Posts Tagged ‘raincouver’

Eastside 10K

Disclaimer: I won 2 free entries to the Eastside 10K from Modo Car Coop from their #ModoMobi contest. I appreciated the opportunity to run, and to invite a friend!

Now in its fourth year, the Eastside 10K remains one of my favourite Vancouver races. In addition to the charitable component, supporting the Downtown Eastside, the race winds through some of the most historic parts of the city. It’s well-organized, and I always run into a bunch of familiar & friendly faces on race day.

Except this year…those faces were really, really wet.

Flashback to 2015 – a rainy Eastside 10K. I thought we had it rough. I was wrong.

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First Half Half Marathon

I know that it should never come as a surprise to a Vancouver runner when the rain is falling the morning of a race. I checked my weather app the night before – I knew what I was in for. And I know my friends in eastern Canada are suffering in sub-zero temperatures. But last year’s First Half Half Marathon welcomed us with such ideal weather conditions, I couldn’t help but grumble at the Sunday morning wet.

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Although I have typically achieved a pretty decent time at the First Half, I figured the puddle jumping would be yet another hindrance. Compound that with the fact that I slept quite poorly – anxious about the race? – I had no great expectations for my first half marathon of 2016.

It was also my 22nd lifetime half marathon – so you’d think I’d have it down by now. But I still learned a few lessons…

What I did wrong:

  • Shorts instead of tights – I’ve finally accustomed myself to racing with tights and eschewing shorts; for some reason I elected to go with shorts this time, and they ended up water-logged and thigh-slappy. FAIL
  • No pre-run warmup – I simply couldn’t bear the thought of heading out into the rain before I had to, so I just went straight to the corral; my legs suffered for it. FAIL

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What I did right:

  • Hat instead of toque – I figured correctly that I would overheat if I wore more than a cap, and my fluorescent orange one served me well!
  • Dry shoes – for the soggy Ice-breaker 8k I brought along a full change of clothes, but had to put my dry socks into sopping wet shoes. This time, I came prepared, and was dry and comfy once the race was over.
  • No clock watching – I refused to glance at my Garmin for the duration of the race, and being bound by nothing but my laboured breathing and wobbly legs allowed me to run simply torturously by effort rather than time.

As for the race itself…

The start line is just a 10-minute walk from home, so I arrived early enough to check my bag, chat encouragingly with a number of running buddies, and make a couple of trips to the washroom. My sincere sympathies to the female runners who need to line up for the ladies room…I applaud your patience and perseverance!

Within the first kilometre of the race, my shoes were filled to the brim, my feet cold and squishy, as we thundered through puddles and dodged other runners. I allowed myself to go out strong but not too fast, figuring I needed to keep a fair amount in the tank.

[Tweet “Recap of the 2016 First Half Half Marathon in Vancouver! #fhhm16 “]

Curses

Then the curses began. Not my curses, but those of a couple of guys who punctuated their lively conversation with more f-bombs than I am used to hearing, like something out of Trainspotting. Normally, colourful language doesn’t affect me, but I found the banter mentally exhausting so early in the morning. (No, they weren’t cursing at me, like the woman during the Scotiabank Half; I was just being oversensitive.) On the plus side, it gave me motivation to pick up my pace in order to outdistance them, which I soon did.

My own curses came later. Not verbal ones, but the ones in my head. I berated myself for wearing those darn shorts. I mentally shook my fist at the heavens. I felt cold and beaten down.

Hearts

Bright spot #1: my friend, Rachel, cheering from the sidelines at three different spots along the route!

Bright spot #2: my honey braving the rain to photograph me both going and returning – Happy Valentine’s Day! (That’s where the hearts come in!)

First Half Half Marathon

Coming and going!

Because this was my fifth time running the First Half, I know the route pretty well. The muddy loop around Lost Lagoon was probably the most achingly miserable part of the race. However, the familiar last kilometre, with not one but two hills, always feels like a bit of a punishment.

First Half Half Marathon First Half Half Marathon

The final stretch, breathing hard and legs close to giving out, I hear Coach Carey shout: “Go, Bradley! Sprint to the finish!” Then Kristin is there cheering me on!

As I turn the corner, I see the clock and realize that – against all odds – I’m going to make a course PB. And I do, but more than a minute and a half!

Celebration and dry clothes!

And a few of the faces of the First Half Half Marathon:

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Debra (@debrakato) – my dear friend and costumed photographer – always ready with a themed outfit and a camera. I credit her with not only a lot of the photos in this post, but with getting me out to running events that I wouldn’t normally attend (like last week’s Snowshoe Race)!

First Half Half Marathon First Half Half Marathon

Lucy (@candyaficionado) – my Forerunners pace buddy and inspiration. She’s a quick and dedicated runner, and I look forward to sharing more of her story in an upcoming blog post! And Kristin, another one of my Forerunners friends, always there with a positive attitude and a word of encouragement.

First Half Half Marathon

Fiona (@f_burrows) – social media connection turned real-life friend – so glad to run into her post-race for a selfie and a quick chat!

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Rob Watson (@robbiedxc) – my celebrity sighting for the day! Rob was second overall, a Canadian National Champion – and a nice guy to boot!

And to all the other amazing, talented and supportive folks in the Vancouver running community – we did it!

First Half Half Marathon

Final results

Chip time: 1:45:53
Average pace: 5:01 min/km
Place overall: 611/1990
Age category place: 56/120

First Half Half Marathon

Results from 2014 to 2016 – getting faster!

Have you ever had a race that felt like it was going wrong,
but actually went surprisingly right?

Weekly Wrap

Sharing this race report via the Weekly Wrap LinkUp hosted by HoHo Runs and MissSippiPiddlin – stop by and read stories from other inspiring bloggers!

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The summer of 2015 – one of the driest and hottest on record in Vancouver. And as you’ll learn from my 2014 Eastside 10K Race Report, last year’s race was also sunny and dry.

This year – not so much!

It wasn’t a surprise. The weather reports have been consistent all week – the weekend would be wet. True, we were told the rain would be heaviest Saturday night and Sunday morning…but I guess it arrived early. I woke up to this:

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And the pitter patter of rain on the window.

I probably got up a bit too early, and arrived at the start line a bit too early. I was bundled up in my WestVanRun gear! I stayed warm and dry as long as I could, but finally had to strip down, check my bag, and head out.

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At least arriving early gave me a chance to connect with some of my favourite running peeps! (Special thanks to @DebraKato and Pat Cheung for these photos!)

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I made it to the corral. And yes, for the moment, I was still smiling!

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This is the third time I’ve done the Eastside 10K. Since the inaugural 2013 run, this race has grown in popularity from 1200 runners to nearly 2300 (registered) runners this year (I suspect the rain may have kept some people home)! And I understand the appeal – it’s well organized, the medal is unique and very cool, it’s the only race that runs through the impoverished Vancouver Downtown Eastside (DTES) – and there’s a big fundraising component supporting the less fortunate living in the area. Registering this year was a no-brainer.

The Course

My feet started to get wet within the first 500 metres or so. And then I just stopped caring. I’ve run races in the rain before, and at least today was mild – not the soaked and chilled-to-the-bone feeling I’ve experienced. It was actually quite refreshing, and didn’t really affect my run…

…until the halfway mark. We turned around and headed back the way we came. I knew what to expect – the hills, the puddles, the terrain. The rain seemed to be coming down harder – it actually hurt a little bit (not really, but you know – it felt sharp?). But most annoying of all was that my shorts started to slap against my thighs. They were completely water-logged, and I felt like I was getting heavier and bogged down. At this point, I wished I had worn my Brooks split shorts that I wore for the Vancouver Spirit Run – they make me feel a bit exposed, but at least they wouldn’t have been so heavy!

So I hiked up the shorts – actually folded the waistband over and pulled them higher – and kept on.

I knew enough about the course to save some energy for the final push. The last kilometre starts with a significant uphill onto the Viaduct (I pondered what would happen to this race route if/when the City of Vancouver demolishes the Viaduct…). I pushed to the top, and then stuck to my guns in not letting anyone pass me during that last kilometre. I set my sights on individuals ahead of me, caught up, and passed them.

A little kick at the end. They told us to smile, but I’m fairly certain I had my grimace/race face on. Crossed the finish line, high-fived a few folks and thanked a few others who I had been pacing. Got my medal and told a damp selfie. Turns out that while this was not a personal best for the 10K, it was a course PB – a minute faster than last year!

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Changed my clothes and got a close-up of the medal:

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And cheered on some runners at the finish line:

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By this point, I had lost track of my team. I was wet and hungry – I headed first to Starbucks for warmth and coffee:

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And then home for a well-earned nap!

Final Results

Chip Time: 48:31
Average Pace: 4:51 min/km
Place Overall: 367/1720
Age Category Place: 39/98

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RACE REPORT

Overall
If CRS West could control the weather, I would have asked them to cut back a bit on the rain. But since they can’t – I have nothing but good things to say about the Eastside 10K 2015!

Packet Pickup/Expo
Dropped by Queen Elizabeth Theatre for package pickup. Forerunners had a display with a selection of running gear, but otherwise it was a simple affair. Grabbed my bib and t-shirt, and I was on my way (with a photo, of course!)

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T-Shirt/Swag
The t-shirt design is great. One of the cool things about the Eastside 10K is that participants have an opportunity to vote online for both colour and design! I love the interactiveness! It’s made of polyester/cotton, so I’ll likely use it for the gym (or general wear) rather than for running. But I like it!

The dog tag design of the Eastside 10K medals are always cool. This year features the ‘Gassy Jack’ statue on the reverse – a landmark we pass en route.

Course
The course is out and back, with a loop at the end. It runs through the poorest parts of Vancouver, as well as the touristy, cobble-stoned streets of Gastown. Due to the weather, there weren’t many people out to cheer us on. The race starts and finishes near Stadium/Chinatown Skytrain Station – which means a nice downhill at the beginning, and a tough hill at the end. There are several small hills which are alternately helpful and hurtful, depending on the direction you’re going!

Aid Stations
I think there were 2 aid stations, with Gatorade and water – and we passed each of them twice. I didn’t stop, but they looked well staffed with energetic volunteers – cheering and encouraging in their plastic jackets and garbage bags! Awesome!

Post-Race
Good selection of stuff from PowerBar and Oasis juice, plus raisins, bananas, mini bagels, yogurt, cookies…and more great volunteers! We also got nice recovery jackets. The bag check was in a parking garage, so at least there was a bit of shelter for changing and congregating. But I didn’t linger, what with the rain and all…

Race Management
Canada Running Series races are always good. Well-organized. Good volunteers. I have no complaints. They also had a men’s urinal station, which gets extra props in my books! Kudos to all!

The Silvah Lining
Also – linking up with Jessica at The Silvah Lining for her Race Recap Linkup #TuesdayTales!

I have blogged about rain before. Running in the rain. I live in Vancouver, and that’s the reality of living in this fair city!

RAIN

Rain was also a bit of a theme last year. In 2014, I ran my first marathon…followed up later in the year by my second! When I ran the BMO Vancouver Marathon in May, it rained. It was a cold, insistent rain – but I made it through to the finish. My second marathon – my #42for42 – was the Honolulu Marathon. It rained there, too, but it was a warm, tropical rain (although still just as wet!).

True to form, I went out for a run on Monday afternoon, in the rain. Here in BC, it was Family Day so I had a whole day to enjoy! I went for a run along the Seawall to Stanley Park and back, with some fantastic ocean views. Yes, it was wet – and it was beautiful!

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FOG

Fog is not exactly a challenge – but it makes for good photos! Over the past couple of weeks, Vancouver (and the Pacific Northwest as a whole) has been hit by a ‘Pineapple Express’ – warm tropical air that brings a lot of rain, and fog!

Last week, I ran the 4km to Forerunners to join my running group for our Saturday run. It was about 7:30am, and these are the photos I snapped along the way!

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Foot of Burrard Bridge

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Burrard Bridge mid-span

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Kits Beach

SNOW

If I had been blogging in January 2014, I would have proudly shared my experience of running in my Ontario hometown in minus 18 degree weather. The only way I could convince myself to get out was to join the local Running Room on their Sunday morning jaunt. Since their group is a bit smaller, they hand out maps of the route. At the top it said: LSD (long slow distance). Later that day I showed the map to one of my friends. He said, “You’d have to be on LSD to run in this cold!”

Last spring, I had a business trip to Yellowknife, Northwest Territories and went for a bit of a run. Currently, as I write this, it’s minus 29 degrees in Yellowknife, but with the windchill it feels like minus 41. (For my American readers, that’s minus 20 Fahrenheit but feels like minus 42 Fahrenheit – yep, it’s when Fahrenheit goes below Celsius! It’s that cold!) To be fair, I visited when it was just slightly below zero!

And, of course, if you’ve visited my blog lately, you’ll have read about my TravelRun in Kamloops, BC. If you haven’t seen the lovely photos of that trip, here’s a teaser:

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Kamloops – fresh snow

A few people have told me that I’m #hardcore for running in the rain. I hardly think so. The people who train in true weather extremes – whether hot or cold – they are the true #hardcore runners! However, I have to admit that somewhere along the way the weather has become less of a factor in my getting out for a run.

I just have to decide what to wear!

What are the most extreme weather conditions you’ve run in? Is there any weather that truly keeps you indoors? Share your stories!

 

Remember when I told you that I was a fan of running in the rain? Well, for the first 10k of this morning’s run, I was very much ready to retract everything I said before.

Last week, I asked Coach Carey what my training should look like in the lead up to Honolulu (now a mere 10 weeks away). 27k this week was the answer.

We gathered at Forerunners on Saturday morning – those of us not running Victoria or Chicago. (NOTE: expect a guest blog on Chicago coming soon!) Today was a true hodge-podge, depending on what each individual was in the midst of training for. We had people running all of these distances: 15k, 18k, 25k, 27k, 33k, and 36k. So while I wasn’t running quite as far as some…

Until February of this year, I had never run further than a half marathon distance (21.1km). The first time I ran 27km was March 1, 2014. Each long run after that, leading up to the BMO Marathon, was a ‘furthest run ever’. This spring was truly an era of firsts. But after that first marathon (May 2014), my distances dwindled. So this training run of 27km was, once again, a bit of a first; it was the first time I’ve run 27km in over 5 months. And as part of a comeback from injury, I’m pretty proud of that.

But I digress. We were gathered at Forerunners, getting prepped on the various routes to reach out goals, and the rain was pouring down outside. Not just a light drizzle – coming down in buckets. I had my iPhone wrapped in a Ziploc to keep it dry. It’s true we’ve been spoiled for the last few months with almost perfect weather, but that seems to be over. So off we went, and within minutes my shoes were squishing and I was drenched.route

Our route took us along Jericho Beach and Spanish Banks, up the UBC hill to where Coach Carey was waiting with his water stop and beach umbrella at kilometre 9. To get my distance in, I had to do a loop around the campus, and back to the same spot where Carey waited for us. And somewhere along the way, the sky turned blue. Given that my phone was wrapped in plastic, I didn’t take a photo – but you can imagine a huge puddle on the sidewalk, reflecting fluffy white clouds against a sunlit sky. That’s what it turned into.

For about 15km of the 27km, I was on my own. Because we weren’t a big group, and since everyone had their own goal distance, we were all slightly at different paces. And since I had to make a bathroom break (OK – two bathroom breaks), I was a bit out of sync with the others. I didn’t have any music, and it didn’t matter. I just enjoyed the scenery, thought about this and that – and enjoyed my run.

Happily, I was able to run with Bob for a few kilometres during my UBC loop, and I also ended up with some company on the last 5km or so back to the store, although I had to tack on a couple of extra kilometres at the end to get my numbers. I completed my running drills and finished feeling – energized! Still damp, to be sure, but happy.

And then I bought a Garmin. Stay tuned for more reports on my new toy!

Honolulu, here I come!

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Well, on top of my tendonitis – which is healing quite nicely – I’m dealing with something of a strain. In my groin. Yep. Fine when I’m walking, really uncomfortable as soon as I pick up the pace. As a result, I continue on with my non-run healing plan.

I am therefore pleased to introduce my friend and running mate, Beverli Barnes, as this week’s guest blogger! I had really looked forward to running the Shaughnessy 8K Road Race again this year (I’ve run it twice before), but it was not in the cards. I had then hoped to cheer on my peeps, but my physio appointment conflicted. Two strikes against. Thankfully, Bev came to the rescue! So without further ado…

SHAUGHNESSY 8K ROAD RACE

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“Runners will be pleased to know they only have to run up the ‘HILL’ once at the beginning.  The upper part of the course is undulating with the last 1K being downhill and flat.”

“Hill”, “once”, “undulating” & “flat-lining” (as in my HR), are the immediate words that come to mind.

Warming up for the 8K race on the nearby track with my friend Darryl, I could see the “HILL”, as described in the race course. Not scary but definitely something one would want to prepare for and be warmed up before the race start. It was 300M into the start! I had done a fair bit of training on hills leading up to the BMO Marathon 3 weeks ago, so legs and lungs were feeling strong and intact. After all. How hard could it be?

It’s only 8K I told myself.

Yes I was prepared to go harder than marathon pace but I’d be done in 40 minutes as opposed to 4 hours!

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“Once”, I got up the “HILL”; I cruised into the 1K mark at a 4:54 pace. “Ahhhhhhhhhhhh” Looking forward to the downhill now which is my strength.

KM2 4:41, KM3 4:36  Swwwwwwwwwwwwwwweeeeet! This downhill is a breeze and a gentle Spring rain cools my hot flashes. As a woman at the end of her 50-54 AG, there is no escape for hormonal interruptis. Nature is not on my side today but I have a strong will, so push on. I’m struggling with breath and leg speed coordination. For some reason everything feels out of whack and I feel like I’m out of my league and have forgotten how to run fast.

The 50+ year old man next to me is goading me and whenever I pick it up, so does he. It’s throwing me off my game. Why do some men feel the need to constantly compete? After several blocks of his tail-gating & gasping I decide to let him pass. This is MY race. I need to focus and allow my legs and feet catch up to my breathing.

Undulating is like beauty. It’s in the eye of the beholder. Going into the 4K stretch is a long, false flat hill that has no end. This is not undulating or rolling. It’s UPUP,UP,UP and then more UP.  I want to quit! There is the lone water station at the top of the hill, so I settle into a jog to catch my breath while gulping 2 cups of water.

“Why am I doing this?” At 30K into the marathon I wanted to quit but this is only 4K. What’s wrong with me?

My mind is playing “mind games” and I know this drill all too well. Pace is slowing to 4:595:02. “STOP THE MADNESS! STOP THE DISTRACTION!!!!” My body is strong and I know I can do this. Time for the hammer to come down and stop making excuses.

Pace picks up as I approach the final 1KM. 4:48 and falling to a 3:34 but my HR feels like it’s going to flat-line.  NO! “Barnes – you suck it up”. The final downhill was not as easy as I had hoped and expected. Brakes are on uncontrollably and I’m petrified that I will crash to the pavement since my quads are burning and feet are scrambling beneath me.

As I turn the final corner into the last 300M, unlike the BMO Marathon, I have gas left in the tank and sprint to the finish!!!!!

Hallelujah!  39:15. Surpassed my goal and placed 4/14. Up against super fast women like Susan Gordon – I can’t complain. In fact…I’m ready for the next challenge. Bring it on!

Beverli Barnes
Avid Runner & Group Leader at Forerunners

Congrats on your awesome time, Bev! I wish I could have been there! Thank you for sharing your experience with my readers, too!! Looking forward to next year’s race!

Raincouver! The Wet Coast! Yes, we all know that life in the Lower Mainland – the “best place on earth” – comes with weeks (OK, months) of cloud cover and drizzle. But I have learned to love running in the rain!

Why rain sucks

There are lots of reasons to dislike rainy weather:

1) Footwear
Especially on those days that start out dry, but with a promise of afternoon showers. Do you just wear your shoes, and take the risk?Or on those days where you are wakened by the pitter-patter of…well, rain on the windows, but the sun peeks out just before your walk home. Do you pull on those branded rain boots for the trek to the office, only to feel like a fool when the sun is beating down? Carry an extra pair, or leave extras at the office? There is no solution.

2) Umbrellas
Same problem – you’re stuck carrying it one way or another. Also, Vancouverites, for all the rain they have to deal with, have terrible umbrella etiquette. Enough said.

3) Being a pedestrian
I walk to work, regardless of the weather. Even with an umbrella and fancy boots, just a bit of wind and you’re stuck with soggy dress pants. Plus, there’s that massive puddle at the corner of Hornby and Davie that soaks the entire sidewalk, and anyone who happens to be there!

4) SAD
Seasonal Affective Disorder – to many months without sun makes us gloomy. Another rainy day just makes it worse. We become a cranky bunch…

Why rain is awesome!

Despite the trauma of my first rainy run, I have actually become rather fond of getting out and running on rainy days. Here’s why:

1) Footwear
I already know my feet are going to get wet – and it doesn’t matter! As soon as I’m done this run, socks are in the laundry, shoes are drying out. While it’s true that stepping in a three-inch-deep puddle and being completely soaked is not ideal, in most cases your feet are really no wetter than the rest of you.

2) Mud
While I’m not what you’d call fastidious, I do like to be clean. Tough Mudder? Not my thing. However, there is something satisfying about splashing through the muddy trails and ending up with legs like this:

3) Solitude
Sometimes when I’m running the Seawall, there are so many people and dogs, it’s like an obstacle course. When it rains, folks stay indoors. Today, as I did a 4km loop in Stanley Park, I encountered a grand total of one other person on the trails. He was obviously a serious runner, because he wasn’t even listening to music. So, for most of the run, the trail was empty:

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4) Nature
There’s something so peaceful about a rainy day. The colours seems brighter. You can see why Vancouver is so green. And why the tulips are blooming. It makes me smile.

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Finally, it makes me feel kind of hard core when people say: “You ran in this weather?”

 

What are your thoughts on “Running the Rain”? Please comment on my blog!