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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!



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 🙂


My First Marathon (Jerrick)

February 20, 2016 in Events, Exercise, Outdoor Activity, Race

Running a marathon was a bucket list item I have had in mind for a long time and one I had great doubts about ever accomplishing. The thought of running 42.2 kilometers was daunting and it took getting over many excuses to finally get myself to commit to it and sign up for the run. I ran my first marathon on May 3, 2015 at the Vancouver Marathon and I am documenting my marathon experience here as a way to remember the little details about it that I may otherwise forget. Dawn ran the race with me too and this was also her first marathon.


Vancouver Marathon 2015

Start Line – The race started at Queen Elizabeth Park. We parked downtown about a kilometer away from the finish line and since transit passes were included with our race registration we decided to take the Skytrain down to Queen Elizabeth Park. After a quick stop at the portable toilets, we found our corral and positioned ourselves right where we belonged – in the middle of the pack. The corrals are grouped based on estimated finish times and Dawn and I were both aiming to finish under four hours. I warmed up a bit with a light jog up and down the corral but I didn’t need to do much as the first part of the race was pretty much going to be my warm-up.  The national anthem blared through the speakers and the elite runners were off shortly after. Then the really fast people went,  then the fast people, and then us.

Alright, it was go time.

0-1KM: Start slow. Start slow. Start slow. Don’t get caught up in the hype and energy of the start where everyone is pumped to get going. Know your pace, stick to the plan. A huge chunk of my training leading up to the race consisted of very, very, very slow runs. Sometimes painfully slow. I had to exhibit the same kind of patience here as I had done in my training.

1-4KM: I kept a slow steady pace and just kept reminding myself to be patient. Dawn and I were in close proximity to each other and it was nice running together for once. I don’t think we ever ran together during the course of our training as one of us was always with the kids while the other person ran.

4-7KM: This section was a bit flatter than the start so I started to pick up the pace a bit. Just a bit.

7-10KM: I slowed it back down knowing what was ahead at kilometer 10; the hill at Camosun.

10-11KM: The hill on Camosun Street. I knew it was coming and I had been warned by other runners that had ran this course before that this section was going to be a challenge. I had my concerns about how I would be feeling at this point in the race. Thankfully I was still feeling really good. The hill didn’t slow me down too much. I made it to the top and was relieved to get that segment over and done with.

11-13KM: I loved running through Pacific Spirit Park. It was lush, peaceful, and felt like a getaway within the race.

13-17KM: Running along 16th Avenue was also very nice. The roads were quiet and mostly flat.

17-20KM: Running around the UBC campus with lots of cheering crowds was a definite mood booster. This segment was mostly flat and I was  looking forward to the upcoming downhill and postcard views ahead.

20-23KM: Wooooheee! Tough on the knees but it was free speed! This part was pretty much all downhill and getting to the halfway point was encouraging. At this point I made a conscious effort to just focus on getting to the 30km mark. I tried not to think too far ahead or about the fact that I still had half a marathon to go. I just wanted to get to the 30km mark without hitting the wall or hurting myself. If I could manage that, I’d be good, I thought to myself.

23-25KM: This was a bit of an uphill but the part I recall most of this section was that it was one of the marathon relay exchange points. The marathon relay was a separate event that could be done by teams of four people splitting the distance of the marathon. I must admit I felt a bit of resentment towards the relay runners who all seemed so fast, full of energy, and individually were only enduring a quarter of the agony. Nothing against the relay teams; it’s just that when you’re on an uphill 25km into a race, seeing fresh legs pass you feels like an injustice.

25-26KM: Lots of cheering crowds along this Kitsilano stretch. Our friends Michelle & Brian were there to cheer  us on! They rode their bikes down all the way from Burnaby and even made signs to encourage us. I don’t know what it is about it but cheering crowds and familiar faces can give you a real boost when you’re feeling depleted. I am thankful for the people that come out to cheer and to our friends for the extra support.

26-30KM: Still lots of cheering crowds. Kitsilano is awesome for that. Lots of funny and interesting signs. One in particular had a big red circle in the middle and the words ‘touch here for power’ above. I powered up. Thank you, sign people.

30-31KM:  The Burrard Street bridge. The view from here was spectacular. I’ve ran over this bridge many times before and I just wanted to get to the apex of the bridge deck and from there I knew it would be fine.

31-33KM: I remember it being very busy, crowded with lots of people and water stations.

33-35KM: Checked for time and checked my pace. I knew it was going to be tight. I just tried to keep pace and held on for dear life.

35-39KM: I was simply just running at this point. Not much going on in my mind and I was even inspired by an older runner who ran just past me and paced me through the next few kilometers. I was surprised that I was able to keep pace at this point in the race when I thought I would have been totally flattened.

39-41KM: I started to slow down. I was starting to have doubts about finishing under four hours. I was confident I would finish but seriously questioned whether I could keep up the pace to meet my goal.

41-42KM: The home stretch. It felt like I slowed almost to a halt. My mind was telling me to sprint and finish strong but my legs just weren’t turning over as fast as my mind wanted them to. It felt like everybody near me was flying by and leaving me behind. I looked down at my watch and saw that I still had time to come in under my sub four hour goal but it wouldn’t be graceful. I mustered whatever I could in me to cross the finish line and although in my mind I thought I was sprinting, I was probably moving really slow. I crossed the finish line, stopped my watch, and looked down to check my time…03:59! I was elated. So much so that the pain and gruelling 42.2 km I had just endured was masked by the endorphins and joy overtaking my body.

But very soon after, as I started to walk towards the post-race food, my legs certainly felt the 42.2 km I just ran. The post marathon zombie walk. Stiff legged and sore, I anxiously waited for Dawn to follow soon after me. She couldn’t be far along, I thought. I knew that she wouldn’t meet her sub four hour goal but at this point I would just be happy to see her at the finish line. Ten minutes passed and I was starting to get worried. I started to think about the people I saw along the last 10km cramping up or flattened along the side of the road. What happened? Where is she? She wasn’t that far behind me. Five minutes later, I finally found her doing the same zombie walk as I was towards the potato chips and bananas. Teary eyed, I was both proud and relieved that she finished. You can read about Dawn’s experience here.

connect-garmin-com Picture 1

It was a fantastic experience to share together as our first marathon.

I’m glad I could share the experience with you here and hopefully inspire others to erase any self-doubt about what you are capable of doing. What I once thought was impossible for me is now a proud accomplishment on my bucket list and has further impassioned my love for running…life.

We’ll be back running the Vancouver Marathon again this year.


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.






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.


  • 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


  • 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.


  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.