But the weekend before last, I ran just a mere 6.2 miles. Oh sure, I was scheduled for a 10 mile run, but I didn't care. Because this wasn't just any old 6.2 mile run. This was the Vancouver Sun Run. And it wasn't just me running, but 11 of my good friends and nearly 50,000 of Canada's finest citizens, including winner Eric Gillis of Guelph, the first Canadian to win since 1998 (edging out, of course, the Kenyan).
Ravina and I trained together remotely. We both worked from the same training schedule and shared our experiences and results weekly over the phone. When race day arrived, I was terrified as we took a cab down to the start line at Georgia and Burrard. I couldn't eat the bagel I had prepared, and when I saw the throngs of people waiting to start, I wasn't sure I could make it 6.2 miles.
We found our purple wave and squeezed our way into the crowd of people waiting. And that's when the Sun Run took hold of me, never to let go. I looked back, and all I could see was wave after wave of runners. Same view in front of me. I felt this amazing energy that I was connected to, and I drank it all in as I excitedly waited for our wave to start.
Little did I know that once the race started, it got so much better. The Sun Run takes you through the heart of Vancouver, BC, one of the most beautiful cities in the world. The beginning of the race takes you toward Stanley Park, where you just skirt the edge and then turn and run along the water. All around me were the faces of Vancouver - old, young, large, small, and every race and creed you could imagine. Some people were in costumes, one was even carrying a gigantic tennis racket to promote his sporting good store, Raquets and Runners. Lots of people wore group shirts that represented their work or school or cause. And about every mile, there was a band or musical group to keep us entertained, everything from old school rock to bagpipers to boys choirs and even Native American dancers.
At about the 5K mark, you cross the first of two bridges, the Burrard Bridge, and as you look right, you see English Bay with snowcapped mountains in the background. Just stunning. As you descend the bridge, the Molson brewery greets Sun Runners with encouragement. The next stretch is a couple of turns into a straightaway where you are once again overwhelmed by the waves of runners as far as the eye can see. And the finish, well, that is just about the best part. At the 9K mark, you ascend the second of the two bridges, the Cambie Bridge, and you can see the finish now, BC Place, the dome that hosted the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2010 Olympics. As you descend the Cambie Bridge, you take an offramp that leads to the finish.
As I reached that point of my first Sun Run, I got a burst of energy as I saw that finish line. No, I hadn't run the whole race, but I ran more than I walked, and when I caught up with Ravina at the end, who had done extremely well, by the way, we were so energized and proud of our accomplishment that we forgot to be tired or sore.
|2011 Sun Runners from Seattle (left to right) Sandy, Holly,|
me, Janna, Tara, Rebecca, Colleen, Steph, Kathy, and Cindy
in front (the Loris, G and H, not pictured)
It's an amazing experience to run around such a beautiful city with such a diverse group of people. It's a celebration of Vancouver, and it feels like the entire city is there to celebrate it. I always feel so privileged as a visitor to just be a part of it. Two years ago was the 25th anniversary of the Sun Run, and my friend Tara and I agreed that, God and good health willing, we will be there for the 50th and every one in between.
And now...back to the regularly scheduled marathon training.