Posts Tagged ‘sun run’

Sun Run 2016

Posted: April 28, 2016 in My Story
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Sun Run

Celebrated my sixth Sun Run this year! Here’s a quick recap of the last few years:

  • Sun Run 2009 (1:17:23) – my very first race…ever! Finished in a solid one hour and 17 minutes
  • Sun Run 2010 (1:04:58) – trimmed over 10 minutes off my previous race results
  • Sun Run 2011 (1:03:23) – slightly faster, but still room for improvement!
  • Sun Run 2012 (57:39) – finally broke the one hour mark
  • Sun Run 2013 – registered, but had to pull out due to my Mom’s illness
  • Sun Run 2014 – falling the weekend before my very first marathon, I decided to give the race a miss; fortunately, there’s a guest blog!
  • Sun Run 2015 (47:08) – hot on the heels of my 10K PB at West Van Run, set my course record by breaking 50 minutes!
  • Sun Run 2016 (??) – read on to learn how this year’s race turned out!

Just me and 40,000 of my closest friends ran this year’s Sun Run. After all these years, I knew what I was in for – crowds, crowds and more crowds. And, at the same time, lots of smiles, amazing energy in the city, and (yet again) beautiful spring weather. That’s the Sun Run!

I signed up with a large group of colleagues and their family and friends. There were close to 150 of us representing. But in the chaos at the start line, I didn’t run into anyone I knew this year…

THE START LINE

Predictably, I got complacent. The Sun Run start line is less than 15 minutes walk from home. Sure, I went through the usual routine, ate my oatmeal, drank some coffee…and then another cup of coffee. Though we had plenty of time to get to Burrard and Georgia, it dawned on me that the coffee had gone straight through. I lined up for the porta-potties.

And then I waited.

And waited.

What the heck are people doing in there?!

Although I was in and out in a flash, by the time I got to my corral…well, it was full. I had strategically seeded myself in the Yellow corral, the one right behind the elites…but there was no room for me.

Sun Run Sun Run

I crowded into the Green corral, blocked by a fence, and knew that this year would not be a Sun Run PB. Because no matter where you are, they will walk. Predicted finish time: 44 minutes? The walkers will be there. Five across. Holding hands.

ON THE COURSE

The Green corral was released not long after the Yellow corral, so it was a relatively short wait. But here’s the thing about the Sun Run…unless you’re at the front, you will never be nimble enough to dodge the hordes before you. And this happened to me.

The gun for the Green corral went off, and as we shuffled toward the timing mat, the announcer was yelling: “No running! Wait until you cross the mat!” I assume people were being trampled. I kept my eyes forward.

Over the mat, onwards! And then, at perhaps 100 metres, the girl in front of me fumbled, gasped (I can only assume), and dropped her smartphone. And came to a dead stop. Right in front of me. A collision was unavoidable. But I ricocheted off her, recovered my pace, and continued.

A good chunk of the race was a blur. The route is so familiar, one that I’ve run so many times, that none of it stood out particularly. Except:

  • Christina cheering as we ran along Pacific Ave.
  • One team with awesome Star Wars themed shirts…but I only ever saw the back, so I have no idea who they were *sad face*
  • A guy dressed as…moss man? At one point I thought he was beating me, but I definitely finished first!

And, naturally, a whole lot of fancy footwork to avoid being tripped, trampled or otherwise catapulted off the course by many members of the running public!

THE FINISH

I heard someone call my name as I veered up onto Cambie Bridge, just before 9k. Who was it? Rumour suggests it might have been Lucy, but I have no evidence to back that up. And then the finish line…I hear the name of my coworker Lana being called (how random, out of tens of thousands of people!), and I’m done.

Truly done. Hot and sweaty and done.

I waited around to watch a few people finish – a few folks spot me and come by for a chat. Finally, I head indoors, where BC Place is absolutely rocking.

Sun Run

Finally, we join some friends for brunch, and head home. Another Sun Run in the bag.

REFLECTIONS

Now, don’t get me wrong, Yes, I may sound a bit complainy about the challenges inherent with the Sun Run…the crowds, the runners who don’t really know running etiquette, the challenge to achieve a decent time (which, by the way, people do). But, I love this race. It has a special place in my heart since it’s how I began. It’s my origin story, of sorts.

And the Sun Run brings together so many people – runner, non-runners, new runners, walkers, friends, family, coworkers, strangers – and gets them out, on the streets of this amazing city, in a big, colourful, noisy, disastrously chaotic yet incredibly well-organized celebration.

So, really, I’ve got nothing to complain about! See you at Sun Run 2017!!

Sun Run

Final Results

Chip Time: 48:46
Average Pace: 4:52 min/km
Place Overall: 2688/41138
Age Category Place: 197/1667

Sun Run 2016 – Quick Review

Social Media: Organized through my company, there wasn’t the need for too much social media – plus, I knew pretty much what to expect. However, @VancouverSunRun had a pretty active Twitter feed, and engaged with its audience really well!

Packet Pickup: We had a corporate team event that involved free appies, so this was quick and easy!

T-Shirt/Swag: For the first time (in my experience), the Sun Run t-shirt was not cotton, but a legitimate technical shirt in blue and black. A nice souvenir that I can use in the future!

Course: Scenic, as is to be expected in Vancouver. The first kilometre downhill is always a challenge, trying to gain some momentum without going out too strong, and dodging walkers on the way. There are a couple of challenging hills…Hornby between Beach and Pacific, Burrard Bridge, and Cambie Bridge. But I’m pretty familiar with these, so I was prepared.

Post-Race: The BC Place festival is epic. Thousands and thousands of people on the stadium floor, free samples galore (if you’re willing to line up), and gigantic letters so you can pre-arrange meeting places. I didn’t stick around too long this year, but it’s quite an experience.

Organization: Given the scale of the event, I cannot but commend the organizers for pulling this off year after year. Tremendous!

Would I run it again? Oh, you know I will! How can I not?

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.

Burrard BridgeBurrard Bridge

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.

Finish Line

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:

Trophy

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!

Bradley & Lana

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!

Processed with Moldiv

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?

My last post focused on stuff I got done in March. This time, I’ll talk a bit about what I want to do in April.

Playing

I’m spending a long weekend in Ontario to attend my cousin’s wedding. It will be amazing to reconnect with family, many of whom of haven’t seen in over three years. Having time with my dad is another bonus. Events like these can be a cause for over-indulgence, so I’ll do my best to keep myself in check – mostly!

Next week, I’m going to see the Book of Mormon. I’ve heard great things about this show – I’m very excited to see it!

Eating

After my Bodycomp scan results, I’m trying very hard to improve my diet. Today my coworker did a fantastic presentation on green smoothies – Nutrition Talks by Candace. She really took the mystery out of a healthy smoothie, and gave us a simple mix-and-match recipe guide (the Green Smoothie Formula!) to create our own!

According to Candace, it takes three weeks to start a habit – so my goal for April is to nail down my ideal healthy drink, and make it a daily (or almost daily) part of my routine.

Nutrition-Talks-with-Candace

You can visit Candace’s website at YUR Health.

Running

After three races in March, it’s kind of weird to have ‘just’ one race in April.

I had toyed with the idea of running the April Fool’s Half Marathon on the glorious Sunshine Coast. It’s a point-to-point race, quite hilly and I’ve heard it’s a rather challenging course. Unfortunately, the race happens to coincide with my visit to Ontario, so I’ll have to take a raincheque.

I hope to get in at least one TravelRun while I’m away – but it won’t be the most scenic time of year! Stay tuned for my report, whatever that may look like!

My only race this month is the Vancouver Sun Run. As some of you know, the 2009 Sun Run was my first race ever. I completed the 10k route with a time of 1:17:23. With close to 50,000 people participating, it’s the largest 10k event in Canada. Last year, I didn’t join in because it was held just one week before my first marathon – but I did commission a guest blog post. This year, I’m joining our company team. My lofty goal is to be one of the top ten runners on our team, but I’m up against some stiff competition.

What are your plans for April? Have you set any goals? Any races to run? Travel? 

Share in the Comments below!

The Sun Run holds a special place in my heart because it was my first run ever. This year, however, due to the fact that my first full marathon – the BMO Vancouver Marathon – falls just a week after the Sun Run, I elected not to race.

I am please to share this fantastic race report from my friend and colleague, Andrea (@andrea_malo), who graciously agreed to provide this guest post. Enjoy!

The Sun Run 2014

When Bradley asked me to write a guest blog post I was both excited and shocked! I used to blog a little and run a lot. Now I run a little and never blog, so it was nice do a bit of both.

This was my fourth Sun Run since 2010, having run every year with the exception of 2011, as I was in Boston for the marathon that year. I always look forward to the Sun Run as it is a great community event where you have the opportunity to run with 45,000 of your closest friends. People often complain about this factor of the race ‘it’s too crowded, I have to dodge people’ but the best thing to do is accept this is going to happen and enjoy the crowd, the energy and the music along the way. I had to remind myself this when I entered the yellow bib corral and a woman had stroller! I’m not even sure strollers are allowed?! (Editor: They are, but they are encouraged to start in the 1:45 corral…)

9781016

I had great intentions at the beginning of April to get some good speedy 10kms in but then had a high heels and wine mishap that put me on the couch for a few weeks, so I went into the Sun Run with minimal training and no set goals except to have fun! Easier said than done for a typical type-A personality though.

I woke on race day and had a big glass of water and an English muffin with peanut butter and jam, pretty typical race day breakfast for me albeit perhaps too close to the race.

When I was waiting for the bus on Cornwall to take me downtown I realized, “damn…what type of blogger doesn’t have a camera to take any pictures?” Sorry – out of practice blogger mistake.

I arrived downtown right when it started to rain slightly, the entry to my corral was right near the Hotel Vancouver so I decided to seek shelter there, I should have sought a bathroom as well… out of practice runner mistake #2 🙂

The elites were off right on schedule and my wave started about 10 minutes later. I had the uncomfortable sensation that maybe I should have used the bathroom in the Hotel Vancouver.

In Sun Runs past I’ve gone out way to fast, getting caught up with the excitement of the crowd and the downhill start. This year I purposely reined it in and did not weave in and out of the crowd trying to ‘get ahead’. I was almost taken out on the turn from Georgia to Denman as some woman decided to cut in front of me to get on the sidewalk?!

It was around this point that I had to really go to the bathroom. It flashed through my mind that I could exit the race after Burrard Bridge and run right to my house but then I thought of all of Bradley’s blog readers who would miss out on my riveting guest post. (Ed: I’m glad she made the right decision!)

I found a porta-potty right before the turn up Hornby. Of all my fulls, halfs and 10km races this was the first time I’ve ever had to stop in a race to go the bathroom. Crazy!!

After that I felt amazing and began to really enjoy myself. Coming off the Burrard Bridge, a fellow Ledcor employee saw my Ledcor shirt and gave me a big thumbs up. This was enough motivation for me to try keep up with him, briefly.

As I was running down 6th Avenue towards Cambie, I had this crazy thought: why do I either hardly train or train like a maniac? Can’t I find a happy medium? I think this is a good ‘lesson learned’ from the Sun Run this year.

I slowly made it over the Cambie bridge and picked it up as I saw the finish line. In the end it was my worst Sun Run time ever (54:09) but it isn’t always about how fast you run but how much you enjoy the race and just being able to run!

One of my favourite parts about local races is seeing people I know from the running community. I ran into an old co-worker cheering for her son at the finish line, and my old running pals Greg and Julie.

I rewarded myself with some chicken and waffles and a mimosa at breakfast at Chewies. Brunch is the highlight of Sunday morning runs 🙂

If you’re looking for another 10km to run, I recommend you sign-up for one of my favourites, the Longest Day of the Year race on Friday, June 13th (eek) this year. The race takes place in the evening at UBC and ends with a fabulous BBQ and a beer garden! It is a great way to start the weekend.


Thank you, Andrea, for the awesome post! It was great to be able to cheer from the sidelines – I know how much I appreciate the cheers when I’m on the course!

–Bradley

 

 

@andrea_malo