Tuesday, 27 October 2015

2015 Vancouver Rock 'n' Roll 10K

With triathlon season over, my coach (Andrew) and I have been focusing on my run game.  I must confess that with my new work schedule, it has been hard to keep up the same training intensity, but my run has definitely gotten faster.

The goal during this run focus is to get my 10K time under an hour.  Based on my times from the Vancouver Triathlon and my times at the track workouts, this is definitely within reach. 

Originally, I was signed up to run the Remix Challenge.  This is pretty much the same as the Disney challenge with the 10k run on the Saturday and Half on the Sunday.  After speaking with Andrew, we decided that focusing on just eh 10k would be the best course of action.  This way I can get a full and beneficial recovery.   Quality over quantity.

The course is one I am very familiar with, one lap around the Vancouver Seawall and the start was conveniently located in front of my apartment.

I woke up early and made my way down to the start.  It was nice to be able to sleep in a bit, no need to set up transitions.  I met up with some Team Finn runners and chatted for a bit before my warm up.

After my warm up I met up with some Team in Training runners as well.

Soon it was time to start lining up.

It was a wave start and I was in corral 10.  It took about 18 minutes before we started.

The start line and the corrals were on the Seawall, so it was congested in many areas.

As we started running, I checked my watch to make sure I was on pace. 5:55 minutes per kilometer would put me at a 55 minute 10K.


At times I was running well past a 5:55, more into a 5:40.  If I started to go faster than a 5:30, I was sure to slow down.  There was sill alot of race ahead of me.

I approached the first aid station, grabbed some water, and tried to drink.  I almost choked.  I still need to master the art of drinking on the run.  I walked while finishing off the water then got back into pace.  A note for next race, bring my own water bottle so there would not be a need to slow and drink.

A bit past the 4 kilometer mark, some runners where discussing heart rate.  I realized I had been so focused on pace, that I had not been paying attention to heart rate.  My watch read Zone 5.5.  I was at threshold, although it did not feel like it.  With my progress at the track, I may need to retake my heart rate test.  My zones no longer match my perceived effort.

As we rounded the tip of Stanley Park (right before kilometer 5), the sun shown right in our eyes.  I looked at the woman running beside me and said, "Oh crap!  In every movie I've seen, they always tell you NOT to run toward the bright light!"

She laughed and said, "But at least we're running!"

As the course approached kilometer 5 (the halfway point) the timer read 48 minutes.  A group of runners to my left expressed concern about the time.  I reminded them that the timer was showing gun time and not chip time.  I asked them what corral they started in. They were in the same corral as me, so I looked at my watch and told them it had only been 30 minutes.

One runner in the group expressed dismay at the time.  He was hoping to do better. I said, "Well you could quit now and go back, but it would be same distance as moving forward.  Might as well finish the thing."  This lifted his spirits as we crossed the 5k split timing mat.

A 30 minute 5k split meant I was on pace for a 1 hour 10k.  My goal was under an hour but anything under 1:03 (my best 10K) was fine with me.

After kilometer 6, the course did a lollipop out-and-back into the park.  This was pretty much the only hill on the course. I could tell my pace slowed but figured it would even out on the down hill.

I love out-and-backs during a race for 2 reasons. Secondly, because you get encouragement from the other runners and primarily, because I enjoy encouraging other runners.

There were not many bands on the course given that this was a Rock 'n' Roll event.  But rest assured, when there was, I was 'that guy.'


One of the bands had an Elvis impersonator signing Sweet Caroline.  Pretty sure you know what's next....

"BA! BA! BA!"


Believe it or not, singing actually helped me pick up my pace.

At the 8k mark I looked at my watch.  It read 48 minutes.  If I kept faster than a 6 minute kilometer pace, I would finish in under an hour.

At 9k, my watch read 54 minutes.  There seemed to be quite a bit more to go, but I remember from the half last year how close the finish line actually was.

As I entered the finishing chute I began to pick up my pace.  I could hear everyone cheering and the announcer.  I crossed and stopped my watch.

It read 1:00:51.  Although a new personal best, it was not what I was hoping for.  I am still very happy with that result.  And have a few more opportunities to reach my goal later in the year.

I walked down the finishers chute, grabbed some water and my metal.  Some team and training people saw me and we exchanged stories.  I then saw Jen, the girl I am currently seeing (sorry to those who had to find out via my blog).  She had made me a sign that, due to my finish line tunnel vision, I totally missed.  I introduced her to my friends before heading to gear check to get some warm clothes.

On my way to the gear check, the heart rate group from earlier saw me and we compared max heart rates..... Mine was bigger.

After congratulating a few more of my friends Jen and I grabbed some much earned sushi.

The next day I checked the official time. 1:00:50.  New 10K Personal Best.

I went to the finish line for the half and cheered on more of my friends.  I love the atmosphere of finish lines.  Complete strangers pacing each other and becoming friends, the pain and joy of new PBs, the excitement of first timers.  So many emotions and comradery that makes endurance sports worth every step.

Thanks for taking the time to read this latest entry and share in my journey.

Be on the lookout for The Avengers Infinity Gauntlet Challenge, the Steveston Ice-Breaker 8k, and the New Orleans Rock & Roll Half Marathon.

Once again I am fundraising for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society through Team in Training,  If you would like to make a donation, please feel free to do so here: