For the Love of Racing

2012 Vancouver Sun Run 10km Race Report

I woke this morning with more excitement than I’d anticipated. It was still dark, but I figured it was nearly 5am and my alarm would go off any second. When it didn’t, I got up to check on the time… 2:00am… Geesh. Back to bed but sleep eluded me. Where did this nervous excitement come from? I’d been telling myself it was just a training run. No big deal. The big deal comes in 3 weeks. But it did appear that I couldn’t wait to race the Sun Run…

I love racing. Despite the thought that crossed my mind between kilometres 7 and 8 of quitting racing for good, I remembered (upon crossing the finish line) what a thrill race day can be. It helps to run a solid race, which I think I did. Not a personal best but I’m getting oh so close to that 2006 time of mine. Less than a minute to shave off now. I crossed the finish line today in 45:14. I would have been happy with a 46 something, so this was more than I’d hoped for. However, despite my ultimate love of racing, my thoughts on racing vary greatly over a span of only 10km, as illustrated below…

1km- pace  = 4:17/km – Bang! And we’re off. Kind of. I know the elites and the blue corral are off. I’m shuffling forward, the wall of people in front of me preventing me from anything more than a snail’s pace. And then, not a minute later, I truly am off. Telling myself not to go out too fast. Which is extremely hard to do when the entire first kilometre is purely downhill and everyone around me is just flying. There’s so much energy bottled up inside of everyone from spending the past 30-45 minutes just standing in their respective corrals – my yellow section was packed shoulder to shoulder with runners anxious to get going. Yes, it was my fastest kilometre but believe me, it was a walk in the park, that’s how easy it felt. Okay, maybe not a walk in the park, but close. I love racing!

2- 4:27/km – Alright, here’s where I know I need to settle into a pace, which I feel I’m doing. I’m feeling good but this weaving in and out of runners is starting to annoy me. It seems there are so many people to pass… Where did they come from? I think these people must have been the ones to fly by me on that hill… I thought I’d been fairly close to the front of my corral. All of a sudden a guy flies in front of me, cutting me off, and I nearly trip, but I can’t waste energy on getting upset. Besides, I likely did the same thing to others and have no idea. It’s all part of racing in such a big race, right? Participants this year numbered 48,904. Love racing.

3- 4:25/km – We’re running along Lagoon Drive, and continuing for a short distance on the edge of Stanley Park. I remember this is the spot where, last year, I already knew I was in trouble. I’m happy now because I know this year I’m not in trouble. Still weaving in and out of people. Getting more annoyed.

4- 4:35/km – I catch a girl dressed all in hot pink and black with the coolest pink compression socks and follow her for a few hundred metres. I think I’ve found a good pacer in her, until I realize no, I must speed up. It may feel good, but I have more in me than this. So I leave her behind and think, “Why does racing have to feel so hard?”

5- 4:50/km – Hard? I thought that last kilometre was hard? Bahaha, that was nothing! Running up the impossibly steep Hornby St, from Beach Ave to Burrard, was hard. No, wait, it was killer. It crushed me. I literally thought my race was over right then and there. Hundreds, maybe thousands, of runners passed me in that short mountain climb. Well, maybe not that many, but I actually hate being passed. Dumb race. Who put the hills in the Sun Run?

6- 4:27/km – All good, I am now flying down Burrard St bridge, passing many of those who passed me on Hornby. I love flying down hills! And racing.

7- 4:38/km – Oh boy, time to dig deep. I’m now on 2nd, turning up Fir, turning onto 4th Ave, which transitions into 6th Ave, and it is within all these turns that I am beginning to seriously forget why I wanted to race. I think about how uncomfortable I am and that it’s hard, really hard. I’m such a whiner when it comes to speed work and here I am out on the race course whining to myself. Who needs to race? Maybe I am just done with racing. This is silly.

8- 4:26/km – Straight down 6th Ave, trying to distract myself. I think maybe I might see my brother out here somewhere, cheering for me. But I don’t. Wait, maybe he ran it. Whatever, I can’t think. So hard.

9- 4:45/km – I argue with myself, “Sure, it’s okay to slow down” and  “No! Not okay to slow down”. And “Yes, slow down just a bit” and “No! Give it EVERYTHING YOU HAVE LEFT!!” I’m glad my thoughts stay inside my head. This is silly. PUSH IT!

10- 4:23/km – Wow, I’m almost there. I’ve just climbed Cambie bridge and now all I have to do is run downhill to the finish line. Downhill! But it doesn’t feel like the other downhills. It’s like I’ve hit the high-speed power button but the motor is wearing out, overheating, and it can only give me a medium-speed. So I just go with it, and I run as hard as I can and try to leave it all on the course. And then I see the finish line, and I’m across, and I’m happy, and I love racing.

It’s a good thing I love racing. Because in 21 days, I’m going to be out there racing 42.2km. Getting close, so close now. I’m done the heavy lifting – the highest mileage, the hardest workouts – they’re over. Today was but a confirmation that I’m on track. Actually, according to Jack Daniels, author of Daniels Running Formula, I am capable of running a 3 hour and 28 minute marathon! Sweet, I’ll keep that in mind when the going gets tough out there on marathon day… Cause it will get tough, and there will be spots where I think racing is silly… But at the end of the day, for the love of racing, I’ll give it everything I’ve got and remember to fly across the finish line with my hands in the air.

Giving it everything I've got, almost there!

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