Tag Archives: BMO Vancouver Marathon

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

On the Run Again

running kms
I’ve started running again. In 2013 I trained intensively between January and April, completed a full marathon in May, and ran infrequently afterwards until IT band issues sidelined me. After two months without any running, everything feels good and I’m looking forward to hitting the road again.

Runs on PlantsMy goal is to run the the BMO Vancouver Half Marathon on May 4 in under 1 hour and 30 minutes. I’m also going to run the Modo Spring 8k on March 23. It should be a good tuneup and I love that Modo is sponsoring it.

Last year I joined a Running Room clinic, but this time I’m doing most of my training on my own. I’m enjoying the flexibility in scheduling when I go running but it is harder getting motivated, especially with all the rain we’ve been having. I don’t want a repeat of the injury problems I had last year (I strained my calf 4 weeks in), so this time I’m being careful to slowly ramp up the intensity and frequency of my workouts. I’m also spending more time stretching and going to yoga once a week.

If you’re on Strava, you can follow my progress here.

Data Nerd: Analyzing the BMO Vancouver Marathon 2013 Results

Now that my marathon training is over, I thought I’d use some of my free time to analyze the race results.

Registration in the 2013 BMO Vancouver Marathon was capped at 5000 and there were 4958 registered runners, but the results show only 3876 people finished the race – 1710 women and 2166 men. Another 102 people dropped out, including last year’s women’s winner Ellie Greenwood. For the remaining 980 runners, injuries probably forced many of them to drop down into shorter distances or not run at all.

2013 BMO Vancouver Finishing Times By Gender
Finishing times ranged from 2:24:08 to 8:12:33. Half of the men finished under 4:10:00. The median time for women was 4:30:00.

Half Splits Histogram
It was the hottest BMO Vancouver marathon in the race’s 42 year history, which clearly affected most runners. Only 99 finishers (2.6%) ran a negative split (where the 2nd half of the race is faster than the first). Everyone else slowed as the race progressed and the temperatures climbed. For most runners, the second half of the race was 3%-11% slower than the first half.
Half Splits By Finishing Time
The elites ran closer to even splits, but even they slowed by a few minutes. For someone running a 3:30 marathon, the second half of the race averaged 10 minutes slower than the first. For a 4 hour marathon, it was 16 minutes slower. For a 5-hour marathon, it was 27 minutes slower.

Boston Qualifiers - Male Boston Qualifiers - Female
375 marathon runners ran times fast enough to qualifiy for the Boston Marathon in their category. Overall the ladies did a better job qualifying, with 189 running BQ times (11%). 186 men (8.6%) also ran BQ times. The categories that had the most Boston qualifiers were Male 50-54 (43), Female 45-49 (34), Male 45-49 (33), and Female 40-44 (32).

Race results were acquired from SportStats.ca.

BMO Vancouver Marathon Completed in 3:27:06

30.5 km and Looking Good
Achievement Unlocked – Ran a Full Marathon

Everything went well today. My fuelling strategy with homemade gels worked well, I kept hydrated, and I ran a good, consistent pace, and I finished faster than 3:30 (my goal).

Finishers Pose No Meat Athlete Runs on Plants
Special thanks to Emily, Joy, Erica, and Marsha for cheering me on at multiple spots along the course. Having friends in the crowd gave me energy boosts when I needed it most. The crowd in general was awesome. Lots of encouraging words, funny signs, and good music. Some guys on Cornwall even started a “No Meat Athlete” chant for me.

3:45 Pace Bunny BMO Marathon Crosses the Burrard Bridge
It was a hard race. I felt really good for the first 19 km, but after the UBC downhill my feet started to ache. The uphill around km 24 up to 4th Avenue was surprisingly hard (harder than the big Camosun hill at km 10). But the absolute hardest section was the last 10 km around Stanley Park at the end of the race, even though it was completely flat. It was lonely and my legs were mush. I saw a lot of people stop to walk. I ran my slowest km splits in there, but I managed to get through it. I felt better when I passed the 9 o’clock gun and there were big crowds to cheer me on and push me through the last 2 km.

The heat really did a lot of people in, but it didn’t bother me too much. There was more shade along the course than I expected.

I was impressed by the number of people running in Vibram FiveFingers, but the most spectacular sight was the guy running completely barefoot. I was close to him for a long stretch in UBC. I think he was trying to run along the white lines in the middle of the road to avoid the hot pavement. Crazy.

My shirt said “Powered by Plants” but it really should have said “Powered by Dates”. My breakfast and energy gels were mostly dates, with some banana, coconut oil and other goodies mixed in. It did the trick and got me through the race. I thought I was drinking enough on course, but I was dehydrated enough at the finish line to drink over a litre of water and coconut water without thinking about it.
Energy Pudding Post Race Facebook Update
Continue reading BMO Vancouver Marathon Completed in 3:27:06

T-10 Days Until the Marathon

Dundarave Run
10 days. That is all that stands between me and my first marathon. What a terrifying thought.

I’m almost ready. Or rather, I’m as ready as I’m going to be. I’ve started tapering now, so the focus is on staying healthy. In some ways it is liberating knowing that it’s too late to improve my fitness levels.

Right now the biggest weakness in my training is my low weekly mileage. The most I ran in any week was 67 km back in January, and that was the week I injured myself. Since then I’ve averaged 40-60 km a week. I wish I had run more, but there was never enough time and I was worried about reinjuring my calf.
Marathon Training Graph

I’m happy with how my workouts have gone. This week I recorded my fastest training times in the 1 km (3:17), 5 km (20:38), and 10 km (42:49) during my tempo and track workouts. So my speed is definitely where it needs to be to run a fast marathon. My worry is with my endurance.

My primary goal for the race is to run in 3:30. My secondary goal is to just finish. I’m going to spend the next 10 days doing some light running, eating good vegan food, and prepping for race day.

Marathon Training – Week 10

UBC Trail Run
I ran for 30 km on Sunday, the farthest I’ve ever run. We went out to UBC, through the trails in Pacific Spirit Park, and back. It took 3 hours. I’ve never run that long before, so I had to figure out what to eat. I wanted something with real food in it, not chemicals, so I made my own homemade power gel. I adapted it from recipes and ideas in the Thrive Diet, combining lots of dates, coconut oil, dulse (seaweed), lemon juice, lemon zest, 1/4 banana, and a chunk of papaya. It looked disgusting, especially when I put it in a ziplock bag, but it tasted good and kept me going for 3 hours. I’ll have to get some GoToobs to pack it into next time so people don’t think I’m crazy.

My energy levels felt good, but my legs were hurting, especially after 20 km. I almost stopped running because my right hip flexor was so sore around km 25. But I mixed in some walking and shortened my stride and that helped enough that I was able to finish. I’m going to start doing exercises to strengthen the hip muscles.

The workouts on Tuesday and Wednesday were in monsoon-like conditions. I think the rain did a number on my phone. It’s been twitchy for a while, but after the rain it was really having problems. I sent it in for repairs, so we’ll see if the rain voids my warranty or not.

Day Distance (km) Workout Time Pace /km
Sunday 30.0 Long 3:01:27 6:02 map
Monday Yoga
Tuesday 12.0 Hills 1:00:00 5:33 map
Wednesday 10.0 Tempo 0:47:30 4:45 map
Thursday Strength
Friday Off
Saturday 5.5 Slow 0:33:06 6:02 map
Running Total 57.5 5:22:03 5:36

10 weeks done, only 7 more until race day. Let’s hope the weather improves. Last weeks results are here.