Last Great Run of the Year: A 10K to end the year

I had a typical night-before-the-race sleep with what I’m pretty sure was a dream. I “awoke” at 3:26 a.m. to a loud pop that made me freeze in my bed. You know what I thought it was. I waited for flashing red and blue siren lights to stream through my window but it never came. I figured that the safest point of my apartment was in my bed although I considered crawling along the floor to the window to peep out. Then I drifted into another dream where I was back in Halifax and dealing with the consequences to being “witness” to a shooting. And I told myself within a dream that if I could transition from my place in Vancouver to Halifax so quickly, that I was in a dream.

I do believe that this whacked-out dream was inspired by recently walking past the intersection in my neighbourhood where earlier this year, a man was killed, gang-land style.

I woke up for real at 6:30 a.m. and enjoyed my breakfast of cereal+milk, yogurt, and green tea. It was surreal that although I was headed out earlier than usual (7:45), I wasn’t technically at peril of being late for my run was not until 9:30.

Arriving promptly at 8:30 at the sportsplex of UBC, I was able to pick up my chip and bib without any fuss. Then I lurked in the women’s changing room/bathroom for a bit – I was so nervous!

During one of my nervous trips between the gym and the washroom, I saw Chui with whom I had not made firm plans to meet up. We can just find each other, I in my yellow cap and she in her red cap! :D Hanging out with Chui and her friend Pat was fun and took my mind off other troubles and anxiety.

It was pretty cool with how the start and finish lines were close together but angled, that we saw the sub-2-hour half-marathoners coming in with a strong finish as we 10K’ers waited for our start.

From the very start, I let myself fall behind Chui and Pat, who are sub-50-minute 10’ers while I was aiming for some time that has an absolute value of 57 or 58. :D Still, I broke out too fast – on the uphill at the start, no less – and finished the first kilometer in 5:28. It’s no wonder I was wriggling uncomfortably with a cramp within 10 minutes. :(

In general, the first four kilometers were really hard for me and I couldn’t feel a good race form until 4km in. It’s ironic because the first six kilometers were pretty much downhill.

I finished 5K in 29:27 and was relieved to know that if I did lowly 6-minute kilometers until the end, I still hadn’t broken one hour. I hate it when the clock rolls over. :S However, I knew that nearly all the elevation lost over four kilometers was made up in 1.5km. And I tend to positively split (run the second half slower than the first).

For the 6th to 7.5th kilometer – which was roughly uphill – I had the novel pleasure of running on Old Marine Road. With tree cover, it was tranquil like a trail but the road was wide and paved. There was an opening in the trees and we were treated to a view of the Strait of Georgia, a long thin strip of Iona Beach, views of airplanes landing at YVR, and timber piles floating in the sparkling water.

I hit 8K at 48:00 and had to battle with the clock to get the last two kilometers within 12 minutes. And I did! I did it in 10.5 minutes, in fact!

Normally, I do not remember my fellow racers but there was a woman in a black top with red stitching who laboured audibly in front and behind me throughout the race. We were neck-and-neck in the final stretch and I had the oomph to sprint past her at the end. :D

As for some final post-race thoughts:
* It was a fabulous running day! I heard it usually rains during the November Fall Classic but there was nary a rain drop.
* The beige New Balance hoodie looks and feels okay but lacks tailored detail and gorgeous fall colours in the logo! “Freebies” were available in the form of samples of Neutrogena’s awesome Ultra Sheer sunblock and Goody Stayput (rubberized) hair elastics. The sunblock has been handed out at other races this year – I’ve tried it and love it – and I’ll get a full-size when the need arises; and the elastic bands apparently cost a pretty penny!
* I liked how the race took over the gym at UBC. It was dry and warm – quite the requirement during the rainy years! – and there was a changing room downstairs with the biggest “treat”: indoor plumbing.
* For food afterwards, I gobbled down some totally satisfying chili and a chocolate fudge-y oat square. Yum.
* I am actually quite happy with my result – I had to remind myself that the pain was temporary while ruing your result would last for days following.
* Pacing can be a bit of a problem for me and there is little room for error in a 10K race! I found that relying on my GPS-linked watch, which was probably accurate, could be very discouraging. In the second half, I stopped watching the pace reading it was so liberating! The next time I race a short distance, I’m turning the GPS off!

All the stats —
Chip time 58:27 (exactly three minutes slower than my PB, July 1, 2007)
492 of 883 finishers
240 of 554 females
71 of 141 females in my age category


  1. Constance says:

    turning the GPS off – great idea! i don’t think you need it for such a short race. Isn’t it funny though, that we find 10K SHORT? In the week leading up to this race, people would say with wide-eyes “are you all ready for racing??” and I’d say “oh, it’s just a 10K” and nearly everyone I talk to would say “JUST a 10k huh. ha ha ha ha….”. We just don’t realize that 10K is a big deal to a LOT of people out there!

    Having said that, I did find the race short. LOL… i mean, I thought about it when i got home, and really, I “just” went for a 50min run.. it wasn’t even an hour!

    Anyways, when i went to go pick up my chip, i was looking for you! But i figured that if i didn’t find you in the crowds inside, i would’ve seen you at the start. Glad to have seen you though.. it helped me calm MY nerves too.

    By the way, I thought it was uber cute that you were luking in the washroom and changeroom! hahahaha

    I’m gonna be so sad when my red cap goes out of commission =(

    I’m so happy for you that you ran the last 2km in 10.5mins!! That’s amazing, especially considering that killer uphill leading up to the Chan Centre. YOu did great, and I’m so glad you got over your cramps.

    I’m feeling kind of sad now that I know I’m not racing until at least the Sun Run… that’s so many months away! I think I need it, but the actual race, and race celebrations, recaps, muscle recovery (i iced my shin all night yesterday) is so addicting… I’m still convinced that there will be no marathons for me next year, but half marathons are under consideration.

    Thanks again for your recap – i very much enjoyed it, as usual! Happy recovery =) =)

  2. Heidi says:

    Congratulations on an amazing time! I was looking forward to reading your update.

    We really lucked out on the weather, didn’t we? I enjoyed the half, despite the Old Marine Road hill. Actually, I didn’t notice it was a hill until it was almost over and I couldn’t figure out why it felt like I was going backwards and I was breathing so hard. It didn’t help that on the second approach, I overheard a guy ahead of say that it was a lot harder the second time around.

    I ended up beating my “best case scenario” goal time of 2:15 for a chip time of 2:10:36.

    And those fudgey oat bars *were* delicious!

  3. Henry Chan says:

    Hey you,

    Congrats on a “-“‘ve split.
    Amazing 2nd half for you.
    I had a totally craptistic 2nd half race (spelt: Andy and I tried to go against the UBC track team at the start – hung on for 2k and then sank like a rock). We got our arse kicked *really* bad.
    Thanks for taking the pictures of my teammate and I. Since you are becoming more serious in running – why don’t you join our LGRR club?
    We can split the prizes at the relay races! Thinking about E2E and the Cunningham race again. You in?

    “Pacing can be a bit of a problem for me and there is little room for error in a 10K race!”
    You ran a negative split – I dream but never do that anymore. Ran the first 2k in a PB and finished with a PW (personal worst). *YOU* paced it well though. Really well. Too bad they don’t have your split times posted – that would have been glorious for you!

    “Pain is temporary, glory is forever.” – Anonymous

  4. wyn says:

    Constance: It is so funny/odd to have the mindset to find 10K “short”. I think it will always seem like a short distance while my feeling about a 19K training run fluctuates when I’m training for a half (“Gee, that’s SO long!”) to when I’m training for a full (“It’s not even a half’er. Just need to sleep a little more!”)

    Late fall/winter is the logical time to take a break. I keep racing to have fodder for my blog :o (j/k), because race incentives keep pulling me in, and those good runs in great Vancouver conditions keep me coming back! Happy recover to you, too!

    Heidi: Congratulations on your first half. The double-loop must have been a bit trying especially the second time at the Old Marine Road hill, which I believe is ~75% into the race. My mental and physical strength are really battered by 75% in any race!

    Will you continue racing? What’s next for you?

    Henry: I really held back in the first half which translated into my first negative split… in as far as I can remember. It’s not often officially documented so I rely on noting that timepoint in order to report on the blog. :P

    At this point, I’m “reassessing my goals” in running and planning next year in the dreamy castles-in-the-air fashion. E2E in June would compete with SVHM for my June run event. And when I reviewed the Seawall race results, I got inspired to form a two-person team with NPY… maybe? Some other factors in my plans are currently out of my control so I can’t say just yet about longer commitments like which club to run with next year….

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