Final six charity races for 2014

During the months of October and November 2014, I ran six more races, consisting of two 10Ks and four half marathons.

The first of these, on the 5th of October, was the BlueShore Financial Spirit of the Shore Half Marathon, whose course encompassed both North Vancouver and West Vancouver. Although still part of the Greater Vancouver Regional District, the race location represented for me a step out of my comfort zone as I traveled across the Lion’s Gate Bridge to the starting point at the Park Royal Shopping Mall. This meant an extra early start in the morning. It was an interesting course, mostly traveling along the respective districts’ seawalls, but the start consisted of a very steep incline followed by a long downhill run along Taylor Way. The post-race food was delicious, a choice of two soups, cookies, fruit and GORP. We were running for two charities: BC Children’s Hospital Foundation and BC Children’s Hospital Foundation In terms of results, I came 215th out of 229 runners over all, 116th out of 129 females in total, and 18th out of 18 females in my 10-year age category with a chip time of 2:40:16.

20141005 Spirit of the shore half marathon

I then spent my Canadian Thanksgiving Day morning, eight days later (October 13th), running the 10K Granville Island Turkey Trot around False Creek. As it was a nicely flat and fast course, I came 579th out of 939 runners, 34th out of 77 females in my 10-year age group and had a Personal Best time of 1:07:36. The headlined charity for this race was the Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society.

The next challenge I had set myself was to try running two races on the same weekend, a 10K on Saturday and a half marathon on Sunday (better that way round than the longer race first, I thought).

The first race, on Saturday October 25th, the Great Trek 10K at the University of British Columbia, was a repeat for me from last year, so my aim was to see how much faster I could run it this year. It ended up not really being a fair comparison because they had changed the course. Instead of longer loop twice, it was changed to a smaller loop 4 times. However, I was far from bored, as I had feared, doing the same route four times in a row and, in spite of the rain, it was in actual fact an easier course and this way I was able to check my timings for each lap. The result was that, like last year, I came first in the “female public community” competitive category with a personal best time of 1:06:22. The pancake breakfast that followed was quite good and there were plenty of healthy fruit smoothies on offer as well. Although no charity was mentioned, I suspect the money raised went to the highly worthy UBC Recreation program.

great trek 20141025-1

On Sunday 26 October 2014, less than 24 hours after my 10K race at UBC, I ran in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Vancouver Half Marathon and finished the 21.1K in 2:37:57, a slower time than I had hoped, yet 3 minutes or so faster than the half marathon I ran on the North Shore three weeks ago. Starting out downtown and traveling through the eastern derelict district, back west along the scenic Burrard Inlet seawall and then finally along Beach Avenue and into Stanley Park, somewhat unexpected were all the hills in the second half of the race in Stanley Park. Instead of running along the Park’s flat seawall as I had expected, the course took us along the undulating road, which made it much more tiring. We were expecting rain for the race (just like we had had the day before), so it was nice that the sun came out instead. The main charity involved was the John Volken Academy, which helps change the lives of young people struggling with addiction. A much larger race in terms of participants, as it was part of a series of races of which the majority were located in the USA, there were numerous wave starts, and I ended up coming 5447th out of 6337 runners overall, 3369th out of 4076 females and 347th out of 426 females in my 5-year age category. They were rather stingy regarding post-race food, and, it seemed to me, wanted us off the property as soon as possible. However, I did line up for a free souvenir photo, though realized when I picked up the image that the background is not actually showing the Vancouver race but the one in Portland, Oregon!

20141026 rock'n'roll half marathon copy

My second half-marathon race, of three in a row over a period of five weeks, was the Fall Classic at UBC on Sunday 16 November 2014, for which I had a chip time of 2:29:45, just over 8 minutes faster than my chip time at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Vancouver half marathon three weeks ago. The weather was crisp, and bitingly cold but at least the sun was shining and the hot chili, coffee and sandwiches provided to us at the post race event were very much appreciated. I had run this race last year but only the 10K. The marathon was essentially two loops of the 10k course with a bit added on. There were plenty of volunteers out to cheer us on, which was very inspiring and at least one group of musicians.

Finally, on the last day of November 2014 (the 30th) I ran my 16th race of 2014, Try Events’ LLS Vancouver Historic half marathon with a course consisting of two times around Stanley Park. A close-to-freezing day (rare for Vancouver), my lungs did NOT appreciate the frigid air they were forced to process and this tired me considerably, to such an extent that I decided I was definitely not having any fun. Nor did my running shoes appreciate the black and white ice on the seawall, still there despite the hard work to clear it by the Parks Board. I ended up walking a lot of the last bit as I felt I had hit some kind of wall, though I think it was just my lungs telling me to slow down and not my legs. Yet, to my surprise, I still managed to finish the race 2 minutes and 26 seconds more quickly than I had done last year, with a not-great chip time of 2:52:15. For some reason, my watch had also stopped 20 minutes after the race start time (perhaps also due to the cold and condensation?), so I had no clue as to how I was doing time-wise. Moreover, no doubt due to the arctic-like temperature, there was a lack of support by people along the route, (they just weren’t there) so this was another discouraging factor to consider adding to the event’s feedback form. Then, when I finally did pass over the finish line and pick up my medal, I was extremely disappointed to find that there were no hot drinks on offer to warm us up, only tiny cups of cold water. However, there were bananas, oranges and whole wheat bagels, and the two-bite triple chocolate brownies were wickedly delicious!

The charity behind both of the latter two described races was the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

No more running for me for a while. I’m taking a break till the weather warms up again.

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