Category Archives: Running

Great Climate Race

Great Climate Race
I’m all set for the Great Climate Race. I’ll be running 10km around Stanley Park this morning. The event is the perfect merger of two of my passions – running and environmental activism.

The money raised by the race will go to fund new solar installations around BC. You can donate here

I’m not in the best of shape, but I’m hoping to go under 43 minutes.

Official Results: 41:36
Strava: 41:45

EnerNOC Vancouver Great Climate Race Team

Vancouver's fastest and most climate conscious employer. Good job Team Enernoc! Really impressed with all the PBs today, and the well organized race. #greatclimaterace #run #runvan

Team Enernoc – representing the fastest and most environmentally conscious employer in Vancouver. I was really impressed with all the PB’s today.

More pictures:
Continue reading Great Climate Race

10 km in under 40 minutes

MEC Race Five 2014-21
I’ve accomplished my last remaining running goal. I’ve finally run 10 km in under 40 minutes.
I’ve been trying to go under 40 minutes since high school and I’ve come close on a few occasions, but it has remained an ellusive target. After I ran the half marathon in May, I knew I was fast enough and fit enough to break that barrier, and that this opportunity might not come again. I quickly signed up for the next 10 km race in Vancouver – MEC Race FIVE , a 10 km loop around the Stanley Park seawall in July.

Two months passed and summer got in the way of training. I didn’t run nearly as much as I should have. Ultimate Frisbee once a week was my best workout, and quick sprints don’t prepare you for a 10 km race.

On race day I had serious doubts about going under 40 minutes. Two weeks before I tried running race pace and could barely maintain it for 5 km. I told myself and my friends that the 40 minute milestone would have to wait. I was going to run a comfortable pace and enjoy the beautifully sunny and super hot morning in Stanley Park.

When the gun sounded, the adrenaline spiked and I quickly found myself racing along just behind the leaders. I ran the first kilometre in 3:26, the second in 3:41. I knew I couldn’t maintain that pace. I was almost a full minute ahead of my goal. I quickly reset my frame of mind. The 40 minute 10 km was achievable. I just had to settle into a steady 4 minute pace and hope I could sustain it for long enough.

KM SplitsI ran the next two kilometres around 4:00/km, but then I started to tire. My pace dropped to 4:13 and the time I had banked in the first 2 kilometres slowly faded away. By the 8 km mark it was all gone and I couldn’t will myself to go any faster. I was kicking myself for not doing more tempo training. I almost gave up mentally, but I noticed that my GPS watch, which I was using to track my pace, was way behind the kilometre markers on the course, by almost 200 meters. Either the course was short or my watch wasn’t tracking properly. Either way, there was still a chance I could run the race under 40 minutes.

That was enough to will me on. I picked up my pace for the last kilometre and crossed the finish line with an official time of 39:48. 8th place overall.

Achievement Unlocked

Official race results
GPS watch timing on Strava
MEC Race Five 2014-57

5 Peaks – Alice Lake – My First Trail Run

2014 MB 5 Peaks BC Alice Lake-83
I ran the 5 Peaks – Alice Lake 11 km Enduro Race last Saturday. It was my first trail run and one of the hardest races I’ve ever done. The hills chewed me up and spat me out. But it was also one of the most scenic and gratifying races to finish.

5 Peaks
2014 MB 5 Peaks BC Alice Lake-7I have nothing but good things to say about the race organizers. The 5 Peaks race was easily the best organized and most fun running event I’ve been to. Kudos to the organizers. The pre-race emails were informative and funny; the race package included snazzy arm warmers (much better than yet another shirt); the course was well marked; and the post race festivities involved sunbathing, a dip in Alice Lake, and copious amounts of fresh fruit.

The Race
5 Peaks - Alice Lake
I started the race in the first wave, which may have been foolish but a few friends convinced me that’s where I belonged. I kept up with a lot of the runners, but it was my first real trail run, never mind my first trail race, and I was unprepared for the toll the hills would take. I was fine for the first 6 km, covering the rolling hills and steady uphill climb at a good pace. The 2 km descent down Credit Line was fun, but I felt like I was going stupidly fast, on the verge of wiping out, and I was still being passed by quite a few runners. I got good advice from a guy on my tail who told me to mimic the technique of one of the ladies who had just passed me – long strides with careful foot placement. I tried. I guess this is why people practice running trails before races.

After the long descent was a brutal uphill climb that felt like it would never end. I was glad I wasn’t the only one struggling to even walk up the hill. It took all my energy just to keep my legs moving. I was dehydrated and spent. Occasionally the trail would flatten out for a few meters, but it was difficult to get running again. Once the trail peaked, it immediately plunged back down. Near the bottom of the descent I rolled my ankle. Luckily the last 500 meters was on mostly level ground and I was able to keep running without much pain. My heart rate peaked at 194 bpm as I sprinted for the finish line.

I was worried about passing on the narrow, single track sections of the race, but it was surprisingly easy. When I heard someone running behind me I would slow down a bit and leave some space for them to pass. Most runners would yell “on your left” as they approached and “thank you” once they were by.

5 Peaks posted 434 photos on Flickr. Sadly, I’m not in any of them (need to work on my smile while running) but Scott and Simon are.
2014 MB 5 Peaks BC Alice Lake-200 2014 MB 5 Peaks BC Alice Lake-247 2014 MB 5 Peaks BC Alice Lake-107 2014 MB 5 Peaks BC Alice Lake-377 2014 MB 5 Peaks BC Alice Lake-136 2014 MB 5 Peaks BC Alice Lake-389

The Result
Time: 1:04:18
Overall: 33/223
Men 30-39: 14/41
Strava Activity
Full Results

Final Thoughts
I found trail running to be more fun than road racing, but a lot harder on my body. I’ll need to practice more and strengthen my ankles before I run another race. I guess it’s time to suck it up and ride the bus to the north shore mountains on the weekends. It’s just hard to justify hours on the bus when Vancouver’s nicest flat trail, the seawall, is seconds from my front door.

Data Nerd: Analyzing the BMO Vancouver Marathon 2014 Results

2014 BMO Vancouver Marathon Finishing Times
Which is better for running – hot and dry or cold and wet? Personally, I’d prefer the heat but statistically it seems that the colder, wetter weather is better for finishing times. Last year’s BMO Vancouver marathon was the hottest in the race’s 42 year history (with temperatures over 20 C). This year it was cool and rainy (never getting above 10 C), but across the board times were faster. The winners were around 3 minutes faster than last year. The median times for men were 9 minutes faster. And there was a less slowdown between the first and second halves of the race, with 3 times more people running negative splits (faster 2nd halves). The only negative changes – less finishers and less Boston qualifiers (not sure why that is).

2013 2014
Finishers 3877 3783
Negative Splits 99 293
Second Half Slowdown 7.7% 5.7%
Fastest – Male 2:24:09 2:21:08
Fastest – Female 2:40:34 2:37:00
Median Time – Male 4:10:28 4:01:38
Median Time – Female 4:29:45 4:26:29
Boston Qualifiers 375 357

Here is the analysis I did last year: 2013 Results Analysis. If I have time I’ll do some more in depth analysis for the half marathon results.

BMO Vancouver Half Marathon – 1:27:39

BMO Half MarathonLast year I ran my first full marathon. This year I didn’t want to commit as much time to training and instead focused on running a fast half marathon. I’ve run two halves before (Victoria and Scotiabank Vancouver), the fastest in 1 hour and 33 minutes. I knew I could go faster.

The weather this morning wasn’t ideal – persistently raining with gusts of wind, but I powered through. I had no idea how fast I was going – probably the only person without a watch. I took the first 3 km pretty fast, thinking the downhill section would allow me to bank some free time. After that I settled into a steady pace. Luckily I had friends along the course to encourage me to run fast. Thanks Emily, Rhea, Michael, Cynthia, Greg, and Taryn.

Every few kilometres something ached – my right hip flexor was bothering me before the race, my left hamstring cramped up midway, my feet were sore for the second half, and I had a stitch in my side for the last 5 kilometres. But I was able to run through all the problems and finished strong. I had lots of energy left at the end and sprinted the last kilometre. I thought my pace must have been too slow. I was shocked when I saw the time was under 1:28.

Warmup GearIt was tricky figuring out what to wear this morning. I wanted to run the race in shorts and a singlet, but needed something to warm up in. I found an old long-sleeve shirt, a dry-cleaning bag, and cut the toes off mismatched socks to create leggings. I looked like a hobo, but it kept me warm until the race started.

Chip Time: 1:27:39 (Sportstats)
Overall Place: 89 / 9954
Category Place: 18 / 605 (Male 30-34)

Chai Keeps My Running Gear Warm

Modo 8k – Beautiful Day for a Run

I ran my first race of the year this morning. The Modo Spring Run-Off 8k, a beautiful loop around Stanley Park. It was a perfect day for running. A little brisk, but the sun was glorious.

I’m really happy with my time. My goal was to finish under 32 minutes but I wasn’t sure if I could do it. I finished in 31:12, good enough for 7th in my age category and 53rd overall. Much faster than the only other 8 KM race I’ve done, the inaugural Spring Run-Off in 2007. That year it took me 33:48 to run 8 km (2.5 minutes slower), but somehow I finished 2nd in my age category (oh to be under 25 again) and got a free pair of shoes. No prizes this time, just the satisfaction of running a PB.

Most of the race felt really good. I was relaxed, I had an amazing view from the seawall, and my legs felt good. But the last kilometre almost killed me. It was uphill, I had a cramp, my running form collapsed, and my energy levels were failing. It was the only part of the race where people passed me. It’s a good reminder that I need to do more hill training. I’d like to have that finish back, but I still held on to cross the line ahead of young phenom who was on my tail. It’s a small moral victory that I’m faster than a 14 year old girl, but I’ll take it. I puked at the finish line, but that’s pretty much standard procedure for me when I race hard.

Next up, the BMO Half Marathon on May 4th. I need to put in some more distance and work on my speed before then, but otherwise I think I’m on track.