Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Bonus race - Rock 'N' Roll Vancouver RR

A side note: Thanks to Triathlon BC, I managed to snatch up a last minute entry into the race.

Alas, my very first entry into the popular RNR series. My training was a bit all over the place leading up to this one, but I survived the half marathon in Vancouver late last month. My overall impression of the race was a positive one.

The post-race beer garden and concert festival reminded me of the marathon majors atmosphere like Boston and Chicago. More than the usual race, many local bands were sprinkled along the half marathon route. However, I overheard after the race from some hardcore RNR old timer that this race lacked some music along the course compared to others RNR races. Haha jeez, tough sell!

There were two distances to choose from, i.e. a 10k on Saturday and a half on the Sunday. This was the second year since RNR took over the existing 10k James Cunningham Seawall Race.

Only after finishing the race did I realize what all the fuss was about, hidden inside a few white tents set up near the finish area. Runners can claim their serious additional bling, which were dished out for competing in multiple races in their series. I have to admit that as a first timer to this brand, I was a bit jealous of the bling but of course I didn't earn them. Ironman has a lot to learn from these guys.

I didn't do my homework before the race, but check out #RunForTheBling which has a whole whack of medals. One for doing both 10k and half races organized over the weekend. One for doing the ones on the west coast. Another for a World Rocker. My goodness there was one for everyone. To entice you some more, they also offer a packaged tourpass to save money.

******Anyways enuff of the long spiel, onto the race recap!******

This race had a comfortable 4hour limit and a start time at 8:15am. The race was broken into several waves based on finishing times. Weather was pleasant and dry.

First thing I did was a little warmup jog towards the morning clothing bag-drop trucks after parking my car a few kilometres away.

The volunteer at the table for the G-H last names truck asked for my name. And by absolute luck someone repeats "Winston Guo" after I had said it. It was my good friend Kevin, fellow triathlete who was there competing as well. I barely recognized anyone in a field of 5k people until that point. All of us, triathletes even disguised into proper running attire, really do stick out like sore thumbs, eh? Awesome. :)

The race felt very much like the sun run. Similar downtown area and absolutely no space for pre-race curb stretching without asking politely.

Shaun. during spin class, mentioned about the survivor story of a man from last year's event. At the startline tent next to the announcer, two very special people were given a celebrity introduction. Apparently, a man collapsed during the race last year and a doctor who was running near him stopped and performed CPR. The man survived and ran with the doctor in the race for this year.

I squeezed my way into the first wave and just behind the elites. Jen was there! I wished her good luck and asked her to move closer upfront with the other elites.

The course was generally a large clockwise loop starting on Hastings Street between Burrard and Thurlow, pops into scenic Gastown, ramps up the Dunsmir viaduct, and wraps around the seaside seawalls, cuts onto Pipeline road, and finally finishes at Stanley Park seawall near Devonian Harbour Park, right next to Stanley Park.

1-3km - It was a slight downhill towards Gastown along Alexander and Railway Streets. I held back efforts and watched the pack comfortably.

4km - Once reaching Powell Street turnaround, there was slight hill on route back. You could catch a glimpse of the leaders at this point. Someone joked to me "Still not too late to catch them" - I laughed and thought haha yeah right. #nochance

7km - We ran up the Dunsmuir Viaduct. A medium climb but the efforts still felt strong and steady.

8km - I could still see Jen running the entire way only about 10-20 metres ahead. We did a mini loop around the viaduct onto the Carrall Street Greenway. There was a pack of runners running with her. Jen pulls out to tie her shoes, only then must I pass her for the time being. I was secretly hoping to hang on with her within sighting distance for as long as possible.

9-11km - I catch up to former UBCTCer run coach Ivrin. He was looking strong and we exchanged places like yo-yo. At this point, I was still holding strong. Jen passes me again undernaeth the Granville bridge. I was still feeling good as this was my previous home turf training grounds that I would do all the time.

12-13km - Still holding strong but the pace fades a little bit along the seaside English Bay area.

16-17km - The infamous Pipeline Road, which had the biggest elevation gain of the route. I just couldn't recover after this point as my foot pain started. I no longer had the punch in my legs like the first 12kilometres.

18-21.1km - Runners were passing me. It wasn't pretty!

Where is that doctor?! I wanted to collapse at this point of the race too!

I lost most of my time on the last 5k, from being on pace with a couple minutes faster than my PB time, to missing my PB time entirely. It's one of those embarrassing races! Argh you can say! Butter fingers and choking epic-ally near the finish. Had I ran a less positive split for the race, it would had felt a lot better. Well I know a future PB is certainly within me.

No words. The nerdy graph doesn't lie...

In short summary, the hills killed my steady pacing. It's not a fast course like the First Half.

Thanks for reading!

Kevin and I enjoying some post race "Windstorm" beer, as the sign indicates.