50 years is a remarkable achievement, but for a television programme to get to that point is more astonishing. When I wrote a reflection on Doctor Who‘s 45th anniversary, I noted that its flexibility in terms of storytelling has made the show endure the test of time. It’s not just the companions who have shared in the Doctor’s adventures; millions of viewers, including myself, have also been part of the journey, taking in the wonders of all of space and time through television, audio, and print over the last half century. It’s a rich history that can appeal to almost anyone.
As the next 50 years begin, I want to thank William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy, Paul McGann, Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant, and Matt Smith for taking us on a wonderful trip, and here’s to 50 more years of Doctor Who!
I last ran this race in 2010. I broke the two-hour barrier, establishing a new personal record in the process. I registered to run again in the Okanagan Half to see if I can run as fast, or possibly faster, as I did three years ago.
The training cycle for this race followed the usual format. However, there was a point during August (because of visiting family) when I struggled to find time to run. Even the high-intensity workouts (such as tempo) were not at the paces that I’d like to have.
I was therefore resigned to go to Kelowna and at least break two hours. It’s a reasonable challenge given the state of my training. I arrived Friday afternoon and basically rested up for the race on Sunday morning (October 13). For the first time in a long time, I was content and relaxed and ready to run.
For me, this race is part of the lead-up toward the Okanagan Half Marathon. With four weeks to go, this 10k is a good test to see how I can handle the big race. My August was not what I was expecting in terms of training; a number of events that month took the focus off the running. As a result, the total distance run for the month is less than 100 km, the first time this year.
The Eastside 10k is a new race; the route is more-or-less an out-and-back that incorporates the parts of the old BMO Vancouver route through Strathcona until new courses were unveiled in 2012. It’s nice to have a run race back in East Vancouver, which is why I’m very enthusiastic about this race. The race’s charity partners are also very local and relevant to the neighbourhoods in which the race is run.
It was a dreary Saturday morning for a race, especially for one in late summer. There were about 1500 people ready to take on a whole new experience. The race starts on one of the viaducts leading into downtown Vancouver before emerging onto Prior Street in Strathcona. I know the terrain, since my bus commute usually goes through Prior, so I’ve anticipated the hills. The whole race does have a lot of small hills that can be off-putting to some, but for me, I like the challenge. I’ve always enjoyed powering through the uphills and passing people along the way.
The course goes through historic Gastown (technically not in the Eastside) before turning around and making its way back to the start line. It’s nice to run on the cobblestoned streets, but disappointing that not a lot of people were around to watch. At the time I was running through, I was thinking about the annual cycling race that does laps around Gastown (held on a weeknight with plenty of spectators) and whether a race held later in the morning could attract more crowds.
The theme for the races I’ve run this year seems to be humid. Because of the mist-like conditions that morning, the humidity was pretty high. I was sweating very early on, and I’m sure that wasn’t because of how fast I was running. By the end, I was regretting not packing a change of clothes.
Another theme that has emerged is new personal best. With a chip time of 53:18 (on a negative split), this is the third separate race distance this year for which I’ve established or broken a PB (or PR, I use them interchangeably). The half marathon beckons in less than four weeks. Can I make it four PBs in one year?
Overall, I’m definitely going to put the Eastside 10k as a race to put on my calendar from now on. By itself, it’s a great course, but it’s also scheduled so that it can be a dress rehearsal for a longer-distance race later in the fall. This is a great addition to the Vancouver running calendar.
Who said a runner’s progression has to be linear? Twitter and Dailymile friend Courtney commented on my result to this race that I had completed my first 5k after completing my first marathon. I don’t know why I’ve held out so long on running a 5 km race. My experience last week at the Scotia was not easy, but the training paid dividends.
I only gave myself five weeks to train; it’s not ideal for a first race at this distance, but with all the running I usually do anyway, it is doable. I was particularly pleased with the way I’d nailed my splits on those training sessions that called for them. I actually enjoyed the track workouts, not least because I got to try a different track each week. That definitely alleviated any boredom from having to run on the same track over and over.
The morning of race day started out sunny, which was nice for the half marathoners who started earlier. But by the time the 5k started, it clouded over. It was also slightly humid, which is not usual for Vancouver.
We were warned just before the race started that there are a few tight corners, and that proved true. But it also got really narrow in places, so there was more jostling than usual for the start of the race. I was also surprised to pass a couple of walkers very early; they obviously didn’t hear the message about starting from the back of the pack. Just when that first kilometre couldn’t have been any more crazy, one of my shoelaces came undone.
Once I passed the 1-km marker, everything settled down and I gradually picked up speed. I did record kilometre spilts based on where the markers were placed, but when I looked at them, the markers don’t seem to be in right places. The split after km 4 clearly wasn’t right, as it was more than 5:30. By that point, the 5k merged with the half marathon route so that both events went toward the same finish line. Just like in the first kilometre, there was weaving in the last kilometre.
I crossed the finish line with a chip time of 24:52. I’m surprised at my overall placing; I think it’s the first time I’ve finished in the top 100 in any race! The time is definitely under 26 minutes, which was my stated goal, but to go under 25 minutes is a great achievement. It’s a tough challenge to race it, and I’d definitely do it again. For now, I’m taking it easy until I train again for the Okanagan Half Marathon in October.
Today is the first day of a very brief training cycle. I am 5 weeks away from racing the 5 km event at the Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon. Believe it or not, this will actually be my first ever 5 km race.
Based on recent performance on other race distances, I could break 25 minutes for the 5k distance. However, I’ll be training instead to go under 26:00. I think it’s a realistic challenge, especially considering the short span of time in which to train. I adapted a program that was published last year in an issue of Runner’s World. The miles-to-km pace conversion was a pain, but I think I calculated the appropriate paces for the various workouts.
There isn’t much of a change from the last training cycle as there is one day for tempo, one day for intervals, and a long run done over goal race pace. Given my current runemployment status, and allowing for nice spring weather, I’m hoping to increase the number of my runs per week from three to four; a fifth day can be used for an easy run or cross-training. Do you think my approach will work, both for a first-time 5k, and the short period of time to train for it?
Before I tell you about what happened during the race, let me catch you up with what has happened in my training.
I more or less followed the Furman FIRST program all the way through. Without a GPS watch to track instant paces, I found myself running slightly faster than I should be during the weekend long runs.
With six weeks until race day, I ran the Spring Run-off 8k, and broke my PB at the distance. I felt really strong throughout, and finished fast in the last kilometre despite a sustained uphill. This performance definitely gave me a boost in the final stages of training.
The morning of race day was unusually warm for Vancouver, and this was for a 7:00am start for the half marathon. The temperature at that time was around 15°C (59°F). Given the conditions, I brought a water bottle and some extra gels with me, and resolved to take it easy in the early sections of the race. My goal was still to break two hours.
I don’t know if I took my advice too seriously, or if it was the slight uphill that marked the start of the race, but the 1st kilometre was run around 6:30 (10:27/mi). I did gain pick up the pace on the downhill toward the Cambie Bridge (taking care to control the descent), but the warm spring day was really felt on the bridge deck; without any buildings to provide shade, it was the first real test racers had to endure.
I reached the 5 km marker just under my target time, so I was surprised given the first kilometre. The downtown and Yaletown segment was tougher than I expected: long stretches of uphill, uneven pavement, and constant turns. But I got to the halfway point just over one hour, which put me in a good position provided I could nail the negative split.
The second half was along Beach Avenue, into Stanley Park and out to the finish line on Pender Street. The shade provided by the trees definitely helped with keeping things cool the rest of the way. There were some hills here too, notably on Pipeline Road; I considered that the make-or-break part of the course in terms of a strong finish.
The last 600 metres were run on Pender, and despite the early hour, the crowds were there, 4 or 5 deep, cheering us on for a strong finish. I thought it was great to see everyone there, and the atmosphere was electric as I crossed Bute Street and the finish line.
My chip time was 1:59:02. Considering the morning heat, I was totally happy with my performance. I feel the training paid off, and that I’m in a position to challenge my personal best of 1:57, which I’ll likely do this fall.
The half marathon was capped at 10,000 runners, and despite the corral system, I felt that I had run with most of those 10,000 the whole way. There just weren’t many areas where runners spread out. This was clear in the water stations; I had to stop dead a few teams in order to weave around other runners pulling out with their water.
The race directors do get some props on placing the bag pickup mere metres from the finish line, instead of the long slog to the convention centre last year. (At least it was long for me, considering how I finished the marathon in 2012.)
So far, 2013 is turning out to be a good year for running, and with at least three more races the rest of the year, I hope that it gets better.
It’s been a while since I’ve posted here, but I’m taking the opportunity of the new Family Day holiday here in British Columbia and put something new on the blog.
You can see on the sidebar on the right my race schedule so far. My current training cycle is for this year’s BMO Vancouver Half Marathon. I’ve also signed up for a series of races ranging in distance from 5k to 10k. Apart from the annual 8k Spring Run-off, 5k and 10k races are quite lacking in my schedule. In fact, this year’s Scotiabank 5k is the first race I’ll run in that distance.
For my current training, I’m using the Furman FIRST plan, with slight adaptations. One of them involves the weekend long run. Over the 16 weeks of training, I’m gradually increasing the distance at which I’d be running at a pace that is slightly over goal race pace, instead of running the full distance at that pace. It’s been a few years since I attempted long runs with some race pace in it, and with the intensity involved in this program, I do need a few kilometres of easy running.
The Furman plan recommends including cross-training on one, maybe two, days that I’m not running. As it’s one of the goals I set for myself this year, it’s something I haven’t done yet in this cycle, but hopefully I can squeeze some in before the race in May.