Personal Best 10K
The Sun Run 2006 in Vancouver, British Columbia was a fantastic event. This year's run attracted 50,742 entrants when all was said and done -- this first time the race topped the 50,000 mark.
The race is started in waves. Wheelchair racers go first. About 20 minutes later the elite runners start, signifying the actual start of the 10 kilometer race. They are followed by seeded runners in yellow bids, then the green, white, purple and red.
Last year I started right at the back of the green pack and I was surprised at the number queue jumpers and the people walking. But my final time had more to do with me than them, since it was my first 10k and the inexperience showed in how I ran the race.
This year was my second Sun Run and fourth 10K race. It was my personal best 10K race time yet at 47:52. I was pretty stoked to see I was 12 minutes faster than some runner buddies from my distant past -- the ones who never got fat and stopped running in their 30s and 40s.
The only discomfort I had was that I had to go to the bathroom during the entire race. My biggest fear, though, was starting too fast. So I started at an easy pace and let everyone pass me going down Georgia Street in Vancouver. Some people were sprinting down Georgia. Just over 1K into the race, fewer people were passing me and I was starting to pass some of the sprinters. By 2K I was hardly being passed and I was passing people constantly. The run beside Stanley Park and near the watefront was awesome and I was able to maintain a nice steady pace.
The lack of hill training became a factor as soon I made the turn to head up the first hill to get onto the Burrard Street bridge. But, I train on rolling trails and the discipline of maintaining a steady pace on those gentle uphills -- one of which is almost 1K -- paid off as I was able to crest the bridge without feeling overly tired. I took advantage of gravity's help on the descent to rest a bit. The only tough bit was around 7K, where I got involved in that familiar mental battle over whether you could keep running or whether you should give in and walk a short bit. I kept running.
Between the 7k and 8K markers I had to wonder when a man told his single-digit aged child to look at the "all the crazy runners". A runner to my right quietly disagreed and I thought you had to be crazier to suggest to a kid that exercise is in any way crazy. Between the bands on fourth a very young girl was dancing for us. She brought a smile and an "ahhh" from several runners.
I tried to keep a good steady pace going up the Cambie Street bridge onramp and up the bridge. My breathing was heavy by this stage and when I was cresting I found myself gasping a bit for air. It was then I knew I was giving it all I had on that day.
After cresting, I took advantage of the gentle downhill slope to rest. But, around the mid point of the downslope, ehen the angle seems to get a little steeper, I tried to let gravity help with my speed. I passed some people who had just passed me. Hitting the flat, street I worked hard at maintaining and increasing my speed.
As soon as I could see the clock and the fact it was still under the 55 minute marker, I looked for every little bit of extra speed I had in me to make sure I crossed before the seconds rolled over the minute. I did it, I knew I was under 50 minutes! And pleasantly surprised to see it was a 47:52 race.
I am so glad I went. I will not be back and trying for a better time still. I keep dreaming of working my way into the yellow bibs. Maybe I will succeed at at this summer's SunRunner's 10K in White Rock or next fall's FILA classic at UBC.