Posts Tagged ‘runvan’

Coming up with fresh content for a blog post can often be a challenge. When running lots of races, sure, I have heaps of things to talk about. But as 2018 comes to a close, I realize that I’ve been pretty quiet the past few weeks. And that’s OK. Things start fresh again…tomorrow, right? For now, I’ll reflect on the past year with my ‘Best Of’ for 2018!

Stats for 2018

Total Kilometres Run: 1900km
Total Elevation: 26,646m (according to Strava)
Number of Races: 20
Longest Race: 42.2km (Eugene Marathon)
Shortest Race: 1.67km (Ambleside Mile)
Number of Destination Races: 3
Number of Medals: 12
Number of Weeks Sick when I didn’t run: 6

Favourite Race

Every race has its good points and some have their own challenges. Every race I did in 2018 was awesome. But I think the Around the Bay 30k in Hamilton, Ontario was my stand-out race of the year. In part, this is because it was combined with a family visit; also, it was a training run leading up to Eugene Marathon, and I executed the entire race as planned.

best of 2018

Biggest Change

Although not specifically running related, we moved! After nearly 14 years in the same wee condo in downtown Vancouver, we made the decision to sell and relocate to a slightly bigger space in beautiful North Vancouver. This has impacted our daily commutes, training location and running crew, proximity to the trails and overall lifestyle. All for the best, for sure, but a huge shift for us.

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View from the North Shore

Biggest Disappointment

I got sick. Like, really sick. Nothing that a doctor could diagnose or do anything about, but a cough-turned-chest congestion knocked me on my ass and kept me from running for 6 weeks. The unfortunate consequence was not just one but two DNS (did-not-start) races for 2018 – the Gunner Shaw Cross Country (which I missed last year for the same reason) and the revived Moustache Miler. Fingers crossed I can try again for 2019!

Favourite Medal(s)

This is a tough one because every medal holds meaning. But I have to admit that I’m a bit of a sucker for the bling and a bit of heftiness in a medal. This one is a draw between:

The Hot Chocolate 15k medal from Seattle, which includes a Space Needle keychain and looks like a freakin’ chocolate bar!

hot chocolate 15k seattle

And the Vancouver Scotiabank Half Marathon medal, with its primary colours and slick, modern design.

Scotiabank Half Marathon

Favourite Race Shirt(s)

I’ve got three categories for this one, because I can’t choose just one!

Favourite tech shirt: the Eugene Marathon shirt made me so happy – comfortable fabric and fit by Nike, a snazzy design, and great memories of a successful race.

best of 2018

Favourite casual shirt: the SHLF Run found me a perfect medium-sized shirt – beautiful soft material, soothing colour and a simple logo.

best of 2018

Favourite long-sleeved: the Hot Chocolate 15k had these cozy quarter-zip shirts in a gorgeous teal – ideal for cold-weather running. I also like that it has a wee zip pocket beside the logo to hold keys and/or a bus pass!

hot chocolate 15k seattle

Unexpected Success

I participated the 2nd annual North Van Run 5k and somehow managed to come second in my age group (Male 40-49) with a chip time of 23:11. Running with so many amazing athletes, I am absolutely humbled by this result. Loved the extra medal, too!

best of 2018

Happiest Race Photo

At the start line of the Granville Island Turkey Trot, this little snap of my signature Japanese-style pose for the camera!

Granville Island Turkey Trot

Best ‘Face of Pain’ Race Photo

Thanks to ‘paparazzi’ extraordinaire, Seann Sheriland, for capturing the final, painful moments of the Ambleside Mile.

best of 2018

Proudest Moment

Hands down, Eugene Marathon 2018. With 3 marathons under my belt, I was determined to achieve my goal of breaking the 4-hour marathon in 2018. Thanks to the amazing support of my running buddies at Forerunners and Mile2Marathon – and the expert coaching of Tony Tomsich – I finished Eugene with a time of 3:55:45.

best of 2018

What about 2019?

Great question! I haven’t set any really specific goals for the year, but here are a few things I’d like to focus on:

  • Sun Run 2019 – this will be the 10th anniversary of my very first run! Obviously, can’t miss it!
  • North Shore Trails – now that I live in North Van, the trails are calling. I’ve done a couple of trail runs in the past (5 Peaks; MEC), but I’d like to get into this a bit more.
  • Grouse Mountain – I’ve got an annual pass, we have new snowshoes – I expect to spend more time on / climbing up Grouse!
  • Cycling – our place downtown didn’t have space to store a bike, and I had easy access to Mobi bike share when I wanted to cycle. Getting a bike and doing some riding is definitely on my list.

Thanks to all my readers for the support over the past year! Wishing everyone a very Happy New Year and all the best for 2019!

fall classic

Wrapping up the 2018 RunVan race series, the Fall Classic is incredibly popular with the Vancouver running community. Held on campus at the University of British Columbia, the Fall Classic tagline as ‘Vancouver’s last great run of the year‘ is evidenced by the fact that it sold out yet again this year. In addition, if you’ve run the BMO Vancouver Marathon (or Half or 8K) and the Granville Island Turkey Trot, the Fall Classic earns you the coveted Hat Trick!

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Granville Island Turkey Trot

The very best thing to do on Thanksgiving weekend – whether before or after your turkey (or, in our case, salmon) dinner – is run a race! And why not make it the Granville Island Turkey Trot?! With costumes, friendly faces, oodles of food and RunVan medals, it’s a favourite tradition of many locals who swarm the False Creek Seawall on Thanksgiving Monday morning.

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fall classic

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Fall Classic 5k as a result of volunteering as a pacer.

Although I had intended to act as a pacer in the 2016 Big Elf Run, the weather had other plans. Due to the snow and ice, there were no official pacers. And due to the road conditions, I was barely able to manage the pace I would have been responsible for! So when the opportunity to pace for the 2017 Fall Classic presented itself, I jumped at the chance!

Read on to learn more about the Fall Classic, and how things went from a pacing perspective…

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BMO Vancouver MarathonWhen I signed up for the BMO Vancouver Half Marathon, it never occurred to me that I might end up running the full. Having only done two full marathons before – Vancouver and Honolulu (both in 2014) – another marathon wasn’t on my radar. Until some of the wily women I run with convinced that we should tackle it together. So, after a few weeks of hemming and hawing, I upgraded to the BMO Vancouver Marathon. That’s how I got here.

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BMO Vancouver Half Marathon

Facebook informed me that Sunday (May 1, 2016) was the five year RUNiversary of my very first half marathon – the 2011 BMO Vancouver Half Marathon! And it was a great day for celebration! Here’s what I looked like in 2011:

BMO Vancouver Half Marathon

Over the past few months, I have been running fairly consistently with the #RunVan Club on Thursday mornings at 6:30am. If you know me, you know I’m not a morning person – so this is a big deal. And it speaks to the quality of people I get the opportunity to run with in the early hours! RunVan is sponsored by the Vancouver International Marathon Society and the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel – and led by a group of very dedicated runners.

I hadn’t originally committed to signing up for the BMO Half Marathon this year – but I was so inspired by the RunVan gang that I ended up taking the plunge! I’m so glad I did!

The Expo

HUGE kudos to the Expo organizers!

In recent years, since I’ve run the BMO, the Health & Fitness Expo has been held at the ‘old’ convention centre. There was always a long lineup to get in, the whole bib pickup process was very transactional, and the expo itself was chaos – crowds of people milling about in all different directions.

THIS year, the venue moved to the new Vancouver Convention Centre, and it was sheer bliss! Just steps from my office, my coworker Kyla (who was running the 8k) and I ventured to the Convention Centre, decked out in BMO blue!

BMO Vancouver Half Marathon BMO Vancouver Half Marathon

Bib pickup was super-quick – if you didn’t know your number, there was a printed out list on boards at the entrance. While waiting in line, ran into Siobhan (@semcc53) – one of my RunVan buddies, fresh off her Boston Marathon!

BMO Vancouver Half Marathon

Another RunVan friend, Greg (@gherringer), was manning the course maps.

BMO Vancouver Half Marathon

Entering the exhibition hall, we were awed at the grandness of it all!

BMO Vancouver Half Marathon

In my opinion, the great thing about the layout was that it zigzagged through the hall, allowing you to browse the many vendors, chatting with friends along the way. We spent some time with Debra, who was bringing her usual enthusiasm to the CRS West booth (Debra and I are both Digital Champions for the Scotiabank Half Marathon!).

BMO Vancouver Half Marathon

Also encourage you to visit the website of Arroyo – a new brand of trail running gear from local entrepreneur and speedy runner, Ben!

Arroyo

There were a few minor complaints from those who didn’t want to linger, and felt the expo flow made it impossible to do a beeline to the t-shirt pickup. However, I’m fairly certain there was an open passage at the edge of the hall.

We picked up our t-shirt, free transit passes – and realized we had spent over an hour enjoying the event! Well done, BMO Vancouver Marathon!

Race Day – Start Line

The Half Marathon started at 7am, and Debra had promised to take some photos at the start line before she ran the full Marathon, which started at 8:30am. I picked her up in my trusty Evo, and we headed to Queen Elizabeth Park in the centre of Vancouver proper.

The sun was shining, there was a slight chill in the air, but it was clear that the day would soon warm up. We ran into several friends – including Caroline, Fiona and Jeannine.

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And after a few quick visits to the loo (yay for men’s urinal station!), off to the corral!

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Race Day – The Course

I’ve run this route a few times, and I think I did a pretty good job of telling its story in my 2015 BMO Vancouver Half Marathon race report. So I won’t go into a whole lot of detail. Here are a few of my recollections of this year’s race experience:

  • The lead wheelchair racer passing everyone on the downhill!
  • Awesome view of lead runners heading down Cambie Street, and up onto Cambie Bridge – with BC Place as the backdrop

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  • Thinking ‘if this were the Sun Run I’d nearly be done’ – on Cambie Bridge at kilometre 4
  • Being left hanging when I tried high-fiving a spectator at the turnaround…she high-fived the guy ahead of me!
  • Wishing I was at brunch as we passed White Spot on Dunsmuir (we ended up going there for brunch afterward, at my suggestion!)

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  • Passing the lead wheelchair racer on an uphill (a couple of times…but I’m pretty sure he finished before me!)
  • I thought Pipeline Road was the challenging hill, but what are all these hills in Stanley Park? Were these here last year?
  • Catching a glimpse of Caroline around mile 12…trying to catch her, but never quite reaching her…
  • That final stretch to the finish line…cheering spectators on both sides…music and announcements and noise and just trying to reach that goal…

Race Day – Finish Line

I haven’t pushed myself that hard in a race for a while. I earned this medal!

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Finally caught up with Caroline (umm…because she had stopped running) – and despite her pre-race protestations that I ‘always beat her’ in races, she bested me by about 30 seconds!

A voice behind me: “Are you Bradley?” Me: “Yep!” Him: “I read your blog all the time!” Me: “Aw, thanks! Let’s take a selfie!” New running buddy Jonathan and me (taken by his wife, who kindly didn’t steal my iPhone!):

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And Michelle, our Fairmont Waterfront rep and RunVan fan!

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Gathered up my green banana (ewww…), a couple bags of chips, a veggie sandwich (that I would eat much later in the day), and off to watch a few more friends finish their race. One more photo…

BMO Vancouver Half Marathon

And then brunch time!

Not a PB, but a negative split, and Top 3 out of my 24 half marathons to date! Not too shabby!

Runner of a Certain Age Podcast

I’m also very honoured to say that – along with fellow runner, Kaella – I was featured in a guest spot on the Runner of a Certain Age Podcast, hosted by one of my favourite BibRave Pros, Elizabeth! You can visit the page and download the podcast here. You should subscribe, too!!

roca

Final Results

Chip Time: 1:46:03
Average Pace: 4:59 min/km
Place Overall: 975/8720
Age Category Place: 83/439

BMO Vancouver Half Marathon 2016 – Quick Review

Social Media: BMO/RunVan does a great job of social media – Twitter, Facebook…they pay attention to what’s going on, follow up and connect. Thumbs up!

Packet Pickup: As noted in my report, this year’s Expo was a huge improvement over previous years – new venue, smooth flow of people, quick and efficient. Plus, a bunch of people I knew!! Two thumbs up!

T-Shirt/Swag: I really like this year’s t-shirt. The colour is kind of a blue-green, something I don’t already have. The design is simple but impactful, and the fabric quality is light but not too thin. The medal is similar to that of previous years, clean design, and solid. Nice!

Course: A great spectrum of what Vancouver has to offer! City streets, ocean views, Stanley Park…what more could you ask for? The one complaint I heard is that because we weren’t running the Seawall during the Half, the views of the ocean were not as spectacular. This was not my experience!

Post-Race: The flow of people at the finish line was smooth. Medals, photos, water, juice and bananas – all delivered by awesome volunteers! Other food was piled high, allowing us to grab what we needed as we went by. Baggage pickup was pretty quick. There was a ‘street party’ nearby, but I made a beeline out to meet friends.

Organization: I really thought BMO organizers did a great job this year. The one glitch (that may have been a technical issue at Sportstats) is that results were slow in coming. There were volunteers with iPads near the finish line, but the informed us the website had crashed. Many folks had Facebook/Twitter notifications popping up about them being on the run…hours after they had finished the race. This problem should definitely be addressed! Otherwise, things went off without a hitch!

Would I run it again? Vancouver’s only marathon, along with a half marathon and an 8k…as well as a marathon relay! Chances are pretty good that you’ll see me on the course in the future!

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