Monday, April 18, 2011

Vancouver Sun Run 10K 2011

Short report (for those who hate searching through a report for the results):

Vancouver Sun Run 10K, April 17, 2011
Official time: 48:40 (4:53/km pace)
2727 out of approx 40,000 finishers
32/2032 in F40-44

Long report, Intro:

I was excited to be racing the Sun Run 10K this year for the first time since 2007. I had one of my best races that day four years ago and hoped I could find some of that magic this year. I have not been able to race it since then: in 2008 I was away, in 2009 I was injured, and last year I was in injury-recovery mode and ran it with my two kids. This year I thought I might even have a shot at a PB (47:00 from 2007), but at least I wanted to give it my all. My original plan was to run with my son again this year (my daughter ran with her friends), and I was happy to do that. But late last week I came up with a scheme to race the course myself first and then catch up to my son who would be arriving at the start-line around 10:00 with my husband. The official start time of the race is 9:00, but since it took us till almost 10:30 to cross the start-line last year with the wave start, I figured there was no need for them to rush to the start. The finish line and start line are about 1.5K apart, so this would be quite doable.

Sun Run Part 1:

My friend TK and I got to the start area pretty early and made our way into the yellow wave corral just after 8:00. This is the area just behind the elite/seeded wave, and they close this corral at about 8:30. We were pretty close to the front of the fence. It was a cold morning but we tried to stay warm by moving around and dancing to the sound of the Neurotics, an awesome rock cover band that plays at the start every year. The music and crowd energy was infectious; still, was a long time to wait with no good time to warm up for the race.

The elites were off right at 9:00, and immediately afterwards they opened our fence and let us through. I thought there would be more of a wait so I was not even quite ready, but got into it quickly. I love the downhill start of this race, and let it move me down with a 4:40 first kilometre. Up to kilometre three, I was just over 14 minutes and right where I needed to be for a 47-minute finish and I felt pretty good. But I never really got into that completely fluid feeling as I had hoped for.

I slowed a bit but was still at just under 24 minutes at the 5K mark. I felt like I could hold on to a sub-48 finish at this point, but it got harder and harder to hold on. I had some bladder pressure issues (YIKES!!) and cramping, which made it uncomfortable and difficult to fully relax. I was plagued by negative thoughts that I just had to push away: "Maybe I should drop out, maybe I'm too old for this." Just shut up and run. I tried to dig deep but the second half of the race just felt really, really tough; I did manage to keep the pace at sub-5:00 kilometres the rest of the way. I crossed the finish line at 48:44 (official time was 48:40). So not exactly the race-day magic I was hoping for, but still a decent effort for what I had. I was happy to be finished... at least temporarily.

Sun Run Part 2:

I got some water and then exited the finish area to make my way back up to the start area. With my quick start it was just after 9:50am, so I figured I had plenty of time to slowly make my way back up to the start area. But just then I got a text from my husband saying they were already moving up in the corral and would soon cross the start-line. I told him I would be there as soon as I can and started to move more quickly. Five minutes later, they were on course (walking), so we decided to meet about 1K down the hill from the start-line, just before the course turns onto Denman Street. They had to wait for me for about two or three minutes; I quickly grabbed the backpack from my husband and started running with my son. I worried my son would be upset for not being able to run right from the start, but he was fine. We were sort of caught up in a sea of mostly walkers, but it did not faze him at all. If anything it kept his pace moderate enough so he could run most of the way. I actually had trouble keeping up with him at some points on my tired legs and running with the small pack. He stopped at water stops only three brief times, and kept a fairly consistent pace of about 6:15/km.

After we crossed the Burrard Bridge and neared the 7K mark, I told him, “Only 2K and then we're at the Cambie Bridge. Let's really focus on these last 2K... then we're almost there.” He ran the rest without stopping. As we neared the 9K mark I told him, “You are doing so well today; next year we will both enter with green bibs and we'll run the whole thing together.” He crossed the finish line with an official time of 1:16:38. That is ten minutes faster than we did last year, and he would have been at least five minutes faster had it not been for the walk and wait for me at the beginning.


Overall I had a great day. Although I did not have my best race, I am happy I decided to race it on my own first. Maybe I did not quite get my game face on in that first 10K, but so be it-- I will have another chance soon. My time was slightly better than the one 10K I did last year, and the season is still early. Being able to come back up to the start and run the course again with my son made the day for me. He has not even been training for running-- he just does a lot of running around on his own, playing soccer with his friends, and plays floor hockey in an informal league. I would love to see what he could do for running if he focused on it. My whole family participated in what was a gorgeous race day; my daughter finished with a friend in just over 1:17 (their time was also lengthened by a forced stop before the finish for a medical emergency), and my husband and mother-in-law walked in 1:53.

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