EASTSIDE 10K 2014 RACE REPORT

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After a month of training since my last event at the Summerfast 10K on July 19, I raced again this past weekend at the Eastside 10K by the Canada Running Series.   I have had some decent training in the past month with Coach Dylan helping me to speed up my pace.  I had high hopes of doing well at the Eastside 10k but the reality was I probably needed more training to be more solid and confident at the pace (~3:35-3:40) I wished to persist in throughout the entire race.  
This is the 2nd year of the event. It commenced in 2013 and its inaugural event had brought some special meanings to me.  First, it was my first race coming back as a young father. Second, I ran as a Skechers Sponsored Athlete, though not entirely official at the time. Third, it was an event that runs through the toughest DTES neighbourhoods including their supporting NGOs (e.g.Mission Possible, one that I have supported and collaborated with for many years).  
For 2014, the Eastside 10k sets a year milestone for my training with Coach Dylan Wykes, a father of 17months and a year working with Skechers.  All is great! 
Let’s find out how I did on the day…
RACE DAY
The weather was beautiful with clear skies and of about 12-15oC. I do find it a little warm but not going to complain too much here. I arrived at race site around 7:30am about an hour prior to start.  It was great to see many familiar faces already there. Trying my best to minimize too much conversations with others,  I quickly got changed, bag checked and got into my warm up routines. 
I realize this year’s elite listing wasn’t as exhaustive as last year’s.  I suspect few were succumbed to injuries and others might be at other events. Among the elite guys, there were Kelly Wiebe (the eventual winner andCR breaker @29:20) and Rob Watson as the favorites.  For the elite females, there were Natasha LaBeaud (the eventual female winner) and Lioudmila Kortchguina (last year’s winner). 
The RACE
 Eastside10K_20140913
I lined up at the 2nd row just behind the elite pack at about 15mins before gun time.  At this point, the race directors were having some fun with us runners by messing with our minds about when the gun would go off.  It was within a minute or less before everyone dashed off. 
Coach D advised me to run easy for the first two Ks and race against others in the remainder.  I went out easy and felt controlled at a good comfortable effort.  Given the first K was a quick decline, my pace (3:39/K) was slightly faster than I wanted to be.  I think within 800m into the race, there was a swarm of people went past me including a senior (80?) runner.  It certainly never feels good when so many have past me but I knew it was just the start. 
Once the initial rush was gone, most runners found themselves going up a slight incline before hitting a sharp short hill.  I kept at an even pace and effort going up those hills and began to weave through many of the runners.  My pace for 2nd K was at 3:46/K.
The race itself is not only of rolling hills but also quite twisty.  By 3rd KM, I was surprised to see few runners from the elite pack were walking.  I knew my best strategy to run fast was to latch onto a fast group. For the following few Ks I kept my pace by  moving up to different groups.  I actually ran pretty well up to the 8th K.  My splits were: 3:45@3rd K, 3:38@4th, 3:37@5th, 3:39@6th and 3:43@7th.
The course itself is sort of an outback.  The route coming back isn’t identical per se but was on a street parallel to the one in the first half.  All in all, the first half was like a mirror image of the second half.  In essence, however many downhill we did in the first, there goes the same number of up-hills to grind in the 2nd half.  There were also few ‘obstacles’ like rail tracks and pot holes that I had to look out for during few of the rougher stretches in the race. 
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By the 8th K I was probably in the top 20s, I found myself in a no-man’s land.  Without anyone or group to latch on, my mind goes weak.  My pace slipped to 3:48/k.    At the 9th K, I finally saw three runners about 400m in front of me.  I picked up my pace and hoping to catch up.  At this point, there was a guy (Alec Smecher) who turned out to be one of my running buddies cheering with a duck call standing outside of his house with his family in the Strathcona area.  I was too tired to wave back and knew I had to be focused grinding up the last two hills before crossing the finish line.  I caught up with the small group of guys.  Two of them were actually chatting. It wasn’t a conversation about the race but more like what they will be doing in the next week or so.  I tried my best to stay with these guys.  At the final stretch,  I found myself in some trouble to maintain a good pace while running up the sharp ramp back onto Dunsmuir Viaduct.  The guy (Cody Callon) picked up the pace to about 3:30/k and I probably made a dumb move by sticking with him.  I was able to keep that pace for may be 500m before started feeling to collapse.  I slowed down so much because my legs were heavy and my diaphragm was in pain.  
At this point, the two guys behind me had past me.  I felt terrible!  I cleared up my head and tried my best to run the last few hundred meters.  This was probably the only race I didn’t finish as strong as I could.  I simply struggled at the end.  I was so exhausted that I didn’t hear Coach D was cheering loud for me at the side.  I must say I am not completely thrilled with my time but after all it’s still a PB@ 37:29 ranking overall 31st.  It is almost 2 minute faster than last year and over 20th place ahead!
Thank you all for reading my post and special thanks to Skechers Canada Performance Division and Coach D for their invaluable support! 
medal14_lgVicar Eastside 10K 2014
 
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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,

Vicar

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

CEP BOX

 

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.

CEP GREEN

 

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.

Conclusion

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.

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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.

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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.

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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)

 

 

 

Scotiabank 2014 Half Marathon Race Report

The Scotia-bank Half is by far one of the most anticipated half marathons I have wanted to participate in the past two years.  There are few reasons. First, I did my first ever half marathon at this event  in 2011.  Second, I really enjoyed that first time experience and the course and the entire event is just amazing.  Third, I missed both 2012 and 2013 events while I was doing medical mission work aboard in Asia.  So, with all these reasons,  I really looked forward to partaking this year’s event.

After completing the Vancouver BMO Full Marathon in May, I was extremely thrilled with my results but my body took too much beating and punishment from all the pounding.  I wound up a semi wonky left foot that would act up in different areas each day.  I was out of training for almost three weeks.  As a result of that, I was left with only three weeks of good training, realistically.  I was back in a nice rhythm until my little guy caught some serious nasty virus from day care that later wiped out the entire family for more than a month or so.  So,  my training again was completely halted.  It was such a nasty bug that left me with fever, chills, pus coming out from eyes, coughs, and other cold symptoms.  Everyday, I thought about pulling the plug.   I thought I would get well but I never really did.  Even to this day as I am writing this post, my sore throat hasn’t completely subsided.  Yeah…it’s been almost 2 months.

I’d feel really pissed if I were to miss this event third year in a row.  There is also a possibility that I won’t be able to run it next year because God knows what would happen to my body after running the Boston Marathon.  So with all these in mind, I persevered.

Race Day

As usual I got up at 4ish about 3 hours prior to race time for my morning routine (reading, breakfast, bathroom, stretching, and bathroom again…).  The weather was perfect.  It was about 12-15 oC with clear skies and less than 5km/h of wind.  My body, on the other hand, wasn’t feeling so great.  I decided to dig out a jacket to keep myself warm before the race. Throughout the past winter, I had trained so well to endure the cold and began enjoy running anywhere from zero to about 5oC in sleeveless with a pair of arm warmers and shorts. Man…I was totally under the weather.

On my way to UBC, I saw another female participant (Jen Moroz) on the 530am bus. She turned out to be a Point Grey Club runner and also an elite athlete.  And later I found out, she happened to finish about a minute or so ahead of me that day.

scotia volunteerTo my surprise, the start line was relocated from the main road at Thunderbird Stadium on Wesbrook from 2011 to the inner street. The course certainly felt a little different compared to the first time I ran it two years ago.  I must say the changes were better.  There were fewer twists and turns running on the campus.  This certainly made the first few Ks a lot more “straight forward” and quicker.

After a good 20min walk from the bus loop, I got to the start line at about 6:15am,  I realized I was there quite early as event organizers just began to set up around the starting areas.  Volunteers were getting ready for the water/gatorade station and bag-check areas.  Once I got my bag checked, I went out for my warm up routine.

At this point, I was still feeling cold and chills.  Every second, in my mind, I wanted to go home.  The 20min warm up routine was tough to complete.  I was checking my watch hoping the run would finish sooner.  I wasn’t sure how I could run another 21.1K in the next 30mins or so.  I guess I’d complete it no matter what.  At the least, I’d get the finisher medal and hit the finish line with no regrets.

Coach D and I knew that I wouldn’t be running a PB today.  First, my body was recovering from the full marathon.  Second, I was ill.  The best advice Coach D told me was not to look at my watch and just run with a group going at a decent pace.

 

IScotiabank Start tossed my jacket to the sideline at about 10mins prior to the gun went off.  My head was spinning a little bit and I didn’t realize how much I have sweated beneath that thick wind-breaker.  I was pasty.  Immediately in front of me was the elite pack, I quickly spotted some familiar faces.  Ah…it was great to see Lanni Marchant in the crowd.  Another person I saw was Courtney Powell.  She would be a great pacer for me as I had run few times “with” her in previous races.  Frankly, I do not know her personally.   And so I did, I stuck with her from the start and all the way to the finish.  Throughout the race, I just fixated on a few runners and never really focused on my Garmin.  My pace was all over the place.  It was terrible.

At the end, Courtney beat me by less than 30s or so.  I ran a chip time at 1:24:59.  I was happy with my result considering the circumstance.  Also, Coach D won the race at a lightning time of 1:03:51. It was great to see him coming back strong and healthy!

Thanks for reading my post!  My next race will be the Canada Rock 5K at White Rock in about 10 days time.

 


SCOTIABANK

Part 2: What I Did Differently for My 3rd Marathon @VAN BMO 2014

 

BMO 2014

My 1st and 2nd Marathon Experience: 

 This is my third full marathon in my total 4 years of running career.  Yes, I did my first marathon in my second year after merely completing two half marathons.  Honestly, I bonked the first two quite badly.  The first one wasn’t too bad.  I did it at the Vancouver BMO marathon when they had completely changed to a new course.  Everything was going well (with a half split at approx. 1:31:00….I sort of fantasized may be I was running a sub-3 marathon for my debut) but by the time I got to about 32-35KM things started to go downhill.  I found myself running with a terrible cramp alternating between both legs.  I panicked and stopped.  I was hoping some stretching would stop the cramp but it did not.  There was a minute I thought of giving up but I persisted by half running and half limping to finish off the race.  It was a devastating experience.  My 1st marathon time was 3:12:22.

Nonetheless, I was quite adamant about qualifying for Boston.  I quickly searched for another marathon in the Fall of the same year.  Aha! I saw the Boundary Bay Full Marathon.  As it turned out, it was another complete nightmare.  In brief, I cramped up the minute I crossed the half way point and persisted running with cramps all over my legs for the remainder.  Surprisingly, I ended up running faster (10seconds) than my first one.  It was a PB at the time but no BQ! It certainly took me some hard lessons to realize the saying “hit the wall”.  For training wise, I don’t think I had done anything too different between my 1st and 2nd full.  The only thing I didn’t do in my 2nd one was stopping to stretch but just toughed it out all the way.  Good choice? In retrospective, I think so.  I am sure there are physiologists out there that would argue about the detrimental effects on the muscles by running through a cramp.

Please read my Vancouver BMO 2014 Full Marathon Race Report if you haven’t already.

I will highlight things I have done differently for this marathon below.

 

My 3rd Marathon Experience: 

Marathon Start

BMO volunteersLearning from my past experience of running in different organized races, I realize I do much better in the ones where there were more participants.  The atmosphere and the runners really motivated me to persist.  I hate to run in a  marathon where there was no spectators, no volunteers or any similar-pace runners.  It’s definitely tough on the mind to push through all those tough miles alone.

 

 

course_elevation_full_I also find that I perform much better if the course isn’t completely flat.  I find that rolling hills work pretty well for my body.  This sort of course allows all leg muscle groups to work quite evenly without stressing the same group over and over as in running on some flat courses.  The Vancouver BMO Marathon is definitely on the top of my list.  It’s rated by Forbes as the Top 10 Destination Marathon in North America.  It’s not cheap, though.  However, I must say it was very well organized with over 4000 volunteers throughout the course.  The bands were awesome as well.  This year was also a record breaking year of garnering the most full marathon participants.  The early bird entry I got was about $140 after all sorts of fees and taxes.  Ouch!

 

So…What did I do differently for my 3rd marathon?  

 

A Running Coach 

Coach DThe BIGGEST change is finding myself a coach.  Not just a coach but the BEST coach I could possibly find in Canada. Coach Dylan Wykes is awesome! If any of you readers out there are serious enough to get some coaching from Coach D, please don’t hesitate to contact me through iwillrun2011@gmail.com.   If you don’t know who Dylan Wykes is, you are probably not serious enough for some formal training just yet!!! Just Kidding =P!  So who is Dylan Wykes?  Well…Google his name? I am sure you will get a plethora of info/background about him.

Before meeting Coach D, I had never really received any formal  training.  I had always trained from those cookie-cutter internet training plans.  I am not saying they are bad but they are just not great to make good progress.  I met Coach D last year in the Fall.  He started me easy with some basic training to build a good foundation before moving onto some advanced stuffs.  He was really great at monitoring my progress and really helped me to reach many of my running goals.

 

 

A New Diet

 Because of Coach D, I have learned a whole new different perspective about diet.  I used to be a low/no carb guy.  No rice, no pasta, no bread, no sugar….and the list goes on.  I like to stay fit and by following a low/no carb diet really helped me to achieve  and maintain this goal.  Being a long distance runner, however, I did not realize that a low carb diet is a big no no.  A great book recommended to me by Coach D that I wish to recommend to you all readers out there is “The New Rules of Marathon and Half-Marathon Nutrition: A Cutting-Edge Plan to Fuel Your Body Beyond “the Wall”” by Matt Fitzgerald.  Basically, the book tells you that a long distance must eat good carbs to maintain optimal performance.  Of course, the book talks about a lot of other important things about diet and nutrition but I am not going to list them all here.  The book got me to start eating brown rice and other healthy carbs in my daily meals about 4 months prior to race day.

 

Gel Belt

 

Another thing I did differently this time was that I bought myself a Fuel Belt to carry all the gels with me.  As silly as I looked on race day, I liken myself to Rambo carrying all my ammos with me.  I had 7 gels on me.  The strategy really helped me to push through all the hard miles.

In summary, a good course with some awesome runners, spectators as well as volunteers, an awesome coach, proper diet/fuelling and training, all these helped me to reach my marathon goal.

I ran about 14mins faster than my 2nd marathon.

 

Again, please see my race report @ Vancouver BMO 2014 Full Marathon Race Report if you haven’t already.

 

Thanks for reading!

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Vancouver BMO Full Marathon 2014 Race Report (Part 1)

RUNVAN-PictureRace Day Morning 

The night before race day I decided to watch a movie that would put me to sleep.  The strategy worked and perhaps a little too well.  I passed out at about 1030pm. I’d normally require only 4-5hours of sleep, so I woke up at  3am, 330am, and finally really got up at 430am which was about 45mins earlier than my alarm would go off.  Anyhow, I was feeling great and a little nervous.  I had a good night sleep.  I did some reading while enjoying a heavy carb loaded breakfast that consisted of three whole-grain toasts with Nutella and peanut butter spread (Over 100g of carb), a cup of coffee with honey (29g of carb), two pieces of cookies (50 g of carb) and a banana (20g of carb).  I was fulfilled!  This was of course followed by my pre-race bathroom routine that would last about 30-45mins to ensure everything was emptied out.  A quick peek out the window, man oh man, it was raining cats and dogs.  I was kinda feeling sorry for the half marathoners who were already getting ready in their corrals for their race at 7am.

It was probably the most crowded morning on the sky train I had ever witnessed during such early hour.  I’d say everyone boarding the train was full marathon runners. What a great scene!  It was quite a “long” walk from the station to race site.  It probably took me a little over 20mins to get there.  The rain did not subside.  People were ducking under trees, under entrances of buildings, and I chose to lay low in the baseball player box.  It was muddy everywhere.  I took extra caution with every step I made.  I didn’t want to get my socks all soaked up before the race.  I slowly changed into my racing gear, put on a disposable poncho, and was ready to get out for an easy 10min warm up.

BMO Course MapRace

Start – 5km 

At about 15mins before the race, I slowly found my way into first corral behind the elite group.  It was quite packed and crowded. I swallowed up my first gel.  The rain at that time came down much harder than before.  Most runners were shivering a bit.  I kept my poncho on until the very last few minutes before tossing it.  I was just jumping up and down to get my muscle to stay awake. We sang the national anthem and  when it was 5mins before the race the volunteers lowered the rope. I slowly moved up close to the start line.  I was probably in the third row now.  Then there came the final count down…10, 9, 8…3,2,1.  People dashed out right off the bat.  I was immediately behind because so many had gone pass me.  As discussed with Coach D, I kept my pace anywhere between 4min/k and 4:30min/k to stay conservative initially because I knew it would be a long grind.   The first 5km were all a slight incline.

5-10KM

I was feeling quite comfortable running at 4:10-15min/K during this time.  This stretch was a slight decline.  As I passed one of the most busiest intersection (West 49th Ave and Granville St.), I heard the traffic ladies were saying something like “We can’t let the cars hold up like this for too long, we gotta stop these runners.”   I was thinking “What the Heck” were they talking about?  How ridiculous!  I made my move and picked up the pace to get through the intersection.  The traffic light probably turned red after I had passed.  A group of four runners ran up to my side and were saying how ridiculous it was for those traffic ladies to be stopping runners in the middle of a marathon.  I mean, come on, at that pace we were going I am sure everyone was aiming for Boston.  It would have cost at least 30s or even up to a minute if any had stopped there.  Anyhow, I knew my first 5KM would come up soon, so I took out my first gel and got ready for water station.  I checked my split at 5km and it looked great at under 21:10.  I was at a good pace!

6-10KM

This stretch was going to be one of the toughest part of the entire run.  Camosun St is a nasty hill.  It was probably over 1km of climb.  I drafted behind a tall guy for most of the hill.  I didn’t dare to look at my pace on my Garmin.  I just felt this guy was going quick enough, so I figure I would stick with him.  It was funny that at about 3/4 of the hill he turned back and kinda smiled at me saying, “Good draft, eh?”.  I said, “Yeah, it’s great. Thanks.”  I mean being a short guy like myself standing at 5’6 and the guy at over 6 is definitely a good draft!  I’d only find out later on Garmin Connect that I did most of the hill at 4:25min/K.  I am glad I didn’t check my watch at the time; otherwise, I’d have gotten antsy and started to push.

10-15km

Man oh Man, my legs were tired after climbing that tough hill.  The road didn’t get any easier.  It was rolling hills inside Imperial Drive.  Once out of the forest, the highway heading into UBC wasn’t easy either.  It was a lengthy gradual incline.  I saw so many runners (probably like two or three) that had to run into the forest to find relief.  It was funny but not for long.  I started finding myself in trouble as well.  I was feeling my left calve was twitching a bit.  It was the same feeling that I had in my last two marathons.  Oh man, I was scared.  It was only 15K in.  All the tough trainings in the past few months and drastic change in diets, I mean how could this be happening to me?!?  I changed my gait and stride a little bit and really hoped that the feeling would subside.  Thank God, it did go away after 1-2KM.

15-20KM

Nothing too interesting happened at this stretch.  At this point, the runners were quite spread out.  The best part coming up at the end of 20K was the long steep hill down to Spanish banks.  So many runners just sprinted down it.  I took it easy and actually rested a bit by running at around a 4:15min/K pace.  I just didn’t want to add on any more pounding on my legs. I mean I wasn’t even half way yet.

20-25KM

I took another gel at half way.  I probably ran too easy while coming down the long hill.  My pace had slowed down to about 4:20-4:25min/K.  I thought I was going fast as the other runners around seemed to be running quite hard.  I sped up a little until I see my pace was under 4:15min/K again.  I didn’t like this stretch. I have trained here too many times.  Today I didn’t get lucky as this part of the road is often windy.  Today, however, I was running against the wind.  On some good days, I would run effortlessly at a sub 6min/mile pace if the wind was with me.  Nope, not today!  I sucked it up and ran faster.  Another nasty part along this stretch was to climb up that short but extremely sharp hill onto 4th ave.  There was absolutely no runners in front of me.  It was tough on the mind.  I ran hard up the hill and knew it would be a breeze running down on 4th.  I felt great once I reached the top of the hill and began cruising along 4th ave.  The crowd on the corner of 4th and Alma was big and loud so that was definitely a great motivator for me to carry on.

25-30KM

I finally latched onto two runners.  The first dude really amazed me by the way he dressed. There was no way that he looked like a marathoner.  I mean he was wearing a long baggy Adidas sweat pants with the zippers wide opened along his ankles, he had a white t-shirt on just like the ones I used to wear in PE class in high school and he was holding a gigantic bottle probably one would use for a hiking trip.  I guess I should never judge a runner by his/her appearance.  He was going at a 4:08min/K pace at that time. The other guy looked much younger than the three of us.  I later found out he is still in his late 20’s.  We began running side by side and started some short conversations.  There were something wrong with my ears probably some pressured built up so I didn’t quite hear what they were saying.  I just kept giving a thumb up to them when it seemed all they needed were some acknowledgment.  My left thigh started to act up again and I was about to pass through Kits beach.  In my mind, I was telling myself…not now!  There was a huge crowd along Kits Beach cheering for us.  The crowd was absolutely fanatic.  It would be extremely bad for me to stop and start cramping there.  I sped up and kept my pace at 4:05min/K.  The younger guy kept pace with me, while the other dude slowly disappeared.

30-35km

The scary part here was the Burrard bridge.  I was actually feeling good running with this young fellow.  I even had the energy to make some funny faces to the photographers stationed at the top of the bridge. People say, including Coach D, that the half way point for a full marathon really is after the 32KM mark.  I totally concur with that.  The last little stretch was all flat around the seawall in Stanley Park.  I have trained  so many times here for my weekend long runs.  It was absolutely a mind game.  I was glad this young guy (later found out his name is Owen) was running with me.  We were good teammates.  We paced each other through most of the park.  I ran hard at almost 10s faster than race pace.

35-40KM

I knew I couldn’t slow down because my left thigh would act up any minute.  I could see the convention centre (where the finish line would be) was close in sight.  I would only continue to push through the last 7km or so.  I took in my last gel at 36KM mark and also saw the elite Kenyan female had to stop there and started to walk.  In fact, I saw so many runners were walking at that point.  I was one of them couple years ago but thank God not today!  I think I also lost Owen somewhere.  I later found out he finished about a minute slower than I did but he sure did BQ that day!

40-42.2KM

2014-05-07 15.17.57After I passed a big group of runners at about 39KM,  I continued to excel through the very last stretch of the marathon.  I saw a female runner in front of me.  I think she was doing it for her dad as she wrote something like “For you Dad” on her lower back.  My eyes just fixated on those words as I continue to follow her.  The last bit was a little twisty.  Once past the last turn, for some reason I felt I was almost there for the finish line and so I sprinted.  I ran so fast and realized that I just past the 41km mark.  I was like darn, crap…I still got another K to go.  Once I got to the last marker, I was like all out.  I ran the last two KM at sub 4pace and was just ready to yell at the finish line.  I could see the timer from afar.  It was like 2:56:XX and I was probably about less than a 1km away.  I ran like crazy going that slight uphill.  I think I probably roared a few times thinking I would spend the last little bit of juice in me.  At that point, I was very confident to meet my goal that day.  I finished nice and strong with my hands raised up high while crossing the finish line.  It was 2:58:06.  Thank God!  PB! BQ!  Boston here I come in 2015!

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Coach Dylan Wykes for all the awesome training/coaching, Skechers Canada Performance Division for their sponsorship and the incredible GoRun Ride 3, thank God for protecting throughout training and on race day!

Please continue to read part 2 (What I did differently for this marathon) and part 3 (Skechers Go Run Ride 3).   

Cheers,

Vicar

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SKECHERS GO MEB SPEED 2 REVIEW

2014-01-20 16.41.39 wpid-2014-02-16-10.19.19.jpg.jpeg Hot Chocolate Run 10.4K

 

 

 

 

 

Hello All,

It’s been awhile since I wrote a shoe review.  I wish to write a comprehensive one for the Go Meb Speed 2 after I have had some good mileage on them to provide a fair one.  In total, I did a 5k (Vancouver Chilly Chase), Half Marathon (Vancouver First Half), and a 10.4KM (Vancouver Hot Chocolate Race), as well as many long weekend runs.  I believe I have had about 200K on them now.  Before reading about my experience , let’s take a quick look at some manufacture data as listed below.

Details:

  • The signature shoe of top US Marathon runner Meb Keflezghi
  • High performance marathon racing design
  • Dupont Hytrel™ stability plate in midsole
  • Extremely responsive ride
  • Resalyte™ cushioned midsole
  • M-Strike midfoot strike design
  • 4mm heel drop
  • Special New York City Marathon color edition

Construction:

  • Mesh fabric and synthetic upper
  • Printed mesh pattern with contrast detail
  • TPU toe cap and heel overlay
  • Weight: 6.8 oz in a men’s size 9

Comparison with Go Meb Speed 1 

I received the Speed 1 in Fall, 2013.  I liken the ride on them to be very raw.  It was sort of like driving a sport car without any added-on luxury accessories.  It was definitely not easy to adapt to the stiffness initially.  However, once I got used to the feel I slowly got attached to them and really enjoyed the responsiveness from them.  I have really put on some good mileage (over 600K) on the Speed 1.

I received the Speed 2 in early 2014 from the courtesy of Skechers Canada Performance Division.  The moment I took them out of the box I immediately noticed some obvious differences between the 1st and 2nd version.  First, I love the design and colour on the 2nd one.  The shoes simply look sleek and beautiful.  The colors are great!  The color I received for my first version was a little too bright and colourful.

The second thing I noticed was the weight difference.  The first version was much heavier than the second.  To be objective, there is actually only a 0.7oz difference between the two.  However, my experience somehow continues to tell me that the 2nd one feels so much lighter.

Thirdly, the 2nd version is much thinner and sleeker in design.  It certainly looked more narrower on the toe box; however, I felt both shoes were about the same.  I do have a slightly wider toe box so I wouldn’t consider either of these shoes to be too narrow.  They are definitely leaning towards the narrow side when compared to the GoRun Ride.  Another thing I notice is the change of material for the 2nd version.  The upper lip is much thinner and the mesh that was used on the 1st version was completely replaced by a much durable material on the 2nd version.  The material used for the sole appears to be different too.  The first one had a stiffer kind of foam, whereas the 2nd version used a more flexible, snappier foam material.  The heel-toe differential remains to be 4mm for both versions.

My Experience with the Go Meb Speed 2

I came in 2nd place overall at the Vancouver Chilly Chase 5K and 1st overall in the inaugural Vancouver Hot Chocolate 10.4 K Race.  As you can see in the picture, I was oddly standing alone on the podium.  It was my bad utterly as I had missed the actual award ceremony.  Coach D had me to do a 27K run that morning so the only way to make it was to run a 6KM in the morning before the race, 10.4KM for the race, and immediately after another 11KM.  My apologies to Try Event for missing the award ceremony twice in a row.  I promise to be up there next time *on time* if I ever got luck again!

I have put on the Go Meb Speed 2 in all three races ranging from 5K to a half marathon.  The Go Meb Speed 2 really helped me to achieve great results!  I ran few of my splits for the 5K race under 3:30min/K and I was able to maintain an average of sub 4k/min for my half marathon.  The shoes do feel very light and snug but extremely comfortable. I have not had any blisters or chaffing problems because of the shoes. Though the shoes are slightly lighter than the first version, surprisingly, I find them to be much more supportive and yet remaining to be very responsive.  If I may, I liken the shoes to the New Balance 1600.  The price difference between the two, however, is huge if bought locally in Vancouver.  Skechers is somewhere around $130 and NB at close to $190, both estimated at after tax.  In my opinion, Skechers is definitely the biggest bang on the buck!

Conclusion:

The Go Meb Speed 2, in my humble opinion, is by far the best racing flats I have tried thus far.  They are light, responsive, comfortable, sturdy, supportive and awesome in design.  I’d happily use them for any races ranging from a 5k up to a half marathon.  I’m by no means any where close to our great Meb who wore it at the New York Marathon.  If you ask, the GoRun Ride 3 are my full marathon shoes!  In fact, as I am writing this article, I am getting prepared for my Vancouver BMO full marathon the following morning!  Perhaps, I will write a race report on it as well as another shoe review on the GoRun Ride 3.

Cheers,

Vicar

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