Sunday, January 29, 2017

Race Report: YVRun - Jan 21st, 2017

Last weekend I participated in the YVRun challenge that was put on by Lululemon and Vancouver Running Co. It was this fantastic event that I wouldn't have even known about if it weren't for my dear friend, Sigrid. Sigrid is one of those girls who always has her finger on the pulse and knows what's going on in town. I can rely on her to have the scoop, always. Through one of her connections in the running community, she was invited to register for this event a day before the general public, and being a team event, I then was able to sneak in as well. When registration opened the next day, as expected, the event 'sold out' that day. It was limited to 300 people (90 teams), and was 100% free! Along with the free registration came a beautiful pair of souvenir running pants with the event logo on them. They are super comfy and I loved wearing them at the event - I will get lots of use out of them and this was an unexpected perk for taking part in this event. Thank you YVRun!

I didn't really know what to expect with the event, except that it would be at least 15km, and it would be a fun event with both Sigrid and our third teammate, Lisa. Here's the event description, according to event organizers, and all the info we really had:

In teams of 2–5, you will race in an effort to complete a 15km course. The catch? There is no set route, only a start line, finish line and checkpoints along the way. No bikes, cars, ferries, planes, or horses, just your two feet and your teams knowledge of the urban landscape

Pretty sweet sounding, eh? The rest of the details we found out at the start line. But I knew it would be like an Amazing Race type thing, but all over Vancouver, without camera crews, all on foot, and without (not too) crazy challenges at each pit stop.

So given that I have a half marathon coming up at the start of Feb, this event lined up nicely as I wanted to do about 18km that day. I knew that 15km was a guideline, you know, if you traveled in the most direct route from one check point to the next. But given that we'd be finding the checkpoints ourselves based on clues, possibly getting lost or going the wrong way at some point, we would likely go over the distance. And we did!

The first challenge of the day was determining how we'd get to the start line for 12:30pm, not knowing where the finish line would be, and wanting to minimize post-race logistical challenges. Sigrid and I decided to park downtown at her office, knowing it's right by a Skytrain station, and no matter where we'd end up at the end of the day, it would be easy to get back to the car and then home. The thing was that the same day, around the same time we were making our way to the start line at Vanier Park, was the Women's March on Washington. Side note - I would have 100% been marching in solidarity had it not been for YVRun; we did find it quite entertaining how many people assumed we were part of the march given our matching outfits and that 3 of us girls were running all over town together, so we had a lot of great conversations along the way with fellow Vancouverites. But the March made the what should have been easy pre-event logistics much more challenging. Buses out of downtown were re-routed and/or well behind schedule. So we took a different bus than planned, first requiring us to get to a further bus stop than planned, then arriving several blocks further from the start line than we had hoped. The only way to get there on time was to run for it! Before the challenge had even began, we clocked over 4km.

But we made it the start line, checked in, and after some selfies, received our first clue directing us to our first of 7 checkpoints. And aren't we cute with our "team uniform" - these colourful antennae!!
With teammates Sigrid and Lisa at the start line!
We were very lucky to have had a great weather day. In fact, we only had one brief and light rain shower the whole day, and otherwise mostly sunshine. So this made it quite comfy the whole day. Running gloves not necessary, and light layers only! This is the Vancouver winter running scene I love!

We knew also that the 7 checkpoints were likely going to be some of Vancouver's points of pride, as this event was to showcase both Vancouver as a city, and the awesomeness of the Vancouver running community. But we didn't know what the checkpoints would be, what order they would be in, even if we could speculate what would be on the list, and what we'd have to do when we got to each. So that was a true thrill. I can't express how well this was organized, and how privileged I felt to be part of it.

At checkpoint #1 where we had to answer trivia about Vancouver's history. Phones were allowed, thankfully!
Our checkpoints included Terry Fox Plaza, Crab Park, Jack Poole Plaza, Robson Square, the Inukshuk at English Bay, Granville Island, and the finish line at a studio in Olympic Village. Our challenges at each station varied, from intellectual challenges such as trivia and song-writing, to physical challenges like planking and a relay race on the stairs at Robson Square. Running all over the place to get from one to another, completing the challenges, and so on, totaled just under 18km. With our 4km getting to the race, it ended up being a 22km day.  Boy was I spent by the end! But here we are at the finish line!

I couldn't have asked for a better team. Sigrid and Lisa have to be two of the most positive people I know. I didn't know Lisa much actually before the event, but we've been Facebook friends a while because of the running community. Like me, she's all about having fun running, and so it was a natural fit. I have to say I struggled toward the end of the event. Having the flu this month, my training just wasn't able to be what it should have been to prep for this challenge. My body was tired, and I was likely a bit dehydrated. I had completed a 15km training run 2 weeks before YVRun, but hadn't done a ton the week of the event because of congestion and a very sore throat.

So late into the event, my legs were getting very sluggish and started to cramp. My teammates were patient with me, understanding, and ok with walking a little and in general slowing our pace down to get to the last checkpoint (thank you!). I didn't go into full-on leg cramps, thankfully, but I wasn't comfy either. But doing 22km with only 15km 2 weeks ago under my belt was the reason why. I was pleased I could still go on, albeit slowly!

The finish line party was fun and I enjoyed the festivities with Sigrid as Lisa had to leave. We enjoyed some drinks, eats, socializing, and of course, some more photo ops!

Thanks again Lisa and Sigrid for such a fun and memorable day!

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