Friday, April 24, 2009

Vancouver Sun Run

April 19, 2009

I was on the fence about doing this race simply because it looked like it would be a bit of a pain to spend the better part of the weekend over in Vancouver just for a 10k race. However, when I got the opportunity to travel over with the Victoria Select Team I decided to take it. I would like to thank Maurice Wilson from BC Athletics and Bob Reid from the Prairie Inn Harriers for the organizing and supporting myself and the other athletes from Victoria. We were well taken care of and I really appreciated the opportunity to participate in this race. In line with my race goals this year, my ultimate goal was get under 33 min, but I would be satisfied with a good race were I posted a time in the low to mid 33's.

Eight of us, including Kristopher Swanson, Nick Best, Sean Chester, Kevin Searle, Cheryl Murphy, Paul O'Callaghan, and Ian Hallam headed over together on Saturday afternoon. With the exception of Nick, I had never really had the opportunity to talk much with any of these runners so it was great to meet some new accomplished athletes. I was one of the slower runners in the van so it was good to put my performances in perspective. I have had some minor success as a runner, but there are still many people who would be embarrassed to run as slow as my best times. It is really helps to put things into perspective. We checked into the Hyatt Regency which is very conveniently located right beside the race start. I shared a room with Kevin and Craig Odermatt who would arrive later in the evening. After a lazy evening and dinner with the group at Milestones, I turned in hoping to get a solid sleep. Unfortunately, it was somewhat restless and didn't sleep as soundly as I would have liked.

The start line (my hair is in here somewhere)

The race start was 9am so I was down in front of the growing crowd of runners and walkers around 8:30. I did a quick warm up with Kevin and Sean and I felt a bit sluggish. I hoped this wouldn't be a bad sign. Because the race was so huge (around 50,000 registered) I was very glad to have a seated number and got to line up right near the front. When the run started, things were only congested for the first couple hundred meters which wasn't bad at all. As Nick posted in his blog it was amusing to watch a young guy blast off the line in front of all the elites. He lasted all of 200m before quickly falling back, but I guess he got his 20 seconds of fame. The first km of the course loses over 25m of elevation and is extremely fast. I covered the distance in 3:02 and the leaders were already 20+ sec ahead. Km 2 and 3 also passed quickly and under my goal pace of around 3:21. I felt reasonable, but did think that I was having to work a little harder than I would have liked at this point in the race. I have found that things should feel pretty comfortable for the first few km in a 10k race or else things may not turn out well.

My time dropped down to 3:33 on my 5th km as we climbed up to Burrard Bridge although as usual I fared well compared to the people around me on the climb. Things started to become uncomfortable after the 6km marker and this was not good news. 6km is too early in a 10k race to start loosing form. Unbenost to me at the time, Kevin was running a fantastic race and he caught up to me around 7km. I managed to stay with him for a while, but it was definitely a struggle to keep my pace. Luckily, I felt worse than what my times were indicating and I was still under a 3:30 pace. Kevin pulled away a little with about a km to go and while I attempted to reel him in on the little climb on Cambie Bridge I just didn't have enough left to do it. The finish is thankfully downhill and I finished with a decent 3:19 final km. I didn't have the gas for a sprint finish though and suffered in at 33:42 good for 50th overall and a surprising 4th in my age group. This was a 2sec PB for me compared to my 2008 Times Colonist. While I should perhaps not complain about a PB, I know that I can do better I would have liked to feel stronger. On the plus side, the fact that I didn't feel good, but was still able to squeak out a minor PB should be indicative of a somewhat better fitness level. I'll be able to test this at the Times Colonist this weekend. Results are here. There were an massive 42,563 finishers. Kevin set a PB of 45sec or so finishing 3sec ahead of me. The top finisher in our van was Kristopher finishing in an impressive under 30:53 which was good for 11th.

My splits were: 3:02, 3:15, 3:17, 3:28, 3:33 (16:35 5km split), 3:23, 3:28, 3:27, 3:29, 3:19 (16:39 5km split).


Nick Best said...

that photo is from 2008

Shaner said...

Fixed, I've put one from this year up.


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