Monday, June 24, 2013

Scotiabank Vancouver Half-Marathon, June 23, 2013

On June 23 I ran the Scotiabank Vancouver Half-marathon, my first half marathon in over a year because of the injury.  I was relatively undertrained, having only done a few long runs within my triathlon training.  But I got it done, and I had fun.  I never posted a full report for this race.  Instead I will now post a copy of what I wrote in my Runningmania journal  (

My plan was to start easier, about 6:00/km. But I good at the beginning and just got into a groove at closer to 5:30/km. The course starts with a gradual downhill for the first 3K which helped the pace. The course also has a very nice 2K downhill coast from about 8-10K. So it's not too surprising that my first 10K was in just over 55 minutes. I thought I might be able to hang on to that pace, but the course is more difficult in the second half and I was paying a bit for my lack of run mileage. I slowed down on a few of the hilly parts, and then had to take an emergency potty break at around 17K. I was also getting some calf cramping from about 15K on which forced me to slow down a bit, but I was able to relax into it and not let the cramping buckle me as it did in my last two halfs. So I'm happy about that. The last 5-6K really became mostly about keeping strong and steady.

I finished in 2:02:19, which is better than I expected but not as fast as I had hoped (if that makes sense ;) ). I'm mostly just happy that I was able to be out there racing and finish with no injury issues. Never take racing and health for granted. 8)

Here's a link to my Garmin Connect file for the race:

You can clearly see how I slowed in the second half on a few of the hills and lost more than a minute in kilometer 17. And the elevation profile gives a bit of an idea of the course.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Race. Breathe. Live.

Race report:  Sandcastle City Classic 10K (White Rock, BC)

June 9, 2013
Time: 52:59

I decided to enter this race only last week. But even after I registered, I started to have my doubts. I told a friend, “I’m racing a 10K on Sunday, if you can call it ‘racing’. I’m so out of shape.” He said, “No, you’re not out of shape. You’re in the shape you’re in.” I whined, “But I’ve lost so much conditioning!” He said, “Who cares? Race. Breathe. Live.” He was so right. I decided from that moment forward I would no longer compare myself to my former self or complain about lost fitness. Racing was fun, and I missed it.

White Rock is well-known for its hilly terrain. The race organizers of Sandcastle have made it more appealing by designing a point-to-point course, starting at about 100m elevation and ending at sea level. This makes for a fun but challenging course. The first five kilometres are rolling and net downhill. The next four are gradually uphill; just when you are beginning that last third of the race and thinking, “10K races are tough… dig deep… ,” you also have to fight against gravity. The reward is a steady but steep downhill in the last kilometre, finishing at the beach.

My goal was simply to run hard and consistent. I knew that my Achilles would behave as long as I didn’t do anything crazy and kept relaxed on the downhills. I was expecting a pace of around 5:30/km, but I knew if it felt good I could be a bit faster. I did not do much of a warm-up before the race, so I used the first kilometre to ease into my pace. The rolling terrain and slight downhill allowed me to speed up, splitting the first 5K at just over 26 minutes (5:23 for the first kilometre, about 5:10/km for the next four). I was pretty happy with this. The tough kilometres began after that, and I was actually glad I hadn’t closely looked at the elevation profile before the race. I lost just a bit of time on kilometres 6-8 (about 5:30 average), but hung on anxiously awaiting the fun downhill. In the last kilometre I felt like I was flying, and I came over the finish line at just under 53 minutes.

I am so happy that I can now get out there and enjoy racing again. Racing doesn’t always have to be about PBs and age-group placings, as fun as those things are. Racing can be about doing your best on any given day, and experiencing the joy.