Monthly Archives: April 2013

Race Recap: Times Colonist 10K 2013

Although I have a marathon coming up exactly one week after the TC10K, I did not hesitate to sign up for a shorter and faster race just to see where I was at. Last year, when I ran the race, I finished in 43:31 (chip time). Last year, I only wanted to see if I could finish the race without any pain, but my sub-45 minute first attempt at a 10k since my foot injury inspired me to run more in ways you can’t even begin to imagine.

This year, I wanted to beat it. My desire for a 10K PR and the fact that I had an awesome time at last year’s race were two great reasons to sign up again this year. So, I did. Also, some of my friends and coworkers were also doing the race.

I definitely think that events like these are not only a great opportunity to challenge yourself to do your best but also a wonderful time to socialize and connect with people who love the sport as much as you do.

Since I was doing primarily distance work, training for the BMO Marathon and the Run for Their Lives, I was not entirely sure how my 10K time would be affected by the lack of tougher speed work. In the past, I’ve never done a marathon and a 10K a week apart. However, I like to experiment.

The weeks leading up to the race, I made sure to always stay hydrated in training. The night before the race, I had a plate of spaghetti as a way to “carb-up”. I also prepare everything I need for race day the night before, which includes: making sure that my Garmin Forerunner 110  is charged, my Public Myth gear is clean and ready, my race bib is in an accessible place and I know what I’m going to eat and drink in the morning.


It was a great opportunity for me to test out my new Public Myth running shorts…and I gotta say-they’ve done it again! I’m super impressed with how comfortable the shorts were. They are the perfect length and they fit great! I love them!

So, I got up around 6:30 am, had a banana and an energy bar. I also made sure I was hydrated. I drank water and an energy drink. Since race started at 8:00am, I left the house around 7:15am to make sure that I get there on time and have time to warm up. I like to park a few blocks away from the start line because then I can jog down to where I need to be as opposed to trying to find closer parking. The jog also serves as a warm-up in addition to preparing me mentally and physically for the race.

When I got to the start line, I was so thrilled to see Rob Reid from Frontrunners/New Balance. Frontrunners and New Balance sponsored the TC10K. Every time I see Rob Reid, I get inspired to run/race even better than I had predicted. He is truly an inspiration and is highly knowledgeable of all things running.


Again, I started my Garmin Forerunner a few seconds earlier than gun time. The first km into the race felt slow as I finished in 4:21. I knew I had to speed up if I wanted to beat last year’s time. At the 5km mark, I was at 20:47, which I thought was right on pace to PR. The best part though: I felt great! (Last year, I hit the 5K mark at 21:25 and that felt too fast for me.) When I hit Dallas Road, it got pretty windy, so I stuck behind a guy, who was bigger than me to try to get out of the wind.

By the 8k mark, I was still feeling pretty good but I know that I slowed down a little bit. However, I still hit it at 33:39, which means that I was over 1 minute ahead of my last year’s pace. At that point, I knew that it was time to really focus and that if I wanted to PR, then there was no room for pacing errors. I also knew that I wasn’t going to break 40 minutes this time.


I definitely picked up the pace, especially after I saw the 9km mark. At that point, I knew I was going to beat my last year’s time, so it became a question of “by how much?” I crossed the finish line at 42:14 (chip time 41:52), which is more than a minute faster than last year. I was pleased with my time. My average pace was 4:14 per km (6:48 min mile).

I ended up being 287th person across the finish line out of over 10,000 people, which puts me in the top ~3% of finishers. I was in the top 100 women (39th woman overall to be exact). What surprised me even more and came totally unexpected was that I placed 2nd in my age group. Because I didn’t know that my time would qualify me for an age group award until after I looked at the results online when I got home, I didn’t make it to the awards ceremony on time, hence the reason why I don’t have any pictures of me receiving my medal/award on the stage.

However, the TC10K race director was awesome enough to email all the age category medal winners a couple of weeks after the race and let us know that we could pick up our medals. I picked up mine and here it is 🙂

TC10K medal

You can check out the rest of the TC10K results on Raceday Timing.I want to thank Raceday Timing and the TC10K organizers for having timing mats at the 5k and the 8k mark and for showing those times in the official results because otherwise writing this blog post have been harder as I don’t want to have to memorize my splits when I’m trying to race 🙂 Also, timing mats deter cheaters, like the two individuals who took shortcuts in the Vancouver Sun Run, which took place a week before the TC10K.

I believe racing is about doing your personal best. Regardless if I place 50th or 1st, as long as I feel like I’ve had a good race, ran well and improved my time, I’m happy. A race is something to work towards. It’s a way to see if how I trained was effective and it’s how I determine if I need to tweak my training plan.

The TC10K is a great course! I want to do it again to see if I can improve on my time. Next stop: BMO Vancouver Marathon on May 5th, 2013.

How Running Saves Me Time and Money

It was an early April morning and I was idling in traffic on Tillicum Road on my way to work. I have never seen that much traffic on Tillicum Road in the morning before. I totally forgot about the Craigflower Bridge closing for the next several months, which means that everyone who used to drive across that bridge had to find alternative routes-Tillicum Road being one of them.

As I sit there for a few minutes and watch the light change to green, I thought, “Allright, I’m going to get to go through this time.” With just two cars in front of me, the light turned yellow and then red. I didn’t get to go.

I was sitting at the light and realized that I will probably need to get gas on the way home. There goes another $40. That’s the same price as some race entry fees. However, it wasn’t the $40 that I was worried about. I knew that I was more concerned with the length of time it took me to drive 5k in this unavoidable traffic.

When I have a 5k PR of 19:25 and when I take it easy, I still do 5k under 25 minutes, it’s no wonder that I can’t comprehend taking 28-30 minutes to drive the same distance. Isn’t getting from point A to point B faster the reason for driving? Sure, the traffic in Victoria is not as bad as it gets in Vancouver or Los Angeles at rush hour, I still think that idling, even for a few minutes, is a waste of time and money.

The next day, I decided to do the only thing that makes sense-I ran to work. Man, did it feel good! I was passing some vehicles up the hill heading towards the Tillicum-Craigflower intersection as they began slowing down for the changing light.

Before I bought my car, I ran to work every day because if I didn’t run, then I would be stuck bussing for 2 hours each way, since not very many buses go to that part of the city that often. I stored clean clothing in my cubicle and food in the office fridge-enough to last me for a week.

Above: Running. I do it on the track, on the road, the treadmill and anywhere I can. Photo by IMS FotoGrafix and clothing by Public Myth.

So what if they closed the Craigflower bridge? I’m just going to run to work because 5k there and 5k back makes it a 10k day, while all I’m doing is using running for transportation (in addition to the additional training runs that I do). I’m finding that the time it takes me to drive to and from work is longer than it takes me to run.

When I’m not driving or idling, I’m not burning gas. Of course, when I’m not burning gas, I don’t have to spend money to buy more gas. Therefore, yes, I save money. Although I enjoy driving, I definitely like running more.  Running (or biking) to work can add up to savings of hundreds of dollars per year.

Therefore, if it is feasible to run or bike to work, I highly recommend it. Not only will you save money, but you will also get fitter and healthier in the process.

Happy Training!

If you have any questions about running or fitness, please email me yhempler(at)gmail(dot)com and I will answer them most likely on this blog.


Featured in Victoria News and Front Page of Saanich News

Hello everyone,

I wanted to give you a bit of an update on Run for Their Lives. I am so thrilled that on April 5th, Run for Their Lives was featured in Victoria News online and in print. I want to say a huge thank you to Don Descoteau for publishing the article. Both Saanich News and Victoria News are published by Black Press.

Below is the screenshot of the article online.


I was even more thrilled when, on April 10th, a co-worker of mine told me that I was on the front page of Saanich News. I got home and I was so thrilled to find our copy of the Saanich News featuring the story about Run for Their Lives on the front page.


I love distance running. It’s my biggest passion and there is nothing more rewarding than knowing that I can use it to help others and make a difference in my community.

If you can, please go to my Canada Helps giving page and make a small donation to one of the charities that I will be running for.

If you’re interested in becoming a corporate sponsor for “Run for Their Lives”, please email me for the sponsorship package at

I am currently working on the new press release which will include some of the corporate sponsors that have come on board. I will also be adding their links and logos to the “Run for Their Lives” tab. I’m very thankful to have their support in helping make this run a success. Money from corporate sponsorships helps to cover the cost of the run as well as balance out the donations amongst the charities.



Interview with Runner Jason Fitzgerald

Jason Fitzgerald is another long distance runner that inspires me, primarily because he is a 2:39 marathoner, which is something that I aspire to achieve. Not only is he successful in the sport, but also he is the founder of Strength Running, a popular website loaded with information on how to become a better runner.


After reading some of his posts, I knew that I definitely had to contact him and do an interview. I found his site to be very informative for runners of all levels. Jason is highly knowledgeable when it comes to running and I’m very glad that he was able to share some of that knowledge with me during our interview.

In his interview, Jason answers many burning questions about running. I get quite a few questions from readers and I like to take opportunities to share the views of other running experts, which is why I think Jason is a great fit.

Jason Racing

YANA: What do you feel have been some of your greatest moments in running and why?
I’ll have to pick my favorite race – the 2011 Philadelphia Marathon. I finished in 2:39:32, running a strong final 10k and barely slowing down at all. This race, more than any other, puts a smile on my face. I trained hard – and really smart – to improve on my inaugural marathon finish of 2:44:38 in NYC three years previously.

YANA: What do you feel is the most common mistake made by first time marathoners in either their training or their race?
: The biggest mistake most beginner marathoners make is not having enough patience. 26.2 miles is a long way and it takes the body a very long time to train properly to run that distance. So when I coach runners, I often see someone who is currently running about 10 miles a week with a 5 mile long run. And they want to do a marathon in 12-16 weeks!
It’s very difficult to rush a marathon so be patient and give yourself enough time to build enough fitness to tackle 26.2 miles.

YANA: I’m an advocate for a balanced training approach for runners, which means that I think runners should do a combination of cardio, strength, endurance, and flexibility training. Do you agree or disagree and why?
JF: I definitely agree, though I stay away from the word “cardio.” Running is inherently a one-dimensional form of exercise – it’s moving straight ahead in one plane of motion. It creates particular muscle weaknesses and imbalances because of this one-dimensionality.
But that’s easily countered by 15-20 minutes a day of injury prevention work that includes a dynamic warm-up and a strength workout or core routine. By focusing on the posterior chain (fancy talk for the muscles on your backside like hamstrings, glutes, and lower back) and working in all three planes of motion, runners can be significantly better athletes and prevent a lot more injuries.

YANA: When most people hear the words “core training,” they automatically think it’s just “abs.” Could you tell the readers who are reading this what exactly core training means, so that they hear it from a highly accomplished runner like yourself?
JF: Core training is definitely not just abdominal exercises! Your “core” includes everything between your knees and nipples: quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, hips, lower and upper abs, obliques, and the lower back.
Your core is your foundation and it helps keep you stable while running, so it’s critical to develop all of the muscles that comprise the core. I highly recommend this workout, which I’ve cleverly called the Standard Core Routine.

YANA: What piece of advice do you have for runners who would like to improve their form and what are some elements of good running form?
JF: I like to keep form improvements simple because it can get complicated and a lot of runners who already have pretty good form try to fix something that isn’t broken.
So there are two things that every runner should do:
1. Land with your foot underneath your body instead of reaching out in front of the body. This cuts down on aggressive heel striking.
2. Increase your cadence to about 180 – don’t worry if you’re not right at this number, but most runners should be over 170 at least.
These two simple fixes take care of the majority of form issues.

YANA:  Could you tell me more about your book, 101 Simple Ways to be a Better Runner?
JF: I was in a book store one day browsing through the running section trying to find a book that summarized all of the best training advice. I couldn’t find that book.
There are tons of books on training but none of them were quick reads – they all got into the (sometimes boring) details of ventilator threshold and lactate clearance. That stuff is important, but I wanted actionable running advice that was condensed and easy to read.
Since I couldn’t find it, I wrote it. My book, 101 Simple Ways to be a Better Runner, is an actionable list of the coaching advice and running wisdom I’ve learned over nearly 15 years of competitive running.

YANA:  What piece of advice do you have for marathon runners who would like to break 3 hours?
JF: Patience! That’s no easy feat for most runners and will take years of patient training. Focus on the process.

YANA: What do you do to deal with your running injuries?
JF: I’ve been lucky that I haven’t had a significant running injury since 2009, despite running a big marathon PR and setting two annual mileage bests since then. My well-balanced approach to training – the same principles I use with the runners I coach – helps both myself and my athletes stay healthy.
But if you get injured, or start to feel something flare up, take action immediately. That doesn’t mean just rest – it means an aggressive treatment approach. Model what the elites do: rest, ice, massage (self or professional), specific rehab, targeted strength work, and appropriate cross-training.

YANA: Do you have any favorite books that you recommend for runners to read?
JF: I love reading about this subject and have a carefully curated list of running books. In particular (besides my own book!), I highly recommend Run Faster from the 5K to the Marathon by Brad Hudson and Matt Fitzgerald.

I want to take this opportunity to thank Jason for his interview. I wish him continued success!

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