Saturday, March 28, 2009

Race Report: Dave Reed Spring Classic 5K

Race Route at Stanley Park
(Photo Courtesy of Vancouver Falcons Athletic Club)
The Spring Classic was renamed this year in honour of a fellow runner, Dave Reed (1954-2008) who passed away last year after succumbing to a staph infection. I never knew him, but by all accounts Dave was an enthusastic and talented runner with a zest for life who was taken too soon. There are a lot of tributes to Dave Reed online at on the blog. Here's a quote about Dave's running by George Gluppe I found at the latter site:

"While Dave was a good runner when he was young, he didn't really blossom until he became a master and he was more dedicated to the track. He ran a lot of top-quality races, producing a 2.00 min 800 at age 40.He also ran superb mile races on the road, He was a graceful smooth runner and a great competitor.

The race itself started more or less on time at 9am on the seawall in Stanley Park right next to the water park (which is closed for the season). The first mile starts on an uphill climb as the route cuts across the park, past the Aquarium, and to the Coal Harbour side. The bulk of the race thereafter takes place along the seawall. Some interesting sights you run by are the Totem Poles, the 9 o'clock gun, the statue of Canadian sprinting champion, Harry Jerome, and the lighthouse.
As far as my race went, I had the idea of going out pretty fast, finding a sustainable, yet challenging pace, and saving enough energy for a good push the last half mile or so. As it went, my first mile was my fastest (7:55), my second mile was pretty fast (8:10)...And after that I sort of lost some of my enthusiasm. When I looked up at the clock reading 24:52 I knew I wouldn't make it under 25. My final time was 25:17, putting me 6th in my division, 157th overall.
This was a well organized event with a good turnout. You can't beat the scenery and there was also a generous spread of home-made cookies and other treats to help restore one's spirits after the race.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Rave Run 02: Pemberton Airport Road

And now for something COMPLETELY different....Last week I took you along with me on one of my favourite downtown Vancouver routes, False Creek. Well, last weekend, like EVERY weekend (almost) we were in Pemberton. The town is located about 20 minutes up the highway from the ski resort of Whistler Blackcomb, where we ski our butts off all winter. But now that the roads are more passable I feel safe running on them again and decided to take some snapshots along one of my fave running routes so I could share a bit of the history and natural beauty of the area.
(Mile 1 - Highway 99)
Before I get to the quiet and almost traffic-free, "Pemberton Airport Road", I have to run along the shoulder of Highway 99 for about half a mile. It's not too bad now that the snow's gone. In the dead of winter the shoulder is narrow and if you're unlucky enough to be passed by a snowplough or sanding truck you have to jump out of the way.
(Mile 2 - Horses at Pemberton Airport Road)
This is the "Adventure Ranch" where last summer myself and two friends went for a trail ride. My horse was the white one, "Merlin". He's super nice. You should try to get him if you ever go riding in Pemberton.
(Mile 2 - Mount Currie)
Why is it called Mount Currie? You might have guessed by the spelling it has nothing to do with Indian spices. And, no, there is no Mount Vindaloo in the area as far as I know. No, Mount Currie is named after a Scottish settler (John Currie) who established a farm in the area after a failed attempt to find his fortune during the Gold Rush of the 1850's. Ther's also a First Nations settlement by the same name nearby.

(Mile 3 - Lillooet River)

Pemberton Aiport Road is named aptly, as it is the home to a bunch of aviation-related businesses and organizations. The airport itself is tiny. There are no regularly scheduled flights and there aren't a lot of buildings on the site. In the winter the airport is closed, but if you want to land your private plane there you can phone ahead and someone will clear the snow off the runway for a very reasonable (!) fee. If you want to see the valley and mountains from the air, you can also charter a sighseeing trip or go heli-skiing from Pemberton Helicopters. Pemberton Soaring Center also offers sightseeing tours in their gliders. Of course, there's also the Fire Attack Base. The region is very hot and dry in the summer so wildfires sometimes need to be tackled with planes.

(Mile 4 - Bridge over Lillooett River)

There are a lot of horses in the neighbourhood, so you will see signs like these (horse crossing) all over the place. The Lillooett River is named after the St'at'imcets-speaking people who live in the region, the Lil'wat First Nation. The name Lil'wat is the indigenous name for Mt. Currie.

(Mile 4 - View of Mt. Currie from bridge over Lillooett River)

(Mile 5 - Yet another view of Mt. Currie)

(Mile 5 - View of a someone's country estate with some mountains)

Sorry, I do not know who's estate this is, but it's very nice and they have a lot of fancy cars. The mountain in the foreground MIGHT be Sugar Loaf Mountain, but I can't be sure. I need a better map with all of the peaks clearly indicated.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Rave Run 01: False Creek

Tuesday night I decided to take my camera along on my usual 5 mile run. The route I like to take starts in Yaletown, and follows the seawall along the waterfront of False Creek, which is actally an inlet of the Pacific Ocean and not a creek at all. It's a nice run for the scenery and it's great to run on a path where you don't have to worry about cars or traffic lights. The area around False Creek was still an industrial zone only 25 years ago and was also the site of the World's Fair in 1986. It was a beautiful evening and I think I captured a lot of why I love this route.
(Mile 1 - Yaletown)

(Mile 1 - Kyakers in False Creek)

A little while after I took this shot I ran across the Burrard Bridge, leaving the downtown peninsula and heading into Kitsilano. I then ran past the Molson Brewery and ended up back on the seawall on the opposite side of False Creek than where I started.

(Mile 2 - Entrance to Granville Island)
Granville Island, which is not an island at all but rather a peninsula, is federally owned land housing a Public Market, an art school, a lot of sailing centers, and artisan studios.
(Mile 3 - View from Fairview across the water to Yaletown)
There are a few sailboats anchored in this part of False Creek where people basically live as squatters. There's even a blog about them called "Water Squatters", here's a link:
(Mile 3 -Highrise residential condos in Yaletown, most of which were built after 2000)
(Mile 5 - Cambie Bridge)
I stopped here for a few minutes to observe a dragonboat team practicing along with some kyakers and a speedboat. The mid-rise buildings you can see on the upper right are part of the Athletes Village, which is under construction for the 2010 Olympics. The silver golf ball in the middle of the shot is Science World, which includes an Omnimax Theatre (a round, surround screen where they show films, usually of a scientific nature)

(Mile 5 - Heading back across the Cambie Bridge toward Yaletown)

Run Log: 2009 March 2 (The Future)

Note: For further information on the futuristic and totally hypothetical gadgets mentioned in this post click on the words highlighted with capital letters and pink font I finally had a good run on Tuesday night after a week of not feeling like running. I had shaky start though. I had to walk about 5 blocks in the freezing cold waiting for my GARMIN 405 to find satellites. Finally, satellites were all synched up and I started my run. I pressed "play" on my IPOD NANO and listened to the latest episode of my favourite running PODCAST. I felt very calm and relaxed and was able to forget the stress of the day at work. There was a beautiful sunset over the Pacific and I was happy I'd stuck my DIGITAL CAMERA in my pocket to take a few snapshots.
About 45 minutes into my run twilight turned to darkness and it became harder to avoid cyclists and puddles. I was happy to have my HEADLAMP, REFLECTIVE clothing, and arm band with little flashing LED LIGHTS on it. Safety first, I always say. My legs felt rested and ready to run fast after the previous week of hardly any running at all. When I finished my run and checked my stats on my Garmin I was happy with my time. I walked toward home, catching my breath and letting my heart rate come down. On my way, I pulled my CELLPHONE out of my running pouch and TWEETED my run data like I usually do, CC'ing my boyfriend Ian so he'd know I was on my way home. Back at our loft I went through my usual post-run stretching routine while logging onto my LAPTOP with a quick FINGERPRINT SWIPE. I plugged the MEMORY STICK from my camera into my computer and started downloading the sunset pictures I'd taken. I filed them and then uploaded them to my "Miscellaneous Running Pics" FLICKR album. Then I went to my BUCKEYE OUTDOORS account and recorded my running data on my training log and read the recent updates by some of my fellow BAD GIRLS OF RUNNING. I was tempted to go to FACEBOOK and see what some of my friends and fellow runners were up to, but Ian was grumbling (something about "computerzilla"). So I turned off the computer. I'd have to update my BLOG another day...