Tag: destination race

Fitness Swellness: Barbados Half-marathon 2016 race recap



Last Sunday, I ran the Barbados Half-marathon for the first time and I still haven’t looked up my official time. Well, that’s not entirely true. I did check that same day and they weren’t posted yet. I guess when I’m not aiming to PB the time isn’t so important for me to know, and I had a general sense of my finish time.

That lackadaisical approach, though, was very much troubling me in the hours before the race kicked off at 5 a.m. on Sunday, December 4th. I slept very little that night, awake til 1 a.m. and afraid to oversleep, I lay awake for much of those wee hours of the “morning” (really, it was nighttime). I’d always planned to do this race as a easy run. It’s in fact the least I’ve “trained” for a race, if you can even call the handful of runs I did training. I added this race to my schedule about a month ago, knowing my body is capable of running 21.1k but not racing it.

But as I lay there sleepless the morning of the race, I found myself feeling a little annoyed with myself. 21.1k is not a short distance, and to run it without a serious desire or passion or goal, it was dawning on me that I was going to have a rough time getting through 21.1k in 29 degree heat and humidity.


My vague plan: run it comfortably, walking as much as I wished,  but trying to have fewer walk breaks than I did in the Cayman Half last December, and in the Bahamas Half in January, and given that, my rough goal time I set for myself given my lack of training and the weather conditions was 2:15.


I got to the start a good 45 minutes ahead of time, and had to switch my bib (I’d accidentally been given a 10k bib), sat around and then used the last 20 minutes to wait in line for the portapotties. The race kicked off at about 5 a.m. (I think it was a few minutes late) without much fanfare, in fact, for about a minute I wasn’t clear if it had officially started. I don’t recall crossing a  mat at the start — so I’m unclear if it’s based on gun time, in which case I would’ve made more of an effort to not have started towards the back of the crowd.


The route features some moderate hills (which I was not expecting), and it ventures alongside some residences, some port land, which is not the most scenic but you are rewarded with plenty of ocean views, and it’s kind of fun to start the race in the dark and have the sky brighten after about an hour (even though you don’ t have a direct view of the sun rise), all of which is what I’m looking for in a Caribbean race. Given the early start time, there is little support along the route other than the volunteers, but the few people that did cheer, I made sure to thank (along with of course the volunteers marshalling the route and handing out hydration). Entertainment-wise, one truck blasting music was in front of the elites, along with a few steel-pan drummers. The road is not entirely closed, so for awhile I found myself trailing a city bus and desperately wishing I could run faster to get ahead of it so as to not be exposed to its exhaust; there was also the occasional car or two passing us runners. The route is an out and back, and the marathoners repeat it to get their full 42.2k distance, which I think must be draining mentally.

Thankfully and surprisingly, I felt good during my run. Despite the heat and humidity, I never felt miserable and needing extra walk breaks. I roughly took a drink of water every 10 minutes or so and would walk for about a minute to do so and regroup. And I could tell early on that it was going to be a pretty decent race for me that day, which is surprising given how rough the Scotiabank Half-marathon felt recently.


I just checked the results and I finished in 2:03:21. This is indeed gun time (which is disappointing, I’m all about chip time) because my NRC app shows 2:02 (and that’s not accurate given it took me awhile to get my sweaty screen to unlock to stop my app), but it is what it is. Faster than my Scotia half  this year, despite being in even less racing form and the harsher weather. So I’m pretty pleased with my time, considering I’d been thinking I’d be done in 2:15. I’m calling this my Caribbean half-marathon PB. With this gun time of 2:03:21, I was 109th out of 344 runners in the half (the results don’t show break down by sex and age group, unfortunately) and I’m very happy with that.

After the race, I skipped going for a dip into the bay because I didn’t want to sit in cold, wet gear for the drive back to my resort, but some runners did, and it’s a beautiful bay to do so (and this was my fave aspect of the Bahamas Half-marathon, having the race finish by the water so you could refresh right away in the ocean).

Barbados is a lovely, low-key island, which I’ll be writing about shortly for VITA Daily, so stay tuned for that, and the Run Barbados race weekend should definitely be one to consider if you’re looking for a destination race where you can enjoy some great beach time and food.

And with that, my 2016 race season comes to an end! I find out in a few days whether I’ve been drawn in the Chicago Marathon lottery for next year. It’s where I have my marathon PB from two years ago, and it’s such a fantastic city, I’m hoping to run it again!

Leave a Comment December 11, 2016

Fitness Swellness: Philadephia Marathon report in Canadian Running magazine

Canadian Running July August 2014

One of my favourite marathons I’ve run? The Gore-Tex Philadelphia Marathon. If you’re trying to choose a fall marathon to run, I highly recommend it. You can read more about the race, where to stay and where to carb up, check out my piece in the July/August 2014 issue of Canadian Running.

2 Comments June 25, 2014

Fitness Swellness: Marathon training tips from Nike Master Trainer Marie Purvis

Nike Vomero AquaHydrate NikePlus

One fall 2013 marathon down, one to go!

Yeah, you read that right. About two months ago, I decided I’d run not just one marathon, but two, this fall. One month apart.

I ran the first one a week and a half ago — the Nike Women’s Marathon in  San Francisco. And I PB’d! Sweet!

My next one (which will be my fifth marathon — me. the girl who struggled with one minute of running in 2007!) is on November 17 in Philadelphia. I was a bit nervous about racing four weeks after NWM so I spoke to Nike Master Trainer Marie Purvis for some advice.

  1. “You only have three more weeks of work,” she said. Purvis recommended one week of recovery post-NWM (Ah, a blissful week of rest and two massage appointments!), and then looking at the following three weeks as tapering. Let me tell you, framing it as a month of tapering sounds most excellent to me!
  2. “Run the three times a week as you have been doing, and add some cross training.” The distances for the once weekly long runs: 18 miles, 13 miles and 10 miles (that’s 29k, 21k and 16k). For cross training, she suggested yoga and swimming.
  3. “Decide which race is more important for you.” If it’s Nike San Fran, then go all out in that one, and then just recover and do what you can in Philly, said Purvis. If it’s Philly, then use NWM as a training run.
  4. “Eat clean.” Purvis followed a mostly paleo diet for one marathon and drank wine and ate non-paleo for another marathon and found it made a huge difference in her performance.

Most of this sounded great to me…until I realized that one week post-NWM, the 18 miles she told me to run is practically 29k (I had to whip out my little metric conversion app). Faced with running 29k a week after NWM was daunting mentally, so I decided on 27k instead last Sunday.

I’m also not so thrilled about the eating-clean  bit…and I just can’t. I  love all sorts of food (healthy and the occasionally not so healthy dishes) too much to give it up. Plus, I’m traveling the week prior to the Philly Marathon and I’m not willing to give up eating the delicious meals I have in store for that trip. If that’s what’ll keep me from a fast marathon finish, you know, I’m ok with that.

And with that — there’s 18 days to go until the Philly Marathon…!


6 Comments October 31, 2013

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