20 Mar 2019

Gear: Trekz Air by AfterShokz

About six months ago, in the fall of 2018, I was browsing online and came across an ad for AfterShokz headphones. And after I saw (or noticed) that first ad, I started seeing them all over the place - both online and in stores. So I started to read into them a little bit.

One of the challenges I have had is that I like to listen to podcasts on my long runs, and I sweat a lot, which was causing my regular earbuds to short out. So, I had been looking for a better set for running. So AfterShokz bone conduction thing really caught my attention. For obvious reasons, when I'm out running, I like to hear what's going on around me. That's one of the (only) reasons I liked the Apple EarPods. So AfterShokz looked really appealing.

So, I put the Trekz Air by AfterShokz on my Christmas wish list. And lucky enough, my wife got them for me.

Now, for those that are unfamiliar with them, according to AfterShokz website, the Trekz Air "bone conduction technology delivers music through your cheekbones, ensuring ears remain completely open to hear ambient sounds." The science behind these headphones is even exciting! For more information on the technology, click HERE - fascinating stuff.

From a physical/aesthetic standpoint, these are very sleek looking. The have a softer, almost velvety feeling plastic on them, making them very comfortable against the skin. They look very sleek.The ear pieces sit slightly in front of your ears. They fit extremely comfortably - very light and no pressure points. So they immediately feel quite natural.

The only criticism I have in this regard is the piece that goes around the back of your head/neck sticks out a bit (or maybe I have a small head) and, if I am wearing a toque or something with a collar, it interferes a bit when I turn my head. Minor issue, and generally only a factor during the coldest winter months.

The sound quality on these is very crisp. I had initially thought it would come through muffled, given that they aren't even in my ears and use bone conduction, but the sound is very clear and crisp. However, these do not product much bass. So if you're looking for bass, these are not for you. The Trekz Air, for me, are exclusively my running/cycling/active headphones. So I can deal with the lack of bass given all the other advantages. When I am not running, I have full over-ear headphones for that, which provide all the bass I need.

The Trekz Air are also water resistant. The AfterShokz website says they are "IPS5 certified to repel sweat, dust and moisture, from workouts to wicked weather." I have used them in rain, sweat in them profusely, and even run them under the tap to clean them off at the end of a long run. And they have definitely not had any issues. For me, this has given me a huge piece of mind to not worry about them.

And one of the most important factors, they do not block out any ambient sound. So if I am running in the city, I can hear what's going on around me. I have even used them on a group run and was able to hear my music and the conversation going on around me. Noise cancelling headphones definitely have their place, but when running, cycling, or exploring busy city streets, I feel it is important to hear what's going on around you. And these accomplish that perfectly.

As for battery life, I have had pretty consistent results with what AfterShokz claims on their website: 20 hours standby, 6 hours play time, charge in 1-2 hours. My one rule of them with them is that I need at least 40% battery for my long runs, which are usually 1.5 - 2 hours.

Overall, I have been incredibly impressed with my Trekz Air. I highly recommend them.

19 Feb 2019

Race Report: Vancouver First Half 2019

Last Sunday, February 10th, 2019, which happened to be one of Vancouver's coldest days of the year so far, we ran the Vancouver First Half half marathon. And it was fantastic!

But before I get to race day, I am going to back up a little bit. I had a couple issues in my training build-up for this race. Firstly, the Achilles problems I had from September and October, while drastically improving, are still causing some minor discomfort. The pain is gone, but there is still some tightness. I am careful to stretch and ice as much as possible, and it is improving overall - probably 75% recovered - but it is still there. Secondly, and possibly as a result of my Achilles, I strained my right calf about two weeks before race day.

In general, I was far more consistent with my training for this race than I have ever been before. I stayed with my training plan, almost never missed an activity in the past 12 weeks building up and I stuck to my long run plan.

When I strained my right calf, it was right after the Steveston Icebreaker (my review HERE). As a result, I had to take a solid seven days off running. To substitute without losing any fitness, I road my bicycle instead. To keep the same level of intensity, I added around 25-50% more time to my workouts (so what would have been a 40 minute run was a 60 minute bike ride). My peak long run as well had to be on the bike. But I had a full 7 days before the race to get back to running.

Further, because of my disappointment with my performance at the Fall Classic (my review HERE), I was determined to break 1 hour and 45 minutes at the First Half.

Now to race day. The First Half route is one of my absolute favourites. It's flat. It's fast. And it's beautiful. Starting in front of Yaletown Roundhouse Community Centre, the race starts heading east for a quick lap around BC Place. Back across the start line, the race then moves under the Burrard Bridge and down onto the seawall. From there, following the seawall into Stanley Park, the route crosses south of Lost Lagoon and does a counter-clockwise loop around Stanley Park, on the seawall the whole time. Before the Second Beach Swimming Pool, the route leaves the seawall briefly for a clockwise lap of Lost Lagoon. Then, rejoining the seawall, the route follows the same path along the water, a quick hill climb under the Burrard Bridge, and back along Pacific Blvd towards the Yaletown Roundhouse and the finish line.

I did my usual pre-race routine, breakfast at home (cereal, banana, milk, and lots of water), and headed downtown Vancouver on the Canada Line. To avoid any gastro problems, I've been making sure that I eat at least 90 minutes ahead of my run.

When I got to the Yaletown Roundhouse, it was a cool -5C. And, given the seawall's exposure to the elements, it was forecast to hit wind chills of -10C on parts of the route. So, at the last minute, I added a full base layer under my running pants and shirt to ensure warmth.

As we lined up in the starting corral, it seems almost everyone was solely focused on staying warm. As such, most were swinging their arms, moving their legs, jumping in the spot, etc. And I think this created a lot more space - i.e. folks were far less bunched up compared to past races I have done. This meant that once the race started, it was easier to spread out and find my own pace. Almost immediately, I settled into my target pace for the race - 5:00 / km.

For some reason, this race just felt right for me. Everything clicked. The first 5 km went very smooth, and I managed an average 4:56 / km. Heading out onto the seawall for the next 5 km, I felt even better. I was completely comfortable with my pace, but I was hesitant to push any harder because I wanted to have enough left to maintain that for the full distance. However, I did improve to a 4:45 / km from 5 through 10 km.

Coming around the north and west of Stanley Park is where the cold hit. Now up until this point, I was completely comfortable but was almost concerned that my extra base layer would cause me to overheat. But holy moly, was I glad to have it through this stretch. During this stretch from 11 through 15 km, I dropped to an average 4:52 / km - still strong and within my target range.

During the loop of Lost Lagoon, I was starting to fatigue slightly. But I still felt strong. I was tempted to slow down and rest, but forced myself to maintain pace, stay with the pack I was running with, and push hard through the finish. From 16 through 20 km, I did drop slightly again to an average 4:55 / km - again, still within my goal. But at this point, I started to realize that I was trending well ahead of my 1 hour and 45 minute goal time. Those extra 5-10 seconds shaved off of my 5:00 / km target pace each kilometre were adding up. I tried to run the calculations in my head and figured I could get close to 1 hour and 43 minutes.

For the final few kilometres, my sole focus was to maintain my pace. I was getting tired, but even more so, I was determined. As I came around the final turn, I put it all out. I crossed the finish line, glancing at the clock I saw I was just under 1 hour and 43 minutes. My final gun time was 1:42:59. Even better, my chip time was 1:42:35 - a large new PB for me! I shaved nearly 3.5 minutes off my previous PB!!
Overall, I am absolutely elated! I felt strong throughout and I am incredibly happy with my result. I exceeded my own expectations. Proving to myself that as long as I keep running and executing on my training plan, I will keep improving.

My wife and two kids met me at the finish line. Which is always a big motivator for me in the latter part of a long race like this one - to have them cheer me on near the finish.

After I finished, and consumed a few cups of Nuun (which tastes so darn good after a long run like this), we did a lap through the community centre to shake hands with friends and other runners that we knew. As always, the post-run food selection at the First Half is one of my favourites of all the Vancouver-area races. So we spent about 45 minutes chatting, checking the results, and consuming some much needed calories. Then we headed off home.

Now two things I haven't mentioned yet are the swag - the medal and the shirt. The medal was a large improvement from last year's - very RunVan-esque - similar style to the BMO Vancouver and Fall Classic. The shirt I really like as well, while I haven't had a chance to wear it yet. But I do wish that they would give a long-sleeve shirt, similar to the Victoria half marathon, given the time of year it is. As such, I will have to wait to wear a short-sleeve T until it warms up a bit more.

Overall, this has to be my favourite race. I love the smaller crowd, the dedicated runner atmosphere, the pre and post-race festivities, and the route. I will be back again next year.

12 Feb 2019

Race Report: Steveston Icebreaker 8k

A couple of weeks ago, on Sunday, January 20th, Kajaks hosted their annual Steveston Icebreaker 8k. While the event has run for several years now, this was my first time participating. Further, this year the organizers added the New Balance Kids Run 1k - a very welcome addition in my small family. So I signed up for the 8k and both of my kids for the 1k.

Before I start, this event is put on by Kajak's, Richmond's local track & field club. All proceeds, therefore, go to Kajak's. So, rather than a for-profit event like many major running events, this one is a fundraiser. As such, there are no shirts, no medals, no swag. But that's what makes it so pure. Not only is it a fundraiser, it's a fundraiser for an organization that teaches running. 

And because this is in Steveston, the southwest corner of Richmond, it is very close to my home. The route follows along a part of the Richmond dyke system that I run often, especially on my long runs. So, really, it's a wonder that I haven't run the Icebreaker before. I was really pumped to get out there and run it this year.

Further, I had heard that many local elite runners show up for this one. Probably similar to the Eastside 10K, it is likely easier to throw a fun 8k or 10k into one's regular training routine than a longer run.

So let's get down to race day.

We (my wife, our two kids aged 8 and 4, and myself) showed up relatively early, around 7:45am, to make sure we got parking and had time to organize ourselves. We were a bit earlier than necessary, so walked over to Starbucks for a little pre-race R&R.

The Kids Run started at 8:30 and the Icebreaker 8k at 9:00. So, while I was initially a little bit nervous that these were too close together, the timing was actually perfect. Both events used the same Start/Finish, which made the transition from one event to the next extremely easy.

The Kids Run started along the Imperial Landing (the Richmond dyke that runs along the south arm of the Fraser River, starting just east of No 1 Road). It was a 1.15 km loop out around the lagoon and back.

The distance was perfect. Both of my two kids have run similar distances before, so they were eager to participate. My eight-year-old son, really starting to enjoy running and finding his legs, ran alone. We had been training semi-regularly in the weeks leading up, doing 500-1000 m runs around our block, so he was well prepared. He immediately pushed to the front, ending up passing the pacer on a bicycle (who wanted to remain leading the majority of the kids), and ending up winning with about a 100 m lead over second place. The Kids Run wasn't timed, unfortunately, but my son kept his time and is quite happy with it. 

I ran the Kids Run with my four-year-old daughter. Despite a minor tangle and crash at the beginning, she got up and ran the entire race without stopping. She, too, had been doing some training runs and was very excited to enter a race, have a race bib with a number on it, and earn her finisher's ribbon.

After a few minutes of family celebration and congratulations to the kids, I had to lineup for the Icebreaker 8k. Conveniently, I was already at the corral as both events used the same Start/Finish line. I know this sounds minor, but I've been to a few other events where that wasn't the case. This setup made the transition extremely simple.

My wife took the two kids over to the Community Centre, which was hosting the post-event festivities, to do some activities while I ran, and came back to watch me finish.

The 8k started promptly at 9:00. The route started out the same as the Kids Run, but continued much farther along the south dyke. Essentially, it follows the trail along the river all the way to No 3 Road, and then back. A very straight-forward out-and-back route. This year, they also had partially closed Dyke Road to vehicle traffic, so the race course had the gravel trail going out, and the eastbound vehicle lane coming back. I had heard that this was not always the case in past years. So that definitely allowed a safer running environment and more space for the runners.

Also, similar to my comments on the Eastside 10K, because this was an out-and-back route, it was a lot of fun to pass and cheer on other runners I knew. I enjoy seeing the top runners pass by, seeing how they are positioned near the middle of the race compared to how they finish at the end. And I enjoy watching, waving, and cheering for other runners I know. 

This year did not draw the elite crowd that I had heard would show up though. Despite a strong showing from the Mile 2 Marathon (M2M) crew, the usual elites were running elsewhere. While slightly disappointed, I hope to see more of them return next year.

As for actual race performance, I was aiming to break my previous 8 km PB of 00:35:37, which I set in Victoria back in October (click HERE for my recap on that event). I knew that to run under that time, I would need to average under 4:30 per km. After about 2 km, I knew that I wasn't going to be able to achieve that. I am not sure why, my legs just did not have it on race day. I ended up finishing in 00:36:35. I am still happy with that time and won't dwell on it, but it is my first race event where I did not improve on my PB.

Now, I admit that I missed out on one of the key aspects of this race: the post-race festivities. My son had a soccer tournament shortly afterwards so we had to head home and get ready for that. So I missed out on, what I have heard, is one of the best calorie replenishing displays at a Vancouver-area race. While I would have loved to stuff my face with a couple donuts and bananas, I'll have to save that experience for next year.

Overall, we all had a blast. I loved watching my son embrace his 1k event and love every second of it. I loved running the 1k event with my daughter and watching her enjoy the experience of running. I loved running my own 8k event, despite being a bit slower than I had hoped. I loved the route of both of these events and the smaller "community" feeling of this event. And I also loved to support our local Kajak's Track & Field Club. I will be back next year.

5 Feb 2019

Gear: New Balance Fresh Foam Zante v3

A few months ago, I purchased a pair of New Balance Zante v3's.

Wait... let me back up.

For the past few years, I have purchased all of my running gear at the Running Room. However, the store in Richmond (where I live) closed. So earlier in 2018, I bought a pair of shoes from Sport Chek. Now, the biggest difference between Running Room and Sport Chek is the service that you get. I find that at the Running Room, they look at your feet, how you plant your foot, inquire about the type of running and distance. Then, they recommend a shoe based on your responses. At Sport Chek, you're basically on your own. They will help you fit into a running shoe, but whether they know what neutral and stability means is really up to the individual.

Well, recently a New Balance store opened in Richmond, so I thought I would try it out. And I was pleasantly surprised. The staff was knowledgeable and very helpful. Much more like the Running Room experience I was used to.

However, since I was last properly fitted for running shoes, I have dramatically increased my mileage as well. So I was looking for a different type of shoe than I had been buying in the past. And that is perhaps where I went wrong.

After trying a few different shoes, I settled on a pair of Zante v3's. I was aware that the v4's were already out but the v3's fit, were very comfortable, reasonably priced, and my son liked the all black colour. I had read several reviews on Zantes and so had a good impression of them before I even tried them on.

At the insistence from my son, I got the all-black (with some white) version. I knew the v4's came in much brighter colours, so I was a bit disappointed with the black - for me, it felt a bit bland for my liking. But my last pair was far too flashy so I was due for a relapse of some sort.

My review of the shoes themselves is great. I was initially very impressed with how smooth and quiet the shoes felt. Evening when tired, there was almost no sound foot slapping on the pavement. With the smooth, less-groovy-style sole pattern, it gave a really smooth, interesting feeling. I loved running in this.

The Zante v3's are very comfortable. Perhaps slightly narrower in the toe area than I normally like and the toe drop feels a bit more dramatic than I am used to, but otherwise very comfortable.

In six months with them, I have logged almost 300 km (note they are not my principal running shoe). I use them mostly for travel (i.e. pack in my suitcase for runs when I'm out of town), treadmills, and shorter runs on dry days. And when I am travelling (for work), I often wear these to and from the airport and as my after-work shoes when I'm out of town - saves me having to bring a pair of shoes for in the office, one for after work, and yet another for running. So I wear these for more than just running. And after all this time, they are still in flawless condition with barely a scuff on them. The knitting is holding up really well and they are as comfortable today as the day I bought them.

My only issue is that with the longer runs and increased mileage I was logging, these shoes just weren't enough cushion for my ankles (mainly my Achilles) and calves. Now I definitely appreciate that this is my own short-coming and nothing to do with the shoes themselves. But this is part of the reason I shifted away from these as my principal running shoe. I have since bought a pair of New Balance 880 v.8's - review on those coming soon - that I use as my main runner, simply for the extra cushioning.

So would I recommend the Zante's - either the v3's or a new version? Absolutely. But if you're logging longer distances (i.e. regularly over 12 km, building to half marathons or more), you may want to consider something with a bit more cushioning.

29 Jan 2019

Running and Fitness Goals for 2019

2019 is now well underway. So it's time to sit down and write out my fitness and running goals for the year.

Last week, I posted a recap of my 2018 goals (click HERE). From that update, I enter 2019 with a large amount of optimism. Despite some nagging soreness in my legs (which I'll talk about briefly further down), I feel really good. As I wrote in my last post, 2018 was a fairly monumental shift in direction for me. For 2019, I don't have nearly as dramatic of a shift. I'm looking for this year to be an incremental improvement in every single one of the same areas I addressed in 2018.

So, without further ado,here are my goals for 2019:
  • Run or bicycle at least 3 days per week, with a minimum 30 mins per session, 2.5 hours per week, 10 hours per month)
  • Run 1,200 km, ride 1,000 km
  • Eat fruits or vegetables at every meal
  • Run a half marathon under 1:40:00
In general, I really want to focus on getting more consistency. I was good with a fairly regular routine this year. But I want to push that a bit more. Ideally, I'd like to get to 4 days per week whenever possible. But I set time and duration goals to account in case I can only manage 3.

Another area is that I want to incorporate a bit more on the bicycle back into my routine. Last year, I focused mostly on running and cut down riding altogether. For 2019, I'm looking to balance them out more. I want running to be my main focus, without a doubt, but I want to have that second option ready to go.

The main reason is that my legs are taking a pounding. I feel sometimes that my calves, shins, or ankles are still recovering from my last run when I set out for a run. So, especially in those cases, I want to use my bicycle. I'm constantly stretching and icing sore legs. So I need to take some of that pressure off. The goal, ultimately, is to build endurance, cardio, and overall fitness. So I need to be more mentally open to alternative methods of achieving that.

The next one is simply because I need to eat better. I like to snack. Tortilla chips and salsa or cheese and crackers are my go-to snacks. So, I'm committing to eating fruits or vegetables at every meal, including snacks.

And my last one is really where my heart is at. I want to run a sub-1:40:00 half marathon. In 2018, I went from 1:51:58 (First Half 2018) down to 1:46:51 (Fall Classic 2018). In 2019, I want to improve and knock those next 7 minutes off. I know it'll take hard work to get there, but I'm ready. I'm no longer building that runner's base for endurance - I have the base. Now I just need to improve on it.

Time to go put in the work and make 2019 something great! 

25 Jan 2019

Recap On My 2018 Fitness Goals

What a year!

2018 was monumental year for me in terms of setting ambitious fitness goals, and achieving most of them!! As with most goals, I changed and modified them throughout the year. As I attained certain levels of my goals, I set increasingly challenging goals for myself. Initially, I was a bit disappointed where I finished the year. However, when I look back at where I started from, in December of 2017, 2018 was a massive successive.

Here's my recap, and a bit of a back-story:

Up until the end of 2017, I had largely gotten my fitness from my bicycle. Not a hard road-rider by any means - I simply enjoyed riding and used my bicycle to commute as often as possible. As my kids got older, and bigger, this became more and more difficult. I have been a casual runner since I turned 30 (7 years ago) - but it was never my primary focus.

Around mid-2017, I started getting serious about running again and slotting it into my regular exercise routine. In September 2017 I wrote THIS POST about refocusing on running. A little later that month, I was thinking about a half marathon (click HERE). And in November 2017, I signed up for one (click HERE).

So here were my goals that I set at the beginning of 2018:

  • Run a half marathon
  • Run regularly - 3 runs and a minimum 20 km per week
  • Run 1,000 km by the end of 2018
  • Learn to love running.
And I nailed every single one of those goals!

I didn't run just one half marathon, I ran three (First Half on February 11th, half marathon at the BMO Vancouver on May 10th, and the Fall Classic on November 4th). In addition, I added several shorter races just for fun: 5K at the Scotiabank Vancouver, Under Armour Eastside 10K, and the 8K at the GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon.

I finished my first half marathon (the First Half) in 1 hour and 52 mins. And I improved to just under 1 hour and 47 mins at the Fall Classic. I would have liked to run under 1 hour and 45 mins, but that's going to have to wait until 2019!

Except for a few rare instances (rest weeks or travelling challenges), I managed to run 3 runs per week and averaged over 20 km per week. 

I ran a total of 1,178 km for the year. A massive accomplishment that I am very proud of!

Overall, it was a massive year. Running is now an integral part of my fitness! And barely three weeks into 2019, I have already signed up for three races (Steveston Icebreaker 8K on January 20th,  Vancouver First Half on February 10th, and half marathon at the BMO Vancouver on May 5th), one of which I've already completed.

Most importantly, I loved every second of it - the struggles, the accomplishments, the fitness gains, the lost weight.

So I'm taking a couple of weeks to celebrate everything I accomplished in 2018 and plan out my goals for 2019. Until then, here is my Strava summary of 2018.

23 Nov 2018

Race Report: Fall Classic Half Marathon

The Fall Classic has been the main focus of my  running training since running the BMO Vancouver half marathon back in May. Literally every run was focused on this day.

I had added a couple other races in, such as the Under Armour Eastside 10k (see my race report HERE) and the GoodLife Fitness Victoria half marathon, which I ended up downgrading to the 8k (see my race report HERE), but both of those were intended to slot into my training for the Fall Classic.

My training and build-up to the Fall Classic were somewhat disrupted by the Achilles issue I had throughout the fall. It started in September, just before the Eastside 10k, and has continued through to this day. It is improving, but it is most definitely lingering. I discussed some of the impacts of this on my training HERE in my post about downgrading Victoria from the half to the 8k.

The main impact is that for the past couple months, I have had to limit my long runs and haven't really done any speed work. I've maintained my minimum of three runs per week, but haven't been able to push and test my speed or distance. While I felt really good leading up to race day, I wasn't as prepared as I would have liked to be.

So now that all that context is out of the way, let's talk about race day.

I had a solid sleep the night before the race, made it to bed at a reasonable time. But I woke up with some really uncomfortable stomach issues. So on my way out to the race start, I had to swing into a pharmacy to pick up something to settle my stomach. So, I popped a couple pills and made my way to start my warm up. Parking was relatively easy to find, and I parked in the main lot indicated on the race day instruction card included with my race kit. The lot itself had one entrance and one exit, so it was quite the stop-and-go experience to get in there. But there were plenty of spaces available once we snaked our way up through the parkade.

Once parked, I walked over to the race start/finish area. It was fairly cold out, so I definitely appreciated the indoor space provided for some of the pre-race festivities. After a final washroom trip, I did checked my bag and did my warm-up, about 10 minutes of light running, followed by about 15 minutes of stretching. I have not spent much time at all around the UBC campus, so I actually quite enjoyed the area.

I felt really strong at the start of the race. Probably a little too aggressive and over-confident though. The first 8 km or so are all downhill. Not an intense decline, but definitely enough that it feels easier than it actually is. Once you hit the turnaround, the momentum shifts and you're going back along that slight incline. At about 9.5 km, there is a fairly intense hill up University Blvd. Luckily, it's pretty short, but it's a knacker. After that, there's a fairly nice out and back along the Main Mall. Only challenge is that it puts you deceivingly farther from the finish line than you think you are.

From there, you cross back across, alongside the finish line, past the start line, and do the whole thing over again. This was my first time running a race that repeats a route. In truth, this should have made the distance easier to calculate. However, my head kept messing with me so I was really surprised how much longer the second lap felt than the first lap.

The other aggravating factor for me was that my GPS, somewhere along the way, was putting me about 1 km ahead of where I actually was. I was passing signs that read the distance and my GPS would say that I was significantly farther ahead. I had heard about a potential course change at the last minute due to some construction, so I thought perhaps my GPS was right and the course markings were off.

Whatever the cause, at about 16 km, at the turnaround on SW Marine Dr on my second lap, I paced myself, according to my GPS, at close to the 1:40:00 finish time. I was ecstatic. I was aiming for 1:45:00, and I had been consistently under 5:00/km, so I was pretty sure my math was right.

As I got closer to University Blvd, I checked with another runner on the distance, and his read the same as the signs, meaning my GPS was about 1.3 km ahead. Man, was that defeating. I realized I'd be lucky to hit my 1:45:00 target now. Without obsessing over the math, because I was losing steam, I just kept running. That hill up University Blvd absolutely destroyed me the second time. I lost a  lot of momentum on that sucker.

I struggled to keep moving along the final out and back on Main Mall. It was flat, but like I mentioned above, it felt surprisingly longer the second time around. Luckily, I had a friend meet me at about the 20 km marker. He ran with me about 100 metres and cheered me on. I have to say, I might not have kept running without that encouragement. I was completely defeated and needed that encouragement desperately. So I kept running and finished at 1:46:51.

New half marathon PB (beat my previous PB by 0:01:19)! While I was aiming for 1:45:00, any PB is an achievement that needs to be celebrated!

Overall, I had a great experience. The race itself was fantastic. While the route wasn't as scenic as say the Victoria Marathon, BMO Vancouver, or the First Half, it was definitely a lot of fun. It reminded me of the importance of training though and getting those long runs in. And, as a runner from Richmond, the importance of finding some hills to train on.

I will definitely be back to tackle this one again. As for breaking my 1:45:00, I'm going to look to the fast, flat First Half on February 10, 2019.