Posts Tagged ‘vancouver’

Eastside 10K

Disclaimer: I won 2 free entries to the Eastside 10K from Modo Car Coop from their #ModoMobi contest. I appreciated the opportunity to run, and to invite a friend!

Now in its fourth year, the Eastside 10K remains one of my favourite Vancouver races. In addition to the charitable component, supporting the Downtown Eastside, the race winds through some of the most historic parts of the city. It’s well-organized, and I always run into a bunch of familiar & friendly faces on race day.

Except this year…those faces were really, really wet.

Flashback to 2015 – a rainy Eastside 10K. I thought we had it rough. I was wrong.

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VanRace

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to VanRace 30K in order to promote and review the race on my blog. Thank you to Euan, our illustrious Race Director, for this opportunity!

VanRace VanRace

When I reviewed VanRace 2015, I commented that it was hard to believe it was an inaugural race. Well, now that we’ve hit year two, I have to reiterate my opinion: this is one darned good race! Last year, of course, I ‘merely’ ran the 15K…

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SeaWheeze

Anyone who knows yoga knows lululemon athletica. Anyone who lives in Vancouver – yogi or not – knows lululemon. And like it or not, lululemon is part of the Vancouver athletic landscape. Any runner or would-be who likes yoga – or who can’t get enough of lululemon – knows about SeaWheeze.

The SeaWheeze Half Marathon launched in 2012, making this year its fifth anniversary. Previously, all I knew about the SeaWheeze was that there were a lot of women running, and that buying exclusive lululemon/SeaWheeze gear was serious business. Not being particularly brand-driven, and owning no lululemon gear myself (except some running sleeves I got as a gift a few years back), I had never felt the urge to register for this relatively pricey half marathon.

However, when both Debra and Susan encouraged me to sign up for 2016, I decided to give it a go. Why not? And that’s where this story begins…

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Big congratulations to Eric B. who won this year’s VanRace Giveaway!
Eric will be running the 15K. Find him on Twitter here.
**Register online by Wednesday, August 24 at vanrace.ca**

VanRace Giveaway

Summer isn’t over yet! That means you still have a chance to fit in one more big race before the autumn weather starts to creep in! Enter my VanRace Giveaway 2016 below to win a free entry to either the 15K or the 30K VanRace!

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Summerfast 10K

This year’s Summerfast 10K was everything a local race should be – except, in my case, fast. It was well-organized, with familiar faces, plentiful prizes, delicious food and ideal running weather. Hosted by the Vancouver Falcons Athletic Club (VFAC), it was simply a great race!

I’ll admit that I’ve been slacking on doing any speed work for…well, for quite sometime. Sure, I’ve kept up with running, on weekends and a lunchtime, but I haven’t made it to any of the after-work speed clinics or pushed myself to pick the pace the way I should.

So it’s hardly a surprise that I didn’t get the race results I would have liked.

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ScotiaHalf

Another year has passed, and the summer is fast approaching…and it’s hard to believe that in just three weeks I’ll be running another Scotiabank Half Marathon <– click on that link to sign up!

I’m excited about this year’s #ScotiaHalf for a few reason:

  1. I have the honour of representing the race as a Digital Champion
  2. My dad will be in town to see me finish the race (read more about my dad here)
  3. This will be my silver anniversary half marathon – yep, my 25th half marathon ever!

So, what have I been doing to prepare for my next half marathon? Well, probably not as much as I should be…but I’m doing my best!

At the beginning of May, I finished the BMO Vancouver Half Marathon – it wasn’t a PB, but it turned out to be in the TOP 3 of my half marathons, so that’s not too shabby.

Unfortunately, my ‘training’ was impacted by the very burdensome task of taking an overseas vacation…(in case you missed it, that statement is dripping with sarcasm…)

During my vacation, I continued with my runs – although I admit that they were not long or especially speedy, and involved a few stops along the way for scenic photos. (Read more about Running England, should you care to see a few pics from London and Yorkshire – in total, I ran about 42km in the UK!)

Back home in Vancouver, I started out running 17km with the Forerunners gang – in torrential rain. Seriously, we had perfect weather in England and Scotland, and this is what I came back to! Never been so wet in my life. It took three days for my shoes to dry out.

ScotiaHalf ScotiaHalf

A few days later, I happily joined my dear friend Debra and fellow Digital Champion, along with other Scotiabank Half supporters, for a Pizza Training Run sponsored by Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria! Numbers were down slightly due to the threat of rain, which we laughed off…only to be drenched during our 5km loop in East Van. (On the flip side, I got to #fanboi on one of my running heroes, Rob Watson!)

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This weekend, I ran the Ambleside Mile – part of the West Van Run family of races! I tacked on an extra 14.5km to make sure I was keeping up the distance because, you know, the Scotia Half is just three weeks away!

ScotiaHalf ScotiaHalf

I’m also very pleased to report that fundraising on behalf of BC Cancer Foundation is going well. At $2,664, I’m just over $300 shy of my $3,000 goal for 2016 in memory of my Mom. Should you be able to support this cause, please donate here.

ScotiaHalf

Mom & me – I’m running in her memory!

Look forward to seeing you at the Scotiabank Half Marathon on June 26!

I’m also going to jump back in and join the Weekly Wrap-Up with MissSippiPiddlin and HoHoRuns!

WeeklyWrap

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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Sun Run 2016

Posted: April 28, 2016 in My Story
Tags: , , ,

Sun Run

Celebrated my sixth Sun Run this year! Here’s a quick recap of the last few years:

  • Sun Run 2009 (1:17:23) – my very first race…ever! Finished in a solid one hour and 17 minutes
  • Sun Run 2010 (1:04:58) – trimmed over 10 minutes off my previous race results
  • Sun Run 2011 (1:03:23) – slightly faster, but still room for improvement!
  • Sun Run 2012 (57:39) – finally broke the one hour mark
  • Sun Run 2013 – registered, but had to pull out due to my Mom’s illness
  • Sun Run 2014 – falling the weekend before my very first marathon, I decided to give the race a miss; fortunately, there’s a guest blog!
  • Sun Run 2015 (47:08) – hot on the heels of my 10K PB at West Van Run, set my course record by breaking 50 minutes!
  • Sun Run 2016 (??) – read on to learn how this year’s race turned out!

Just me and 40,000 of my closest friends ran this year’s Sun Run. After all these years, I knew what I was in for – crowds, crowds and more crowds. And, at the same time, lots of smiles, amazing energy in the city, and (yet again) beautiful spring weather. That’s the Sun Run!

I signed up with a large group of colleagues and their family and friends. There were close to 150 of us representing. But in the chaos at the start line, I didn’t run into anyone I knew this year…

THE START LINE

Predictably, I got complacent. The Sun Run start line is less than 15 minutes walk from home. Sure, I went through the usual routine, ate my oatmeal, drank some coffee…and then another cup of coffee. Though we had plenty of time to get to Burrard and Georgia, it dawned on me that the coffee had gone straight through. I lined up for the porta-potties.

And then I waited.

And waited.

What the heck are people doing in there?!

Although I was in and out in a flash, by the time I got to my corral…well, it was full. I had strategically seeded myself in the Yellow corral, the one right behind the elites…but there was no room for me.

Sun Run Sun Run

I crowded into the Green corral, blocked by a fence, and knew that this year would not be a Sun Run PB. Because no matter where you are, they will walk. Predicted finish time: 44 minutes? The walkers will be there. Five across. Holding hands.

ON THE COURSE

The Green corral was released not long after the Yellow corral, so it was a relatively short wait. But here’s the thing about the Sun Run…unless you’re at the front, you will never be nimble enough to dodge the hordes before you. And this happened to me.

The gun for the Green corral went off, and as we shuffled toward the timing mat, the announcer was yelling: “No running! Wait until you cross the mat!” I assume people were being trampled. I kept my eyes forward.

Over the mat, onwards! And then, at perhaps 100 metres, the girl in front of me fumbled, gasped (I can only assume), and dropped her smartphone. And came to a dead stop. Right in front of me. A collision was unavoidable. But I ricocheted off her, recovered my pace, and continued.

A good chunk of the race was a blur. The route is so familiar, one that I’ve run so many times, that none of it stood out particularly. Except:

  • Christina cheering as we ran along Pacific Ave.
  • One team with awesome Star Wars themed shirts…but I only ever saw the back, so I have no idea who they were *sad face*
  • A guy dressed as…moss man? At one point I thought he was beating me, but I definitely finished first!

And, naturally, a whole lot of fancy footwork to avoid being tripped, trampled or otherwise catapulted off the course by many members of the running public!

THE FINISH

I heard someone call my name as I veered up onto Cambie Bridge, just before 9k. Who was it? Rumour suggests it might have been Lucy, but I have no evidence to back that up. And then the finish line…I hear the name of my coworker Lana being called (how random, out of tens of thousands of people!), and I’m done.

Truly done. Hot and sweaty and done.

I waited around to watch a few people finish – a few folks spot me and come by for a chat. Finally, I head indoors, where BC Place is absolutely rocking.

Sun Run

Finally, we join some friends for brunch, and head home. Another Sun Run in the bag.

REFLECTIONS

Now, don’t get me wrong, Yes, I may sound a bit complainy about the challenges inherent with the Sun Run…the crowds, the runners who don’t really know running etiquette, the challenge to achieve a decent time (which, by the way, people do). But, I love this race. It has a special place in my heart since it’s how I began. It’s my origin story, of sorts.

And the Sun Run brings together so many people – runner, non-runners, new runners, walkers, friends, family, coworkers, strangers – and gets them out, on the streets of this amazing city, in a big, colourful, noisy, disastrously chaotic yet incredibly well-organized celebration.

So, really, I’ve got nothing to complain about! See you at Sun Run 2017!!

Sun Run

Final Results

Chip Time: 48:46
Average Pace: 4:52 min/km
Place Overall: 2688/41138
Age Category Place: 197/1667

Sun Run 2016 – Quick Review

Social Media: Organized through my company, there wasn’t the need for too much social media – plus, I knew pretty much what to expect. However, @VancouverSunRun had a pretty active Twitter feed, and engaged with its audience really well!

Packet Pickup: We had a corporate team event that involved free appies, so this was quick and easy!

T-Shirt/Swag: For the first time (in my experience), the Sun Run t-shirt was not cotton, but a legitimate technical shirt in blue and black. A nice souvenir that I can use in the future!

Course: Scenic, as is to be expected in Vancouver. The first kilometre downhill is always a challenge, trying to gain some momentum without going out too strong, and dodging walkers on the way. There are a couple of challenging hills…Hornby between Beach and Pacific, Burrard Bridge, and Cambie Bridge. But I’m pretty familiar with these, so I was prepared.

Post-Race: The BC Place festival is epic. Thousands and thousands of people on the stadium floor, free samples galore (if you’re willing to line up), and gigantic letters so you can pre-arrange meeting places. I didn’t stick around too long this year, but it’s quite an experience.

Organization: Given the scale of the event, I cannot but commend the organizers for pulling this off year after year. Tremendous!

Would I run it again? Oh, you know I will! How can I not?