Weekend Adventures: My First Ride & Volunteering at the BMO Vancouver Marathon

Friday, April 29

Altra Running had a booth at the BMO Vancouver Marathon expo and I decided to volunteer there Friday after work. I have never worked a booth before but it was a lot of fun! It’s easy when you are promoting a product you use almost every day and love. Not everyone wants to talk to vendors, but quite a few people did – especially those who already know and love Altra! I even met some Twitter friends including Jarod, Corrina, and Chaminda who stopped by to say hi!

If you ever see an Altra booth set up, go and try some on!!! It’s a great chance to find out your size in the various models even if you have no intention of buying new shoes at the time. Altras can sometimes be difficult to find the model/size you want in a local store, if you know your size it’s much easier to order online! But make sure to tell your favourite stores to stock them too.

Saturday, April 30

I finally took the lightly used road bike I bought off a friend last fall to the shop to get tuned up during the week. On Saturday morning, my friends took me for my first ride and showed me the ropes! Obviously, I’ve ridden a bike before although not much over the last few years. It was a little intimidating.

Dayna loaned me a cycling jersey and shorts so I looked like a pro. Everyone one taught me some dos, don’ts, hand signals, and how to ride as a pack. They took me on some less busy roads so I didn’t have to freak out about traffic as much.

I ended up riding about 30 km then heading to the pub with Chris while the others added on more distance. My legs felt pretty good, however, my butt was getting pretty sore and I didn’t want to totally destroy it the first time out.

Sunday, May 1

After running the BMO Vancouver Marathon the last two years, I decided to sit this one out. I still wanted to be a part of the event (especially since the forecast was good) so I volunteered for VanRun’s Hawaiian-themed water station at third beach, approximately 34 km into the course. I dragged Kyle along with me.

In the morning, we took the SkyTrain to Burrard Station and then ran about 4.5 km around the seawall to third beach. The seawall was already closed for the event so it was like having VIP access. It was eerily empty.

We helped set up and then waited excitedly for the first runners to appear in the distance. I somehow managed to be front and centre as the lead runners went by us. One even took the Ultima electrolyte drink from me and went on to win the marathon! That’s kind of exciting for my first water station experience!

Not all water hand-offs were successful and I had at least a few fails …

Kyle and I stayed until the last runners were through. There were definitely some people suffering in the heat and I’m sure more than a few were not going to hit their goal time. But at that point, as long as they kept moving they would finish! I’ve been in that position before and it’s not fun. Not only does your body hurt, but so does your ego.

We grabbed lunch at a nearby pub with my friend Steve. By the time I got home, I was not feeling well. Ironically, don’t think I drank enough while busily handing out water for hours. I ended up with a fever of 105 but was able to cool down to a simmering 101 quickly with Tylenol and a cold shower. I wasn’t able to eat much for about 24 hours and had to take the Monday off work.

The first few hours we had been in the shade luckily, however the last few hours we were in direct sun. I didn’t notice being dehydrated or particularly hot but I have now learned a valuable lesson about how easy it is to get heat exhaustion. I’ll be much more mindful of that in the future!

Weekend Adventures: Volunteering at 5 Peaks Alice Lake

Saturday, April 16

The 5 Peaks Alice Lake race was only two weeks after my first 100k and since I was still in recovery mode, I decided to volunteer. This way I’d get my fix of running without actually having to race. I have also made a point to volunteer lots this year to make up for not volunteering at all my first few years of running (oops)!

Kyle, Rosie, and I carpooled up to Squamish where we met up with Willa and Chris. We were all course marshals along the extra enduro course loop. Before the race started Kyle and I also helped with the kids 3k event. They always impress me with their speed and endurance! We immediately departed for our course marshaling spots with only mild confusion about where we were supposed to be positioned.

It was fun watching everyone race and I saw lots of people I knew on the enduro loop. Unfortunately, I missed a few that did the sport course. After all the runners were through, we ran out the rest of the route with the sweeps.

Sunday, April 17

See Race Report: Vancouver Sun Run 2016.

Weekend Adventures: Tapering and #AltraEggCellentAdventure

Saturday, March 26

5 Peaks held an orientation run for their Alice Lake race and turned it into a scavenger hunt with over $1200 of prizes, including a few pairs of Altra running shoes as part of the #AltraEggCellentAdventure. They had hid eggs on the course with a number written on them that corresponded to a specific prize. There were two distance options, 9 km and 13 km.

A few of us drove up to Squamish to participate at a leisurely run/hike pace. We were at the back so we weren’t sure whether we would find any eggs. Turns out we found two! I won a 1-hour “fix my form” session at Distance Runwear. I’m excited to find out what I need to work on (I know there’s a lot of room for improvement)!

The race director, Solana, passed us about halfway in, gave Kyle and I bunny ears and masks to wear, and dropped a small trail of chocolate eggs. It turns out that bunny masks can be kind of creepy …

Tons of people participate in the orientation run and it was a blast! There was even an Altra tent with a fleet of demo shoes that runners could opt to wear for the run. I met Paul Romero, founder of Uprise Performance Camps and Altra rep, as well as a few other Altra ambassadors. There were also Ladies of the Trails, November Project Vancouver, West Van Run crew, and of course, We Run Mas representing!

Sunday, March 27

I organized a run on Sunday to support a friend and the restaurant he manages, Chambar, which was hosting a 24-hour fundraiser. From 4pm March 26 to 4pm March 27, 100% of ALL sales benefit Universal Outreach’s anti-poverty honey and beekeeping initiatives in the West African nation of Liberia. Amazing!!

As an Altra ambassador, I also got to stage an #AltraEggCellentAdventure scavenger hunt for a free pair of shoes so I combined the two events.

The run was planned for 5am with breakfast at 6am so as to fill what I figured would otherwise be empty seats because who goes for breakfast that early?? About 20 people had RSVPed as going but I think some people had second thoughts with the early morning wake up combined with less than ideal weather (it was pouring rain) … including myself. “Would it be wrong to bail on your own run? Yes, a thousand times yes. But it’s raining so much!!! Ugh, okay, well my ride will be here in 20 min so I should probably get out of bed.”

Still, about 10 people woke up around 3-4am, many drove from all corners of Metro Vancouver, and met at Chambar at 5am. Four more joined us for breakfast around 6am. I was very impressed!!

We pulled up out front and saw that the restaurant was bumpin’ and there was a small line up outside!! WTF?? The bouncer asked us if we he a reservation as we headed inside to use the bathroom. Yes, we did have a reservation … about an hour later. He let us in and the place was in full blown night club mode.

We waded through the party-ers and people dancing by the DJ to the washrooms. I’m sure everyone in there was as horrified to see us and we were to see them. I’ve never felt so sober in my life! We regrouped at the front of the restaurant, took a selfie, and headed out on our dark, rainy run.

Apparently I hid the egg way too well and posted the more important clue too late. For the record, I did strongly recommend headlamps! Also, I was worried a random person would find it, although in hindsight NO ONE was out walking on the seawall that early! The night before I actually had nightmares that I forgot to hide the egg altogether and ruined the event. It was a restless sleep.

Pam found the egg after checking out some nearby shrubs. Her and her friend Lauren had joined the event not knowing anyone but fit right in with our crazy group! Hopefully we will run again together soon.

We arrived back at the restaurant to find that the lights had been turned up and the drunks had finally gone home. A few people were at our reserved table downstairs including Ward who had run from White Rock to downtown (47.1 km) throughout the night just to have breakfast with us! My husband joined us for breakfast too. I had my doubts whether he would actually get out of bed that early but he did!

Everyone’s meals looked delicious. I ordered three waffles with three different toppings: dark chocolate, salted caramel, and white chocolate pistachio rosewater. They were AH-MAHZ-ING! Seriously, the best waffles I’ve ever had! I need to go back for more soon.