Not To Be Trusted With Knives

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Just me talking about running again

all races except marathons

OK, that’s entirely not true but I thought it was pretty freaking hilarious.

Sadly, my running season has been off to an inauspicious start. As previously mentioned, my pathetic immune system’s inability to dispense with a simple sore throat/cold has severely hampered my attempt at starting the 2016 running season. However, I finally felt well enough to run and, in fact, I went running *twice* this week! On Monday I was working from home because I had a giant pile of papers to read and I find that easier to do in the quiet of my apartment with my wee fuzzballs nearby and big cup of tea; this meant that despite the fact that it was pouring rain out, I could go for a run on my lunch1. I briefly contemplated using the treadmill in my building’s exercise room, but then I remembered that I absolutely hate the treadmill and would, in fact, prefer to run in the pouring rain. And despite that fact that my running was slow – I know it will take a few weeks of concentrated running to get some of my speed back – I actually felt really, really good running in the rain. And then yesterday it was actually sunny out, so I went for a run on my lunch at the office – it was awesome to get back out on the seawall for a sunny lunchtime run even though, again, I’m not nearly as fast as I used to be. Now I’m just keeping my fingers crossed that my cold is actually gone2 and I can get back into a training rhythm.

Given all this, I’ve been thinking about what races I want to do this year. My goal is to collect 6 race medals in 2016, so here’s my tentative plan:

  • Hot Chocolate 5 km Run – You get a shirt and a mug and a hot chocolate and a medal that looks like a hot chocolate. I’ve already signed up for this one!
  • BMO Marathon Relay (13 km leg) – I’ve already signed up for this one too
  • Scotiabank half marathon – my friend Christina said she’s going to run this one, so I’m planning to do it too and since I’ll have trained for the marathon relay, I may as well keep training as the timing is perfect for Scotiabank
  • USA Half Marathon – this is a qualifier half marathon (for which I have achieved a qualifying time) in San Diego in November. I couldn’t do it last year because I had a scheduling conflict, but that shouldn’t be a problem this year

Then I just need to find another couple of races. I can’t do the Green Sock half because it conflicts with my hockey playoffs, but the Vancouver Rock’n’Roll 10 km in October is a likely one, as they always have really nice medals. I’ve never done the Eastside 10 km, so that’s another possibility.

Anyone know of any races with really excellent medals that I should consider doing?

  1. At work, there’s a shower I can use after going for a run, but I don’t have a hair dryer. Plus, it was so raining the my clothes were soaked by the end of the run, so it’s much nicer to just be able to throw them in the washing machine at home rather than having to carry a gym bag full of soggy clothes home. []
  2. I still have a bit of a cough, but otherwise feel fine. *knocks on wood* []

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Race Medal Pinterest Board

OK, one last thing about race medals. A blog reader who knows of my love of race medals directed me to this Pinterest page of awesome race medals! If you love race medals, you should check it out!

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Race Medal Inflation

As you know, I’m rather addicted to race medals. And since I started racing in 2007, there’s been a considerable amount of what I’m calling race medal inflation. Race medal inflation has occurred both in the number of medals being offered and in the size of medals.

Medals have gotten considerably bigger over the years. Case in point: The medal on the left is from the 2007 BMO Vancouver half marathon and the one on the right is form the 2015 version of the same race:

Vancouver BMO half marathon mdeals - 2007 and 2015

Here they are shown with the 2009 BMO Vancouver medal in the middle – you can see that the progression has been a gradual increase over the years:

Three different years of BMO Vancouver half marathon

The other way that race medal inflation is occurring is in terms of the number of things you can get medals for.  When I first started racing, you usually needed to run at least a half marathon to get a medal – the BMO Vancouver Marathon was notably in that it gave a medal for the 8 km race, which was virtually unheard of in those days. But these days most 5 km and 10 km races offer a finisher medal.

Plus, races are also offering bonus medals for running multiple races – the Rock’n’Roll series of races does this a lot. If you run two RnR events in a calendar year that are at least a half marathon, you get the bonus “Double Beat” medal. If you run 3, 4, 5, 6, etc. RnR events that are at least a half marathon, there are bonus medals for that too. Plus there are themed bonus medals – like getting the Cascadia medal for running the half or full-marathons in each of Vancouver, Seattle, and Portland. And my personal favourite was that someone I know was given the “World Rocker” medal for running two RnR events that were at least a half marathon or longer in two different countries – because he ran the marathon in Montreal and the half marathon in Vancouver, BC. That’s right folks – apparently RnR thinks that Montreal is not in Canada.

And finally, you can also now get race medals for running non-existent races. The Hollywood Florida Virtual Half Marathon was like this – you just had to send a link to show that you’d run a half marathon distance worth of running during an allotted timeframe (e.g., from an app like Runkeeper or from your GPS watch) and pay US$20 and you got the medal. I did that one, but it didn’t feel nearly as fulfilling as running a real race. Which is actually what kept me from going for the RnR “Bonus Track Virtual Run” – which only requires that you run *any* distance you want at some point between Dec 17 and Dec 31 and then pay them US$26, which, with the current US exchange rate, is about eleventy billion dollars.

I mean, it’s a super cool medal because the guitar pick slides up and down (!), but the fact that you could just go out and run 0.1 km for all they care, means you are really just buying yourself a medal. That’s no fun.

Anyway, all this talk about race medals is getting me excited about running actual races. I really should decide what ones I want to do this year!

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My 2015 race medals

One of my 2015 goals was to add 5 new race medals to my collection. Mission accomplished!

My 2015 race medals

My first medal of the year didn’t come until May, when I ran the BMO Vancouver half marathon:

BMO Vancouver half marathon 2015 medal

Then came the Florida virtual half marathon:

Florida virtual half marathon 2015 medal

The PNE Donut Dash 5 km wins the prize for the cutest medal in my collection:

PNE Donut Dash 2015 medal

Then there was my first ever demi-marathon at the Montreal Rock’n’Roll marathon:

Montreal demi-marathon medal 2015

And finally, there was the Rock’n’Roll 10 km race:

Vancouver Rock'n'Roll 10 km medal 2015I originally thought I’d get a bonus medal called the “Double Beat” medal for having done two Rock’n’Roll events, but I learned too late that you had to do at least a half marathon distance at each event to qualify for that, so no bonus medal for me! Good thing I’d done the Donut Dash so I already had five1!

  1. Of course, there were several small races even after the Rock’n’Roll Vancouver 10 km that I could have run to get a medal if I’d needed to. []