Races

How to train for a half marathon without actually running…

Me and Deb

My running buddy Debbie and me post race. PBs all around, plus finally took down a friend’s half marathon record he’d been taunting us about for years… (hence the number 1s!)

I think I did everything you aren’t supposed to do before a 21.1k race. I hardly ran in the weeks leading up to it. I went on a 18 km hike the week before followed by a 19.22 km run the next day “just to see if I could do it.” I did strength training the day before ’cause I felt like it. I drank beer the night before the race, also ’cause I felt like it. I didn’t stretch. I didn’t eat my go-to pre-race breakfast. And I waited until the very last minute to register.

I pretty much untrained myself for the 2012 Goodlife Fitness Victoria half marathon, and had one of the best runs of my life, with a personal best to boot with a time of 1:41:33 (22nd in my AG out of 479 women!) (more…)

Super awesome exciting announcement!

Me finishing the Sooke Tri last year!

So I have a super awesome exciting announcement to share with all of you!

I was recently given the opportunity to combine everything I’m passionate about — writing, media relations, social media, triathlons and endurance sport events —  into a career!

As of Monday, I will be joining LifeSport Coaching as the Communications Coordinator for the Subaru Western Triathlon Series!

I’m super excited to finally be on the ‘other’ side of an endurance sport event and am looking forward to helping make this Tri Series the best yet. (more…)

My non-New Year’s resolutions post: Goal setting and my endurance sport plans for 2012

Me in Maui after finishing the Maui Oceanfront Half Marathon. Has nothing really to do with this post. I just thought it’d be more interesting than a stock photo of ‘Happy New Year’ text with squiggles and sparkles.

I don’t usually make New Year’s resolutions. Mainly because I’m always thinking about, planning and refining my goals — personal, fitness and otherwise — throughout the year. But January 1st is a good time to reflect on the highs and lows of the previous year and how they changed you, as well as look forward to and plan what you want to achieve in the year to come.

And by planning what you want to achieve, I don’t mean the lose-30-pounds-and-make-time-to-read-more-books type of plan (otherwise known as the ‘New Year’s Resolution’) — I mean actually writing down your goals, and considering what it is you actually need to do to reach them.

For me, I knew 2011 was going to be the year I completed my first triathlon. Not only did I have no idea what I was doing or where to even start, but also I didn’t even know how to swim. With my target goal in sight (meaning I signed up for the triathlon before I even had a bike or knew how to swim), I wrote down all of the steps I needed to take in order to get there — the first being to get a good triathlon coach, which helped take all the guesswork out of the rest of the steps! (more…)

Winter training: Leaving the comfort of the gym to get my trail shoes dirty

2011 Gunner Shaw XC Trail race – Photo by Jordan Mitchell

So I quit the gym.

I thought when I went in to cancel my membership (which I’ve had for seven years) it might go down like that episode of Friends when Ross and Chandler try to quit the gym… but it wasn’t that bad. They didn’t try to sell me on anything to get me to stay, but they did ask why. Despite the fact I rarely go (maybe once during the summer, and once a week in the winter), I would have totally kept my membership if I could have afforded it. But I can’t. It was either keep my membership or get the internet at my new place… and let’s face it, I can’t live without the internet! (more…)

Training update and race recap: 2011 Goodlife Fitness Victoria Marathon

Running the 2011 Goodlife Fitness Victoria marathon.

Really dropped the ball on posting a race recap after the marathon.

But no matter, there wasn’t a whole lot to report anyway. No crazy mishaps or injuries this time — I actually ended up having a really great race.

I stuck to my training plan, which was to go out slow until I found my legs, and expect a 1-2 minute positive split. I actually maintained a decent pace throughout the whole race, and only really struggled in the last 3 km.

Besides a sweet playlist to distract me, I also had my best friend join me on the course for a brief jog (she lasted one minute — granted she was carrying a coffee mug and wasn’t in running gear, but I was super excited she came out to watch and run with me), my coach Noa wait near kilometre 15 and 30 to check in on me, and an old coworker who filmed me running this same race for work last year find me on his bike and escort me for a couple of kms. (more…)

Training update: Sprint tri, epic trail runs, blister blunders and a second-place squash

Only in Metchosin would you get a second-place squash

So I meant be more consistent with my blog posts throughout August and September, but it was hard to find time to blog in between road trips to the Okanagan, camping, barbeques, and other more social activities that kept me outside and away from the computer.

Now that the typical west coast weather has returned to the island (sad face), I’ll probably get back to blogging weekly.

Since my first triathlon at the end of July, I’ve completed a few more races and blog-worthy runs and events, including another triathlon (a sprint distance at the Sooke International Triathlon during the first week of August), a local 5km race (where I came second in my age group and won a squash), and two epic trail runs with Hagen (one that I ran without proper trail shoes, also hungover from a wedding the night before; and one where I learned gels made of 100% agave do not agree with me), and a BC Cancer fundraiser initiative called “Van Isle Runners for Cancer”, which consisted of a calendar photoshoot (where I confirmed the fact that I take bad action shots; every race photo of me is horrible. I wouldn’t be surprised if they decide not to use my photos — Runner’s World cover model I am not). (more…)

Race Report: The Sri Chimoy Self Transcendence Triathlon (my first tri!)

Finishing up the 10 km run

“Looking good! Less than a kilometre to the finish line!” shouted a runner passing by me going the opposite way.

A year ago today, that other runner was me, cheering on the last of the Self Transcendence triathlon participants finishing up the run portion around Elk Lake.

I was out for a long run at Elk Lake, my 2010 summer Sunday ritual as I geared up for my first full marathon that fall, when I decided I would do this very same race next year. I was inspired by those triathletes, and thought the event looked like fun. So what if I couldn’t swim? I have a year to train. I can do this.

One year later, there I was, finishing up the last few kilometres of the 10 km run portion of an Olympic triathlon, with other runners cheering me on.

And it was a blast. (more…)

Triathlon countdown: 2011 HtO MS Thetis Lake swim

Finished! Thanks Kim for sending me these pictures!

One week from today I’ll no longer be ‘Bri, triathlete-in-training.’

I will have actually completed a triathlon and can call myself a triathlete! 

Well… maybe.

A few days ago I found out that Hamsterly Beach, where the swim portion of the Self Transcendence Triathlon will take place, was unsafe due to a high coliform count. Ugh.

I haven’t heard anything yet about what will happen… whether the organizers will move the swim portion to a different beach at Elk Lake, or? If anybody knows, please comment!

At least there are a few other triathlons I can do before the season ends. I think I’ll sign up for the sprint distance at the Subaru Sooke International Triathlon on August 7th, regardless. After all this training, I feel like I should do at least two this summer before marathon training starts! (more…)

Fort Rodd Hill Half Marathon: Harder than I remember…

We made it!

About 5 km into the 2011 Fort Rodd Hill Historic Half Marathon, I was seriously questioning my decision to run that day.

I started to come down with a cold the day before, and hadn’t run over 14 km since the BMO Half Marathon on May 1st. There was also that 90 km bike ride I participated in just seven days prior, so my legs weren’t feeling super fresh.

But the sun was shining and it was a beautiful day for a run.

Despite the fact my head was stuffed up, my throat felt raw and I couldn’t hear out of one ear, I headed down to the starting line on the beach near the Fisgard Lighthouse at Fort Rodd Hill.

Warming up for the race

I ran this event last year (see my race recap here) and remembered enjoying the run, even though the race was delayed and had to be rerouted due to an early morning fire that destroyed a nearby business.

I did not enjoy the run this year.

The race itself was well-organized, fun and friendly, but the route was tough. You’re pretty much running uphill for the first 7 km until you come to an extreme downhill that takes its toll on your joints… then you do it all again (the half marathon route is two loops of the same 11 km course).

My legs wanted to move at a half marathon pace, but my upper half was suffering: I could barely breathe, my head was pounding, I was coughing and sniffling and spitting (gross), and my stomach cramped up more with every step.

When I reached the downhill at Esquimalt Lagoon, I seriously considered dropping out.

Then I thought of Jess, a running friend who so badly wanted to complete the BMO Marathon this year that she ran injured and in pain for 21 miles before deciding to stop (read her marathon story here). I was only 10 km into a half and just felt uncomfortable, not injured… I needed to suck it up.

When I reached kilometre 17 at Esquimalt Lagoon on the second loop, my friend Mere caught up with me and we decided to pull each other along to the finish line. Mere and I run at about the same race pace on a good day, so I was glad I wasn’t the only one suffering on the course that day!

Getting our hard-earned participant medals!

We finished together in about 1:52:59, which is still a decent time, all things considered.

We were trying to pose for the finish line photo... didn't quite get my arms up in time

So what did I learn from this race?

Just because you probably could just get up and run a half marathon without much thought or preparation doesn’t mean you should.

Oh, and don’t tweet about your horrible race experience when your coach follows you on Twitter and didn’t put it on your triathlon training plan… sorry Noa! 😉

What a ride: The inaugural Ryder Hesjedal’s Tour de Victoria

A mass participation cycling event in Victoria lead by Tour de France 7th place finisher and local cycling phenom Ryder Hesjedal AND “Captain Canuck” Trevor Linden?

Sure, sign me up!

Why not fit that in amongst all of the half marathons and triathlon training I’ve been doing lately. Might as well do it, since I just bought a proper road bike and my work happened to be a founding sponsor. It’s hard to say no when you’re working at the event’s headquarters.

I have to admit, though, I was incredibly nervous about riding it. I signed up for the 90 km route, and only managed to do only one 75 km ride a week before the event. That felt surprisingly okay (no aches, pains or exhaustion), so I knew I could tackle the distance—it was just the pack riding and the weather I was worried about. (more…)

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