Archive for the ‘Training’ Category

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I’ve been planning to write this post for many months, but my race schedule has resulted in my pre-empting other posts for race reports. However, I’ve decided that it’s finally time to share my 7 Tips for Newbie Runners!

Although I no longer consider myself a ‘newbie’ in the technical sense – I’m coming up on 7 years into my running ‘career’ – I’m still very green compared to many of those in my running circle. And those newbie days are not so distant that I don’t remember them pretty clearly.

So here they are:  7 pieces of advice (one for each year that I’ve been running!) for some of the newer runners out there!

1. Find a running buddy/crew. This advice applies to everyone – newbie or otherwise. But I think it’s especially important when you’re a less experienced runner. Having a running buddy is valuable for a variety of reasons:  you keep each other accountable; you have more fun; you motivate each other; misery loves company; you can learn from each other. I can’t even count the number of times that I would have convinced myself to hit snooze one more time and stay in bed if it weren’t for the fact that I had promised my running buddy (or buddies) that I’d be out for that run.


The awesome folks of West Van Run Crew!

If you honestly don’t know another runner – which may be the case if you’re just getting started – find a running crew. This is pretty straightforward if you’re living in a large urban centre – there are probably multiple groups to choose from, either sponsored by a local running store or organized by local fitness buffs. It may take time to find the right fit for you, but persevere. Personally, I think having a running crew is even better than having just one running buddy, because you’re almost guaranteed to have company.

2. Invest in good technical gear. When I ran my first couple of races, I wore the cotton event t-shirt provided with race entry. Cotton chafes, holds moisture, and doesn’t breathe. I also wore long warm-up pants, which were way too big for me and likely impacted my overall speed. Get yourself a decent technical shirt or two, ones that fit well and make you feel good, and a good pair of shorts/tights. Depending on the weather where you live, some additional layers may be required.

Back in the old days, I had some well-worn barely used running shoes that I had picked up somewhere along the way – likely bought without anything but price in mind. Take the time to try on different types of shoes, find the size and fit that works best for you, and talk to the professionals. I recommend going to a dedicated running store, rather than a generic sporting goods store – they can provide more tailored advice.


Nikes are still my go-to shoe

Running gear shopping doesn’t have to break the bank. Keep an eye out for sales at your local sports stores. Talk to the folks in your running crew (see Point 1) – runners love to give advice!

3. Don’t compare yourself to others. This is one that I still struggle with. It’s easy to look at that girl who makes every stride look effortless, or the guy dressed in an Elmo costume in the middle of July who still runs faster than you, and wonder why it’s so easy for them. And so hard for you.

Just. Don’t.

Everybody – and every body – is different. We are all uniquely built. We have different backgrounds, different histories and relationships with athletics, different struggles (both physical and emotional), different day-to-day lives. This may seem self-evident, but it never hurts to be reminded.


I still feel extremely self-conscious at the gym. I’m trying to get over it.

Unless you are an elite runner, or competing for a spot on the Olympic team, the only person your should be comparing yourself to is you. Yesterday’s you. The you from a year ago. Former couch potato you. And even then, be gentle with yourself because today’s you might just be having a bad day.

[Tweet “Advice for newbie runners – 7 tips to get you started!”]

4. Track your progress. Technology has come a long way in the past few years. Don’t feel that you need to invest in the most pimped out GPS watch with heart rate monitor that the internet has to offer. I started with a Nike+ foot pod that connected to my fancy basic iPod Nano. Tracking distance and speed, even though it wasn’t tremendously accurate, kept me motivated. I could watch my improvement, see how much I’d progressed, and feel a little smug about my accomplishments.

Heck, you could even just keep a paper log, or an Excel spreadsheet – but with free apps like Nike+ and Strava, why not take advantage?


Strava connects you with other runners, too!

It may feel like your progress is slow at first, but it’s rewarding to look back and see how far you’ve come.

5. Set a goal. Maybe it’s to run for 10 minutes without stopping. Maybe it’s your first 5k race. Maybe it’s to run a half marathon. The goal should be achievable, but also challenging. If you’re feeling extra ambitious, make it a SMART (specific, meaningful, action oriented, realistic, timely) goal! For me, though, signing up for my first 8k race after watching an inspiring movie was enough to motivate me to begin on the journey to where I am today.


Once you’ve achieved your goal – celebrate it! Then set yourself another one. Stretch yourself a bit more. Fall short of your goal? Learn from your mistakes…and set another goal!

6. Be consistent. Sometimes just getting out the door is a struggle. When the weather turns nasty or darkness comes early, or when life simply gets in the way, skipping a run can be easy. The key is to integrate running into your weekly routine, to find a time that works for you, and stick to it.  For me, being part of a Saturday morning running group has kept me accountable, and roused me from sleep even on mornings of torrential rain.


Yep, I got up and ran, even in this.

Book runs into your calendar. Make appointments with yourself, or with your running buddy. Figure out if you’re more inspired to run in the morning, or if a post-work workout is better for you. Once running is ingrained into your schedule, you’ll know it because you’ll have a sense of something missing when you miss a run.

7. Do it because you love it. This may sound a bit glib, and believe me there are days when I do not love running. When I started out, there were a lot of painful days when I thought i) I couldn’t go on and/or ii) I would never run again. I still feel that way on occasion. But once running gets into your blood, it really becomes a part of you. Yes, you do it for the sense of satisfaction it gives you. Yes, you do it for the t-shirts and the medals. Yes, you do it for bragging rights.

In the end, though, you do it because you love it.


What have I missed? What advice would you give to a newbie runner?
If you are a newbie – or not a runner at all – what advice and/or questions do you have?

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Vancouver Spirit Run

Before I get into the story, I have a race to tell you about! As a member of the #WestVanRun Team, I’ve been invited to participate in something completely different – a cross-country race! Held on September 13, the Vancouver Spirit Run is:

A cross-country race created by World-level athletes who wanted to honour the legacy of their late Norwesters Track & Field coach: Frank Reynolds. He was an amazing cross-country and middle-distance running coach who helped Olympian Jessica Smith as a teenager as well as World-class steeplechase runner Chris Winter.

The race aims to bring together young and amateur runners with world-level athletes to enjoy the often-forgotten sport of cross-country. The funds raised through the events will all go to a bursary to support young local athletes.

I’ll be running the 8km Men’s in the Masters division. The race is held at Jericho Beach Park, and loops through the scenic mixed-surface trails, including gravel and bark mulch. I highly recommend coming out and giving it a try! There are events for kids, too – bring the whole family!


And now…the story of my busy week that was!

Training Recap

Last weekend, I ended up running twice in one day – a 15km tempo run, and a Mizuno shoe try-on. The latter involved 3 different models, and 3km in each. A good experience, and a long day!

Monday – 7km at lunch with my awesome coworkers!

Tuesday – busy work day, but got myself to Pilates for the first time in over a month.

Wednesday – another 7km at lunch – and encouraged a couple of the girls to run around Second Beach pool…their longest run ever!


Here I’m wiping sweat with my Handana. Don’t forget – you can still enter to win one (yes, a brand new one, NOT the one used in the photo above!)

Thursday – still aching from Pilates, Jill and I cranked out some solid weights at the gym. Gonna feel this one.

Friday – second Pilates class of the week! One of the girls fell asleep – but that didn’t last long!

Thankfully, I had a massage scheduled for Saturday – and boy did I need it!

Forerunners Mile

One more thing – Thursday night! I went to the final Forerunners speed clinic of the season knowing we were running on the track. What I didn’t expect is that an actual one mile race was in the cards!

Coach Carey had brought along bibs for everyone, and 39 runners assembled (in two heats) for four laps of the track at UBC.

I was in the second heat, after cheering on the runners in the first heat. The first two laps were…manageable. I tried to keep a consistent pace, to save something up form the second half. On lap three, I pushed myself a bit harder and put a bit more distance between myself and the next runner.

At each lap, Coach Carey was calling out our time. My goal was to achieve a sub-7 minute mile. I knew I was on track (so to speak) to achieve this. I finally crossed the finish line with a respectable time of 6:48. This made me happy!


Our final event was a relay – teams put together with faster and slower runners, based on our one-mile times. Out of 10 teams, I think we placed 6th. But it didn’t really matter – we had a great run.


And we all got medals – RUN HAPPY medals! What could be better?


The Ambleside Mile is still my one-mile record – but all things considered, I’m pretty darn pleased with the results of the Forerunners Mile!

The Forerunners Crew! Thanks, Bev and Kefi, for the awesome photo!

Have you ever done a cross-country race? If you’re in Vancouver – will you join the Spirit Run?
What do you think of track workouts?

**I want to dedicate this post to my Aunt Shirley, who passed away two weeks ago. We met for the last time during my visit to Ontario in April, when attending the wedding of my cousin – her granddaughter. She will be missed.**


The weekend has been busy. We had an extra SummerChor rehearsal on Saturday – 10am to 2pm. As mentioned in a previous post, we’re singing the Durufle Requiem – and our concert is just 3 weeks away! In addition, because the Durufle is kind of short, we’re also singing the Faure Requiem. A lot of folks in the choir have sung it before, but it’s my first time. The Faure also happens to be my Dad’s favourite, so I’m sorry he won’t be here for the concert.

We attended the Powell Street Japanese festival, and I got dressed up in my Japanese duds – a bit different from my usual running gear!

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Saturday night was the Celebration of Light – third night of fireworks, with Canada putting on an amazing show set to music – glorious!

On Sunday morning, I went for a quick run – about 8.5km – along English Bay and around Lost Lagoon.

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That was followed by the Vancouver Pride Parade – colour, glitter, music, festivities – lots to see and do! And Monday is BC Day – so we’re enjoying a beautiful long weekend!

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Keeping up with tradition, here is another installment of my Monthly Update. I will continue to give credit Brie (Like the Cheese) for giving me this idea – and bow to here commitment in participating diligently in the November Project. I had planned to join, but they were forced to relocate from downtown to Queen Elizabeth Park – which is just too far from home and work to be feasible on a Wednesday morning. Nevertheless, a few things have happened this past month…

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In July, I…

1. Did 3 rounds of speed work. I know, that’s really not a lot. But given how little speed work I’ve been doing, I decided it was time to commit to some regular workouts. So I joined Coach Carey’s Thursday night clinic (care of Forerunners). Over the course of three weeks, we did:

  • Hill repeats – 9x up Jericho Hill (a steep, short run)
  • Track workout – 9x 400m, gradually increasing our speed
  • Sprints – 5x 800m in Little Australia (near UBC)

I plan to continue with the speed training through August as well.

2. Met a celebrity. I got my geek on when we ran into Stephen Amell from the TV show Arrow. I had just finished the Summerfast 10K at Stanley Park, and I saw him walk by – he had run the race as well. I approached him and asked for a photo. This isn’t exactly an ‘achievement’ for the month, but I found it kind of exciting!


3. Ran the Golden Gate Bridge…twice! After months of anticipation, we finally made the trip to San Francisco. I ran the SF First Half Marathon, and the route took us out across the Golden Gate Bridge and back again! It was a foggy day, so not a lot to see – but the thrill of the event made it totally worthwhile. I also went fully ‘branded’ as a BibRavePro for this race – I even heard someone read it out as I ran by: “ – oh, BibRave!!”


I’m now considering running the Half it All Challenge by participating in the Second Half in 2016! Stay tuned!

In August, I will…

1. #PlankADay. We’ve all heard about the benefits of planking – what it does for our core, and how it strengthens runners. I get regular alerts from the @PlankPolice, reminding me to stay on track. I was a bit half-hearted about it last month, but I’m going to make a concerted effort this month!

2. Find a balance. I’m trying to fit a lot of things in each week. I want to run, I want to get to the gym – but I also have to work, I’ve got choir rehearsal, and I want to spend time with family and friends. Even in the summer, when the days are long, I’m not good at being an early riser. I find it tough exercising after work. So I’m not sure how this balance will be achieved…yet. I’m working on it.

3. Run a race in the Arctic! Yes, you read that right! I am heading to Yellowknife, Northwest Territories for a business trip in the second week of August. I’ve run there before – but just a TravelRun, on my own, in the cold.

On a whim, I Googled ‘yellowknife marathon‘ and came up with a result. The Overlander Marathon and Half Marathon…well, it just happens to fall on that very weekend! I turned to Twitter:



And so, with that, I have decided to stay a couple of extra nights in town, and run a half marathon in Northern Canada!

Can you believe it’s already August? How’s your summer going?

July posts you may have missed:

Mid-month Check-in

Happy Monday! Joining Tara (Running ‘n’ Reading) and the gang again for Weekend Update (with a nice new icon)!

Running 'n' Reading

I can’t believe it’s already the middle of June! So far, things haven’t gone exactly as planned, particularly in terms of: blogging, and going to the gym. I blame the awesome weather.

Since my monthly update, I’ve really only had the chance to tell you about my Ambleside Mile experience – which was awesome! In the days following, it was one of those ‘something every night’ type of scenarios. We wrapped up the season of one choir, and started the new summer choir. I had a season wrap-up event with our HR association – a night a TheatreSports that was an absolute blast! Snapped these photos on the return journey that evening:

Granvile Bridge Burrard Bridge

A couple of family things and a BBQ with friends and bam! Another week has gone by.

Running Updates and other stuff

At least I managed to get in some runs!

On Monday, Lana and I went for our first run in almost two weeks, and did our usual Lost Lagoon/Second Beach loop. It was to be our only run during the week, since Lana was taking a bit of time off.

I got a comment on my Ambleside Mile post asking when we were finally going to get in a run…a comment from my BibRave Pro buddy Brie (Like the Cheese).


Have I told you about the BibRave Pro program? I know I’ve mentioned it before, but let me digress and provide a bit more insight.

BibRave is an awesome website that allows folks to rate races across the world –  you can even read my reviews. Somewhere along the way, I saw info on becoming a BibRave Pro, and decided to apply. The program is primarily seeking those with a solid, active social media presence who can commit to engagement with BibRave throughout the year. It involves:

  • Rating all races on BibRave
  • Participating in the weekly #BibChat – one of my favourite things!
  • Getting discounts and free entries to races across North America
  • Receiving and reviewing running products (I haven’t had this opportunity yet)
  • A fabulous BibRave t-shirt!

If you’re interested in applying to be a BibRave Pro – click here. Tell them Bradley sent you!

Anyway, back to the story. So Brie reaches out – she and I are the only BibRave Pros in Vancouver. And I suggested we meet up the next day at lunch! We kept to my familiar route, and had a great time getting to know each other beyond what we’d learned via blog and Twitter!

Olympics and FIFA Brie and me

Brie wants me to join the #NovemberChallenge at 6:29am on Wednesday. I have given my verbal commitment for this week, but I’m still a bit resistant…

Work dominated the next couple of days because gotta pay for life! On Friday, I was finally able to squeeze in a gym/kettle bell workout with Jill from my office. It hurt.

But not as much as Saturday morning! Man, those squats take a toll! But friend accountability meant that my long run on Saturday could not be skipped. It was a tough slog, particularly since Friday had also included #TGIGNT at the local distillery (plus Mama’s Fish & Chips food cart):

TGIGNT Long Table Distillery

Still, it was a flawless morning and 19km sailed by. OK, maybe it didn’t sail…but at least good conversation made it seem a bit less taxing than it might have been otherwise!

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Another highlight of the day was our first CSA share pickup from Klippers Organics at the farmers market. If you’re not familiar, Community Supported Agriculture is a program where you pay in advance for a season of produce – allowing the farmers cash flow and security to buy seeds, and do all the legwork involved. Every week for 18 weeks you get a bag of whatever is in season!


This week, our share included a whole lot of yumminess:

  • garlic scapes
  • strawberries
  • snap peas
  • lettuce
  • broccoli
  • Swiss chard
  • kohlrabi
  • salad mix

On that note, I can’t believe June is half over! I’ve got some catching up to do before Canada Day rolls around! See you on the road, and at the gym!

How has your June been so far? Do you like gin & tonic? Do you go to your local farmers’ market? Have you ever participated in a CSA? 

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

Race Day

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

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

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

Karin (@looseleafrunner)

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

Jin – aka Mr Canada (@MrCanada_Jin)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

Running 'N' Reading


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Goodbye May, Hello June!

I got this idea from my fellow Vancouverite & Bib Rave Pro, Brie (find her, follow her, and love everything about her at Brie ‘Like the Cheese’!). I enjoyed her April/May post so much, I asked if I could copy her for this month. The idea of the monthly update is to reflect back on the month that has just ended, but at the same time look forward to the month that’s on its way.

Also, in order to ensure giving credit where credit is due – this idea originally came from Jessica Lawlor – so make sure you visit her site, too! I’ll match her style of highlighting 3 things from May, and 3 for June.

Without further ado, let’s wrap up the last month, and excitedly anticipate the next!

In May, I…

1. Achieved my half marathon PB! I actually ran two half marathons in May – started out with the BMO Vancouver Half Marathon, and three weeks later travelled to Ontario and ran the Ottawa Half Marathon. Both runs were great experiences, but it was Vancouver that took the cake. A perfect storm of weather, course, and luck – I was able to complete the race in under 1:45 – which was a true hurdle overcome!

2. Ran my third ever blog contest! This time, it was a giveaway for the Ambleside Mile – coming up very soon in June! I was thrilled with the response I got from interested runners, and excited that my running buddy, Emily G., won the giveaway…and will be joining me at the race! Looking forward to seeing some of my other Twitter & social media friends there, too!

3. Participated in Link-Ups! If you’re a blogger and you’ve never participated in a link-up, you should totally start. It’s a great way to meet new folks with common interests, and get some new ideas and motivation!

  • Weekend Update: Such an inspirational bunch of people sharing their achievements over the weekend (and previous week). Tara at Reading ‘n’ Running hosts this link-up – and today’s post is part of that! Drop by her page, visit other folks, and link up!!
Running 'N' Reading
  • Wednesday Giveaway Roundup: Every week, Erica at Erica Finds hosts a Wednesday Giveaway Roundup. I think this is fantastic – though for us poor schlubs in Canada it can be a bit frustrating, since a lot of the giveaways are limited to US entrants. Nevertheless, my blog contest gained a lot more exposure through this link-up, and Erica has something going on all the time – definitely worth a visit!
  • Thursday Triumph: This NEW link-up is hosted by Smitha (Running with SD Mom), Carlee (Carlee McDott) and Linzie (Sharp Endurance). It’s a great chance to share a success and learn about what other runners are up to!

In June, I will…

1. Run three races! At least, that’s how many I’ve signed up for so far…

  • Ambleside Mile: Next Saturday is the aforementioned one-mile race in West Vancouver. It’s a new route this year – looking forward to giving it a go again. Last year, my Dad was in town for the race, which was really special.
  • Longest Day 10k: Held at UBC, the Blueshore Financial Longest Day Race includes both 5km and 10km distances. I race the 5km back in 2010 and it look me nearly 29 minutes to finish. We’ll see if we can’t improve on that pace this year!
  • Scotiabank Half Marathon: Once again, I’m fundraising on behalf of the BC Cancer Foundation – and the total so far is nearly $2,000! I appreciate all the support and I’m so happy the money will be going to this great cause. I’m also excited to run my 5th half marathon of 2015, continuing with my #yearofthehalf theme.

2. Get back to the gym! I completed three training session with Lisa at the YMCA a couple of months ago. They had another deal in May for a discount on a 3-pack of sessions, so I signed up again. Because I’m out of town this week – headed to Edmonton for work – I’ll probably get started in the 2nd week of June.

3. Sing! I belong to a local community choir called Simple Gifts. Next Sunday is our final concert before the summer. We sing a variety of music – classical, jazz, musical, African folk – and have a lot of fun doing it. We also sing at two seniors’ homes as part of our ‘outreach’, which I think is one of the most fulfilling things about it. For the summer, I join SummerChor, which each year rehearses and performs a single major classical work. This year, we are working on Faure’s Durufle’s Requiem, which we will perform at the end of August.

Tell me about what you achieved in May in the comments! What do you have planned for June?

May posts you might have missed:


Weekend Update Barrie
It’s Victoria Day here in Canada – celebrating the birthday of Queen Victoria, who was reigning when Canada became a country in 1867. It’s the ‘official’ start of summer in most of the country. And summer has definitely arrived in Ontario!

Yep, I’m back in Ontario for another visit – taking a bit more time than our 4 days back in April when I did two very short TravelRuns.

But before I get to the weekend – retracing steps and bringing back memories in Barrie – let’s recap the past week!


The weather was cool and a teeny bit rainy when Lana and I went out for our lunchtime run – the usual route including Stanley Park, Second Beach Pool and Lost Lagoon. Lana snapped a pic for me:
Second Beach

Jill and I conquered the gym – another kettlebell workout, baby! Here’s proof of the kettlebell in action  (sort of)! Plus, I’m wearing my Sun Run t-shirt!

Interval training! Lana wasn’t available, so I went out on my own. After a 2km warmup, I set my Garmin to do 10x 45 seconds, with 30 second rest breaks. The goose family was watching me running back and forth:

And when I finished I felt like this:
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Despite that face, I somehow managed the 2km return trip.

We did it again – Jill and I motivated each other back to the gym, and included a few deadlifts in the routine. Last workout before my holiday!

I had intended to go to Pilates, per my usual routine. However, being a long weekend, I had too much to do before leaving the office. Then we had to pack, and take the cat to our friends’ place.

On top of that, the scratchy feeling I had in my throat yesterday had blossomed into a nagging cough. And I honestly don’t find Pilates all that effective if I’m coughing through it.

Had a terrible sleep. Got up early and flew from Vancouver to Toronto, where my dad met us at the airport. The only exercise today was walking back and forth to the buffet that my dad treated us to. Plus, I was still not feeling 100%.

One week to Ottawa! And although I’m tapering a bit (does it count as tapering when I did a race 2 weeks ago?), I wanted to get a run in. Also, I thought it would be good to acclimatize to this weather – and take my brand new BibRave t-shirt on its inaugural run!
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I headed out and straight north (maybe slightly northwest) out of town. Beyond where the sidewalk ends (literally).

It’s a lonely stretch of road, out past the small local airport. Fields on either side. The last time I ran this route is firmly fixed in my mind.


It was just over 2 years ago. I was running to escape from my own thoughts and the reality of losing my mom. She had passed away 3 days before. I remember running this empty road, nothing but the fields and the sky and the sun and the occasional car, and bawling my eyes out. Just running and crying. Trying to come to terms with the reality of our lives at that point in time. It was an important moment – I hesitate to call it a pivotal one – but I think it was then that I realized then how essential running was to me. That it brought me some peace in the midst of anguish.

The road ends, and there is a trail just beyond. This time, I ran that trail. Not far, but just far enough

A lot of water under the bridge. I’m happy to be running here again. A bit nostalgic, to be sure, but not filled with sadness like I was that day 2 years ago.

On a lighter note, at the trail head this is this insane tree (yep – those are shoes nailed to the tree):

As I headed back into town, I was feeling happy and refreshed – at least emotionally (I was really, really hot).
Barrie sign

It’s springtime here in Barrie. The flowers growing wild in the park make me smile.
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Thanks to Tara at Running ‘n’ Reading, I’ve been inspired to do this weekend update – and join her weekly linkup! Join in, or drop by and see what other bloggers have been up to!

Running 'N' Reading


What route did you run this weekend? Do any of your running routes bring back memories? Have you ever experienced a moment when you realized what running meant to you?

I’m getting into the swing of things with linkups, and decided to join another one this week!

Thursday Triumph!


Hosted by three spectacular runners:

Smitha at Running with SD Mom – I’ve been ‘running’ with Smitha since we met during the February Grow Your Blog blog hop, and have enjoyed keeping in touch! Smitha inspired me to join her linkup!

Carlee at Carlee McDot – this girl has so much enthusiasm! Visit her blog and you’ll see what I mean!

Linzie at Sharp Endurance – very impressive endurance athlete. I think I can learn a lot from him!

[Tweet “We all have that potential in ourselves to become better. Believe in yourself!”]

On to my Thursday Triumph – talking about my #yearofthehalf, and what it means.

Sometimes people ask how I started running. This is not where I tell that story (you can read it here, though – stay a while!). Suffice it to say that I was very much a non-athlete all of my life. I avoided exercise like the plague. I eschewed all sports.

But in 2009, I started running. It was not immediately a match made in heaven. It was not instant success. But there was something about it that drew me in. Slowly but surely, running became part of my life.

I tackled my first half marathon in 2011 – the BMO Vancouver Half. As it turns out, it was also the 40th anniversary of the race. Fun and festive! Absolutely terrifying.

When all was said and done, I made it to the end. It took me a respectable 2 hours 15 minutes and 36 seconds. I came in 296/366 in my age category (remember this number). I may have vowed that I’d never run another half marathon.

2012 – I completed 2 half marathons. Improved my time and finished at 2:07:01

2013 – 3 half marathons. Broke the elusive 2 hour barrier with a time of 1:52:07

2014 – Yet again, 3 half marathons. Hit 1:48:12. Also decided to make this year my #42for42 and ran my first – and second – full marathons.

2015 – I decided early on to make this the #yearofthehalf and put full marathons to the side for the time being. We’re now a third of the way through the year. I’ve managed to squeeze in 3 half marathons so far. As of now, I have 5 more scheduled. Along with a few other, shorter distance races.

And now for my Thursday Triumph. Four years after running my first half, I ran the BMO Vancouver Half Marathon again. Here’s why I want to celebrate:

  • I broke the 1 hour 45 minute mental barrier, which I really wanted to do
  • With that PB race, I have officially improved my half marathon race time by 30 minutes
  • My age category place: 85/426 – not top 10, to be sure, but at least top 100!
  • I think I look a lot better at the finish line than I did in 2011!


I’m excited to see what the rest of this year brings. I’m not going to hold my breath for more PBs in upcoming races, but I’ll keep pushing myself to succeed. Also, 3 of the 5 upcoming halfs are TravelRuns (Ottawa; San Francisco; Laughlin, NV) – so I’ll have lots of stories to tell!

Thank you for celebrating this little triumph with me! And although I may be bragging a bit – I can’t deny that I’m proud of my progress – I share this story to encourage and inspire. We all have that potential in ourselves to become better. Believe in yourself!

Now it’s your turn! What’s your latest triumph? Is there a race time improvement you’re especially proud of? Please share!

And be sure to join next week’s Triumph Thursday!