Posts Tagged ‘weekend update’

Fort Langley Half Marathon

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not a morning person. So when my alarm went off at 4:50am today, you can imagine the struggle. Actually, the real struggle was setting the alarm the night before – it truly pained me more than any race. And then the cat threw up at 1:58am, which pulled me out of my restful sleep. That’s how Sunday started.

I hadn’t planned to run the Fort Langley Half Marathon. It was in my calendar as a maybe, I considered it and then dismissed it as too far out of the way, something to save for another time. And then a couple of weeks ago Bob mentioned that he was still trying to figure out how he was going to get there. I said, “Well, if I sign up, I could get a car and we could go together.” And just like that, Fort Langley was a go.

Race Day

I had my usual oatmeal, and blended up a simple smoothie to bring along. My stomach was feeling a wee bit off, but I tried not to let it distract me. I picked up the car, drove over to Bob’s place, and we headed off to Fort Langley. The drive took almost exactly one hour, and we arrived in plenty of time to pick up our bibs and t-shirts – the line was short.

Fort Langley

We lined up for the porta-potty. There were three, and the third was was a bit unstable (Bob gamely took advantage of the fact that it was empty, and I was glad he didn’t tip right over!). About 15 minutes before the race, I took a PowerGel – Kona Punch, which I had been saving since the Honolulu Marathon.

Kona Punch

Fellow Forerunners Mabel and Alex were there. Alex wasn’t running, but this was Mabel’s 20th (?) race so far this year, and her 70th half marathon overall! She’s an incredible runner, with energy to spare!

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The Start Line was not crowded – Bob and I got up pretty close to the front of the pack. At 7:30, the gun went off.

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0-7 Kilometres
The race starts out with a one kilometre loop through residential Fort Langley, so we revisited the start within a few minutes. Then we headed out onto a fairly busy road, running along the shoulder which was paved and easy. Course marshals were waiting at each turn to make sure we were going the right direction. Around 4km, there was a small hill – one a race director might describe as ‘undulating’ or ‘rolling’ – but otherwise the course was fairly flat to this point.

Scenery was typically ‘countryside’ – fields, houses, fields. The sky was blessedly overcast and, although there was definitely some humidity in the air, the temperature was fairly cool. I felt pretty strong.


8-14 Kilometres
The course description says:

The route will go East on River Road for 700 metres before turning onto Armstrong. The hill on Armstrong will be the most challenging part of the route.

To be clear, ‘the hill’ is a series of three hills, with short reprieves. The photos simply cannot capture the steepness of these hills. (Note the guy in the white t-shirt…he comes into play later.)


My Garmin tells me that the grades were somewhere between 4% and 6.5%. I don’t know exactly what this means, but it felt steep. Whatever sweat I had been saving up along the way showed up during this arduous trek. My pace slowed significantly. Finally we reached a flat stretch at the top.

After turning onto Telegraph Trail, there were twists and turns and a couple of steep downhills. There were cows.

Cows FullSizeRender_1

I worried a bit about traffic coming around the bend in the road, but this never ended up being an issue. The busiest stretch was the bit past the Thunderbird Show Track, and then we turned a corner onto another quiet stretch.

14-21.1 Kilometres
With the exception of the first couple of kilometres, I had been essentially alone for most of the race. I could see about half a dozen people ahead of me, including Bob – but once we crested the hill(s), he was out of sight. A couple of folks passed me early on, but I overtook them eventually.

One guy with a fairly heavy tread caught up with me twice, but I ended up scooting past him when he paused at a water stop. I also caught up with Bob at the 15km aid station – he groaned when he saw me and I waved as I went by! I had started to gain on him, and this was my chance to take the lead.

***I will pause here to encourage you to check out Bob’s guest blog post – the NYC Marathon!***

We were now in familiar territory, having completed a loop and returning the way we came. I felt confident and strong, knowing there were no more hills (just that one undulation), and I kicked it up a notch. I passed the guy in the white shirt (from the hills) and received a ‘Good job!’ as I went by.

During the last kilometre, I could see literally no one ahead of me. The Finish Line came into view, I pushed to the end, and the race was over!

Medal Medal

I was so pleased to receive a medal! For these smaller (and cheaper) races, you sometimes don’t even get a t-shirt. In this case, the medals were ceramic, homemade, and each one unique. The t-shirts, too, were really cute – vintage style, a really nice blue-green colour. They are cotton, not technical – but a great casual shirt that I’ll wear again.

Bob arrived soon after, and Alex and I cheered as both he and Mabel completed the race.

Bob Mabel

Took advantage of the food provided – fresh watermelon, bagels with peanut butter – and then headed to a local coffee shop for a caffeine boost with Mabel and Alex. The drive home was quick and uneventful, and I made pretty good time. I dropped Bob off. I took a nap.

The Fort Langley Half Marathon is by far the smallest race I have run, with just 100 runners in the half (there was also a 5k, with about 80 participants). But it was also one of the friendliest, and certainly well-organized. A tough course, and a great experience.

Bob & me

Final Results:
Chip Time: 1:51:36
Average pace: 5:17 min/km
Overall: 27/101
Age ranking: 6/12


Also – happy to yet again link up with Tara from Running ‘n’ Reading for her Weekend Update!




This is a small, local race. Nothing fancy, nothing posh. Just friendly people, a challenging course, and a great atmosphere. I’m glad to made the decision to make the trek to Fort Langley. Totally worth it.

Packet Pickup/Expo
We had the option of picking up packets on Friday or Saturday, but I would have had to drive to Langley, White Rock or Abbotsford – none of which is close to home. But there was race day pickup, and we waited about 5 minutes to get our bibs and t-shirts from a table under a tent. No expo here!

The t-shirt is a cotton Gildan shirt – good quality, great colour, fun vintage look. On the back it says ’12’ – which I’ve been led to understand is because this is the 12th year of the race. I honestly didn’t expect to get a medal, but I was delighted to have this lovely ceramic piece put over my neck as I crossed the finish line. I will cherish this one!

Mostly flat, with about 2 kilometres of significant uphill around 8km. There are a couple of fairly steep declines as well. All of the course is on the road, and only about 3 kilometres had any traffic to speak of. Scenery was typical countryside – lots of fields, cows, trees, fields. The course starts and finishes just outside of Fort Langley, which is a National Historic Site.

Aid Stations
There were 5 water stations on the course (plus one that we visited twice), with friendly and encouraging volunteers.

Low-key, but with water, energy drink, fresh watermelon, and bagels (with peanut butter, jam and butter). Only criticism – one of the porta-potties was quite unstable, which should have been taken care of before the race. Thankfully, someone warned us before we tried to get in!

Race Management
This event is put on by Peninsula Runners. Their website provided all the necessary information, including course description and map. I had one question, and received an email reply right away. Mabel signed up by phone the day before the race. Everything went off without a hitch, and results were posted online by the time I got home (and took a nap). If you’re in the area, it’s a worthwhile race to attend!


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

Happy Monday!

I spent some time this week looking into linkups, after collaborating with Erica Finds and her weekly Wednesday Giveaway, where I was promoting my Ambleside Mile race entry giveaway (you can enter to win until midnight on May 12!).

Today, I’m excited to participate in the Weekend Update linkup with Tara at Running ‘n’ Reading. Click on the link to see what everyone else has been up to – and join in!

Running 'N' Reading

Week in Review

Last week should have been spent on recovery from the BMO Half Marathon, which was such a personal success. I took a couple of days – Monday in particular, since I celebrated the race results with a wee bit too much wine (wine has ‘win’ in it, right?).

Then the week went like this:


Took advantage of the weather, and went for a 7km run at lunch. Headed out along the Seawall, detoured briefly through the trails of Stanley Park, looped around the pool at Second Beach, and back via Lost Lagoon. It was a perfect day for a run.



I had actually brought my gear to work on Monday, but in my condition I ended up doing nothing. On Thursday, however, I committed to my coworker Jill that we’d hit the gym.

Our workout included:

  • Kettlebell swings
  • Goblet squats
  • Kettlebell snatches
  • Weighted lunges
  • Stork rows (i.e. standing on one leg, leaning forward, and doing rows)
  • Deadlifts (using a bar with no weights…we’re still noobs)
  • Stretching

Quick but effective. Because…


Oh SO. MUCH. PAIN. Aching everywhere…but particularly back muscles. Boy did I do a number on them. When I arrived at the office first thing Friday morning, I ran into Jill and we both grimaced and practically in union said how much we hurt!

Despite this, I had promised Lana that we’d do a run. I took her on the same route I had done on Wednesday.

After work, I made a beeline for the YMCA, to my regular Pilates class with Christie (check out her blog).

And then it was the weekend (the real focus of this post…)!


Got up bright and early, and headed to Forerunners. Our numbers had dwindled drastically, since most people were either in recovery from the BMO, or we in Oregon for the Eugene Marathon! But there was a good core group, and we headed out for our Burrard Bridge/Cambie Bridge loop. In the end, 16km by the time I got home.


Followed by a phenomenal brunch (rosemary potatoes, and there’s veggie bacon on that croissant!):


Thankfully, I had a massage booked – because boy did I need it! When I told the RMT that I ‘overdid’ it on the kettlebells, he said, “Yes, you did.”

I don’t think I’ve mentioned it in my blog before, but I belong to a community choir called Simple Gifts. We have our spring concert on June 7, which isn’t that far away! Per usual, the bass section got together at Frank’s place, and went through every song, ironing out the odd rough spot, gabbing and chatting, and wrapping up with bread & cheese and some amazing banana bread!

We wrapped up a beautiful day with a lovely bottle of BC Chardonnay!


This is the third Mother’s Day without my mom. They come in quick succession – her birthday in March, the anniversary of her passing in April, Mother’s Day in May. None of them are easy. But I reflect on who she was, think of the moms who are, those who want to be…and move on with the day.

Off to our regular Sunday morning Flow Yoga class with Rika. It actually felt really good, but it was hard work with a lot of balance poses. It wasn’t hot yoga, but I was sweating anyway!

Spent the afternoon cleaning the closest, switching over from winter to summer clothes. Sadly, the moths were working hard this year, and a lot of my sweaters now have holes in them. I need to figure out a solution to combat this. Then I took a nap.

Quiet evening at home, putting finishing touches on the blog. Oh, and I signed up for another race – the Longest Day Road Race 10K in June.

And in two weeks, I’ll be running the Ottawa Half Marathon – and I cannot wait!

How was your weekend? Share your news!

How do you keep moths from eating your wool sweaters?