I WILL RUN 2014 Mid-Year Newsletter

Greetings Everyone!

I Will Run - logo squareThis mid-year newsletter highlights few exciting things happened at the program in the past six months and how we have continue to uphold our motto: “Learn to Run for Free, Make a Positive Social Impact,and Live a healthier Life”.

First of all, A BIG THANK YOU to everyone for raising over $1100 to missionPLogo4support the good works done in the DTES community by Mission Possible, an agency that “transforms lives by helping those challenged by homelessness and poverty achieve a renewed sense of dignity and purpose through meaningful work”.


Our Sponsor: Skechers Performance Division

Another BIG THANK YOU to our program sponsors Skechers Canada Performance Division and their awesome western Canada representative Alex Strote for conducting Skechers Demo Day with us and giving out free Skecher shoes to our program participants draw winners.


running-with-strollerIn the past six months, I WILL RUN has conducted two complimentary running programs including two beginner clinics and two immediate Ran10/21k groups.  In total, we have attracted 47 participants and of those nine were kids under the age of five.  It was certainly a great success and  joyful experience to test drive our new “stroller moms/dads” in the beginner program.   For me, it was amazing to have witnessed the commitment and enthusiasm expressed in these young families . No matter what the weather was like, baby crying or fussing, they just simply showed up at the clinic.    This has certainly helped many, including myself (a new dad of 15months!), to remove the deep rooted stigma that family with newborns or young children cannot exercise as a whole unit.  It was exciting and fulfilling to see that some of these parents have adopted running and walking since the program started as their daily routine.  Many have attested that the health benefits derived from running were significant enough to make positive impacts in their overall well being.

poing grey trackThe Ran10/21K group comprised some great dedicated runners this past season. Everyone was diligent to show up on time for our 8am clinic.  In 2014, the program re-focused primarily on the running basics.  A special 6- weeks program was in placed to re-evaluate proper running forms and bio-mechanics.  This was done in an effort to minimize any running related injuries owing to improper running forms.  The result was significant that many participants began running more efficiently while complaining less on their past injuries.  In conjunction with form building, basic speed workouts were also introduced.  As a result of all effective training, many have achieved their personal best for 10K and half marathon events in 2014.

boston marathon logoOn the personal note, I have participated in 8 races thus far in 2014 ranging from the distance White Rock Race 1 (3)of 5K to full marathon and with three more in the upcoming future!    With the continual support from Team Skechers Canada Performance Division and the invaluable coaching from Olympian Dylan Wykes, I have made some major accomplishments.  In May, I ran the Vancouver BMO Full Marathon at a time of 2:58:06 ranking in the top 70s, which enabled me to obtain a personal best, enter the “sub-3 marathon club”, and qualify for the Boston Marathon in 2015.  Recently, I have also run a great 10K race at the BC Championships Series Summer Fast with a finishing time of 37:31 ranking in the top30s among a very competitive field. This has further allowed me to qualify as a seeded athlete running with the elites in the first pack at the Vancouver Sun Run in 2015.

IWILLRUN2014-03Starting in the first Saturday of August, we will begin our FINAL beginner program of this year.  This 7 weeks program is suitable for those wishing to learn to run their first 10K.  Sign up Now!

In mid-August, we will also have our final Ran10/21K program to train for the upcoming Vancouver Rock’n Roll Half Marathon in late October. Stay tuned!

That’s it for now.  We are half way through 2014 and it’s not too late to start running again! Stay active, lace up and see you out there!

Your running buddy,


Run to Inspire and to be Inspired. 






CEP Calf Sleeves Compression 2.0 Short Review

Few months ago I was given a pair of CEP compression calf sleeves for testing from the courtesy of CEP Canada.  I’ve put these sleeves on several occasions including few longer runs (20K+), a half marathon and during recovery after these workouts.  I wish to write a short review and hope to offer my first-hand experience in this post.  I must emphasize here that this is all based on my sole subjective experience and I have not performed any objective measurement per se to write up a non-biased evidence-based review here.


 My first hand experience with CEP Compression Calf Sleeves



It was really great to receive the latest version of the 2.0 CEP progressive compression calf sleeves.  The model I received was the night version with a very nice neon green colour and lined with reflective lining.  They should be great for those who run later in the day for better visibility.



They were made of 79% nylon and 21% spandex.  Unlike some of the previous compression calf sleeves I have used in the past, the CEP appeared to be very well made.  The ‘pores’ were tightly knitted.  They felt really thin and compact.  They were also made in Germany.

Since I have small calves of a circumference about 12.5″, I received their size III.  The sleeves fitted well on my calves.  They were tight but in a supportive way without a feeling of constricting blood flow.

Upon a few long runs and a half marathon race using the calve sleeves, I felt very positive wearing them. I’d be eager to test them out for a full marathon as that’s the distance when my calves would go screaming.  Wearing the CEPs for recovery felt great as well, I found them helped me to recover better when there were times I wasn’t able to stretch immediately after a long workout.

In terms of durability, I have worn them in sunny dry conditions and they were subjected to machine washing for five times.  The material remained to be very sturdy like when it was new. I have had other brand that didn’t hold well after few washes.


My overall experience with the CEP calf sleeves was excellent.  I enjoyed wearing them both during my run as well as during recovery.

There exist a plethora of research on the efficacy of compression garments.  I have taken pains in one of the graduate courses (Evidence-Based Medicine) I completed earlier this year to critique on the evidence and claims on some of these papers.  I shall not go into the details here. In summary, I find that there appears to be some benefits in the use of compression garments in some of the research conducted on runners and cyclists for muscle performance as well as during recovery period.

On the other hand, there are also papers that did not show any significant effect on muscle performance nor recovery.  Thus far, however, I have yet to come across an experiment that showed detrimental effects on the athlete using these compression garments.

So, whether it’s evidence based or merely psychological effects on performance or better recovery, I say it doesn’t hurt to go with your first hand experience. CEPs is certainly one of the best brands on the market.


Any question?


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SummerFast 10K Race Report

Stanley Park Seawall View

Hello Runners,

If you followed my blogs lately, you should’ve probably noticed I’ve had quite an eventful month.  I raced three events all over the town in the past five weeks. Finally, I am happy to say that I am feeling strong and healthy to race this last event at the Summer Fast 10K around the Stanley Park Sea Wall. I was probably at my 90% performance on race day.  Honestly, I didn’t train well enough coming into the race.  On most days, I was only able to complete partial of my speed workouts before succumbing to the summer heat and my own frailty. Nonetheless, I am glad that I was able to persevere in spite of all the shortcomings. Let’s get straight to race day.

 Race Day

After a full month of heat wave, the weather really cooled down this weekend owing to the abrupt wet weather.  The morning felt much cooler than most days.  I got to race site an hour before gun time.  I knew this race has had attracted many competitive runners in the past, so I was expecting to see some running celebrities in today’s field.  After bag check, I was ready to head out for a warm up.  I spotted some of the elite females including Catherine Watkins and Sabrina Wilkie, as well as some other runners.  They were also ready for a warm up run.  I kept my jacket on because the breeze was actually giving me some chills.  I began running and saw two tall lean guys running towards me.  Aha, I slowly recognized them as Dylan Wykes in full Mizuno race gear and Kelly Wiebe in Saucony outfit.  Coach D gave me a pound and asked how I was doing as we were jogging together.  We chatted for few more words and I wished those boys good luck before heading on my own way for some easy warm up.

I ran along the seawall and heard another group of runners chatting behind me.  That group included Sabrina and Catherine.  I was running very slowly but the group behind never really got past me.  I made a u-turn at about 10mins in and went back for another 10min before getting back to the start.  I did a few drills plus 100m strides to conclude the warm up.  There, I saw few more elites including Rachel Cliff (the eventual female winner), Nicholas Browne, Mark Bennett, and few others.


As I saw people slowly moving to the start line on the opposite side of the road, I was eager to get myself a good position at the start line.  I was warned by Coach D that the first mile or so would be quite twisty and narrow.  I definitely didn’t want to be bogged down by slower runners.  I found a good position at about fifth row from the start.  The elites were still doing strides with less than 5mins before the gun.


After a few announcement from the VFAC host, the runners dashed away as the gun went off.  I love running with a pack of fast runners.  The road was so narrow and twisty that I felt a river of people was pushing me ahead.  There was absolutely no way to stop the flow.  The first few mins went by very quickly as I was pushed to run at sub 3:30 pace, one that I knew I would get into trouble later on if I had continue to doing so.



Once the twist and turns were over after the 2KM mark, I finally found my own rhythm running at a much easier pace of about 3:40-3:50. We were now running along the seawall finally. This is definitely a turf that I am fond of and very familiar with.  I maintained a good pace of 3:45 by following a group of guys of similar speed.  In particular, I followed this runner, who dressed in complete black outfit from top to bottom including his calve compression, socks, and shoes.  I had no idea who he was at the time and didn’t have a chance to see his face until the race was finished.  This guy is definitely a machine. He kept a well steady pace of 3:44 throughout the entire race.  There were times I felt he was loosing me but I would make sure to stay close.  He sure helped me to pass many guys and girls.  At the end of the race, I met up with him while I was running a 15min cool down run.  I actually thanked him for ‘pacing’ me that is of course without his prior knowing.  We chatted as we ran back to the event.  I also found out that this amazing runner Philipe Edora is almost 10 years older than me.  He encouraged me that I still have so much more room to improve as I am still a fresh runner.  It was really great meeting such an inspiring runner.

Summerfast Vicar 1

At the end, I ranked at 32nd or 33rd.  I am not really sure because the timing team actually lost me in their system.  Good thing I had my Garmin that morning to prove my time Summer Fast Vicar 2to them.  There was an urge for me to run “naked” that morning…good thing I didn’t leave my Garmin home.  I guess anything is possible.

Despite all the ups and downs in the past two months, I am happy to hit a really good one today at the BC Championships Summer Fast 10K running a PB of  37:31min and ranking at top30s among a very competitive field.

Thank you for reading my post!  I’ll be training more diligently in the next little while before my next race at the Eastside 10K in early September!  Stay tuned!

Canada Day Rock at White Rock 5K

Canada Day

Few months ago, I promised my sponsors from the Skechers Canada Performance Division to run a race for the team on Canada Day at White Rock.  I wasn’t sure if I was going to do the 5 or 10K.  If you have read my previous blog at the Scotiabank Half, you’d have probably realized I was in a bit of hot water.  Considering I was still recovering from the half and I was still ill, I decided to run the shorter distance.

I have not been to White Rock for more than a decade.  I really had no idea about the course that I’d been running on Canada Day.


Having a glance at the course route above and from Google Map, it appeared to me that it was a nice out-back flat route along the beach.  Sounds nice and easy, eh!

I was actually quite eager to run the 10K race after realizing that the winner would receive a maple leaf shaped diamond pendent as 1st prize.  However, I was unfit to be competitive.  I stuck to my initial decision to race the 5k.

Race Day

I got up extra early for this 5K race as it’d take almost a good hour of highway driving from my home to race site.  When I reached White Rock, I slowly realized that this is a very hilly city.  I never remembered this place was like that.  All I could remembered was the beach, the restaurants, hard to find parking and the painted white rock.  I was still naive believing that the course was nice and flat along the beach similar to the seawall around Stanley Park in Vancouver.

masstartTryEvents is always great in setting up their events.  Everyone was dressed in red to celebrate the national day.  Sponsors’ booths were nicely organized.  I got changed in my car and took a slow jog to the start line to check out where I’d be running.  I just realized that I was not running along any seawall, promenade or flat route.  The route was along Marine Dr.  The hills were massive.  I was shocked in awe.  I didn’t expect to run hills that morning.  My body just whined to the point I wanted to shut it off and go for a nap.  I dragged myself for an easy 30min warm up.  I was completely unfamiliar to the neighbourhood.  I was running like a curious cat trespassing into the residential area.  It was interesting to run into the First Nation’s reserve area. I mean the experience was quite adventurous.  Anyhow, I did some easy run and some strides.

At the start line,  a First Nation lady led everyone to sing the national anthem in the First Nation language and then we all sang again in English.  There were few competitive runners I recognized in the crowd.  One of them was Chris Barth, who became the eventual 10K winner.

White RockWe did a quick count down and off we go.  The course was very steep rolling hills.  I went out feeling easy sticking with the first pack.  I knew I wouldn’t be able to run at that pace (~3:30) for too long when the hill comes, so I slowed down to about 3:45 and was eventually running on my own.  I finished the first steep hill and 2km at about sub 7:30min.  I made the turn around at half way point and realized there was really no one coming after me.  I eased up a little on my pace as I ran the next two hills.  I never really did look back.  It was great having so many spectators cheering for us.  I kept a nice steady pace on each hill without pushing hard too much. Viola, it was about less than 1KM to the finish line.  I kept a steady pace at about 3:45min/K and crossed the finish line with overall 1st place. Beautiful!

Thank you for reading my post.  I’ll be racing in 18 days at the Summerfast 10k.  Hopefully, I will be fully recovered by then and race a good time.  Cheers!

White Rock Race 1 (3)