Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

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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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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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!)

 

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.

ScotiaHalf

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

Running England - Yorshire

Following an absolutely splendid trip to London (read all about Running England – London), we ventured into the countryside of West Yorkshire!

Yorkshire – Day One

A dear friend of ours lives in Mirfield, West Yorkshire – so we spent the next few days visiting with Anna. We arrived at Mirfield Station early in the afternoon and, afternoon a spot of tea, headed out for some local sightseeing at Oakwell Hall (c. 1583) – and got our first taste of the English countryside.

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Yorkshire – Day Two

With guidance from Anna, my first run took me along the Calder Valley Greenway, a very peaceful run that included the Calder & Hebble Navigation Canal. There were cows. It was perfection.

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We spent the rest of the day sightseeing further afield around Leeds, at Harewood House and Kirkstall Abbey (ruin dating from c. 1152).

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Yorkshire – Day Three

My friend’s stepmum, Ann, graciously acted as a running guide for me the next morning. As a local, she took me on a very scenic tour of the area, that also included some fascinating commentary and historical notes. It wove through the lanes and bridleways of Lower Hopton, and the streets of Mirfield. We conquered a few hills together, and had an absolutely delightful time!

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A bit more sightseeing at Black Dick’s Tower (no joke!) in the afternoon. That evening, we visited the Rams Head Inn – a 450-year-old pub that is perched in an isolated spot on the Pennine Mountain range. It was a stormy night, too, so just right for a cozy beer with friends.

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Yorkshire – Last Day

We bid a tearfully fond farewell to our friends, and made a stopover in York. We spent the day touring around the town with yet another friend we hadn’t seen in many years. It’s such a scenic place, and I wish we could have stayed on longer!

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Tune in next time as the adventure continues on into Scotland!

OH! And I almost forgot. Here’s a token picture of Yorkshire pudding:

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Have you ever had the chance to run in the English countryside?

Running England - London

We have recently returned from our first ever trip to the UK! (To be completely transparent, it wasn’t my first trip – I’ve been there three times before – but the most recent visit was at about age 8, so I’m considering this an inaugural visit.) In keeping with my usual travels, I took the opportunity to run and explore throughout our visit, and I’m excited to share those experiences. This post is the first of three, sharing my runs and sightseeing in the amazing city of London! Be sure to read my other posts about running in Yorkshire and Edinburgh, Scotland.

We purchased our airline tickets when WestJet had a seat sale last September, promoting their new direct route between Vancouver and London Gatwick. That’s 8 months of anticipation. But it was totally worth the wait! We departed YVR on Sunday evening, arriving in England at around noon the next day.

London – Day One

We checked in, and explored the neighbourhood (Marylebone) before heading down to the Thames River, where we walked along South Bank and took in all of the iconic sights of London, from Big Ben to Tower Bridge.

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London – Day Two

Waking bright and early on Tuesday morning, I donned my running gear and set off to explore. I was delighted that our hotel was just a few blocks from Regent’s Park – so, armed with a Strava Routes guide for London, I proceeded to follow the recommended route around the Park, including Primrose Hill. It was breathtaking!

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Regent’s Park has been Crown property since Henry VIII. It is named for the Prince Regent (later King George IV), who commissioned the design of the park in the early 1800s. It has several gardens, but is mostly wide open parkland – it also includes a sizeable lake, and London Zoo. Primrose Hill, just north of the park, is only 65m high, but it’s a steep climb…and the view from the top is fantastic – including the distant London Eye and the Shard tower.

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More sightseeing ensued that day: Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Abbey…so much to do! We also went to see the Phantom of the Opera! The highlight, however, was tea with a dear friend we hadn’t seen in many years – so wonderful to catch up!

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London – Day Three

Another amazing day at the Tower of London, the British Museum, the Wallace Collection…followed by dinner with two other friends we hadn’t seen since their visit to Vancouver about four years ago.

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London – Last Day

On the day of our departure, I mimicked my route around Regent’s Park and Primrose Hill, except in a counter-clockwise direction. I also detoured slightly along Regent’s Canal.

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And then we headed to King’s Cross Station, to board the train for our next destination. Of course, I had to take a photo of Platform 9 3/4 (for all you Harry Potter fans!)

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Join me on the next part of the journey: Running England – Yorkshire – followed by Running Scotland – Edinburgh!

Have you ever run in London? What was your favourite route?
What’s your number one sightseeing spot?