Before I get into the West Van Run race report, I want to share the most exciting thing that’s happened to me since I started blogging. I was invited to be in a podcast! The guys at Miles Not Included – Joe & Brian – reached out to me on Twitter and asked if I would be their guest. I was very flattered, and gratefully accepted.
The podcast went live on Tuesday, and you can listen to it here:
Miles Not Included Podcast – Episode 9 – Bradley on the Run
Now, on with the race report!
The West Van Run holds a special place in my heart for a few reasons. Last year, I learned about this race and got engaged with them on social media. This was really the start of something new for me, as my tweets until then had been pretty one-sided!
I love the brand. It’s simple. It’s clean. I like the swag.
My first race report – and my second blog post – was about the 2014 West Van Run. It was a personal best for me in the 10K – it was the first time I broke the 50-minute barrier for a race of that distance. Also, my friend and college roommate was in town from Ontario, and came to cheer me on. All in all, a really great race.
Let me tell you about West Van Run 2015
I stuck to my guns and did a long-ish run on Saturday, in keeping with my ‘strategy’ which has garnered a couple of PBs in the past. I did 16km with my Forerunners peeps, and then travelled up to Park Royal in West Vancouver to pick up my race packet.
The race is a relatively small one, so it took just a few minutes to get my bib, tote bag, water bottle and wrist band. I signed up for earlybird registration, so I think that entitled me to more swag than those who signed up late – but don’t quote me on that!
The theme of this year’s race was ‘We Are Canucks’. As a proud Canadian, I grabbed my red t-shirt and posted the following tweet:
To which I received this message from my Twitter friend, Debra:
Hey, where’s your Canucks stuff for tomorrow’s race? Do you need any? I’m bringing some extra if you do…
I realized, to my horror (but not entirely surprising, given my general lack of interest in professional sports), that I had defaulted to the wrong Canucks – and should have been wearing the appropriate team colours!
With some creative makeshift design on the home front, and some additional gear support from Debra, this was the result:
Unlike a lot of local races (where I can simply walk to the start line from my downtown home), I had to drive to West Van. Being paranoid and chronically on time, we arrived far too early and spent quite a bit of time shivering in the cold. It was chilly, but dry – no snow or freezing rain like last year! But with a crisp morning comes great scenery:
The West Van Run has a 1K kids’ run (8:00am start) – so I got to see them finishing their race. At 8:15am, the 5K race headed out. The 10K start was 8:30am. Unlike last year, there was no warm-up exercise/music, which let me down a bit. And just before the gun went off, we were forced to wait for a train to pass by…
We had a new route this year. Last year, the race was an out-and-back along the Seawall. This year, we ran through the West Van neighbourhoods of Dundarave and Ambleside, wove through Park Royal, and then finished on the Seawall. I liked the variety of this route better, especially because the Seawall start was so crowded last year.
I went into this race with the intention of pushing myself harder than I had in previous 10Ks. Unfortunately, I started out at an unsustainable pace – urged on by adrenaline and the enthusiastic crowd of runners – and was slowed by the first
nasty hill undulation between the first and second kilometre. However, after a fairly steep downhill, the course is essentially pancake flat right to the finish.
There are two turnarounds: the first is around 4km, the second around 7km. I found the second one more discouraging, because I could really see how many people were ahead of me! However, it was also at this point that I started keeping pace with runner #273.
Runner #273. I didn’t look at him, he was just there at my left shoulder. He’d move ahead a little, I’d do the same. I’d get a wee bit in front, he’d catch up. This went on for about 3km. And I give him credit – intentionally or not, he gave me the push I needed to keep my pace up, to bring out a bit of my competitive spirit. The Finish line comes into sight on the Seawall at 9km, and then you know how far a kilometre really is. I saved my push until about 300m from the end, put on the gas – and then #273 blazed past me. He crossed the finish line 2 seconds before me! All I could do was congratulate him!
Before I talk about results…let me just mention post-race. There are a few local sponsors, so we got Muscle MLK, David’s Tea, Quinoa snacks and Trace Mineral-Infused Blackwater (crazy, right?).
The big disappointment for me, though, was the ‘free food’ we were supposed to get from the Beach House Restaurant. The place was absolutely rammed – I guess the 5k runners were still there – so after standing in line for about 10 minutes, we gave up and went to another cafe. Not sure what could have been done to improve this situation.
Finally – the results! In spite of – or perhaps thanks to! – my long run on Saturday, and definitely in some part because of #273, I managed a PB for this race. A 3-minute PB. This makes me very happy, given that my half marathon PB in February was a 30-second improvement. For a 10K – I’m incredibly pleased!
In summary – West Van Run is still tops on my list – and especially great because of the new course this year! It’s also worth noting that participation levels more than doubled between 2014 and 2015, proving that this race is getting recognized, and deservedly so!
Chip time: 46:32
Average pace: 4:40 min/km
Place overall: 88/385
Age category place: 16/49