Saturday, 31 August 2013

Tips for enjoying the Zombie Apocalypse

This past weekend I had a chance to participate in the Zombie Apocalypse, as imagined by the lovely folks at Run For Your Lives.  I definitely feel more prepared for the impending doom-here's some tips for rookies who haven't had a chance to run scared from the undead:

1) Figure out where the annihilation is happening before the big day: Fellow zombie hunter Alli and I assumed the race would be in Seattle because all events in Washington happen in Seattle.  Wrong.  After we hit Seattle, we drove for two more hours and hooked a left for another 40km to McCleary, and assumed we had missed the race.  We made it but with a lot of unnecessary grief.  Bad idea because we all know zombies can smell fear.

2)Make friends with your fellow racers, you will need them:  As you attempt to make your way to the Safe Zone with all 3 flags (making it in with one flag means you survived, no flags means infected), you are going to encounter a lot of zombies, sometimes just one, sometimes an entire horde.  Your best chance at making it past unscathed/with all of your flags lies in running past them in a large pack.  Some zombies will make half-hearted attempts for your flags, some will actually chase you and make that horrible zombie noise in your ear.

3)The path to freedom is rife with hills, mud, and obstacles:  Yes, the Zombie Apocalypse has a lot of hills-work on those leg muscles, you're gonna need them.  And every other muscle-the obstacles you will encounter along the way are tough!   You will need your fellow racers to get through/over some of them because the mud makes them so slippery-my clothes and shoes picked up about 10lbs worth of mud over the 5km.  You will crawl through more mud than you've ever seen in your life, swim through a blood pit, under live wires and an electric fence or two. 

4)Bring a waterproof, disposable camera:  The photo ops of the End of Days are pretty spectacular but would destroy event the toughest iPhone/electronic device.  I have barely any pics and am pretty bummed about it.  The link above has some good ones.

Feel more prepared now?  Good.   Sadly, Alli and I were infected (the current tally stands at 44,344 survivors and 97,525 infected). The Run For Your Lives crew put on a very good, well organized event/apocalypse practice however it was tough to find food afterwards (running scared works up quite the appetite!).  For anyone looking to give this a try next year, I wholeheartedly recommend doing the race twice-once as a runner AND once as a zombie (professional zombie make up included), not sure which one looked like more fun!  Fingers crossed it comes to Vancouver next year too.   

Would you rather chase or be chased?

Saturday, 17 August 2013

It's that time of year......

So it's the middle of August and September is racing towards us way too quickly.  A certain commercial says "It's the most wonderful time of the year" with the kiddos going back to kid-jail/school but it's also that bittersweet point in the summer: Bitter because I think "Damn!  I did not get in the amount of open water swimming I wanted to" and Sweet because it's nearing that time where we sit down and think about goals for the coming season.  For the record, the amount of actual open water swimming I managed to do was half an hour in Nicola Lake (There was a leech.  It attacked a friend which lead to a hilarious but traumatic scene-who would want to go in after that?)

Since there is still some time left for open water swim and the lovely views that go along with it, check out these highly recommended spots (please follow the usual safety rules if you're going to a lake or the ocean):

White Pine Beach at Sasamat Lake:  Pro-it's warm  Con-it's very, extremely popular

Centennial Beach in Delta: Pro-it's warm salt water Con-seaweed and having to time for the tides

Various Outdoor pools around town: there's the Ladner Outdoor Pool, the Al Anderson pool in Langley for 25m pools, the UBC outdoor pool for a 50m pool and of course the Kits Beach pool if you're in need of a 137m pool and one of the best views around.

For anyone thinking of learning how to swim this year, I cannot recommend it enough!!!  When I started five years ago my only aquatic skill was a doggy paddle. I was also terrified of putting my face in the water.  Now it's my favourite activity and there's been no looking back.   Check out Red Cross lessons for adults-if they can make a swimmer out of me, they can make a swimmer out of anyone.  I would also recommend checking the internet for local swim/triathlon clubs.

Experienced swimmers-time to start training for new challenges!  The Vancouver Open Water Swim Association ( is wrapping up it's 2013 season but for anyone who is comfortable swimming 1000m in a pool, they are a great option for next year and they also put on a few races throughout the year-you'll see me there in 2014!

That's it for now-did I miss any swimming hotspots?  Favourite pools?  Talk to you next week if I survive the Zombie run!

Monday, 5 August 2013

First things first....

             Welcome to the Race Vault!   I'm starting this blog as a way to share my adventures and misadventures from my quest to try everything once.  Well, everything from the world of races and active living, that is.   If there is a run/swim/cycle/triathlon/chance to get chased by zombies (Zombie Run, August 24th, Olympia WA, )-I'm there!   So far I have 10 triathlons, 1 mud race and countless runs notched in my race belt.  The big goals are the BMO Half Marathon (1st Half Marathon), the Tough Mudder, hiking the Chief in Squamish and the Vancouver Triathlon.  I have been talking myself out of doing the Vancouver Tri for various reasons for the past 4 years so 2014 is going to be the year it happens.  Here's hoping that a regiment of solid training and making all of this public keeps me honest :)  There are also a couple of new races in Vancouver-the Vancouver Eastside 10k on September 14th and an 8k cross country race happening this November in Stanley Park-worth checking out!
                   On top of racing, I'm always on the lookout for newer and funner (it's a word) places to get active-my current faves are the Fred Gingell stairs, the  Run Clinics at the Run Inn in Tsawwassen (6:30 every Tuesday night, come join us!) and the Lochside/Galloping Goose bike trail in Victoria, which was the source of my greatest misadventure yet-a fractured elbow 30km from home.  Let's just say it's a good idea to become proficient with clip-in bike shoes before you head out on a big ride with some tricky terrain or you too may end up staring longingly at your unused bike for the summer.
                    It's not just all about me though-I want to hear from you!  Favourite races?  Places to get your active on?  All of your adventures and misadventures, I wanna hear 'em!   My heart is racing at the thought of finally getting my first post out there, but here we go, in with both feet!   Thanks for reading and see you out there.