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Sunday, April 27, 2014

Race Report: Sun Run 10k 2014

The Vancouver Sun Run is a super, mega-massive 10k run (one of the largest in North America), and has close to 50,000 runners! It was my first ever race back in 1999 when I wasn't anywhere near a runner (and didn't run it again until 2012). This year, I was prepared, after having been doing a lot of trail running, road and trail races and Ultra distances.

In a race of this capacity, you have to enjoy the crowds and the idea behind the event, which is a representation of the community spirit on a grand scale. Personally, I love it, and this year it seemed that the pace categories were being honoured by registrants, so very little dodging had to occur off the start mat.

I met up with my good friend and super 100k+ enduro cyclist Joseph Pelle (remember him from the Buntzen Lake 5Peaks race report). Jo was going for a sub 45 minute goal, which would be his 10k PR. I was shooting for sub 44:04, which would be my PR, but I know that's hard to do on such a busy course.

Training with a trail Hill Run in Anmore
I had done some speed work at Butzen Lake, Diez Vista, some local flat trails, and some hill climbs after the Diez Vista 50k to prepare for the road race to get the faster leg turn over going, but wasn't expecting to be quick enough to achieve my goal based the results of a couple of interval sessions and very little road running. It was going to be close, but I was skeptical. Regardless, I had hopes to push, and enjoy the craziness.

I was running for the BFL Team, as they sponsored my race entry via a colleague Jeff McLellan and the company had an awesome brunch set up post race the Georgian Court Hotel! I was to help push the team standing up a little bit, Jeff told me, so the pressure was on.

Neon DV50k Sleeves for the win!
After leaving our families at the Hyatt, we made our way to the start area and wove past a mass of runners to get further up into a bunch that "seemed" to be about our level of running. We seeded up by a couple of runners who were wearing DV50k shirts, and they noticed my sleeves also. We had a chat, then Jo and I sang the national anthem with 50,000+ people before the countdown. Unlike trail races, there was lots of ceremony to the start.

The pace at the start was FAST! As we rolled down Georgia street, I looked at my Ambit 2 watch and saw we were cooking at a 3:39 pace. We held that for the first km, and I told Jo we were pushing too hard and settled into a 4:20 to 4:30 pace about a mile into the race. The pack had settled, and there was very little jockeying going on.
As we hit English Bay after doing the hairpin turns past Lost Lagoon and the Fish House Restaurant, I passed a blind runner and her pacer! That was cool, and such an admirable thing to see someone who can't see running pretty darn quick.

As we approached the Burrard St. Bridge, near the Aquatic Centre, I pulled a hard stitch on my right side. It was uncomfortable, and I felt my pace drop a touch (4:32 & 4:52 for that 2km section) but as I topped the bridge, I focused on my breathing in time with my right foot hitting the ground to push it away. I attribute it to not having done enough fast runs in my zero drop Trail Glove Merrell's.

Greg Burnham, a local ultra runner and friend who has made this blog before (he's having an amazing year of successes), comes cruising by like he's on a Sunday stroll. "Hey Eddy! Nice day for a run!" He was killing it!! I lose him in the crowd as he's running a sub 44 min pace for sure (43:37 officially).

I hit Burrard street and Jo and I have been cruising together for most of the run, slightly pulling away from each other here and there but never more than ten steps or so apart.
As I pass the brewery, I see a VPD friend of mine and yell out to him as I can feel my stride coming back together.

Once we pass Granville Island and we hit the long stretch towards Cambie Bridge I'm feeling good. Like really good. Jo and I are in step, the cheering is intense, and I see the last water station (which personally I don't know why anyone would stop 1 km away from the finish line).

Jo and I are stride for stride, and he says, "I don't have anything left." I tell him he's got a ton left, and as we hit the 9km marker, I say, "Okay Jo, this is the start line. Right here. Let's race!" We pick up the pace to a 4:15 final km and start our "kick" to the finish line. My legs feel awesome, super fresh, no pain, breathing is clean. Fun.

As we drop into the offramp towards the finish line, I see my family and our friend Shanthi (she did SQ50k last year) cheering us on!

We cross the finish line, still step for step, and running the whole race with Jo was THE BEST thing.

The final kick.
Had a total blast at the Sun Run. Jo beats his 10k PR with a sub 45 finish!

My legs felt great and I had no issues at the finish line, so I could have pushed harder on the final 3k, but then that would have meant a different experience and I wouldn't have changed the opportunity to run in with a friend.

Super fun day and looking forward to having a mix of shorter road races in the running season to help keep things fresh as the endurance training continues.

Next up: 5Peaks Golden Ears Enduro 14k Trail Race on May 10th!

By the Numbers (Official)
Place 1256
Time: 44:44
Pace: 4:28/km
Gender:1100 / 19371
M35-39 Age Group: 144 /1966 1100/

By the Numbers (Unofficial via Strava)
Strava Report

Here's what Joseph had to say (originally posted to Facebook and reposted here with his permission):

 Ed Inspired: Joseph's Sun Run 2014

This won't be as well-written as Ed's... It's mostly an addendum. 

Unlike last year, where I had to *shudder* Skytrain to the race, this time I got to sleep in late and then simply walk a few blocks. I left my daughter snoozing in her bed, and Tina and I went from my new(ish) digs at the finish line, up to the start line. 
I did a bit of warm-up before meeting up with Ed and his lovely pit crew. Ed stripped down to his now-infamous shorty-shorts, we snapped a pic, and then headed to the corral to await our start.
The first couple of KMs of any race, running or biking, for me is always a chore. It takes a while to get my breathing down - I swear that my panting can be heard a mile away. Not that that is always bad, as it usually serves to warn people that I'm coming up behind them, and the peel off after a quick shoulder check. 
As Ed mentioned, we set off quick, and it wasn't sustainable. However, the first 4 or so kms went by pretty quick and I knew I was going to have my fastest 5km, but was unsure about a PR for the 10km. My hip was aching, but that's pretty much par for the course - or so I thought - for me these days. I was also "monitoring" a pretty minor stitch, hoping it would go away, or at least not get worse.
We hit the Burrard Street Bridge and it was killing me on the uphill for the first bit, but before we crested I felt I hit my stride. A quick look at the Garmin showed me why: I was moving pretty slow. About 5:10/km. I hit the crest and sped it up to about 4:10/km, and I figured I balanced the up and downhill portions of that bridge!
The next 3km or so, to the Cambie Bridge, was a bit of a slog. I just kept my eyes focussed ahead and tried to maintain a 4:30 average. Looking at Strava, it seems I bounced from sub-4 to 5-plus/km during that stretch, so not exactly consistent. 
A lot of people were passing me and I know that I didn't feel nearly as comfortable this year as I did last year. I just kept telling myself it was because I was going faster this year, and not because of the cheese burger I ate the night previous!
Ed and I turned on to the bridge together and I told him I was running out of gas. I was indirectly giving him the green light to go on ahead, but I think he decided to help get me to the finish as quick as I could. Note, however, that I didn't believe him when he said the 9km mark was our start line!  I did, however, know that the last km was downhill, so I tried to stretch out my stride and pick up the pace.
Which lasted until the last 200m or so, when I began to feel that burger coming back for revenge. I had to slow my pace a tad, when I really wanted to start sprinting - wasn't going to happen though.
Regardless, I made it across the finish line, stopped my watch, and was happy to see a sub-45 time! Woohoo, met my goal - where's the washroom?
Tina and my daughter were there to watch me cross the finish line, although they admit that it was Ed's arm warmers that caught their attention. 

Once I stopped running I felt pretty good. Still had that stitch and my hip was still aching a bit. 30 minutes later, I was hobbling around, though, as my hip decided it wanted to pop in and out. (Not an official diagnosis, but that's what it felt like.) Today it is still like that - and that's probably as bad as it has ever been, excepting when I first injured it 15 years ago. Some PT is in my very near future.

As a side note, my stitch stayed with me until I removed my number, which I had not pinned to my jacket but rather used a...uh, what's it called? A "number belt". Thingy. Anyway, as soon as I took that off, I felt much better; I must have had it on too tight and in the wrong spot! 

Overall I was happy with the run, even though I'm decidedly unhappy with my hip. It was great to run with Ed, and I'm looking forward to racing again with him and with the rest of the WRM crew at Golden Ears! - Joseph Pelle


  1. If that's what you were wearing, I think I saw you Eddy. We've never met F2F, only via Twitter. Nice job.

    1. James, we'll have to go for a run for sure!