Posts Tagged ‘personal best’

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


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

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:

When I ran my first half marathon in 2011, it was the BMO Vancouver Half. My finish time was 2:15:36.

Two years ago, due to family circumstances, I hadn’t planned to run. I flew back from Ontario two days before the race, so I figured I might as well give it a go. My finish time was 2 hours and 9 seconds.

This year was…something else.

BMO Vancouver Half 2015

For my ‘objective’ race report, scroll down. But if you want the full, subjective story…read on!

RUN VAN – Start Line

As a point-to-point race, the BMO Vancouver Half (and Full) Marathon, starts in Queen Elizabeth Park, a bit of a jaunt from downtown. I’m used to walking to the start line. But I got myself out of bed at 4:45am, had my coffee and oatmeal, and found a nearby car2go and got myself where I needed to be.

Unlike last year’s marathon, with torrential rain, the weather today was perfect. Best weather imaginable. Here’s a  comparison of ‘START LINE SELFIE’ 2014 vs. 2015:

The plastic bag lookStart line BMO Half 2015

A lot of my Forerunners peeps are running Eugene next week, and another bunch were running the full this morning, so I didn’t see a soul I knew. No matter. 15 minutes before gun time, I took a single EnergyGel (Double Latte), and got to my corral just as the national anthem was wrapping up.

Start Line

In keeping with the ‘Run Van’ theme of this race, each neighbourhood we toured through was appropriately signed. I think this is especially great for visitors to Vancouver, who might not otherwise know where they are. So, I’ll stick with that theme in my report!


Run Cambie

Exiting Queen Elizabeth Park, the first 3 kilometres are a solid downhill. I knew this, and made a concerted effort to pace myself accordingly, to avoid tiring myself out. I knew my goal pace, and I kept myself solidly on track.

People always hold up some great signs during the race, but I saw my favourite right at the start:

All toenails go to heaven


This made me smile as I recalled it throughout the race, and even heard a couple of girls mention it ages later.

At the foot of the hill, we headed up over Cambie Bridge. I thought to myself, “If this were the Sun Run, we’d almost be done.” Then I saw a couple of guys holding a big sign that said:



But with my terrible eyesight, I could swear it said:


Cuz that’s kind of how I felt.


Run Chinatown

Just past the Chinatown gate, there’s a surprise uphill. I’ve walked it many times, but it has a whole different degree of ‘slope’ on days like today.

Favourite sign #2:

Run like someone called you a #jogger


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Rounding a corner, the PowerGel station caught me off guard, and I didn’t move myself into the right lane in time to grab one. My reflexes aren’t very good.

And then there was Mr Swishy Shorts. I actually noticed him near Science World. He was wearing some nylon shorts that swished with every step. EVERY STEP. The sound reminded me of ski pants. It occurred to me that he’d better be wearing some long skivvies, or he’s going to have some pretty nasty chafing. Later on, I thought of calling him Captain Swishy Shorts, but only if he passed me. He never did.


A very familiar part of town, along the water by English Bay. And also the halfway mark. And I was on pace. Just where I wanted to be.


Run Stanley Park

Beautiful, right? Did I mention it was a perfect day? We were coming up on the 14km mark (2/3 mark!) – and that goal time was still in sight. And I still felt strong. Could this happen today?

Favourite sign #3:

Find a cute butt and follow

There’s another nasty hill heading up Pipeline Road through the park to the Seawall. Killer. One of my slowest kilometres. But I knew the end was…if not in sight, at least within reach. I didn’t let it stop me.


As we rounded Brockton Point, I caught up with this guy:

FullSizeRender_3 copy

That’s right – the 1:45 pace bunny. Did I mention that my goal time was 1:45? That’s right. So I decided to stick with him for awhile. You can’t see it really well, but he’s doing the Running Room ‘Run 10/Walk 1’ approach. So when he slowed down for his final walk…I kept going.


After the Sun Run, I was convinced that I hadn’t ‘given my all’ at the end, that I could have had a stronger finish. With 1 kilometre left, I kicked it up a notch. With 500 metres left…I pushed as hard as I could:


And that was all it took!


I’m proud to report that the BMO Vancouver Half Marathon was a PB! A 3-minute PB actually. I actually beat my goal time – and managed a negative split!

Final Results:

Chip time: 1:44:24
Average pace: 4:56 min/km
Place overall: 824/7850
Age category place: 85/426


The BMO Vancouver Marathon/Half/8K is arguably Vancouver’s premier race. It’s actually the only full marathon in town. And it’s in Vancouver – the best running city!

Packet Pickup/Expo
I can’t comment on this year’s expo, since someone else picked up my bib for me. If it was anything like previous years, there were long lineups. And a lot of people at the expo. Decent swag and some free samples.

I liked the t-shirt this year. Nice medium grey. Saucony brand. Definitely an improvement over the see-through yellow shirt from last year.

I think this year’s medal is the best yet. It’s bigger than previous years, and has a nifty cut-out Vancouver skyline.

Since I’ve outlined the course above, I won’t go into detail. Suffice it to say, it starts out with a downhill, has a few short by painful uphills, but it’s a mostly flat course. And beautiful. As expected.

There was a bit of entertainment along the way – a few bands and singers.

Aid Stations
I had prepared ahead, with a couple of PowerGels and a glucose tablet (grape). I felt well hydrated. I only used one of the water stations (just a few sips around English Bay), but there were plenty en route (8 in total, according to the map).

The announcements at the finish line, giving us directions, were loud and clear. I heard someone say it sounded like the end of the world – very ‘big brother-ish’. I even heard someone it sounded like the end of the world. Straight after the medals and photos, volunteers were handing out juice, bottles of water, and sports drink.

The food included a banana, SunRype Okanagan Energy Bar, Kettle Chips, and a half sandwich from Bread Garden (including veggie option – but a little dry). If anything could have been improved, I would have wanted a bit more food variety – and maybe a bag to put it in (although that does go against my inclination to avoid waste…)

I was anxious to get to brunch, so I didn’t stick around for the Street Festival. I saw where they were selling souvenir items – but as a local and a returnee, I didn’t feel the need for retail therapy.

Race Management
Excellent! Well organized, solid social media presence, good communications and updates, everything running smooth and on time. Great volunteers, top notch across the board.

BMO Vancouver Half Marathon medal

Did you race this weekend? How did it go? Have you ever run Vancouver?

blogiversaryWhen I signed up for my first 8km race a little over six years ago, I never dreamed I would end up calling myself a runner. And when I hit ‘Publish’ on my first blog post – exactly one year ago today – I had no idea how much ‘Bradley on the Run’ would become a part of my life.

March 1, 2015 – Many of you have been with me throughout this journey, while others have just joined the party. Please allow me the (slightly narcissistic) indulgence of reflecting back over the past 12 months. I also have to thank a bunch of people, too!


I decided that 2014 would be my marathon year, and set my sights on Honolulu in December, just about a week after my 42nd birthday (42km marathon at 42 years old = #42for42). I figured this was as good a motivation as any to check the full marathon off of my bucket list. With a bit of encouragement, I ended up running the BMO Vancouver Marathon as my first (and best), with Honolulu my second. The question lingers whether or not another marathon is in the cards for me…

Processed with Moldiv

Injuries and Excuses

During and after the BMO, I had some issues which I described at the time as ‘groin’-related. I took some time off, did some physio and – most significantly – started going to Pilates. Well, lo and behold, I was healed! Turns out that my problem was not, uh, where I thought it was. My problem was a weak core! Huge shout out to Christie at the YMCA who has helped to make a world of different in strengthening my flabby underdeveloped mid-section.

A Few PBs

I want to brag, just a little bit. In the past year, I achieved personal best (PB) results in 5 distances!

  • Full Marathon (42.2km) – the BMO Vancouver Marathon was the winner here. Much as I enjoyed Honolulu, it was not comparable time-wise to the BMO
  • Half Marathon (21.1km) – just a few weeks ago, I had a ‘perfect storm’-type race in the First Half Half Marathon – and loved every minute of it!
  • 10km – it was a cold and snowy day, but the 2014 West Van Run was a PB in this distance…that is, until today…(stay tuned for an upcoming race report on West Van Run 2015!)
  • 8km – the Modo 8K was a fun and unexpected success
  • 1 mile – this was a distance I had never tackled = automatic PB! We’ll see what this year’s Ambleside Mile has in store!

Huge Thanks!

Although I enjoy writing this blog – it’s one of the things that keeps me motivated in my running – it’s the people who have supported me that make the true impact. An enormous THANK YOU to:

  • Coach Carey and the amazing people of Forerunners – from Day One, I have been inspired and encouraged by this team of athletes.
  • My Twitter followers – for every ‘Like’ and every retweet, those I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in person and those I hope to meet someday!
  • All the folks on Facebook, including the many non-runners who visit my blog just because – it means a lot to me!
  • Everyone who follows me on Instagram, Pinterest (still figuring that one out) – and this blog!
  • Kristy (Runaway Bridal Planner) and the amazing new blog-mates I have met through the February Blog Hop, which pushed me to analyze and develop my social media skills over the past month!

Grow Your Blog Image

  • Last but not least – my friends and family, who come out to cheer me on, who put up with my endless running stories, and who wait for me to finish long training runs. You are truly amazing!


I can’t wait to see what the next year has in store. I’ve designated 2015 the ‘Year of the Half’, when I will focus primarily on the half marathon distance (or shorter). I look forward to sharing more race reports, hosting a few giveaways (look for one coming soon!), networking with a whole lot more bloggers, and making many new connections.

Thank you for celebrating YEAR 1 with me!

– Bradley

What do you enjoy about my blog? Is there anything I could do to improve it? I welcome feedback and suggestions!


The day started out the way race days should. It was brisk but not too cold, quite foggy with the promise of sun. I brought along my throwaway BMO Marathon gloves and my sunglasses, and wore my First Half long-sleeved race shirt from 2014. Last year was a personal best (PB) in the half marathon distance (1 hour 48 mins 12 seconds) and while I had no expectations that this year would be another, I felt that wearing the shirt might be good luck!


This year’s shirt – which I wanted to trade in for a smaller size

Before I left home, however, there was a bit of a glitch. Without being too graphic…the morning was tarnished by some gastrointestinal distress. Is it nerves? Is it because I shouldn’t have eaten those chips last night? (I shouldn’t have.) Whatever the cause, I popped some pills, including probiotics and some Immodium, and hoped for the best. Since the start line is less than 10 minutes from my place, I waited until about an hour before gun time to head out.

Forerunners – host of my weekly clinic – is one of the title sponsors for this fun and well-organized event. I arrived at the venue, and caught up with a bunch of my clinic peeps.


Me and my running buddy, Lucy

I made a porta-potty pit stop, downed a gel, and then headed to the starting corral. I put myself in the 1:45 pace area – might as well set my sights high!

IMG_6699 IMG_6700

One of my Twitter buddies, Debra Kato, also took this uber-happy photo of me:


We sang the national anthem and then – literally seconds later – the 5 second countdown started! And GO!

I had a few goals for this race:

  1. Try to rely less on my Garmin, and listen to my body instead.
  2. Not go out too fast, and save some energy for the end.
  3. Keep my cadence pretty high (i.e. take shorter, quicker steps – rather than longer strides).
  4. If possible, achieve a negative split. (For the non-runners out there, that just means running the second half faster than the first half.)

The first two kilometres take us from the Roundhouse Community Centre in Yaletown, around BC Place Stadium, and back toward the Roundhouse. My first km was a bit fast, but the second was a bit slow…so I decided to try and find a happy medium. I won’t go into the details, but suffice it to say that I managed to achieve a pretty consistent pace that put me on the right track.

Also, at about the same time, I thought that phlegm guy was back. (Check out my Eastside 10K race report for context!) However, it turned out to be phlegm girl, and thankfully I either outpaced her, or she got control of her sinus issues, because it only lasted a kilometre or two.

Here’s a map of the First Half Half Marathon, to put the course into perspective:

Snap 2015-02-15 at 13.03.05

I’ve gushed about the beauty of running in Vancouver, and today was no exception. As the fog started to burn off, I managed to snap this mid-run photo near Lost Lagoon (around the 7km mark – right where the black dot is on the map above).


As we hit the halfway mark somewhere along the Seawall, I checked my time. Not ideal, but a time with some potential. I picked up the pace a tad. This part of the race is tough – Stanley Park continues to be my nemesis – though I have beaten it down before. On the dark side of the park, the fog was still pretty thick and I could barely see Siwash Rock:


At 19km, knowing that there were a couple of hills in my near future, I kicked it up a notch. My better half was waiting at the top of the first hill at the 20km mark:

Snap 2015-02-15 at 16.42.17

When I crested the second hill, with less than 1km remaining, I gave it all I had. And crossed the finish line with a time that was unquestionably a PB!

Celebration ensued!


I also became a bit of a #fanboi, and snapped a selfie with Dylan Wykes. Dylan is a Forerunners ambassador, and also happened to win today’s race with a time of 1:07:20!

IMG_6704 IMG_6706

In terms of my race goals:

  1. I checked my Garmin on occasion, but didn’t let it control me.
  2. Although I started a wee bit fast, I got things under control and had some power left at the end.
  3. My average cadence was 184spm (steps per minute) – 180spm or higher is said to be optimal.
  4. A negative split! My second half was just over a minute faster than my first half (of the First Half)!

It couldn’t have been a better day! This is my fourth First Half (and my best so far). As usual, the food and volunteers were stellar. And although I had to wait around a bit to get a smaller shirt, someone turned in a men’s small at just the right time! Kudos to the organizers for yet another amazing race!


Final results:

Chip time: 1:47:37 (35-second PB!)
Average pace: 5:06 min/km
Place overall: 723/2082
Age category place: 76/135

Do you have a favourite race? Do you set goals before heading out? Share your experiences!
If you’re not a runner – what goals have you set in terms of fitness or other personal achievements?

UPDATE – July 2015:

Added this race report to The Silvah Lining‘s  recap linkup!

The Silvah Lining

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!