The inaugural 2015 VanRace 15/30KM was an absolute blast, a great race that was meticulously planned and created by a group of dedicated runners of Vancouver. It’s hard for me to fathom the amount of work and hours these great people had contributed to making this great event alive! Special shout-out to all the volunteers and event organizers in the VanRace! Great job!
The race course is where I normally train daily, so I know very well of each twist and turn and even where GPS signal might fluctuate. In short, the race begins at the Jelly Bean at Charleston Park, the 30K runners first go west on the Seawall towards Granville Island, turnaround, and continues around the Stanley Park. The course continues to part of Coal Harbour before looping back onto the path beside Lost Lagoon and eventually leading back to the start.
So, with about a month to go before our (Mile2Marathon training group) big marathon and probably the last race of the year, Coach Dylan suggested us to do this 30K race as a marathon simulator/tune up tempo run. Kat will be doing the Chicago, Sean the Victoria, and I the Long Beach, Ca marathon. The plan for us was to go progressively faster but nothing too brutal. We aimed to run the first 10K at 4:15‘/K, second 10K at about 405-10’/K and the last one at 4:05‘/k or faster. None of these paces prescribed were at race pace, however.
I knew this was going to be a training run and should take it lightly. Nonetheless, I still got up at 4am for a shake-out run as if this were the actual marathon. My race at the Long Beach, unfortunately, starts at 6am so my shakeout run will likely be 3ish…yikes! I still got the nerves as I normally do in other races. So it was a good 5,6,7 times of washroom visits before the actual race commenced.
From my race shoes and race singlet to my 6 Power-gels, I actually put on virtually everything I plan to run with at the Long Beach Marathon. The only thing I was reluctant to wear was my compression sleeves as the weather might become too warm.
Race morning was beautiful. It was slightly overcast with very minor drizzle at 630am (1 hour prior to gun time), and almost no wind. I must say that was the most ideal race condition. The temperature was at about 12-15 degree Celsius.
My body always acts weird within race week. I thought this time would be an exception since I knew this was a practice run but the same fate continued. The night before race day my left calf became so tender that it was sore even to touch for no apparent reason. I was worried that it would cramp up during the race. When I saw my training partners at about 7am, our conversations took these worries off my mind and allowed me to focus on getting the workout/race done.
The race began promptly at 730am. My conversations with others took me off guard and when I heard the countdown it was only less than 5 seconds to go. I was like…okay…let’s do it!
The first 5K was fun and felt easy. I had conversed too much which led to some minor stitches. I met the running juggler, another runner who will be running the Berlin Marathon in less than a month, and few other people. By 15K in, I started to remember my tender left calf as it was feeling a little tighter than usual. I wanted to let Kat and Sean know to go ahead if I do cramp up. Thank God, that conversation never happened. It was great to have my training partners with me as my Garmin was constantly showing a slower pace than others. Without them, I’d be running faster than I should. I stuck with them and stayed relaxed for a good 20K. Our pace was going well as prescribed.
As we headed into Stanley Park, we caught up to the 2nd runner Allison Tai! I’ve seen her name many times on MeetUp but never had the opportunity to get acquainted. It was an interesting experience meeting up with someone in midst of a race.
I grew slightly impatient after the 20th K and began running slightly faster leaving my training partners behind. I was pretty much running solo from this point onwards. David Palermo ran past me at about 24th K and gave me a shoutout! I was motivated and started to pick up my pace in the last 5k. I probably ran a little too hard as I went in few KMs 15-20s faster than the prescribed pace. Oh well! I didn’t realize I was working that hard until later when I had a chance to look at my splits on Garmin Connect.
I past the Jelly Bean and saw the finish line near in sight. I raised my hands up and tried to put on a big smile crossing the finish line. Euan, the race director, came up and gave me a firm handshake! To my surprise, I came in overall 2nd place with a time of 2:02:37.
The finish area was situated on a park where tents of various sponsor were set up. Great drinks and refreshments were offered and in abundant supplies!
The only suggestion I wish to make here is that when I was running along the path beside the Lost Lagoon, I was slightly confused as to where to go because before me was three different paths that would all lead back to the seawall with various distance. It’d be great if the right path was indicated so I didn’t have to guess. Thank God, I picked the right one. There were of course few minor ones like that along the course but at least I was able to ask a volunteer stationed at those points.
It’s been five days now since the race. My overall impression for this race is a very positive one. I’ll definitely add this race onto my 2017 race schedule!