Posts Tagged ‘PB’

West Van Run

It was a long time coming – months of anticipation – and finally the big weekend arrived! With three distances, amazing weather, enthusiastic volunteers, and over 1000 participants, the West Van Run was a complete success!

I was honoured when Kirill, the West Van Run race director, asked me to be an ambassador – to become part of  WestVanRunTeam. Thanks to this – and my involvement with WestVanRunCrew – I have made so many new running friends, and experienced races that I wouldn’t otherwise have participated in. My ‘ambassadorship’ included becoming one of the faces of West Van Run, and I found myself on random bulletin boards and in card displays throughout the city:

West Van Run

During one the weekend’s races, someone ran up behind me and shouted: “It’s poster boy Bradley!” Ah, the price of fame.

West Van Run

Here’s how the weekend went down:

Saturday – the 5k

Debra picked me up in the green monster, we gathered Sam at the station, and we all headed to Dundarave Park in West Vancouver. We arrived to one of the most glorious scenes – sunshine, clear skies, views of the ocean and the city. Although Debra was kitted out in style:

West Van Run West Van Run

…the rest of us peeled off layers and ended up running in shorts and t-shirts for the most part. This was a stark contrast to West Van Run 2014, which was accompanied by snow and freezing rain.

In previous years, the 5k and 10k were held on the same day, so I hadn’t previously run the shorter distance. In fact, I’ve competed in very few 5k’s before. Perhaps this is the start of a trend?

So while I had nothing to compare it to, this year’s 5k was a new course, which started on Marine Drive – the ‘main street’ of West Vancouver. We gathered excitedly behind the West Van Run arch, raring to go.

West Van Run West Van Run

And go we did! A few hills, some twists and turns – 2.5km out, and 2.5km back along the waterfront and West Van seawall. Sunshine! Smiling faces! Cheers from volunteers and spectators! It was all over in a flash.

For me – a flash that turned into a personal best! 23:31 on the clock – a full 16 seconds faster than the Moustache Miler in November! I was not the only one to achieve a PB – many of the West Van Run Crew broke records on this certified course, and celebration ensued!

West Van Run West Van Run West Van Run West Van Run

We enjoyed our goody bags, cheered for the winners at the awards ceremony, and went out for some well-deserved brunch!

Final Results

Chip Time: 23:31
Average Pace: 4:42 min/km
Place Overall: 64/408
Age Category Place: 10/45

Sunday – the 10k

I woke up sore. Not the same kind of sore as after a major gym workout, or after a half marathon. More of a concentrated sore, focused on my left hip.

The sun was peeking through the clouds when we arrived in Dundarave.

West Van Run West Van Run

There was a buzz in the air – more familiar faces, a lot more people, a tingle of excitement. Happy to see a bunch of folks who might not have come to West Van Run if I hadn’t told them about it!

West Van Run West Van Run

Unlike Saturday, where I was eager and pumped at the start line, I was lacking the confidence I had before the 5k.

West Van Run

After the gun went off and we headed along Marine Drive, my gait felt a bit lopsided and my hip was bugging me. I tried to stay steady, and focused on not looking at my watch.

Within the first couple of kilometres, the rain started to fall…just lightly, mind you, so it really didn’t matter. At the far side of Park Royal, as we turned around, some supportive and familiar faces who I was really glad to see. Between kilometres 6 and 7 there was an out-and-back…which meant you got to see, first of all, everyone ahead of you. It was actually awesome, because I was cheering on so many of my friends! Saw a few more on my way back.

The toughest part of the course – as I’m sure I’ve said before – is that you can see the finish line about a kilometre before you actually reach it. Longest. Kilometre. Ever.

As I approached, after what seemed like an eternity, I heard the announcer call the 50 minute mark. Not only had I fallen short of my PB (I’ve set a PB at West Van Run the past 2 years), I hit my worst 10k time in 2 years. Now, don’t get me wrong…I know it’s a respectable time. But I couldn’t help feeling let down after the thrill of the previous day.

West Van Run

I got over it.

West Van Run West Van Run

Cheers and hugs and rainbows! More friends crossing the finish line!

 West Van Run West Van Run

West Van Run West Van Run

Unfortunately, I couldn’t stay for awards since I had been invited to celebrate my friend’s birthday by joining a local brewery tour. Not a shabby way to end the West Van Run weekend!

West Van Run

Final Results

Chip Time: 50:10
Average Pace: 5:01 min/km
Place Overall: 194/606
Age Category Place: 44/81

West Van Run 2016

I want to thank Kirill and Karin, who stick-handled this whole event from start to finish and did an amazing job. Thanks to the volunteers at package pickup and on the course; to the sponsors of the weekend; to Debra for all the awesome photography; and to the amazing and talented runners of the West Van Run Crew – I’m fortunate to have you in my life!

Finally, a big congratulations to the runners who broke course records, who achieved personal bests, who finished the race (or both races!), or who ran their very first race.

See you there next year!

West Van Run

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For the first time, I’m joining the Wild Workout Wednesday Link Up with Annmarie from The Fit Foodie Mama, Angelena Marie from Angelena Marie: Happy, Healthy & Balanced, and Michelle at Fruition Fitness.

The Fit Foodie Mama

VanRace

Did you ever have one of those days – one of those races – that was just right?

Well, the Van Race was one of those races!

You wouldn’t have known it, but the Van Race 15k/30k was an inaugural race. With fantastic communication and social media presence from sign-up onwards, things were executed flawlessly – at least from my perspective. As you read on, you’ll learn that I have no constructive criticism for this event. Here’s how the weekend went down…

[Tweet “Read all about the inaugural @VanRaceBC – Vancouver’s newest race!”]

Saturday

After a long hiatus due to her sprained ankle and a bunch of travel, Emily and I finally connected for a run. We did a loop around Stanley Park, ending up with nearly 15k…the day before my 15k. No matter. We took it slow, chatted the whole way, and felt pretty good as we relaxed at Starbucks for a post-run coffee.

Then, prior to package pickup, I went to physio. I’ve been having some issues with my knee, you see, since banging it (oh so very very hard) on the corner of the bed frame a couple of months back. Various pushes, prods, twists and yanks later, I was assured that there was no serious damage. But to help with alignment and pain management, I came away with this:

Knee tape

Package pickup was a low-key affair at one of the local Running Room stores. I met up with Ben & Keiko.

Ben and Keiko Ben and Bradley

Collected my bib, and an awesome bag of jelly beans!!

Race package

Relaxed in the afternoon, and enjoyed some greasy Chinese takeout for dinner.

Sunday

The day dawned cool and overcast – ideal, really, for any race day. I grabbed a car2go and scooted across Granville Bridge, parking a couple of blocks away from Charleston Park – just east of Granville Island. Soon enough, we had gathered as planned – the members of the WestVanRun Team! (Shameless plug: 10% off West Van Run registration using code ‘bradley’!)

WestVanRun Team

Debra, Samantha, Steve, Jin, Kirill, Bradley, Fiona, Ben & Sarah

As we lined up for the restroom, I was showing off my taped-up knee to Debra. The girl in front of us in line said: “Oh ya, I saw that on Twitter” – and with that, a social media acquaintance became an in-person friend! Nice to meet you, Corinna (aka @gusgreeper)!

Corinna

Corinna won her age group!

Both distances – 15k and 30k – started at the same time. However, in order to get in the full 30k, there was a short out-and-back for those runners. As such, we all started at the same time – but going in different directions! I absolutely love this video of the start line:

[twitter_video id=”640534021684879360″]

With our head start, the 15k-ers headed along the Seawall, around Science World, and past Yaletown. The scenery, as per usual, was amazing. Here’s a single (and slightly blurry) shot of the calm waters of False Creek:

False Creek

The first 30k runner passed us around the 4km mark (i.e. his 6km mark) – incredible. And then as I was passing the Aquatic Centre at 6km – the lead 15K runners (most of whom were members of WestVanRun Team!) were on their way back (close to 9km for them now). Here come Kirill, Jin, and Steve (Ben passed me, too, but I wasn’t quick enough with the camera):

Kirill Jin Steve

At English Bay, we did a wee loop and headed back from whence we had come. Now, of course, I was encountering more of the 15k gang, as well as all of the 30k runners. Came across new IRL (in real life) friend Fiona, and Debra in her stylish tutu! (And the photo of me that Debra was taking!)

Fiona DebraBradley on the Run

I spent the rest of the run trying to ignore my Garmin, and just enjoy the ride. I tried to smile at every runner I passed, greeting and cheering on those who were paying attention. I must have been grinning like an idiot, though, because an older couple out for a walk in Yaletown said, “You look too happy for being in a race!” But I was having a good time, soaking it all in.

The crowds eventually thinned and I tried to keep up with a couple of the racers ahead of me. As we approached the finish line, I kicked it up a notch. Although I didn’t have an actual goal time, I ended up with a result that kept me smiling for the rest of the day!

Smiling

Took full advantage of the post-race yummies – including the usual suspects like fruit and water, enough Starbucks coffee for refills, and some awesome baked goods and Terra Bread! Special thanks to the volunteers!!

Baked goods Volunteers

Hung around with the rest of the WestVanRun Team to cheer in both 15k and 30k runners, enjoyed two rounds of awards, and had an all-round fabulous time! Also – caught up with Ethan, who won my VanRace giveaway and conquered the 30k!!

Fiona Fiona and Bradley Kirill Jin and Kirill Ben Ethan and Bradley

Lastly, the remnants of the team trudging uphill to Debra’s ‘green machine’ for the ride home!

Uphill

Final Results – VanRace 15K

Chip Time: 1:12:56
Average Pace: 4:51 min/km
Overall: 36/144
Age Ranking: 8/24

RACE REPORT

Overall
Hard to believe that the VanRace was an inaugural race! Very well organized, excellent social media presence, scenic course, quick results – nothing bad that I can think of!

Packet Pickup/Expo
Packet pickup was held on Friday night and Saturday afternoon at the Running Room. Quick and friendly, with some of the excellent volunteers on hand. No expo for this race.

T-Shirt/Swag
The VanRace t-shirt was really nice, but had to be purchased separate from registration. I do not need more t-shirts, so I didn’t get one. We did, however, get jelly beans in our swag bag!

Lovely, unique medal – a little small, but honestly that’s just an observation, not a complaint!

Course
The VanRace 15k route was an out-and-back along the Seawall. From Charleston Park (not too far from Granville Island), it loops around False Creek, past Science World and Yaletown, under Granville and Burrard Bridges, as far as English Bay. Then we head back the way we came! The Seawall is one of the jewels of Vancouver, and this early on a Sunday it wasn’t too packed with local dog walkers! Flat and fast!

Aid Stations
There were several aid stations with very enthusiastic volunteers. They had Northstar and water. I partook of just two. But I knew I had the support if I needed it!

Post-Race
Good selection of food – water, oranges, bananas, yoghurt, granola bars, baked good/sweets, Terra Bread, and Starbucks coffee! I stayed for the awards ceremonies for both 15 and 30K, but didn’t win anything.

Race Management
As mentioned above, it’s hard to believe this was the first year of the VanRace. They did a bang-up job. Nice and small, well organized, friendly, good communication – and FUN! Maybe I’ll tackle the 30k next year?

VanRace bib and medal

Have you run any ‘uncommon’ race distances? Do you strive for the ‘automatic PB’?
What has your experience been with inaugural races? Pros and/or cons?

Ambleside MileThe week leading up to the Ambleside Mile was a busy one. Thankfully, since I didn’t have to get a lot of distance in, I figured it wouldn’t have a huge impact on my actual race.

Monday: Quick lunchtime run with Lana. We did fartleks!


Tuesday:  Our choir performed at a local seniors’ home. We rehearse each week, and have this outreach concert as a sort of ‘dress rehearsal’.

Wednesday: I got myself out of bed early today, which happened to be #NationalRunningDay. Knowing it was my only chance to squeeze in a run, I took to the Seawall and managed a 5km.

      

After conducting a series of interviews at work, I went to the airport and flew to Edmonton. With the time change, it was well after 9pm by the time I got checked in at the hotel and sat down to dinner.

Thursday: The interviews continued – we conducted 5 more, each lasting over an hour. Got back to the hotel after 6pm. Rather than flinging myself on the bed and taking a nap, which is what I really wanted to do, I put on my running gear (which I had wisely laid out the night before) and headed out for a run.

The hotel is on a major road, with a highway nearby. But I knew from experience (about 2 years ago) that there was a nice residential area not too far away. Despite a hint of storm clouds, I needed to run off the marathon interview session.

What I love about the prairies is the vastness of the sky. I know it’s the same sky we have in BC, but there’s something in not having mountains nearby to ‘block’ the view.

      

Friday: I spent the morning at the office and flew back to Vancouver. Home again, I only had time to prep dinner before heading out to our final rehearsal before the concert.

Race Day

When the alarm went off on Saturday morning, I was struggling with a bit of jetlag and lack of “down time”. I didn’t even take a day-before photo of my race gear! Nor did I have my bib, which was to be picked up at the start line.

My Twiitter buddy turned RLF (real life friend) – Debra (@debrakato) – offered to pick me up and drive me to the race. Gun time was 9:30am, so we arrived in West Vancouver shortly before 9am. 

The best thing about the Ambleside Mile was all of the social media peeps who were in attendance! In addition to Debra, I caught up with Elinor (@goodbyeclutter) – who cycled to the race!

Karin (@looseleafrunner)


Ben (@benlooii) – he came and introduced himself – love meeting folks for the first time!


Jin – aka Mr Canada (@MrCanada_Jin)


A host of celebrities! Of course, Kirill was there, too – but as race organizer he was out and about running errands, so I didn’t have a chance to catch up with him.

Also, my running buddy and Ambleside Mile Giveaway winter, Emily, was there!

It was Emily’s first official one-miler, and I was excited to have been able to offer her the free entry! 

The weather was starting to heat up – and a few minutes before gun time we did a round of ‘warmup’ exercises. And with little fanfare, the race was on!

Last year’s Ambleside Mile was a loop – this year was a bit different. This is what it looked like: 

There was a significant downhill near the beginning, which no doubt helped my pace somewhat. Emily and I started out together, and I think her breathing was one of the only sounds I could hear. Yes, there were some spectators with lots of enthusiasm – but the intensity of this short, quick race makes it hard to concentrate on much beyond your immediate surroundings.

My Garmin beeped at 1km, and Emily said, “At least we’re more than halfway there!” It felt like it would never end! As we rounded the final corner, the last 2 blocks to the finish line, Emily kicked it up a notch and left me in her dust. She finished about 5 seconds ahead of me, and came third in her age group!

I saw the time on the clock and knew this would be a PB. I crossed the finish line at 6:26 – a full 20 seconds faster than last year!

Celebration!

Congrats to all the speed demons who finished the mile! I’m proud of you all!!

Final results:
Chip time: 6:22 (Gun time: 6:26)
Average pace: 3:57 min/km
Place overall: 61/160
Age category place: 5/10

 

Have you ever run a one mile race? What’s your favourite race distance?

Once again, please to link up with Tara at Running ‘n’ Reading for her Weekend Update! Join in, or drop by and see what other bloggers have been up to!

Running 'N' Reading

RACE REPORT

Overall
For my second Ambleside Mile, I was quite satisfied with the whole experience. No issues whatsoever. I was very pleased to be able to offer an entry giveaway to the race. Enjoyed the whole experience…short as it was!

Packet pickup/expo
Although pickup was available on Friday, I took advantage of morning-of pickup. Quick and simple. They used ankle bands as timing chips, which briefly made me feel like Martha Stewart, but the feeling passed.

T-shirt/Swag
T-shirt is a simple cotton affair from Gildan. I’ll likely use it for gym workouts rather than running. I love that – for a race of this distance – we get a medal!

Course
Downhill at the beginning, then flat. Quick and straightforward. With the wide corners, I wonder about the course measurement…but obviously it isn’t a track run (nor an Olympic run!), so I’m hardly fussed.

Aid Stations
It’s one mile. No aid stations. There was water, juice and bananas at the finish line. Also, some David’s Tea (iced, of course!).

Race Management
Same management as my beloved West Van Run. Professional. On top of things. No issues that I can think of. Good social media presence and response!

If you’re interested, these videos show the race from two perspectives – from the pace car, tracking the lead runners, and at the finish line:

January is traditionally the month of resolutions made.Processed with Moldiv

By February, many are broken.

March, however, has been a milestone month for me. Maybe because I didn’t make any resolutions this year, and decided instead to focus on goals and overall improvements. And while there have been a couple of downs, the overall trajectory has been up!

Here are 5 reasons why March exceeded my expectations:

1) Blogiversary

Bradley on the Run celebrated one year online on March 1. With gratitude to my faithful and supportive readers, the number of visitors for the first 3 months of 2015 has nearly overtaken the number for all of 2014. This humbles me immensely.

March also saw Twitter followers (@bjcjapan) surpass 500! This was quite a psychological barrier to break. I remember hovering around 100 followers for what seemed like an eternity.

2) Cancer Sucks – so do something about it

Commemorating my mom’s birthday for the second time since she passed away in 2013, the BC Cancer Foundation is once again my charity of choice as fundraising for the Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon, which will be held in June, commenced in earnest.

Pancreatic cancer is insidious – it grows deep inside, often undiscovered until advanced stages. It remains largely incurable. I’m doing what little I can to support research by raising funds and raising awareness. But it’s the support of a lot of people who truly make the difference.

My personal fundraising page is here:
http://donate.bccancerfoundation.com/goto/bradleyontherun

bccf_logo_0

A good friend was telling me recently about her friend, Scott, who is fighting cancer himself – and running to raise both awareness and funds. I’d like to draw attention to his blog as well:

Run Fast. Run Vegan.

Because March is tax season, a lot of people start thinking about charitable donations for the coming year. Focus on the charities that are closest to your heart, and support them as best you can. Everyone can make a difference.

3) 3 Races – 3 PBs

I shall brag a wee bit. I ran three races in March:

All three were personal bests, although the 7 Miler was a bit of a cheat since it was my first race of that distance (automatic PB!)

FullSizeRender

#Modo8K dramatic pose

4) Miles Not Included Podcast!

Somehow, Brian and Joe – the awesome team at Miles Not Included – found me social media, and invited me to be a guest on their podcast. Such an honour! If you’re interested, you can listen to the episode here:

SMALL-miles_not_included_podcast_logo-SQUARE

5) Got me some new kicks!

I’m back to my tried and true Nike Lunarglides in their 6th iteration. I strayed from Nike for a while, running with some stylish Mizunos (my Honolulu Marathon shoes). But they were not right for my feet and started causing some pain. So yesterday I pick up these beauties:

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I had planned to break them in today, but it’s been pouring all day and I just couldn’t bring myself to sully the fantastic colour (plus I wanted to stay cozy in my pjs all day, and decided to focus on writing this post instead!)

 

Finally, here’s some food for thought for comments below:

What were your March highlights? Did your training suffer any setbacks?

Have you got any new running gear that you’re really excited about?

What charities are you passionate about and why?

 

**NEWS FLASH**SMALL-miles_not_included_podcast_logo-SQUARE

Before I get into the West Van Run race report, I want to share the most exciting thing that’s happened to me since I started blogging. I was invited to be in a podcast! The guys at Miles Not Included – Joe & Brian – reached out to me on Twitter and asked if I would be their guest. I was very flattered, and gratefully accepted.

The podcast went live on Tuesday, and you can listen to it here:
Miles Not Included Podcast – Episode 9 – Bradley on the Run

Now, on with the race report!

West Van Run

The West Van Run holds a special place in my heart for a few reasons. Last year, I learned about this race and got engaged with them on social media. This was really the start of something new for me, as my tweets until then had been pretty one-sided!

I love the brand. It’s simple. It’s clean. I like the swag.

My first race report – and my second blog post – was about the 2014 West Van Run. It was a personal best for me in the 10K – it was the first time I broke the 50-minute barrier for a race of that distance. Also, my friend and college roommate was in town from Ontario, and came to cheer me on. All in all, a really great race.

Let me tell you about West Van Run 2015

I stuck to my guns and did a long-ish run on Saturday, in keeping with my ‘strategy’ which has garnered a couple of PBs in the past. I did 16km with my Forerunners peeps, and then travelled up to Park Royal in West Vancouver to pick up my race packet.

West Van Run

The race is a relatively small one, so it took just a few minutes to get my bib, tote bag, water bottle and wrist band. I signed up for earlybird registration, so I think that entitled me to more swag than those who signed up late – but don’t quote me on that!

The theme of this year’s race was ‘We Are Canucks’. As a proud Canadian, I grabbed my red t-shirt and posted the following tweet:

West Van Run

To which I received this message from my Twitter friend, Debra:

Hey, where’s your Canucks stuff for tomorrow’s race? Do you need any? I’m bringing some extra if you do…

I realized, to my horror (but not entirely surprising, given my general lack of interest in professional sports), that I had defaulted to the wrong Canucks – and should have been wearing the appropriate team colours!

With some creative makeshift design on the home front, and some additional gear support from Debra, this was the result:

West Van Run

Unlike a lot of local races (where I can simply walk to the start line from my downtown home), I had to drive to West Van. Being paranoid and chronically on time, we arrived far too early and spent quite a bit of time shivering in the cold. It was chilly, but dry – no snow or freezing rain like last year! But with a crisp morning comes great scenery:

West Van Run West Van Run

The West Van Run has a 1K kids’ run (8:00am start) – so I got to see them finishing their race. At 8:15am, the 5K race headed out. The 10K start was 8:30am. Unlike last year, there was no warm-up exercise/music, which let me down a bit. And just before the gun went off, we were forced to wait for a train to pass by…

West Van Run West Van Run

We had a new route this year. Last year, the race was an out-and-back along the Seawall. This year, we ran through the West Van neighbourhoods of Dundarave and Ambleside, wove through Park Royal, and then finished on the Seawall. I liked the variety of this route better, especially because the Seawall start was so crowded last year.

West Van Run

And we’re off!

I went into this race with the intention of pushing myself harder than I had in previous 10Ks. Unfortunately, I started out at an unsustainable pace – urged on by adrenaline and the enthusiastic crowd of runners – and was slowed by the first nasty hill undulation between the first and second kilometre. However, after a fairly steep downhill, the course is essentially pancake flat right to the finish.

There are two turnarounds: the first is around 4km, the second around 7km. I found the second one more discouraging, because I could really see how many people were ahead of me! However, it was also at this point that I started keeping pace with runner #273.

Runner #273. I didn’t look at him, he was just there at my left shoulder. He’d move ahead a little, I’d do the same. I’d get a wee bit in front, he’d catch up. This went on for about 3km. And I give him credit – intentionally or not, he gave me the push I needed to keep my pace up, to bring out a bit of my competitive spirit. The Finish line comes into sight on the Seawall at 9km, and then you know how far a kilometre really is. I saved my push until about 300m from the end, put on the gas – and then #273 blazed past me. He crossed the finish line 2 seconds before me! All I could do was congratulate him!

West Van RunWest Van Run

Before I talk about results…let me just mention post-race. There are a few local sponsors, so we got Muscle MLK, David’s Tea, Quinoa snacks and Trace Mineral-Infused Blackwater (crazy, right?).

West Van Run

The big disappointment for me, though, was the ‘free food’ we were supposed to get from the Beach House Restaurant. The place was absolutely rammed – I guess the 5k runners were still there – so after standing in line for about 10 minutes, we gave up and went to another cafe. Not sure what could have been done to improve this situation.

Finally – the results! In spite of – or perhaps thanks to! – my long run on Saturday, and definitely in some part because of #273, I managed a PB for this race. A 3-minute PB. This makes me very happy, given that my half marathon PB in February was a 30-second improvement. For a 10K – I’m incredibly pleased!

West Van Run

In summary – West Van Run is still tops on my list – and especially great because of the new course this year! It’s also worth noting that participation levels more than doubled between 2014 and 2015, proving that this race is getting recognized, and deservedly so!

Final results:

Chip time: 46:32
Average pace: 4:40 min/km
Place overall: 88/385
Age category place: 16/49

West Van Run

You know it won’t be a typical run when you wake up to snow falling in downtown Vancouver.

But let me back up a bit. Because this is my first official race report, and because I’m especially impressed with this young, up-and-coming 10k/5k (this was its 3rd year), I want to start from the beginning.

A lot of the running bloggers I follow, and who inspired me to start this blog, are somehow connected to the West Van Run. At some point, I connected with @WestVanRun and loved the energy behind the tweets – so I signed up!

Quick pre-race highlights:

  • Great website; engaging social media presence
  • Good communication around package pickup (including a couple of email reminders)
  • Friendly volunteers
  • Awesome WestVanRun water bottle (I got the teal), and nice zippered running pack

By the end of yesterday’s 27k training run (yes, I’m working towards my first marathon, but that’s a future post), I knew that today’s 10k was still on the books, but had no expectations of making it a personal best (PB) – which, for a 10k, is 50 minutes on the nose. Some of my running buddies from Forerunners told me I was crazy for doing a race right after a long run…but I wasn’t going to miss out on this one!

Now, about this morning’s snow. When it’s snowing in the city, you know it’s snowing in the burbs. While huddled under a tent near the start line at Dundarave Park, you could feel that winter had reasserted itself yet again!

The Warm-Up

We most definitely needed to warm up! Because this is a small local run, I got myself close to the start line, and had no problem hearing what was going on. With a glitchy microphone, I’m not sure everyone at the back could hear. But when we got a wave going from front to back, there was lots of enthusiasm. We had to wait a few extra minutes for last-minute check-ins, so I learned that the lady next to me was doing her first West Van Run – the 5k. And since this was her typical running route, she was looking forward to the familiarity. I only wish I had paid attention to her bib number, and I would have looked up her results. I trust she had a great race!

The Route

And we were off! I wasn’t at all familiar with the West Van seawall, but the first couple of kilometres took us right along the water to 18th Ave, and then along Argyle Ave to Ambleside Park. By the 1k mark, the snow was coming down and, well, it hurt! Not especially cold, but something akin to hail, making it tough to see. Then there was the slush – oh, the slush. And the puddles. While I will not hold the weather accountable for my results, I certainly needed to shorten my stride while navigating those few kilometres.

The snow finally slackened, but then I started the mid-run reflections: Did I go out too fast, along with all those 5k runners? Um, probably. Was I starting to feel a bit worn out by the second switchback at the halfway mark? Yes. But was I delighted that I was still under 25 minutes by that time? Absolutely!

The second half of the race involved two more switchbacks. I went in feeling a bit uncertain due to my lack of familiarity with the route. But everything was well marked, the volunteers pointed the way, and I kept encountering all those people who were ahead of me on their return (**mentally cheers & shakes fist at the same time**) – so I didn’t get lost.

An interesting element of this run is that at the last 1k, you can see the finish line – and you know exactly what a kilometre looks like. And it’s scary. And far. And snowy.

But at the final turn, I could see the clock, and knew it was going to happen. I was going to make a PB. And I did – 30 seconds faster than my 2013 Eastside 10k best…49 mins 29 secs!

Celebration!

Obligatory finish line pose (peace symbol in the mittens!)

Will I run 27k the day before my next race? Probably not. And yet I still managed to best my best!

If I could have had my way, here are the things I would have wished for at the West Van Run:

  • A couple of km markers (preferably at 1km and 5km) – I had my Nike+ app telling me where I was at, but it isn’t always accurate
  • A more detailed route map on the website, maybe with turn-by-turn instructions – especially because I didn’t really know where I was going!
  • And nothing else! Because this was a great race!

I think today’s snow just made the experience even better. Plus, I got to meet a couple of folks from Twitter, and I had an even better race than I expected. The West Van Run is definitely one of the most well-organized of the smaller races I’ve attended. I think I’m going to add this run to my regular rotation, and look forward to seeing it grow over the next few years!