Thursday, May 1, 2014

Surviving My First 10km Race

Ever since I can remember, my friends have been asking me to join the Vancouver Sun Run each year and each year I have laughed and said "No." Why would I pay to run when i can run outside for free on my own? This year was different though, as I wanted to run to support my father-in-law's health and fitness goals. I didn't train like crazy ahead of time (I think I only trained twice) but I also knew I wanted to at least try to run the whole 10km straight to see how I do.

The morning started off in a big crazy crowd in the heart of downtown. People of all ages, all races, and all fitness levels came together for this community event. The energy level was high with live bands playing on almost every street corner before the start line… some people were dancing, others were singing along, and everyone looked excited to be there. 

I started to get butterflies in my stomach the closer we got to the starting line. Could i really do this? Will i make it to the finish line without stopping? The first few km's were a breeze although a few km's in, the race route became narrow which meant that there was less space for runners to run. I must've ran a total of 11-12km just trying to weave through people who were walking, sightseeing, and taking selfies. 

Just before the 5km mark, there was a hill. I was warned about this hill before the race but I decided that I would not stop to walk or take it easy up the hill, so i sprinted. That was the first time I really felt tired and started to worry about making it to the finish line. I guess the organizers knew that at around this point is when runners may start to get tired or discouraged so this was when I started to see encouraging and funny signs:

"your feet hurt from kicking so much ass"
"run faster, i just farted"
"remember, you paid for this"

My toes were starting to hurt at this point and I really wanted to drink a ton of water but I also didn't want to have any "accidents" so i pushed on,  my smile getting bigger each time I passed a km marker. 

After the 9km mark, I distracted myself by planning what my "crossing the finish line" pose would be. Should I jump? Should I have an intense face? happy face? It ended up being a fail because I was expecting a balloon arch or something grand at the finish line but there was only a banner... so I didn't really know if that was the finish line or not, thus, i didn't have time to prepare my pose! This will do. 

I clocked in at 1 hour and 12 minutes! Not amazing, but not bad for my first time and I'm proud to say that I didn't stop at all for the whole 10 km. It's true what they say about it being a mental game. I hope nobody noticed me pep talking myself because there was lots of that going on especially between the 7km to 10km mark.

"You can do it, Kym" 
"Don't stop, Kym"
"One step closer to lunch, Kym"

The race ended at BC Place with a live band and tons of food vendors set-up, giving away free food like chocolate milk, fruit juices, power bars, bagels, and fruits. 

Would I do it again? Probably. As much as running is not my activity of choice, I want to see how much better I can do next year. And maybe next year, they'll still have bananas left at the finish line.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Me vs. Running

It's no secret. I hate running and I will admit that I'm terrible at it - my endurance sucks and I can't even run in a straight line. The last time I ran "long distance" was in 2009 when a friend convinced me to run a half marathon with her... I quit halfway through training. Somehow, I found myself running today to prepare for my first 10km next month. Here's how I got sucked in peer pressured into it:

For the last two years, my father-in-law has been working hard for a healthier lifestyle. He has since gone from size 46 jeans to wearing size 32 jeans and has made it his goal to run a marathon. When he asked my husband, sister-in-law, and I to run with him at the annual Vancouver Sun Run, I decided to take on the challenge. Besides, if a 60+ year old man can do it, what excuse do I have? This afternoon, I laced up my running shoes and went outside to see how far I could go without stopping. I decided that 3km would be a good goal.
I turned my phone's GPS on and started to track my activity on RunKeeper
RunKeeper LadyTime: five minutes. Distance: zero point seven kilometres
Me: omg, that's it? that's all?

I kept running and was determined to reach my 3km goal without stopping. At 3km, I started to think... this isn't so bad, i still have some left in me. So I kept running. 4km arrived and I thought...five sounds like a nicer number... so i kept running. At 5km, I was getting into my groove and felt like I could still keep going. I just distracted my mind with thoughts about the delicious dinner that was waiting for me. 6km rolled around and I thought... i can't believe i reached 6! I can still keep going... 7 would be a nicer number. *pant* *pant* *pant* I was singing along in my head to the music blasting in my ear *areeeee you gonnnnnnaaaa -------- The music stopped. My phone died. I was pretty upset that I couldn't track my distance anymore especially since I was getting into a groove for 7km but the other part of me was happy it was over. 

As you can see, my pace started getting worse towards the end but i'm just happy I kept going! Now back to the barbells...

Do you enjoy running?

Monday, January 6, 2014

Winter Hiking Date at Capilano Canyon

Hiking in zero degree weather? Why not! Yesterday, my husband and I decided to do something new to get out of the house. Since we both work from home, we spend most of the week cooped up inside and rarely get to enjoy the outdoors away from the city. We decided on Capilano Canyon since the website mentioned many things to see along the hike, including the Cleveland Dam and a salmon hatchery. But really, the main reason we picked it was because it was labeled "easy" :P

" of Vancouver's main sources of drinking water and the area to the north of the dam is off limits to people."
There were very few people around which was nice and quite a change from hiking in the summer where trails are packed with hikers and tourists. In the beginning, I did get paranoid though. There was nobody around except for a lone "hiker" in front of us, not dressed in hiking gear, and........ hiking backwards, facing us. I started thinking about all the hiking tragedies in the news last year and one particular one that I read about just that morning. As my imagination starts to run wild, the mystery backwards hiker disappears into the woods and we see more people ahead of us. Phewwwwf!
At the salmon hatchery - admission is free and there are picnic tables around... a nice place to take a break in the middle of your hike.

After an hour and a half, we were back to where we started. It was still too early to catch the sunset but we got great views of the mountains and the sun peeking through the trees. I hurried back to the car as my milk tea with pearls was waiting for me for the hour drive back home. 

I realized that we are so blessed to have access to all of this - fresh air, hiking trails, tall trees, mountains, lakes, and more - that we should take advantage of it more often. Here's to more outdoor activities in 2014!

What would you like to do more of in 2014?