7 Emotions for the 10k Sun Run


2017 Sun Run results

I joined 41,923 fellow participants in the 33rd annual Vancouver Sun Run this past weekend.
Since running the Sun Run five (or six, maybe seven) years ago, I had forgotten how the event can generate almost as many emotions as the number of kilometers clicked through the city:
Happiness:  I loved seeing people of all ages and fitness having fun plus the dad hauling ass with the baby jogger. I hope the kid was strapped in.
Sympathy: The race can be a heart breaker. A friend who had been carefully training through a year of physical injuries was walking to the start line when the pain suddenly flared up. The friend turned back to go home for ice and Tylenol.
Admiration: The Sun Run welcomes a large number of people with incredible stories related to their running lives. I spoke with a middle-aged woman who is motivated to eat healthier and lose weight since she started running last year. She was stoked after shaving five minutes off her 1:00+ time from the 2016 Sun Run. I also was impressed by my husband completing the race four minutes faster than me even with a bum knee.
Disappointment: I missed my goal time by two minutes.
Satisfaction: I enjoyed a solid three miles of “perfect” pacing and HR.
Frustration: In open water swims, even though I am a confident swimmer, I hang to the back or side of the mass start and advance along the fringes, giving up a direct route to circumvent the chaos.  Something similar happens for running races; I register for the time category one level slower than my goal time. So, instead of running with folks closer to my actual speed and maintaining momentum, I expend energy and lose time by dodging people. I also get angry at the slower runners, then I get angry at myself for thinking like a jerk, and then I get angry for not putting myself in a more appropriate group and then…
Calmness: Running is worth the hurting muscles and doubting thoughts at the moment your breath, arms, legs, and mind click into one organism moving forward. There were two times Sunday – along Beach Avenue and Sixth Avenue – when I dipped into that zone, and I floated above my legs and the crowd and Vancouver.
Next up is the BMO half marathon followed by IRONMAN 70.3 Victoria four weeks later.

You Go Get It!

Sun Run Runners

Sun Run Runners

While most people were rightfully cheering Lelisa Desisa and Caroline Rotich for their Boston Marathon victories on Monday, I was thinking about the runner in a shiny, dark purple track suit with a matching fanny pack who yelled “YOU GO GET IT!” during the previous day’s Sun Run.

Leather Belt

With the BMO half marathon two weekends away, I did a long run on Saturday in order to spectate Canada’s largest 10K race on Sunday. With iced Americano in my hand and occasional guilt in my stomach, I stood on the corner of Oak and 6th as the swells of Sun Runners rolled by: intense-looking leaders with beautiful, tight form; loose packs of triathletes in their tri shorts and distinctive short steps; corporate teams with their sweat-soaked, white cotton t-shirts; a couple moving together like locked branches floating through a rough river current; teenagers walking in dejection after rocketing from the race start; steady pacers devoutly staying inside their zone 2; random sprinters frogging from the empty centers of the running swirls; a guy dressed as a bacon strip.

One runner stopped in front of me and unclipped his phone from the holder on his leather belt looped around his pleated Bermuda shorts. He slowly positioned his smiling face against the background of the running blob, clicked a selfie, slid the phone back into its holder, inhaled, and resumed his run.

Less Gear, More Speed?

I wondered if the amount of gear worn during a Sun Run was inversely related to speed. Less gear, more speed? I’ve been there. I avoid photos from my first year of triathlons, 5Ks, 10Ks, and half-marathons.  The gear comforted me, but now the stuff makes me hot. With more years of training and racing, with events disappointing with their times, nutrition intake, or heart rates, I learn that my speed comes from my body’s fitness, not compression socks. Those things condition me and help my training, but it is all me on race day.


Then came the loud runner, standing out with her purple track suit, head down, arms pumping. Another racer came to her side. I think the two knew each other since the faster woman tapped the track suit lady’s elbow.  She looked up from the ground through her glasses, coiffed hair eroding onto her forehead, and yelled above whatever music or podcast playing on her ipod “YOU GO GET IT!” 

Her loud words burst the steady rumble of rubber shoes skimming across 6th Avenue.

Spectators turned their heads to discover the screamer; some grabbed their phones ready to either call the police or make a video.

Runners looked around to do see if one of the pack had gone down, like a gazelle in those nature documentaries.

But no…No stopping to hug, no high-five from the track suit runner, just a moment of one runner breaking from her zone to acknowledge another.

She stayed with me on Marathon Monday. Her head-turning declaration was a fitting encouragement for the nearby runners whose gaping mouths could barely voice “water.”   To me, it was encouragement to swim near the surface of this training and racing ocean – just deep enough that I can break surface, take a breath, congratulate a friend for their effort when they pass by.