Monday, March 7, 2016

The April Fools Run!

One thing that pleases me a lot is when I talk about the BMO Sunshine Coast April Fools Run and I get a positive reaction, followed by "Hey Zahida, I just registered!" This event is just awesome. What a lot of Vancouverites who hear about it might not realize though is that you can make it a day trip. Being an out-of-towner race doesn't mean a full weekend or bank account commitment. You can take the ferry in on the morning of and ferry back later the same day after your race (I suggest after a yummy brunch and shopping!). If your cost-conscious like me, you'll like knowing you only have to pay the ferry on the way there to the Sunshine Coast (it's considered a round trip fare), and if you walk on the ferry, you continue to save, and you'll be greeted with shuttle buses to the start line. You really don't even need your car! But if you want an excuse for a weekend getaway, this is one seriously beautiful part of BC and making a weekend out of the event is something I highly recommend.

The convenience factor, low-cost travel, low-cost race entry, and the excuse to visit the beautiful Sunshine Coast are just some of the reasons to consider this race. Another important reason for doing it is that the event itself is just seriously awesome. There are several things about this event that make me keep coming back, year after year. Here are a few of those reasons:
  • There's something for everyone!! There's great competition elite field at the front of the pack, and quite a fun crowd at the back. There's costumes, a half marathon relay, an early start for walkers, and a kids run. 
  • It's a beautiful course of rolling hills - I know what you're thinking, but every hill you go up, you come down. There is some uphill on this course, yes, but overall, the course is net downhill, and it's downhill all the way from 17km to the finish. It's a point-to-point course without any monotonous out-and-back sections. This certainly keeps things interesting for your mind, your legs, and for me and some of my friends who've run this one with me, these factors have aided some personal best finish times! 
  • Community friendliness - You really won't be greeted by more friendliness than on this course. So many community members come out to cheer, encourage you, high five you, and tell you you look great (even when you're sweating and don't think you look great!), there's a load of helpful volunteers all over the course too, and the finish line festivities are fantastic.
  • Event organization - The event directors for this event, Teresa and Larry Nightingale, are seriously awesome too! They're both talented runners so they know what makes a great event from a competitive level, and what makes a fun event on a recreational level. They know their community, and they've organized the event so well that the guesswork in planning your day or your weekend isn't there. From organizing shuttle buses to the start line and from the finish line, a great website, and offering suggestions for spectators, where to shower, where to eat, where to stay overnight if you want, etc. You're in good hands!
So I could go on, but I won't! Read all about it at and don't forget to register!

As for me, my training for the Fools Run is going really well. I couldn't be more pleased. As I have said, I am not expecting to have a best finish time here this year because I have slowed down and haven't been doing speed training. I've been focusing on getting my endurance up again safely (I never want to get injured again! or at least not for a while). I am simply trying to get my distance in so I can complete the race comfortably. I have to admit though that after last week's 16km run, I wasn't feeling confident at all that I could do this half marathon. I went out to Richmond to run the flat dyke trails, and after 14km, I completely bonked, had a cramp in my foot, and walked to the end of the route. I had a word with myself that I was quitting too quickly and tried to run, but my foot wouldn't relax itself. I told myself that I got the right number of miles in, even though 2km was walking. But inside I felt worried. A half marathon is 5km more than that! I'd be walking forever....

Yesterday I ran 18km, and because of the week before, I had to really psych myself up for it. I was worried, but I was also confident because I believe in my training. They say that when it comes to adaptation from a training run, it takes about 2 weeks before you feel its benefit. Which is why there's no sense killing yourself in training during those last two weeks before an event. I remembered that 2 weeks ago, I ran a solid 14km run. I used that, some positive self-talk, and the confidence and swagger of rocking a new outfit that looked great on me after losing a few pounds recently, and out the door I went. The run wasn't easy, but I paced myself very well, and ran strong the entire way.

The plan now is to continue with the plan of running 3-4 times a week, go to the gym 1-2 times a week. In terms of weekends, when I normally run long, I have decided that next weekend is a break. The St. Patrick's Day 5km is on Saturday. I am going to enjoy the event with my sister-in-law and instead of attempting to run long the next day, I am going to do a shorter Sunday run of nothing more than 10km, to allow some recovery. Then the next weekend, 2 weeks before the event, I'll conquer my last long run, with a 20km effort. I am no longer dreading it! And what follows this is the well-deserved pre-race training calm. Ahhh, I can almost taste it! :-)


  1. Nice honest post! I really wish I was on the west coast to do this half with you! A couple things came up for me when reading it:

    1. Speed Work -- I am terrified to try to do speed work... I've never done it before (aside from working with Karen) and I am a little bit lost on how I do it alone and never can find the motivation to do a FARTLEK run on my own... I can sometimes have a negative split but even that is hard

    2. When hearing you talk about how hard the 14 and 16K were, I completely know what you are talking about. It's so hard mentally to tell yourself you can do it when you have really hard LSD runs where you feel like you couldn't take even one more step, nevermind an extra 5k. Im happy the 18k went well for you - I think your body knows how to do this and race day there is adrenaline and "race pace" kind of kicks in in a bizarre way that I can never seem to access on training runs. I am confident your 21st 21K will be a resounding success! Also, enjoy the St. Patty's run this weekend! It's one of my absolute FAVE in Vancouver and actually, my first official race ever so it always has a sweet spot in my heart (and beer at the end for the win)

    1. (also -- love to hear that it's downhill from 17k to the finish!)

  2. Thank you, Monnie, for your encouragement, always. Training up to a bigger distance always messes with your mind. But luckily, I have done this before, so I know that it's just about getting the training done, and the body does adapt, somehow, to be ready for game day. I will be sure to toast you this Saturday at St. Patty's. Congrats again on your recent half! <3

    1. Thanks! The half was slow but steady and mostly pain free which was the thing I was most hoping for. Now I am training for my longest distance ever (30K) in the midst of the last 4 weeks of my masters. YIKES! any advice? How hard it the leap from 21 to 30k? I did a lot of cross training last week to keep my legs going/training/getting stronger and also work to prevent injury. Now I think I've got two hard weeks to pound pavement before taking a good taper week leading up to April 3. Any helpful hints for me? I just want to finish this 30K somehow, no matter how long it takes me and hopefully I'm a) not last and b) complete it injury free

  3. 30K!!!! That's amazing! :)I think you already have a good plan. Since it's a big distance, once you've never done before, just aim to finish it. I would suggest a longer run this weekend and then a 2-week taper to allow recovery in your legs. Definitely run in those 2 weeks, but don't overdo it (nothing longer than 10K). I don't know what your longest run has been (was it your half?). But even do, if you did a training run of say 24K, that's not a big leap from the half, and then 30K is just a wee bit more and it won't be a big deal if your legs are rested. 2 weeks after the 24K-25K, your legs will have adapted and be ready for their next challenge and the extra 6K won't be too insane to imagine (and you can always walk some). It's kind of like training for a marathon in which your longest long run is 32K. Somehow you're ready for 10K more on game day. The alternative is to do 23K this weekend, 26K next weekend, and only take a week's break. It really depends on how much rest you feel you need. Is one week enough or do you need 2? The second approach gives less rest, but more training prep and maybe the confidence that goes with it. But if it tires you out, it's no good. Am I helping?