Today I had planned to run in the Vancouver Scotiabank 5km race. Alas, the week after my 5km at the Ottawa Race Weekend I barely ran (I think twice the next week), and then nothing after that. I was busy trying to pack and move and get ready to come here and lived in three different places over the course of one week and didn’t make time for running. Which, to be fair, I don’t regret. I didn’t have any concrete race plans and decided that it would be more worthwhile to wait until I got to Vancouver.
Vancouver is a beautiful city. I live in East Van, which has its ups and downs for sure. I live in a nice residential area but very close by on either end are not-so-nice industrial/downtown areas that are known for their shadiness. So my usual running plan of run until you’re halfway there and turn around and go back started to fail, because if I ran too far I ran into crazy areas. Nevertheless, the mountains provide such a sense of calm.
I feel so lucky to be able to run through beautiful trees and neighbourhoods. So yesterday I decided to start running again. It had been a week and a half since I’d been in Vancouver and I was actually itching to get out and run. The first week was hard on me just walking places because we live on the steepest hill I’ve ever seen and I was walking up and down it three or four times a day the first week.
Because I’m not used to the altitude and/or the hills, it was back to basics for me. And I mean BACK TO BASICS. I googled a bunch of couch to 5km plans and decided to follow them to really build up my cardio for the location I live in now.
A few things I’ve learned about running in a new location:
1. Running with an Ipod can be a bad idea sometimes
I still carry mine for GPS mapping purposes and timing purposes but I think I’m going to forgo the earbuds until I know more about where I’m running. I got surprised by a couple bikes and runners while out and my heart leapt into my chest
2. Start slow – until you know the neighbourhood and terrain
I still don’t know where I’m going really so I make sure I stay on one road… that one road also has a kajillion hills, which is why it was so important for me to hit the re-start button. After all it’s not like I’m a marathoner going back to 5km!
3. Make sure someone knows your running route and don’t deviate.
I told Matt I was heading out for a max of one hour (meaning I’d be back before then) and that I was running up and down one specific road. At one point it was tempting to take a few turns, but in the unlikely event that anything happened his information would be useless to anyone who would be trying to help.
4. Explore! Note cool things to come back to when you aren’t running.
At the end of my run I noted a “book swap birdhouse” which is a neighbourhood bird house that when you open it up has old books people don’t want to read anymore, and its a take a book leave a book kind of mentality. I have to walk back there soon and take a picture so you can all see this. It made me really excited to live in this neighbourhood!
So the beginners plan calls for running three days a week, which I’m more than happy to comply with! This week is alternate one minute jogging with one and a half minutes walking. I am not overly tired today which is great, but I do feel like those hills got the better of me!
My new plan is to run the 5km in Surrey August 12th, and then work up to a 10km late September/October because I’ve signed up for the Walt Disney Half Marathon in January 2013!!!
I’m excited! 199 days to get myself into half marathon shape!