Posts Tagged ‘race’

Kumagaya Sakura Marathon

Late in 2015, we booked a trip to Japan – and little did I know that I would be running my first ‘international’ race at the Kumagaya Sakura Marathon! It was, in fact, a half marathon – and we coordinated our travels to end up in the Tokyo area in time for the race. But I’m getting ahead of myself…

Let me tell about the Japan race experience – a bit about what’s the same as other half marathons I have run, and what is completely different. Introducing, the Kumagaya Sakura Marathon!

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West Van Run

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the West Van Run weekend races as part of being a West Van Run Ambassador. Be sure to join the West Van Run Crew for social runs on Saturday mornings, and Thursday evening training!

With just over 48 hours before our departure for a 2-week vacation in Japan, the epic West Van Run Weekend 2017 launched in full superhero force! I’ve written about all of the enticements to run West Van Run, and the anticipation paid off with a fun, well-executed two-day event. Costumes, friends, PBs and a lot of goodies made the weekend a huge success!

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Hamilton Road2Hope Half Marathon

I’ve been very fortunate to combine travel with racing over the past couple of years. Last year, I ran the Ottawa Half Marathon (which also runs through Quebec), and combined the trip with a visit with my Dad. Way back in April of this year – very likely in order to take advantage of the earlybird discount – I signed up for my second ever race in Ontario. I was able to meet up not only with Dad, but also with extended family and some friends I hadn’t seen in many years! And that race was the Hamilton Road2Hope Half Marathon!

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Coho Run

Very early in my running career – way back in 2010 – I teamed up with a friend and entered the Coho Run. At 14 kilometres, it was the longest race I had ever participated in. The day dawned cloudy and miserable, and once the heavens opened – even draped in a garbage bag – I was drenched. Having had very little experience running in the rain, I kept that garbage bag on for several kilometres, until I was so hot I had to tear it off. By the end of the race, I felt bedraggled and alone – being so far behind most of the other runners – but a few stalwart supporters were there to cheer me across the finish line.

Fast forward to 2016 – and Debra (thanks for the photos!) encouraged me to sign up once again for the Coho Run. And the experience couldn’t have been better!

What is the Coho Run?

The Coho Run is a community race organized by the Coho Society – an organization formed to support “the protection and revitalization of North Shore salmon streams and rivers”. The race takes place to coincide with the Coho Festival, held annually in West Vancouver.

This point-to-point race is a great middle distance between a 10k and a half marathon, which is why I chose to tackle it 6 years ago. It’s a very unique ‘beach to bridge to beach to bridge to beach‘ race, as you’ll soon learn!

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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.

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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.

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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:

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…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.

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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!

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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.

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

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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