Posts Tagged ‘10k’

This blog post is Part I of a two-part series about the Rock ‘n’ Roll Vancouver Remix weekend, focusing on the Cunningham Seawall 10K. Visit Part II to read about the Rock ‘n’ Roll Vancouver Half Marathon!

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Last year, I ran the inaugural Rock ‘n’ Roll Vancouver Half Marathon because, well, it was new! Rock ‘n’ Roll in Vancouver! An awesome medal! Good fun!

This year, the race organizers took the bold step of making a weekend of the thing – holding the Cunningham Seawall 10K on Saturday, and the half marathon on Sunday. And, along with it, the opportunity to earn a Remix medal on top of the two race medals. How could I resist? A double header, and more bling!

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I don’t much like driving at night. I need to wear glasses, and if it’s raining then I get really anxious. I’m not a big fan of running at night, either. But with the Night Race Vancouver under my belt – I may have to rethink that!

The Night Race was on my calendar a few months ago. I pondered signing up, missed the earlybird deadline and, after committing to several other races in Septmeber (including 5 Peaks, Spirit Run, and Eastside 10k), basically talked myself out of it.

Then, I ended up doing the Terry Fox Run, joining forces with a bunch of my partner’s coworkers. They were tremendously enthusiastic and encouraged us to join the upcoming Night Race. By the end of the day – with the midnight registration deadline fast approaching – both my better half and I were signed up!

About the Night Race

The Night Race is actually a series, taking place in 6 cities across Canada. The Vancouver event took place on Friday night, and involved a 1km kids race, as well as a 5k and a 10k. We ran the latter, a loop of Stanley Park that basically mirrored the Terry Fox Run from the previous week – except it wasn’t pouring rain, and we started and finished at the Stanley Park Pavilion.

Package pickup was held at the Running Room on Denman on Wednesday and Thursday nights. We went down on the first night, and got the race T-shirt (a nice, midnight blue Brooks technical shirt), an Energizer 4 LED headlight (batteries included!), and a bag of magazines and promo materials – most of which I recycled almost immediately. I’ll admit that the headlamp was one of the big motivators for doing this race – that and the novelty of the whole thing!

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I have to admit I was underwhelmed by the social media presence and communications for this race. By the day of, we had received no updates or reminders beyond the initial registration email. Referring to the website, I found it a bit challenging to navigate, and information on race day was sparse. It indicated a 7:10pm start (made sense – sunset being at 7:03pm) – but was that for the 5k or the 10k? Or both? It was impossible to tell. Found it! But it was at the bottom of the ‘Race Kit Pick Up’ page? Not intuitive.

And, as of writing, the most recent photographs from previous races are from 2013. And their last tweet was on September 22 – three days prior to the race itself.

Race Day Night!

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We arrived to crowds and announcements at about 6:45 – and they were telling us to hurry up because things were about to start! Really? Already? Quickly checked my bag (very efficient) and made a potty stop – and it turned out it was the kids race that started at 7:10. This gave me a bit of time to get some fluorescent face paint, and we finally started at 7:25pm.

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The first kilometre or so was a bit of a bottleneck, everyone jockeying for position and getting used to the bobbing headlamps. I decided to pace my partner in crime, taking things a bit slower and really enjoying the atmosphere of the run.

As darkness fell, there were some beautiful views of the city, and a bright full moon above us. I tried taking some pictures, but I yet again proved my lack of skill with low-light photography.

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The coolest part of the race, by far, was looking back along the seawall and seeing dozens of dancing lights. It must have been amazing to see from above! Also, running under the illuminated Lions Gate Bridge was pretty neat.

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One of the weirdest moments: somewhere between Third Beach and Second Beach, a woman. Wearing black, in the dark, carrying no lights and nothing reflective…walking backwards.

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At last, we skirted Lost Lagoon and reached the final (uphill!) push to the finish line, with lights and cheers and neon! We regrouped with our peeps and lined up for refreshments!

What we got was:  Pure Protein bars, King Island coconut water, French fries, veggie (or chicken) wraps, and a bottle of Molson Canadian. We gathered inside – where black light brought some awesome colour to my face paint and bright orange Buff – and enjoyed our food.

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It turned out there were some issues with timing chips. They had these odd overhead timers, rather than mats, and apparently some folks’ times started before the gun even went off. However, by Sunday everything seemed to have been sorted out.

In the end, we went home satisfied, sore and a bit chilly – but ultimately we had a great time!

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Final Results

Chip Time: 1:06:41
Average Pace: 6:40 min/km
Place Overall: 240/399
Age Category Place: 19/26

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RACE REPORT

Overall
I hadn’t heard of this race before, but I understand this race has been going on for a few years. It kind of felt like an inaugural race. Don’t get me wrong – it was good fun – but things just didn’t seem all that well organized. I get that it was a ‘fun run’ but it was also chip timed…I guess I just felt like things could have been a bit more professional.

Packet Pickup/Expo
Table set up at Running Room – quick and efficient. They also had a table with some cookies, which made me happy.

T-Shirt/Swag
The t-shirt was pretty cool – midnight blue with stars and logo. But the best thing was definitely the Energizer LED headlamp – something I’ll most certainly use again!

Course
A counter-clockwise loop of Stanley Park, starting and finishing at the Stanley Park Pavilion. Everyone I talked to agreed that it was slightly longer than 10km – more like 10.4km. But who’s counting?

Aid Stations
I believe there were 2 aid stations with water. Not sure if they had anything else – I couldn’t see! But encouraging and enthusiastic volunteers were there for sure!

Post-Race
A lot of fun! Pure Protein bars, King Island coconut water, French fries, veggie (or chicken) wraps, and a bottle of Molson Canadian. The wrap was OK – kind of lacking in taste. There was a DJ, with decent music playing. We didn’t stay late, but I imagine the party went on for a bit.

Race Management
This is the first race I’ve attended lately where I was disappointed by race management. As detailed in my blog post, the social media presence was quite poor, the website sub-par, and overall there seemed to be a lack of detail and organization. A bit of chaos at the start line. Issues with timing. Room for improvement.

Would I Run It Again?
Hmmm…maybe. Ultimately, it would depend on who else was running. This is definitely a ‘gimmick’ run (in a positive way), so it’s more about the experience than anything else. If I was participating with friends so we hang out afterward, and if I got in for a reduced price, then I’d probably run again. Otherwise, I think once is enough.

 

I’ve linked up with Jessica at The Silvah Lining for her weekly Race Recap link up!

The Silvah Lining

Summerfast 10K

Summerfast? Not so fast!

I made two rookie mistakes this weekend.

1. Overtraining?

I went to the gym twice this week and I feel like I pushed myself a bit too hard. Not so hard that I was incapacitated, but hard enough to still be feeling the effects of bar squats on the day of the race.

Also, I did hill training on Thursday night. I know I need to do more speed and hill work, but was it the right thing to do two days before a race?

2. I did something different on race day.

I ran out of oatmeal on Wednesday. I had fully planned to get to the supermarket and buy more, but it just didn’t happen. All of a sudden, it was race day and I didn’t have my usual pre-race food.

I went ahead and made a smoothie, which admittedly is something I do almost every day. The big difference is that I don’t race every day! Almost immediately, I needed to spend some time in the bathroom. And I wished I had had oatmeal.

Never mind!

I headed down to Stanley Park for Summerfast 10K!

Almost immediately, I could feel a vibe that was different from most of the races I’ve done lately. This one was serious. The folks warming up were very focused. There was a distinct buzz in the air.

Ran into Jean, and then chatted with some Forerunners folks. Bev and Deb were there, Bev aiming for her place in the Lower Mainland Road Race Series. Debra (@debrakato) was on hand with her trusty camera, and snapped a nice photo of Darrel, Theresa and me.

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Do we look confident?

I also showed off my Tiux Compression Socks – for their first race wearing! (You can still enter to win a pair of these bad boys here!)

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Gathering at the Start Line, I met another Twitter buddy, Steve (@abundantsink), for the first time in real life.

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Matching smiles!

Got a few more snaps:

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Then, someone behind me said, “It must almost be time” just as – without any warning or fanfare – the gun went off.

The Route

I won’t go into a lot of detail, except to mention that the first kilometre was a bit of zigzagging in Coal Harbour to get us to the right distance. The rest of the run is a simple counter-clockwise loop of the Stanley Park Seawall ending where we started, at Second Beach.

Most of the race was in full sun, though much of it was blessedly at our backs. It was hot – but not as hot as the Scotiabank Half a few weeks ago!

I’ve mentioned in previous posts, but at certain points on the Seawall you can see a couple of kilometres ahead. Near the halfway mark, I saw Bev (in her distinctive orange shirt) in the distance. I aimed to catch up with her, but never did.

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Snapped this on the run!

The Finish

Somehow I managed a negative split, with my second half a respectable 5 seconds faster than my first half. I sprinted for the finish but I’m pretty sure the guy beside me crossed the line just a hair before I did. My cap matches the pylons. I planned that.

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Lots of familiar faces at the end. We were all sweaty and happy. I grabbed some water and then some Muscle MLK (vanilla is my favourite)!

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Summerfast is hosted by Vancouver Falcons Athletic Club (VFAC) – they are super fast. The ruled the podium at the Ambleside Mile. One of the best things about this race is that the VFAC members bring home baking! I enjoyed an amazing chocolate brownie and some coconut cake. I tried to take a clear photo, but the crowds were too thick.

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Hanging about, I also got a “Hey, are you Bradley?” from Ethan (@AvgRunner), one of my Twitter followers. I really love it when this happens!

And then, the true highlight of the day, a legit celebrity sighting. Anyone recognize him?

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Yep, that’s Stephen Amell, aka The Arrow (or Oliver Queen). Having chickened out of speaking to famous people in the past, I simply approached him and asked for a photo. He graciously agreed. I asked him how the race went. He told me he had wrapped filming late the night before, but had agreed to do this 10k! A super hero!

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Photo courtesy of DC Entertainment/CW

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Bonus photo of Arrow finishing the race!

The Results

When I finally checked my results, I was sorely disappointed. Generally, I’m a mid-pack runner, and recently I’ve been ranking somewhere in the top third. But despite a decent time, I actually came in second last in my age group!

But I’ll admit there may be a reason for this. Summerfast also happens to be the BC 10K Championship race, managed by BC Athletics. So all the speedsters are out to prove themselves. And the fact that at least one of my friends, who usually places in their age group, came a bit lower in the rankings…well, that was reassuring.

I was tired and hot and hungry, so I didn’t stay around for the awards ceremony. Apparently I should have, because they had lots of door prizes to be won! I’ll keep this in mind for next time!

Final Results
Chip time: 48:22
Average pace: 4:51 min/km
Overall: 164/378
Age ranking: 14/15

Happy to link up again with Tara at Running ‘n’ Reading – Weekend Update style!

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RACE REPORT

Overall
This is a small, straightforward race. No frills. It’s a flat, scenic course – built for speed (except, perhaps, in my case). Summerfast is not a destination race per se, but being a local event I was glad to be there. I would run it again. If you’re in town, it’s inexpensive and it’s beautiful. And there are baked goods!

Packet Pickup/Expo
I walked down to the Denman Street Running Room after work on Friday to pick up my bib. They had a table set up in the store, and that was it. Very straightforward. Race day pickup was also available.

T-Shirt/Swag
This race is not about the swag or the bling. It’s about the run. Enough said.

Course
Seawall around Stanley Park. Flat. Hot. Shared with cyclists, pedestrians, and other runners. This did not cause me any issues.

Aid Stations
One water station at 5km. A second at 8km by Third Beach. I didn’t bother to slow down for either.

Post-Race
A few sponsors were present, including CLIF Bars and Muscle MLK. The best thing, however, was all of the baked goods by the VFAC hosts – yummy!

Race Management
Things seemed to run very smoothly. It’s a simple, no nonsense race. Very professional. An announcement warning us that the gun would go off momentarily would have been a bonus, but since I wasn’t competing by gun time – and therefore not at the front of the pack – it didn’t really matter. Chip time works for me!

Longest Day Road Race

The last time I participated in the Longest Day Road Race was 2010. It was one of my earliest races, and I ran the 5k in just under 29 minutes. At the urging of my Forerunners group leader, Lucy (who has been my guest blogger twice – see Chicago and LA), I signed up for this year’s 10k.

The Week That Was

Before I get to the race, I’ll do a quick recap of the week. And also jump in to mention that I’m teaming up with Tara at Running ‘n’ Reading for her Weekend Update linkup.

Monday
With uncharacteristic aplomb, I got myself out of bed before 6am and went out for a run. Not far – just 5k – but I figured it made sense to start the week off right. I was still sore from the gym workout that Jill and I had done the previous Friday, and Jill was delighted to know that I wasn’t the only one who had suffered the curse of the squat.

Tuesday
I had fully planned to go for a run, and even brought my gear to the office. Then I remembered a promise I had made to meet a friend for lunch – a friend I hadn’t seen in nearly 2 years (despite the fact that she lives in North Vancouver). Friendship trumps fitness, and we had a wonderful time catching up!

Wednesday
Jill is going on holiday, so this was our last chance for the next few weeks to get to the gym together. It was a somewhat abbreviated workout, but it invokes kettle bells, some decent upper body work, and the dreaded squat.

Thursday
A double day. Lana and I were joined by Andrea, and we completed nearly 7k around Lost Lagoon and Second Beach pool. And, as I had promised, I got back to my personal training with Lisa at the YMCA. During our lunch run, I told Lana I wanted to work on upper body – in particular, I said, I’d love to have those biceps that fill out the sleeves of a T-shirt. Her no-nonsense response?

Buy a smaller T-shirt.

Nevertheless, Lisa fulfilled my request, and focused on upper body and overall strength. We did back squats, dead lifts, rows, chest press, flies, shoulder raises…enough to keep my muscles burning for the foreseeable future. Commitment renewed!

Friday – Race Day!
The Longest Day Road Race is true to its name – it’s held the Friday before the summer solstice, and is held in the evening to prove that our days are long and beautiful. I was suffering from the various workouts of the week, plus full days at the office. But I had signed up, and this was not going to be my first DNS!

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Longest Day Road Race

The race is held on the campus of the University of British Columbia (UBC), at the far west side of Vancouver. I rushed home from work, threw together a smoothie, and booked a car (see Modo) to drive the 20-some minutes to UBC. Because there was a football game happening concurrently, we were encouraged to park some distance away, and the walk to the start line took about 20 minutes as well.

A few shots of campus:

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What I’ll call the ‘festival’ area included all the food tents, package pickup, a kids play area (with a giant blow-up slide) – all close to the start/finish lines. Ran into Elinor (@goodbyeclutter) and Jean, and then went to grab my bib. There was a giant lineup…but I realized it was for the 5k.

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Festival Area

The 5k is popular for a couple of reasons. It’s part of the BC Road Running Series, 14 races held throughout BC. You score points for each race and, if you run 5 or more of them, you have the potential to win a prize.  Also, this race is the BC Athletics 2015 5K Road Race Championship – with accolades and prizes for the age group winners. In short, it’s a big deal.

I had signed up for the 10k, and since I was early the package pickup was quick and painless. I grabbed some free popcorn (which I would later regret), watched the start of the Kid’s Mile at 6:30pm, mingled with some running friends, and lined up to cheer on the speed demons as they headed out at 7pm for the 5k.

5k Start

5k Start

With the 10k beginning at 7:15pm, I gathered in the corral with a few of the Forerunners gang. I was feeling a bit anxious about how I would perform, so it was great to have the camaraderie and encouragement of my team.

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The Race Route

The 10k is a double loop. I’m not a big fan of double loops, since you can anticipate the pain that’s coming the second time around. It starts with a downhill, past Thunderbird Stadium (where a football game was taking place = lots of traffic!), around the south edge of the university, and back into the heart of campus – West Mall and then Main Mall. The route is great because you’re running past forested areas, and then looking at the varied architecture of UBC – some of the oldest buildings on campus, and some of the newest. At the very north end of the route there’s a distant view of the ocean.

Lap #1

And we're off!

I started out too fast. My first kilometre was 4:20, which is not a sustainable pace. I could see Lucy’s swinging ponytail and brilliant yellow shoes for the first few kms, and then she was gone. Karen, one of the owners of Forerunners, was cheering us on at about 2.5k, which was awesome. Just before the 3k mark, there is a short, steep uphill – unexpected, and tough. There are also a couple of little out-and-back sections to add on distance, before reaching the 5k mark and starting all over again. I was cheered into the second half by Coach Carey and a few others.

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Halfway there!

Lap #2

By now, the crowds had thinned. On the fast lap, we were still catching up with some of the 5k stragglers. This time, it was pretty quiet. Around 6k, a guy came up behind me and, pointing at his GPS watch, said: “This thing lies like my first wife. Just told me a did a 10-minute kilometre!” – which was clearly not the case, as he barrelled past me. The popcorn I had eaten before the race was fighting back a bit, so I didn’t feel great. Karen was still there on the second loop, though, and her encouragement really pushed me forward to that horrible uphill.

My legs felt like rubber. I think all the squats of the last few days were finally taking their toll.

I was just getting ready to push to the end when one of the course marshals directed me down the final out-and-back…I had forgotten about it! Nevertheless, I kicked it up a notch and made it to the finish line. But not in record time.

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The Party

The real draw of the Longest Day Road Race is the food! Included in your registration is a full-on buffet of burgers (including veggie burgers) or hot dogs, raw veggies, salad, fruit, chips, ice cream, cookies, drinks, and even a fudge brownie! I took advantage of everything, cramming it onto the single paper plate, and stuffed myself silly. The burger was cold and I was a sweaty, sticky mess – but it didn’t matter! There was a $5 per drink beer garden, but I didn’t partake. I was exhausted. We walked back to the car, and headed home. What a fun night!

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This picture doesn’t do it justice…SO MUCH food!

Final Results
Chip time: 48:42
Average pace: 4:52 min/km
Place overall: 86/403
Age category place: 33/92

(NOTE: the age grouping, usually in 5-year increments, was 40-59 for me this time…quite a spread!)

Saturday
I think about 10 folks from Forerunners participated in either the 5k or the 10k. And we were all there on Saturday morning for our clinic, an easy 15k to Lost Lagoon and back. I’m impressed that everyone was out in force – shows how much we love running!

Sunday
Happy Father’s Day! I actually wrote an ‘Ode to Dad‘ for the blog, and we did our best to not make each other cry when we spoke in the evening. Otherwise, most of the day was spent on the balcony, enjoying the longest day.

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RACE REPORT

Overall
Simple and straightfoward race. Well organized. Fun and festive, with good announcements and decent communication from registration onward. Price is the same for 5k or 10k – just $33 for earlybird, or $38 regular. That includes food.

Packet Pickup/Expo
It’s possible to pick up your package at the Running Room on Thursday night, but it was simply easier to show up a bit early on race day. The lineup for the 10k pickup was short, so it took like 2 seconds.

T-Shirt/Swag
You can buy a tech t-shirt, but I’ve got enough as it is. No medal for this race (unless you actually place).

Course
As described, it’s a painful double loop. Mostly flat, with a nice long downhill at the start and a challenging (but short) uphill at 3k/8k. Scenic and enjoyable, particularly in the cool evening weather typical of the summer solstice time of year.

Aid Stations
There was one aid station at 3k/8k – I think they had both water and energy drinks, but I didn’t slow down to partake.

Post-Race
Great food! Wonderful selection of stuff. I think the burgers would have been fresher/yummier for those finishing early (i.e. 5k runners) because by the time I got there, everything was kind of cold. But it was quick and efficient to get through the line, and I really enjoyed it. There were door prizes, too, but I didn’t win anything.

Race Management
In terms of what I needed and expected of this race, I think it was very well put together. I liked the fact that we got cheap ($4) parking on a campus where it’s very expensive to park – but with the discount code it was reasonable, if a wee bit far from the start line. Volunteers were great. Sponsors were great.

 

Have you ever run an evening race? Do you prefer racing in the mornings or evenings? What’s your opinion of double loop races?

Sun Run gear

It was just me and 40,000 of my closest friends. That’s the joke, right, with these massive races? I know I’ve mentioned it before, but in case you hadn’t heard, the Vancouver Sun Run is the largest 10k in Canada (and 3rd in North America). It’s massive. It can be pretty overwhelming. And it’s such a lot of fun!

The Sun Run is a Vancouver institution. So much so that companies small and large register teams and usually cover entry fees for their employees (and sometime for friends and families – or, as I like to call them, ‘ringers’). I’ve never had to pay to enter the Sun Run!

The Corporate Team Challenge pits companies in the same industry against one another. If company teams have ten or more registrants, the average speed of the top ten runners decides the winner.

One of my April goals was to be in our company’s top ten.

The Training

I’ve been training fairly consistently in preparation for upcoming half marathons. The preparation for the Sun Run was part of that. However, I don’t consistently hardly ever do speed work. It’s not that I don’t recognize its value. It’s just that I’m not as motivated as I should be. Long slow runs? No problem! Quick lunchtime runs? In the bag! But speed work is the missing link. I learned that today.

The Morning

I had prepped my gear the night before. The weather report called for sun – and delivered! Bright and clear with just a hint of chill in the air. Headed to the start line about an hour early, with enough time for a potty break. I was able to discard my throwaway hoodie (to be donated) well before the race began.

Start Line pose

I was in the Yellow corral – the first one behind the wheelchair and elite corrals. I wanted to get ahead of as much of the pack as possible! It was good energy – with about a dozen giant beach balls being tossed around by the crowd. Eventually, though – and after being hit in the head about 5 times – it got a little old. The kids loved it, but I wasn’t the only one who tired of it pretty quickly!

I spoke briefly to a colleague and his wife (who I knew were fast runners), and saw a couple of our distinctive branded shirts in the crowd. Our company provided technical t-shirts to all runners, which was pretty awesome!

About 5 minutes after the elites headed out, we were off funneled into a narrow channel to shuffle across the start line.

The Course

I’m familiar with the course – the Sun Run was my first race ever, and this is my fifth time running it. It’s a quick 1km downhill, a few tight corners and then along the edge of Stanley Park. Once you hit English Bay, there are bands or DJs every kilometre or so (including a choral group performing an admirable rendition of Madonna’s Like a Prayer!)

A short, steep hill just before 5k (familiar, since it’s a block from home), followed by good old Burrard Bridge.

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A few twists and turns and then the final, brutal climb up the Cambie Bridge on-ramp. The last kilometre down off the bridge to cheering crowds.

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I passed one of my colleagues heading onto the bridge – and saw two more cross the finish line just ahead of me.

The Results

Once the race is over, we head into BC Place for refreshments, and to connect with our team. I chatted with a few of my fittest coworkers, including Chris – who had thrown down the gauntlet to me in this race. He claimed victory – beating me by over two minutes! This is my reward to him:

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Homemade, if you can’t tell!

Overall, this race was a success. While not a personal best, it was a course PB – when I last ran it in 2012, my result was 57:39. As such, finishing with 47:08 was not too shabby – given it was a 10 1/2 minute improvement! And while I didn’t finish in the top 10 for the company, I managed to squeak in at 15th place. I was up against some tough competition – well done, everyone!

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Me & lunch-time training partner – Lana (plus photo-bombing toddler!)

Could it have gone better? Perhaps. Should I have trained harder (i.e. done more speed work)? Obviously. Will I tackle the Sun Run again? Absolutely!

Final Results:

Chip time: 47:08
Average pace: 4:42 min/km
Place overall: 1897/39045 (in 2012 it was: 9409/38850)
Age category place: 148/1654

RACE REPORT

Overall
The Sun Run is an experience of epic proportions. Because I was in one of the front corrals, it wasn’t quite the ‘crush’ of people that I’ve faced in previous years. I love the spirit and energy of this event that brings Vancouver together!

Packet Pickup/Expo
As part of the Corporate Team Challenge, I didn’t have to do my own bib pickup. Instead, we had a post-work event at the pub where shirts & bibs were handed out – along with the technical t-shirts kindly provided by our company.

T-Shirt/Swag
The Sun Run shirt itself is a simple cotton affair (Gildan) – I generally use them for non-running workouts at the gym. Corporate Team Challenge runners get their company brand on the back as well.

Sun Run Shirt

2015 Shirt Design

No medals for this race – just too many people! Unless you place in your age category. Then you absolutely deserve it!

Course
Scenic – along English Bay, and over Burrard Bridge. Very quick downhill for the first kilometre. Three hill challenges: Hornby and Pacific (just before 5km); Burrard Bridge; Cambie Bridge. Biggest challenges: tight corners from Georgia onto Denman (around 1km) and very soon thereafter heading onto Robson – with big crowds, and a lot of variation in people’s pace, it can get pretty crowded.

Good entertainment from bands/performers with live music, and a few DJs from local radio stations.

Aid Stations
I didn’t use any of them, but there were plenty of aid stations staffed by young, cheering volunteers. They provide good signage of upcoming stations, too. I think it was mostly water, rather than sports drinks.

Post-Race
Held inside BC Place – good to either warm up or cool off, depending on the outside weather. Food included: bananas, bagels, and fruit juice (thanks to Spud.com and Oasis). Sponsors also provided samples: PowerBar, Muscle MLK, McDonald’s (coffee), Dairyland (chocolate milk), and Nature’s Path.

The stadium also posts giant letters so you can meet up with your team – which is great, given that 40,000 runners is a lot to sift through to find your people!

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Race Management
No complaints whatsoever. The Sun Run team clearly knows what they’re doing. Per everything above – top notch job. The only thing I didn’t like was the darn beach balls while we were waiting in the corral – anything flying at my head kind of stresses me out. But I’ll let that one slide. Because the Sun Run rocks!
Have you ever run the Vancouver Sun Run? How was your experience? What’s the largest race you’ve even participated in?

Processed with MoldivWhen I signed up for my first 8km race a little over six years ago, I never dreamed I would end up calling myself a runner. And when I hit ‘Publish’ on my first blog post – exactly one year ago today – I had no idea how much ‘Bradley on the Run’ would become a part of my life.

March 1, 2015 – Many of you have been with me throughout this journey, while others have just joined the party. Please allow me the (slightly narcissistic) indulgence of reflecting back over the past 12 months. I also have to thank a bunch of people, too!

#42for42

I decided that 2014 would be my marathon year, and set my sights on Honolulu in December, just about a week after my 42nd birthday (42km marathon at 42 years old = #42for42). I figured this was as good a motivation as any to check the full marathon off of my bucket list. With a bit of encouragement, I ended up running the BMO Vancouver Marathon as my first (and best), with Honolulu my second. The question lingers whether or not another marathon is in the cards for me…

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Injuries and Excuses

During and after the BMO, I had some issues which I described at the time as ‘groin’-related. I took some time off, did some physio and – most significantly – started going to Pilates. Well, lo and behold, I was healed! Turns out that my problem was not, uh, where I thought it was. My problem was a weak core! Huge shout out to Christie at the YMCA who has helped to make a world of different in strengthening my flabby underdeveloped mid-section.

A Few PBs

I want to brag, just a little bit. In the past year, I achieved personal best (PB) results in 5 distances!

  • Full Marathon (42.2km) – the BMO Vancouver Marathon was the winner here. Much as I enjoyed Honolulu, it was not comparable time-wise to the BMO
  • Half Marathon (21.1km) – just a few weeks ago, I had a ‘perfect storm’-type race in the First Half Half Marathon – and loved every minute of it!
  • 10km – it was a cold and snowy day, but the 2014 West Van Run was a PB in this distance…that is, until today…(stay tuned for an upcoming race report on West Van Run 2015!)
  • 8km – the Modo 8K was a fun and unexpected success
  • 1 mile – this was a distance I had never tackled = automatic PB! We’ll see what this year’s Ambleside Mile has in store!

Huge Thanks!

Although I enjoy writing this blog – it’s one of the things that keeps me motivated in my running – it’s the people who have supported me that make the true impact. An enormous THANK YOU to:

  • Coach Carey and the amazing people of Forerunners – from Day One, I have been inspired and encouraged by this team of athletes.
  • My Twitter followers – for every ‘Like’ and every retweet, those I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in person and those I hope to meet someday!
  • All the folks on Facebook, including the many non-runners who visit my blog just because – it means a lot to me!
  • Everyone who follows me on Instagram, Pinterest (still figuring that one out) – and this blog!
  • Kristy (Runaway Bridal Planner) and the amazing new blog-mates I have met through the February Blog Hop, which pushed me to analyze and develop my social media skills over the past month!

Grow Your Blog Image

  • Last but not least – my friends and family, who come out to cheer me on, who put up with my endless running stories, and who wait for me to finish long training runs. You are truly amazing!

#YearoftheHalf

I can’t wait to see what the next year has in store. I’ve designated 2015 the ‘Year of the Half’, when I will focus primarily on the half marathon distance (or shorter). I look forward to sharing more race reports, hosting a few giveaways (look for one coming soon!), networking with a whole lot more bloggers, and making many new connections.

Thank you for celebrating YEAR 1 with me!

– Bradley

What do you enjoy about my blog? Is there anything I could do to improve it? I welcome feedback and suggestions!

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I usually don’t sleep well the night before a race, and Friday night was no exception. I tossed and turned, and woke up on Saturday feeling anything but refreshed. I downed some coffee, forced myself to eat some oatmeal (I don’t love eating in the morning), and found a car2go nearby to get me to the start line of the Eastside 10K.

This was my second Eastside 10K – I participated in last year’s inaugural race. But while 2013 was chilly and foggy, 2014 was bright and sunny – ideal weather, really. I’ve participated in two other Canada Running Series events this year: the Modo 8K in March and (my most recent race) the Scotiabank Half Marathon. And while the package pickup for the Eastside 10K was mildly chaotic, I find these races to be some of the best organized and most fun!

I decided to try something new for this race – I intentionally ran ‘naked’. No, nothing like the Underwear Affair; I simply chose to forego any technology – no iPhone to play music or tell me my pace, no Facebook cheers, no watch with a timer. To be fair, I had my iPhone in my pocket to track my overall race, but I had no earphones and resisted glancing at it during the race.

You may recall the slight trauma I experienced during the BMO Marathon when my iPhone quit at kilometre 30, and I was forced to run ‘naked’ the rest of the race. That was unintentional and unexpected. This race was deliberate and an experiment in self-discipline and self-awareness.

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The energy at the start line was great. Although Forerunners was one of the sponsors of this event, I unfortunately didn’t see anyone from my running clinic – so I was on my own. I also wore my race t-shirt – I know there are different schools of thought on wearing event shirts the day of, but something about being one of the 100s (or 1000s or tens of 1000s) dressed in {insert theme colour here} just makes me happy. This year, as you see, it was black. I washed the shirt Friday night, and it was dry and ready to race when I woke up.

At 8:30 sharp, we were off. Running without music is new for me, and it’s amazing what you notice when you don’t have familiar songs and beats to distract you. This is what I experienced:

The amazing sound of hundreds of shoes on concrete. As we ran across the Dunsmuir Viaduct the first kilometre, that really was the only thing I heard. Sure, one or two people cheering, others chatting – but that surge of energy from the feet of athletes propelling themselves forward – kind of amazing.

The guy making duck sounds. Because the Eastside 10K takes is through the poorest neighbourhood in Vancouver (the Downtown Eastside/DTES), and maybe because the race is smaller (about 1700 participants), there weren’t as many spectators or people cheering us on. So those that were out there stick in my memory. And just after kilometre one (and, on the return, just before kilometre 9), there was a guy with a duck sound thing – it made me smile. And if I’d had my music on, I would have missed it.

Phlegm guy. My experience in almost any run of a distance greater than 5 km is that you can easily get fixated on one particular thing – the weird gait of the person in front of you, a tweaky muscle, or a badly tied shoe. In my case, it was phlegm guy. Around the 3km mark, two guys ended up in pace with me, just behind and to my left. They were chatting away, but one of them kept coughing up phlegm and spitting with unusual energy and force. And he did it over, and over, and over. At one point they overtook me, and I got a look at him – just an average guy with excess mucous. But then I was anxious that I might end up in the firing line, and I pushed ahead. And for at least 2 kilometres, every 10-15 seconds, dude was hawking and spitting like a maniac. Dozens and dozens of times. I thought, Should he really be running? Is he sick? And then, after one particularly forceful iteration, a girl behind me said, “OMG, I’m gonna take that guy out!” And I knew I wasn’t alone. It was almost like water torture – or a dripping faucet – when was the next one going to come?

See how much I wrote about him? Seriously, for like a third of the race, phlegm guy was my obsession! But somewhere around the halfway mark, I blessedly lost him.

Lots of ‘Ohayo!’ and ‘Ganbatte!’ as we ran past the Japanese Language School on Alexander Street.

Not a sound, but a sight. Because this was my first post-recovery race, I hadn’t set a specific time goal – nor was I pacing myself. But as we approached the turnaround point in Gastown, I found myself behind the 50 minute Pacer – wearing bright yellow, easy to spot in the sea of black shirts. Was 50 minutes (my 2013 result) a realistic goal? I lost sight of her shortly thereafter, and stopped thinking about time.

The cheers (or maybe jeers?) of some residents of the tent city in Oppenheimer Park. One lady yelled out, ‘Nice fancy clothes!’ – not sure if she was complimenting or mocking, but I shouted out a thank you anyway!

The strangely annoying noise of my bib bouncing against the pins holding it too my shirt. Hard to explain, but when my surroundings were quiet it kinda bugged me – like change jingling in a pocket. But I got over it.

Lovely music from a singer/guitar duo at Heatley and Alexander.

Interlude:  It wasn’t until somewhere between 6km and 7km that I thought about it – my injury. The pain that kept me from running for the entire month of July. The thing that nearly made me decide to give up for #42for42 plan and skip Honolulu entirely. I thought about it – and realized there was no pain! Things are truly looking up… 

Two adorable little boys cheering for us around the 7km mark.

My own breathing. The last kilometre is an uphill onto the Viaduct, followed by a long stretch of ‘I’m never going to make it’. My breath was getting raspy, and I was making little groaning noises. Do I usually do that? Normally I can’t hear myself – a bit embarrassing! But I’m pretty sure everyone else is focused on themselves – no one is listening to me!

Then the finish line was in sight – and the number on the clock was still 49! I had a chance to better last year’s time! I heard the announcer say, “If you can see the clock, you can still get in under 50 minutes.” So I sprinted (at least in my mind) over the finish line.

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Fantastic dog tag style medal. Good quality warming jacket. Excellent spread of food. Beautiful weather. And a time just 5 seconds short of my 10k personal best (achieved earlier this year the the West Van Run). And I experienced it all without the aid of any technology, and I think I’m better for it. What more could I ask for? See you next year, Eastside 10k!

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Final results:

Chip time: 49:36
Average pace: 4:58 min/km
Place overall: 380/1461
Age category place: 35/87