Monthly Archives: June 2013

Run For Their Lives Vancouver Island 2013: The Last Day June 25th 2013

The night before the last day of the run, we felt a sense of relief and huge accomplishment. As you may have read from the end of my previous post, only a short 16km separated us from our destination-Mile 0, Victoria. We knew that we would be wrapping up the run around 12:00pm on June 25th, so we invited a few friends, sponsors and members of the press.

The morning of the run, I was up at around 6:30am and had a brief phone interview with Robin & Brian of 107.3 Kool FM. They host Kool Mornings and they have done a few other interviews with me during the course of the run. Later that morning, I heard my interview on the radio which made me even more excited to be finishing the run.

Then, at around 8:20am, I had another radio interview, with Brad Russell of The Port 1240. The Port 1240 and their sister stations along the Island also followed and updated their listeners about Run for Their Lives 2013.

At around 10:00am Ian and I met up with my running partner Kara, who also joined us for the very last leg. All the tough hills were behind us and I was so thrilled to be finishing this run uninjured.

Mike Wignall, the owner of Westbrook Consulting (one of our sponsors) took the following two photos. Thank you for forwarding those to us!!


As Kara, Ian and I made our way towards Victoria on the very last leg, traffic became pretty busy. We knew we would be going on the sidewalks as soon as we got into town.


As Kara and I ran alongside the road, Erin from CTV News caught up with us to get footage of what was remaining of the nearly 500km journey to raise hope, awareness and funds for three well-deserving charities . I was very thrilled to be able to connect with Erin! She is a runner too and I was very happy to meet her. 🙂


Above: Photo by IMS FotoGrafix (Ian). Kara, me and Erin from CTV.

When we got into town, Ian drove at normal driving speed and therefore he was able to get to Mile 0 before we did. Kara and I continued to run on the sidewalks along Douglas Street with Erin and the cameraman occasionally stopping to get shots of us approaching the finish line. Erin also interviewed me about the run right at the finish.

As Kara and I picked up the pace and went towards the Mile 0 monument, Ian was already comfortably parked, out of the RV and standing near the monument with his wife, Michelle. There were a few other people waiting for us as well, including representatives from the charities and some friends. Maggie from Blue Baby Tax Prep arrived with a beautiful bouquet of flowers. I was so happy to see her!


Above: Shaking hands with the Recreation Integration Victoria group. Photo by IMS FotoGrafix.

I was thrilled to see Don Descoteau and Don Denton from Victoria News (Black Press) at the finish line. I haven’t seen Don Descoteau since one of the Black Press Scholarship dinners from a long time ago and it was fantastic to get a chance to catch up.




As we completed the run, I suddenly got a second wind in addition to the sense of accomplishment. All of a sudden, I felt as if though I didn’t just run 16km-my body felt more like I only ran 3km.

Finishing the run was an AMAZING MOMENT!

Official “Thank You” post will be coming out soon. 🙂


Run for Their Lives Vancouver Island 2013: The Road towards Victoria

When we got to Nanaimo, we more or less felt at home because of how easy and fast it is to drive that distance. Running it is a whole different story.YanaNanaimoBridge

Above: Stopped by the Nanaimo sign for a quick shoot. It was a major milestone in the run because we made it that far down the Island all the way from Port Hardy. So, I decided to do a bridge, just because I felt like it was something different compared to just me posing and running. Shot by IMS FotoGrafix, Clothing by Public Myth

First off, the traffic gets busier the further South on the Island we go. Even going through smaller places like Duncan, traffic is still a consideration.

Second, there is an element of danger on the Malahat Drive, or in our case, the Malahat run. Anyone who has lived on the South Island for a while will know that the Malahat portion of the highway is known for the large amount of car accidents that occur along that particular stretch of the road. It could be because the road is curvy, narrow and hilly. Running up that hill is not as big of a concern to me as the traffic itself.

Third, the distance from Nanaimo to Victoria is 111km, which is about 3 or 4 days of running. This means that we shouldn’t say “we’re home” when there is almost 3 marathons that separate us from actually being home.YanaNanaimoPosing

Above: Again, this image is part of that bunch from the quick shoot by the sign. We were taking photos with most of the major city/town signs along the way. Shot by IMS FotoGrafix and clothing by Public Myth.

The first two days of running coming out of Nanaimo were very easy. The hills were not as big as the ones we encountered up Island. We also got a lot of happy honks and people waving at us from their cars. Additionally, there was enough room for us to be completely off the road and out of the way of the traffic.

I finished the running without any pain, which I am always thankful for. When I’m going high mileage so frequently, it’s very important that I remain injury-free through correct running techniques.

Watching the videos of myself running from the beginning compared to the later stages of the run, I could see where I’ve made adjustments to my stride and improved upon my technique. Running became automatic. My body had completely adapted to the high mileage and I felt great!


Above: Another photo break. Love this beautiful mountain backdrop. Photo by IMS FotoGrafix, clothing by Public Myth.

By the time it was time for me to do the Malahat, I was fully ready to take on that hill. My friend Kara joined us for that part of the run. We did the Malahat at midnight because that’s when the traffic is usually the slowest.

Running up the Malahat was much easier than I expected it to be. My legs did not hurt neither during nor after the run!

Here is what Ian wrote on the Run for Their Lives Facebook page about Kara and I running the Malahat that night:

“Yana and her friend Kara made the Malahat look like child’s play tonight!   We waited until it was the lowest time for traffic (Sunday night, Midnight-2am) and they went up and over it in 90 minutes! It was an amazing thing to see, fast pace and no breaks!”

I was absolutely THRILLED to read that! After the Malahat, we had a very short 16km to get to our destination-Mile 0

Run For Their Lives Vancouver Island 2013: Getting to Nanaimo

Getting from Courtenay to Nanaimo took a few days. The distance between those two cities is 110km, so unless you’re a member of the Tarahumara tribe or a seasoned ultra-marathoner like Dean Karnazes, it’s not recommended that you run that distance.

Did you know that the Tarahumara, also known as “The Running People”, who live in the Copper Canyons in Mexico, can cover unbelievable distances of up to 320km at once? All of a sudden, my 50km personal best doesn’t look too unbelievable.

Every night of the entire run, I was reading Born to Run by Christopher McDougall, which gave me many amazing insights into the world of distance running (more on that in a different post). It’s also where I learned more about the Tarahumara.

Although I am not running such huge distances now, one day I will. Yes, I ran 50km not too long ago and at this point, it’s my personal best. Yes, I would like to increase it but it will take time and I’m willing to put the effort into it. Gradually, I will work up to doing an ultra race.

To be exact, the 110km was split into 3 days. This means that I was running a bit less than a marathon a day. Any distance between 30-40km became comfortable to me especially because I wasn’t going at race pace.

Some highlights/memorable moments from that stretch of the road:

We met up with the Boomer’s Legacy riders in Courtenay. The organization is named after Corporal Andrew “Boomer” Eykelenboom, a dedicated soldier, and a Canadian Forces medic, killed by a suicide bomber, August 11, 2006. The organization raises awareness for our military’s efforts on deployed operations around the globe and raises funds for Boomer’s Legacy – money our soldiers can access to further help the people in communities where they serve. They do this by holding fundraising events (such as the Boomer’s Bike Ride) and by giving presentations to schools and interested groups.  Funds raised have been used for basic humanitarian needs, medical care and education. They are a great organization and it was an honour to meet the people who are involved in Boomer’s Legacy. BoomersLegacy BoomersLegacy1

-Ian got some great bird photos at the campground.

-I ran in a bikini along the side of the road when it was very busy and kept my pace as fast as I would if I was wearing sportswear.

-We saw a road sign that indicated Victoria (home) was less than 125km away. Given that the entire distance is 495k, it was a hugely inspiring moment to know that we have come that far without any problems (ie. injuries, vehicle trouble, etc). -I ran up a giant hill faster than I’ve done going up any other hills that size and grade.

-On the day we reached Nanaimo, a CTV News vehicle pulled up behind Ian, who was driving the RV,  and we stopped for a shoot and interview. It aired later that night which helped draw some more attention to our chosen causes. It came to us as a pleasant surprise because apparently someone called them as we were going down the highway. To whoever did that, we want to say thank you because when doing charitable events, publicity is highly valued and very much appreciated. CTVNanaimo

All photos on this page are by IMS FotoGrafix.

Run For Their Lives Vancouver Island 2013: Campbell River to Courtenay

After two full days of rest,  my legs were getting pretty anxious to resume the run.

Since we wanted to get through Campbell River before the traffic starts getting too busy, we were up at just before 6:30am. We started that day’s run at around 7:00am. There were not a lot of cars on the road, which was great.

By the time it got to be 10am, I was nearly 30km into the run and still feeling really good. Again, I stopped and downed some Cytomax Energy Drops and drank some water.

Above: “Raise your Cytomax.” Photo by IMS FotoGrafix, clothing Public Myth.

I wanted to go a little bit faster, but I also wanted to conserve my energy and avoid injury. I also thought to myself “I’m going all the way.” Ian, the other member of team “Run for Their Lives” said, “If you want to run 50k and get a personal best, then today is a good day to do it.”

A couple of truck drivers, who would be giving us encouraging honks along the way, also pulled over and gave us a donation.

Encouraging honks, donations and people cheering from their cars are definite morale boosters, especially when you are attempting to run a distance beyond what you thought you could do.

At around 42km, we started to see some signs that indicated Courtenay was getting closer and closer. At that point, I knew that I could make it to 50k. I thought that if I go faster, then I will get to my goal sooner. I sped up a little bit. Each time a vehicle went buy and someone waved and honked, I was motivated to keep on going strong.

All of a sudden, my Garmin indicated “47k”. With only 3 more km left to go before reaching my goal of 50k, I was extremely thrilled that nothing was hurting and that I felt as if I was just at the beginning of a run. My legs were still feeling fresh.

We finished that day right outside of Courtenay. It was amazing to be able to say that I ran 50k without a huge struggle. It took me 4 hours and 15 minutes. Of course, I was going slower than race pace, but the bottom line is, this was a race against myself. Sometimes, we get too caught up with “pace” that we miss out on the joys of running.

This long run has made me realize that it’s not all about stressing over pace and time. Yes, setting time goals is good, but sometimes you just have to be willing to go the distance. Once you’re able to go farther, you can begin to work on going faster.



Run For Their Lives Vancouver Island 2013: Sayward to Campbell River

I was extremely excited about knowing that in about 2 days, we would be getting to Campbell River from Sayward. The reason why Campbell River is so exciting is because it means that I will have ran just slightly past the halfway point. There is a sense of personal accomplishment that comes with knowing you are actually over halfway to your goal.

In addition, we would have two rest days in Campbell River. This time though, when I say “rest day”, I actually mean that 0km would be run on those days. The thought of rest days felt weird to me and I truly didn’t believe I genuinely needed them, but we had other business to take care of, such as going door-to-door in Campbell River selling raffle tickets to help support the SPCA.

The distance between Sayward and Campbell River is approximately 74km. Since I had already covered 10k of that distance the same day I got to Sayward, I had 64k to go before reaching the “bigger city”.

Above: Just doing what I love. Photo by IMS FotoGrafix, clothing Public Myth.

At that point, 64k is something that I would definitely cover in 2 days of running. After a while, it became apparent that my “normal” day started with an upwards of 30k run followed by eating a huge amount of complex carbohydrates for the rest of the day, drinking tons of water and Muscle Milk (review coming soon!), so that the next day I could get up and do it all over again.

Above: Climbing the RV while stopped for a short break, showing some of the sponsor signs.
Photo: IMS FotoGrafix, clothing: Public Myth

I also want to mention that I really fell in love with the delicious Cytomax Energy Drops as a way to quickly replenish my carbs and electrolytes throughout the long runs. Review coming soon!

The first day towards Campbell River was 36k. My goal that day was to get as close to Campbell River as possible.

Therefore, the next day after that was only 28km. For the first 20k, I was going very fast because I knew there are two rest days coming up and I wanted to see how close I could get to a half-marathon personal best without actually racing one. It was me against my Garmin . I ultimately ended up having to slow down because as we got closer to Campbell River, there were more cars and intersections that we had to watch out for. In addition, the weather got hot and there was a long hill that I had to conquer.

It was fantastic to get to Campbell River!
We also met up with the editor of Campbell River Mirror, a local Black Press Newspaper and did a quick shoot! I was also interviewed on The River 99.7 FM about the run.



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