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Vancouver Marathon Kids Fun Run 2015

March 21, 2016 in Events, Exercise, Outdoor Activity, Race, Running

The BMO Vancouver Marathon puts on a kids fun run to get the whole family involved in marathon weekend. The 2.5km run, complete with water stations and volunteers to direct you along the way, starts and finishes at Second Beach in Stanley Park and includes a loop around Lost Lagoon. It is a very popular event with kids from ages 5 to 12 and is complete with race bibs, finishers medals, and post run snacks. The Kids Run is scheduled the day before the Marathon/Half Marathon/8K. Parents can choose to run with their kids. However, as we discovered, it is becoming harder and harder to keep up with them!

 

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My First Marathon (Dawn)

February 25, 2016 in Events, Outdoor Activity, Race, Running

VanMarathonMedal2016After years of making excuses for not running a marathon, I finally came to my senses and realized there was no better time than the present. I was intimidated by the sheer distance of it (42.2km) and the amount of training required, but I already had a few half-marathons under my belt and Jerrick had already signed up for this run (BMO Vancouver Marathon 2015) so I knew I wouldn’t be in it alone. So I figured, why not?

From January 2015, I followed a 16-week marathon training program by Garmin. This was also Jerrick’s first full marathon and so we managed our training schedules by doing our weekday runs before work at 5 a.m., during our lunch breaks, or after the kids’ bedtimes in the evening. We tag-teamed and completed our weekly long runs on early Saturday or Sunday mornings so that we could enjoy the rest of the weekend together as a family. We missed several of our scheduled runs, but we did what we could and didn’t beat ourselves up about it. Some of the training runs were gruelling in terms of weather conditions or mustering up the mindset to hit a certain mileage after a long week of work along with the temptation of just staying curled up in bed and having a “rest day”. However, each run ended with the feeling of  “I’m so happy I went.” Each run was worth it.

The BMO Vancouver Marathon was on May 3rd, 2015.  As for my race experience, I felt great up until the 30km mark and thought that my fuelling was adequate, but then things started to slowly fall apart from there…to the point where at about the 38km mark, I was concerned about whether or not I would make it the finish line. My pace dropped significantly, but I pushed myself to keep moving forward. Other runners seemed to effortlessly “sprint” right past me in the final kilometers, but I just kept going slow as I was, one foot in front of the other, right to the end. Enduring that much physical and mental exhaustion was a feat, but I worked through it. I cried when I crossed the finish line. They were tears of happiness, relief, and pride.  The bittersweet soreness and burning in my legs started before I even hit the finish line and continued for days later.

My finishing time was 4:15 hours. While I didn’t achieve my goal time, I was still bursting with pride and accomplishment. This had me excited and motivated to work harder for the next one. I’m officially signed up for the 2016 BMO Vancouver Marathon (May 1, 2015) and training has begun. We’ll see how it unfolds 🙂

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S for Success. Five Strategies For an Achievable Weekend Long Run.

February 20, 2016 in Exercise, Outdoor Activity, Running

DSC_0014-JBGetting out for a long run on the weekend can sometimes be a challenge. I sometimes find myself dilly-dallying around it, perpetually coming up with other things to do, or just putting it off until ‘later’. To get over these self-imposed stumbling blocks, I have put into place strategies that have helped me achieve successful long runs on the weekends. These strategies have worked for me and maybe they’ll work for you too.

1. Schedule it. I’ve found that if I’m planning to go for a long run on the weekend, I am more likely to follow through on it if I schedule it into my day as opposed to just saying that I’ll go for a run at some point during the day. Prioritizing and scheduling it at a specific time tends to make me stick to it as if it was a regularly scheduled commitment.

2. Set expectations and set a course. I will typically determine how long I want to run or what distance I want to cover in advance of my run. I set realistic expectations based on how much time I have and my current ability. Whether you have a distance goal (5km,10km, 20km, etc.) or a time goal (1.5hrs, 3 hrs, etc.), it’s vitally important to map a route that will cover the distance and/or time you want to achieve. Mapping a route provides direction and helps ensure that you meet your goals for the run. I like to use tools like mapmyrun or gmap-pedometer to plan a route for my runs.

3. Support. I am thankful that I get support from Dawn when it comes to running. I communicate my plans to her in advance (#1 and #2 above) and it helps her schedule and plan her day (and the kids too!) around it. She can also provide support by waking me up and nudging me out of bed if I’m falling behind schedule or simply just encouraging me to get out the door and live up to my commitment. Get support from those around you and let them know about your goals/plans. This helps hold you accountable to them and to yourself to follow through.

4. Sleep. If I’ve scheduled myself for an early morning long run on the weekend, I usually try to go to bed early the night before. Getting a good night’s sleep puts me in a good mood on the following day and gives me the energy I need for my run.

5. Set your alarm. This may sound cruel on a Saturday or Sunday but for me it works, particularly if I’ve gotten enough sleep the night before (#4 above). I like to get my run in early so that it doesn’t cut into family time. It’s important that I get up and not risk sleeping past my scheduled run time. By doing this, I can take solace in the fact that I will get my long run in and still have the rest of the day to spend with the family. That is the best feeling.

There you have it – my five simple strategies that help me get out of the door for my weekend long runs. The only thing left to do is to see it through.

Happy running.

J.

 

 

 

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Vancouver Fall Classic Half Marathon

November 25, 2015 in Events, Outdoor Activity, Reviews, Running

Vancouver Fall Classic Half Marathon 2015 Finisher’s Medal

I recently ran the Vancouver Fall Classic Half Marathon put on by the Vancouver International Marathon Society earlier this month and this is my race review. It’s a Pros and Cons list format based entirely on my personal experience and preferences. Here it goes.

Pros

  • Having the option of a race-day package pick up was nice to have
  • Package pick up was quick and easy
  • You could hang out inside the UBC buildings prior to start of the race and can keep warm instead of waiting outside in the cold
  • Lots of washrooms/toilets
  • Variety of race distances, 5k, 10k, 21.1k to choose from
  • Great atmosphere
  • Plenty of volunteers to help direct you to where you needed to go or answer any questions about the event
  • Free coffee (McDonald’s had a coffee truck giving out regular and specialty coffees)
  • Quiet route
  • Scenic route, in parts
  • Finisher medals
  • RunVan gloves included with registration
  • Water stations and electrolyte drinks along the route
  • Chip-timed
  • Plenty of food and refreshments at the finish including juice, chips, bananas, and other snacks
  • Food voucher for your choice of 2 big slices of pizza, sushi, or chilli from the food court at the UBC Nest after the race
  • Free beer at Mahony and Sons
  • Lots of places to sit inside the Nest
  • Lots of room to warm up outside before the race
  • Race Expo
  • Parking was very close to race start line


Cons

  • Pay parking at UBC, unless you take public transit but there is no Skytrain option so you’re stuck with taking the bus
  • Not much in terms of swag given away in the race package (this could be a pro or con)
  • The gloves we got with our race package are supposed to be touchscreen friendly but I find they don’t work very well with my touchscreen devices

So as you can see, the Pros heavily outweigh the Cons and overall it was a wonderful experience at the Fall Classic. It’s a race that I would definitely consider doing again and would recommend to others. Kudos to the race organizers, volunteers, sponsors, winners, and everyone that participated.

Highlights

  1. This event was held on the same weekend that the terrorist attacks happened in Paris, France so the big Canadian flags that usually wave high and free at UBC were raised at half-mast as a symbol of respect and mourning for the tragedies that had befallen on France. I wouldn’t really say that this was a ‘highlight’ but I am certain that everybody who ran this race had a thought for Paris that day. It makes you realize how lucky we are to be where we are and to have the freedoms that we have. It made me want to run harder for peace.
  2. After the race I had a chance to sit down and have my pizza in the company of John Garratt who finished 2nd place in the Men’s 60-69 age category. We had a nice conversation about our race experiences that day and I was both impressed and inspired by John’s stories of his other running conquests this past year which included qualifying for and running in the Boston Marathon and a few other long distance races including the Whistler 50. I sure hope that I’m still running when I get to be his age. He was definitely an inspiration.
  3. I didn’t have the best race ever or beat any PRs but I was proud to finish. I struggled quite a bit during the first ten kilometers and it wasn’t so much physical as it was mental. I was proud mostly that I was able to silence the self-doubt in my mind that often creeps up to tell me that I can’t do something or that I’m not gonna make it. I love defeating that doubt.

#RUNVAN

 

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Why I Run

June 30, 2014 in Exercise, Outdoor Activity, Parenthood, Race, Running

Photo by jacsonquerubin under Creative Commons license.

Photo by jacsonquerubin under Creative Commons license.

 

I don’t run to lose weight. I don’t run to get ripped. I don’t run to win races. For me, none of these have been the result of long distance running nor have they ever been my objective.

I haven’t always been a runner. I only started running regularly a few months after I had my first baby almost 6 years ago.  At the start, I had somewhat of a negative attitude towards running and was constantly telling myself that I’m not a runner, running is boring, or that running is bad for my knees. With time, an open mind, and a strengthening regime to prevent any injuries, I began to fall in love with this sport and everything it has to offer.

Below are 6 ways that running won me over:

  1. Running is convenient and relatively inexpensive. All it takes is a pair of appropriate footwear and a bit of time out of my day, as little as 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. Running is a great way to improve my cardiovascular heath and to supplement my fitness regime. It allows me to participate in various events including mud races, sports, fitness competitions or even just playing a rousing game of tag with the kids.
  3. Running is a great stress reliever and a great way to release those feel-good endorphins.
  4. Running provides me with quiet time for mental clarity, reflection or to stimulate new thoughts and ideas. It acts as a reset button for my brain.
  5. Running exercises my ability to overcome that negative self-talk. It trains my mental stamina and strength to keep going and to not back down. After all with running, the only person to stop me from running, or slow me down, is me.
  6. My kids. I run to take care of my emotional, mental and physical health, which in turn helps me be the best mom I can be for my kids. Naturally, kids love to run and because my kids  see the enjoyment I get out of running, along with the commitment it takes to work towards a goal, it’s my hope that they’ll continue to love running too.