Race Report – Hypothermic Half and Training Update

Late last month Nicola ran a half marathon “race” as part of our marathon training for Ottawa. Since the training is a long haul and sometimes you need a reward in the middle we decided to run the Hypothermic half in Saint John. We wanted a bit of swag, a medal and a night out of town…even though SJ is only an hour away.

We lucked out in a big way as the race day had light winds and was pretty mild for the end of February. Of the two hypothermic half marathons in New Brunswick held every year, SJ always has better weather. Of course you pay for it with the difficulty of the course as SJ is very hilly.

The Race

Now, we were not in any type of a hurry so when everyone else left us in the dust we were content to just run our slow pace and enjoy the day. We, however, were not in the mindset to run all of the hills; call it fatigue, call it rebellion, call it denial…whatever….we were not ready so we ended up walking a lot of the hills.

At the second water station we met a couple of our very good friends, Rod and Jo, shared a few laughs, hugs then we were on our way again. We were both wishing that we could have met them at every station as the burst of energy was awesome.

 

In the end we finished with a very slow time but honestly, based on our training, we were right where we should have been; the run just felt like a lot more work than it should have been. We did manage to arrive a few short minutes after the brunch buffet had started so we didn’t have to wait around to get fed, always a bonus to me.

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I think the photo of us after the race tell a story, we were both tired, physically but also mentally, which would be a theme for the next month up to now.

 

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Training

Our training since the half marathon has been very spotty. Both of us caught the bug going around and I got quite sick for a week, add this to a work schedule which included some weekends and we have postponed a few weekends of running. In addition, our runs during the week have also suffered. I am hopeful that as it gets warmer in combination with the later sunsets that we will get more of our intermediate runs in. Right now we are both sick once again, having caught the “boomerang” bug as it seems like a lot of people are getting sick with the same symptoms twice this winter. So, this weekend, which was supposed to be 30km, has been moved to next weekend. I managed to get 27km in last weekend and Nicola 22km, so we are not far off, it just sometimes feels like we are missing too many long runs.

Which is why I schedule us for a 16 week training plan. First, we are both masters runners, so we need more time to recover, second, the winter is a hard time to train, runs get missed, third, illness can pop in and derail your plans so it’s best to put buffers into your plan. Some may argue that such a long training cycle causes the fatigue to which I would say to each their own. This cycle has been fraught with numerous speed bumps and the longer cycle has allowed us to take breaks when we have needed them. I am not worried as it is the end of March and we will be running 30km, so with almost 2 months before our race we are in good shape.

I do hope that your training has been going along smoothly and if it hasn’t that you aren’t panicking about where you are or where you need to be, stay the course and follow your training and if you must deviate, make smart decisions.

Chris

One Foot in Front of the Other

Running Year In Review – 2016

Well 2016, a lot of people are happy that you are gone. I am relatively pleased with how my running year unfolded.

Numbers

I’m not always a big fan of numbers as I prefer quality over quantity so the fact that I logged ~900 km of running this year makes me happy. Truth be told it’s probably closer to 1000 due to unlogged or dropped runs but again I’m not too concerned….the bottom line for me is that I still ran a lot and was INJURY FREE! That last point is always my biggest accomplishment every year, if I can run consistently without injury, I know that I am doing right by my body.

I ran a total of 9 races last year; my 4th marathon, 3 half marathons, a 16km, 13km, two 5km races and a 4km race. 

Lorneville

In April I ran the 4th annual Lorneville Loop, a tough, hilly, 13km course which gets your blood and legs pumping for the new racing year. 

I wasn’t pumping much however as I had a horrible race, which more or less mirrored my winter of running…I just wasn’t feeling energetic and felt off all winter long. As a result I was about 15 minutes off of my time from the year before. Add in the fact that there was a howling gale and the race didn’t do much for my confidence.

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YFC Runway Run

In May we ran the 2nd YFC Airport run to benefit Mental Health in New Brunswick and Canada. The course is run on the runways of the local airport which is flat and fast. Unlike last year when it was cold, this year was warm with no wind. I had a much better race this time around and as always got to run with a lot of my friends for a great cause.

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Shipyard Half

In May I ran a new race for me, the Shipyard Half Marathon in Maine. My partner and I were looking for new races and had initially looked at the Bay of Fundy race in June but the course details had not yet been published when we were planning our calendar, so we registered for this race instead. Funnily enough shortly thereafter the course was published for the Fundy race so we registered for that one too! 

This race was held in Kennebunk/Kennebunkport Maine, south of Portland. As Nicola and I both enjoy craft beer we decided to run this race and then sample a few beers from the area as Portland is a hot spot for craft beer.

The race was warm for May in Maine, with little wind, even though we ran by the coast. The views were spectacular and support of the course was also very good. Nicola had a bout of vertigo sadly which knocked some wind out of our sails but overall we would rate this run as excellent and recommend it to anyone looking for a new, close-by destination race.

 

Bay of Fundy

Towards the end of June we ran the half marathon on Campbello Island in New Brunswick. This race begins in Canada and ends in Maine, which makes it somewhat unique. The island and the town really get behind this race which shows in the volunteers with their enthusiasm and knowledge. I wouldn’t say the on-course support as far as cheering was concerned was excellent but overall I thought it was a well-run race. 

And brother, let me tell you, it is hilly!!

This race has been, so far, the hilliest race that I have run over the last 5-6 years. It was, once again, pretty warm for June and there wasn’t much wind. However, the views were amazing and when you finally finished you knew that you had accomplished something. This was one of those courses where you thought to yourself,

“this must be the last hill!!”

When, of course, it wasn’t.

The finish line area and the food were both excellent, the medals were hand made and are different every year, normally in the shape of a sea animal; this past year it was a Starfish. It was a lot of fun running through both border stations without having to show your passport too!

A funny side story to this race..we almost missed it.

Due to the proximity to the USA, our phones had slipped, quietly, onto Eastern time. So when our alarms went off we thought that we had more time that we actually had! Luckily Nicola ran into some friends in the campground who alerted us to our error and we managed to make the start…sadly without much breakfast.

Travel and running should be an adventure, right?

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Canada Day 10 Miler

About a week later we travelled to Grand Bay to run the Canada Day 10 miler on Canada Day. Maybe it was the fact that we had run a tough race the week before or that the race was pretty bare bones but neither of us really enjoyed the race. There weren’t any people cheering on the streets and other support, i.e.. water stations didn’t seem to be adequate. I can safely say that we won’t run this race again the future.

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Beer Run 4km

Over the long weekend in August Nicola and I ran the 4km distance at the Fredericton beer run. Though it’s not a serious run for us, we tried to treat it as a speed workout. Nicola, in fine fashion, somehow managed to step on a rock and twist her knee a little. If she hadn’t, she might have finished ahead of me, she can really scoot!

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Marathon By The Sea Half

This may have been my best race of the year. Nicola and I were treating it as a training run for our fall marathon and were running a prescribed pace which I had no trouble maintaining. This course is also fairly hilly but I never really struggled. It was a cooler, drizzly day which I’m sure really helped moderate the summer heat. This race had paired earlier in the year with the Bay of Fundy race to offer a challenge medal, which ended up being very nice.

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Terry Fox Run

In September we met our friend Ahmet and ran the Terry Fox run to benefit his cause. Nicola and I had already run 15km on this day, then turned around and ran 5km with our friend on what was definitely an emotional day.

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Run For The Cure

This was my first year running the Run for The Cure to support Breast Cancer. It was an easy run/walk around Halifax. I had a lot of fun on this day and could really feel the emotion of the women present.

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Prince Edward Island Marathon

My last race of the year was my 4th marathon, the PEI marathon. A short few hours drive away on the island of PEI, Nicola and I tackled our latest marathon. The weather was almost ideal and we were in good spirits because we had trained well, hard and smart. We stayed at the Great George hotel which is always a lovely place, however their pillows caused us no end of grief and played a bit of havoc with our sleep. Note: bring your own pillows to away races.

The course was a point to point race which required a 45 minute bus ride to the start line which turned out to be enchanting due to the moon setting on one side of us and the sun rising on the other. We started in Prince Edward Island national park then ran back towards the capital city, Charlottetown.

Things started out well, we felt good and were running with one of our good friends, Rod, who was taking part in the marathon relay. We then ran with Joanna, Rod’s better half for a few more km allowing for the first part of the race seemed to float by! 

At this time the wind picked up a bit and a few of the rolling hills made their appearance, honestly they were a bit inhibiting but compared to the hill work we put in during the summer, they weren’t an issue.

At about the half way mark we turned onto a crushed gravel trail and started a lengthly, 12-14km slow descent towards the city area. My left leg started to give me problems near 21km and only grew increasingly tight on the trail but I managed to maintain our pace.

At about 32km Nicola had a bout of vertigo, she dropped to her knees for a short period then popped back up and we continued. Despite this we were still on pace for a personal best for Nicola.

We finally exited the trail and started on the road towards the downtown core. In front of us were 3-4 large hills then a downhill finish. We ran the first without any problem but walked portions of the others and for portions of the road between the hills. During this time Nicola and I didn’t communicate well, each was walking to give each other a bit of a rest when neither of us was really wanting or needing one!!

At the finish we discovered that we had come in slightly over a PB for Nicola and she was devastated! After a while, and a few pints Nicola was feeling better and we both agreed that we had trained and had run a solid marathon AND that we needed to communicate better, no guessing and no assumptions about each others physical/mental state was to be tolerated from now on.

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Due to my work schedule I didn’t get to run any other races after the marathon but I am satisfied as to how it all progressed, especially considering how I felt in April.

What’s up for 2017? All will be revealed in a future post but let’s just say that marathon #5 and Canada’s 150th birthday will be involved.

Thanks for Reading

One Foot in Front of the Other

Chris

 

Race Report – Marathon #4

Recently I ran marathon #4 at the Prince Edward Island marathon on the lovely island of PEI. The course was a point-to-point variety with the marathoners starting about a 30-40 minute drive from downtown Charlottetown and running their way back.

We were bused out to the start on a truly beautiful morning; I was running my first marathon with my love Nicola and our good friend Rod was running the first leg of a relay marathon. At one point we had the sun rising on one side of the bus with the hunters moon setting on the other; incredibly beautiful.

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Near the Start

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Brackley Beach

It was a bit chilly at the beginning of the race with temperatures near zero degrees celsius however we are Canadians who also knew that we would warm up quickly upon running.

The first 3-4km of the race were run next to the Gulf of St. Lawrence on one side with an inland water body on the other…it was pancake flat which helped us ease into the race and find our pace. We turned more inland at this point but were still following the inland water body and gawking at a few “shacks” that I’m sure cost more than I could predict. We were still running with Rod at this time which seemed to make the km’s go quickly by. We were also running at one point with a man from Manitoba named Doug who was running his 51st or 52nd marathon; he wasn’t sure actually!

At around 6km Rod finished his leg then we ran with his lovely better half, Joanna. Nicola and Jo promptly scooted out ahead and chatted which was fine because I was enjoying the course and the colours. Sadly after a further 5-6km we bid Jo a goodbye and ran on our own. I must admit that I enjoyed having a relay as part of this race, not only did we get to run with our friends but each exchange point had very excited, energized participants and friends alike cheering them on.

Having left the water vistas earlier we were now running through rolling farmland vistas plus an increase in the wind. Now it wasn’t “a right gale” by any stretch of the imagination but it was gusty and right into our faces; from about 16-17km until 21km we ran in to the wind and I certainly noticed a difference in our running during this time.

My right calf began to bother me during this time as well, it wasn’t near bad enough to slow me down but I was of course concerned about later and my stride.

At this time we turned and ran on a multi-use trail of crushed gravel that wound its way  for 13km through farmland, occasionally an orange pumpkin field and lots of trees. This part of the run is actually a gradual downhill and we were keeping our desired pace until about 32km when Nicola had a bout of vertigo that brought her to her knees within a few steps. The awesome fighter that she is we only stopped for a short period and were back running again. Unfortunately between this and my leg, which had become progressively worse began to plant a bit of doubt in our minds.

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Trail Section

At 34km we exited the trail on the roads, only 8km left and it was on asphalt!

Nicola began to cry, I was a bit confused. Was she hurt, angry, frustrated? No she was happy to be off of the trail and have only 8 km left. At this point we were at about 3:50:00 or so and even with a slow 8km we would be under Nicola’s time from Vancouver, which was a mark she wanted to break badly.

I wasn’t aware of how badly unfortunately because we really didn’t talk about pushing through pain or difficulty to achieve this PB. As a runner i should have known better and I should have both pushed myself but also pushed Nicola on a bit more because we started having more unplanned walking breaks. Nicola had assumed that we were well under the PB time, which we were initially, but once we started walking, it tightened considerably. I mistakenly assumed that we were walking because of vertigo or my leg or that we were tired but we had both assumed that each was needing the walking breaks when it turned out we were both prepared to push through!

D’oh!!

I love that each of us was concerned about each others condition but if we had communicated our desires and condition better, we could have skipped a number of the walking breaks.

Nicola had also discovered late in our training cycle that her watch didn’t have the battery power to last for the whole race, thus after about 32-34km she had no idea of our time or pace and was relying on me to keep us on point as it were. This is where I tripped up as i didn’t keep informing her of our progress. If i had continued to alert her on how much time we were losing we would probably would have also skipped a few of the walk breaks.

After series of hills we roared our way to finish, with Nicola dragging me, sprinting, to the finish.

Curses! We were over Nicola’s time from Vancouver and she hadn’t realized our time until we were within sight of the clock.

As we crossed the line Nicola was completely upset, confused, crying, mad and all of the other things that competitors would be. It was a shock for her to see that we would not set a new PB after a great training cycle. I was happy to have finished and was very happy that I had maintained my energy level through the marathon for the first time; each of my previous 3 had seen me hit the wall….but I was despondent that my love was so unhappy and disappointed.

I knew her mindset well because I had felt the same way after Chicago and she reminded me of that fact during our discussions afterward.

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Finisher Medal

We walked to the community centre to get a massage…well I hobbled as my calf and glute on the right side had become a solid mess then met a slew of people for food and beers….mmmm beers.

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Massage…YAY!

We stayed the night in Charlottetown, had a great meal, then drove back to the beach where we had started the next day and took a nice walk no the sand…beaches are great for recovery in case you didn’t know. We even stopped at Vesey’s seeds and picked up a few things for our garden.

After coming home on Monday we had dinner and talked about the race, what went right and what went wrong. Physically we were both good aside from my leg and her head….these were known quantities. We talked honestly about out lack of communication during the run and vowed to never let it happen again. We also agreed that we were being pretty hard on ourselves seeing that we had both just finished running a marathon…together! This has and will always be our main goal, when you can run together with the person you love, especially over a long distance, and finish, then you are some of the luckiest types of runners!!

For me, my races are over for the year, I was wanting, perhaps, to run one or two shorter distances but my schedule has conflicts. However, in the new year training will start again for the Ottawa marathon at the end of May. We will be running it together with our afore mentioned friends Rod and Jo, and we are extremely excited.

Chris

Running Year in Review

I approached 2015 with less goals in mind and an eye on having more fun running and to not have to race every race. I had run a marathon during the last three years and to be honest I was tired and not interested n going through the training once again. Thus I planned on obtaining a new PB in the half distance and then have more fun, i.e.. run more smaller races with friends regardless as to whether there was any prize or reward or bling aside from the experience.

I also decided that I would cut my distance down, I’ve been lucky that I’ve not yet sustained a serious injury while running but since I hit 45 this year I know that taking care of yourself is more important than ever. I have been interested in the training plan where you run 3 times a week and cross train 1-2 of the other days. One of those runs is speed work, one other tempo work then a long run. I followed this plan for the first half of the year while training for my events and I liked the results so I will continue to follow it. I will modify the long run somewhat to run it at a faster pace than suggested by the plan.

2015

The big running event for me this year was helping and then watching my girlfriend Nicola run her first marathon in Vancouver. We chose Vancouver due to the exotic locale, the presence of her family and the likelihood of good weather for the run. Weather played a huge part of her training for the full and my training for the half as we experienced one of the worst winters in recent memory; lot of snow, lots of cold and ice, lots of wind. To add to the misery, Nicola developed a very, very sore shoulder and neck just before the holidays so most of her training cycle was through  pain. Thankfully the pain subsided near the end and she powered through her long runs and happily she clobbered her marathon in Vancouver. She was smiling and happy when she crossed the line which made me very, very proud.

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Winter Training Blows!!!

Just a wee bit proud

Proud First Time Marathoner!

Before running the half in Vancouver I ran a race in easy April in Lorneville, it’s a hilly course of 13km that gives you a nice indication of your fitness. I nailed it and PB’d by 4 minutes!

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Lorneville Loop

I was happy going into Vancouver and was running with Stephanie who was also shooting for a PB but I wasn’t in a very good state of mind when we started the race however due to organizational issues, according to me, which threw me off, causing me to wall out at 14km…I finished in 2:05 and change but was 6 minutes off of my PB. Happily Stephanie ran a PB, so there was lots to be happy and proud about!

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Vancouver Half

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Steph, Nicola and I with John Stanton in Vancouver

After a week of relaxation I restarted my training again as we had decided to run Jonny Miles in late June in New Glasgow. This race had a very good reputation and we were eager to run it for the first time. Nicola and I were also running it with our great friends Rod and Joanna. I was a bit underwhelmed by the race to be honest, especially for a 40th edition. I did manage to run a PB here by about 2 minutes but I still had problems after 16km so I really, really, really need to work on my fuelling.

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Me, Nicola, Joanna, Paul and Rod in New Glasgow

Through July and August I maintained a relatively good level of fitness as we ran a bunch of smaller races in New Brunswick, the highlight coming when I won the 10km race on Grand Manan Island in July! I wasn’t super speedy, with a wining time around 52 minutes, but I pulled it out when it counted. This was my first ever race win. I also missed one scheduled fun run because I drank too much fine ale the evening before 🙂 but instead of lamenting the DNS, I have more fun laughing at my idiocy 🙂

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Joanna, Rod, Nicola and I in Grand Manan

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First Place!

In September I returned to shift work which really hurt my running as finding time to run between shifts is very hard and the runs aren’t of the best quality. Also, for the second year in a row, I was on the organizing committee of the Fall Classic race in Fredericton. Our race had some issues this year but thankfully there weren’t too many complaints. I had already decided to not participate on the committee next year ahead of the problems so the two things aren’t related.

In October, over the Canadian Thanksgiving , Nicola and I traveled to Nova Scotia to run a 10k race, The Valley Harvest and to celebrate the holiday. It was a pretty good day to run and I again ran just around 52 minutes, a decent showing due to my lack of training.

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Kate, Me and Nicola in Wolfville on Thanksgiving

Most recently our whole running crew ran the Santa Shuffle put on by the Salvation Army. The day was stunningly beautiful and the weather warm and we had a great time running and laughing, it was a great way to end our racing season.

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Me, Rod, Joanna and Nicola at the Santa Shuffle

I enjoyed this year of running, it was mostly relaxed while I watched other people achieve personal bests and distances that they hadn’t thought possible. The last few months have been really, really devoid of runs as I figure out my schedule and other great life developments but I’m confident that I will rediscover my energy once again.

Other Races

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Nicola and I at the Kilted Run

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Nicola in front, me in back at Covered Bridge Run

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Nicola and I at the Runway Run

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Me, Nicola and Myles at Bluenose

2016

This year I will once again train for a marathon in October, the PEI marathon in Charlottetown. Nicola and I are planning to run this one together with a goal time in mind. Also, we will be going to Maine to run a half marathon, which will be my first race in Maine. I also intend to run Lorneville once again and the runway run in Fredericton for the second time. I will try to make the beer run this year, limiting my consumption of ales and hope to run in Saint John as well. A number of smaller runs will most likely fall into some of these weekends and I plan on a few virtual runs during the winter.

I’m not setting a mileage goal once again with the hopes of not having to force myself to run on certain days. I received a new pair of racers for Christmas and I just bought a new pair of trainers so it appears that my mind is in the right place at least 🙂

I wish you luck in 2016, run smart, have fun!

Chris

One Foot in Front of the Other

 

Race reviews – Run The River and The Santa Shuffle

RUN THE RIVER

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A twofer today as I will share the last two races that I ran this year; Run the River 5k and The Santa Shuffle 5k.

The Run the River race has only been in existence for 3 year but already has a good following, it’s fast, occurs towards the end of the running season, has a nice medal and is well supported by the community. I ran it during its inaugural year but missed it last year so was glad to be back. This year the local craft brewery, Big Axe, was offering hot, Thai soup after the race, which is my kind of incentive.

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Nicola and I waiting for the start

Race day was cool and cloudy but was still warm enough for shorts, I traveled with my girlfriend to the race but we were running separate times. A number of our friends also made the 30 minute drive to the race. The race was also running a 3k for the people who wanted to be done quick and after they departed we walked to the start line part way up a hill and were off.

The race starts uphill, levels out basically then there are two or three long downhill sections. I wasn’t really warmed up so I ran the first bit a bit reserved then tried to run faster on the downhill sections but I was much too tight and I could never really get a good pace. After passing the finish area on a flat section we then ran a couple of sections uphill before we turned around and headed back to the finish line. I saw a friend ahead of me just before the turnaround and thought that maybe I could track him down but alas I just wasn’t in proper shape, puffing at the finish I crossed the line in 25:56, well off any personal best but with another successful race under my belt. This race is very much a community fund raiser so we received a small but nice medal and a water bottle. It was a tough day for a number of people as most of my friends fell short of their PB’s.

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About 2.5km into the race

 

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We hung around for a few minutes chatting but with the cool air settling in and our sweat drying up we decided to head to Big Axe for our Thai soup and to refill our growlers.

There, we ran into out friend Lloyd who is the organizer of the local craft beer  festival and incidentally was the person I thought about catching in the the race. We chatted and ate our very yummy Thai soup; it wasn’t too spicy and hit the spot after the cool race. We filled up our growlers with my favourite Irish Red and a great Oatmeal Stout then we headed home. It’s always a fun race, with good support so I imagine that I will run it again next year.

SANTA SHUFFLE

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For the last few years the Santa Shuffle has been the defacto last run of the year. We dress up in holiday garb and run an easy five kilometres with friends. The run is supported by The Salvation Army and while people may have a problem with this organization, we try to leave the politics aside.

Once again my girlfriend Nicola and our friends Rod and Joanna joined us to run. Unlike last year when it was cold, this year was mild, with sunny skies and the trees displayed a beautiful covering of snow.

We all met at the race, picked up our  bibs and chatted and laughed while we crossed the street to the running path. The racers must have been a sight as nearly everyone dresses up for this race.

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Start of the Santa Shuffle

We don’t try to run fast, just enjoy the costumes and the scenery and the company of many friends. People were taking photos and laughing and just enjoying the day. I’m not even sure what our time was when we finished but we had a great time and everyone was smiling.

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Nicola, Joanna, Rod and I

Afterwards we had a quick cup of hot chocolate, received our nice medal and then met another couple for brunch before calling it a year for racing. This race is always a great way to end the year, no pressure, lots of laughing and smiles….speaking of which a photo that we took of us four was included in the Canadian Running magazine story on the internet, some of us must be somewhat pretty!

That’s it for 2015, I will be posting a year review a bit later on plus a peek at the races that we will be doing next year, we’re picking a few different ones to continue to keep things fresh and of course to explore different places.

Until then, thanks for reading!

Chris

One foot in front of the other

Race Report – Valley Harvest 10KM

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Over the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend I ran my second to last competitive race of the year at the Valley Harvest race weekend in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Canada. As the namer suggest it is harvest time this so there are plenty of farm markets, farms and orchards to explore and to find fresh produce. The colours of the leaves are also beginning to change which adds to the draw of the race. I grew up in this area and went to university here so for me it is always a treat to be back.

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Apples anyone?

Along with the scenic courses and harvest atmosphere the race always has good swag and really provides good value for your race dollar. This year, all runners received a blanket and a light shell in lieu of the standard race shirt. Of course each finisher also receives a medal and the design always seems to be thoughtful and harvest themed.

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Jacket, blanket and medal

This year, 2015, the race held extra meaning for me, five years ago, in 2010, I ran my very first race there, also of 10km. I had just started running consistently in the summer of 2010 and decided to run my first race at home, with sister and brother-in-law also in attendance; i ran the 10km in 1:09:38.

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My first race in 2010!

This year I had hoped to go sub 50 minutes as there are really only two hills to contend with and the weather is usually conducive for good times. Realistically I had not been putting a lot of effort into my running recently, having only run 85km for the month of September…but I was planning, regardless, to give my top effort. My girlfriend Nicola was also running the 10km, it was her first time at this race.

It was a bit cool the morning of the race with a bit of a north wind and cloudy. For us east coast runners it was almost just right, especially once you started running, you wouldn’t notice the slight chill. I ran the first 5km in just over 26 minutes but was choppy with my strides, the 10km has a turnaround point just past the 5km mark and it was there that I noticed the front runners coming back, with their much more flowing, elongated strides that I realized that I needed to relax and be more efficient with my running. So I lengthened ,my stride a bit and used more of my muscles rather than just the turn over rate. i ran the last 5km about 20-30 seconds faster than the first 5km, so I ran a negative split but not quite the one that I would have preferred, finishing in a time of 52:01…If I had only kicked a little sooner 😉

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Final turn

Even though I didn’t hit 50 minutes I actually was pretty happy as my sister and brother-in-law both finished their half marathons and Nicola ran a PB of 2 minutes for her 10km…she’s getting speedy yo! Personally I was ecstatic to see that I had run this 10km around 17 minutes faster than 5 years ago, not bad for a guy who’s actually getting older 😉 I’m realistic that it is unlikely I’ll maintain this type of improvement level, I am encouraged that slowly but surely I’m improving my fitness and technique, becoming a more efficient and stronger runner.

Valley Harvest 10km Garmin Track

My only complaint with this race would be the gym where we gathered after the race smelled TERRIBLE! Honestly it was nausiating and this will need to be addressed for future events.

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Our friend Kate, myself and Nicola

Overall I highly recommend this race, good value, good swag, harvest time in the valley and lots of distances to choose from; they offer a 50km ultra as well. I would suggest that you make this a goal race and then enjoy some time at the local wineries and the local harvest.

Thanks for reading

One foot in front of the other

Chris

Last race of the season: November 7th, Run the River 5km

Race Report – Liv9 Fall Classic

2015 fall classic logo 2

This week I’m not reviewing a race from the point of view of a runner, rather from the point of view of a committee member. This was my second year of participating on the committee for the Liv9 Fall Classic in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada in the guise of handling the communications and social media.

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Our race is held towards the end of September and has been for 33 years. We hold a 5k, 10k and half marathon as well as a 3k middle school challenge to help promote activity in the schools.

2015

This year the committee had to overcome many problems; our title sponsor was bought out by a bigger company and they no longer wanted to support our race, city construction and mother nature rendered our normal route unusable and the preferred alternate unavailable, and the Harvest Jazz and Blues festival changed their dates forcing us to move from our normal weekend further causing us to have to find a new home for our race kit pick-up.

Title Sponsor

Our previous title sponsor, Accreon insurance was bought out by an American company and thus communication with our usual contact was spotty at best. This caused us to get a very late start on finding a replacement sponsor which was quite difficult because a lot of businesses had already committed their budgets for this year. Thankfully, over the summer a local company, Liv9 nutrition signed on as our title sponsor.

Liv9-Logo

Title Sponsor

Course

Oh mother nature! Torrential rain caused a portion of our normal course to become washed out and the city was already underway with construction on a portion of the preferred alternate trail so we had to become creative with our route planning. We incorporated more of the trails on the south side of the river which increased the complexity of directing the runners.

New Start/Finish Line and New Logo/Medals

In for a penny, in for a pound right? Since we were changing so many things we decided to also change where our start/finish line would be and also our logo and our medals. This aspect of our event actually went pretty smoothly, we agreed on a design, still had the medals made in New Brunswick and most of the technical shirts arrived on time, less one box.

2015 Fredericton Fall Classic Medal w Ribbon(1)

New Medals

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Our Start/Finish Area – Government House

Race Kit Pick-Up

The Harvest Jazz and Blues is a huge festival in Fredericton which normally occurs a week before our race so there isn’t a conflict, however this year they changed their dates causing our normal event weekend to be in conflict. Once we pushed our event back a week we discovered that the normal venue that we use to hold our race kit pick-up and modest expo was already booked. We eventually settled on a more unique location at the Cultural Centre which honestly gave us more room and more of a parking area and was closer to the start/finish line.

The actual day of race kit pick-up went well logistically, there was lots of free parking and no one complained about not being able to find the venue. Aside from the above mentioned technical shirt snafu the merging of two databases caused problems when one of them didn’t actually have any size data for the registrants. The volunteers had to reconcile this information when they handed out the bibs to the participants. The gym that we were in was very spacious and we received numerous comments positive comments on the venue.

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Race Kit Pick-Up Venue

Race Day

The weather of the day of the race was foggy but otherwise worked out perfectly with cool temperatures and light wind. Set up went well and the half marathoners went out at 8:30am without issue. The 3k middle school run at 8:45am was when the trouble started. The course for this race had always seemed to be confusing to a lot of people. Sadly, even with a lead biker the runners cut the course off much too soon and only ran about half of the distance. Many parents were not happy and the idea of a re-run was not advisable due to 3 other distances running the same course and possible confusion (more) at the turn-around points. The 10k and 5k races went out and came back without issue and most of the anecdotal comments from the participants pointed to a lot of PB’s and a scenic course….however the half marathon course was discovered to be 300-400 metres short so the records that a few runners had turned in could not be accepted.

One pretty fantastic thing happened at the end of the race. One 10k participant was really struggling running her first 10k race, in fact all of the other runners in all of the other races had finished. When our volunteers heard that she had 1.5km left about 12 of them ran out to meet her and walk/run her in. The scene at the finish line was one of good will, happiness and triumph. Your race is nothing unless you have quality volunteers and I am happy to say that our race has them year after year.

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Itrat Ahmed and her escort


Personal Comments

These comments are strictly my own and do not reflect anyone else on the committee or organizers.

I felt this year that the committee needed more oversight or at least somewhat of a heavier hand, especially with so many race changes. Tasks were changing seemingly up to almost the very last minute, which I understand can happen but as an example the organization of the volunteers was transferred to the assistant race director 2-3 weeks before race day! The lack of a course director and at least 2 course marshals was a HUGE oversight and the problems, especially with the 3k race, were predictable and avoidable.

Overall Impression

In spite of the committee, the race was an overall success, our numbers were up and people were raving that it was a fast, scenic course. I think that the race succeeded to the level that it did in large part due to the volunteers and the work of a few very dedicated committee members and not the committee as a whole.

I will not be back on the committee next year, not due to the problems this year, but due to the fact that my work schedule will not permit me to participate to the level that I feel will be required; I had already made this decision ahead of the race. I do hope that the suggestions that I will put forth in the wrap up meeting will be taken to heart as the race could be a favorite of runners in the early fall schedule.

As always

One foot in front of the other

Chris