Not To Be Trusted With Knives

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Running for the Kitties

So now that spring has sprung in Vancouver and all of the various pathogens with which I’ve been infected appear to have left the building, I’ve gotten back into the swing of things running-wise. I’m really, really slow from having taken so much time off from running1, but I’m confident that if I keep getting out there, the speed will eventually return.

I met up with my BMO Marathon Relay teammates for brunch on Saturday to discuss logistics, and I’m really looking forward to that event, which a mere 20 days from now! Fortunately, I’m training for the Scotiabank Half Marathon and the 13 km I will need to run for my leg of the relay is in line with my training plan2.

And speaking of the Scotiabank Half Marathon, I’ve signed up to run as part of Team VOKRA, which is raising money for the Vancouver Orphan Kitten Rescue Organization (VOKRA), which I’m sure you will remember is where I got my kitties from. They do good work in rescuing kitties and finding them safe and loving homes, so I’m happy to help support their work. While VOKRA is run by volunteers, there are lots of costs that need to be covered when it comes to rescuing, caring for, and eventually placing homeless cats in their forever homes such as:

  • prenatal, natal, and bottle feeding program
  • trap/spay or neuter/return program
  • supplying all foster homes with food and supplies
  • medical emergencies/medications

The team has a goal of raising $10,000 through our Scotiabank Half Marathon fundraising, so please consider donating on my fundraising page:

Watson in a bow tieWatson & Crick say “Please Sir or Madam, won’t you donate to help the kitties?”

  1. Not to mention the [redacted number] lbs that I gained over the winter thanks to taking so much time off from running and also Drink-cember. []
  2. I’m scheduled to run 13 km the week before BMO, as it so happens. The weekend of BMO is supposed to be a “rest” week where I go back to 8 km, but I figure two 13 km long runs in a row will be fine. []

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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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Worst. Parade. Ever. – Three More Things

In keeping with my trending of stealing marathon-related blog posting titles from Dr. Dan, I’m writing this second Scotiabank Half Marathon-related posting.

First of all, stuff I meant to write about in the previous posting, but forgot to mention – probably due to half marathon-induced delirium:

  • Props to my co-worker Raj who ran her first half marathon at the Scotiabank. Like Kim, she’s totally stoked to run more and is seriously contemplating the Victoria half in October.
  • Another sign that I forgot to include in my previous list: the sign said, “Cliff Ahead! Turn back now!” and also included awesome stick figure drawings of runners falling off a cliff. Similarly, at about the 17 km mark, a spectator yelled, “The shuttle bus is broken, you’ll all have to run back to UBC after you finish.

Second of all, some thoughts on my running playlist during the race. I’ve mentioned before that music motivates me when I run and there were a few songs, in particular, from my new playlist that really inspired me on this run:

  • Rolling in the Deep by Adele was the song that I set to play first on my playlist. This song – in fact, all songs by Adele – make me think of Derek ever since he wrote a blog posting about her. I figured this was a good song to start out my run and I was not disappointed.
  • Firework by Katy Perry made me think of Rick and who wouldn’t be inspired by The Inspiration himself?
  • Bulletproof by La Roux was introduced to me by Kalev, so of course when it came on, I thought of him! As I told him after my Victoria half marathon, when this song comes on during a race, it’s like he’s there with me! </cheesiness>
  • Say Hey (I Love You) by Michael Franti & Spearhead came on just as I was running near the beach, so it was doubly inspiring because (a) I freaking love running by water and (b) it was recommended to me by Dan, inspiration personified.
  • Closet Freak by Stef Lang featuring Ray Black happens to be one of my favourite songs and it came on when I knew I was getting very close to the end of the race. Needless to say, it fired me up for a final sprint!
  • Teeth by Lady Gaga was the song that was playing as I crossed the finish line. Teeth is a *great* running song, so I really couldn’t have planned that one better!

Third of all, the over-priced photos of me running the half marathon that are taken by the company that marathons get to take over-priced photos of the runners so that they can try to sell said over-priced photos to said runners are now available for your viewing pleasure. I can’t post them here because (a) they are copyrighted and (b) I’m not going to buy said over-priced photos, but you can go here to see them. You can also see a video of me crossing the finish line there – you can see me near the top of the screen at the 0:25 mark of the video. As you can see, I like to sprint to the end!

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Worst. Parade. Ever.

I’m taking a page out of the Dr. Dan book of blogging by titling this blog posting about my race using the best sign that I saw along the route. In addition to the sign that said, “Worst. Parade. Ever.” my favourite signs that I saw along the half marathon route today included:

  • Your legs hurt because you are kicking so much ass!
  • Go Random Stranger Go!
  • Stop Reading! Get Running!
  • Where is everyone going?

With my latest half marathon medal -Scotiabank Half Marathon 2011So, yeah, I ran a half marathon today. Originally, when I first set out to run this half, I wanted to aim for a 2 hr finish, given my kick ass 2:07 finish last October in Victoria1. However, given my quarter-assed2 training – for which I completely blame the Vancouver Canucks for making it all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals, necessitating me to watch hockey and drink beer instead of training for my race well into June – I revised my goal and merely hoped that I wouldn’t have my worst finish ever. In truth, I was hoping that, despite my lacklustre training, I could use my experience at running halfs, the fact that I did do all the long runs for the training, and my good looks3 to pull off a 2:15 finish – that would be my second best time ever. And, happily, I did manage to beat that revised, revised goal! My official time was:

2:10:48!

So, not only did I *not* set a personal worst, but I set my second best time ever and my best for the Scotiabank Half Marathon. Not too shabby for a slacker such as myself!

Also, props must go out to my friends Kim and Lance on their first half marathons! Kim’s training was even more disrupted than mine, thanks to her taking a new job with insanely insane hours and she finished her race in 2:31:03. Lance, despite running on a (possibly) broken foot and running with Kim for the first 10 km before taking off, kicked our butts with a 2:09:35 finish!

Beth & Kim - Before the Scotiabank Half Marathon 2011
Me & Kim before the race!

Kim & Lance - Before the Scotiabank Half Marathon 2011
Kim & Lance before the race.

When I talked to Kim before the I left on my trip, she was not feeling too keen on this whole long distance running thing and declared that this would be her first and only half marathon. After the race today, she was making plans with me to run the Royal Victoria Half Marathon in October! I have brought one over to the dark side! Where by “dark side,” I mean “awesome side.”

Also, I am happy to report that my new running playlist was super kick ass and kept me motivated the whole time. W00t!

Scotiabank Half Marathon 2011 Route
Scotiabank Half Marathon 2011 Route

After the race, we hopped on the shuttle bus back to UBC – the race starts at UBC, but finishes at Stanley Park, so they shuttle everyone back to their cars that they left on campus via yellow school buses – and then headed to Cafe Deux Soliels for brunch4. I believe that I have mentioned before how post-race food is the most amazing food of all the foods that have ever nourished human beings since the beginning of time and by the time we got to Cafe Deux Soliels Soleils, I would have punched a baby dolphin in the face for a coffee. The coffee was not as good as it could have been5, but my omelette and homefries were the most amazingly delicious omelette and homefries that have ever been made in the history of omelettes and homefries.

Now that Half Marathon #1 of 2011 is complete, it’s time to focus on getting ready for my insanely long 10-day hockey game. This will involve, as it turns out, a boot camp, but that, my friends, is a topic for another blog posting!

  1. Originally originally, though, I intended to run the BMO half in May, but postponed it ’til this race because the winter was too winter-like to actually do any proper training. []
  2. “Quarter-assed” being even more half-assed than “half-assed.” []
  3. Good looks may or may not have contributed to my running speed. []
  4. Nonconicidentally, this is the same place that Kim and I brunched after our 8 km race in May. It’s kind of our thing now. []
  5. I don’t remember their coffee being that weak before, so either I’m developing a taste for stronger coffee or I just happened to get a poorly made pot. []

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Early To Bed

I’m home from my whirlwind trip and have much to blog about, but that will have to wait as I’m hitting the hay early, since I have to be at the starting line of the Scotiabank Half Marathon at UBC at 7 a.m. tomorrow. Which means that we’ll1 be leaving here around 5 a.m., to give us plenty of time to get to UBC, find parking, deal with bag check, do some stretching to warm up.

IMGP2999

Wish us luck. And send us warm glowing warming glowing happy run fast thoughts tomorrow around 7 a.m. Pacific time, ok?

Also, you’ll be able to see the results here after the race is done. Although I’ll probably blog it – and definitely will tweet it – first!

  1. Where we = me, Kim & Lance. []

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Half Marathon #4 – Complete!

We did it!  My fourth, and Alicia’s second, half marathon is in the books!

All week long I was watching the weather forecast for today and though the forecast for every other day seemed to change hourly, the meteorologists were steadfast on the prediction for Sunday, June 27 – rain. And the only waterproof running jacket I had is quite heavy – it’s lined to keep you nicely dry and warm for fall runs, but way too hot for an 18 degrees and rainy June day.  So I decided to treat myself to a new running jacket – I figured it was a pretty good investment given that it looks like we will not be seeing any sunny days this summer.  Plus, I’ve been very good about not buying clothes so far in 2010 – I’m waaay under what I budgeted for clothes1, so I didn’t even feel guilty buying something that isn’t from a thrift store!  And, I must say, it’s a beautiful jacket – bright white with a bit of reflective stuff on it so I don’t get hit by any cars.  And two convenient pockets.  And super duper light.

And said rain jacket served me well for the ~5 minutes I wore it during the race.  Because, though it was spitting a bit before race, not a single drop fell during the entire 2 hours and 23 minutes in which I was actually racing.  And so pretty early on the race, the jacket got tied around my waist, where it remained until after the post-race brunch, when I felt a little chilled.  I’m reasonably sure that my buying a rain jacket warded off all the rain they were calling for.  You’re welcome, all-the-other-runners in the race.

Here we are, before the race:

Notice my beautiful, rain-preventing jacket! Alicia’s jacket is the same brand as mine – she bought it a few months ago and at that time neither of us had heard Sugoi, but now here we are, all Sugoi-ed up.

The race route was pretty nice – it started at Thunderbird Arena at UBC, we looped around UBC for ~7 km, then we ran around SW Marine, through Kits, over the Burrard Street bridge and into Stanley Park.  And my favourite part: it’s net downhill!  As with our last half, I couldn’t keep up with Alicia and so she ran ahead at about the 17 km mark.  I had her in my sights until the Burrard Street bridge, but then lost her in the crowd.  In the end, Alicia came in at 2:23:22 and I came in at 2:23:53. And, need I remind you, Alicia had a freaking baby five months ago!  Good job, running partner!!

  1. and I haven’t bought a single pair of shoes!  Which anyone who knows me will tell you is pretty much a miracle. []

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I Call It Running Smarter, Not Longer

Last year after I ran the Vancouver half marathon, I ran into my friend Rachel who had run the 8 km race.  And I saw that she got a medal for running the 8 km.  And I said, “I ran 21.1 km and I could have run less than half that distance and still got a medal?  I’m such a sucker!”  Well, I didn’t make that mistake twice – check out the lovely medal I got for running this year’s 8 km race at the Vancouver International Marathon:

IMG_0520

At marathons, they always have professional photographers taking photos and then they try to sell you photos of yourself for an exorbitant price. They go through all the photos and tag them with your race bib number and then email you a link to all the photos that you are in.  I got my email today and there was only one photo of me from the race.  Which I thought was odd given that Alicia and I posed for *two* photos.  Alicia happened to be coming over for dinner tonight and when she was here she asked if I got the email of the photos of us.  Photos plural.  Turns out, Alicia got emailed three photos, including a photo of me crossing the finish line – a photo that doesn’t even have her in it!  Weird!  Looking at the photos made me wish that I’d even attempted to wear clothing that somewhat matched.

I’ll have to make a note of that for the Scotiabank half marathon, for which I just registered.  It’s at the end of June, so hopefully it will be warm and not raining and then I can dress for style and not for trying to keep dry & warm! Speaking of which, if you are planning to register for the Scotiabank half, let me know and I’ll give you a coupon code and you can save $5.  It was just at the bottom of my receipt with a note that I can give it out to my friends so they can save $5 (it should have also said, “Ha ha, no one gave *you* a coupon code, full price-paying sucker!)) and I figure all ya’ll are my friends, right?