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!!!

 

 

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! 

Sometimes You Just Need to Run

Sometimes you just need to run – that statement has been true for me the last few weeks. If you missed why I wasn’t running or had a DNS for my MRW half marathon – check out the post here.

Almost every day for two weeks, I just wanted to run but I couldn’t until I was “cleared”. So once I was allowed to run, I did. Taking two weeks off running kinda sucks. My lungs hurt after that first run. My body ached for two days after that first run. I just needed that run even if my lungs hurt or my body was going to ache.

Saturday I went for a “long run” to test out pacing for my upcoming race. I’m pacing the Valley Harvest Marathon 10k – 1:10 finish on Sunday (Canadian Thanksgiving). Oh I can’t wait to eat all the food as well. This will be my second time pacing this race, this distance and this pace with White Rabbit Pacing – I’m kinda excited!

Before last Saturday’s run, I just wanted to get out their and test out my legs, my lungs and my pace. I had no plans of where I was going to run until I stepped outside. I had no clue how far I wanted to run until I hit the 5k mark and decided I should turn around and head home. I had no plan other then to practice pacing and then had a little fun on the last two km’s.

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I practiced my pace of 7:00 minute per kilometre. I really want to run 6:55/km this Sunday in order to finish under 1:10 but I’ll talk more about that in my next post. So I ran, up a steep hill that I thought I was going to die on and figured that if I can do this now, next week will be easier. I ran on rolling hills, an old unpaved country road with cows and horses on each side of the road. I got chased by a dog for a minute until the owner called it back – that wasn’t really fun. But, I ran.

I just needed that long run. A confidence booster after my bubble was burst out of my hands a few weeks ago. I’m moving on from that thankfully but sometimes you just want to run! I needed that run Saturday.

How was your weekend?

When was the last time you needed a run? (or ride, yoga etc).

Anyone take in any fall-like activities?

Year of Running {2016}

Well, my year of running in 2016 is summed up in a few races out of a handful that I did last year. I had a rough year with three different injuries (2 minor and 1 major) so running was a roller coaster of good and bad.

I wanted to share with you some of my best running of 2016, especially for those newer followers to Piper’s Run. Last year’s recap can be found here: 2015.

Best Race Experience: Maritime Race Weekend was simply the best. The weather was perfect, the hype was awesome and the atmosphere both days was energetic and motivating. Though I went into MRW with a fresh ankle injury and dropped down from the half to the 5k race, I had a blast.

Best run:  Back in August was my last long run during training and it was my favourite! It was week six of training for MRW and I ran it early in the morning from my parents house. I paced myself well, saw many runners on the trail, ran out of Nuun, stopped at a grocery store to refuel and even managed to pick up my pace for the last 2 km. It was just great…then I injured my ankle at soccer the following week….whomp, whomp!

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Best new piece of running gear: It’s not necessarily “running gear” but I love my Qalo rings. My husband and I both got two rings each. He wears his all the time and I wear mine when  I run/workout. They are silicone rings that move with your finger if you are picking up weights (or other objects) and won’t catch on anything like a stretcher (my husband is a Paramedic).

Best running advice you’ve received this year: Best to not run and take time to heal.

Best Advice I Can Give: Just because you are injured now, will not mean you are injured later. Take time to rest, heal and get stronger.

Most inspirational runner: I was pretty excited to see Kyla from Early Bird Runner, run her first Boston Marathon. She trained well and finished solid. I also got to meet her last year when she was visiting home visiting family which was fun.

Favorite picture from a run or race this year: Maritime Race Weekend 5k. After a disappointing soccer injury, I was just happy to be running.

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Race experience you would repeat in a heartbeat: I’ve already registered for Maritime Race Weekend 5k & Half Marathon (Tartan Twosome) for next September.

Worst Running Moment & Favourite Medal: Johnny Miles Half Marathon. This is only for personal reason, the event itself was wonderful and I want to do it again. This was my goal race.

It was to be my comeback race from my hamstring injury from the previous year. It was a weekend away with my running buddy. However, it was such a struggle – mentally and physically. Looking back, even though I felt I failed myself miserably, I ran at a time when I was grieving the lost of our dog. This might sound silly to some but I was more devastated about MacLean’s death the I ever thought I would be. It happened suddenly on Friday morning and I ran the half on Sunday morning.

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It was extremely hot (that’s fine) but I struggled through every single step. I wanted to give up after 5k and quit but I kept running….and walked a lot. I almost ran a personal worst and I STILL don’t know my exact finish time. I cried at the finish. It was rough.

It’s taken a few months but I can say now that I am proud this finish and love this medal. Definitely, my favourite medal for 2016.

If you could sum up your year in a couple of words what would they be? Disappointing, challenging and determined.

Eat Pray Run DC Year of Running 2016

The “Year of Running”is hosted by Courtney from Eat Pray Run. 

What’s your “Best” of 2016 in Running?

Who is your most inspirational runner?

Best running gear?

Parenting Edition:What’s In A Race Photo?

With race season wrapping up in our area, race photo’s are starting to pop up on Facebook news feeds and emails. The anticipation of seeing your photo can be thrilling or scary then to see the photo and think, oh shit, I looked horrible (or great). They are fun because it brings you back to that moment in time when you may have been struggling or you nailed a new PB.

As a parent, if your kids are in sports you get to watch them over and over AND over again. Soccer games, rugby matches, cross country meets or swimming lesson. Growing up I played multiple sports and my parents were always at my games/siblings games. Soccer games, volleyball games, badminton games etc. They sat and watched over and over again all three of us play. They drove us to games, wiped our tears when we lost an important game, played with us, coached us; they were our biggest cheerleaders.

For me and my husband (Saï), as parents of an almost 4 year old and 6 year old, we now get to watch them play sports. It’s all introductory lessons and practices of soccer, swimming and now gymnastics.

I believe that since Saï and I both run, the girls like to run. You know monkey see monkey do. They genuinely love to run but have different running styles. Lilly is calm and collected like her father and Hilary has fast feet…not like her mother.

So why am I writing this post? Well, all because of this photo:

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{Thank you Valley Harvest Marathon for the free photos, it’s much appreciated!)

This wasn’t her first kids run, she’s done a handful of them over the last three years. She run twice around the beautiful Acadia University track with other six year old’s at the Valley Harvest Marathon Kids Run.

BUT, this photo…the face of focus, I’m hoping not pain. Her hair bouncing to the side from her body gliding over the track, her posture and form pushing her forward, her outfit that she picked out to run in. I also love the other girls in the photo, all doing their own thing and enjoying it. Oh, I love this photo of my daughter.

I’m sure there will be more sports over the years and, I so look forward to watching and capturing moments like this.

So what’s the value of a race photo as a parent – SO MUCH HAPPINESS 🙂

Happy Friday Folks!

What are your weekend plans?

What are your thoughts on race photos?

Last – for those that commented on Wednesday’s post – thank you.

Valley Harvest Marathon Kids Run 2016 Recap

It seems each year the weekend of Valley Harvest Marathon (Canadian Thanksgiving weekend) the weather is different. In 2014 it was super wet, last year it was the windiest and this year probably the warmest in a few years. With the bright sun-shining down on over 1000 kids, it was a great day!

We actually started the day off with swimming lessons at 8:30 and were amazed that it went so well. We were expecting Hilary have a meltdown since she dislikes water and didn’t want to do swimming lessons. Lilly swam in the deep end for the first time unassisted and Hilary was in the water the whole time with an instructor! Big win!

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After an early lunch we headed off to Wolfville to pick up our race kits and meet up with friends. Race kit pick up with kids can be a bit hectic but they had some activities for the kids to do which was great. We ran into lots of people we knew which is always fun.

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We waited outside from 1:30 until the 2 pm start time which for our three-almost four year old, was too long of a wait (parenting lesson learned).  At 2 pm the under 5 girls went, which meant it was Hilary’s turn to run one lap around the Acadia track. Last year she did it all by herself so we expected her to do it again by herself. That was not the case.

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After see most of the kids pass around the track, Hilary was nowhere to be seen. I made my way over to the other side of the field to see her walking with a sad face. I tried to cheer her up and her response was “I just want to run with you”. With no hesitation, I grabbed her hand that was reaching out to me and took off in my Birkenstock. She cruised around the track to the finish her lap. She’s actually a fast runner so it was funny trying to keep up with her in birks. Afterwards she was so happy to “have won the race”!

Next up was under 5 boys and then it was supposed to be 5 & 6 year olds girls. I’m not sure if they changed it last minute but as Lilly was waiting with the other 5 & 6 year old girls they announced it was only 5 year olds going. Six year olds had to go back and wait with their parents so Lilly stepped to the side of the track. Lilly was fine but it was a little chaotic for some parents and kids. It was 5 year old girls who then did two laps followed by the 5 year old boys who did two laps, then it was Lilly’s turn with the 6 year olds. We waited in shade near the start to watch all the runners finish.

Finally it was Lilly’s turn and she was so excited. We talked a lot about pacing herself as sometimes she goes too fast and then get’s a stitch in her side. She did a great job running and had a happy face as she passed us on her first lap. The best part was watching her get her medal and run over to me with excitement all over her face. So worth it.

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We played on the field with friends and took in the Run, Jump, Throw, Wheel equipment that a friend was facilitating. We got to practice throwing a pretend javelin on a rope which was really cool.

Though it was a bit chaotic for some parents it was a great day to have kids out running and cheering each other on. There was lots of traffic delays due to highway and road construction that you can’t really do anything about. We had typical wait times getting out of Acadia University where the run was held but that to be expected when you go to an event like that.

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I love having such a great event so close to home to watch not only our girls run but their friends run too. Sometimes we parents feel like we run around with our heads cut off when taking your kids to fun events like this but in the end it’s all worth it. The girls had a blast and that’s what really matters.

Big thanks to Valley Harvest Marathon committee for the Kids Run – 1000’s kids registered – that’s awesome!

Do your kids run in kids events?

Anyone’s kids run in the Valley Harvest Marathon?

Do you plan for traffic delays when going to a race?

Valley Harvest Marathon 10k Recap to come…it was great!