Ellen Ran Van!

LAX is my second home. I’m on my third trip to the east coast since March, and on my fifth trip of 2015. This time I’m headed to New York for a school visit and Uncommon Reading and the Common Core Conference. Crazy to think less than 48 hours ago I was running with Marta and Ellen around Stanley Park in Vancouver.

Marathon season is over, and the three amigos have a lot to celebrate. Marta ran a 3:35 in LA, I ran a 3:22 in Boston and Ellen took 25 minutes off her previous marathon time, finishing the Vancouver Marathon in 3:37! Based on training I knew Ellen was going to have an incredible race. There was no way I was going to miss it. Brent and I found a great flight deal and the Mulholland family offered to host us for the weekend, and of course Marta couldn’t miss out on the fun so Anna, Brent, Marta and I all flew up to Vancouver for the weekend.

It was a quick trip, but we were able to cram in a lot into 2 days. Running 12 miles of the course with Ellen was a great way to see the city. Vancouver is absolutely beautiful. Ahh the crisp air, the mountains, the green. It was such a nice change from LA. We arrived late Friday night and despite much objection from Ellen and Anna, Menno gave us a quick tour of the marathon course before we went home and crashed.

Saturday morning we went for a shake out two mile run before taking the bus downtown for that expo. The expo was small, but it was efficient, the booths were quality, and Cliff didn’t have a crazy long line and was giving out free bars. We did our signature “casually walk past a few times and act like this is your first time visiting the booth.” Marta, Ellen and I each bought a Run Van shirt (Marta and I Technically ran in Vancouver), we took advantage of the photo booth, and we saw the elite women.

After visiting the expo we walked down Robson and went out for lunch at The Flying Pig in Yaletown. When Anna is in charge of picking the restaurant you know it’s going to be good. Great ambiance, great food, and a charming server. Oh, and banana bread for the table while you wait for your food. I had the trout with cous cous and avocado salad. Vancouver is a super healthy city. Most of my meals consisted of salads with seafood.

After lunch we met up with Andrea, Alaina’s best friend from growing up who lives in Vancouver and works as a color specialist at Lululemon. I’ve only met Andrea once in LA, but it’s like we’ve known each other forever. If you’re friend with Alaina, you’re friends with me. Andrea had run 17 miles that morning as part of her training for her first marathon that morning. Funny how Alaina’s friends tend to be runners, even though she absolutely hates running. We walked around the seawall drove to the original Lululemon in Kitsilano, walked around and got a drink at Local. Brent got really excited at David’s Tea. Tea is his new thing. Right, Anna? We also went to Pirate Joe’s. Some genius brings Trader Joe’s goodies from the US to Canada, and sells marked up. That night we had delicious salmon burgers for dinner and watched Prefontaine to get Ellen pumped for her big race. We were off to bed fairly early.

IMG_0326The morning of the race was absolutely beautiful. There was no wind, not a cloud in the sky and a perfect chill in the air. Ellen was super calm. I knew she was ready to have a great run. Because the race didn’t start until 8:30, she didn’t have to leave her house until 7:15. It was an oddly relaxing morning for a marathon. No waking up at 4AM, no getting to the starting line in the dark, no shuttles and no traffic. The Mulholland family lives in the perfect spectating spot for the marathon. We walked to the 13KM mark around 9 to watch the elites, and Ellen came soon after. She looked totally at ease and happy. Brent jumped in to run a 10K loop with her, and we walked over to the 23KM mark so that Marta and I could jump in and finish the route with her. Marta and I the rest of the route with Ellen, jumping off the course around 41K. I hope our fresh legs weren’t too annoying for her. We were snapping pictures the entire time. It was just too beautiful not to take pictures. At the end I was able to sprint to the finish and film Ellen crossing the finish line. Ellen, can I post the video!?


Ellen gave it her all, and it was so inspiring seeing someone give 100% and stay so positive. I knew Ellen was tired, but she never got negative and never said she hurt. When I asked her how she was feeling she just kept a straight, focused face and would say “I’m good.” Marta and I stayed a few feet ahead of her and blocked the wind around Stanley Park. It was so great being a part of her marathon experience. Like I said before, Ellen ran a 3:37. Last year in LA she ran a 4:02. CRAZY PR. I’m so inspired by her dedication and hard work, and to think she is only 26. Can’t wait to see what else she accomplishes.

We celebrated her marathon at the Cactus Club on the beach, had dessert and sushi a few hours later. Gotta refuel. After relaxing at the Mulholland house for a few hours we were off to the airport for a quick flight back home. It was a quick weekend, but well worth it. Vancouver, I’ll be back. Mulholland family, thank you so much for your hospitality. You have a beautiful home, and were so welcoming. We loved spending time in your city and hope to see you in LA soon!

Marta, Ellen and I are mixing it up in May. More on that in my next post!