Race report: 2011 Vancouver Sun Run (10k)Posted: 23 April 2011
Just imagine: almost 100,000 pairs of feet pounding the streets of Vancouver on a Sunday morning. Some of them are running to beat personal bests, others are setting them. It can only be the Sun Run. And I returned to the race that started me off with running five years ago.
In my case, I wasn’t going to attempt to race this. I’ve learned even in the last two times I ran the Sun Run that weaving around slower participants can actually eat up time. (Apparently, this practice is cheekily called “clockblocking“.) In any case, my ongoing recovery means I wouldn’t be in any condition to toe the line at my appropriate chute (green bib, which is a step up from the white bib of 2007).
Nevertheless, I ran with my dad, who was doing his second straight Sun Run as part of his company’s team. He was looking to improve on his time, and I told him that I would certainly help in that endeavor. He’s been going to a gym a few times a week. My sister bought him some proper shoes at a proper running store, my brother gave him a technical shirt, and we’ve all given him some advice along the way. He was ready to break his time from last year.
I told my dad that I would stick with him; I didn’t say it, but I was his personal pace bunny. Even though I had the green bib, I went to his designated chute for purple bibs. Being this far back usually meant the winner would have crossed the finish line well before the purple- and red-bibbed participants even got to the start. Not that it matters one bit, thanks to the magic of chip timing.
My dad and I finally got going about 9:50. Before we started, we had agreed upon doing a run-5-minutes-walk-1-minute program. I gave him some well-timed advice and encouragement along the way, such as taking it easy on the initial downhill and keeping the weaving to a minimum. At some points, such as near Lost Lagoon, the narrowing course and mass of humanity meant extended walk breaks. About halfway, we modified the program to run-3-walk-1, and this proved to be more manageable for my dad. From the halfway point onward, we were on pace to break 90 minutes (9:00/km), so I made sure we kept to that pace, even with a bathroom break near the end. He’s a warrior, my dad. He was just as keen to break 90 that he was even running up the on-ramp to the Cambie Bridge! That might have been the difference, as we crossed the line, together, at 89:01.
I’m so happy that I helped him beat last year’s Sun Run time by over 10 minutes. It was a great experience, and I’ll certainly do it again next year. And if my dad wants to do any other races in the interim, I’ll definitely support him with that.
(Photo credit: flickr user mafue)