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.

Track Meet #2 Race Recap

This past weekend was also my second attempt at racing on the track at the Christie-Phoenix Insurance Victoria Run Series.

Was I ready? Hmmm…not so much. It was hot, and I was feeling pretty lazyyyy….Literally the polar opposite of last track race, where it was freezing and I was so cold my teeth were chattering.

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I am a winner! (of nobody in particular)!

We had gone to Thetis Lake with floaties and got fro-yo and I had ridden that morning, and just, yes I was feeling entirely warm and very mellow to get up and gear up for a race. Nevertheless we were going to do it!

We checked in, got our bib numbers, and waited and waited. We had an opportunity to watch the elites race and WOW…They are astoundingly fast. Phenomenal. To compare what I do and what they do is like watching a camel vs a gazelle. No comparison.

I registered for both the 3,000 and the 1,500m but only ended up running the 3k because they were running both back to back and my lungs were KILLING me. I couldn’t stop coughing! So, yes the best option was to leave gracefully on the 3k and go home haha. The 3k went okay–I went out way too fast. My fastest kilometre on record- 3:45! And then I immediately bombed it. My pace was too fast, my lungs couldn’t keep up and I rode the struggle bus allll the way to the finish line, finishing with a really bad 4:21- which is a km that I would normally finish a 10k at. HA!

BUT since I was the only young woman racing in this race- I race in the slow people category because I sure am no elite! I still won first place and received a medal and some lovely flowers, that I am extremely allergic to and had to keep them outside on my patio.

I’m glad I went, but I wish I had run a little bit smarter. Each race teaches me a bit more about myself and about racing. Last race I learned not to try to pass on a corner, and this race I learned – again- not to go out too fast in the first KM, no matter how tempting it feels and how good you think you are!

Also because I only ran one race, my lungs were rotten all night and I was coughing like I had serious emphysema, but then the next day they were recovered way faster than my first track race–success!

Go us! 🙂

Race Recap: Oceanside Mother’s Day 10k! A big ego boost of a weekend.

Not a personal best, but a good day nonetheless!

Not a personal best, but a good day nonetheless!

Woah- let me just say that I really love smaller community-run races.

They are so much cheaper (entry fees are typically $20-25 in advance, maybe $35 day-of), the food is good – better than what we normally have at the TC10k – and the volunteers are awesome!

And at the finish, they gave you a carnation and a bottle of water! Lovely.

And at the finish, they gave you a carnation and a bottle of water! Lovely.

I had mentioned at my last race (Sooke 10k) that while I was lucky enough to finally place, I had also won a draw prize for another 10k race- the Oceanside Mother’s Day 10k. So, even though my last 10k was kind of a killer and I was swearing up and down I was going to take a break…I was now signed up for another one! Silly me.

My husband ran with me, and the course was really nice. Good variety of terrain and not too technical, we ran across a small bridge, down a hill to Rathtrevor Park, and out to the ocean, and we ran along the ocean for a bit on gravel, and then back through the park. I think this run had some of the loveliest scenery, and probably the most race-marshals marking the route haha. We really enjoyed the slight breeze off the ocean, and the hilarious stares of campers going ‘WTF’ are these people running like idiots through the campsites!!

On course in Parksville

On course in Parksville- Photo courtesy of Terry Riggs

It was cool in the trees, and overall not a warmer day, which worked to our advantage.

It would have been an excellent race to try for a personal best, but for some reason I just wasn’t 100%- I was struggling to rate my breaths, and I felt like I was gasping a lot more than I should have been. I have been trying to start out faster, and then work to try and hold my pace for longer (like 5k or so) but I started dropping faster and by 6k I was like ARGHH…I’m dying….

Way far back you can see us! Photo courtesy of Terry Riggs.

Way far back you can see us! Photo courtesy of Terry Riggs.

BUT everyone else was a bit slower- soooo I got the happy cheers of volunteers shouting to me that I was the second woman!! Yeah! That has NEVER happened to me, as I am still  fairly new at racing, having started just this year.

So, we kept pushing forward. I lagged bigtime at 6-7k, got a big ego boost from the volunteers and went through to 8- struggled up the very short hill, and then held fairly strong from 9 to the finish. No sprint at the finish, but I did feel like it was a good pace, and one we held well for the last kilometer.

We finished at 47:25, which was slower than my last 10k time (I know I can’t get PB’s every time I’m out…) but good enough to place me as the 2nd woman overall, and 1st in my age group! Yeehaw!!! I do have to note though that this race was far less competitive (a fun run) than the ones I have run overall this year- that is certainly why I placed where I did, NOT because I have somehow inexplicably become a super-runner.

Thanks, as always, to the lovely folks who take time to organize, volunteers and run in these races- I’m learning so much at each one, and enjoying the challenge.

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25th Annual TC 10K

25th Annual TC 10K

Yeah! This year they even gave out commemorative medals for finishers!

Going into the race, I was NOT feeling it. I’d hurt my knee this year, and was struggling to get back to running on the regular, not even running full 10ks or racing speed. I was doing a lot more short runs and maybe a 6-8k once a week? My knee was still wonky and I was pretty concerned it was going to blow doing this race, but I’d already committed.

And in my infinite wisdom (which apparently is NOT infinite) I’d also signed up for a horse show the day before. Because that’s not tiring at all, is it? HAH!

And I trained pretty hard for the TC 10k by being too sick to run the week before and being barely able to drag myself off the couch for the week…And every time I tried to run, I’d cough my lungs out.

So, success right??

And surprisingly it went quite well! I got an ok time of 53:46- a titch slower than last year, my ideal goal is 50 mins. The run itself was kind of a hell unto itself…

– I got stuck in the walkers group for the start, because apparently they decided to make it extra-difficult to fight your way through 11,000 people to get to your correct starting gate…
– I stood on the pavement for 20 minutes jammed shoulder-to-shoulder with people in the freezing weather.
– It started raining as we climbed the hill at Dallas Rd and blasting wind. So, not only did it feel like I was running backwards, but I was getting rain in my face the whole time. FUN.
– I didn’t even take my sweater off the whole run. Brr.
– I wanted to give up SO HARD. I was running to protect my left knee, and it started threatening me around the last 3km. I was like, don’t give out, don’t give out, don’t give out…

And I made it! YEAH! So, even just finishing felt pretty good.

Ian and I went home, warmed up and showered, and then went out for brunch. I had a nap later. It was a great end to the weekend.