Another year, another trip to Vancouver for the BMO Vancouver Marathon.

I’m sitting at YVR Gate C43 waiting for my flight back home to Toronto to board. That gives me some time to reflect on the weekend, and the last few months of training.

A long tough winter

It wasn’t an easy winter this year in Toronto and that meant I did the majority of my training runs on the treadmill at Variety Village. I’m thankful that I had those treadmills available to me. I couldn’t imagine having to gear up and run in some of the freezing cold weather we had this winter.

IMG_6249-300x300That said, I did my share of cold weather running on Sundays at the Downtown Yonge Running Room. As usual, the gang hung together and we made it through some really difficult runs. Ida, Lynne, Jeffrey, Kathryn, Alice and Sean (and others) were always there with encouragement.

I said it to John Stanton at the end of the race yesterday when he put my medal around my neck, but it bears repeating. The Running Room community is amazing and together we all do amazing things. Running solo is hard. Running in a group, even when the weather sucks and the distance is long…it’s just plain fun.

I wouldn’t be the runner I am without the Running Room. And when I say the Running Room, I’m talking about both the store, and the community of runners I’ve met at the various stores I’ve run out of over the last six years.


Vancouver…I’ve got a thing for you and your race.

I’ve run seven marathons now and Vancouver is the only one that I’ve run more than once. This was my third time coming out to #RUNVAN and they put on another amazing race weekend for us.

IMG_6232-300x300Yes, the weather kind of sucked (typical rain for a change after two beautiful race weekends in 2011 and 2012). But the volunteers and crew were all amazing. I made a point of thanking them at each of the 20+ water stations along the route. Every single one of them was out in the rain, wearing plastic rain panchos, with beaming smiles. “Ultima first! Water next!”

Their enthusiasm was contagious. I would say, “Thank you guys for being out here,” and they would say back, “THANK YOU for running! You are amazing.” Here I am running along for my pleasure and benefit and these people who are giving me their time so I can race are thanking me. That’s Vancouver. I truly believe that is part of the legacy of the 2010 Olympics. A giving population that loves to get out and be a part of making events like this happen.

West Coast friends

To my friends – Jon, Jennifer, Kirsty and Jess too. I’m blessed to have some good friends out here and I owe that all to Jon who reached out on Twitter to some stranger from Toronto back in 2011 and then invited him for dinner with his group of #YYJrun friends at the 2011 race weekend.

Jon, seeing you on course at 22km was an energy boost and I appreciated the familiar face and encouraging words. You didn’t have to come over to Vancouver for the weekend, but you did. And it meant a lot to me. That you were also there in the last 600m was an added bonus.

Jennifer, you kicked butt and rediscovered running. Awesome. Conversation at dinner on Saturday was a highlight of my weekend and the best way to get ready to race. The steaks and crispy mashed potatoes were good too, of course. I wish I would have hit the finish line five minutes earlier to see you cross the line. Next time for sure and maybe it’ll be the finish line in Toronto at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon.

Kirsty, I was pretty surprised to see you just before the Seawall at around 31km. Last time we ran that section, you were on your way to a PB and a sub-four hour marathon and I was on my way to a lot of walking and a tough last seven kilometres. It was good to see you there, and to run a few hundred metres together. I knew a PB was mine if I didn’t stop running on the Seawall and I thought back to your run in 2012 and made that happen for me this year.

For Jess, my virtual training partner…this year kind of sucked and I was bummed when you had to accept the fact that you couldn’t run. That’s how it goes sometimes, and while it was crappy to not see your face this weekend, and see you finish your race, I know you’ll be back on course soon. Maybe Vancouver will call me back again for the first Sunday in May sometime in the future and we can run another one of these things.

Adventure over for another year

That’s it. My flight is boarding soon and I’ll be home by 9pm tonight. The only question that remains is when I’ll be back out here again either to run, or to spend some more time in one of my favourite places on earth.