Monthly Archives: May 2014

Race Recap: Oak Bay KOOL Half Marathon 2014

The Oak Bay KOOL Half Marathon took place this past Sunday, May 25, 2014. I first heard about the race on the 107.3 Kool FM radio station and it sounded like a great way to spend a Sunday morning.


Above: I got to meet Danny The Intern from 107.3 Kool FM. He’s super awesome.

At first, I wasn’t sure if I was going to be recovered enough after the BMO Vancouver Marathon (3 weeks ago) to do this race.

However, I was so thrilled when the kind folks at Peninsula Runners (they’re pretty awesome) allowed me to have an elite entry into the race that I completely forgot about the fact that I raced a full marathon earlier this month.

Honestly, I was a little bit nervous because after the marathon I took a full week off all training (weights and running). Then, I got back into it very slowly again in my second week post-marathon.

About midway through my second week post marathon (1.5 weeks before the Oak Bay Half), I ran a very slow and difficult 15k which seemed to have taken a lot out of me.

Then, I did a few shorter faster runs in preparation for the Oak Bay Half, but nothing too crazy because I wanted to be recovered enough to do this race and finish in a decent time.

I started this race without any seriously crazy expectations of myself. I feel like every time I put too much pressure on myself, I end up doing worse because rather than focusing on the task at hand, I focus on the outcome (and I’ve learned that it’s the wrong way to look at races).

I settled into a very good pace (maybe even a little bit too fast at the start), doing 4:10-4:18kms. By the time I got to the 8k mark, the pace was still pretty easy to maintain, so I went with it.

I didn’t see too many people around me and I caught the group that I had been trying to catch for the past 8 or so km. Staying with that group seemed like a great idea and they pulled me along quite nicely. “Perfect pace” was exactly what I thought.

The next time I glanced at my Garmin was when we got to the 10k mark. I got 42:40. Perfect. Just a little bit faster than my previous best 10k time from 2 years ago, but I’m doing the half marathon this time.

I’m extremely pleased at the thought that my previous 10k pace became my half marathon pace and I don’t feel like I’m gonna die doing that pace.

Then, the next thing I knew, I was cruising through the halfway point at 45:09. Awesome. All I needed to do was run the next half in 44:50 to break 1:30. Very doable and very realistic, if I picked it up just a little bit.

Unfortunately, I underestimated the second half a little bit. I didn’t remember the hills as I was going down them on the way out. This is an out and back course, so I should have known that if I’m going down a hill on the way out, then I would be going up it on the way back.

I was too busy enjoying the run to pay attention to anything on the way out and I think that’s why the pace felt good.

On the way back, I lengthened my stride going up the hills and continued to enjoy my run.

Later in the race, one of the volunteers said: “You look like you’re having a lot of fun!” She was right-I was.

As I approached the last hill, I remembered what the Peninsula Runners folks said about hills: “It’s just a hill, get over it.” That last hill right before the final stretch towards the finish line was a challenge and I slowed down.

Then, all of a sudden, as I came over the hill, I saw the 21km mark and the finish line shortly thereafter.

Feeling relieved about being that close to finishing, I spotted 2 guys that were 80m in front of me and made it my goal to catch them before the finish line.

I gathered all my energy and sprinted to the finish line like my life depended on it. I had a lot of energy left, so I wanted to use it up.

As the cheering at the finish line got louder and louder, I sped up more and more. I ended up being 1 second behind the 2 guys that I was trying to catch. I dug deep and almost passed them right in front of the finish line.

I finished the race in 1:32:25 with an average pace of 4:23 per km or 7:03 per mile. I was the 9th woman (out of 371) to cross the finish line and 31st/573 finishers overall.


Above: Me, my client Kent and his girlfriend Tara (also my client). Kent crossed the finish line with another personal best! Awesome! He is a machine!

I enjoyed the race course and the volunteers were awesome! I saw a lot of wonderful familiar faces and it was an amazing way to spend a Sunday morning.

If you are looking for a challenging and fun spring half marathon that’s awesome for all levels of runners, then you should definitely sign up to do it next year. I know I want to do it again for sure.




Race Recap: BMO Vancouver Marathon May 4 2014

When I ran the race last year, I absolutely loved the course enough to do it again this year. Last year, the weather was hot and I didn’t run my best time, so I definitely wanted to come back this year to try to PR and redeem myself.

I arrived in Vancouver on Saturday and went straight from the ferry to the Expo. The Expo was great! I think it was organized very well and I was able to pick up my race package without having to wait in line too long. There were a lot of great vendors and that’s where I got to renew my Canadian Running Magazine subscription at a great price.

After I left the Expo, I met up with my friend Kara and we went out for Pasta. I absolutely LOVE the thought of eating a lot of pasta the night before a race. I’m a huge fan of carbs and I’m happy to admit it. 🙂

I woke up feeling refreshed after a good night’s sleep and had no problem getting up early on race day. In fact, every time I race, I’m thrilled to be getting up as early as necessary to get to the start line on time. As soon as I got up, I ate 2 bananas and downed an energy drink.

Even though it was raining, I still opted for the Public Myth racer back tank and workout shorts. I knew that if I wore more clothes to the race, then I would be feeling overheated by around 25km. I also made sure that my Garmin was charged and ready to go at the race.

Waiting for the race to start was a little bit cold and wet, but I was too excited to care about the weather. Also, the volunteers and the other runners made the waiting so much more enjoyable. The crowd was AWESOME! 🙂

I just stood there, patiently waiting, knowing that I trusted my training and that the weather is not something that I have any control over. I was ready for anything.

I decided to run a conservative first half. The first 5k in felt great and easy and the next thing I knew, I was already going up the 9km-10km hill and that felt great.

Then, I settled into a comfortable pace and crossed the halfway point in 1:36:52. It was definitely faster than I used to be able to do a half marathon two years ago. In fact, two years ago, I would be happy to finish a half marathon in under 1:40.

I decided to slow it down just a little bit because although sub 1:37 half didn’t feel fast, I was questioning whether I actually did my first half too fast.

Therefore, for the next 9k, I was VERY conservative and crossed the 30k mark in 2:22:31.  In training, the longest run I’ve done was 30km.


Above: Kara tried to take a photo of me at around the 30km mark, but I was too fast (just kidding…haha), so she only got me from the back. I’m really trying to catch that guy in front of me. 🙂

The next 12km were going to be a bit more challenging, but I held a really great pace until 40km. With only 2.2km left, out of nowhere, this wall, that marathon runners talk about, appeared right in front of me and I hit it.

Despite that, when I looked at my Garmin, I was still on pace for a personal best so I kept going, although a little slower than I would have liked.

Then, with only 1km left to go, there was a big crowd of spectators on both sides of the street heading towards the finish line.

Then, as I kept going, I heard the finish line announcer in the distance and I knew it was getting closer and closer. With only 200m left before the finish line, I picked it up as much as I could.

I crossed the finish line in 3:23:10, which is a 2+ minute personal best for me. My average pace was 4:49 per km (or 7:45 per mile for my American friends). I finished 4th/137 in my age group and 56th/2117 women. Overall, I was 345th/4933.


You can check the rest of the results here.

I never would have thought that I would be running a marathon at a faster pace than when I did a 10k about 3.5 years ago (at that time, my 10k time was over 1 hour). I strive for improvement. Always.

I was pleased with my performance this year, but I’m already looking forward to new personal bests.

Big congratulations to Berhanu Mekonnen for being the first man across the finish line and Kimberley Doerksen for winning the women’s side!

Overall, I really enjoyed the race. It was well-organized and a lot of fun. The volunteers and spectators were awesome. I definitely want to come back and do it again next year. 🙂



BMO Vancouver Marathon Training: Week 13 and 14 Recap

In week 13, I did a long run in the beginning of the week. The long run was 30km and I admit, it felt difficult. I ran it slower than I would have liked but still didn’t do too bad.

At that point, I wondered: “Did I not do enough mileage? If I thought 30km was kind of difficult, then how did I expect to PR in the marathon, which is 12km longer?”


Above: The Garmin reading after the long run.

However, the self doubts soon left my brain and I was very excited for the next 2 weeks, which would be tapering weeks. That 30km was the last long run (over 15km) in my training program.

After that long run, I pretty much spent the whole week preparing for the TC10k, which took place on April 27th. It’s not that I wasn’t focused on the marathon, it’s that I was determined to get a PR in the 10k and the marathon.

Some people said that if I push myself too hard in the 10k, then I won’t do very well in the marathon. They also said that if I truly want to run a good marathon, then I should definitely just run as many miles as possible. In general, yes, they are right. I don’t like to put limitations/restrictions on myself and my running. So, I just continued on as per usual.

In week 14, after finishing the TC10k with a new personal best of 40:56, I decided to relax for the rest of the week that lead up to the marathon. I didn’t push it too hard at all. However, I did some short and easy runs. I didn’t stress about the marathon at all.

OK! TWO MORE sleeps until race day! Exciting time! Wish me luck! 🙂



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