hill, and started back downwards. Anyone familiar with the Scotiabank Half Marathon will know this part of the course well! Our first water stop doubled as our third water stop, and we were again greeted by smiling faces and some much needed refreshment – thanks to Peter Butler and special guest, Ben Kotanen!

Retracing our steps, we ended up back where we started…at Forerunners! Special shout-out to our group leader, Kristin, and to Laurel…who kept me motivated to finish this run!

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Post-race refreshments were provided at Double DD – juice boxes, brownies, bananas, and chocolate milk – all thanks to Forerunners! And with that, the Forerunners Half Marathon was complete!

 

RuntoGiveYVR

I’ve done charity races and fund-raising before. As many of you know, I’ve been running the Scotiabank Half Marathon on behalf of the BC Cancer Foundation for the past four years. Early in my running career, I did some fundraising for The Underwear Affair. The West Van Run Crew did fundraising for the Vancouver Food Bank as part of our Eastside 10K team run.

But this was my first participation in a ‘casual’ run for the specific purpose of raising cash for an important charity.

On Sunday, I gathered with about 75 local runners for a fun, informal run – the second annual Run to Give YVR (#RunToGiveYVR). I missed the inaugural run last year, but made sure this one made it into my calendar!

While the forecast called for rain, the clouds held onto the Vancouver sunshine for most of the run, which started out at the Giant Birds in Olympic Village. Rather than bike or drive, I ran the 5k across Burrard Bridge and along the south side of the False Creek Seawall to join everyone – and that everyone included epic marathoner Rob Watson (“for our thousandth photo together”):

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And Debra Kato (thanks for the photos!), who represented the West Van Run Crew with me!

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At 9am, the crowd of runners from multiple run crews gathered for introductions – of both the organizers, and the charity we were running for. We were welcomed by Mabel Nipshank, a First Nations matriarch and representative of the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre – who acknowledged that we were running on unceded Coast Salish Territory. She had us form a huge circle, and we joined her in a traditional song – video here (courtesy of @RunGo).

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Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre

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The Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre (DEWC) is a vital organization in Canada’s poorest neighbourhood – the Vancouver DTES. The mission of the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre is to provide a safe, non-judgmental environment for women from all walks of life, who live and/or work in the Downtown Eastside. To achieve this goal, the Centre provides supportive surroundings with meals, counseling, advocacy and programs which nurture and empower members. Among the vital services the Centre provides is a hot lunch program every day of the year.

You can make a donation to the DEWC here or click on the donate button.

#RunToGiveYVR

This event was started last year by Kate Gustafson (@atrueworld), who is a volunteer at the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre. She combined her passion for that organization and her enthusiasm for running. I had a chance to run with her a bit – and we talked about the local running community. There are lots of runners in Vancouver, and we all have groups / clubs / crews that we run with. Kate wanted to organize an event that would bring all these people together – to collaborate for a good cause.

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And Run to Give YVR was born!

The Run

It was a big group. Lots of runners, lots of skill levels and speeds. We all headed out together – and some folks would end up running further, some turning back sooner. It didn’t matter. This was about gathering, and running, and making a difference.

We headed out around Science World. Although most of the snow has melted on the streets, the Seawall was extremely slushy. I was glad I had decided to wear my trail shoes! We continued around False Creek until we reached Burrard Bridge (hey – I’m almost home!) – and at that 4k mark, we headed back the way we had come to finish off the 8k route.

I ran into Debra on the way by!

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Back at the start/finish, I had a quick chat with Kate, Kim Doerkson (@kdoerks), and Sabine – all part of the organizing committee for the 2016 Run to Give YVR.

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Kate & me

RuntoGiveYVR

Kim & Sabine

And then I ran home. Glad that I came out. And happy to share that, in total, over $5,000 was raised on behalf of the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre! Looking forward to what is achieved in 2017!

What are your thoughts on charity runs?

 

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.

The next day, the sightseeing (and running) began!

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ScotiaHalf

Another year has passed, and the summer is fast approaching…and it’s hard to believe that in just three weeks I’ll be running another Scotiabank Half Marathon <– click on that link to sign up!

I’m excited about this year’s #ScotiaHalf for a few reason:

  1. I have the honour of representing the race as a Digital Champion
  2. My dad will be in town to see me finish the race (read more about my dad here)
  3. This will be my silver anniversary half marathon – yep, my 25th half marathon ever!

So, what have I been doing to prepare for my next half marathon? Well, probably not as much as I should be…but I’m doing my best!

At the beginning of May, I finished the BMO Vancouver Half Marathon – it wasn’t a PB, but it turned out to be in the TOP 3 of my half marathons, so that’s not too shabby.

Unfortunately, my ‘training’ was impacted by the very burdensome task of taking an overseas vacation…(in case you missed it, that statement is dripping with sarcasm…)

During my vacation, I continued with my runs – although I admit that they were not long or especially speedy, and involved a few stops along the way for scenic photos. (Read more about Running England, should you care to see a few pics from London and Yorkshire – in total, I ran about 42km in the UK!)

Back home in Vancouver, I started out running 17km with the Forerunners gang – in torrential rain. Seriously, we had perfect weather in England and Scotland, and this is what I came back to! Never been so wet in my life. It took three days for my shoes to dry out.

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A few days later, I happily joined my dear friend Debra and fellow Digital Champion, along with other Scotiabank Half supporters, for a Pizza Training Run sponsored by Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria! Numbers were down slightly due to the threat of rain, which we laughed off…only to be drenched during our 5km loop in East Van. (On the flip side, I got to #fanboi on one of my running heroes, Rob Watson!)

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This weekend, I ran the Ambleside Mile – part of the West Van Run family of races! I tacked on an extra 14.5km to make sure I was keeping up the distance because, you know, the Scotia Half is just three weeks away!

ScotiaHalf ScotiaHalf

I’m also very pleased to report that fundraising on behalf of BC Cancer Foundation is going well. At $2,664, I’m just over $300 shy of my $3,000 goal for 2016 in memory of my Mom. Should you be able to support this cause, please donate here.

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Mom & me – I’m running in her memory!

Look forward to seeing you at the Scotiabank Half Marathon on June 26!

I’m also going to jump back in and join the Weekly Wrap-Up with MissSippiPiddlin and HoHoRuns!

WeeklyWrap

Weekly Wrap Dissatisfaction

Participating in the Weekly Wrap with Holly from HoHo Runs and Tricia at MissSippiPiddlin, I generally like to keep things positive and upbeat (because they both are!). This week, though, has trended a bit downward – resulting in today’s theme of dissatisfaction. This is NOT one of my Themes for 2016 – quite the contrary, in fact – but in the interests of transparency (which is one of my themes), bear with me as I walk through my week. NOTE: I realize my complaints are very much first world, and that things could certainly be worse.  Heck – the boat in my title photo could be mine!

Monday

I woke up feeling worse than I had on the weekend. No doubt the sopping wet Steveston 8k the day before didn’t help. My exercise for the day consisted of walking 20 minutes to the office, picking up my computer, and plodding home again. Went through nearly an entire box of tissue, alternating between work and naps. Of course, I didn’t end up attending Coach Carey’s speed clinic, either.

Tuesday

Back at work, still feeling a bit under the weather, I managed to make it through a hectic day.

Have I mentioned I’m in a choir? We’re a local community choir called Simple Gifts – and I’ve been singing with them for a few years. Each season, we perform at two seniors’ homes – and tonight was our first sing-out. There were far more of us in the choir than in the audience, since 30-40 of the residents were sick! Struggled through, and was pretty worn out afterward.

Wednesday

One and only visit to the gym this week. Jill and I did a bit of cardio, and a quick set of body weight exercises. Our philosophy of “something is better than nothing” came into play. Would eventually like to move beyond that and give more, but it wasn’t happening today.

Reported to the chiropractor after work, who said things had improved – a single ray of hope!

Thursday

Knowing that it might be my only run of the week, I forced myself out of bed (just) in time to join the #RunVan crew for 8k along the Seawall. Flashbacks of Steveston, since it was pouring throughout – thankfully without the wind!

Weekly Wrap #RunVan Weekly Wrap Selfie

Felt invigorated for most of the day, including the four hours of (work-related, not athletic) training that occupied me for the morning. Finally had a restful evening.

Friday

Having promised a colleague weeks ago to attend a networking event, I was suited up and on site by 7:15am – followed by 2 hours of (productive but exhausting) standing and chatting and smiling and representing my employer to the best of my ability. The rest of the day was solidly busy.

Sadly, I had to decline my friend’s invite to Pilates, since our final dress rehearsal for choir started at 7pm – and another 2 hours of standing and singing. Utterly wrecked by the time we got home.

Saturday

Despite texts from two of my dearest running buddies the night before, I didn’t have it in me to get up and participate in the long run with Forerunners. Truly unfortunate, since the weather was flawless – clear, dry and cool. I slept late, woke up feeling morose and dejected, and ended up going back to bed and sleeping for a few more hours. Clearly, my body was trying to tell me something. My mood improved, especially after squeezing in another brief nap in the afternoon.

Naps are good.

My only nod to exercise was a walk to the shop to buy some treats to share at Sunday’s concert.

Weekly Wrap

Tim Tam – one of Australia’s best exports!

Sunday

I actually dreamed about running – getting out and joining one of my groups for a 16k. Although it was truly just a dream – I forced myself to commit to at least 5k or 30 minutes, whichever came first. In the end, they pretty much coincided.

Weekly Wrap

The afternoon was spent doing some last-minute rehearsing before our concert performance. The show itself went reasonably well – only ‘crashed and burned’ on one song, which we stopped and started again. Overall, though, pretty pleased.

Weekly Wrap Choir

Thanks to Susan for the photo!

Now, I’m home again in my pyjamas, glad that this week has finally come to an end. And believing that next week can only be better!

How do you manage THOSE weeks – the ones that just don’t go right?

WeeklyWrap

Don’t forget to stop by HoHo Runs and MissSippiPiddlin to join their Weekly Wrap, or visit others in the linkup!

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I’ve been planning to write this post for many months, but my race schedule has resulted in my pre-empting other posts for race reports. However, I’ve decided that it’s finally time to share my 7 Tips for Newbie Runners!

Although I no longer consider myself a ‘newbie’ in the technical sense – I’m coming up on 7 years into my running ‘career’ – I’m still very green compared to many of those in my running circle. And those newbie days are not so distant that I don’t remember them pretty clearly.

So here they are:  7 pieces of advice (one for each year that I’ve been running!) for some of the newer runners out there!

1. Find a running buddy/crew. This advice applies to everyone – newbie or otherwise. But I think it’s especially important when you’re a less experienced runner. Having a running buddy is valuable for a variety of reasons:  you keep each other accountable; you have more fun; you motivate each other; misery loves company; you can learn from each other. I can’t even count the number of times that I would have convinced myself to hit snooze one more time and stay in bed if it weren’t for the fact that I had promised my running buddy (or buddies) that I’d be out for that run.

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The awesome folks of West Van Run Crew!

If you honestly don’t know another runner – which may be the case if you’re just getting started – find a running crew. This is pretty straightforward if you’re living in a large urban centre – there are probably multiple groups to choose from, either sponsored by a local running store or organized by local fitness buffs. It may take time to find the right fit for you, but persevere. Personally, I think having a running crew is even better than having just one running buddy, because you’re almost guaranteed to have company.

2. Invest in good technical gear. When I ran my first couple of races, I wore the cotton event t-shirt provided with race entry. Cotton chafes, holds moisture, and doesn’t breathe. I also wore long warm-up pants, which were way too big for me and likely impacted my overall speed. Get yourself a decent technical shirt or two, ones that fit well and make you feel good, and a good pair of shorts/tights. Depending on the weather where you live, some additional layers may be required.

Back in the old days, I had some well-worn barely used running shoes that I had picked up somewhere along the way – likely bought without anything but price in mind. Take the time to try on different types of shoes, find the size and fit that works best for you, and talk to the professionals. I recommend going to a dedicated running store, rather than a generic sporting goods store – they can provide more tailored advice.

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Nikes are still my go-to shoe

Running gear shopping doesn’t have to break the bank. Keep an eye out for sales at your local sports stores. Talk to the folks in your running crew (see Point 1) – runners love to give advice!

3. Don’t compare yourself to others. This is one that I still struggle with. It’s easy to look at that girl who makes every stride look effortless, or the guy dressed in an Elmo costume in the middle of July who still runs faster than you, and wonder why it’s so easy for them. And so hard for you.

Just. Don’t.

Everybody – and every body – is different. We are all uniquely built. We have different backgrounds, different histories and relationships with athletics, different struggles (both physical and emotional), different day-to-day lives. This may seem self-evident, but it never hurts to be reminded.

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I still feel extremely self-conscious at the gym. I’m trying to get over it.

Unless you are an elite runner, or competing for a spot on the Olympic team, the only person your should be comparing yourself to is you. Yesterday’s you. The you from a year ago. Former couch potato you. And even then, be gentle with yourself because today’s you might just be having a bad day.

4. Track your progress. Technology has come a long way in the past few years. Don’t feel that you need to invest in the most pimped out GPS watch with heart rate monitor that the internet has to offer. I started with a Nike+ foot pod that connected to my fancy basic iPod Nano. Tracking distance and speed, even though it wasn’t tremendously accurate, kept me motivated. I could watch my improvement, see how much I’d progressed, and feel a little smug about my accomplishments.

Heck, you could even just keep a paper log, or an Excel spreadsheet – but with free apps like Nike+ and Strava, why not take advantage?

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Strava connects you with other runners, too!

It may feel like your progress is slow at first, but it’s rewarding to look back and see how far you’ve come.

5. Set a goal. Maybe it’s to run for 10 minutes without stopping. Maybe it’s your first 5k race. Maybe it’s to run a half marathon. The goal should be achievable, but also challenging. If you’re feeling extra ambitious, make it a SMART (specific, meaningful, action oriented, realistic, timely) goal! For me, though, signing up for my first 8k race after watching an inspiring movie was enough to motivate me to begin on the journey to where I am today.

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Once you’ve achieved your goal – celebrate it! Then set yourself another one. Stretch yourself a bit more. Fall short of your goal? Learn from your mistakes…and set another goal!

6. Be consistent. Sometimes just getting out the door is a struggle. When the weather turns nasty or darkness comes early, or when life simply gets in the way, skipping a run can be easy. The key is to integrate running into your weekly routine, to find a time that works for you, and stick to it.  For me, being part of a Saturday morning running group has kept me accountable, and roused me from sleep even on mornings of torrential rain.

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Yep, I got up and ran, even in this.

Book runs into your calendar. Make appointments with yourself, or with your running buddy. Figure out if you’re more inspired to run in the morning, or if a post-work workout is better for you. Once running is ingrained into your schedule, you’ll know it because you’ll have a sense of something missing when you miss a run.

7. Do it because you love it. This may sound a bit glib, and believe me there are days when I do not love running. When I started out, there were a lot of painful days when I thought i) I couldn’t go on and/or ii) I would never run again. I still feel that way on occasion. But once running gets into your blood, it really becomes a part of you. Yes, you do it for the sense of satisfaction it gives you. Yes, you do it for the t-shirts and the medals. Yes, you do it for bragging rights.

In the end, though, you do it because you love it.

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What have I missed? What advice would you give to a newbie runner?
If you are a newbie – or not a runner at all – what advice and/or questions do you have?