Posts Tagged ‘ubc’

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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Longest Day Road Race

Through my relatively short running career, I’ve come to realize that I’m not a short distance runner. Yet, when the opportunity presents itself, I can’t help being lured by promise of finishing a race in under 30 minutes. Sooner to the finish line, sooner to the food! And while the Longest Day Road Race didn’t start out on my priority list in 2016, I decided to throw my hat in the ring before the final price increase!

One of the other things that attracted me to this race is its role in two BC Road Racing Series: the Lifestages Lower Mainland Road Race Series and the BC Super Series (by BC Athletics). By running a minimum number of qualifying races, runners have a chance to compete in these age-group based series. And while I’m by no means fast enough to place, it’s kind of cool to be ranked against the speediest runners in the province!

I’m not going to lie, I had a pretty rough week. By the time Friday rolled around, I was cranky and disinclined to do anything but sit on the couch…let alone run a race on a Friday night. And with the promise threat of rain, my resolve started to waver. However, Kristin to the rescue! She offered me a ride – and some delightful company. So I rushed home after work, did a quick change, and we were off to the race!

The Good

Having only done the 5k once before (in 2010), and participated in the dreaded double-loop 10k last year, I was glad to have Kristin to point us in the right direction to the start line (which was not at all where I had expected it to be!). There were lots of familiar faces – my peeps from Forerunners, the West Van Run Crew, and a few folks whose names I don’t know but whose faces I’ve seen at many local running events.

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Forerunners galore!

I won a prize! But since it was a gift certificate for a women’s clothing and jewellery store, Kirstin was the lucky recipient.

The race itself went reasonably well. There was a slight uphill at the beginning, a short, steep slope at about 2k, and a very brief incline to the finish. Otherwise, it was pretty much flat or downhill. I’ll talk about results shortly.

Post-race, there is a BBQ. Lots of food, including (lukewarm) veggie burgers (or meat burgers for the carnivores), veggies, fruit, brownies with ice cream, cookies, drinks, pudding…pretty much anything you could ask for. And since the weather turned out to be quite ideal for an evening race, we enjoyed it all while sitting on the grass in the sunset.

That’s right…sunset! No rain at all!

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The Not-So-Good

Generally, I’m quite positive when it comes to my race reviews, and try to give the benefit of the doubt when things don’t go as well as expected. But having participated in a fair number of races in the past few years, I’ve become a bit more…discerning. And, unfortunately, there were a few things about the race organization this year that left me wanting.

Setup – Although Kristin beelined us handily to the start line, things unravelled a wee bit at that stage. Weirdly, the entrance to the race area was through the finish line…there didn’t really seem to be any other option, with fences and whatnot. We started looking for bib pickup, and wandered around for quite a while before finding it rather hidden amongst a bunch of other sponsor tents. There were no signs or volunteers pointing us in the right direction. I was confused.

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Gear Check – To be fair, we may have dallied before heading to gear check, but we gave ourselves about half an hour. There were just two stalwart young volunteers at the gear check, fielding request/demands from some of the 1,000 runners attending the event. They desperately needed help, but no one was around. Although we got our bags checked in time for the race, we left a long line behind us, and I suspect others weren’t as successful. I saw a few folks running with backpacks, which I don’t imagine was their intention.

Start Line – The Start Line was down the hill about 100 metres, and the only way to get there was by walking through the Finish Line…just as the Kids’ 1k was finishing. I found this exceedingly odd, and the poor kids were dodging hundreds of adults heading in the opposite direction. Unlike last year, when the 10k started about 15 minutes after the 5k, we all started together. Crowded in and unsure how far forward to be (I mean, the 5k-ers might want to head out faster, right?), there was an unassuming cap gun – no announcement, no warning, and a minute before the scheduled start time – and everyone was off.

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…And within metres of the Start, an SUV heading down the road towards us. Because, somehow, they ended up on the course. No worries, they stopped, but we all had to flow around them. Something went wrong.

Rubbish – I’ve already mentioned the BBQ. It was great. Food. Yum. And then it was time to go and nary a garbage can or recycling bin in sight. Seriously, it wasn’t a huge space, and we wandered about for almost ten minutes carrying our trash, trying to find somewhere to put it. In the end, we had to go against the flow of people who were still picking up their food, to find the one bin at the end of the food line. It made no sense. I was frustrated.

The Race

In the end, for all my whining and complaining, I enjoyed the race. I had very low expectations for my own performance, having done very little absolutely no speed training in the past month. But as I approached the Finish Line, my running hero Rob Watson was there shouting ‘Sprint! Sprint!!’ and I did and I surged uphill and passed at least three people and got there sooner than I imagined I would. It was not my best time, but it was not the flattest course, and I was pleased with my results. And it was all over in less than 30 minutes!

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Longest Day Road Race

Rob Watson giving me a thumbs up!

This race has been around for at least 10 years. It’s a good race, great local representation, and good food. I was disappointed this year…but I believe with some small tweaks it can be made better. Last year was better. I trust that next year will be better, too.

Final Results

Chip Time: 24:05
Average Pace: 4:49 min/km
Place Overall: 168/715
Age Category Place: 38/104
(I mentioned this last year, too…rather than 5- or 10-year age groupings, I was in the 40-59 category!)

Longest Day Road Race

*Special thanks to Debra Kato for pretty much every photo in this post!

Longest Day Road Race 5k – Quick Review

Social Media: There wasn’t a lot of social media activity, but regular email updates kept us abreast of the event as it approached, and the pre-race instructions were quite detailed.

Packet Pickup: Although there was package pickup at the Running Room on Thursday, I just went to the pickup table (once I found it) on race day.

T-Shirt/Swag: You could get a t-shirt for purchase – but I have more than enough race shirts, so no need to buy one! No swag or medal for this race.

Course: A fairly straightforward loop of the UBC campus – slightly uphill at the beginning and end, and briefly in the middle. Otherwise, a substantial downhill in the first kilometre, with everything else reasonably flat.

Post-Race: A great BBQ with loads of good food, music, festivities…quite a good bit of fun! Draw prizes, too!

Organization: As noted in more detail in the full report, this year’s organization left a lot to be desired. The ‘festival’ setup was extremely confusing, bag check was understaffed, and the start line was chaos. I really think there’s some room for improvement, with just a few tweaks.

Would I Run It Again? I’m kind of on the fence. While I’m glad that I ran the 5k after 5 years, the rushing from work to get to a race kind of stressed me out this time around. Let’s give it a solid maybe.

WeeklyWrap

A bit late in the game, I’m joining the Weekly Wrap-Up with MissSippiPiddlin and HoHoRuns!

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Promoted as the ‘last great run of the year’, I signed up for the Fall Classic Half Marathon for one reason only…because I wanted to complete 12 half marathons in 2015. With the Laughlin/Bullhead Half just 3 weeks away, I had to fit in one more race to make it an even dozen. Prior to race day, I was skeptical of this race for a few reasons:

  • November in Vancouver is notoriously cold and wet; not cold cold, but at least Vancouver cold
  • The race route is a double loop. Serious, who wants to do a double loop?
  • What makes it such a ‘great run’? I mean, who do these guys think they are?

On Thursday, 3 days before the Fall Classic, I took the plunge and joined my friend and coworker Andrea, arriving for a 6:30am start to run with the #RunVan team. What I hadn’t realized before is that this group is sponsored by the Vancouver International Marathon Society – and they’re the ones who put on the BMO Vancouver Marathon series every year. I was welcomed warmly, finally put a face to the Twitter handle for Cristina Schultz (@cristinaschultz), and enjoyed (much to my surprise!) the early morning loop of Beaver Lake in Stanley Park.

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I learned that most of these folks would be running the Fall Classic (various distances), and got a lot of positive feedback on the race itself.

In addition, the #WestVanRun team had multiple representatives participating, so I knew that at the very least I’d see lots of familiar faces on race day! Picked up my bib at Forerunners on Saturday, and prepped my gear for the next morning!

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Fall Classic

I carpooled several friends out to the start line at UBC. Although the sky was clear, it was windy and remarkably cold on campus. Thankfully, the even had full run of the new Student Union Building, so we were able to hang out inside and keep warm, while taking our pre-race photos.

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The half marathon launched at 8:30am, with the 10K following at 10am, and the 5K at 11am. I joined my other teammates in the corral just a few minutes before start time. We didn’t head out until 8:31am, due to a ‘potential bottleneck’ on the course, but apparently they resolved the issue quickly.

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Although I wore my Garmin for the race, I made the conscious decision to avoid looking at it no matter what during the race. Fortunately, the long sleeves covered the watch face, so even if I was tempted, I couldn’t simply sneak a glance. Given how much I overthought my pace during the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half (and failed to achieve what I set out to), this was a good decision.

The Fall Classic is not only a loop, it also includes a significant out-and-back portion. In normal circumstances, this would not appeal to me. But something about the course – along the western edge of campus, with peakaboo views of the ocean, and tree-lined avenues – was calming. As I passed runners going out and/or back, I smiled at and cheered for the people I knew, and received the same greetings in return. It was, in short, wonderful.

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Back on campus, we traversed the Main Mall right down the centre (reminiscent of the Longest Day Road Race back in June), and then passed alongside the Finish Line – our destination the second time around.

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There was a band on course. We passed them four times. I heard ‘I Love a Rainy Night’ and a few other classics, and it made me smile.

The second time I hit Old Marine Drive – around 15k – I felt a sense of peace I haven’t really felt before during a race. There weren’t too many people around, no volunteers or cheering stations, just trees and road and my breath and serenity. I felt strong and content, and like I could run forever. It wasn’t my fastest kilometre, but I think it’s one of my best.

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Then it was back to cheers, and faces I recognized, and the band and the Main Mall. And that mantra of ‘don’t let anyone pass you in the final kilometre‘ kicked in and I pushed as hard as I could to the finish line. In the end, not my best time, but not my worst – a good solid time for 2015.

By this time, the 10K was under way (I saw some of the lead runners heading out), so I joined some friends and #WestVanRun crew to wait for the 10K and, eventually, 5K runners to arrive.

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In the meantime, we enjoyed free coffee from McDonald’s, and picked up juice, bananas and Old Dutch potato chips (sour cream & onion, yum!).

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ALL the chips!

Once everyone had crossed the finish line, we used the FOOD tickets included on our bibs – we chose pizza, but sushi and chili were other options. And boy, were we glad to have that food!

So all those misgivings I had about this race? The doubts and concerns? Gone! Awesome race? Absolutely!

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Final Results

Chip Time: 1:48:32
Average Pace: 5:08 min/km
Place Overall: 194/931
Age Category Place: 28/86

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RACE REPORT

Packet Pickup
Forerunners was one of the sponsors of the Fall Classic, so package pickup was at the 4th Avenue store on Friday and Saturday. Quick and easy!

T-Shirt/Swag
No t-shirt, but we got RunVan gloves – the kind that have special fibres in the fingertips so you can still use your smartphone. Great medals for all three distances, slightly smaller for the 5k and 10k, but bling nonetheless.

Course
Despite the double loop and the out-and-back – beautiful course, fairly flat, scenic and serene. There were several aid stations with energy drink and water. Lots of cheering supporters and volunteers, plus a band. Solid performance!

Post-Race
Everything you would need post-race, including a choice of sushi, pizza or chili – served in the Student Union Building.

Would I Run It Again?
The last great race of the year? It really is! Great because there are race distances for everyone, it’s well organized, and it’s fun. I will definitely run this race again!

Have you ever gone into a race with low expectations, and come out loving it?

Scotiabank Half

I usually wait until the end of the post for the ‘big reveal’. But I’m really just so happy that this is going to be my opener. For the third year in a row, I have participated in the Scotiabank Charity Challenge, raising funds on behalf of the BC Cancer Foundation. I’m thrilled to announce this year’s total: $3,140!

This is a huge shout out to everyone who helped me in this journey, both financially and in the form of encouragement and moral support. I’m so pleased that the BC Cancer Foundation will have a bit of extra funding for their important research. It gladdens me that something positive has grown from the loss of my Mom 3 years ago.

And now we’re off to the race!

But first – a quick note that I’m linking up with Tara at Running ‘n’ Reading for another Weekend Update!

This is my third Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon, and my fifth half marathon of 2015 – squeaking in just before the middle of the year. In the week leading up to the race, the weather in BC has gotten progressively warmer. The prediction for Sunday was in the high 20s, very possibly a record breaker.

Before bed – with Sunday’s prediction

Package pickup

Canada Place is just two blocks from my office, so I took an afternoon coffee break and popped over to the expo, meeting up with Forerunners buddy Emily. Timing was good, I guess, because there was hardly a soul there. Bib and t-shirt pickup was quick and efficient, and then we chatted with friends at the Forerunners booth and the Timex booth.

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Wow, my head is shiny


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Canada Place reflected in the Vancouver Convention Centre

The biggest disappointment for me was the t-shirt. I actually love the design – whoever came up with this nifty Burrard Bridge word picture deserves kudos. The colour – bright lime green – isn’t my favourite, but I can handle it.

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But the size is ridiculous. At first, I thought I had the wrong size. But no, it’s a small. I asked if they had extra small. No. Just to confirm, I compared my 2013 (red) and 2014 (orange) shirts – and the same brand (Asics) has grown remarkably! In retrospect, I should have tried trading it in for a women’s shirt, but there it is. I ended up wearing the 2013 shirt for the race, and was complimented (by someone ‘in the know’) on how well it fit!

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Race Day

Because the Scotiabank is a point-to-point course, it’s necessary to make the one-way trek to UBC. Last year, I quickly found a car2go and zipped out. This year, I had promised Emily that I’d pick her up – but when I checked my app the closest car2go was nearly a kilometre away! No matter, after water, oatmeal and coffee I did a ‘warmup’ run to the car (and started sweating right away)!

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Burrard Bridge – to be crossed later today

Slowed down enough to pick up Emily en route, and when we arrived at UBC it seemed that everyone had had the same idea. There were car2gos everywhere! But we found parking and headed to the start line.

It was the place to be! We ran into my YMCA trainer Lisa, Debra (thanks for the photos!) and Bev. We went for our respective potty breaks – men’s urinal station at this race meant I could go twice – gabbed with a bunch of the Forerunners gang, and then headed to our corral to get the party started!

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The First Half

Emily and I started out together, and I was feeling pretty strong. We got to cheer the elites as they were headed back while we were still going out. It was pretty shady and there was lots of energy, but it was already getting warm. Soon enough, Emily pulled ahead and I lost sight of her.

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I was still feeling pretty strong by 5k, and focused as best I could on cutting the tangents as the road curved toward the Marine Drive downhill stretch. I tried to keep my pace pretty steady, rather than pounding down the hill. Then things flattened out, and the shade disappeared as we ran along the beach.

I crossed the halfway mat at 55:22 – and knew at that moment that the hardest was yet to come, and that this wouldn’t be a PB race!

The Second Half

I swear the second half of any race is when things get interesting. Anomalies aside, the first half is usually pretty uneventful. The second half is real.

Laurel was cheering from the sidelines – I haven’t seen her in ages – and that gave me a bit of an extra boost! But the heat was starting to get to me, and my pace flagged a bit. So hot. And sweaty. And a guy in front of me farted. And the sun continued to shine.

I was ready for Trimble Hill, and one of the volunteers was bellowing encouragement like a boot camp trainer. I saw Steven and Bob as I went by, and pushed hard to reach the top. Another downhill then, with Strawberry PowerGel being handed out. Left onto Alma, and it’s only 14k…2/3 of the race done, but still a long ways to go.

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The biggest shock of my running career to date happened on Point Grey Road. Trying my best to maintain a positive spirit, I saw a single runner headed towards us. Not part of the race, obviously, just out for her usual run. Jovially, I called out, “You’re going the wrong way!”

Her response: “F*** off!”

I’ve censored myself, but this was a full-on expletive. No smile or hint of irony in her voice.

I kind of laughed and I might have said a quiet, “Wow, sorry…” But this single event really affected me in unexpected ways. On the plus side, I was so distracted that I briefly forgot the heat and the pain. A lot of thoughts went through my mind.

Who does that? 

Probably like 50 other people had already said the same thing and she was tired of it. Was I the first one she cursed? Did she continue on down the line? You know I wasn’t the last one to say that!

Was she angry and bitter because she couldn’t run this race due to an injury?

Why didn’t she just move over one block to avoid everyone? How could she not realize there was a race today?

In the end, once the race was done, I tweeted this to the world (having had about 6km to think about it):

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This is going to stick with me for a while.

The last kick before the Burrard Bridge was the toughest. On Cornwall, I actually walked while downing some Gatorade. If I can help it, I don’t stop because it’s so hard to start again. But start again I did, albeit slowly. As we rounded the corner by the Molson plant, the digital clock told me it was 9:15, and 20 degrees. Uh uh, no way. Definitely hotter than that!

Up and over the Bridge – according to Strava, not one of my best efforts. Coach Carey was there to cheer us on.

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So far to go…

The end was not too far off. It was shadier here, with an ocean breeze that felt good but provided increased resistance in my weakened state. At 20km I increased my speed as best I could.

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The energy and crowds swelled, I did my best my best to not let anyone pass me, and finally reached the finish line with a whoop and a sigh. Done.

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Had a quick debrief with a few of my peeps, grabbed some sustenance – then found a car2go for a quick trip home, a shower, eggs and toast for breakfast, and a well-earned nap!

Final results
Chip time: 1:50:55
Average pace: 5:16 min/km
Overall: 693/3561
Age ranking: 56/172

*My slowest half marathon time in the past year – but don’t worry, there are more to come!

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RACE REPORT

Overall
One of Vancouver’s top races. I love the point-to-point with amazing views, excellent volunteers, a positive crowd, and fundraising component.

Packet Pickup/Expo
Quick and efficient. Bib, t-shirt, expo, bib confirmation. Timing was good, so no lineups – smooth sailing. The expo was a little ‘light’ – would like to have had a bit more excitement – but maybe that’s the tradeoff for arriving during a lull.

T-Shirt/Swag
T-shirt design is fantastic; size is awful. Compared to the small men’s Asics from 2 years ago, it’s like we all gained 30 pounds and grew two inches. One of the volunteers told me that men were declining the t-shirts altogether because they were too big. I’ll never wear mine, which is too bad. This was a major fail (not sure who’s at fault, but there it is) – and my only complaint for this race. Love the medal, especially the lanyard design.

Course
It’s a net downhill, but when you’re not running downhill, it’s like there’s a slight uphill the rest of the time. Painful late in the race, especially Trimble and Burrard Bridge. But scenic as heck, familiar routes. Solid Vancouver experience, especially for those from out of town.

Aid Stations
Excellent – I used every one. I wish they wouldn’t mix it up – Gatorade first, water second…but then water first, Gatorade second. Just keep it consistent. But the volunteers were great, told us what was coming, and had cups at the ready. With today’s heat, a sponge station wouldn’t have been out of line. But solid nonetheless.

Post-Race
Yogurt, PowerBar, bananas, cookies, Oasis juice, bagels – the usual fare. Nothing outstanding, everything required. Also, booths set up for all of the charities…except BC Cancer Foundation, which surprised me. I tried to find someone who could trade my gigantic shirt for a smaller women’s…but no one seemed to have a clue. I gave up and went home.

Race Management
As per usual, CRS West put on a fantastic race. Organizationally sound, from registration to communication (both email and social media), through package pickup to execution. Flawless, with the exception of the t-shirts, as noted above. Nicely done!

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How was your weekend? Any races?

Have you ever been cursed at while running? How did you feel? How did you react?

 

Longest Day Road Race

The last time I participated in the Longest Day Road Race was 2010. It was one of my earliest races, and I ran the 5k in just under 29 minutes. At the urging of my Forerunners group leader, Lucy (who has been my guest blogger twice – see Chicago and LA), I signed up for this year’s 10k.

The Week That Was

Before I get to the race, I’ll do a quick recap of the week. And also jump in to mention that I’m teaming up with Tara at Running ‘n’ Reading for her Weekend Update linkup.

Monday
With uncharacteristic aplomb, I got myself out of bed before 6am and went out for a run. Not far – just 5k – but I figured it made sense to start the week off right. I was still sore from the gym workout that Jill and I had done the previous Friday, and Jill was delighted to know that I wasn’t the only one who had suffered the curse of the squat.

Tuesday
I had fully planned to go for a run, and even brought my gear to the office. Then I remembered a promise I had made to meet a friend for lunch – a friend I hadn’t seen in nearly 2 years (despite the fact that she lives in North Vancouver). Friendship trumps fitness, and we had a wonderful time catching up!

Wednesday
Jill is going on holiday, so this was our last chance for the next few weeks to get to the gym together. It was a somewhat abbreviated workout, but it invokes kettle bells, some decent upper body work, and the dreaded squat.

Thursday
A double day. Lana and I were joined by Andrea, and we completed nearly 7k around Lost Lagoon and Second Beach pool. And, as I had promised, I got back to my personal training with Lisa at the YMCA. During our lunch run, I told Lana I wanted to work on upper body – in particular, I said, I’d love to have those biceps that fill out the sleeves of a T-shirt. Her no-nonsense response?

Buy a smaller T-shirt.

Nevertheless, Lisa fulfilled my request, and focused on upper body and overall strength. We did back squats, dead lifts, rows, chest press, flies, shoulder raises…enough to keep my muscles burning for the foreseeable future. Commitment renewed!

Friday – Race Day!
The Longest Day Road Race is true to its name – it’s held the Friday before the summer solstice, and is held in the evening to prove that our days are long and beautiful. I was suffering from the various workouts of the week, plus full days at the office. But I had signed up, and this was not going to be my first DNS!

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Longest Day Road Race

The race is held on the campus of the University of British Columbia (UBC), at the far west side of Vancouver. I rushed home from work, threw together a smoothie, and booked a car (see Modo) to drive the 20-some minutes to UBC. Because there was a football game happening concurrently, we were encouraged to park some distance away, and the walk to the start line took about 20 minutes as well.

A few shots of campus:

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What I’ll call the ‘festival’ area included all the food tents, package pickup, a kids play area (with a giant blow-up slide) – all close to the start/finish lines. Ran into Elinor (@goodbyeclutter) and Jean, and then went to grab my bib. There was a giant lineup…but I realized it was for the 5k.

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Festival Area

The 5k is popular for a couple of reasons. It’s part of the BC Road Running Series, 14 races held throughout BC. You score points for each race and, if you run 5 or more of them, you have the potential to win a prize.  Also, this race is the BC Athletics 2015 5K Road Race Championship – with accolades and prizes for the age group winners. In short, it’s a big deal.

I had signed up for the 10k, and since I was early the package pickup was quick and painless. I grabbed some free popcorn (which I would later regret), watched the start of the Kid’s Mile at 6:30pm, mingled with some running friends, and lined up to cheer on the speed demons as they headed out at 7pm for the 5k.

5k Start

5k Start

With the 10k beginning at 7:15pm, I gathered in the corral with a few of the Forerunners gang. I was feeling a bit anxious about how I would perform, so it was great to have the camaraderie and encouragement of my team.

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The Race Route

The 10k is a double loop. I’m not a big fan of double loops, since you can anticipate the pain that’s coming the second time around. It starts with a downhill, past Thunderbird Stadium (where a football game was taking place = lots of traffic!), around the south edge of the university, and back into the heart of campus – West Mall and then Main Mall. The route is great because you’re running past forested areas, and then looking at the varied architecture of UBC – some of the oldest buildings on campus, and some of the newest. At the very north end of the route there’s a distant view of the ocean.

Lap #1

And we're off!

I started out too fast. My first kilometre was 4:20, which is not a sustainable pace. I could see Lucy’s swinging ponytail and brilliant yellow shoes for the first few kms, and then she was gone. Karen, one of the owners of Forerunners, was cheering us on at about 2.5k, which was awesome. Just before the 3k mark, there is a short, steep uphill – unexpected, and tough. There are also a couple of little out-and-back sections to add on distance, before reaching the 5k mark and starting all over again. I was cheered into the second half by Coach Carey and a few others.

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Halfway there!

Lap #2

By now, the crowds had thinned. On the fast lap, we were still catching up with some of the 5k stragglers. This time, it was pretty quiet. Around 6k, a guy came up behind me and, pointing at his GPS watch, said: “This thing lies like my first wife. Just told me a did a 10-minute kilometre!” – which was clearly not the case, as he barrelled past me. The popcorn I had eaten before the race was fighting back a bit, so I didn’t feel great. Karen was still there on the second loop, though, and her encouragement really pushed me forward to that horrible uphill.

My legs felt like rubber. I think all the squats of the last few days were finally taking their toll.

I was just getting ready to push to the end when one of the course marshals directed me down the final out-and-back…I had forgotten about it! Nevertheless, I kicked it up a notch and made it to the finish line. But not in record time.

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The Party

The real draw of the Longest Day Road Race is the food! Included in your registration is a full-on buffet of burgers (including veggie burgers) or hot dogs, raw veggies, salad, fruit, chips, ice cream, cookies, drinks, and even a fudge brownie! I took advantage of everything, cramming it onto the single paper plate, and stuffed myself silly. The burger was cold and I was a sweaty, sticky mess – but it didn’t matter! There was a $5 per drink beer garden, but I didn’t partake. I was exhausted. We walked back to the car, and headed home. What a fun night!

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This picture doesn’t do it justice…SO MUCH food!

Final Results
Chip time: 48:42
Average pace: 4:52 min/km
Place overall: 86/403
Age category place: 33/92

(NOTE: the age grouping, usually in 5-year increments, was 40-59 for me this time…quite a spread!)

Saturday
I think about 10 folks from Forerunners participated in either the 5k or the 10k. And we were all there on Saturday morning for our clinic, an easy 15k to Lost Lagoon and back. I’m impressed that everyone was out in force – shows how much we love running!

Sunday
Happy Father’s Day! I actually wrote an ‘Ode to Dad‘ for the blog, and we did our best to not make each other cry when we spoke in the evening. Otherwise, most of the day was spent on the balcony, enjoying the longest day.

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RACE REPORT

Overall
Simple and straightfoward race. Well organized. Fun and festive, with good announcements and decent communication from registration onward. Price is the same for 5k or 10k – just $33 for earlybird, or $38 regular. That includes food.

Packet Pickup/Expo
It’s possible to pick up your package at the Running Room on Thursday night, but it was simply easier to show up a bit early on race day. The lineup for the 10k pickup was short, so it took like 2 seconds.

T-Shirt/Swag
You can buy a tech t-shirt, but I’ve got enough as it is. No medal for this race (unless you actually place).

Course
As described, it’s a painful double loop. Mostly flat, with a nice long downhill at the start and a challenging (but short) uphill at 3k/8k. Scenic and enjoyable, particularly in the cool evening weather typical of the summer solstice time of year.

Aid Stations
There was one aid station at 3k/8k – I think they had both water and energy drinks, but I didn’t slow down to partake.

Post-Race
Great food! Wonderful selection of stuff. I think the burgers would have been fresher/yummier for those finishing early (i.e. 5k runners) because by the time I got there, everything was kind of cold. But it was quick and efficient to get through the line, and I really enjoyed it. There were door prizes, too, but I didn’t win anything.

Race Management
In terms of what I needed and expected of this race, I think it was very well put together. I liked the fact that we got cheap ($4) parking on a campus where it’s very expensive to park – but with the discount code it was reasonable, if a wee bit far from the start line. Volunteers were great. Sponsors were great.

 

Have you ever run an evening race? Do you prefer racing in the mornings or evenings? What’s your opinion of double loop races?

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!

garmin

It was touch and go for a bit on Saturday morning. After ‘running’ into the Forerunners gang last week, I had promised myself to be at this week’s clinic. Due to my summer hiatus, I’d been sleeping in on the weekend, so morning came early. But that wasn’t the issue – it was actually car trouble!

Being a downtown resident, we don’t own a car; rather, we utilize 3 different car shares available in the city (depending on the circumstances). Well, I had booked my car to get me to the clinic, but due to system issues I was unable to access the vehicle. I was on the verge of starting to run towards Forerunners, but I knew I wouldn’t make it. But car2go to the rescue – one was available just a block away (not always guaranteed!), so I was at the store before things had even gotten started!

A flurry of activity, quick reunions with some folks, and we were off. One of the things I love most about these runs is the people I get to talk to, and the topics we cover. So rather than tell you about the run, I’m going to tell you about the things we talked about! I’ve used initials rather than names to protect the innocent! 🙂

1) LC (newly minted pace group leader extraodinaire!) and I got caught up on our summers, her post-marathon wedding in Hawaii, and my Honolulu Marathon plans.

2) I had to stop at the washroom at Jericho Beach (due to being late at the start, and the lineup at the store), so I ended up a bit behind my group. Kept pace with TK, who I hadn’t really talked to before. We chatted about running injuries (his back, my muscle pull), and why I now swear by Pilates. “Is Pilates kind of like yoga?” led to some further discussion – I hope I convinced him!

3) As we started up the UBC hill, I fell back. Being my first long run since June, I just couldn’t keep up. Nearing the top, though, I caught up with JS – one of my very first running buddies. She’s one of the ‘pleasant-looking strangers’ of my #42for42 blog post. We spoke briefly of our respective care of older parents (she lost her dad earlier this year, like I lost my mom last year).

4) A kilometre or so later I matched pace with JL, and we got on the topic of destination runs. He talked about the possibility of running Chicago, but having challenges with accommodation, due to some questionable behaviour by a potential airbnb host. I told him of my plans to visit Japan at Christmas, and he told me of his visit there a few years ago.

5) At the water stop (finally!), BB came cycling along. She was my fearless pace group leader last season, but has taken a break from running as well. It was wonderful to catch up with her and hear a bit about her new business venture. Also had a brief word with AR before starting back towards the store.

6) Now I as with a whole group. BN told us about his plans for the New York Marathon, and his excitement about this being his first trip to the Big Apple. DB shared some of her tips for visiting, since she’d been there in the past year. BN also told us about the ‘urban legend’ of the NY Marathon: that if you end up on the lower deck of the Verrazano Bridge, you might get peed on by people on the upper deck. Further research proves that this is not a myth!

7) I caught some snippets of conversation between RW and SC about finding long lost relatives due to the happenstance of a news story. I wish I’d heard more about this one…and it made me think of my college roommate – who wrote a book about his own experience (Orphan 32).

8) Finally, DB and I talked about her travel plans for the Olympic Peninsula, and my visit to Central Washington back in August. She also shared the drama (and eventual success) of her sister’s recent wedding.

And then 17 kilometres came to an end. An hour and 40 minutes had just flown by because of these fantastic and interesting people. My Forerunners family. It’s good to be home.

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