Monthly Archives: March 2014

BMO Vancouver Marathon training: Weeks 7, 8 & 9 Recap

I’m continuing on with lower volume training, which I admit may seem a little counter-intuitive for someone who is going to be running a marathon in the first week of May.

When I say lower volume training, I still run an average of between 50-60km per week. Additionally, I have done multiple longer runs prior to beginning the 16 weeks of BMO  Vancouver Marathon Training, so I already have a good aerobic base.

I know that my body will remember all the 30km runs that I used to do.

In week 7, I did a lot of hills. I ran up and down Mount Doug 3 times in one day. Another time I went for a slightly longer (18km) run that included a 1-time ascent up Mount Doug. Then, I did a few 5k runs that involved a more hillier route.

In week 8, I focused on running distances between 8 and 15km. I did an 8k and a 10k tempo. Then, I did a 12k run and 15k run. Took 3 rest days leading up to the races.

In week 9, I rested for the first part of the week, because I raced the LifeMark Esquimalt 5k and the Comox RV Half Marathon. I got a personal best in the Half Marathon and was very excited about it.


Race Recap: Comox RV Half Marathon 2014

I signed up to run the Comox RV Half Marathon in order to get a more “official” personal best in that distance.

I said “official” because I have not raced a half marathon after recovering from my injury and before my injury, I had a personal best of 1:38:xx.

In my full marathons, which I got into after my injury, I would sometimes split around 1:38-1:39, so I knew that I could beat it.

My goal was 1:35, but what actually happened will surprise you because I didn’t expect it would turn out quite like this…

The race day started out the usual way, except that I had to get up quite a bit earlier than I normally would have. It’s roughly a 2.5 hour drive from Victoria to Courtenay (where the race took place).

My concern was that I might get stiff and tired from sitting in the car for so long…

At the start line, I hung out with my good friends. Like I said before, they make racing experience so much more AWESOME. 🙂


Above: My friend Pete and I at the start line. I’m sporting my awesome Public Myth gear, as usual.

Honestly, I didn’t get to train as much as I would have liked, but on days that I DID train-I trained well.

Even though the half marathon is more of an endurance race, I focused more on speed training because that’s what I felt I needed to work on.

My friends, who have done this race before, warned me about some of the hills that I was going to encounter on my way to the finish line. That’s ok, I like hills 🙂

Right from the start, I settled into a 4:20-4:25 per km pace. By the time I reached the 10km mark, I was still under 44 minutes, 43:40 to be exact. That was basically my 10k race time a while ago.

Then, I thought to myself: “Well, I’m almost at the halfway point, so why slow down now.” In fact, unlike some other races I’ve done, I didn’t get the urge to slow down at all.


Above: My friends and I after finishing the race.

After I got past the 15km mark, I even ended up doing a few 4:10 kms. I was still feeling great, which surprised me a little bit because I started out faster than I normally would for this distance.

It was more like: “Yay! I can keep my previous 10k pace for the whole half marathon!” rather than: “Oh no! I started out too fast and now I have to slow down if I wanna finish.”

With less than 1km left to go and still feeling great, I knew that I would get a great time. I passed a couple of people in the last km and was thrilled to see that I was coming up to the last 100m.

The best part? I still had enough energy to have a strong sprint finish.

In some races, I would feel tired towards the end-but not this time, even though it was one of the longest races I’ve done this year.


Above: My 2nd place age category medal.

I ended up finishing 2nd in my age category with a time of 1:31:34 (average pace was 4:21 per km or 6:59 per mile). This race exceeded all of my expectations of myself in every way.

It makes me wonder: could I break 1:30 in a half marathon this year on an easier, flatter course? I guess there is only one way to find out…


Race Recap: LifeMark Health Esquimalt 5k March 22, 2014

I got a free entry into this year’s LifeMark Esquimalt 5k because I finished 2nd in the women’s category last year. I’ve been looking forward to this race for quite a while.

The course is both fun and challenging because it has a few hills, but none of them are overwhelming.

If you haven’t done a 5k yet, I think that it would be a great race for you to do as your first 5k because, like I said before, it’s a lot of fun. I love this race!

I decided to take it a bit easier this time because I knew that I would be racing the Comox RV Half Marathon the next day. This race was the start of a stellar racing weekend. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE race weekends!

At the start line, I got to hang out with my buddy Marty the Marmot, the beloved Victoria Royals Mascot. Also, I was thrilled to see one of my clients and a few friends from the gym doing the race.


The weather was a little bit colder than I would have liked, so much so, that I opted to wear my Public Myth teaser jacket for the whole race, as opposed to running in a sports bra. I also wore the teaser crop leggings. Apparently, it was a Public Myth teaser collection kind of race 🙂

I started near the front and decided to stay there even though I originally planned to take it easy. I definitely didn’t start too quickly. Now that I look back, I feel like I ran my first half a little too slow. My goal was to finish in around 20 minutes.

Here’s what I’ve noticed about 5k races, even though I haven’t done a lot of them (I like the longer stuff): they are too short to take it too easy on the first half and too long to sprint the whole thing. If you run your first half even a little too slow, it will make a huge difference in the final outcome and you may not be able to make up the time towards the end.

By the 3k mark, I knew that I would be finishing between 19:30 and 21 minutes. However, by that time, my main goal changed from “finish in 20 minutes” to “maintain your 3rd place position (for the women)”.

I found the hardest km to be between 3-4. I looked at my Garmin and I noticed that I slowed down due to slightly tired legs. After I made it to 4k, I thought, “ok, time to pick it up again”. So, that’s exactly what I did.


Above: Heading for the finish line 🙂

By the time I was 200m away from the finish line, I knew that I wasn’t going to get a personal best but I still had a decent run and enjoyed my race. I also knew that the real personal best would be the following day, when I raced the half marathon, so I wasn’t disappointed with my performance in the 5k.


Above: Post-race fun with Striker Highlander.

I finished the race in 20:28, which is a 4:06 per km pace (6:36 per mile). I was the 3rd woman across the finish line and 22/434 overall.

The best part about placing in the top 3 is that I get a free entry into next year’s race, which always makes me happy 🙂 I look forward to doing this all over again!



BMO Vancouver Marathon Training: Week 5 & 6 Recap

Previously, when I trained for marathons, my whole thought process was: “must get as many miles under my belt as possible before the race.”

However, this year, I decided to change it up and focus more on the quality of the miles, rather than the quantity.

After all, if I can come up with an even more efficient way to train for a marathon without any risk of under-training or over-training, then I will be extremely happy.

If you remember my short write-up about week 3 & 4, you will see that I’ve been training fairly light.

In week 5, I ran 3 times a week for 15km each time. Then, I did 2 days of weight training.

In weeks 6, I ran 15km once, 12km twice and 10km once.

The one thing I would like to mention about all the shorter runs that I’ve been doing: I pushed my pace as much as possible to try to get used to running a bit faster.


Race Recap: Hatley Castle 8k 2014

After finishing the Cedar 12k with a major personal best, I honestly couldn’t wait to race again. Given that I’ve had personal bests in all 3 previous races in 2014, I was pretty sure that I would have a good race.

The Hatley Castle is pretty hilly, but the location is beautiful. It’s held at Royal Roads University.

Unfortunately, on race day, the weather was pretty bad and fairly uncommon for that time of the year in Victoria (end of February).

Due to the conditions, the race had to be rescheduled for March 2, 2014. It’s totally understandable because everyone’s safety is a priority for the race organizers.

I wasn’t too concerned about the schedule change, although I heard some people were thrown off by it. The weather is something that’s outside of my control, so I wasn’t going to let it ruin my race. Not worrying about things that are outside of your control is one of the best ways to overcome pre-race anxiety.

Again, I got to the race early. About one hour before the start of the race, I had a banana and a package of Cytomax Energy Drops as well as a can of Pink Energy drink. The usual. Never change the pre-race routine if you can help it, especially when it comes to eating and drinking.

Again, I put on my Public Myth gear, another constant.

This race was just for fun and that’s the attitude that I chose to take towards it, which helped me take all pressure off myself. (Try it)

This time, I didn’t start too fast. By the time we got to the big hill, I still had lots of energy.

I felt like I powered up the hill at a good pace (thanks to my training runs up Mt. Doug) and felt awesome when I got to the top.

There was a moment in the last 3km of the race where we ran on a winding trail. I struggled to keep my pace as fast as I wanted because I couldn’t see anyone in front or behind me. However, I managed to gather enough energy for a strong ascent up the last hill.

I ended up finishing first in my age group with a time of 34:14 (average pace is 4:17 per km or 6:53 per mile), which is a little bit slower than I would have liked. Overall, I was 44th out of 312 finishers.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any photos from the race this time.

I definitely plan on doing it again next year! 🙂

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