Last year, Mike and I ran the Vancouver Sun Run together. We even did the training together and were still talking by the end of it. Aside form Mike's shock and dismay that I don't like to and choose not to drink water while I run (I gotta stay in my zone) we liked being together and completing something "big" as a team.
We were all geared up and registered to do this year's Sun Run together.... looking forward to it, even. And then Mike got hit with the virus from hell that I suffered with for more than a month and our plan fell off the rails. But I wasn't sick anymore and had no excuse. So I started my own little training regime and got set up to do the Sun Run solo. Well, not quite solo. There were 49,999 other people running it too.
Thankfully, Mike and the girls bussed downtown with me to see me off and meet me at the finish line. It's crazy to me that they can even begin to cram 50,000 people onto the street in their color groups and have this thing run without pandemonium ensuing. I waited in my group for about 45 minutes before I took off doing what I do best - people watching and eavesdropping. I was also shivering a lot and hugging myself to conserve my body heat.
Finally, the green group was off and running! The Sun Run is so big and there are so many people that the main challenge isn't your time, or your form, it's finding an opening in the crowd to get to so you can keep running. I actually found this was a lot easier this year because I was only thinking of myself.
Here I am, only a few minutes into the race...
These guys in front of my prove again that you don't need to spend a lot of money on fancy running apparel. Why not just wear your trunks and your dress shirt?
And I'm off. And that's the last Mike and the girls will see of me for a long, long time.
I have to say, running in Vancouver has its perks and its drawbacks. First off, it's a completely beautiful course. You find yourself running through Stanley Park along the water, then winding your way through streets lined with palm trees and flowers and interesting buildings. Second, there are hills. Quite a few along the course, in fact. There are also two bridges to climb. This challenged me way more last year than this year. This year I knew they were coming and I channeled my inner Adrian Wortley and knocked those hills on their ass.
Don't tell Mike this (and definitely don't tell my friend Joyce), but there were some times out there that I was actually enjoying myself. I was in the zone, baby, and it felt good. Mike's Garmin was also not working properly, so I had no real idea what my pace was. Maybe that was part of the key!
Along the course I also got to see two people puking and one guy being taken off on a stretcher to a waiting ambulance. Who says running is boring?
This guy doesn't think running is boring!
At the end, I searched high and low for a tall good-looking guy in a plaid hat flanked with 3 pretty girls, but I didn't see one. As I came across the finish line I was happy to see that I knocked 3 minutes off my time from last year, finishing at 1:03:38. Not bad for a flatlander. I was forced to celebrate by sipping a juice box (where was the chocolate milk?) in isolation. Mike and the girls had travelled to the half way point but didn't see me. They were also at the finish line and didn't see me.
In a crowd of only 50,000 people, it shouldn't be hard to find your family, should it? Yes, it should. And it was. But thanks to Mike's forward-thinking, we had agreed to meet up at the Skytrain station if we didn't find each other after half an hour. So I stood waiting at the entrance to the station, FREEZING my ass off and considering asking a stranger to text Mike for me. Not long after, I found him and we headed home. Not quite the reunion at the finish line I was hoping for, but at least we were together!
Here's where the best part of the day comes in! Breakfast at Heidi's - our favorite little cafe for breakfast in Vancouver. We went last year after the Sun Run and blogged about it, and the next time we came in, the owner recognized us from our blog! We're like buddies now! Why do we love Heidi's? It's a small little place, not an ounce of pretension in sight, the food is ridiculously delicious and the staff make you feel good.
Breakfast this morning did not disappoint.
I'm thankful I have a body that can run.
I'm thankful I have a family that came with me.
I'm thankful the cooks at Heidi's know how to cook an egg over-medium perfectly.
It was a good day.