Posts Tagged ‘rain’

Steveston Ice-Breaker 8k

Not in recent memory have I not wanted to run a race. Sure, there have been races where I was nervous or anxious beforehand, but I always looked forward to the run. In this case, after a couple of days of ‘man-cold’ – followed by a nearly sleepless night – I was feeling just sorry enough for myself to consider skipping the event entirely. The race in question? The Steveston Ice-Breaker 8k.

Steveston Ice-Breaker 8k

Have you ever seen the TV show Once Upon a Time? If so, you’ll recognize Steveston as Storybrooke, where most of the action occurs. It’s a small fishing village and historic salmon canning centre about 30 minutes south of Vancouver, and now a popular tourist destination.

And as you may have gleaned from the fact that I’m writing this race report, I heaved myself out of bed in time to catch the train to Richmond, where Lucy kindly met me at the station en route to Steveston.

It was Lucy – my Forerunners buddy – who encouraged me to sign up for the Ice-Breaker. In turn, I persuaded Susan (who did her first half marathon back in October!) to participate. And since I had picked up bibs for both of them on Friday night at the Running Room, I clearly had no excuse for not showing up. We arrived at the Steveston Community Centre, meeting up with Susan and a bunch of Forerunners folks, just as the rain started to fall.

Steveston Ice-Breaker 8k

Susan & me

Steveston Ice-Breaker 8k

Standing shivering and damp at the Start/Finish Line, I knew that my first race of 2016 was going to be a tough one.

Steveston Ice-Breaker 8k Steveston Ice-Breaker 8k

Heading Out

The Ice-Breaker is an out-and-back course along the Steveston riverfront and dyke. Arguably, it’s a fast and flat course. But to say that today’s weather was punishing could be considered an understatement. For the first kilometre, we zigzagged through some residential areas, and the rain started in earnest. Then we passed the historic Britannia Shipyards (well worth a visit in the summer months!) and headed onto the dyke.

Now we were fully exposed to the elements. I had been squinting into the rain, but the wind picked up and it felt as though tiny needles were being hurled at my face. Not exactly cold, but fighting the gusts off the water made moving forward a chore. The path turned to gravel, mud and puddles. My feet were soaked and aching. And although I was wearing a Buff, the buffeting wind in my right ear was a constant roar.

Because I could barely open my eyes, I couldn’t see much scenery beyond what was right in front of me. On the grey, rolling river I saw a couple of chip barges, with more grey sky in the background.

Steveston Ice-Breaker 8k

Then we turned around.

Heading Back

Maybe the rain let up a bit. Maybe it was because the return route was on the road, rather than the path. Maybe it was the wind at our backs. But heading back was so much easier. No more stinging needles on my skin. A bit more downhill.

And a negative split – the second four kilometres nearly 2 minutes faster than the first four!

Steveston Ice-Breaker 8k Steveston Ice-Breaker 8k

I managed to pass a few people in the last few hundred metres, and crossed the Finish Line with a result that was better than I had expected, given my nasty, self-pitying man-cold and the miserable weather.

And I was thrilled to cheer Susan across the finish line!

Steveston Ice-Breaker 8k

Afterward

We all gathered back at the Community Centre, where we were supplied with hot soup, pizza, bagels, fruit and coffee. Age group awards were doled – including to a few speedsters from Forerunners. That was followed by a bevvy of door prizes, and once again some of our posse reaped the benefits. We all headed out for lunch in Richmond.

And then I went home to bed.

Unsurprisingly, my results were mediocre in comparison with what I’ve accomplished in the past. But I have no regrets about doing this race and plan to better my time next year!

Steveston Ice-Breaker 8k

See you in 2017!

**NOTE: Special thanks to Debra Kato (@debrakato) and Susan Kristiansen for kindly sharing their photos!**

Final Results

Chip Time: 40:12
Average Pace: 5:01 min/km
Place Overall: 117/273
Age Category Place: 10/16

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RACE REPORT

Packet Pickup
A very low-key affair at the Running Room – a table and a volunteer with bibs and a list of names. Quick and painless.

T-Shirt/Swag
Nothing – this is a minimalist event. Cheap and cheerful.

Course
As described, a flat out-and-back course. On a sunny day, this would be an extremely scenic route along the South Arm of the Fraser River, past some local historic sites. On a rainy and windy day like today, it was just rainy and windy. The volunteers along the route were troopers, though – cheering and encouraging with their umbrellas and rain gear. There was one water stop at the turnaround point – but I think most of us had enough water falling on us that we didn’t need any more!

Post-Race
Muscle MLK at the Finish Line, followed by a good array of food back at the Steveston Community Centre (soup, pizza, fruit, bagels, coffee). It was nice to have a place to gather inside given what was going on outside. And although I didn’t win a door prize, there were some pretty awesome items to be won, including gift cards from the Running Room, MEC and local restaurants, and even free flights with Harbour Air. Not bad, considering there were only about 275 participants in total!

Would I Run It Again?
I’m committed to bettering my time next year! This is a great local race – and although it has none of the frills (like t-shirts and finisher medals) of larger races, it’s got a positive atmosphere with a lots of familiar faces. See you in 2017!

WeeklyWrap

Since my week consisted of 1) being sick and 2) running a race, I’m going to link up again with Holly from HoHo Runs and Tricia at MissSippiPiddlin for their Weekly Wrap! Join in by visiting either (or both!) of their pages!

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

This year – not so much!

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

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And the pitter patter of rain on the window.

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

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

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

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

The Course

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

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

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

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

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

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

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And cheered on some runners at the finish line:

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

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And then home for a well-earned nap!

Final Results

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

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RACE REPORT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RAIN

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

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

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FOG

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

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

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Foot of Burrard Bridge

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Burrard Bridge mid-span

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Kits Beach

SNOW

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

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

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

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Kamloops – fresh snow

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

I just have to decide what to wear!

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

 

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

Why rain sucks

There are lots of reasons to dislike rainy weather:

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

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

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

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

Why rain is awesome!

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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