Race Report, Running

PRR First Half Race Report

It’s a lot easier to write a post about a race that goes totally sideways than it is to write one about a race that goes well. What am I supposed to say? “Blah blah blah I ran well, felt good, it was sunny, set a great big PR, go me.”

Boring, right? Plus, that pretty much sums it up.

Therefore, please allow me to share 2 elements of my race that I feel I really nailed.

1. Pre-race bathroom location

I believe this is a personal best for me in terms of timing and lineup brevity. I really surprised myself here and will refuse to divulge the location of this bathroom for fear that it will ruin things for me should I ever run this race again.

2. Race outfit

In my humble opinion, it’s extremely important to wear all of the colours available to you when toeing the line in a race. I feel like I preformed well here, with the exception perhaps of socks. In this case, I sacrificed colour for fit but in the future, screw it, colour wins because no matter what I wear, my feet hurt anyway at the end. Also, my hair clashed with my sunglasses. Something to work on in the future.

Lastly, you know that when your training partner/race pacer /bestie crosses the line seconds behind you and whispers “F— you”, you know it’s been a good one.

Bring it on, 2015!

Kids, Race Report, Racing, Running

Glass ankles in the mud.

I could also have titled this post “Foreshadowing”.

Totally called it.
Totally called it.

I was so excited for this race.  We’d put in a few really “fun” training runs in terrible weather, the kids were going to be with me and I wasn’t the least bit nervous.  I love a good challenge, and the Hallow’s Eve Run certainly seemed that it would live up to expectations.  I didn’t really look at the course map – since I’m unfamiliar with the trails in North Van, it would have been pointless, anyway.  I knew it went up and down.  I knew it was going to be wet.  Did the rest really matter?

Early wake up, coffee, kiss the kids goodbye and off we went.  It was grey but not raining and the runners were in costumes – except for me.  I’m lame like that.  We were happily cruising throughout the lower part of the trails and I was trailing Heather, watching her feet and chatting away – as we do.  In my world, trail time doubles as girl time and cheap therapy.  She popped off a little drop and as I followed her, my left foot rolled over and heard (and felt) that sickening ‘pop’.

You have got to be kidding me.

I was less than 4km into a 42km adventure.  I never roll my left ankle, always my right.  Gah.  I told myself to shake it off, the nausea will pass and I’ll just be careful.  *More foreshadowing*

I caught back up to Heather and I did a decent job of being careful for the next little while. We chatted, laughed and sweated for a good chunk of time together.  Her family met us at the top of a climb and it was so fun to get a hug and a high-five mid-race, right before a killer climb.

As I was essentially crawling up this trail (can anyone actually run this? Serious question here – it was like going up a vertical river bed), I was on my own and so I put my music on because I didn’t feel like suffering in silence anymore.

Fair warning: I have notoriously terrible taste in music when it comes to getting me going on the run.

The first song that started to play was “Try”, by Pink.  Well, I thought.  This is a propos, because I AM TRYING, dammit.  Trying to get up this hill!

“Just because it burns, doesn’t mean you’re gonna die”.  Huh.  Pretty sure she was referring to my burning legs, at that point.

As I finally got to the top of the hill, we crested into in a driving wind and rainstorm.  The kind of storm you have to turn your back to in order to put a jacket on and not fly away.  The kind of rain that pelts your eyeballs.

The next song that played was “Between the raindrops”.  Well.  I’d like to be between them, but that ain’t happening.

As we ran along the roads back down Grouse Mountain, Heather caught me and I briefly voiced my concern about my ankle.  It was pretty sore and I was toying with the idea of dropping out.  The problem was that a) I didn’t really know where I was; b) I didn’t have a phone to call someone to come and get me c) I don’t know anyone’s number by heart anymore — technology!

This is where “Warm day, cold warm” came on.  I was NOT warm.  I really wanted to be and had a short daydream about going back to Maui.

At this point, I remembered that the kids were with Lizzie and I didn’t want to let them down by not finishing the run.  So off I went, back into the trails in pursuit of Heather.

Kilometer 18 or so… I went down again and this time I knew it was waaaay worse that the first time.  I sat in the mud, had a little pity cry until a runner dressed as William Wallace – kilt and all – came by and hauled me off the ground.  He made sure I was ok, and I sent him on his way with my thanks.

So what does one do in the forest with one good leg and no clue where she is?

She keeps going.

And plays Taylor Swift’s “Shake it off” on repeat.  And ponders the world. And talks to herself.

Jenny caught me and we had a good bitch fest and speculated on how much longer we had to go.  I told her to get going, and that I’d see her at the finish, no matter how long it took.

A couple of kilometers later, Lizzie – AKA “Voice of reason” – met me at the aid station with the kids.  After a good dose of “dummy, just stop.  The truck is over there”, I pulled the pin and limped to the truck.

And despite having an ankle that looks like something out of “Misery”, I’ll live to run another day.

With better tape on my glass ankles.





Day-to-day life, Family

Neither an Event nor an Adventure. But damn funny.

Herewith, a guest post of sorts.

My youngest sibling moved to Vancouver somewhat recently after a few years abroad.  As he works from home and his siblings are old people with kids – who hang out with people with kids, he figured he’d join a social/singles club in an effort to branch out and meet people.

On particular club’s website (I won’t link – I’ll let you google it yourself lest I get my brother in trouble), they bill the experience as “When you are at an Events and Adventures event, it doesn’t seem like dating. When you’re having an adventure, all you want to do is share the experience. There’s no better way to meet someone new.”


Please do yourself a favour and read firsthand what this latest adventure delivered.  He emailed this to me and I asked his permission to post.  I may or may not have been cry-laughing at his expense/with him.  Enjoy.

Outing: Seawall Cycling – Science World to Spanish Banks (approx. 13.5 KM)

Event /Adventure / Other (Specify): Other – waste of fucking time

Participation: 6 – 3 Dudes, 3 ladies

Median Age: 40

Average Looks: 4/10 (generous)


1x recumbent bike cyclist

2x Canadian Tire Bikes (users did not know how to shift gears)

1 x Woman riding her daughter’s pink bike with flares on handle bars

1 x Spandex Guy, complete with heart rate monitor and clipless pedals

Success level (Select one):


Meh (Check)


Unmitigated fucking disaster


After last week’s unmitigated disaster (Trivia Night), I decided to give Single’s Club another shot, and signed up for a bike round along Vancouver’s Seawall. This is one of the gems of the city, and as tonight was a warm, sunny spring evening, and I was riding my own getaway vehicle, I figured, what the heck. I paid a hefty, non-refundable fee for the privilege.

Arrived at departure point approx. 15 minutes ahead of time for recon purposes. Immediately observed Spandex Guy and Flare Handle bars at designated meeting point. Chose to hang back and see if there was any hope. Any hope at all.

5 minutes ahead of departure, with no other cyclist approaching, decided to step in. Immediately accosted by Flarebars, who needs help with her helmet. Poor thing had no idea which way is meant to face forward. Sigh. Spandex guy was of course, the group host.

Next on scene is Recumbent Cycle Guy who literally circled the group and honked his old-timey “bocket socket!” type horn. Awesome. Up next is Canadian Tire Bike Guy. Riding a sweet full suspension SuperCycle, he proceeded to extol the virtues of his “sweet ride” (his words), reminding us at least 4 time that it cost him $700 (Note: how does one get ripped off on a Canadian Tire bike?). Finally, Canadian Tire Girl arrives, basically dressed for a mid-winter ride (read: ski goggles & scarf). In her defense, she lost the goggles when we started).

Bringing the total to 6 people including myself, Spandex quickly assess that we are 3 short of the registered participation – a whopping 9 people!! Clearly, the membership of Events & Adventures are a lively bunch, up for anything – Fucking Trivia Night had 2.5x the turn-out!

We delay departure an additional 10 minutes in the faintest hope of more people joining us, meanwhile, the majority of the group chat like old friends – literally referencing how much fun this ride was last spring. My assessment is that if the group’s membership have A) known each other for a year B) are return customers year-on-year, the system is fundamentally flawed.

We finally depart heading West. Average speed is hovering around 7 km/h. I can literally ride and compose the first section of this report on my phone simultaneously.

Canadian Tire Crew weave erratically between the much better-looking general public who are riding bikes, jogging, and skateboarding on the path like normal people. Spandex is alternating between leading and tail-gunning in order, I can only assume, to maintain a modicum of group morality, as conversation has ceased entirely, replaced instead with heavy breathing and much complaining about the rest of the public on the path.

Canadian Tire Bike Girl (goggles safely stowed) opens a dialogue with me at Cambie Street. I mention that I lived in London, UK – yes, I specified UK – for a couple of years. She seizes upon this tidbit with the enthusiasm of a shipwreck victim, as she too lived in London for 18 years! Finally, someone to chat with, methinks, naively optimistic! She proceeds to pepper me with leading questions. Within minutes, she realizes yes, I said London UK, not London ON, and between that, her inability to both cycle and converse simultaneously, and her laboured breathing, the conversation dies a painful, awkward death.

I sprint (roughly 9km/h) to Spandex Guy, having contrived an excuse whereby I don’t have my wallet on me, I want to duck out early to see if it is at home or if it might have accidentally fallen out of my pocket. The group halts, thankfully, I am sure, given the intense perspiration and heaving, slumped bodies. I bid them a fine evening. See you next time.


While not the Unmitigated Fucking Disaster of Trivia Night, I conclude that I will simply go ride my bike along the seawall sans the encumbrance of these this group of semi-functional sociopaths.

I also stop at the liquor store on the way home for a bottle of wine.

Next Steps:

Friday evening is pub night. With the mean of the 2 events hovering at failure, I have concluded I have nothing to lose, and will attend as a last-ditch effort. If all else fails, I may drink too much and read them this report.

Epilogue, February 2015

I am pleased to report that the author now has a lovely girlfriend, no thanks WHATSOEVER to this stupid group.





CITS, Racing, Running

2 babies, 3 surgeries and 1 half-marathon.

Nailed it.

CITS city

CITS, with a few honorary members, ran the Spirit of the Shore Half Marathon on Sunday.  I was going to write some big long race report but the reality is that Liz did a better job and mine can be summarized in bullet points and pictures.

  • Shoulder fracture? January 4th.  Knee surgery #1? January 23.  Shoulder reconstruction?  July 23.  6 weeks of dominating life in a sling and not running a step until mid-September.  That, right there, is a good set up for a personal worst, my friends.
It's early but it sure is pretty.
It’s early but it sure is pretty.
  • The joys of social media allowed me to successfully farm out 3 children for sleepovers.
  • Pre-race meal: beer, Chinese food, wine.  For the win!
She needs the extra liquid calories: this mama is still nursing.
She needs the extra liquid calories: this mama is still nursing.
We may or may not have been assigning terrible nick names at this point.
We may or may not have been assigning terrible nick names at this point.
YES.  All kinds of YES.
YES. All kinds of YES.
I chose my beer based on the looks of the can.
I chose my beer based on the looks of the can.
  • Pulling into the parking lot at 7:21 for a 7:30 start?  You know it.
The girls had babies 4 months ago.  NBD.
The girls had babies 4 months ago. NBD.
I like to give those following me something to remember me by.  Also, something to read.
I like to give those following me something to remember me by. Also, something to read.
Our Creative Director
Our Creative Director
Someone was worried about finishing last.  Did not achieve this goal.
Someone was worried about finishing last. Someone did not come close to finishing last.
  • Quoted at km 9: “God, I’m bored”.
  • Internal quote at km 15: “Maybe I should have done a real long run before this race.”
The ladies
The ladies
  • There may or may not have been some texting on-course.

photo 4

  • We looked damn good.


  • It was sunny.  Sunny as in “Ow, my eyes are burning I can’t see anything” sunny.  And it was awesome.
  • Great course, fun atmosphere, good post-race food.  Sign up for next year, people.
PWs all 'round, baby!
PWs all ’round, baby!
  • I now very much appreciate the fitness I had last summer and can now admit that running a half slowly, undertrained and under-fueled isn’t as magical as it sounds.  But I can assure you that I’ll probably do it again.

Enjoy Liz’s take, friends:

When I set my sights on the Spirit of the Shore Half Marathon back in January, I knew that I needed a big goal. It’s not every day that you achieve a new PW, but I thought it was in me and I set out to do everything I could to reach it.  I’m happy to report that my new half marathon PW is 2:05, knocking my previous 1:58 from my very first half off the chart.


My last big training block for the race began mid July when I could finally run 3k without stopping and posted a new PW in a 5k on July 27th.  If 5k could take me 28:31, surely I could stretch that out to a half marathon by October.  Since that 5k I managed a few 9k, 12k, 15k and 18k all of which left me feeling like my insides might fall out and crawling back into bed for a few hours.  Truly optimal training.


I have my usual race pre-race routine, but to make big leaps sometimes you have to try something new.  I planned the ideal weekend to reach the starting line in the best condition I could.  Starting with Chinese food and beer for dinner.  Then a restful night of feeding Henry at 12:30am, 3am, 5am and finally waking at 6:37am for an optimal 20min frantic search for running tights and socks.  Breakfast is also so crucial and instead of packing in useful calories like most other races I thought the half bagel and a cup of coffee would really bring my performance up to snuff.


Like most halfs the first 5k were easy and fun.  The next 5k were still moving fairly quickly.  Then at 13k or so I looked at the pavement and it seemed to me to be soft and pillow-like and waiting for me to lie down on it.  I couldn’t believe how completely exhausted I felt.  If I had been running alone, I’m fairly certain I would have turned around and headed back to the car or at least the closest coffee bar.  Seeing as I was with super hot pink company and didn’t want to let the team down, I kept going.  Besides, the last half I started ended in my one and only DNF and that wasn’t the goal this time.  Things improved after I stopped to pee and didn’t have to concentrate on not being incontinent.  The last few k were actually better than the first few, but we had to be careful not to go too hard and end up with more than our 5min negative split else the goal wouldn’t have been met.

Post race

It’s like the running melted away.  After a shower, some food, a far too large bowl of frozen yogurt, I was back to my usual self and ready to do it again.

 Future goals

Now that I have a new PW, I’d like to keep it that way.  I’m sure there could be more down the road with more matching shirts and great company, but for now I think I’ll go back to getting faster again.  Just 4 months to take 30mins off my time. No problemo right?