Not To Be Trusted With Knives

The Internet’s leading authority on radicalized geese

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Night Race 2014!

Friday night was the Night Race – a 10 km run in the dark around Stanley Park where all the runners wear head lamps. Or should I say a nearly *11 km* race that they tricked us into believing was a 10 km race!

When I run races, I usually don’t pay too much attention to the route – I take a quick look at the map to figure out where the start line is and to get a basic sense of where I have to go, but beyond that I figure I can just follow the crowd, the kilometer markers, and the volunteers yelling and pointing in the direction of any turns you need to make. If there’s an elevation map, I’ll look at that so I’m forewarned of any major hills. But given that the Night Race was around Stanley Park, I knew the route would be flat and easy to follow.

However, if I’d really been thinking when I looked at the route map:

Night Race 2014 so-called 10 km route

I would have noticed this very important fact: the route didn’t just go around Stanley Park. It started inside the park at the Pavilion and you had to run down to the seawall, all the way around the park, and then back up to the Pavilion. And since the distance around the seawall is 10 km, a route that goes around the seawall plus some other stuff must be >10km! Yet I didn’t put this together, even as the race started and we ran down the path to the seawall. It never occurred to me during the entire time around the seawall. It did not occur to me when I saw the 9 km mark. And it absolutely did not occur to me when the GPS told us we were at 9.8km and started a sprint into the “home stretch”. Which, of course, was not the home stretch – it was just at the point at which we had to turn to go back up the path to the Pavilion. The path that was all UPHILL for nearly an extra 1 km! Which was really difficult to do given the fact that I had just used up the last of my energy and the last of my breath to do that sprint to what I thought was the finish.

And even at that point, my brain wasn’t doing the math to really get that this route was not a mere 10 km1. As I crossed the finish line, I checked my time and saw that I came in at 1:05 and I was very disappointed, because I’d felt like I’d been running fast enough to meet my goal of being under 1 hr. And then it was pointed out to me that we’d run significantly more than 10 km, so I really did break the 1 hr mark!

Night Race 2014

In fact, if you look at my splits:

Night Race 2014 - splits

you can add up the times to run the first 10 km and see that I ran it in 59 mins and 5 seconds – nearly a minute quicker than my goal of 1 hr!

Sadly, there was no acknowledgement by the race that the route was significantly longer than 10 km and they didn’t have a chip sensor at the actual 10 km mark to tell you what your real 10 km time was2. They are only reporting out the time you crossed the finish line, a full 0.85 km longer than 10 km, so the official race results say I finished in 1:05:063. Happily, I was tracking the run so I know the truth!

Much thanks to Daniel who paced me for the race so I could reach my goal, even though it meant running much more slowly than he normally would!

Night Race Vancouver 2014

Look at those awesome headlamps!

Now, as you know, I’m a big nerd and like calculating things. Since the race publishes the results of all the finishers, I was able to do some calcuation-y goodness and found that:

  • I came in 238th out of 673 runners in the race4, or 65th percentile (i.e., top 35%).
  • I came in 95th out of the 437 women in the race, or 78th percentile (i.e., top 22%).
  • I came in 30th out of the 131 women in my age category (30-39 years) in the race, or 77th percentile (i.e., top 23%).

Not too bad if I do say so myself!

Now, as you also know, I’m slightly addicted to race medals, so you may be surprised that I even ran a race where you don’t get a medal5. I did, however, get that headlamp that I mentioned, which is like a medal, only more functional. So I’ve hung it up with my race medal collection!

Collection of race medals

And speaking of medals, I have officially registered for the Rock’n’Roll 10 km race in October, which has one of the most beautiful medals I’ve seen for a race:

vancouver-reveal-885x500

Importantly, I’ve also looked more closely at the route map and it appears that the Rock’n’Roll 10 km is, in fact, a 10 km race:

Rock & Roll 10 km Route 2014

When I was on my spreadsheet to calculate my percentiles, I noticed that the Night Race was my second best time for a 10 km – my personal best is 58:48, which I did in the 2007 Pacific Spirit Run. The math-y among you will notice that this is a mere 17 seconds better than the Night Race – so I’m thinking that setting a new personal best needs to be my goal for the Rock’n’Roll.

  1. In my brain’s defence, it really wasn’t getting any oxygen at that point! []
  2. When I ran the 8 km race at the BMO marathon in May, the route was also slightly longer than the advertised race length, due to the logistics of trying to have an 8km race where the runners join up with the half and full marathon route in the middle of Stanley Park in such a way as to be able to share the finish line. But they had a sensor at the 8 km mark to record you real 8 km time and then another at the finish line. []
  3. I just looked at the race results now to look up my official time and I notice that they are now listing the race as a 10.5 km race. []
  4. When I say “in the race” here, I’m talking only about finishers. It’s possible there were others in the race who didn’t finish, but I don’t have those numbers. []
  5. Well, the top three male and top three female finishers in each of the 5 km and 10 km races got a medal, but I knew that wasn’t going to happen for me! []

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Walk for the Kitties!

Nearly 8 months ago, I adopted my kitties, Watson and Crick, from VOKRA – the Vancouver Orphan Kitten Rescue Association. VOKRA is a volunteer-run organization that has been rescuing kitties who are abandoned or surrendered – more than 1800 per year! – and finding them safe and loving “forever” homes for 14 years. It takes a lot of money to do this work – they provide vet care for sick kitties, food and litter for kitties living in foster homes while they await adoption, and they had to create a new intake centre because they have so many kitties coming in that they couldn’t keep operating out of the president/co-founder’s basement. Hence, their fundraiser – the 5th Annual Walk for the Kitties – coming up on Sunday. Unfortunately, I can’t do the walk myself, as I’m already double booked that day, but I encourage all kitty lovers to check it out. And even if, like me, you can’t participate, you can always donate!

WatsonCrick in the tub

Watson and Crick thank you for helping kitties just like them to find their own forever homes!

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Theatre Goer

Apparently I’m really into theatre all of the sudden, as last night I saw Red Rock Diner at the Arts Club Granville Island Stage.

Here the trailer:

The show was great – great music performed by an incredibly talented cast. I am always in awe of people who can sing (and boy, could these guys sing), but then to throw in super energetic dancing pretty much non-stop for 2 hours – well, I just have no idea how that is humanly possible.

*spoiler alert* {Don’t read any further if you don’t want to read spoilers!}

To say that this was a play about “five teens coming of age” is a bit of a stretch. The first half was basically a radio show – song after song after song, punctuated by Red Robinson’s crazy radio antics. Then the second half was a high school talent competition hosted by Red Robinson and in which, you guessed it, there was song after song. That is to say, there was pretty much no actual plot, let alone one about anybody coming of age. This is not to say that I didn’t enjoy it – it was very entertaining and, as I said, the cast was super talented, which was totally worth watching on its own. But perhaps they could do a better job of their description of the play.

There was some added excitement in the second half where they dragged people up on the stage to join them in their dancing. And can you guess who was the very first person they pulled up on stage for some dancing? That’s right – me! And I am nothing if not an attention whore, so I had no problem with it, though the little girl who got dragged up on the stage next looked like she wanted to be anywhere by on that stage. I’m pretty sure that they chose me because I was wearing my fabulous red dress that I bought in London as it’s not the first time that I was chosen by performers to join them on stage for some dancing while wearing that dress. Actually, now that I look at those photos from Ireland, I see that I was also wearing that dress when I got voluntold to be an whiskey tester at the Jameison factory. I think we can conclude that this dress is an attention getter. Because I have three replications. Hooray for science!

Wait, where was I? Oh yeah – the show. It was tonnes of fun and I totally recommend you go there1. Apparently they extended the show, so it’s now running until August 23.

The audience was told that we weren’t allowed to take photos during the show, but in the but that we’d be able to get photos of the show off their website. However, when I went to the Arts Club website to look at them, I found the link to their Flickr account and all of the photos are up as “all rights reserved”, rather than as a Creative Commons license, so I can’t legally use any of them on this posting. Instead you’ll just have to read my words and then you can go look at their photos on Flickr if you like.

  1. As per usual, I have no affiliation with the theatre company – just recommending it because I like it. []

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Half Marathon #11 – A Belated Blog Posting

This post is ridiculously overdue. I wrote most of it on the plane to (or possibly from) San Francisco, and haven’t gotten around to posting it until just now, what with all moving and traveling and unpacking and various other goings on in my life. But better late than never, right?

In amongst the moving and traveling, I also ran my 11th half marathon, which I haven’t had time to blog about yet1, what with all the moving and traveling and running half marathons.

The half marathon in question was the Scotiabank Half Marathon in Vancouver. I’ve run this twice before – once with Alicia (2010) and once with Kim (2011). It’s a really lovely route that starts out a UBC, where you run around the campus for a bit before heading by Jericho Beach, over the Burrard Street Bridge and then finishing up in Stanley Park. The day was also lovely – it was hot, to be sure, but not insanely so, and there was a bit of cloud cover so that you weren’t running in direct sun the whole time.

Scotiabank Half Marathon Route 2014

The Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon route for 2014. Note the elevation map – specifically, the lovely net downhilledness of this race!

The one thing that wasn’t lovely was that I was sick. For the third time this spring :S I’m pretty sure that I must have picked this cold up when I was in Ontario2. I was coughing up a storm and I’m pretty sure it was sapping my energy – at least, that’s what I’m blaming my slow finish time on. I finished at 2:15:05 – more than 5 minutes longer than the Hollywood Half in April and a reversal of my trend where I’d been improving my time my last few half marathons (remember, this is finishing time, so shorter is better!):

Half Marathon Finish Times as of June 2014

I ran the race with a couple of friends from work. Geoff was running his second half marathon, having done the BMO half in 2013 and Christina was running her first ever half! I had photos that Christina took of us, but I think she must have texted them to me and then I lost them when my phone went insane and I had to restore it to factory when I was in Toronto. Anyway, great job, race buddies!

After the race, we headed back to UBC on the shuttle bus to get Christina’s car and then we went to Trafalgar Bistro, where we had the most delicious brunch in the history of brunch: eggs benny, but instead of being on an English muffin, it was on a potato latke. O. M. G. D. E. L. I. C. I. O. U.S.

After having done two half marathons in two months, immediately following the running study that I was in, I’m feeling like I need to change things up from just running. I think I want to find a triathlon to train for next – if anyone knows of any good ones in the Vancouver area in the fall, hit me up!

  1. Funny that I wrote that when I typed this up on the plane – more than a week ago! []
  2. Damn you, Ontario! []

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BMO 8 km – Another Day, Another Medal

Today marked the first time since before my MBA program started that I *wasn’t* in class during the BMO Vancouver International Marathon. Since I just ran a half marathon less than a month ago, I didn’t think it was wise to run another half marathon so soon, and thus I registered for the 8 km race instead.

photo 4

Also, as you may recall, I discovered that by running the 8km race at BMO, you get a nearly identical medal to the one that the half and full marathoners get1, but you only have to run 8 km! So for running only 38% of the distance of a half or 19% of the distance of a full, I can get practically the same medal. Clearly, it’s a much more efficient choice.

The way the 8 km was set up this year, we started in Stanley Park along the half marathon route such that we ran the last 8 km of the half marathoners’ route. But the actual start line was on a side street that joined up with their route, so our race was actual 8.15 km, as we had 0.15 km along that side street first. The finish line was over by Burrard and Cordova and that’s where the gear check was, so they had shuttle buses to take the 8 km runners from the gear check to the start line. The last shuttle bus was at 8:30 am and our race wasn’t until 9:30 am, so it meant we had to start around for an hour waiting for the race to start. In the pouring rain. Had it been a nice day, I might not have minded, as standing in Stanley Park on a sunny day cheering on the half marathoners as they ran by would be fun. Standing around in the pouring rain and cold was less fun. But eventually our race started and by that time it wasn’t raining that hard any more, so for our race, it was actually just a gentle rain, which is actually quite nice to run in.

My partners in crime for today’s event were two of my coworkers, Geoff and Christina. Here we are before the race – looking surprisingly happy for three cold, wet people!

PH Observatory Race Team - 8 km - before the race

The race itself was pretty good – the route is mostly through Stanley Park, so it’s quite beautiful and once I was running, I totally warmed up. I was pretty happy with my finish time:46:522! It’s my second best time ever for an 8 km race3. Other fun stats:

  • I came in 24th in my age/gender category (out of 168), putting me in the 86th percentile
  • I was the 151st female to finish (out of 1291), putting me in the 88th percentile
  • I was 357th overall (out of 1858), putting me in the 81st percentile overall

Day 301Not too bad if I do say so myself!

Here are my co-workers and I after the race, proudly displaying our hard earned medals!

PH Observatory Race Team - 8 km - after the race!

Good job, Observatory team4! Congrats also to my friends Candace and Julie, who both ran the half marathon this year. Great job!

After the race, Christina, Geoff, and I went to Forage for brunch. I’ve always said that post-race brunch is the greatest thing that you will ever eat in your entire life, and Forage  did not disappoint!

Next stop: Scotiabank half marathon!

  1. The only difference being that it says “8 km” instead of “21.1km” or “42.2km”, but that’s barely noticeable! []
  2. That’s for 8 km. They also recorded your finish time for the full 8.15 km of the race – that was 47:39. I’d signed up so that BMO Marathon could live tweet my result, but it tweeted that I took 48:15, which was not only my 8.15 km time (despite saying that I “completed the BMO 8 km” race, which is misleading enough), but gun time instead of chip time. For the uninitiated, gun time refers to the time from when the starter gun goes off until you cross the finish line. But since I’m never right at the starting line when the gun goes off – I’m further back in the crowd, I don’t actually start running until my part of the crowd gets to the start line, at which point your own personal timing chip registers your start time. In this case, it actually took me 36 seconds before I got to the start line. []
  3. Mind you, this is only the third time I’ve run one. []
  4. I work in an Observatory, but not the kind with a telescope. It’s a long story. []

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How to be a Vancouverite

You’ve probably already seen this, but that last posting about stand up paddleboarding totally reminded me of this video1. If you’ve already seen it (which I’m sure is pretty much everyone), feel free to move along. If not, enjoy:

  1. Which Alicia first introduced to me when we were talking about going stand up paddleboarding for her birthday. []

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Paddleboarding!

So this posting is very, very overdue. Way back in the days of yore – i.e., September – a bunch of us went stand up paddleboarding for Alicia’s birthday1. Our guide was Kathleen from WazSUP Stand Up Paddleboarding and Surf Shop2. She taught us the safety rules and the basics on how to get around and then we set off from Yaletown and paddled all the way to English Bay and back!

Here’s Alicia, starting out first on her knees:

Paddleboarding for Alicia's Birthday 2013

Here’s the group of us starting out:Paddleboarding for Alicia's Birthday 2013

And here we are standing:Paddleboarding for Alicia's Birthday 2013

Once we were all standing, we managed to group together and hold paddles to form a group so we could listen to Kathleen tell us about more advanced stuff, like turning:Paddleboarding for Alicia's Birthday 2013

And off we go:Paddleboarding for Alicia's Birthday 2013

It was very cool being out on the water – the water was calm and it was very peaceful floating along like that. Also, it was an interesting experience to be going along False Creek on the water, as Alicia and I often go running along the paths on either side of False Creek – the Kits side or the downtown side – where we run and look out on the water, but with this we were going along the water and looking out onto the path – quite a different perspective! We also got to see a baby seal… or was it an otter? I can’t remember – this was a long time ago, after all. But I do remember it was a baby and it was barking. So cute!Paddleboarding for Alicia's Birthday 2013

Paddleboarding for Alicia's Birthday 2013The fearless crew of paddleboarders!

Thanks for much to Kathleen from WazSUP for being such an awesome guide and taking us out for such a fun trip!

  1. You might remember Alicia from such adventures as the Fall Classic Half Marathon 2013, the Edge-to-Edge Half Marathon 2013, Victoria half marathon 2010, Scotiabank half marathon 2010, Vancouver BMO Half Marathon 2009, and surfing in Tonfio 2007. []
  2. I only just now as I was writing this post clued in that the “SUP” stands for “stand up paddleboarding.” []

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Some New Ornaments for my Christmas Tree

And speaking of blog postings I wrote a while ago, I apparently forgot to finish this posting, which I started last week!

I’m one of those people who have an eclectic set of ornaments for my tree. Rather than having a coordinated set of decorations that would make Martha Stewart proud, I have a tree full of ornaments that I have collected over the years… a tree full of happy Christmas memories, as it were. Each ornament has a story1. Like the gingerbread girl who has a tray full of freshly baked gingerbread cookies that I got in 1988 – a fact I only know because it says “1988” on her apron. My sister got an identical one and so I put a sticker on the bottom of my gingerbread girl’s cookie sheet because it was very important that I be able to distinguish which one was mine and which one was Nancy’s…. even though they were identical, so I really can’t fathom why it would matter whose was whose, but it was very important to us at the time. Or the Flying Spaghetti Monster ornament that I made with my very own hands – one for me and ones for a few special friends who I know love the FSM too. Or the mouse that was given to me by my first grade teacher, Mrs. Morley. Or the ones my niece made out of peanuts. This year, I decided to add a beautiful set of ornaments that have a special story too. I first heard about Tradeworks on my friend Paul’s blog. From the Tradeworks website:

We work with inner city women and at-risk youth with multiple barriers to employment. We provide training in life and employment skills, and hands-on work experience in the of trade carpentry. After finishing our program, our graduates are ready for steady gainful employment.

The intricately designed ornaments are handmade from BC blue-stained beetle kill pine wood. I bought the Twelve Days of Christmas set and they are absolutely gorgeous:

Having the set of 12 is really awesome, because it ties my whole eclectic tree together and because I know that I got to support a really cool organization too.

  1. Well, I do have a set of plain blue Christmas balls whose story is basically that I didn’t have enough ornaments to fill up my tree because I got divorced and my ex took his half of the ornaments and so I went to London Drugs to buy a Christmas tree and got this set of blue balls to fill up space. Tee hee – blue balls. []

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Half Marathon #9 – Oh So Fine

Half marathon #9 complete!

Here’s Alicia and I after the race:

Fall Classic Half Marathon 2013

If we look a little out of it, it’s only because we are. Thanks to the aforementioned not training enough, both of us wanted to puke. But we did it and our time was better than the last two halfs that I did, so that’s something. Official time: 2:17:25. Not great, but I’ll take it.

We also lucked up in that it turned out to be sunny instead of rainy. And the route was relatively flat, so that made me happy. And I saw fans holding up two signs I’d never seen before – one had a target on it and said “hit here for power up” and you could hit it as you went by. The other was a “1 Up” super mario mushroom. Both of those brought me much joy!

Also, another medal for me! Hooray!

Fall Classic Half Marathon 2013

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Support Independent Media AND maybe win a weekend in Tofino!

So remember when I told you that you should support the Tyee, the award-winning Vancouver-based independent news magazine, to go national? Well I hope you have been procrastinating on actually doing that because have I got an offer for you!

If you go to this link to sign up to support the Tyee, then both you and I get entered into a draw for:

  • Two nights for two at BriMar Bed & Breakfast.
  • $150 gift certificate for Tofino’s popular Sobo restaurant.
  • A daytrip for two to Hot Springs Cove from Ocean Outfitters.
DSC02093

This is Tofino. Isn’t it gorgeous? Don’t you want me to go to there? Or maybe you could win the trip and then you could take me there!

Seeing as I’ve only been to Tofino to (1) jump into the freezing cold ocean in January and (2) run the most hilliest of half marathons ever, I think I really deserve a relaxing weekend there, don’t you? Of course you do. That’s why you are going to go to this link to support the Tyee.

So go to this link. Go there now!!