Posts Tagged ‘West Van’

**NEWS FLASH**SMALL-miles_not_included_podcast_logo-SQUARE

Before I get into the West Van Run race report, I want to share the most exciting thing that’s happened to me since I started blogging. I was invited to be in a podcast! The guys at Miles Not Included – Joe & Brian – reached out to me on Twitter and asked if I would be their guest. I was very flattered, and gratefully accepted.

The podcast went live on Tuesday, and you can listen to it here:
Miles Not Included Podcast – Episode 9 – Bradley on the Run

Now, on with the race report!

West Van Run

The West Van Run holds a special place in my heart for a few reasons. Last year, I learned about this race and got engaged with them on social media. This was really the start of something new for me, as my tweets until then had been pretty one-sided!

I love the brand. It’s simple. It’s clean. I like the swag.

My first race report – and my second blog post – was about the 2014 West Van Run. It was a personal best for me in the 10K – it was the first time I broke the 50-minute barrier for a race of that distance. Also, my friend and college roommate was in town from Ontario, and came to cheer me on. All in all, a really great race.

Let me tell you about West Van Run 2015

I stuck to my guns and did a long-ish run on Saturday, in keeping with my ‘strategy’ which has garnered a couple of PBs in the past. I did 16km with my Forerunners peeps, and then travelled up to Park Royal in West Vancouver to pick up my race packet.

West Van Run

The race is a relatively small one, so it took just a few minutes to get my bib, tote bag, water bottle and wrist band. I signed up for earlybird registration, so I think that entitled me to more swag than those who signed up late – but don’t quote me on that!

The theme of this year’s race was ‘We Are Canucks’. As a proud Canadian, I grabbed my red t-shirt and posted the following tweet:

West Van Run

To which I received this message from my Twitter friend, Debra:

Hey, where’s your Canucks stuff for tomorrow’s race? Do you need any? I’m bringing some extra if you do…

I realized, to my horror (but not entirely surprising, given my general lack of interest in professional sports), that I had defaulted to the wrong Canucks – and should have been wearing the appropriate team colours!

With some creative makeshift design on the home front, and some additional gear support from Debra, this was the result:

West Van Run

Unlike a lot of local races (where I can simply walk to the start line from my downtown home), I had to drive to West Van. Being paranoid and chronically on time, we arrived far too early and spent quite a bit of time shivering in the cold. It was chilly, but dry – no snow or freezing rain like last year! But with a crisp morning comes great scenery:

West Van Run West Van Run

The West Van Run has a 1K kids’ run (8:00am start) – so I got to see them finishing their race. At 8:15am, the 5K race headed out. The 10K start was 8:30am. Unlike last year, there was no warm-up exercise/music, which let me down a bit. And just before the gun went off, we were forced to wait for a train to pass by…

West Van Run West Van Run

We had a new route this year. Last year, the race was an out-and-back along the Seawall. This year, we ran through the West Van neighbourhoods of Dundarave and Ambleside, wove through Park Royal, and then finished on the Seawall. I liked the variety of this route better, especially because the Seawall start was so crowded last year.

West Van Run

And we’re off!

I went into this race with the intention of pushing myself harder than I had in previous 10Ks. Unfortunately, I started out at an unsustainable pace – urged on by adrenaline and the enthusiastic crowd of runners – and was slowed by the first nasty hill undulation between the first and second kilometre. However, after a fairly steep downhill, the course is essentially pancake flat right to the finish.

There are two turnarounds: the first is around 4km, the second around 7km. I found the second one more discouraging, because I could really see how many people were ahead of me! However, it was also at this point that I started keeping pace with runner #273.

Runner #273. I didn’t look at him, he was just there at my left shoulder. He’d move ahead a little, I’d do the same. I’d get a wee bit in front, he’d catch up. This went on for about 3km. And I give him credit – intentionally or not, he gave me the push I needed to keep my pace up, to bring out a bit of my competitive spirit. The Finish line comes into sight on the Seawall at 9km, and then you know how far a kilometre really is. I saved my push until about 300m from the end, put on the gas – and then #273 blazed past me. He crossed the finish line 2 seconds before me! All I could do was congratulate him!

West Van RunWest Van Run

Before I talk about results…let me just mention post-race. There are a few local sponsors, so we got Muscle MLK, David’s Tea, Quinoa snacks and Trace Mineral-Infused Blackwater (crazy, right?).

West Van Run

The big disappointment for me, though, was the ‘free food’ we were supposed to get from the Beach House Restaurant. The place was absolutely rammed – I guess the 5k runners were still there – so after standing in line for about 10 minutes, we gave up and went to another cafe. Not sure what could have been done to improve this situation.

Finally – the results! In spite of – or perhaps thanks to! – my long run on Saturday, and definitely in some part because of #273, I managed a PB for this race. A 3-minute PB. This makes me very happy, given that my half marathon PB in February was a 30-second improvement. For a 10K – I’m incredibly pleased!

West Van Run

In summary – West Van Run is still tops on my list – and especially great because of the new course this year! It’s also worth noting that participation levels more than doubled between 2014 and 2015, proving that this race is getting recognized, and deservedly so!

Final results:

Chip time: 46:32
Average pace: 4:40 min/km
Place overall: 88/385
Age category place: 16/49

West Van Run

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!