Lake to Lake Half Marathon: Shawnigan to Glenora

Ah yes, forgot that I ran this one of a few busy weekends ago (Sept 11?). It’s quite a small community fun run, and it is unique in that it offers two distances: the full marathon, and the half. It is not chip-timed – and as I learned when I ran it- not quite a full distance either, hah. 😉

Lake to Lake!! An eerie glow…

There was a small crowd as we started slightly after the full marathon folks, and it’s a point-to-point, so you do have to be aware of getting back to your car. They do offer a shuttle, but luckily for me Ian wasn’t running so he could pick me up afterwards! Yes!

The weather was fantastic. It’s been an incredible fall, no rain, just sun and warm weather days. I love it! I was a tad chilly in the morning, but that burned off pretty quick. Speaking of burned off, there was also smoke- due to forest fires from WA. Luckily for us, the smoke in the air didn’t get too bad until later in the afternoon and I was finished fairly early, so not bad.

I started up near the front, as it was quite a small race. I hung out for awhile with another guy, cognizant of not wanting to blow up my pace (this was supposed to be a practice run for training, NOT a real race). Did I actually do that? Well…sort of. I got pretty into the idea of racing quick 😉 and mistakenly thought I was KILLING IT!! A new world record for me!! (newsflash: This did not happen. You merely rise to the level of your training, not above it.).

So, I jogged along, beat the one guy and had a few fasties ahead of me. I hustled and caught up with them…and then started feeling tired. The aid stations were a bit odd, not very evenly spaced and we had one right off the bat where we didn’t need them, and then 1 at about 12k? And then one at the finish, lol. Guess they were more important for the marathoners hahaha. The gravel was ok to run on, but I think the fatigue of training caught up with me and I started feeling pretty chewed up.

Cute participation medal eh?

I lost the fasties and kind plugged along solo for awhile. Wish I had some pictures actually!! And then it was the finish- at about 20.60, we were definitely a touch short. Oh well! I came in with no fanfare and my time was around 1:30:?? which is fine for a training run for sure, but again- course was short. I believe I was second female but not quite sure as there’s no awards or anything unless you win!

Waited around for Ian to come, he didn’t so I decided to just go and tackle the rest of my long run rather than waiting for the smoke to get worse, and for my legs to start stiffening up too much. That part was a SLOG lol. I did see a lot of other marathon runners so I cheered them on, hah clutching my participation medal because I didn’t know where to put it haha.

I finished that in about 1.5 hours, jogged back to the staging area and ran into Ian again. We wrapped up the day by going to Stillhead distillery for a spirits tasting (so good!!!) and then we went to watch the finishers of the Finlayson Arm Ultra (50k/100k day) and then went riding. A good day all around! 😉

I would recommend the Lake to Lake Marathon for a fun training opportunity that is supported and quite reasonably priced, it’s a beautiful course and very fun. Not a serious race, in my opinion but that makes it more fun!

BC Day Adventure!

We had FANTASTIC weather this August, so we headed up Island to visit my in-laws, and my new nephew too!

It was so warm we swam in the ocean, every day. It was heavenly, just divine 🙂

I also went on a 27-km run that was pretty miserable, as it was 30 deg, full sun, a long, hot day AND I hit the trails to escape some of the heat and ended up tripping and falling pretty dramatically, but hey- I didn’t even get hurt!

I wrapped up the run covered in dirt/dust, lol and Ian had to go looking for me because it took me forever to get back, those trails…Not fast!

Wow, what happened to the summer?

After I left my last blog entry, it basically fell off a cliff!

Things were very busy, and lots of opportunity to blog but I just didn’t have the desire I suppose?

We went on a really nice summer holiday to visit my family in the Interior of BC, where we enjoyed camping at Christina Lake, kayaking, hiking, running, horseback riding, and biking/running the Myra Canyon Trestles, a trip to the Kangaroo Farm and then…COVID when we were in Vancouver.

We also enjoyed a fantastic dinner and wine tasting at Mission Hill, courtesy of my parents. It was divine!

Yep, the big Covid hit us, pretty hard. Not unexpected, as my sister was sick when she had dinner/visited with us in Kelowna but I was still fairly surprised and thought it was just terrible allergies when we were in Vancouver (running the sea wall, going out for drinks, out for dinner…greeeat…). Nope, COVID.

That knocked us on our butts for a while, and when I was feeling better I was working from home, and then back to work, where work proceeded to knock me on my butt again too!

Man, sometimes you can’t win!?

First time: Running the Oak Bay Half Marathon

Now, this is a combo of typical ‘big race’ and ‘community race’ I think. I’m not generally a fan of big races, it seems like more of an opportunity to spend more, and get wayyy less. This race is no exception, but it is very well organized, with a whole army of excellent volunteers, so I am very thankful for them and the organization! It is a very nice, leafy course and one of the most scenic ones in Victoria I think.

And then in two minutes I wanted my sweater back…

BUT…

It is a fairly large race, there are no race awards for age-groups, and it is more ‘everybody gets a medal’ day ie- you get a race medal for completion. I am not a fan of participation medals, basically at all, unless you’re at marathon distance. (Ok I know there is some innate snobbery here, but I just don’t need medals myself unless I won them, is my thinking. Not meaning to rob someone of their joy here.).

So, last weekend’s race was much more lucrative for me, hahah. Oh and also that the run scene here is EXTREMELY competitive. Like…Olympian-fast. So you can take the overall placings out of your dreams, hahah because it ain’t gonna happen. That is the only reason I am able to place in races elsewhere, basically!

Also I had to get up early for this one, which is a hard sell for me, argh. 8am just isn’t…friendly to me and it was absolutely freezing that early in the morning. Lucky for me Ian joined me so he could park the car and take a video 🙂

Whee!

We started off and it’s a mass start- 10k and half marathon all together, with relay participants. It’s a bit of organized chaos, as we run with the 10k’ers until they turn around. Now, I do think I owe my last half marathon personal best to having some unofficial pacers to follow until they dropped my ass at like 8k, so I was feeling a bit lost and apprehensive about being with 10k’ers. Like…who do I follow?
Well, it was fine. Maybe I came out a bit quick, but you run for so long you give that up pretty damn fast, haha. We were with the 10k’ers until just past 6km, and they turned around, and we kept climbing.

No lie, this was much hillier than I expected. I guess I thought Oak Bay was kind of flat? Also the wind was pretty nuts, gusting up to 60k/hr and we did so many twists and turns…straight into the headwind every time. It was never really at our backs, at all. My hat kept blowing off my head, so I took it off and held it. Boo!

I was apprehensive for up until oh, 11km and then I high-fived a spectator, felt good and kept GOING!

The only thing I was really struggling with was getting a solid, pounding rhythm …could get it great on the flats, and then we’d hit another hill and I’d lose my awesome pace. Then get it…and immediately hit another hill.

My legs felt awesome though, no troubles at all there. So good in fact I just wanted some flat sections to really test how fast I could go this late in the game! But the last 5km was just hills and a wicked headwind 😦

Wrapped up by charging past some of the walkers finishing the early start, not super inspiring because you’re alone out there again, racing past walkers. Finished with a not too shabby 1:31:39. Slower than my last one, but truly it’s a different race, so I am pleased with consistency. That was enough to net me 5th overall and 2nd AG (but no AG awards, sigh) and that’s it!

So would I do it again? No I don’t think I will. It is nice and scenic, when the weather cooperates it’s a fun race but I just am not that into more ‘fun runs’ really. I would recommend it for people looking for something new and interesting, but challenging. Don’t expect a personal best here.

Port Townsend #3: Rhody Run 10k

That’s right, what kind of moron goes on holidays and signs up for a race, last-minute?

Yeah, haha. This moron!

It was very much on a whim. I saw that they had a race as part of their annual rhododendron festival called ‘Rhody Run’ and was like yep that’s it. I’m signing up! And sooo I did, haha. I couldn’t sign up only due to entries being maxed out, but they were allowing the day-before registration so we spent the day out at Fort Worden and then swung by the Fairgrounds around 3pm to sign up, and it was effortless, took 10 mins. Then the race was the next morning!

Ian got to dig through shirts to find one I wanted to wear, and off we went!

Of course we’d walked over 10k that day alone, and basically spend the rest of the afternoon drinking beer, but heyyyy…why not do a race? I slept HORRIBLY the entire weekend, which was the only downer part of the time but oh well.

Sunday dawned bright and early and we were back at the Fairgrounds (ok like a 7 minute drive hahahah) and I had my bib on ready to race!

Pre-race

The race had so many participants, they said it was a record sell-out. They had 10k and then 5k starting immediately afterwards. We got in line and were off!

Not gonna lie, I was hot already. I was very unused to the sun (hello, it hasn’t been sunny and warm for ONE day here in Victoria..not one day) and I was wearing long sleeves, gloves, long pants to run in every single day and freezing. So I ended up wearing my sleeping shorts for the race, hahah since I had only packed long pants/spandex tights due to it being so miserably cold the entire ‘spring’.

It was a challenging course, a few rolling hills and then QUITE the hill at oh… KM 5-6 I think? I can’t remember exactly other than cursing myself for signing up hahaha. Also someone was playing Vangelis’ Chariots of Fire soundtrack at like KM 3 and it made me feel really good, like Rocky!!

There was one screaming downhill at like KM 7 I think, and wow it was nuttssss…I was pretty sure I was going to fall hahah.

I was running alone a lot, there was one guy ahead of me who stopped to walk at like KM 8? The top woman was unreachable to me, but I held 2nd place the entire way which felt really nice 🙂

Zipped to the finish, and immediately took off my shirt, I was so hot. Also forgot that I’d packed my worst, saggiest sports bra b/c I really didn’t think we’d be running that much. Hah, whoops! Then the marine fog rolled in and I felt cold again.

We enjoyed some post-race snacks and Ian snapped some pics for me, and I was the happy recipient of a medal for first in my AG and a $200 gift card to Amazon for being second female. YEAH!!! Thanks Port Townsend, you rock!!

Next up: Fourth and final farewell to Port Townsend

Bazan Bay and series finale with the Vancouver Island Race Series

Last weekend we had the final race of the series, the 5k and the series wrap up! 🙂

Heading back. Photo courtesy of Lois D’Ell.

I was kind of dreading the 5k- I just find it so tough, and I feel like I am pretty weak at getting any top end speed but I figured I could probably hang well enough for a sub- 20:00 with the fitness I have right now.

And it was FREEZING out. We have had a really miserable spring- super cold, wind storms every other day, it was a blizzard last Monday?! The race morning it was 0 deg, and by the time we were racing, I think it crawled up to a measly 4 deg? Anyways I was frozen, wearing gloves for the last race of the season and cursing our luck. I guess we should have considered ourselves lucky that it wasn’t snowing (it was on the Malahat and up Island all day…) and the brave runners who traveled here definitely had to contend with a really tough go to get to the race.

Photo courtesy of Lois D’Ell.

Weather gripes aside, the race itself was fine. I did get annoyed when I saw some older, non-elite runners head to the start. Guys, that’s a good way to get really hurt. Of course, when we started everyone blew past them and they got elbowed a lot. That’s life when you try to hang w/the pros… Do better!

I was hung up in a few packs throughout the race but nothing too tight, which was nice. I forgot my watch so didn’t have that pressure 😉 at least!

At the start. My lungs didn’t love the extra-cold weather. Photo by Lois D’Ell.

It was tough, Ian blew past me like I was standing still which is always irritating! Lol! Wish I had speed if I didn’t train- how??? That will always confound me. My breathing was fairly labored and I did feel like I was at my max for speed. We hit the turnaround and zoomed back. As always, the finish loomed just out of reach for muuuchhh longer than I ever want…

About 1.5 kms to the finish, a guy was telling us we’re getting under 20:00 and I was like yes my dude, I know that, but I’m not gearing JUST for under, you know? I was running hard!

Second place in the series! Photo courtesy of Joseph ‘Crazy Legs’ Camillieri.

And luckily I did get under 20:00 by a fair margin- gun time was 19:22, chip..can’t remember haha. Good enough! I got 5th in my AG, and then we had the series awards. It was confusing at first because none of the 5k times were loaded so nobody knew what they had placed in, and the placings did have an effect on the series end awards. I was in 3rd place, until they called out the placings and I – in a big upset lol- moved to 2nd?!

Yeah!!

$50 gift card to Frontrunners was all mine, baby!! 🙂

And the race results never did get loaded, so a few days later we saw them. Ha, my AG was quite competiive this year, phewww!

Grateful to have a good racing season, nice weather until the last race (how??) and lovely to see my run community buddies and enjoy some excellent post-race snacks. Until next time, racing!!! 🙂

VIRA Sook River 10k: Unfinished business?

Ah, our first 10k of the season. I wished I had run a 10k or something a bit longer before the half marathon to be better prepared but I had to wait my turn until this past weekend 😉

Photo by Joe Crazy Legs.

The course is a bit more challenging than the other 10k that is on the VIRA race roster (Cobble Hill, we missed that one) so the times do tend to be a bit softer in general. That being said, I have run this one well and very poorly in the past. I was a bit concerned about the hills- not big ones, but lots of rolling terrain and I am finding hills to be an absolute killer recently, guess they’re my weak points!

The weather was SO nice, oh man it was gorgeous. I wasn’t expecting nice- it’s been really crummy, cold, wet, rainy, windy and so blah lately. I went back to wearing gloves and vests I was so cold last week! Hence, I definitely was a touch overdressed for this race.

Running with a pack: Photo courtesy of Lois D’Ell

We got there in good time, had a bit of a snafu with the race bibs running out of safety pins haha but I had extra from home so I was golden. We warmed up, and joined the start. It was a fairly non-eventful start except for one very fast runner who got tripped up and fell pretty hard. She was bleeding from quite a few scrapes! She rallied really well though. I saw another runner at the start wearing a regular bra (??) loose hair and generally didn’t look like she should have been at the start, more to the back. I was right about that…She walked about 2k. I saw her on the turnaround, well behind the packs.

Despite those, I had a good start and not much weaving.

Photo courtesy of Lois D’Ell.

My first few KMs were quick, relatively fast paced but I did have some trouble focusing. All I could think about was the turnaround, and how many hills we were going to face on the way back…Yikes.

We headed up to the turnaround and I held the pace ok, but it was definitely really wearing on me. The hills on the way home were rough, not gonna lie. My pace dropped off and I started getting passed, a lot. I ran in a pack pretty steadily the entire way until I got passed around KM 7-9. Ian even passed me! How dare he?! (I think the real mystery is how he can run such a solid race with NO training. Man, I can’t even!!? I’m jealous).

My breathing was a bit ragged and I was sweating heavily, but happy to see the finish.

Finally the finish, wish my eyes were open! Photo courtesy of Joe Crazy Legs

I definitely didn’t rally as well as I could have (or should have??) but I know hills are my weak spot right now so fair enough Sooke, you win. I am happy with my time though! I am clinging desperately to the mirage that is under- 41:00, hahah. My chip time was 40:58, and my gun time was 41:01. Not too shabby for a girl who couldn’t break 43:XX to save her life a few years ago eh?

And that was good for 2nd in my AG and 8th woman overall. A fairly competitive field I think this year.

Best of all? CINNAMON BUNS as a post-race snack AND pizza. What a great day!!! 🙂 Lovely race, good folks, fun to catch up with everyone at the end and enjoy my (second) cinnamon bun even if I did drop it in my car and Gidget ate the rest of it hahah.

Prairie Inn Harriers 8K race recap!

Whew, meant to update this last week, when I actually ran this race, but you know…Life and such. I will admit that I wasn’t overly excited for it- I kind of wished it was the Cobble Hill 10k, which we missed due to Mexico (wah wah such a hardship eh? haha) but this one will do I guess!

Photo courtesy of Lois D’Ell.

Selfishly I also wanted a 10k to better prepare for the half this weekend, which I do not feel overly prepared for but anyways…

The race!

It’s at a very friendly 11:30am, the sun was shining until it wasn’t, and it was very balmy out. I love that. I was wearing shorts, in Feb. Whee! There were issues getting into the school- that also involved alarms going off- so we elected to jog to the start about 1km away and use the porta-potties there. Good call I think, because we then had just enough time to jog a bit, warm up, and then get into the start line!

This is a very popular race because it’s the flattest 8k in town and also gives out prize money, so it attracts an extremely fast and professional field- there was an Olympian in this one who won! I seeded myself in an ok spot, better than Hatley, and while there was some jockeying and jostling, not so much as Hatley. I did waste time doing juuust that, but also kind of ran my first few Km’s too fast. That currently scares me off, so I now have an ‘ignorance is bliss’ policy and do not check my watch. It did feel fast, and challenging.

Photo courtesy of Joseph Camillieri

I hung on to that pace for a bit, saw it dip by feel around the small hill at the turnaround, and then cranked it up (?) around km’s 6-7. I got passed a lot here, hahah. Oops! Oh well, I was still trying really hard. I really didn’t have much get-up-and-go to the finish, but I was generally pleased with my effort on the whole.

Ian finished mere seconds behind me, with little to no training, which is a feat in itself!!

Photo courtesy of Joseph Camillieri. I couldn’t help but find this person who beat me’s gait very interesting. What is happening here?

We had pizza at the end, and I was able to pick up my Hatley Castle medal so that was awesome. No medals for me this time around, but I am happy with my race: 32:10 for a two minute PR in the 8k and good for 4th in my AG. A good race, good weather and some fun company and great snacks. What more could a girl ask for?! 🙂

Hatley Castle 8k Race Recap

Wow- two years since I last raced this series, and almost two since I raced- period! I did two little races this fall, to whet my appetite to get back out there 🙂 and I can tell you by this race, I was READY.

Pretty much dying, ha my neck is straining so hard! Photo courtesy of Lois D’Ell.

We missed two of the VIRA races- the first one was cancelled due to snow/ice, and we were in Mexico for the second (oh what a hardship eh??) so I was feeling eager for this one. I know Hatley is a tough course, kind of a heartbreaker for people hoping for a good time due to the rolling hills, steep hills, and gravel/trail sections but no matter we were racing again!

The weather was SO nice. Like, amazing. Too bad it’s absolutely miserable right now, lol I am dying it is so cold. Last week the sun was shining and it was around 10 deg? We didn’t need to dress warmly for Hatley, which is funny b/c I swear every photo I have from that race there is snow on the ground, or ice, or it’s hailing and we are frozen.

I know it looks like I’m walking, but I swear it was hard!

We started a bit late hilariously because the main gate was still locked, so they had to go get big snippers to cut the lock off!?!

So good thing it was so warm.

The start is very congested- I started fairly close up, but was still bouncing off folks for a good…1km. Ouch, that does hurt your time a bit. When you pass 1k and start heading to the first out-and-back hill, it thins out greatly. I was passing/getting passed a fair bit until kms 3-4, where I just got…passed, ha. I was running in a bit of a ‘reach’ pace I think, particularly for my inexperience in racing over the past two years (and no hills…and a serious injury…lol). But I kept at it! It felt pretty horrible but, a horrible I could maintain.

Something fun- this time I was ahead of Ian. So when we had two out-and-backs (km 2-3, and km 5-6) he waved to ME this time! 🙂 Now that’s a first!

I had to add this one b/c it makes me laugh. Photo by Lois D’Ell.

I thought I was running pretty well through the trail section but I was definitely slowing down. The transition from the trail to the ridge, and then the loooooong downhill, was much longer than I recalled/wanted. I hit the downhill and immediately felt like I was one step away from face planting most spectacularly, yiiiikes! I am not used to running fast downhill and it was freaky.

Then it was roughly 1km to the finish, and I did…Not run super triumphantly, ha. I was straining, it was rough. BUT then there was the finish! 🙂

And I did it! Gun time was 34:13, and that makes a 2 minute personal best for me on this course. I was really happy with that, not shabby at all. I, of course, coughed my lungs out for the next three days…Racing is extremely hard on my lungs, quelle surprise!

Ian finished shortly after me, and we cruised up to get our snack bags and surprise! Sweet swag in it. An Endur hat AND I won a door prize- a super soft t-shirt 🙂 how awesome is that?!!!

A gorgeous day and a good race. Life is returning to normal (at least sometimes).

Racing again?? Cowichan Autumn Classic ‘combo’ race recap

Things are still not great with poor bunny Tucker. I just don’t know what the right choice to do is.

But otherwise, I had a really fun/awesome weekend!

Photo courtesy of Joseph Camilleri.

AND I raced again, for the first time in two years, I can’t believe it 🙂 I have had a really challenging return to running after my second stress fracture episode of Feb. I wasn’t healing, from something that seemed so minor, really wasn’t. It seriously cramped my style, brought me down. I signed up for this race and was doubting if it was the right choice up until I hit the start gates, I’m not kidding.

Dying at the finish- photo courtesy of Joseph Camillieri.

I signed up for the ‘Combo’ race where you run the 5k and 10k and get two finishers medals (argh I do not need these, anyone want some medals??) but I figured it’s unique, new to me and why not? I also know myself and figured if I could take the pressure off one race then I could enjoy myself for two! 🙂

But yeah I aggravated my injuries last week and was DREADING the race. Like, I couldn’t run last week, wtf was I thinking??

Well, anyways the die has been cast haha.

We were forecasted for absolutely heinous weather and gotta say, SO GLAD they were wrong for once. It wasn’t terrible and rainy, it was pretty nice out and not too cold!! The setting was lovely for a fall race, so scenic, well organized and picturesque. I lined up for the start of the 5k right up in front, as I figured such a small race will have a lot of walkers/etc. Turns out my instincts were 100% correct: I went to the front, and stayed in the front. I felt funny, like I was having an out of body experience and boy this 5k was tough- some rolling hills, and you ran through trails?! For a 5k? hahh so that sucked the speed right out of me lol. I got beat by the 1st place woman and it was no contest, ha. I couldn’t catch her at all.

Running so fast you can’t catch me, camera! Photo by Ian.

But I was hanging on to my 2nd place, kind of by my fingernails even! It was hard, I was horking and gasping and just ..ick. Felt like I was going to puke going through the finish lines, but the ending was great, basically a screaming downhill for the finish. LOVE that.

Photo courtesy of Joseph Camillieri.

And after staggering around for awhile, I grabbed some water and felt my legs tighten up in a way that I haven’t felt in 2 years. Then it was go time for the 10k! My lungs were in pretty bad shape- I have asthma that causes me to cough like I have emphysema, bronchitis and pneumonia all at once. It’s awful. That’s why I have a few inhalers, it’s so painful.

Taking it easy in the 10k!

But not time to linger, it’s 10k time! This one I was going to take it easy and jog it out. I started mid-back pack and started so casually that I forgot to take off my mask, haha. I cruised off and enjoyed myself until I got boxed in by slower runners after about 1km, so I had to actually ‘run’ sigh…And then I was running alone on and off for awhile. The trails were beautiful, big puddles but flat, and we ran up to the Holt Creek Trestle (but not onto it) and then back to the road and I passed one more runner on my way to the finish.

Lovely scenery that day.

Good thing too, because I didn’t know they judged the combo race as a separate race! My take it easy pace kind of killed it for me hahaha, oops! It was also a lucky thing I ended up passing that one runner, because she came in 4th and I was 3rd. Maybe I should have tried during it? Ahahah I am also glad that I didn’t know- it was more fun that way.

Much deserved wine sample.

We finished, and I felt good and happy. I then got my wine sample (think I should have gotten two, or maybe a full glass for winning a medal??) and we waited around for the awards. I was certain I got something- and I was right! But yeah, third place woman for the combo, and I was kind of like ahh…that second place for the 5k would have been sweet, but hey, who cares eh?

And a full beer for me thanks to Ian. A good day!

A lovely day, fun people and some excitement in our lives. What more can a girl ask for??