Category Archives: Running

Why I Race: Health Hope Happiness

By Cory Boddy:

There are a lot of reasons to race, whatever your discipline. Over the years I’ve focused on mountain biking, then switched to running, then mixed it up with duathlon, and now I’m pretty into road cycling and cyclocross. The disciplines have changed, but my reasons for racing haven’t. I like the challenge, I like to see improvement, it keeps my head clear and my heart healthy, and I like social aspect of cycling. There is something else though; a bonus, an added motivation that comes from being part of Fiera Race Club.

Whatever race I compete in, my race entry fees are matched with an equal charitable donation from our sponsor, Fiera Biological Consulting, to the club-supported charity of my choice. My choice is always Camp He Ho Ha.

Camp He Ho Ha or more proper: Health, Hope, and Happiness is a local camp near Edmonton, for people with special needs. Every summer over 800 campers attend, some as young as 7 and others as old as 90.

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One of the best summers of my life was spent at Camp He Ho Ha. I was a Camp Counselor and for four months 800 campers with disabilities brightened every moment. I’ll never forget that summer and I try to use that experience to steer the decisions I make some 20 years later. That’s why I continue to support Camp He Ho Ha and why I’m thrilled to be part of a race club that allows me to give even more.

We are truly fortunate to be able to race, train, and ride with a club that makes this possible.

Since joining Fiera Race Team, I have participated in enough races to see Fiera Biological donate  $1,800 to Camp He Ho Ha! These are donations that are direly needed, and appreciated, and all I had to do was something that I already enjoyed, and fill out a simple online form after each race. That’s it. I didn’t have to win, or do well… or even finish, come to think of it. I just had to do what I’m already passionate about doing … get outdoors and challenge myself.

So as the race season sets upon us, I hope the rest of my Fiera Race Club teammates will challenge themselves to race and remember to report their race achievements to secure a donation to Camp He Ho Ha or any of the other worthy charities we have chosen to support. There are plenty of reasons to get out there and race. This just happens to be one of the better ones.

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Since the club began, the racing adventrures of our membership have generated nearly $10,000! Below is a list of the awesome charities supported by Fiera Race Team as a result of our racing efforts. To report your results, just look to left side-margin of this homepage where it says Recent Results, then click “tell us about it!

Right to Play

Doctors Without Boarders

Nature Conservancy of Canada

The Canadian Red Cross

Food Banks Canada

Camp He-Ho-Ha

Stollery Children’s Hospital

Environmental Law Centre

 

 

 

 

Race Report: Hypothermic Half Marathon – Edmonton

By Renee Howard

After being gently prodded by Joe (and by gently, I mean relentlessly over the last two weeks), I’m finally ready to recap and thus relive my first Half Marathon.

Back in early October, I decided to run the Hypothermic Half Marathon. Since registering for the race, I’ve had a number of people ask me “Why would you want to run a half marathon?” This is very quickly followed up by “Why would you want to run a half marathon in the winter?!” To be completely honest, I asked these same questions to myself nearly every Sunday morning, at 8 am while just about to start a long run…

In reality, training for this race wasn’t terrible. I would hazard a guess that this year was, for the most part, the best that winter running conditions could get in Edmonton. The majority of my training runs were done in temperatures between -10°C and 5°C, I never once wore grips on my shoes, and only a handful of times did I have more than three layers on my upper body! In the fall, I knew that the projections for winter 2015/2016 were for a mild winter with less snow than usual. So I took advantage of this and tried my hand at winter running!

It’s funny because I’m supposed to be writing a race report, but after 17 weeks of training most of what I want to share are things I’ve learned, funny moments, or weird winter running quirks that I’ve picked up since starting my training back in October. So much so, that I would have to say that running the race was the easy part! There are lots of things I could say about winter running, but I’ll stick to my given task, and write a race report.

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I like the Hypothermic Half Marathon race because the proceeds benefit Nature Alberta. The cause is important to me and I’ve volunteered as a course marshal a couple of times so I knew this was the race I wanted to do. Though the course isn’t much to write home about (two loops along Ada boulevard starting and finishing at the Highlands Golf Course), the reason most other people run the race is for the breakfast! This was apparent from the very beginning when the announcer’s pep talk mostly comprised talk about how good the bacon would be at the end, also very early into the race when the people I was running with were counting down the minutes until they could get bacon, and again at right around the 15 km point when I passed a group of runners chanting bacon, bacon, bacon to match their steps. As a vegetarian, the bacon wasn’t really doing it to keep me going, but I knew there would be breakfast potatoes available so that was enough for me!

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The looped course, though not very scenic, was actually very motivating to run! I passed other members of my training group multiple times on the course, I high-fived my much faster friend as she flew by me twice, and I was able to run past my spectators four times. Plus, there’s nothing like a group of race marshalls watching at the corner, cheering you on to keep you running when you really want a walk break (thanks Tonya ;)). Overall, it was a really good first half marathon race!

While I didn’t beat my Goal A of under 2:30, I did achieve my Goal B of finishing upright and smiling. I’m already planning for my next race, knowing I will train a bit differently to surpass Goal A next time. My struggle now will be integrating cycling into this summer’s training schedule to be able to keep up with the rest of the Fiera Race Team. See you all on the trails! Results are here!

12733422_10153225436710807_970726274870943921_nPhoto of my fast friend, Katie, and I (2484) taken minutes after I crossed the finish line. Also a great photo of the on-site facilities…

 

Race Report: Coronation Triathlon – by Duncan Purvis

After a 2 year hiatus from Coronation, I decided to give it a whirl again in 2015. It was an absolutely gorgeous day for a race, if just a little warm. The race is now being run by Multisport Canada, which has a signifcant amount of experience putting on running and tri races. While generally, the organization was good, and the volunteers excellent, their handling of body marking and swim organization left something to be desired. In years past, organizers had an excellent system for placing swimmers in the appropriate lanes, with the similar paced athletes. The organizers have shifted to a system of “waves” whereby athletes were sorted into approximate swim times. Unfortunately, these waves were very large, and had a fairly significant time differential. Based on my estimated swim time of 20:00, I was placed into wave 4, along with 125 other athletes with an estimated swim time of 19-22 minutes. There was no further sorting or fine tuning after that. Communication about start time was also lacking, in my opinion. I lined up amongst the rest of the 4th wavers and hoped for the best.

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Giving the Coronation Triathlon another go in 2015

 

I was a bit uncertain about the swim this year. Given the proximity to work, I had been doing most of my swim training at the YMCA downtown, which has a 25 m pool. It was only a few weeks ago that I went down to the Kinsmen one night for a swim, and I realized that training in a 25 m pool is quite a bit different from training in a 50 m pool, which I had always done previously. I found my times drop a bit so wasnt sure how the race would pan out, given the Peter Hemingway Pool is 50 m. I managed the 1k in about 19:40, a bit off my best for Coronation. I will point out, as I have in years past, tight, crowded pool swims in triathlons do not lend themselves to making friends of the other swimmmers. That’s all I am going to say about that.

It was a little before 10 when I got out of the pool, so not too hot, but I could feel that in an hour or so, it was going to be a scorcher. Given a last lap surge to try and make a pass in the pool, I was quite a bit more out of breath than I would have liked coming out of the pool.

No T1 issues and I was off on the bike! My training this year included very little time on my TT bike, but it felt great! I keep telling people this, but the ability to bomb down Groat Road on new pavement, with no cars on the road is worth the entry fee alone. Luckily, I wasn’t hit by any bent, falling girders. In 2012, the last time I did this race, I had my best bike leg ever. It was one of my goals to beat that time this year. I had planned my splits and the approximate pace I’d need to meet that so I was working pretty hard on the uphills. Each lap as I neared the top of Groat, I would tell myself that I really should coast a bit on the downhill, rest, and get my HR down some. But every time I’d start down the hill I couldn’t resist gearing up and continuing to crank down the hill. Then I’d go through the same thought process near the top of the hill. It was like some Triathlon version of groundhog day, without Sonny and Cher, and the funny. Seemed to have worked though, as I ended beating my 2012 bike time by almost 2 minutes.

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Bike Course

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Some basic Strava statistics

 

Back to T2 and I was off on the run. By now it was getting pretty warm, and I could just not calm my HR down. There was apparently a price that was a going to be paid for going hard on the bike. Running is really not my strong point, so I never expect too much. I know from years past that the key is to make time while you can on the downhill section of Groat, because coming back up as the last thing you do in the race, will never gain you much time. I started off moderately, but gradually built up the pace and before I knew it, I was at the turnaround. I won’t lie, it was a tough slog back up, and I was suffering. Dead legs, a HR that just kept going up and up, overheated, upset stomach… you name it! About 20 painful minutes later, I was rounding the bend near the pool to head back to the finish. No word of a lie, I swear they moved that corner further down the road. Bastards.

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Running pace heart rate splits.

 

All in all, a great race. Even swim, faster bike, slower run (they moved the corner!!!) led to within about a minute of my previous best overall time. What satisfied me most about this race was the run though. I pushed through a lot to keep running and try to keep my goal pace. I’m a bit of a Strava geek, and when I got home and checked things out the numbers confirmed what my body felt…basically i spent 96% of the race in HR zone 4 or 5. Strava also has a feature called “suffer score” which takes some formula based on activity time and HR (as far as I can tell) and give you a number. I was “pleased” that this turned out to be my highest number ever, so some somewhat objective confirmation of exactly how crappy I felt. I just re-read that. Essentially, what I think I just said is that I felt like absolute crap on a run for 43 minutes, but I’m happy because I felt like crap, and furthermore, an electronic measurement of a bodily function transferred via blue tooth to a wrist computer, and then ultimately transferred to another computer to input on a website, confirms that I felt like crap, therefore increasing my happiness. Weird times my friends, weird times.

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EXTREME suffer Score! Proof that it hurt, incase the pain wasn’t proof enough.

 

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Celebrating a successful triathlon effort with the whole family

 

Kindness matters!

As I hope you all remember, when Fiera Race Club members race, donations are generated for a select group of charities (for more information see our About Us page). We have chosen these charities carefully, weighing a few key criteria:

1) we want to support some local charities – charities that are making a difference close to home for most of our members.

2) we want to support charities that make a large, lasting, and tangible difference.

3) we want to support charities for which there is a personal connection for our members

4) and finally we want to support charities that reflect the values of a recreational, athletically motivated sports club, such that we are.

Additionally we want our modest donations to have as big an impact as possible, and at the same time we want to spread our impact around as widely as possible.

Taking all these things in to account, I think we have come up with a most deserving list of eight recipients.  They are as follows:

Right to Play

Doctors without Borders

Food Banks Canada

Canadian Red Cross

Stollery Children’s Hospital

Camp He Ho Ha

Nature Conservancy Canada

Environmental Law Centre

We don’t always receive thanks for our donations, nor do we expect to.  I hope that the knowledge that we are fortunate enough to feed our passion to train and race all while generating funds that ultimately help to make to world a better place is more than thanks enough.

Still, it is awfully nice when we do recieve a note or letter such as I recently recieved on Fiera Race Club’s behalf, from the Executive Director of Camp He Ho Ha.

“This act of kindness is written on the hearts of so many who benefit from your generosity”

Here is the letter in full.  I hope it motivates us all to keep training, racing, and giving.

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Race Report: Frank McNamara Series #3 – Millcreek 2013_04_24

By Caitlin Mader

Having succumbed to the pressure around the office to join the Fiera Race Team, yesterday I laced up my running shoes  (well, my converse sneakers, having skillfully forgotten my runners) and ran one of the Frank McNamara Wednesday night races.

I’m new to this whole running with groups of people in a semi-competitive setting where you can’t just stop for ice cream as soon as you get tired thing. So my goal was less along the lines of “go faster than other people” and more along the lines of “don’t find a way to somehow look like an idiot.” Arriving at the startline just as the buzzer sounded and wandering around aimlessly for a bit trying to find someone to tell me what to do, I was off to a good start. After locating the officials table and receiving my foot-chip-thing, I knew I had to make up some ground, so I did what any serious athlete would do, and I sat down and had a snack. With an encouraging “What are you doing? Get going!” from the officials, I was off!

Not used to the 5.4 km length of the race, I started to burn out at about to 12:43 mark (measured in seconds and nanoseconds) so I found another competitor with whom to match my pace. He looked about seven years old, so I thought this was reasonable. Unfortunately the little tyke ran with youthful zeal that can only be explained by a mother waiting at the finish line with candy and the new season of Law and Order on DVD, so I soon found myself falling behind.

Being a spring race, the hilly terrain of the ravine was still fairly icy and muddy, so I employed my failsafe method for going down icy hills quickly. I don’t want to give it away, but if I was the eighth dwarf, I would be “Flaily.” This seemed to work fairly well, in that I did not fall flat on my face, although in the process, I was passed by dwarves “Speedy” “Leapy” “Swifty” and “Mucleshirt”.

I made it to the finish line in 30:06 for a solid, middle-of-the-agegroup finish. In hindsight, if I’d known it was going to take that long I probably would have ran slower. A bike ride home and some hot yoga completed the Yuppie Triathlon, and I sought my reward in a delicious Chunky-Monkey muffin baked by none other than Renee Howard, the Fiera Race Team’s other new member. Overall, the experience was very satisfying. It appeared hard at first, but that was just an outer shell that gave way to a soft, perfectly baked interior, loaded with nuts and fruit, and I think some coconut.  That was the muffin. The race was alright.

MEC Classic 5K & 10K Run

You know that spring is just around the corner when our email inbox starts to fill with news about races.  Here is the latest from the folks at MEC:

Interested in running?  Eager to win some prizes? Join MEC Edmonton for our inaugural 5 and 10 K Classic Run.

Date:  April 15, 2012

Time: 9 a.m. for 10 K and 9:15 a.m. for the 5K folks (awards at 10:30 a.m.)

Start: Louise McKinley Park, 9999 Grierson Road (please make your way down to the River Valley Adventures Building. Note that parking is available, but costs 10$ for the day)

Cost: It’s $10 if you register in advance, or you can register on-site the morning of the race for $15.

For more information about the race, or to register on-line, go here.

5 Peaks Pre-Season Trail Running Race

If you’re like me and can’t wait for the Trail Running Race Season, then the 5 Peaks Pre-Season Trail Running Race scheduled for April 28th in Fort Saskatchewan is the event for you. Eleven km of fantastic river valley running, stuffed full of twisty-turny single-track trails; flat and fast. As if that’s not enough, to add even more adventure, this race is done at night! That’s right, race in the dark.  All this for the small entry fee of $40. Sign on now and you get a mass start and the option to run as many extra kilometres as you like.  Thats right, extra kilometres are unlimited if you register today.  But wait, that’s not all! There will be podiums, awards, and an after party! Thats  right, all this for a mere 40$!!!! But wait, that’s not all. Port-a-potties will be available at the start finish where you can enter to win the last drop of hand sanitizer!  Don’t be a fool; sign on, lace up, bust out. Don’t miss the 5 Peaks Pre Season Trail Running Race! Its In The Dark!!

Winter Meltdown

If you check out our race calendar, you will see that February has been pretty bare of race events. However, as winter melts down things are really shaping up in Alberta, into a season void of reasons not to race — take a look at March and April!

Newest addition to the Calendar is the Canmore Winter Meltdown – a winter triathlon and duathlon.

2012 Frank McNamara Cross Country Running Series

Registration is open for this grass-roots running series.  That’s right; Fiera Race Team is not just about cross country ski racing and bike racing.  Sure those are the things that get me fired up, but while i enjoy boasting about railing the trails on two wheels, some of our members enjoy ripping it up on no wheels at all.  The 2012 McNamara Cross Country Series has organized 5-ish km-long running races on Wednesday nights starting April 11, to May 9th.  Register for the whole series for only $26. Fiera Race Team members post their results here to generate money for charity.

The Perfect Runner

Mark your calendars for a super-cool event!!  On March 14, the Metro Cinema will be hosting an advanced screening of “The Perfect Runner”, a documentary that explores the unique running abilities of humans.  

The screening will include a question and answer session with the filmmaker, in which I will ask the question “If humans are the perfect runners, why do I suck so badly at running?”.

If you don’t live in Edmonton, or can’t make the advanced screening, you can watch the documentary on CBC television on March 15 at 8:00 PM.  Check out the website for more info about the documentary, and have a gander at the official trailer below.