On Sunday, October 28 I ran the 9.5K James Cunningham Seawall Race. The race started at 10 AM on the road by Ceperley Field, and unlike yesterday it was relatively warm at about 10 degrees, and cloudy but with no rain whatsoever. Valerie who I hadn't seen since last year came up and said hi while we stood at the start line waiting to get going. She said that she hadn't had much sleep the last few days and so didn't think she'd run that well today, but it was nice to see me again, and then she said that since they'd be starting the race soon she was going to move farther back, and she'd see me later. Just then a guy walked up and stood beside me and pushed a weird mask down over his face. He was looking straight ahead and I said "I know that's you Mikey.", and he pulled down his mask and said "Oh hi!". It was Mikey Ross who'd just run the BC Cross Country Championships with me the day before. He was wearing a tight muscle shirt, white with black polka dot arm warmers, and a speedo, quite the sight! This is always a halloween themed race and Mikey'd created what you could call a unique costume. Dominic was a couple of people over dressed as an Egyptian Pharaoh, and he smiled and waved, and so did Bill Chang standing by him. I waved back and then the race director told us to get ready, called for a five second countdown, fired the gun, and we were off!
After a few hundred meters of running in the dense pack it started to string out a bit, and I noticed I was running only a few meters behind Mikey, who's way faster than me, so I slowed down a bit, but not too much. We hit the main seawall and I was following a couple of vampires, and I pulled out and passed them, managing to avoid being hit in the face by their flowing capes. I heard Bill Chang behind me for about a kilometer, he has a distinctive breathing method that sounds like he's doing a series of barks every once in a while. It kept me going fast knowing he was staying on my tail, and then I didn't hear him anymore so I figured he'd dropped off.
Up to the 6K point I'd passed quite a few people, with a few people passing myself. Many people had got caught up in the excitement and ran the first part of the race too fast, and as they fell back I raced by them. Then for a stretch I stayed where I was position-wise. One guy came up from behind and ran alongside me, but I sped up and he stayed with me. After about 50 meters, he seemed unable to keep up the pace, so instead of passing me he dropped back, and soon I didn't hear him behind me anymore.
With a couple of kilometers to go I told myself I was all warmed up now, so it was time to pick up the pace and finish off the race. For the rest of the race I continued to pass people, and with less than a kilometer to go you could hear race announcer Steve King calling out people's names as they came in. There were only about 400 meters left when someone came up from behind going really fast, and as he blew past me I saw that it was a young guy sprinting in, who'd apparently saved too much energy during the race. We rounded the corner coming into the park where the Energizer race had also finished, and turned down the finish chute, with about 50 meters to go!
I ran by one woman and spectators were yelling "Go Kristyn!" as I heard someone coming up fast behind me. I was gaining on the fellow in front of me, sped up, and nipped him right at the line while fending off Kristyn. We gave each other quick fist bumps before the volunteers directed us to keep moving. There was water waiting for us and then volunteers thrust handfuls of Power Bars at each of us. My guy gave me 4, and I tucked them into my shorts under my shirt, and went towards the area with the stage plus the food and sponsor tents.
I ran into Mikey and asked him how he did, and he said this guy in the green shirt probably beat him out to win his age group. I told him that they were 5 year groups, not 10, so he said he thought I had a shot at medaling, as he figured that the green shirt guy looked older than 55, which is Mikey's group. Next we went to get some food, and our first stop was the soup table for some delicious pumpkin soup. We went into the main tent to eat it, and perused the tables to see what we'd be sampling next. They had bananas, apples, bagels with cream cheese and peanut butter to smear on them, and small cups of Greek yogurt. I ended up eating a few half bagels with both peanut butter and cream cheese and 4 yogurts all told.
After a couple of initial bagels I went off to my car to get my jacket and camera. I was meaning to get my bell to cheer the runners coming in but forgot it, and instead of going all the way back to my car just clapped my hands and yelled encouragement as they came in.
I was where they were coming around towards the finishers' chute, chatting to a volunteer as we applauded incoming racers, many in great costumes, when Dee and John Makepeace walked up. They were there to see Elsie Fontaine run and now finish the race. Elsie's a member of our club who is blind, and last weekend she ran the anchor 7K leg of the Whistler 50K relay on an 8 person club team, her first race ever! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Th4pHWrcHz4
She followed that up by running the Seawall race today, with her friend Vania and the Makepeace daughters Jessamine and Sarah running the race with her in support. I missed their finish as I went back to the food tent and just got talking to too many people, but Dee got some great pics of our club's new star runner and her entourage!
I ran into Rob Daniel, and then Valerie came up, but she told us she had to go home as due to lack of sleep the last 3 days she wasn't feeling that well.
I talked to some more runners as the woman on the stage continued calling out draw prize numbers, and then they posted the first results, and I'd finished 4th in my age group, 12 seconds from a medal, as the guy Mikey thought won in his age group turned out to be the winner of mine. My time was 39:45, over a minute faster than last year, so the plan is to be so fast next year a medal won't be a problem. I was 59th overall out of 861, and 4 of 41 in my age group. http://www.winningtime.ca/12/12seawall/overall.txt
The Vancouver Courier ran a small story and published some pics:
They started doing the costume contests and I got a couple of shots of Mikey up there, displaying why some people stayed well away from him in the race.
Some photos are up, and you can see some of the great costumes people were running in.
With that it was time to avoid the rush and head home, very pleased with my effort and the good time we had.
Shonna from my club has posted a few photos from the Cross Country Championships:
My next race at 8:30 AM on Sunday, November 4th, the 10K in the Boundary Bay Marathon.