Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon

Scotiabank Vancouver Half-Marathon Weeks 4 + 5 / 11

Strength + Stretch.
Distance: 0km. Did not strengthen nor stretch.
Daytime Distance (commute + shift): 10km.
Music: N/A

Schedule: 6.5km run.
Distance: 0km.
Daytime Distance (commute + shift): 8.5km.
Music: N/A

Schedule: 7 x 400 track intervals.
Distance: 6.75km – ran with friends again; it makes all the difference.
Daytime Distance (commute + shift): 9km.
Music: N/A

Schedule: 5km run + strength
Distance: 0km.
Daytime Distance (commute + shift): 9km.
Music: N/A

Schedule: Rest (yay!)
Distance: 0km.
Daytime Distance (commute + shift):

Schedule: 5km pace
Distance: 0km.
Daytime Distance: 5km. Walked with my son and his school in the local parade.
Music: N/A

Schedule: 13km long run
Distance: 0km.
Daytime Distance: 7.5km split between a trip to the park with Spud and a family Mother’s Day hike.
Music: N/A


Distance (actual vs scheduled): 6.75km vs 36km
Daytime Distance (commute + shift): 54km


Strength + Stretch.
Distance: 0km.
Daytime Distance (commute + shift): 7.5km.
Music: N/A

Schedule: 6.5km run.
Distance: 0km. Commute from hell coming home, lost will to run… Sent Colin out instead while I covered Spud’s dinner and bedtime. Wine.
Daytime Distance (commute + shift): 8km.
Music: N/A

Schedule: 40min Tempo
Distance: 40min with hills instead = 5.5km. Ran the biggest hill all the way without stopping, which is a big deal for me! Total run was actually 6.5km in 47min.
Daytime Distance (commute + shift): 11km.
Music: Fall Out Boy’s American Beauty / American Psycho album played straight through and then repeated.

Schedule: 5km run + strength
Distance: 5km
Daytime Distance (commute + shift): 9km.
Music: Can’t remember if I had my iPod for this run.

Schedule: Rest (yay!)
Distance: 0km.
Daytime Distance (commute + shift):
12km. Also includes hanging out downtown after work waiting to meet up with friends for drinks.

Schedule: 5km pace
Distance: 0km.
Music: N/A

Schedule: 15km long run
Distance: 17km. Ran with Colin and Dianna in Squamish. Completed the Coast Mountain Trail Series’ Survival of the Fittest long course, minus the short downhill/uphill of the start/finish. Since they are in the final taper for their race the distance was short enough that I could finally tag along! I’ll be doing the SOTF short course in 2 weeks so it was a nice preview.
Music: N/A


Distance (actual vs scheduled): 28.5km vs 37km
Daytime Distance (commute + shift): 47.5km

Note: Remember to take your vitamins! The difference in how I felt between Week 4 and Week 5 was night and day once I started taking my vitamins, and specifically my iron, again.


Scotiabank Vancouver Half-Marathon Week 3 / 11

Strength + Stretch.
Distance: 0km. Did not strengthen nor stretch. Zzzz.
Daytime Distance (commute + shift): 13.5km.
Music: N/A

Schedule: 5.5km run.
Distance: 0km. Made the mistake of sitting in a comfy chair, got hungry, put on pjs. Zzzz.
Daytime Distance (commute + shift): 10.5km.
Music: N/A

Schedule: 35min Tempo
Distance: 10km slow instead. Didn’t want to go, but did it anyways. Awful.
Daytime Distance (commute + shift): 9.5km.
Music: N/A

Schedule: 5km run + strength
Distance: 5km + no strength
Daytime Distance (commute + shift): 10km.
Music: N/A

Schedule: Rest (yay!)
Distance: 0km.
Daytime Distance (commute + shift):

Schedule: 5km pace
Distance: 0km.
Music: N/A

Schedule: 11km long run
Distance: 0km. Didn’t work out with Colin’s run schedule and then had errands and a work shift. Oh, well… At least the distance isn’t what I’m worried about.
Music: N/A


Distance (actual vs scheduled): 15km vs 30km
Daytime Distance (commute + shift): 56.5km

Scotiabank Vancouver Half-Marathon Week 1 / 11

Strength + Stretch.
Distance: None. Comfy pants won this round. Way to start the cycle right!
Music: None. See above.

Schedule: 5km run.
Distance: 5km mall-walked instead while waiting for Colin to pick me up  + 12km walked during the course of my shift = 17km.
Music: Whatever the mall was playing. Nothing memorable.

Schedule: 30 minute tempo
Distance: 6km. I have no current pacing ability. I was all over the place due to a hillier than recommended route. Next time it’ll be flat(er).
Music: Squamish 50mi playlist on shuffle. Highlights were Rage Against the Machine, Pearl Jam, and White Stripes.

Schedule: 5km run + strength
Distance: 5km + 7.5km during shift = 12.5km. Again, no pacing ability, but faster than I thought I was able to do a steady run. Baby steps.
Music: Pearl Jam, multiple albums on shuffle. Highlight: Jeremy – it played 2 x in a row.

Schedule: Rest (yay!)
Distance: 12km; 4hr shift + walking around for the rest of the day combined.

Schedule: 5km pace
Distance: 0.3km walking around my house because I did nothing but sit on my couch ALL day. It was great!
Music: N/A

Schedule: 10km long run
Distance: 9km long run. Terrible run. Ran from a training shift out at UBC back to Kits Beach. While the weather and scenery were good that’s about the only nice thing I could say about it… (The intramurals including 20 min HIIT session did not help my legs.)
Music: Pearl Jam, because I didn’t remember to take it off of that before starting.

Official Race Photos

Here are our official photos* from last weekend’s half marathon! These two are our favourites.

These are the rest of the shots. As you can see, Colin was better able to get in front of a photographer! I’ll have to work on that next time… I always seemed to be one step too close.

Colin thinks that he looks like a bodyguard for the guy in red… very reminiscent of the Olympic torch relay…

* photos were taken by Action Sports International.

Race Report: Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon – 27 June 2010

Race day dawned bright and early on Sunday 27 June.

After dropping M off at his aunt and uncle’s for a sleepover (thank you!) Colin and I went home with every intention of going to bed early after we packed up our race gear. Totally didn’t happen. There was always just one more thing to do: hunt and gather laundry for post-race, tie on chip timer, re-tie chip timer two or three more times to get it just right, add music to iPod/figure out playlist, etc… It must have been force of habit, along with having a kid-free house that kept us up until 11pm. So when the alarm went off at 4:30am the best we could do was roll ourselves out of bed and blearily get dressed and fed.

We met up with our carpool (the wonderful Herb, who drove us even though he was injured and no longer running, Allison and Laurie) at our local running store at 5:30am. It was about a 45 minute drive out to the race course and we had our fingers crossed that the rain shower we passed through would turn back to drizzle. We got a fairly close parking spot on the street and got our stuff together. We all look cheerful, but that was more race-day anticipation than anything… it was cold. As we were heading to the starting area we met up with James and his wife and commiserated about the weather – and, yes, James, I did say that my legs looked like plucked chickens (I had a severe case of goose-bumps)!

Colin, Laurie, Allison, and Me getting ready.

Now you can see us all!

Once we were on the race site we decided that it would be best to check out the porta-potties. Thankfully there were lots, but, as is usually the case, the lines were ridiculous. They were set up in a triangle so all of the lines were getting crossed. We didn’t have to wait long, but there wasn’t much order.

A nice group shot after our bathroom break… see how much happier we are!

Colin and I decided to go for a bit of a warm-up jog and stretch at this point. We didn’t go very far, but it was nice to get moving and calm my nerves a little. At about 10 minutes prior to start they announced that the corrals were “self-seeding”. I was a little confused since I had been assigned a start group – it said so on my bib. Essentially it meant that you could start where ever you pleased. I stuck to the middle of the pack since I’m neither fast nor slow, but I’m sure there were people in totally the wrong spots. Colin and I shuffled around a bit trying to get our GPS units to “find satellites” and then the race started.

And that’s when I noticed that my HRM didn’t display the right screen! Aarrgghh!!! It had been fidgety on my last run and I didn’t think that it had carried over, but it had and that meant that I only had my heart rate and time. NO PACE! Thankfully it was programmed to beep at 1km intervals, but I’d have to base my pace on that. Since I couldn’t stop to fiddle with it I kissed Colin goodbye, wished him well and sent him on his way.

I tried not to get caught up in the quickness of the pack. I have a pace that I know I keep relatively well (6:18/km) so I made sure I was going a little faster than was usually comfortable. The first kilometre and a half were good and then I started to feel my left sock. I don’t know if it was because these socks are getting old or what, but it had slipped down on the inside of my heel. It was totally bothering me and I didn’t want it to actually come off so I had to make my way over to the side, stop and pull it up – frustrating! Getting back into the race was fine (lots of shoulder-checking involved) and it was nice to see Herb at the 3km marker. I saw him first so I yelled out to him and he took this awesome picture:

See how relaxed I am early on…

The next couple of kilometres were pretty average. A bit of a downhill then a straight out and back (on the other side of the median). I saw Colin when I was at about 4-1/2km – he was on the other side heading back already – so I yelled at him and generally made a spectacle of myself. Since I knew that I wouldn’t see him again until the finish I felt it was my wifely duty!

I was keeping pretty good pace and making sure that I was fueling/hydrating well. Even though I didn’t use the water stations (I had my pack) they looked like they were well manned – there were lots of volunteers. At about 9km I got to the main downhill (+/- 75 metre elevation drop) and tried not to put on the brakes too much. I didn’t go all out, but felt like I made up a little bit of time. I hit 10 km (by my watch) in almost exactly 1 hour. After the hill it was a nice run alongside the beaches – I ran with Darren, my half clinic instructor, for awhile. Normally he’d have been long-gone, but he ran the BMO Vancouver Marathon in May and was taking it a little easier for this race. At about kilometre 13 he went on ahead and I slowed down for the uphill.

This is when my race started getting a little sucky. Murphy’s Law states that “if anything can go wrong, it will”. And it did. Suffice it to say that GI issues hit with a vengeance (any other mention is TMI). I thought that I was in luck – I was sure that porta-potties were just around the corner at kilometre 14. After all, that’s what the website had said. I had faith that it was true… and all I found was a water station. Crap. I kept my hopes up as I passed into a residential neighbourhood. Kilometre 15 – no luck. I passed some lovely volunteers who actually took the time to read my name and cheer just for me. I tried really hard to appreciate their effort! Kilometre 16 came and went with nary a little grey box in sight. I passed a little park with lovely water views and *gasp* A TOILET! Hooray! Or not. It was locked (I assume since it was city, not race, supplied). I was having no luck. At the 17km water station I finally found the bathroom. And promptly wasted 3 valuable minutes. But all was good with the world afterwards and I ran along happily until I came upon the Burrard Bridge.
I have driven over this bridge probably thousands of times in my lifetime. I even walked over it a couple of times during the Olympics. However, I have to say that to run over it – on the roadway – is daunting. It doesn’t look that steep. I learned that looks can be deceiving. After running 3/4 of the race on mostly flats or downhills it was a bit of a shock to the system to have to go up again, especially since it was only kilometre 18. I started playing games with myself to get up and over it. I told myself that it was just one hill and I’d done hill repeats so that meant it was nothing. I played “pass the runner” and picked people off just so I could feel good about myself. I let myself get distracted by the cheering spectators (as I should have). Soon I found myself on the home stretch with only 3.1 km left to go.

Once I was on Pacific Boulevard I started to get a little excited. I knew that I still had a ways to go so I couldn’t push too fast. My watch told me that I was on pace to beat 2:10. My original time goal was a realistic 2:15 (only 1:58 faster than my first half in February) so when I saw that I could potentially come in 5 minutes faster I really started to focus. At about 20 km I saw my friend Christine and said hi, but didn’t slow down for long. I could see the 21 km marker and needed to go.

Just as I shouldn’t have believed the website about the porta-potties I also shouldn’t have taken the elevation graph as totally accurate either. It shows a nice decline into the finish after the bridge. However, at about 20-1/2 km the road starts to go up again! Aahh! My legs were burning already and I kept checking my watch for time and I had a small hill thrown at me – not good. I really had to dig down deep to keep my pace. I passed the 21 km flag (silly me, I thought I was done since I forgot the .1 km) and then just booked it. See picture below:

Sprinting to the finish!

Colin told me when he found me after I finished that he called my name and cheered for me, but I was in such a zone that I didn’t hear anything. I have a feeling that my official finish line photo is going to be either really awesome or really scary – I’m voting scary. All I wanted to do was finish. My watch was telling me that I finished in 2:08:49, while clock (official) time was 2:13:07. Chip time turned out to be 2:11:38. Take which ever result that you want: they were all PRs!!! I knocked almost 5-1/2 minutes off of my time in February so I’m super proud of myself. I’m also really proud of Colin. He dropped his time by 12 minutes (1:55:07 in February and 1:43:08 this weekend).

I crossed the finish line, received my medal, found Colin and we met up with Herb again. I went to get some food – banana and a cookie – and then found everyone else.

James, Laurie, Allison, Colin and Me.

After a couple of pictures we made our way to the van and Herb surprised us with champagne for a celebratory toast (which we then turned into mimosas – healthy juice and all that). Allison, Colin and I all PR’d at this race! It was great to be able to share the experience with Colin as well as new friends – they are all from my marathon clinic.

Laurie, Colin, Allison and Me.

Herb, Colin, Allison and Me.

It was pretty much the perfect day (minus the issues listed above). The weather was just right, the course was beautiful, I had fun with friends and I got a PR. As we drove away from Stanley Park to find breakfast Herb put on Queen’s “We are the Champions”… it can’t get much better than that!

One Race: Three Finish Times

I PR’d today! The best part is that all 3 times (gun, chip, and HRM) were PRs… Personally I’m taking my own time as my PR. The chip time doesn’t account for the 3 minute pit stop at Km 17…


  • Gun Time: 2:13:07
  • Chip Time: 2:11:38
  • Polar HRM Time: 2:08:49
  • Placing: 2539/3812 overall; 1196/2124 gender; 212/362 age group

Here are a couple of photos taken by Herb, our designated carpool driver/photographer/marathon clinic leader (who, unfortunately, couldn’t run due to injury), which I shamelessly stole from facebook:

3km in – looking good…

Sprinting to the finish line – I was in the zone!

Herb brought us champagne and OJ to celebrate!
Race report to follow once I get some more pictures and relax a little.

Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon – Preview

Race day on Sunday! Here’s what I’m up against…

I think that it’s going to go well. I’ve driven the route and it’s all good, but it’s that last uphill on the Burrard Bridge that I think might kill me – it’s a nice long, steady incline. My mantra is going to be, “I AM the hill.” Race report to follow… but if you want to check my time you can look on the race website in the afternoon; my bib is #96.

Oops, it’s been a while since I wrote something!

My last week went a little like this:

1. Got C to pick up my new shoes.

2. Wore/broke in new shoes on 20km run. The trail around Burnaby Lake is mostly boardwalks and pea-gravel, so it was pretty and decently shady. However, the ground was not level and in a few spots it was so soft you could tell that there was probably mulch underneath which was BAD FOR A KNEE THAT WAS ALREADY HAVING PROBLEMS! You know you aren’t having a stellar run when it takes you 15km to “get into” it. I’ve been doing Colin’s physio exercises ever since…

Ended up with re-blackened toenail – that sucker has been in various states of purple since OCTOBER. Enough already… and it didn’t even come from running. At least this time it seems more like a badge of honour. Also have an awesome blister on side of my right big toe – good thing my callous is “protecting” it. I won’t post pictures out of respect for your eyes, but let’s just say that I won’t be going to get a pedicure anytime soon.

3. Took M to a commercial shoot on Monday and Tuesday. Long days with a 3 year old, but he was paid handsomely for doing squat diddle playing in the backyard.

4. Ran on Tuesday evening – 6km tempo. Leg felt like crap at 4km. Kept saying that I wanted to quit, but somehow ran through it and my last 2km were around 5:15 per/km = SCORE! Total run was about 36 minutes. Awesome for something that felt like it wasn’t going well.

5. Read some more “Run Like A Mother” – the chapter on mental toughness was really appropriate (see #4). I am loving this book – it’s even better than everyone says it is.

6. Skipped scheduled 10km tempo run to take M to hospital for “Nursemaid’s Elbow” (read: partial dislocation). Awarded self “Worst Mother” trophy for having pulled him up too fast and caused injury (it’s really common, but still…).

7. 2nd Thursday night clinic. Went out for a 7.18km steady run. At 6.23min/km average – 45:50min total – it was a little quick for our pace group. I blame the run up the tree-lined river for the speediness… none of our GPS units were keeping reliable pace. It was a good run and it helped that it was on the cool side tonight (I actually pulled out the hoody, which was only overkill by a little bit). I’m very happy that I’m coming up to my half marathon taper run this Sunday. 6km will be a nice change from the 20km I ran last week.

T-Minus 10 days to the Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon!

Juneathon 2010

Because my June isn’t busy enough with training for the Vancouver Scotiabank Half Marathon at the end of the month as well as starting my marathon training clinic on the 10th I thought that I would add in a little fitness challenge too!

Courtney over at Run, Courtney, Run! is hosting

For the month of June I get to:

  • Exercise every day. This should be easy as I will already be running approximately 4-5 days/week and only have to throw in some cross/strength/core training to make up the last couple of days.
  • Blog about exercising every day. This might be harder since I’m likely to forget if I don’t write myself a note or mark it off on my calendar.

At the end of June I:

  • Might be selected for a prize.
  • Will be more fit that I have been in a long while.

If you think that this sounds like fun (c’mon, you know it does…) you can sign up too.

I Did It…

On Friday I registered C and I for our half marathon*. It’s not that this is my first race – that was in February – but there is something that seems to happen when a race is paid for. I have to say that this simple task makes it much more “real”. It’s no longer intangible. It’s no longer a maybe. I went from thinking “Sure, I’ll be running on 27 June” to “(Oh crap) I’ll be running on 27 June.” Not much of a difference there, but many of you (and especially if you are a runner) know what I mean. Now there is something to PLAN for. Not that I haven’t been planning already – I’m halfway through my training program and, let me tell you, I haven’t been doing hill repeats for fun.

But now I have to think of other things:

  • SHOES: Will my running shoes hold out until after the race? In reality, probably not. I have a 3 week overlap with my marathon clinic so I’ll have a lot of extra mileage on them. They are already well broken in and I’m pretty sure that the next 9 weeks of training just might kill them or my knees if they go. I’d love for them to last a little longer since my work, a large Canadian sporting goods retailer, will be carrying my shoes in my size (finally), but they aren’t coming in until August.
  • FUELING: I need to make sure all the things I like to eat/drink like me in return. So far so good with GU (mmm, mint chocolate) and Ultima lemonade. I just recently found out that cheap Zellers arrowroot cookies love me immediately before a run. Not hugely healthy, but great for shorter runs. Now to find something that loves me prior to my long runs as right now I have to eat 2+ hours before going out.
  • WATER: Seems simple, but I really have to work on this. And by “this” I mean actually drinking plain water. I hate it. C makes fun of me for it, but I can’t stand the non-taste of water. I think it’s boring and it does a great disservice to my already miniscule bladder. However, I have to get on top of this since my run is in the summer and so is all my marathon training. I’d have to be pretty dumb not to learn to love water.
  • BABYSITTING: Both C and I will be running the half so we’ll have to find somewhere for M to go. We have awesome family and friends who are usually more than willing to offer to help us. However, this one might mean doing something BIG in return. Here’s why: the race starts at 7am. The organizers suggest being there about 1 hour prior for parking, etc. and it’s a 45 minute drive there. You do the math as to how early that is! To any of our regular, reliable babysitters: we’ll talk (or beg; or grovel; or do a drop and run). Addendum: My wonderful sister-in-law emailed me on facebook right after I posted this and kindly offered to either take M overnight or come to our house really early! THANK YOU!!! I’m pretty sure that one of these days I’ll have her 2 kids dropped on my doorstep and I won’t see her and my brother-in-law for a week…

So this is what I’ve been thinking about this week. As for what I’ve been doing I’ve had a pretty productive 9 days. Two really good long runs (12km and 14km) have bookended my week. Bootcamp was great and didn’t hurt me this time around although the rain never let up once during the whole hour. My other runs this week were on pace and I felt great for not slacking off.

All in all it’s been a pretty decent start to the month.

*Originally I was going to register for the marathon too in order to save a few bucks due to the incoming, and much loathed, HST (harmonized sales tax), but that went by the wayside since it meant adding another couple hundred dollars to the credit card.