Posts Tagged ‘westvanrun’

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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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?

VanRace_full-logo_20151

VanRace 15K & 30K

I’m very excited to announce that Ethan YJ has won a free entry to the inaugural VanRace on September 6! Congratulations!

I met Ethan after the Summerfast 10k back in July – he’s a keen, dedicated runner and I look forward to seeing him kick butt at this awesome race! Ethan has chosen to run the 30k. You can read Ethan’s blog (RainCityRunner) and follow him on Twitter @AvgRunner and cheer him on!

There’s still time to sign up for VanRace 15k & 30k – click to get in on the festivities!

West Van Run

The reason I had this entry to giveaway is because I’m one of the 2016 ambassadors for the phenomenal West Van Run! This race will be held on March 5 and 6, 2016. Why two days? Because this year the 5k will be held on Saturday, with the 10k on Sunday. I’m going to run both – why don’t you join me?

Earlybird pricing is in effect until October 31, 2015 – you can run both races for just $47.95!

Want to get in in the action before March? Join the West Van Run Crew every Saturday at 9:30am for a free, fun run around West Vancouver. The group meets at Cafe Crema (Bellevue Ave & 15th Street).

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Finally, here are some important links for you to follow:

VanRace

twitter facebook (1) instagram

West Van Run

twitter facebook (1) instagram

See you at the start line!

Weekend Update

Vancouver is choking under skies that elude to the apocalypse…

But that’s not where I should be starting.

The big national holidays of North America – Canada Day and Independence Day – have come and gone. It’s a long stretch before the next long weekend. But I’ve committed to some solid training and this is what the past week looked like, following last Sunday’s Scotiabank Half Marathon:

Monday

Met up with Lisa for training at the YMCA. We were both suffering a bit from the previous day’s race, but since we had committed to each other to be there – there we were. She gave me a refresher on some of the exercises learned in our last training session, and I left with more confidence in what I was going to be doing at the gym.

I also convinced Lisa to sign up for next weekend’s Fort Langley Half Marathon!

Tuesday – 5.8km

Lana and I headed out for our Lost Lagoon loop, joined today by Diane. While very fit, Diane hasn’t done a lot of running, but she soldiered through and completed the whole 5.8km route, with just a few walking breaks. Very proud of her!

Wednesday– 3km

Canada Day! I took advantage of the mid-week holiday and slept in. We attended the festivities on Granville Island, and enjoyed lazing around for much of the day.

Canada flag

We still had choir practice, so I showed up for that. And since I had committed to #JulyRunStreak (3km per day), I got home from choir and headed out for 3km along English Bay at sunset.

Sunset

Honestly – I don’t think I’ve ever been so hot during a run. By the end of those excruciating 15 or so minutes, I was drenched in sweat. Practically melting. But I had started the month out right!

Thursday – 4km

Before all of the learning slipped from my sieve-like brain, I thought I’d better get to the gym. Squats and dead lifts, plus a bunch of arm exercises. I am going to build my strength! And then, in the spirit of July, I headed out the door for 4km along the Seawall. As I reached the end, I spotted Brie doing her stair workout! We chatted briefly and agreed to run the next day.

Friday – 6.8km

Lana and I had already planned a Friday run. So Brie joined us and one other coworker for our run around Lost Lagoon.

Lana, Brie and me

Nearly 7km later, Brie and I enjoyed Justin’s peanut butter & dark chocolate cups as our post-run ‘fuel’. I only just learned about them at our weekly #BibChat on Tuesday – and discovered that they’re available at Starbucks!

Justin's

And, for the first time in I’m not sure how many weeks, I went to Pilates! Great to be back in the painful swing of things, along with one of my best friends!

Finally – since Friday was the last day for earlybird registration (and I’m a sucker for earlybird registration…), I signed up for the Summerfast 10K – it will be held 2 weeks from  now in Stanley Park. Wish me luck!

Saturday – 16.5km

For the 2016 West Van Run, Kirill has invited me to be part of the promo team! I’ve very excited about this opportunity to talk more about one of my favourite races!

Kirill has also started a #WestVanRun team run on Saturday mornings. Forerunners was taking a break between clinics, so I was free to join in, requiring me to run nearly 10km through Stanley Park and over Lion’s Gate Bridge to reach the meeting spot! I did this, and then ran an additional 7km with Kirill and 8 others. We ended up running halfway back across Lion’s Gate! But for the views and the chance to meet new running friends, it was totally worth it!

WestVanRunWest Van

I took the bus home.

Sunday – 9.1km

Have I mentioned Van Race? It’s a new local race – both 15km and 30km distances – around False Creek and Stanley Park. It will be held on Sunday, September 6 (Labour Day long weekend). I’ve decided to run the 15km, in line with my ongoing half marathon training.

Anyway, last night Van Race tweeted:

VanRace tweet

So I got up (a bit late) and stepped out onto the balcony. I was greeted with this sight:

Forest fire sky

Due to wildfires raging around the province, the skies were hazy and eerily orange. Nevertheless, I made a beeline for Third Beach, met up with some of the Van Race crew.

Alison and me

Happy to once again team up with Tara at Running ‘n’ Reading for the Weekend Update linkup!

weekend-update

How was your weekend?

How is your training going?

Have you signed up for any new races?

This contest has closed – congratulations to our winner, Jan Heuninck! 

How fast can you run a mile?

Here’s your chance to find out! Although I’m still pretty new to blogging, I want to take this opportunity to share my appreciation with my loyal readers! And give you an opportunity to run the Ambleside Mile – for free! This event is being put on by the same awesome folks who organized the West Van Run – which, incidentally, was the topic of my very first race report!

So let’s get down to business…

am

What is the Ambleside Mile?

What?  Join runners and walkers of all levels in this annual 1 mile running race – part of the Ambleside Community Day celebration!
When?
 Saturday, June 7, 2014
What time?  9:45am
Where?  Marine Drive & 17th Street, West Vancouver
How much?  $27.95 (unless you win this contest!)

How can I win?

Contest details:
1. Leave a comment on this post (under ‘Leave a Reply’). Not sure what to say? Tell us why you love running!
NOTE: You will be required to include your email address – this will NOT be made public, but will allow me to contact you with your prize!

2. Reposting to Twitter or Facebook (or other social media) is optional – but very much appreciated.

3. The contest runs from Sunday, April 27 to Saturday, May 3 (midnight).

4. A random draw will be held on Sunday, May 4 (AFTER the BMO Marathon!)

5. I will contact the winner by email on the evening of Sunday, May 4. The winner will have 48 hours to respond, and I will share the FREE registration code!

All entrants will receive a 10% discount code to register for the Ambleside Run!

Final Thoughts

I’m really excited about this contest! It’s something I’ve never done before – still new to blogging, remember – but it makes me feel sort of ‘legit’. I expect to learn things about how a contest works, and hope to connect with more readers (and other bloggers?) as a result.

I really look forward to your comments! Please, stay a while – visit some of my other blog posts, comment elsewhere. If you like what you read, follow me!

Thank you!

A special shout-out to Kirill and the Ambleside Mile team for making this contest possible!
Follow the Ambleside Mile:
Twitter: @amblesidemile
Facebook: AmblesideMile

Follow me:
Twitter: @bjcjapan

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 West Van Run 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 at 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!

West Van Run

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

Final Thoughts

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!