Monthly Archives: April 2014

Race Recap: Times Colonist 10k April 27, 2014

Every year for the past few years, the Times Colonist 10k has been one of my favorite races. I love the big group of runners/walkers that all get out there for different reasons but have one thing that unites them all: personal achievement.

Races like the TC10k welcome runners of all levels with open arms. While some runners are looking to achieve a personal best time, others are looking to raise money for charities or have a great time with their friends or make some new ones.

This year, the TC10k was particularly special because the organizing committee added a half marathon distance and it was also the 25th year anniversary of the event.

Another reason why this year’s TC10k is so memorable for me is because this was my first time EVER starting with the elite crowd, with an elite bib¬†near the front in a big event.

When I registered, I predicted that I would finish around 40 minutes (possibly under) and starting at the front is a good way for me to be able to keep on running rather than dodging people who aren’t trying to break 40 minutes. It also wasn’t my idea to put myself with the elites (a lady that was handing out race packages remembered me from other races and encouraged that I make the switch), which made it that much more special.


Above: A photo of my first elite bib. ūüôā

Who would have thought that a girl who couldn’t even run a lap around the track would be starting with the elites in a big 10k race one day?

The gun goes off and I start as fast as I can with the intention of keeping that pace for as long as I can. Ran the first mile in 6:09. Perfect.

I was not concerned about whether or not other runners are catching me and how many people I was passing. The only thing that mattered to me was how far can I push myself. I was running my own race and I was out there doing my best.

Then, when I reached the 5k mark, my Garmin read 19:55. That’s actually more than 30 seconds faster than my 5k race time and at that point, I still felt like that pace was manageable. Conclusion: I run my 5k races a little¬†too slow.

At the 5k mark, I didn’t think of it as: “oh no, I’m only halfway there.” It was more like: “Yay! I’m already half way and as long as nothing terrible happens I will¬†get a personal best.”

I had to slow down a little bit between 6-8km because there was a head wind and I felt like my legs were getting tired. I wanted to put everything I had left into the last 2km.

When I turned off Dallas road, I knew that it was just a little under 1 mile before the finish. I gathered the remainder of my strength and went for it.

My legs were definitely feeling tired but I knew that the faster I got to the finish line, the sooner I can start to recover. The trick is to finish before the body realizes what you’re doing. Hahaha.

As I saw the finish line about 200m away, I thought I heard the announcer say something about the 40-minute mark. At that point, I stopped looking at my Garmin and started sprinting to the finish. Seriously, I wanted my finish time to be something like 40:xx or faster.

As I was¬†crossing the line, I saw the clock said: 40:56 (my average pace was 4:06 per km or 6:40 per mile). That’s definitely a new 10k personal best for me. I knocked over 1 minute off my last year’s time.


Above: Female age 20-24. Top 10 list in the Times Colonist.

I¬†finished 156th out of about 10,000 people who took part in this year’s event and I was the 22nd woman across the finish line. I know there were thousands of women in that race. I also¬†ended up being 4th in my age category out of 415 people.


Above: The Top 100 Female Finishers listed in the Times Colonist. I’m honoured to have finished in a time that was good enough for my name to be listed in the same column as the overall female winner Jane Murage.

I wasn’t too concerned about the fact that I narrowly missed getting an age category medal because I can’t complain about my own significant improvement each year. As long as I keep on improving and doing my best, I will always be happy with my performance.


Above: Age category ribbon and finisher’s medal.

We also got beautiful finisher medals (see photo above) because it was the 25th anniversary, so I still walked away with a medal to add to my collection ūüôā

Lastly, a shout out to my client Stephen who achieved another personal best in the distance at this race after following my running program. He improved his 10k time by a total of about 23 minutes (that requires a whole separate blog post). YOU ROCK! ūüôā


Above: My client Stephen and I after the race. Excitement at the finish line ūüôā

I definitely want to do this race again next year.

Congrats to everyone who finished the race!

BMO Vancouver Marathon Training: Weeks 10, 11, 12 Recap

As I’m getting closer and closer to the BMO Vancouver Marathon, I start to wonder if maybe the low volume training is not the right way to go. Whether it is or isn’t, race day will be the only time that I will actually find out. I’m willing to try anything as long as I deem it to be safe for me.

I don’t recommend anyone actually try this, unless they are an experienced runner with a lot of miles in the leg bank.

The key to a successful marathon generally lies in doing a LOT of miles in the early stage of training. I also want to mention that those miles should be “quality” miles. However, this requires a whole separate blog post, so look for it in the future.

In week 10, I focused on what I believe are quality miles. I didn’t run too many of them, but the ones that I did run, I did them fast…or faster than I would have if I was just focusing on getting as many miles as possible under my belt.

In the beginning of the week, I did a few short and fast 3k-5k runs. Towards the end of the week, I took a couple of days off because I was racing the Merville 15k.

In week 11, I was too excited about the upcoming Sooke River 10k race (the last race of the Island Series) to focus on any long runs. My longest run that week ended up being the 10k race. Prior to that, I did 1 day of hills, 1 fast 3k run and a 5k tempo run.

In week 12, I did 3 runs that were over 12k and I was happy with the pace. I decided that if my long runs are going to be under 20km, then I better do them at a faster pace. Additionally, I did a half hour tempo run and some speed work.

That, my friends, sums up my running for the past 3 weeks.



Race Recap: Sooke River 10k and Series Awards 2014

The Sooke River 10k took place on April 13, 2014. It was the last race of the Vancouver Island Race Series.

I couldn’t believe how fast time flies. I remember that it wasn’t too long ago that I was very excited about the first race of the series, Harriers Pioneer 8k.

My friends who have done the¬†race before told me that it’s a hilly course and that the biggest uphill is towards the end. Some people predicted that I would be finishing it in¬†just a little over 42 minutes. Challenge accepted.

I was thrilled to see one of my clients will be participating in the race (this requires a whole separate blog post, so look for it in the future). I knew he would do really well.

I picked up my race package and had about 30 minutes to spare before the start of the race. So, I found my friends and hung out with them until the start.

At the start line, I made my way as close to the front as possible. I knew that going around people when I’m racing increases the total distance traveled, so I started right behind the people I knew would be faster than me. Yes, it’s an actual trick¬†I use to run a good race.

At¬† 2km into the race, I got a side stitch. I haven’t had a side stitch during a race since high school. Knowing that I had 8km to go, I changed my breathing pattern a little bit while maintaining my pace. My breathing got deeper and slower, while the stitch became less and less painful.

By the time I got to the 4km mark, the stitch went away (thank goodness!!). Then, I realized that I was still making good time because my 5k split was 20:40.

As I was nearing the 7km mark, I caught up to a couple of ladies and passed them.

Then, I got to the big hill around the 8k mark and all I could think about was how the finish line is only 2km away. I lengthened my stride and couldn’t wait to complete my ascent up the hill…

With only 1km to go, I suddenly felt very relieved. When I looked at my Garmin and saw that I would have to run a 5 minute km for me to finish in 42+ minutes, I knew that I would be faster than that.

I ended up finishing the race in 41:35, which yields an average pace of 4:10 per km or 6:42 per mile. I also won 1st place in my age category. (Finished 55/360 overall). I’m very pleased with my time and placing in this race because I felt like it was a challenging (but still fun) course.


Above: Island Series Awards. Photo by Chris Kelsall.

I was absolutely ecstatic to find out that I am also the Vancouver Island Race Series champion for my age category. I was so thrilled that I got a gift certificate for a free pair of awesome Saucony shoes from Frontrunners for winning the entire series for my age category.

I’ve been needing a new pair¬†of shoes for quite some time now and Saucony is my favorite brand.

I had a blast doing all the races that I’ve done so far this year. There is only one word to describe the¬†Vancouver Island Race Series: AWESOME. I’m extremely happy that I did it because¬†frequent racing helped me stay on track with my training.

I highly recommend for runners of all levels to race in some of the Vancouver Island Race Series Races, especially if you live in this area.

Race Recap: Merville 15k 2014

The Merville 15k took place on April 6, 2014. It’s the 2nd to last race of the Vancouver Island Race Series.

Merville is a small community about 15 minutes north of Courtenay. It’s about 2.5-3 hours north of Victoria.

Since the race would be starting at 11am, I got up at 6:30am and left my house at around 7am to give myself enough time to drive the distance.

I wasn’t really sure where Merville was, but I figured that once I got to Courtenay, it would be self-explanatory. I didn’t have any trouble finding Merville and its Community Hall.

Since I’ve driven up Island a few times for races now, I started to enjoy the drive a bit more. I had quite a bit of energy during the drive and I couldn’t wait to get to the start line.

In training, I would always run 15k in just a little under 1:10. I knew I could go a lot faster and this time  I was really prepared to do so.

I got there with enough time to pickup my race number, have my pre-race energy drink and warm-up with my friends before the race started.

At the start line, I just thought: “I’m going to get as close to 1hour as possible. I am starting with the intention to break 1 hour and if that doesn’t happen, then I will still have a great time.”

As the race started, I just took off and settled into a really good pace from the start.

I got to the 5k mark in 20:28, which I was very happy with, especially since that was my 5k race time a couple of weeks ago and I had tons of energy left to keep that pace going.

I was just under 33 minutes at the 8k mark, which is faster than my time at the Harriers Pioneer 8k race. The greatest thing about it: I still felt great.

Then, I reached the 10k mark in 41:40, which used to be my PR last year.

I couldn’t believe what I was seeing on my Garmin

That is, until I got to 12k in 50:06! What?????!!!!! Did I just run a 12k personal best as part of my 15k run? YUP!

I seemed to have flown through the next 2k (and don’t remember much of what happened then) and the next thing I knew, I had less than 1km to go. At that point, I knew I would be under 1:04.


Above: My friends and I post-race.

I admit, I didn’t have much of a sprint left at the end and I’m not disappointed by that. I finished the race in 1:02:21 which is far better than I expected. It’s an¬†average pace of 4:10 per km or 6:42 per mile.

I placed 1st in my age group and 42/312 overall.

I want to do this race next year because I WOULD LOVE to break 1 hour, even if I get 59:59. ūüôā

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