Pace Bunny VHM 10k Recap

Over the past four years (minus 2016), I’ve paced the Valley Harvest Marathon 10k – 1:10 finish time. Pacing a race is an experience that is hard to explain to others.

I was really hoping to pace VHM this year but there was no pacing group organizing pace bunnies. Less then two weeks prior to race day, former pace bunnies received an email saying that True North Pacing (new group) was looking for bunnies, so I quickly replied YES PLEASE!  I wasn’t really sure I wanted to run the 10 k on my own since I was really supposed to be doing a 18 km long run as part of my half training. So when the opportunity came up to pace, I jumped at it.

I was lucky enough to be the 1:10 pace bunny for the 10 k. Knowing that this coming weekend I have my half marathon I’ve been training for, pacing a 10 k would be enough for my body. It was also Thanksgiving weekend (in Canada), so I planned to cook a turkey and roasted butternut squash for my vegan husband.

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Race Day!

I hardly slept and this seems to be a night-before-race-day-theme along with dealing with a head cold. The head cold was easy to deal with but lack of sleep just isn’t fun. Pushing both of those things aside, I got up and out the door and off to Acadia University. There were multiple events: wheelchair, ultra, full, half, 10 k and 5 k. As each race started, the crowds grew a little bigger. It was a little on the chilly side, around 7 C (44 F).

As the bunnies lined up, I met a few people that wanted to run with me, exciting!!! The gun went off and we moved forward a little, only to be stopped before the start line. As I passed over the starting line, I turned on my Green Garmin (Forerunner 10) and then my 230. Yes, I use two Garmin’s! I like how easy it is to set up my Forerunner 10 to keep me on pace but I wanted to have my 230 on to track my current pace.

My plan was to run between 6:55 and 7 minute per km to keep us on track for a 1:10 finish time. We went out a little fast but I managed to slow it down and have the first km in 6:58. I chatted with runners, warned them of pot holes and upcoming water stations, along with hills either up or down. Most know the route though.

The wind picked up as we crossed over the Dyke Road/358 hwy and my bunny ears moved slowly backwards but never fell off. I’d see each bunny that was ahead of me with their pack of runners pass by. I also saw friends running their race which is always exciting and motivating. There is magic in the motivation of seeing other pace bunnies that just paints a permanent smile on your face. At least, that’s how I felt running as a True North Pace Bunny.

We hit the turn around point and it was mainly flat until a big long hill before a gas station. I had to keep my pace no matter what so I kept trekking along up that hill and passed a few people all while encouraging them and telling them I’d see them at the top.

Hennigar’s Hill was next…down then up. This can be a hard point in the race for many, it has been for me before. Down we went, me keeping the same pace and runners taking advantage of doing down a little faster. I caught up to some people and pushed up Hennigar’s Hill feeling pretty good.

As we neared the 2k mark, two women looked back and me and in shock let out a “oh no” and sped up – it made me laugh quite a bit as I knew they wanted to finish before me. I also had a man say that he was following me for a while, lost me and found me again. He then went far ahead of me and finished strong. I had one gentleman running with me for most of the run and he was great company. I hope to run with him again with a local running group.

We climbed the last incline and into the stadium and I thought I was 2 minutes under (but wasn’t) so I slowed my pace down a bit more while running around the soft track. As I encourage my group of runners to go for it and they all did. I crossed the finish line in 1:10:06.

Though I was over by six seconds, I was pretty proud and happy that I accomplished what I committed to doing.  I high-fived a few runners, grabbed some water, dropped off my medal into my bag and ate a banana. After that, I headed back out tackle Hennigar’s Hill again.

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A number of pace bunnies went back out to help other runner’s up Hennigar’s Hill – the last BIG hill. I think I ran up it 7-8 times before I felt too cold to run anymore and ran back with a group of women. They were running fast and were super motivating! It felt good to run with a small group of fierce women. I didn’t want to intrude on their run but also wanted to encourage them along the way as I ran back. As they circled the track, I ran directly to the finish line and finished 7 k for a total of 17 k for the day.

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I still don’t know how to explain how it feels to be a pace bunny, other then it’s hugely motivating, inspiring and awesome experience for me. I hope to pace a few more races next year with True North Pacing. And yes, then went home, cooked a turkey dinner, filled my belly with WAY to much food and desert and enjoyed the evening with my family. Full heart, happy body and my soul filled immensely on Thanksgiving weekend.

Have you ever ran with a pace bunny?

Anyone else race last weekend or this weekend coming?

Past pacing 1:10 – 10k: 

  • 2015: 1:09:59
  • 2017: 1:09:37
  • 2018: 1:10:06

Thanks True North Pacing and Valley Harvest for another great event! I don’t blog daily but you can follow me over on Instagram. I’ll be running the PEI Half Marathon this Sunday!!!

 

 

Half Marathon Update & Pacing VRM!

Though I haven’t been blogging about my half marathon training – I’m now 2 weeks out from my 7th half marathon in PEI!! Also, I literally had to go through my blog to figure out how many half marathon’s I’ve run to date.

Training

My training has been going really well. I’ve managed to log almost all my miles and surprisingly in September, most of those miles had me running at 5 or 6 am before my family was even up. September was the month of morning miles and I loved it! It’s starting to get a little colder and my early morning motivation is starting to dwindle.

October is off to a slow start with no running as of yet. I played three games of soccer over the weekend (we won the tournament and I scored a goal!!) so I took Monday off to rest. And rest I did. I was in bed last night at 8:49 pm – lights out! I’m coming down with a head cold which really sucks timing wise. I just feel lousy and have an 8 k run on tap for today. I’m really unsure if I’ll run at all today. Any tips on getting better quickly?

From runners to cleats!

Runner Soccer

Pacing!

On a more exciting note…….. I’m pacing the 1:10 – 10k at Valley Harvest Marathon again!!!!! I’m a wee bit excited as this is my favourite distance/time to pace! This will be my third time pacing this distance and race. I’ll be running with “True North Pacing”. They are the pacing group the came together recently to provide pacers for this race. Can’t wait!

Also – I’m looking forward to Thanksgiving dinner this weekend (Canadian Thanksgiving). After I pace my 10 k and help out a bit more I’ll be heading home to cook up a turkey and a roasted butternut squash for the vegan husband.

Anyone running Valley Harvest this weekend?

Favourite Thanksgiving dish?

Best advice to get rid of a head/throat cold? (Vit C, honey, garlic, sleep – what else). 

Don’t forget, you can follow me over on Instagram – I post there almost daily.

Valley Harvest 10k Pace Bunny Recap ’17

Where to start? I had an absolute blast running this race. I was pacing the 1:10 pace (7:00 minute/km) and enjoyed every minute of it!

I started the day pretty early at 5:15am and snuck the dog out of the house for a quick pee without waking up the whole family. THIS was a big mother runner win! I needed a little time to wake up, change into my running gear but managed to get out the door about 6:08. With no traffic in sight, I made my way to Acadia University and parked on a side street to later avoid crossing runners on their route.

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I met up with with a few runner friends from the city and then got my 1:10 pace sign and bib. It was such a beautiful and WARM day….17c and it wasn’t even 7am at that point! It was a little muggy but still overcast which would later clear and just get hotter. I was able to see Ben Brown take off (Para Track Athlete) for his 10k, the full and half marathon runners start and then it was time for the 10ker’s to line up. We started at 8am.

My running buddy Krystol managed to find me (even with my sign not visible at the time) before we started. I had a few people say that I was their pace bunny or that they wanted to stay between me and Sherry (1:15 bunny). Perfect! As the gun went off we all shuffled forwards only to be halted abruptly as you are at the start of any race. A few laughs later and we were on our way again. Garmin’s chirping all around.

Traditional Pre Race Selfie with Krystol.

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KM: One to Six

We weren’t very far into the first kilometre and I was worried I was running too fast. That first km is always the hardest to run the slowest but when you are a pace bunny you’ve got to be really careful. I slowed my pace down a little and kept moving forward. It was rather quiet during the first few kilometres but a lady in red (sorry, I can’t remember your name) started chatting with me. She had paced races before and asked how my pacing was. I said pretty accurate and she said “oh good”.

After climbing Hennigar’s Hill (on the way out) my pace slowed down a bit but I got it back on track and we were about 15-20 seconds ahead of the 7 minute/km pace. I thought I had missed the bucket to drop my sign in and was trying to decide what to do with it. Do I just drop it and pick it up on my way back, do I run with it the whole time – no???? Eventually, there was a volunteer collecting them and I gladly gave mine over and shook out my upper body.  You know, it’s not easy running with a sign!

Down the hill we went to the first water station where I gladly took some water – it was getting HOT! It was extremely flat at this point and runners (50 minute pace bunny) were coming on the opposite side of the road. I always love seeing super fast runners. I enjoyed a few conversations with some runners and made the turn around at the 5k mark. I started to lose a few runners who wanted to finish between 1:05 and 1:10. The sun was blasting on our faces at this point and occasional gusts of wind would stir up and push against us. Luckily another pace bunny (Greg) reminded me of this at the start and I was prepared.

After the wind, we hit the water station again (yes please). We then climbed the hill by the Irvin gas station which I think is the hardest one on runners. The location and the incline and really can get you and as a continuous pace bunny, there was no stopping. I just kept going but slowed down my pace slightly, cheered on those running or walking and made my way up the hill to recover at the top with a slow pace before picking it up again.

KM: Six – Ten.

As I mentioned, I lost a few runners at this point – they either picked up their pace or dropped behind me but I always had small groups of people near by. We had half marathon’s zoom by us which was amazing!

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Back towards Hennigar’s hill – the last major hill to climb – I again, just kept moving forward and encouraged other runners. From there it was smooth sailing at a nice and steady pace. Towards the last kilometre there is a long incline that most people forget about or don’t realise they still need to run UP before entering the track. As we got to the top I was a little worried I was too fast for my time but managed to smooth it out a bit.

The track is like heaven on your body at the end of this race. The pounding on the pavement vs pounding on the nice soft track is like night and day. I managed to find my running buddy and kept going to the finish line.

One ear up!

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I crossed in 1:09:37 out of my 1:10 pace time! I’m pretty happy with my time though there is a little part of me that wished I was closer to the 1:10 like I did two years ago (1:09:59). I had a blast!  I had a few runners come up and thank me for pacing them which was awesome. To know that you did the job that was expected of you during the race is pretty darn sweet.

I guzzled a bottle of water, stretched and grabbed a cookie and banana before heading back out again. WHAT? Yes, that’s right. Most of the pace bunnies when back out on the course to help other runners in. This was a whole other experience.

Post race….happy runners!

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Pacing others.

Though my race pace duties were done, I went back on the course and cheered on the runners. You know sometimes that little boost is all a runner needs. I saw some runner friends and lots of people I didn’t know. I came across this lady (which I never got her name) but she wasn’t feeling great and just done. So we walked together for a bit and then ran and walked some more. She had run a half marathon the week before (amazing, eh!!!!) but just wasn’t feeling great during this half.

We talked a bit more and made our way into the stadium on that sweet soft track where we walked again. I took her water belt as it didn’t seem to be comfortable for her, so I figured I could carry it and she’d feel a little better. She made her way to the finish line and I stayed with her for a bit. This was probably the best part of pacing – helping a complete stranger finish her half marathon when I believe, all she wanted to do was stop. I wish I would have gotten her name as I’d love to connect with her to see how she made out.

I went back out a few more times and some runners where really having a hard time with the heat. I reminded them to slow their breathing down along with their pace and ran them through to the finish area. There is nothing better then the finish line at a race. To see the faces of all the runners (the fastest to the slowest) is amazing. The blood, sweat and tears that have gone into all that training and their final run – a great accomplishment achieved!

I’ve had a few people say “how do you pace a race?”. Well, you run your run. You trust yourself (practice your pace). You use a Garmin or two like me. You do the math in your head constantly and focus on the other runners not yourself. In the end, you cross the finish line when you cross the finish line and more then likely if you’ve done your job right, you crossed as close to your finish time as possible.

Eventually, I had to leave to get back to my family and make the trip to the city for Thanksgiving dinner with my larger family. That meal was THE BEST MEAL EVER! I ate so much and then crashed hard at 9pm. My body was done!

A big hats off to all the pace bunnies with White Rabbit Pacing last weekend. They all did amazing! I’m looking forward to pacing again next year.

How was your weekend/Thanksgiving?

Anyone race? 

Love hot races in the fall or hate them?

 

 

Pacing It Up at Valley Harvest Marathon

Only a few days away until the Valley Harvest Marathon oh, AND Thanksgiving Weekend! You know there is nothing better then a good run (race) and then eating all the Thanksgiving food you can!

Sunday, I’ll be lacing up my runners and pacing the 1:10 – 10k (and eating later that day). Two years ago I was lucky enough to pace my first ever race with White Rabbit Pacing at Valley Harvest Marathon. I ran the 10k  – 1:10 finish and finished in 1:09:59. You can read about how it went here.

I may have had a lot of fun!
Finish photo at Valley Harvest marathon Pace Bunny

Valley Harvest Marathon is a great local event and it’s celebrating it’s 25th year!!!! I’m excited to be apart of White Rabbit Pacing again and hoping I manage to finish in one hour and ten minutes.

Pacing for me is a way to help other runners accomplish their goals. It’s a way of meeting new runners. A way of contributing to the running community – and local community at that.  I plan to wear my tutu and bunny ears again, fingers crossed the weather holds out!

1:10 – 10k Plan

My plan is to run a continuous pace of 6:55 – 7:00 per kilometre (not 10/1’s) to ensure that we finish in 1:10. Below is roughly the pace I’ll be aiming for – give or take a few seconds on the few hills and to recover.

  • 1km – 6:55
  • 2km – 13:50
  • 3km – 20:45
  • 4km – 27:40
  • 5km – 34:35
  • 6km – 41L30
  • 7km – 48: 25
  • 8km – 55:20
  • 9km – 1:02:15
  • 10km 1:09:10

So if you are running the Valley Harvest 10k this weekend and wanting to finish under 1:10 or around it – come find me. Introduce yourself and let me know what time you are wanting to finish in (well before me or with me). I’m really looking forward to having people to run with but also having people reach their goals and finish before 1:10 as well.

You can pick me out in the crowd!

And maybe one of my ears 😉

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Good luck to all those running Valley Harvest this weekend! And good luck to all those eating Thanksgiving dinners – don’t forget your stretchy pants!!! Check back on Tuesday for an update on my run as Monday I’ll be recovering from eating all the food 🙂 Or you can follow me over on Instagram for some updates.

Have you ever paced a race before?

Have you ever used a pace bunny (pacer) to finish in a certain time?

Have you ever avoided a pacer to finish in a certain time? (I have!)

Happy (Canadian) Thanksgiving this weekend! 

Pace Bunny Adventures & Thanksgiving!

Drum roll…………..I’m running my first race of the year Sunday morning! Eeekkk, I’m kinda of excited and nervous all at the same time. I’m hoping by pacing the 10k (1:10 finish) I will shake out any nerves I have for the following weekend’s half marathon in PEI. Fingers crossed.

Pace Bunny 10k VHM WRP

I even went for a few practice runs this week! Wednesday I tried to follow a 6:45 minute/km pace but was all over the map and didn’t set my Garmin correctly. Thanks to some awesome tutorials I found online, I managed to sort out my Garmin for Thursday’s RUNCH.

I finished a morning meeting and stopped by my house for lunch…well, to run and eat lunch as quickly as possible before returning to work. I was planning to run at 6:50 minute/km and managed 6:48 minute/km…not too shabby, eh! I even picked up a stick (no lie) and ran with it for about a km. Why? Well, I have to run with a sign for the first 5km. It’s a little sign that reads my distance and pace/finish time and it’s on a little wooden doweling. Don’t worry, I dropped the stick when I saw someone coming in the opposite direction 😉

What I’m excited for this weekend?

  • Watching both of my girls run their races: Hilary’s first 400m and Lilly’s 3rd time running this race but 800m this time.
  • Being with my little family and bigger family.
  • Enjoying the local running community over the weekend.
  • Pacing others to a 1:10 finish.

As mentioned, Lilly’s run the Valley Harvest Kids run in 2013 and 2014She’s super pumped. I will more than likely run the 400m with Hilary as she’s a little younger than when Lilly ran it on her own the first time. I’m cool with that, twist my arm 😉 I took them to see the track last weekend so Hilary would understand where she would be running. 

What I’m nervous about?

  • Pacing others to a 1:10 finish or faster 🙂

My goals are:

  • Run with Hilary and cheer on Lilly.
  • Encourage those around me to push their pace if they are struggling and to push those ahead of me that are feeling strong and want to finish before me.
  • Finish as close to 1:10 as I can.
  • EAT ALL THE FOOD SUNDAY AFTERNOON!

Thanksgiving:

I have a lot to be thankful for though it may appear on my blog that I haven’t been the happiest camper lately. I’ll be honest, life isn’t easy … BUT, what you make of it is up to you. It’s been a long year injured and a long 2 years being a part-time single parent (and no, it’s not easy on my husband either).

I’m thankful my husband and I have jobs, that our girls are healthy, that they test our patients, that they accomplish new things (biking, swimming, saying full sentences, writing words etc.). I’m thankful for where I live and the friends I’ve made since we moved here roughly 8 years ago.

I’m thankful for an amazing running community; online, offline, local, in Timberlea and Halifax. I’ve learned a lot from blogging, twitter chat groups like RunATCan. I’ve been humbled by comments and brought to tears often by the kind things people have said to me as I’ve struggle with my hamstring and more recently my foot.

Though things are HARD at times, most of all I feel lucky for all that I have in my life.

So, to all those Canadians celebrating Thanksgiving this weekend – I hope you have a lovely long weekend with your family, your friends and your neighbours.

Oh, and if you want to see how all the races go….check me out on Instagram.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Good luck to all those running this weekend at the Valley Harvest & Chicago Marathon!

What are you thankful for?

What are your Thanksgiving plans?

Anyone racing this weekend?