Monthly Archives: June 2014

The Q’s Victoria Run Series Track Meet June 28, 2014 Recap

I’m not gonna lie, that track meet I did a few weeks ago (on June 7th)  got me hooked on track racing again I began to remember all the reasons I enjoyed it so much in high school and why I should never forget how much fun track is.

This one was pretty busy. There were a lot of people. I saw a whole bunch of familiar faces from the previous meets as well as met some new people. There were some very fast runners at this one, making the races pretty exciting to watch.

The Muscle MLK cooler was a popular destination for race finishers and their friends.

I ended up spontaneously signing up for the 1500m and then 800m, which took place right after. Earlier that morning, I ran a nice and relaxing 10k with my friend.

This time I had a better idea of my 1500m ability, so I was looking for a sub-5:30 finish (not much faster because I already ran that day). I needed to get my speed fix. HAHAHA.

The best way to get me to run faster? Sign me up for the 1500m or 800m (or both, because, hey, I love a good challenge). Even though I’m not that fast at those events, they force me to run faster than my 5k effort. I need an adventure and I get it from running.

I cruised through the 1500m in 5:25, knowing that I was going to be racing the 800m right after, so I saved a little bit of energy.

Shortly after finishing the 1500m, I was on the start line for the 800m. The 800m went pretty well. I didn’t expect a fast finish because it was my first 800m in 6 years and I had just raced the 1500m.

I finished the 800m in 2:41, which was fast enough for me for that day.

I ended up being the 3rd female across the finish line in the open-mixed 1500m and 1st (female) in the open-mixed 800m, which was a nice surprise. Although it was pretty cool to walk away with some race bling, I felt like my reason for being there was far better than that.


Above: At the end of the meet, the cooler was empty and that’s why I was able to lift it. I’m also wearing one of the medals from that day as well as Public Myth shorts.

You can view the full results from the June 28, 2014 meet here.

I had an awesome time again and I wish that something like this would happen every week, if not twice a week.

I love the atmosphere at these events and I’m thrilled that I’ve been able to take part in The Q’s Victoria Run Series.

My First Track Meet Since High School (on June 7, 2014)

Since I’ve been working for CytoSport doing Muscle MLK demos for quite a while now, I was asked to work at The Q’s Victoria Run Series track meets this year.

I first heard about The Q’s Victoria Run Series last year, but I did not participate because I was busy training for Run For Their Lives Vancouver Island 2013.

My friends told me that those races were a lot of fun and that they are a great way to meet some awesome like-minded people who share my love for running.

One day. after a previous track meet, the organizer, Chris Kelsall, said to me: “Yana, you can race and hand out Muscle MLK at the same time.” I was absolutely stoked to hear that!

On June 7, 2014 was the first time that I took him up on that offer.

The track meet was super awesome. I watched my client Stephen achieve a personal best in the 800m. I was also thrilled to be out there handing out tasty Muscle MLK to all the runners who finished racing.

Then, came my turn to race. To start off, I signed up for the 1500m. I haven’t done a 1500m race since high school provincials back in Grade 11 (which is about 6 years ago now).

When asked how fast I predict I can do it, I said: “Hopefully something under 6 minutes. I don’t really have too many expectations since I didn’t do any specific training for the 1500m.”

When the gun went off, I had a great start. I wasn’t wearing a watch, so I only tried to catch the guy in front of me. Man, he was going fast! Then, with one lap left to go, I still had no idea what time times would be because all I really wanted to do was pick up the pace and finish strong.

When I finished, I was the 1st female across the finish line in the open-mixed 1500m. I thought, “I must be under 6 minutes.” I found out later that my time was 5:18, which I was happy with. At the end of the 1500m, I felt like I had more to give, so I spontaneously signed up for the 5000m, which was the last race of the night.

After the 1500m, I got some great bonding time over Muscle MLK with all the runners who also finished the race.

Here’s the race video!

Then came time to race the 5000m, which is 12.5 laps around the track. I said I would do it in about 20 minutes because I just raced the 1500m. I thought of the 5000m as a much needed tempo run, rather than a race. That way, I was feeling super relaxed at the start line.

By the time I got to the 10th lap of the 5000m, I was starting to feel a little tired, but kept going to finish in 20:02. Perfect. Right on target and good enough for 2nd place overall in the open-mixed race.

Below are my 2 medals from the track meet. 🙂 A gold and a silver. MedalsfromtrackJune7_2014

You can see the full results from the June 7, 2014 meet here.

Let’s put it this way: I had a BLAST! These meets are great for runners of all levels and ages, not to mention there are some awesome draw prizes and giveaways.

10 Life Lessons I Learned from Marathons

People often ask me why I choose to run longer than some people wish to drive and pay for that privilege. After all, running 42.2km (26.2 miles) is not easy and training to do it requires a lot of commitment.

Marathons are challenging both physically and mentally. Every time I complete one, I get this huge feeling of accomplishment from crossing the finish line. Getting to the start is a tough road and that makes getting to the finish that much more rewarding.

I’ve come to realize that life and marathons have more things in common than you may think.

1. Keep moving forward. Sometimes, when running a marathon, the going gets really tough. The key is to never stop moving forward, no matter how far you still have to go to get to where you need to be.

2. Slow it down. Don’t go too fast in the first half of the marathon or you will pay for it later. In life, don’t rush things.

3. Celebrate personal victories. Completing a marathon is a personal victory that you should be proud of. In fact, completing anything that challenges you in a good way is an accomplishment worth celebrating.

4. Eating properly is good for you. Carbs are your friend, as long as you eat the right ones.

5. Run your own race. It doesn’t matter what the other people in the race are doing. Focus only on your pace and forget about impressing other runners. Everyone is in the race for their own reasons.

6. You might “hit the wall”. Notice how I said “might”? Focus less on what might happen and more on what is happening.

7.  It’s not over until it actually is. Just because someone passed you at the 30k mark, doesn’t mean that they will finish ahead of you. It’s not over until you cross the finish line and anything can happen.  Life isn’t over until you die.

8. Encourage others along the way. On your road to a personal victory, it won’t hurt you to encourage others. In fact, it will make you feel great.

9. You get out exactly what you put in. If you worked hard and smart while training for your marathon, you will have a much better time out there.

10. Enjoy the journey.  A marathon, just like your life, is a journey. Relax and enjoy the ride…I mean run 🙂

Running a marathon will challenge you and change you. It will allow you to learn a lot about yourself and it will teach you that you are stronger than you think you are.

Remember, no matter what happens, no one can take away the feeling of accomplishment that you get from finishing a marathon, or another challenging task.

Whatever you choose to do, do it for you.

Not All Gyms are Equal

A lot of times, when people are looking for a gym, they will phone a bunch of gyms in their city and ask for prices. Then, they sit there and compare all the prices without ever seeing the facility or finding out more about what is offered at each gym.

Some people will come into a fitness facility and just ask for a price list to take home, opting not to do the tour of the facility. Bad idea. That’s like opting to buy a mystery bag.

In my honest opinion, price is not everything. In fact, price is only a small part of the bigger picture. Now, I’m not saying go out there and get the most expensive gym membership but what I’m saying is that when shopping for a gym you should consider other factors besides price.

There is no point in having a cheap gym membership if you are not using it at all because the gym that you opted for does not offer the services that you want. Maybe it doesn’t have the classes that you like or maybe it doesn’t have the equipment that you need.

Below are 6 factors, besides price, that you should consider before joining the gym.

1. Do you like the atmosphere of the facility?

If the facility gives you “good vibes” every time you go there,  then you are more likely to keep coming back for more workouts.

Ever been to a gym where you just “don’t like it”? There is no real reason except that maybe the layout doesn’t suit your needs or maybe the types of people that go there are not the types of people you want to be around.

2. Is the location convenient for you? If the gym is nowhere near where you live or work, then you’re most likely not going to be willing to drive across town just to workout. At that point, it doesn’t matter if it only costs $20 per month if you’re not going to use it.

3. Are their hours convenient for you?  Maybe the cheap facility is not open long enough on Saturdays and Sundays for you to get your weekend workout in. Maybe the gym closes too early on weekdays because you work late every day and don’t necessarily like morning workouts before work.

There is no point in being a member of a gym that isn’t open at the right time for you.

4. Does it have all the equipment you need for your workouts? Yes, you need to see the facility before you join because you want to be able to picture yourself completing that workout using the equipment. Sure, all gyms have weights, treadmills and ellipticals, but what else do you need for your workout to be complete?

5. How busy is it? If the gym has all the equipment you need, but you have to spend an hour waiting to use some of the machines, it doesn’t matter what the price is.

The goal is to get in, do your workout and get on with your day. Waiting for machines, working out less than 2 feet away from the next guy on a packed gym floor is not conductive to a productive workout.

6. What about the classes? If you take group fitness classes and find them to be motivating, then you should choose a gym that offers the types of classes you are looking to do and at times that fit your schedule.

Gyms are like spouses. You must choose carefully and don’t get stuck in a contract that you can’t get out of.

Race Recap: Victoria Goddess Run Red Barn Market Half Marathon 2014

This year was my first time taking part in the Victoria Goddess Run. It’s a women’s only running and walking event and in addition to the half marathon, there is also a 10k and 5k distance. Female runners of all levels are welcome and that’s FANTASTIC!

I signed up for the race because I read and liked what it represents and found out more about the charities that are benefiting from this event.

These charities do a lot of great work in our community and I’m always thrilled to be able to support them in any way that I can; even if it’s a small way, where a part of my registration fee goes towards helping them continue providing their valuable community services.

I loved the energy at the race. It was amazing to see almost 2000 women who came and took part in the event to celebrate the power of working together to reach our goals. It doesn’t matter if someone is a running veteran or a beginner, everyone is bound to have a great time.

At the start, I got a chance to talk to a few first-time half marathoners as well as other awesome people. I love to socialize before and after the race. It’s a great way to make new friends who share common interests and goals.

I thought of this as more of a “friendly competition” and a good day to enjoy running a race I’ve never done before.


Above: Getting ready to start the race. Photo by Tony Austin.

At the start, I knew that no matter what time I get, I will still have fun, enjoy the beautiful Sunday morning and take in the positive energy from all the spectators and participants. My fastest half marathon time is 1:31:34, so I thought that if the course was flat, I would be finishing in around 1:30.

When I started, I had no idea what the route would be like. Sometimes, I like to be surprised, which is why I don’t check out the course beforehand.


Above: Just me doing what I love. Running and wearing my fabulous Public Myth gear. That is all. Photo by Tony Austin.

As we were doing the first loop of the half marathon, the first steep hill was a surprise. I didn’t expect that there would be hills, gravel or trails. Then I was thinking: “I have to do this twice to complete the half marathon.”

Despite the hills and the challenges that this course presented me with, at around the 10k mark, I caught up to the girl (Lara) in first and passed her. Then, I was leading the race for the next 8 or so km. For the first time in a really long time, I was actually the overall leader, not just being first in my age group. It felt amazing!

By the time we got approximately to the 17km mark, she caught up to me and passed me. I didn’t see anyone else too close to us so I just tried to stay with her in sight for as long as I could. She was awesome! I definitely felt like having Lara with me and in front of me motivated me to keep my pace going.

When I got to the 19km mark, I knew that I wasn’t going to finish with a personal best, but I was still enjoying my run. I stopped looking at my Garmin completely and decided to just keep going.

I admit, the most challenging parts of the race were the hills and the last 2km. It was pretty warm out too.


Above: The 1st place finisher Lara and I. Photo by Tony Austin.

I ended up crossing the line in second place overall with a time of 1:35:41. When I got to the finish line, I congratulated Lara on her win. She did fantastic! Even though I didn’t know her and hadn’t talked to her until after we crossed the finish line, I believe she truly was amazing and she ran a great race.

Victoria News also did an article about the race and if you are interested, you can read it HERE.


Above: The Top 3 Finishers. Lara was 1st, I was 2nd and Raisa was 3rd. Photo by Tony Austin.

Although it wasn’t my best time, I did not feel even slightly disappointed about my performance. Not every run has to be a personal best and sometimes the best thing is to stop worrying about time and just get out there.

I also ran the Oak Bay Half Marathon a week before and they say that one day of recovery is required for every mile raced (so 13 days would be the recovery time for a half marathon).

When it comes to fitness, I love to challenge myself. This race definitely challenged me in a good way. It was well-organized and the volunteers were awesome!

The necklace that we got at the end of the race was beautiful, too. 🙂 I’m hoping to do the race again next year.


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