Monthly Archives: February 2015

Race Report: Hatley Castle 8k February 22 2015

The Hatley Castle 8k is the 4th race in the Vancouver Island Race Series. Despite it being a challenging and hilly course, I enjoy running through the beautiful area.

This is not a race that I do for setting personal records, but it’s certainly nice to get out there and hang out with other runners.

Since there are many people at the race, the start can get a bit crowded (it’s a popular race).

So, I found my spot towards the front, but not right at the front. Not quite fast enough to start with the speedsters yet.

With that in mind, I ran a very conservative first 3km because I wanted to feel stronger on the hills that awaited us further into the race.

When I approached the first big hill, I honestly didn’t feel as strong as I would have liked. Some days hills definitely feel easier than others.

Regardless, I still maintained a fairly good pace up the hill.

After the first big hill, I knew that the hardest part of the course was over. However, I felt pretty comfortable at the pace I was running, so I stuck with it.

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Above: Sprinting to the finish. Photo by Brian Domley

Then, it came time to run through the trail portion of the race. In general, the trail portion is ankle-friendly.

However, I stepped on what appeared to be a pine cone and almost took a tumble. Luckily, I managed to stay in an upright position and continued making my way to the finish line.

This was probably the first time I’ve ever come close to wiping out in a race, even though I’ve done almost 100 races and it was my 3rd time doing the Hatley Castle race.

As I comfortably approached the last 100m to the finish line, another girl attempted to pass me. All of a sudden, I stopped feeling tired and felt super awesome sprinting the last 100m.

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Above: Age group awards. Photo by Brian Domley

The last 100m was my favorite part because I still had energy. Sometimes, it pays not to start too fast, as it did in this case.

I finished the race in 34:06, which is slightly faster than last year. My average pace was 4:16 per km (6:51 per mile), which is actually slower than my 12k pace from a couple weeks ago. This is due to the difficulty of the course.

This time, I ended up being 4th in my age category and 10th female overall (out of 231). Sure, I could have placed better, but there are some very strong runners in my age category this year.

Definitely looking forward to the next race soon.

Why Being a Beginner is AWESOME

I wish I had the opportunity to read something like this when I was first starting my fitness journey.

Unfortunately, when I was starting out, I was far too intimidated by nearly everything and that fear kept me from embracing “beginner-hood” for what it should be: the start of something awesome.

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What I later found out was that many beginners have the same fears.

They fear being judged by their more advanced counterparts, they are afraid of looking like an idiot and they spend a lot of their energy focusing on “not being good enough” compared to others.

If you’re a beginner and are just starting your fitness journey, I’m really glad that you found your way here.

You should never feel bad about being a beginner because you are starting an amazing, life-changing journey which will ultimately lead you to become a happier, stronger and healthier version of yourself.

Don’t be ashamed of not being fast enough or strong enough yet.

If you genuinely enjoy the activity that you’re doing, then your gains will be inevitable over time. If you love the activity, even if you’re not that great at it yet, your enthusiasm weighs more than actual skill.

In every enthusiastic beginner, I see a potential future expert.

It’s inspiring to watch beginners achieve significant improvements over time.

The real truth is, your more advanced counterparts are not judging you in a negative way. In fact, they are thrilled that another amazing person (like you) is also sharing the joyful experience with them.

Those who aren’t thrilled by your presence are most likely too focused upon themselves to notice you, let alone judge you.

When you’re a beginner, you have unlimited potential to take your chosen activity to a whole new level.

You haven’t been at it long enough to develop bad habits (such as bad form). If you have developed bad habits, then you haven’t been at it long enough to get them permanently engrained into you.

As a beginner, the road to excellence in your chosen activity is wide open for you as long as you love what you are doing, are open to learning and don’t let the fear of “not being good enough” keep you from continuing.

Every expert that you encounter did not magically get there as a result of genetics and natural talent. The majority started out almost exactly the way you are and they most likely had the same fears as you.

However, deep down they knew what they wanted to achieve and never lost their enthusiasm.

Just like you, they also sometimes felt like they weren’t making any progress and that their efforts were futile.

Through it all, they continued to love the activity and their unstoppable enthusiasm allowed them to emerge victorious.

You, too, can do the same and that is why as a beginner, you should be excited and not embarrassed about being where you are.

Race Report: Cedar 12k Feb 8, 2015

By the time Cedar 12k came around, I was definitely feeling significantly better. In fact, I believed that I was finished being sick.

That flu/cold hung on for far too long. Luckily, between the Cobble Hill 10k a couple weeks ago and Cedar 12k, I got a chance to do a few faster runs and a couple of longer runs.

All in all, I felt pretty good. However, I wasn’t completely sure why my energy levels were still low.

When I ran the race last year, my time was 51:02 and I definitely had to work very hard to get it. This year, I wasn’t sure what to expect or how much fight I have left, but I started the race in order to give it a shot.

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Above: Andrew (my fellow MEC half marathon coach) and I at the start. Photo by Erin Burrett.

Since the last two races didn’t yield a PB, I honestly more or less came to terms with the fact that maybe there will be no PBs for me at the Vancouver Island Race Series this year. So, I had to focus on something else, which is running the races because I love to run.

The first 2k started out pretty rough and slow, which is kind of what I expected. I definitely started to feel a bit concerned with how I was going to finish this race.

I started to focus more on my breathing and form. Then, all of a sudden, it just got easier and the fatigue disappeared.

The next thing I knew, I was halfway through the race, feeling pretty awesome. What was even more surprising was that I was ahead of last year’s time.

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Above: Somewhere along the course. My buddy Nick is right behind me (he ended up finishing in front of me, of course). Photo by Erin Burrett.

By the time the big hill came around, I excitedly cruised up it with great ease. In the entire time that I have been racing, I have never felt so good going up a hill towards the end of the race.

When I got to the top of the hill, I realized that less than 3km separated me from the finish line.

At the 10k mark, my Garmin read 41:52. I was still on pace to get a personal best. 10k into the race, I forgot about how bad the first 2k were.

Knowing that there were no more hills for the rest of the race, I picked up the pace a little bit. Without fail, I ran each of the last 2km under 4:10.

As I approached the finish line, I felt a combination of shock and relief. Relief that I finished despite how I felt in the first 2k and shocked that I crossed the line nearly a minute faster than last year.

I didn’t let the experience in my first 2k dictate the final outcome of the race, which is definitely a huge step forward for me.

I finished in 50:06 (4:11 per km or 6:43 per mile). Basically, I ran it at the same pace as the Cobble Hill 10k, except that this was 2k longer.

This race definitely gave me some hope for the remainder of the season because even though I ran faster than last year, I wasn’t nearly as tired this time around as I was then. Not only that, but I was also feeling 100% better compared to how I felt at the Harriers Pioneer 8k about a month ago.

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Above: Awards photo with Sarah-Mae. 🙂

I finished 2nd in my age group and was 9th out of 190 females across the finish line. Definitely pleased with the new personal best in the 12k.

Hopefully this is a sign of good things to come.

 

Race Report: Cobble Hill 10k Jan 25 2015

Two weeks after the Harriers Pioneer 8k race, I was noticeably feeling better. At this point, the goal was to not be significantly slower than last year.

Therefore, I just came to the race to have fun without exerting myself too much. I also wanted to see some friends.

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Above: Givin’ the thumbs up to all the volunteers and cool people that made this race possible.

The truth is, not every race is going to be a personal best. I wasn’t going to let knowing that this probably won’t be my fastest 10k disappoint me.

It’s very difficult because I want to get faster (as do all other runners who train) and I work very hard to try to make it happen (a lot of people can definitely relate to working hard for something that they would like to achieve).

Since I wasn’t sure what exactly was going on with my flu/cold, I decided to take it easy again. This time though, I would do everything in my power to not start too fast.

In many previous races, I would often start out at a pace that’s too fast for me to handle at this point and pay the price towards the end of the race.

At the start of Cobble Hill 10k, many people started too fast.

I let them all go ahead, knowing that some of them would inevitably slow down later on. If someone wanted to pass me, I wasn’t getting worried about that. I just let them go.

If you’re reading this, you probably feel like I may have lost my competitive spirit because I wasn’t striving to get ahead of the runner in front of me. Believe me, that’s not the case.

This is the only way I can learn to pace myself better for future races.

This race is a good race to experiment with pace because it’s still at the beginning of the season. I was thankful to be running at a relatively good pace given the circumstances.

By the time I reached the 5k mark, my watch read 20:46. Personally, I thought it was a great first half (not too fast and not too slow) for someone who was looking to finish the whole 10k in just under 42 min.

Then, for some reason, my watch lost satellite reception after the 7k mark…I tried to maintain the pace I was going before, but the 8k marker was nowhere in site.

I felt a little concerned because I thought that I somehow significantly slowed down. I asked the guy who was running beside me: “Where is the 8k marker?” He replied: “I don’t know, but the next one I see better be 9k.”

Luckily for both of us, it was the 9k marker that we saw right in front of us. That’s when I thought: “Only 1km separates me from finishing, so if I speed up, I can get there faster.”

As I approached the finish line, I could see the clock in the distance.

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Above: Crossing the finish line…and staring at the clock to my right (can’t see it in the photo).

My time was basically on par with last year, which definitely made me happy, especially because I missed so much training.

In the end, I finished it in 41:38, which was good enough for 3rd place in my age group. Additionally, I was the 9th female across the finish line (out of 239).

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Above: The Awards Ceremony for my age group

Last year, I did that race in 41:30, but it didn’t come as easy. This time, I may have been 8 seconds slower, but I finished knowing that I could have gone a bit faster if I pushed it more.

However, I’m glad I didn’t exert myself because my immune system might have been too stressed and I could have got sick again.

Being sick for that long made me appreciate the fact that I could still run this race pretty much as fast as last year.

I was looking forward to getting healthy and training more so I could do better next time. After the race, I visited Float House Victoria for a nice, relaxing float where I got to rest up, clear my head and analyze the race.

I love being a part of this race series. Next up is Cedar 12k. 🙂

 

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