Today marks a list of first timers for me! All are exciting stuffs! To begin, it was my first race since fatherhood of almost five months ago. Ever since I knew baby Race was coming, family would be and shall always be the top priority over almost all things! I was ready to set aside my marathon training and running group for a while (may be just a short while!). Having been through the ordeal of being overweight, I am reluctant to forsake running. Instead of training after work which I had been doing for the past couple years, I began running for about 10k for about 40-45mins during work lunch hours. To make this possible, I made a huge switch in life from eating solid food to drinking green smoothies. There were few occasions that the smoothie fermented, producing gas and a weird odor. Surprisingly, I was never left with an upset stomach.
In light of all these changes, an exciting news in life for me was to meet up with Alex (Skechers’ western Canada representative), who is gracious enough to sponsor me with some new sneakers and a free entry for the Vancouver Eastside 10K race organized by the Canadian Running Series. Guess what, this was actually my very first 10k race. It was also my first time running with a pair of Skecher’s Go Speed in an official race event!
For those who live in Vancouver, most would know that the weather lately was superbly beautiful and warm! For me, however, I don’t normally run too well in this kind of weather. The moment I woke up this morning (515am), I was a little excited as I saw the dark skies. After some reading, eating breakfast, and easy warm ups, it was already 630 and I still didn’t see the sun. Even the moment as I was writing this post (5pm), the sun still hadn’t come out! So, I’m thankful to say that it was really the perfect condition to run a race! I took public transit from home to race site. There were already many runners getting ready when I arrived at 730am. Some were lining up for the gear check, some were warming up and some were just mingling with others. I quickly checked in with my sponsor Alex at the Skechers booth before heading to gear check. For warm up, I ran around the block for about 10-15 mins and did a few short sprints before cooling down to doing some active stretching. The start line of the race was right on the Dunsmuir via duct. I was able to recognize few of the elite runners immediately as they were warming up on the bridge. It was exciting to see Dylan Wykes (Olympic runner, who also won today’s race!), few world champion runners as well as some of the local elite runners such as Drew Nicholson, Stan Jang, David Palermo and many more!
I began moving into my designated corral (sub 50) at about 15 minutes before the race. I was surprised to see that there was a 40min pacer. My strategy initially was to run slow for the first three KMs at about 4:05min/km, pick up speed to about 3:55min/km from 4KM and maintain that pace till the end. Instead, my pace bunny started out pretty quick and the group was going at about 3:40min/km. I felt fine…so what the heck and I just stuck with him. He did an awesome job by motivating us at various times, warning us for rail tracks, puddles, and other obstacles, and I was amazed at how he thanked all the volunteers and spectators as we ran through the race. It turned out my pacer had a better strategy than I did. He knew the course was much harder towards the end as it turned to become quite hilly, so he wanted to buy time for us in the beginning to run faster and to compensate the time at the hilly end.
I probably stuck with the 40min group for a good 7km and began pacing myself a little quicker as I really wanted to hit that sub-40 goal. The hill training I’ve done in the past really did pay off in today’s race. As most people were grasping for air at those hills, I felt motivated to run faster in each of them. The final 1km was not easy as the route was entirely up hill which led up to the via duct for about a KM before hitting the finishing line. I took a quick peek at my Garmin which read 36 something minutes and I was left with about 950m to finish up. There was a very high possibility that I was about to run over the 40min mark. Physically I was exhausted but I was telling myself I could do this. There wasn’t really anyone behind me as I was able to past most runners on the uphill section and there wasn’t really anyone in front either. I just imagined myself doing speed work on tracks with those dreadful repeats at mile pace. Within about half a KM approaching the finish, I was unsure where the actual line was because of my short-sighted vision and the mild foggy condition. My Garmin had already beeped at 10KM, while I still hadn’t finished the race! I knew I had to sprint even faster and I glad I did. Yes! When I could finally see the clock, it was more than 30 sec shy of the 40 minute mark! Thank you Skechers for providing me with a pair of awesome shoes! The GoMeb or Go Speed really helped me to achieve this sub- 40 goal!
Viola! that was my first 10KM run! In retrospect, I am really thankful that I didn’t give up running altogether while not sacrificing my priority on family life. I guess sometimes we just have to work with our circumstance and make the best out of it!
Hope to see you all at the I Will RUN for a Good Cause Fall 2013 running group next week!
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