Valley Harvest HALF Marathon Race Recap

To say I was waiting for this day all year-long is an understatement. I knew last fall when I ran the Valley Harvest 5k that in 2014 I wanted to run my 2nd half marathon. It’s been 8 years since I ran my first (2:33:56) and I was ready. I’ve run A LOT of race this year, far more than I ever planned. To say this was the year of good running for me is another understatement; I managed to get numerous Personal Bests in 5k’s, 10k’s and yes my half marathon. It went a little something like this.

On July 21st, I started my training plan and was a little freaked out by the numbers but I did it anyway. I trained on my treadmill while the girls slept at night, I ran during my lunch break and I ran most of my long runs outside when my husband was home with the girls. I probably ran 80-90% of those runs on my own but was really lucky to run a handful of my long runs with Krystol. (She rocked her 1st half marathon at Valley Harvest: 2:03)

Sunday around 3 AM I was up with Hilary and couldn’t get her back to sleep, so in the bed she came. At 5:45 I woke up and put her back in her crib and figured laying in bed for another 15 minutes wasn’t going to do me any good. My parents stayed with the girls and Sai came with me to Acadia University at 7:30. I met up with Krystol, hit up the bathrooms before the crowd and then did a quick warm up outside.

Pre Race Silly VHM

It was cold! Long sleeves and gloves that we later ditched to her husband along the route. The announcements were made and the gun went off…our feet started moving with the crowd and I turned my Green Garmin on as I crossed over the start line.

Off we went into the Town of Wolfville following everyone in front of us, including the 2:00 hour pace bunny. I already made note of the next pace bunny {2:15} as we are friends on Instagram…I told him that I didn’t really want to meet him in person during the race.

3 to 4k VHM Happy runners

Happy delayering runners 🙂 Photo’s by Casey (Krystol’s husband)

I saw my husband and quickly passed him my sunglasses. I don’t know why I wear them as the last two races I ran, I ditched them right away. Again, it was cold and we were running fast: 5:30, 5:31, 5:39, 5:43,5:27. My Green Garmin seemed “off” by .37 of a kilometer as we approach the 1k, 2k and 3k signs. Kyrstol and I were running fast but were good with the pace. I was a little concerned with maintaining that pace as I knew it was going to get hilly.

6-11km: 5:36, 5:30, 5:49, 5:33, 5:44, 5:41

The first hill was easy and the first long incline was rough but we made it through it. Many runners passed us and we passed a few as well. We came to the turn around point which I had never run before and it was rolling HILLS! I ran up and over the first two sets and finally saw the turn around point and said (while pointing with my finger) “WE have to run all the way there?” to Krystol. She laughed and said yes, we do!

PR VHM TimChesnutt Photos

Photo’s by @TimChesnutt (thank you)

12 – 16km: 5:46, 5:51, 6:24, 6:00, 5:57

The turn around point came and I said to Krystol that she might lose me here but we both managed to stay together until the last of the hills in that section. I told Krystol I needed to walk and she was still good to go before the 14k marker. As she pulled away and I walked there was a guy on the side of the road puking …. IT…WAS…AWESOME to hear and SEE (please tell me you’ve read the sarcasm there). So that sound and sight was in my head for a while and it didn’t help that he caught up to me and ran near me for the remainder of the run.

I plowed through the next hill with strong legs and felt pretty good but wasn’t quite ready to push it. Then came the longest, flattest straight stretch of road that one could run on – a causeway/bridge with a long hill at the end. The straight stretch killed me and the hill was easy – go figure! 

17-21km: 6:02, 6:22, 6:31, 6:20, 625, 1:50)

At that point I only had 3-4 k to go but had nothing left in the tank to really push it. All I could think about is maintain your happy pace and you’ll get your happy race in the end. I walked 3-4 times and was able to pace myself with another girl. We would pass each other off and on and say “good job, almost there” each time we could pass each other.

As I was running back into Acadia University, I saw my Dad with his camera on. That made me feel happy and supported. As I ran up the last incline before the beautiful track, my husband was standing there, so relaxed and another smile just plastered across my face. I was able to pick up my pace from there and run the 3/4 of the track to the finish line.


The last few steps….

I did it! 21.33 kilometers = 2:05:10

Yes….not 21.1 but 21.33 km – apparently the course was off a little as everyone’s Garmin’s were off during the course – it wasn’t just me. I have heard that the lead cyclist took the wrong route in the Town at the beginning but it’s yet to be confirmed or times changed.

Am I happy with my run/time? Yes, 100%. Honestly, I was aiming for 2:06 – 2:10 to finish and if I could pull off anything under that it would be amazing! Those last 3 kilometers were the hardest physically but I managed to get through them.

PR VHM Finish photo

I did everything I wanted to do. I ran comfortable.  I took in the scenery. I ran with my running buddy and on my own. I pushed it on those friggin’ hills when all I wanted to do was stop {mind over matter} and I completed my 2nd half marathon.

A new Personal Best by 28:46 

Place: 70/131  (F30-39)

Gun time: 2:05:46

Chip time: 2:05:10 

Pace: 5:58   (5:52 Garmin)

Calories burned: 1586 – looks like I was ready for Thanksgiving dinner AND desert!!!!

Post Race:

The weather was cold at first but warmed up to be a hot sunny mid morning finish. It was perfect. My husband, our girls and my parents all got to see me finish. I stretched on the field for a bit with Krystol and then we went inside for some food. All of a sudden I had this sensation that I HAD TO sit down. I couldn’t talk, walk or be responsible for either of our little munchkins. I made sure someone was with each of the girls and be lined it to the bleachers to sit and eat.  I wasn’t dehydrated or near passing out like last year’s Mud Hero but I sure wasn’t feeling awesome.

medals garmin

After about 20 minutes of sitting, eating and drinking water I was ready to walk to our car. The good news is that I was in good hands and feel kinda lucky that my husband is a Paramedic. Since he knows me best and know’s the signs to look out for after a race, I wasn’t really too worried about my state 🙂

We got home, I showered and stretched while the rest of my family arrived for Thanksgiving dinner! We ate, I rested and then slept while the girls played outside with Grandad {thank you for that too}. That night, we were all in bed by 8pm!

And just like that my 2nd half marathon is done….if you are still reading, thanks 🙂 It’s been an amazing, long, hard, challenging, good 12 weeks and I will say this: I look forward to my next half marathon all ready!

Anyone race last weekend?

Ever run a course and have it be over OR under the expected distance?

What’s the worst you’ve felt like after a run/race?

PR’s, PB’s and PB and J … Let’s Break it Down.

Acronyms are fun. However, in the running world it can get a bit confusing. PR – Personal Record; PB – Personal Best; PB & J – oh wait…that’s Peanut Butter & Jam….nothing to do with running….well, maybe a post run snack!

I’ve had a lot of Personal Bests’ this past year in 5k and 10k runs…during training and in races too. My most recent 5k PB was last night. I was actually dreading the run, kinda trying to avoid it even though as soon as I got home I put on my running gear. That’s right, I cooked and ate dinner in my running gear and then put the girls to bed. Saï is home so I knew I was able to get outside for a run – bonus!

I laced up and after a conversation with my neighbour and I headed out for 7k. I was running fast! I was running strong. I was running tall. I just felt really great on my run so I kept an eye on my time. I knew I would be close to a PB so I pushed each kilometer.


September 9th New 5k PB

According to my Garmin, I got a 14 second PB for 5k. The sixth kilometer was much slower but I managed to run fast durning the last kilometer. It was a perfect evening run!

Six weeks ago….

New 5k Personal Best

6 weeks ago

I’ve come a long way with my running this past year and I’m pretty proud of that.

April 27th


April 10th

New PB Anna

April 4th

NEW PB!!!!

NEW PB!!!!

Last October 2013 – Valley Harvest 5k

mileage at VHM 2013

From 32:15 last October at the Valley Harvest Marathon to 27:30 on an evening training run, I’ve cut my 5k down almost 5 minutes!

Running Acronyms: 

PR – Personal Record (best time in a race of a certain distance)

PB – Personal Best (best time for a certain distance)

TM – Treadmill (me, I refer to mine as TB – The Beast)

C25K – Couch to 5K

GF – Garmin Forerunner

RHR – Resting Heart Rate

HRM- Heart Rate Monitor

LDS – Long Distance Run

LSD – Long SLOW Distance Run

LR – Long Run

DNF – Did not finish (not a popular one with runners)

DNS – Did Not Start (again, not a favourable one among runners)

DNQ – Did No Qualify (I don’t qualify for anything so I’ve never experience this one before…ha ha ha).

RICE – Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation (No running wants to have to use this acronym)

PW – Personal Worst – cause it happens!

 Do you use Personal Record or Personal Best? What’s the diff ?

What are some other acronyms you use? Do share 🙂


Apple Tree Foundation 5k Recap

I’ve been working hard at my running goals the last few months and have signed up for a few races. I also have a few on “The List” waiting for when I can afford to pay their registration fees. Some of my goals this year are to:

1. Run 5k under 30 minutes. More specifically, under 29:16 minutes – April 10th 2014

2. Run 10k under 60 minutes.

3. And run my second 1/2 Marathon. Preferably under 2:33:56

The last few months I’ve been “working” at running 5k under 30 minutes and trying to get a PB/PR and have been successful over the last month.  {29: 39, then 29:34, more recently 28:54 –> goal accomplished}

I signed up for the ATF 5k a few weeks ago knowing very little about the event. I didn’t sleep well Saturday night, not sure why but just couldn’t relax and fall asleep. I was up once with Hilary at 1:25 AM and then woke up just after 7am with Lilly snoozing beside me. I have no idea what time she crawled in bed with me so I guess I slept hard 🙂

We got up, had breakfast: bagels with peanut butter, banana’s, a little OJ for me and milk for the girls. Since my husband is away working, my Dad came down to hang out with the girls while I ran. They were all going to come to the run but it was supposed to be rather cold and raining buckets so we decided they would stay home. They ended up playing outside with Grandad for an hour {thank you}.

Flat Piper was ready the night before:

Flat Piper

Flat Piper

But was real Piper ready?

I got dressed and put everything I wanted to bring in a plastic bag. Plastic bag? I know…I just couldn’t find the right bag to put my “stuff” in. I left the girls and went down to run 1-2k on the treadmill to warm up my legs and then realised I left my key’s upstairs. So much for trying to make a clean get-a-way. Poor Hilary struggles sometimes when I leave her, but apparently that didn’t last long.

As I got to the event, I saw a few youth “warming up”. Oh dear lord I thought…what have I got myself into. I heard music pumping at the start area and I decided to go register/get my bib. I mentioned in yesterday’s post that I really knew nothing about the event. It was a fundraiser for the Rehabilitation Centre and they were raising money for a new Wheel-chair accessible van.

Wasn't sure which shoe to wear - oldie or newbie. Newbie one in the last few minutes.

Wasn’t sure which shoe to wear – oldie or newbie. Newbie won in the last few minutes.

I got my bib and went back to my car to stay warm. A few other runners trickled in and then it was time to head to the start. There were about 15-20 of us running! This is by far the smallest run I have ever participated in…my nerves went through the roof. Young kids, middle-aged adults and 1 senior plus two-wheel chair athletes. Oh My!

The 5k run/walk was open to all abilities. It was great to see Ben at the beginning, he worked in our office a few years ago as an Rec. Intern. We chatted and I took his photo to send to him later. It was time to line up so the group of us gathered at the start behind the youth…off went the horn. My Green Garmin just caught the signal as the horn went off.


I started running with a lady named Mardi – we were behind the youth and then I moved forward a little with a guy named Wes or Wesley (60+ winner), we chatted a bit and then I decided I was ready to move my legs a little faster on the incline/hill.

I was running fast. My Garmin kept beeping at me “ahead of pace”, then “on pace” and back to “ahead of pace”. It was flat and fast. I didn’t want to stop at the water station or drink any water but the volunteer made great efforts to have the water ready for me, so I took it.

At the 1/2 way mark, my Garmin was reading a little ahead of 2.5k but I just kept running anyway. I turned around and started making my way back. Between the 3.5 and 4k mark I slowed down a bit and then pushed it during the last km.

I was breathing hard at this point but the end was in sight……FOREVER! I could see the RED “Running Room” arch and it looked so far away. Just a little before the finish line my watch beeped 5k and read 28:00. I kept running strong through to the actual finish line. It read 28:24….I’ll take both, thank you. I forgot to actually stop my Garmin until a few minutes had passed so I don’t have my Garmin finish time but it said I ran my fastest 5k to date!


{5:33;  5:31;  5:39;  5:45;  5:36}

It was a fun little event, too bad that more people didn’t show up but I am hoping that if they do it again, the word will get out. Great little course, fun volunteers, nice little running community – what more could you want in a running event.

When I got home and started stretching, both of my girls where “stretching” too …it was awesome!

Anyone race this weekend?

Does your Garmin/tracking device ever give you a different distance then what you are racing?

Ever been in a race with a wheel chair athlete?




Running: Sneak It In

There has been a lot of “sneaking it in” over here these days………

5K “Runch” on Monday

Bummed out about my run.

Bummed out about my run.


Conference Call / Wall Sit….why not?!?!?!

And stair repeats on a rainy day {Tuesday}.

Wall Sit Sneak It In

I’m planning another “runch” – I just love this term…two of my favourite bloggers (Run Salt Run and Pirate Bobcat) have recently used it so I had to as well. Run + Lunch = runch 🙂

I’ll admit….right now I am not really feeling the motivation to run at lunch today. But I have all my gear and I’m going anyway. Will write more after I run.

PS – Don’t forget about my PRO Compression GIVEAWAY —> LINK HERE


As I was getting ready for my planned 5k, I knew I wasn’t feeling it but I got dressed anyway, I went outside anyway and I started my Garmin anyway. I started running and the wind was cold and strong against my body. I kept going one step at a time.

I decided to not run on the sidewalk that I’ve been running on lately and wanted to test out the trails. With it being Day 10 “Run a Trail” in the Run This Year challenges I am doing….I thought why not.

They say…..Run a Trail … so I did! Pavement, dirt trail and snow! YUP, we still have snow in Nova Scotia!

Run On Trail Day 10


I ran as far as I could on the snow and decided to turn back around. It was a beautiful day and I started focusing on my pace and pushing it a little. I wasn’t hoping for a Personal Best or Personal Record. BUT, this happened:

{In KM: 5:42; 5:49; 5:50; 5:45: 5:37}

New PB Anna

My last PB was 29:34 last Friday – you can read about it here. However it was a hilly little 5k and today’s run was flat. Flat-As-Can-Be! This is the fastest 5k I have ever run since I started running around 10 years ago. Yes, I’ve been running on and off for 10 years – more in the last 5-6 years. My absolute best time was 29:16 in Halifax at a “Run for the Cure” event when I was around 22/23, I think.

So, I’m pretty pumped today!

Runners – how many years have you been running?

Does anyone “Runch” ? (Run at lunch)

Do you sneak in a little workout while at work? Desk yoga, stretching, walking meetings, lifting weights, stand up desk?