Monthly Archives: May 2015

RACE Report: Oak Bay Kool Half Marathon May 24 2015

The Oak Bay Half Marathon is a scenic race through Oak Bay presented by Frontrunners. In addition to the half marathon, participants have the option of running the 10.73km, 5km or relay.

It also helps raise funds for CFAX Santas Anonymous, which helps children in need in the Greater Victoria area.

When I made it to the start line of the race, in all honesty, I was almost certain that my season bests are behind me at this point. Just because my season bests are behind me, doesn’t mean that I can’t go out there and have fun, meet new people, see friends, cheer for my clients.

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Above: Running friends. They are awesome.

Over the past few months, I’ve raced every distance from 5k to marathon and everything in between. When you choose to race often, you are not always going to run a personal best. Sometimes, you make a breakthrough and other times you feel broken down.

The Oak Bay is a more challenging course than the Comox RV Half Marathon, but I like to enjoy them both every year when I can.

I was thrilled with the slightly downhill start, knowing full well that the hill will appear a lot bigger at the end of the race when I’m coming back to finish.

After the initial 4k, the course has rolling hills the rest of the way. I wasn’t sure exactly who was doing what race until the 10k runners turned around and headed back to the finish line.

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Above: Do you see something interesting about this photo? It was taken at about 9km.

I ran with a random guy for several km (but was it actually random?). I asked him what time he was looking to get and when he said he wanted to beat his last year’s time (1:35), I decided that it was good enough for me for that day.

By the time I reached the turnaround point, I knew that it wasn’t going to be a PB for me this time. My legs were feeling tired on the way back and the hills seemed bigger than I remembered them.

However, after the Newton hills in Boston a little over a month ago, I shouldn’t really notice any other hills.

Generally, hills are not a problem. However, when they appear to be bigger in the 2nd half of the race, you start to notice them a bit more.

When I got to the last km of the race, I really picked it up.

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Above: The sprint finish! Exciting times!

In the last 200m, I gave it everything I had left and clearly I had a lot left to give. I passed 5 people in the last 200m and made it a very exciting sprint finish. I thoroughly enjoy a strong finish even when the rest of the race didn’t quite go the way I had hoped.

If I had an extra 10 feet to sprint, I would have been the 3rd female across the finish line. Instead, I narrowly missed 3rd place by 1 second and came 4th. I finished in 1:32:29 (23rd overall out of 502 and 1st in age group).

Lesson learned, start sprinting earlier when the finish line is in sight!

It was by far not my best time, but, like I said earlier, I’ve been racing a lot and doing that many races definitely caught up to me.

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Above: Showcasing the finisher medals. Yay to more bling!

The crowds, coffee and food at the finish line were great!

It was awesome to see some familiar faces. 🙂

Hopefully I get to come back next year and beat my time.

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Above: Special congratulations to my client Jerry Hughes who, on this challenging course, managed to finish in 1:28:54, making him 15th overall out of 502 finishers (3rd in his age group). By the way, last year his time was 1:40:45 (before we started working together) so he has made an amazing improvement! Awesome work!    

5 Reasons to Run the Victoria Goddess Run

As some of you may know, I’m one of the Victoria Goddess Run ambassadors for 2015.

The reasons that I chose to be an ambassador fall in line with the reasons why you should run it too. It’s an amazing event and I’m thrilled to see it growing every year.

I ran the half marathon last year and fell in love with the atmosphere surrounding this event.

So, this year, when I saw that there was a way to become involved in spreading the word about it- I jumped at the chance.

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Above: recruiting some Goddesses! 😉

1. It welcomes female runners of all levels. It doesn’t matter if you can run a 7 minute mile or a 14 minute mile. You can run the race and have a lot of fun doing it.

2. There are 3 distances to choose from: the half marathon, 10k and 5k. It’s great to have an event that lets you choose how far to run. You are bound to find a race that fits into your training schedule and running experience.

3. It benefits three great local charities: Victoria Women’s Transition House Society, KidSport Greater Victoria, and Victoria Sexual Assault Centre. These charities offer extremely valuable programs and services in our community. This event is an amazing way to support the work that they do.

4. Meet great, like-minded people (aka other Goddesses). You all can celebrate your achievements together. What’s better than a healthy atmosphere for meeting new friends with similar interests?

5. There are awesome deals on great products and services in the virtual race bag. Not only that, but there are great post-race goodies at the finish line.

Lastly, the feeling of accomplishment you get from finishing a race will never be taken away from you. Have fun, help great charities and meet awesome people.

You can still register!

I hope to see you at the Goddess Expo and on race day, June 7th. 🙂

P.S. Don’t forget to come find me and get some free Muscle MLK.

5 Things That Changed the Way I Train

Over the past several years as both trainer and athlete, I’ve had the opportunity to learn a lot of things that have changed the way I train myself and other people.

When I was a high school Zone Championship winning track athlete competing in the 1500m and 3000m, the concept of “recovery” never really occurred to me. I was like: “What’s rest and why would I need it?”

At that point, I would frequently push myself as hard as I could for as long as I could.

Run as fast as you can for as long as you can to get faster…right? Wrong.

I would be upset every time I didn’t get a PB in a training run and I would be even more upset if I didn’t PB in a race.

Now, I look at running and training differently.

Being injured for a long time and missing out on an opportunity to try out for the university track team has helped me re-evaluate the way I trained.

So, what has changed over the years?

1. Previous injuries. I’ve learned to listen to my body a lot more in order to prevent future injuries. I’ve also learned how the body works, how muscles work and how to implement an adequate recovery plan. This, in turn, helps me teach my clients how to be mindful of their own bodies so that what happened to me doesn’t happen to them.

2. Never take personal records for granted. Keep on striving to achieve new personal records, while at the same time understand that not every day is a day for personal bests. Appreciate personal records when they happen but don’t get miserable when they don’t.

3. Taking the Arthur Lydiard run coaching course. As far as my training career goes, this has been by far one of the most valuable courses I’ve ever taken. It rewired my brain about running and coaching. There is a reason why Arthur Lydiard’s principles are the best and why I’m proud to incorporate them in my clients’ programs.

4. Every workout has its purpose. There is a right and a wrong fitness plan. A proper fitness plan is one where there is a clear purpose for every workout. In the past, I would just aimlessly run (probably with bad form) as fast as I could as far as I could hoping that it would bring me good results. After taking a good hard look at my training logs from years ago, armed with Arthur Lydiard’s training techniques, I realized the importance of why each workout is done and learned a lot from my previous training mistakes.

5. Training programs are not “one size fits all”. What works for some people may not work for others. Individual differences (fitness level, work schedules, other commitments, body types, etc) must be taken into account. It’s important to figure out what you need to do to reach your goal and why you need to do it.

When it comes to fitness programming, I am always learning new things that will be valuable. Everything is always a learning curve.

Never stop learning. Always be willing to make adjustments.

That is how I went from being a very slow, constantly injured runner to Boston Marathon finisher (finish line pic below). 🙂

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“The only person who is educated is the one who has learned

how to learn and change”Carl Rogers

 

Why Cheating Serves no Purpose

Over the past few months, I’ve read some stories about people who have cheated in road races. This Runner’s World article discusses some possible reasons why runners would cheat in races.

Apparently, they cheated because they wanted to place in their age category, or qualify for the Boston Marathon, get attention on social media for their “achievement”, or make sure that they finish the race before the finish line closes due to time limits.

But, in reality, is it really worth it?

Is it really worth selling your honour for the price of an age group medal, a few hundred bucks (prize money), or a like on Facebook?

What about falsely qualifying for Boston and taking a spot from a fellow runner who legitimately qualified and who worked hard to get there?

And then, what if you get found out and exposed for being a cheater? It will all backfire!

You see, technology has made it easier to spot the cheaters. From race photos to timing mats throughout the course to the ability to see what your previous race times have been, the likelihood that you will get exposed as a cheater is far too great. Then, your reputation in the running community will forever be tainted.

Also, you must understand that if, for example, you run a half marathon in 1:32 (having never run anything even close to it in the past year) and then run another one in 1:43 on a course of similar difficulty, you will raise some suspicion. Or, if your best 5k time is 30 minutes and you pull off a sub 1:35 half marathon, people will question the legitimacy of your result.

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When you get exposed as a cheater, no one wins. You lose because your prize will most likely be taken away and you will be removed from the race results. The legitimate winners will lose because you took away their moment on the podium and created a scandal surrounding what’s supposed to be a great sport.

When you cheat, it’s like a slap in the face to those who worked hard to get to where they are. People train for months and months (possibly even years), so losing their place to a cheater is not exactly what they signed up for when they decided to run the race.

I would much rather place 10th in my age group, knowing that I gave it my best and trained hard to get my result than cheating to get a better placing.

When you cheat, you know that you didn’t earn it. Deep down, don’t you feel like a fraud? When you do something wrong, you know that there is a risk that someone will find out.

Cheating is exactly like stealing and this is why I hope that every cheater gets caught.

The cheaters are the real losers in this sport, not the people who legitimately finish last and give it their best. I admire the people who legitimately finish in the back of the pack because they did so honestly. They will continue to improve and get better placing.

On the other hand, cheaters will never improve. There are no shortcuts to any place worth going. Their actions defeat the purpose of racing and they can never be truly proud of their “achievement”.

Think about it…is it really an achievement when you take a shortcut to get a PB?

I also admire the people who genuinely finish in the front for all the work that they put in to get there. When people cheat, they devalue the work that legitimate winners put into the race.

All in all, I don’t really hate cheaters. I feel sorry for them because they will never experience the true joy that genuine achievement brings. Man is happiest in the act of accomplishment and cheating certainly does not accomplish anything.

Sure, a cheater may finish in front of me and of course it would anger me if they get away with it that time. But, the one thing I know for sure is that I can always look in the mirror and say: “I did so honestly and I will always have my integrity.”

They are the ones that have to look in the mirror every day and see themselves for what they did. One day, they will get caught. No one gets away with wrongdoing for too long.

Integrity is the most valuable asset. On and off the roads. Always.

RACE Report: Times Colonist 10k April 26, 2015

For the past two years, I raced the TC 10k followed by the Vancouver Marathon. This year, however, things were different.

I raced the Boston Marathon (42.2k) on April 20th and the TC10K took place on April 26th.

This left me with only 6 days to recover from the marathon. They say that you need roughly 3 full weeks before you are fully recovered from a marathon.

However, I heard that some people can run an amazing 10k the week after a marathon.

After Boston, my legs were sore for only 2 days. When I ran my very first marathon a couple of years back, I could barely walk up and down the stairs for 3 weeks after.

As we can see, my recovery time significantly improved but this was the first time I raced a 10k so soon. In the past, I would always do a combination of easy runs and rest days for the two weeks following a marathon.

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Above: My race bib 🙂

I chose to do the TC 10k this year because I love this event. I’ve been doing it every year since 2012 and I’ve always had fun. It’s an event that brings runners of all levels together.

It shows how vibrant Victoria is because the crowds are amazing.

Not only that, but I wanted to see my training client Jerry Hughes get a personal best in the 10k (because I was pretty much 110% sure that he would).

No way was I going to miss it!

I started the race at my goal pace and wanted to stay there. Unfortunately, it started to feel unusually difficult after the 4k mark.

At the 5k point, I felt like my shoes turned to bricks.

Tired legs.

After crossing the 5k mark, I was no longer on pace to hit sub 40 minutes. I was slowing down fast.

There was a time at around the 7k mark where I wanted to stop running, but I’m so glad I didn’t.

I wasn’t feeling the greatest when I started the race and I certainly didn’t finish as fast as I wanted to.

My time was 41:48 because I ended up running the majority of it at half marathon pace.

When I finished, I knew that it was significantly slower than my best but I also have to remember not to be disappointed because I finished the Boston Marathon only 6 days before.

I was 9th out of 608 in my age group and 35/4685 women overall.

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Above: My client Jerry and I at the finish line. Post-race party 🙂

My client, Jerry Hughes, on the other hand, did amazing!  He ran a new almost 5 minute personal best at the TC10K. Jerry finished it in 39:42, which is an amazing time! I’m VERY excited, proud and happy for him. I feel fortunate to be working with such motivated people like Jerry. CONGRATULATIONS!! 🙂

In the end, I was not disappointed with my TC10k performance. I learned a lot about myself and what more I need to do for training. I’m not going to beat myself up over my post-marathon 10k performance.

Although I did not get a personal best, I understand that not every race will result in a record. In addition, it’s the experience and being a part of something that matters. I’m glad to have been a part of it and I hope to be able to do it every year.

Most importantly, I was so glad to be there for my client Jerry because I got to see him accomplish one of his greatest athletic goals. Not only that, but he also raised over $1,100 for a great charity, Help Fill A Dream Foundation.

Sometimes, the most valuable experience comes not in running my fastest, but in learning. It was a pleasure just to be there and I have no regrets at all.

I definitely hope to do it again next year!

 

 

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