April 19, 2015: No words can’t describe what feeling and emotions I went through heading there to finishing the big race. It had everything that can’t be described with training alone. It really is ‘Game Day!’ There was a lot of people at the event, over 39,000 participants lined up at Downtown Vancouver. I didn’t know what to expect and joined the 1:45 hr group during registration day. Our heat actually got started 10 mins after the scheduled time. There was a chip/tracker on our bibs so it started counting as soon as I crossed the line. But before the race started, I needed to go…. lol. The line-up at the porta potty was long. Seriously long! I just decided to hold it in and maybe find another porta potty on the way if I decided to take a break. Luckily, it went away when the race started.
It definitely was a challenge from the start of the race. It was pretty much a weave through all those people from the very start. I followed my brother Allan’s advice and followed someone who I wanted to pace with. I just followed two ladies, on a team, the first 3 kms of the race until they started getting tired and switched to another person. I was feeling my road rage kicking in…. lol. Lane Hogs should be on the right side but I had to improvise. I stayed to the sides and had to walk on the sidewalk. It was the only way to keep away from the dense crowd and having to weave through people. I had a b-line run and followed the person in front of me.
Finally came to the tough part of the race and the halfway point (5 km) of the race and it was a short uphill climb and then a gradual ascend across the Burrard Bridge. It was a funnel just before the bridge and I tried my best to follow somebody that found a route through the maze of people climbing the short uphill. This was also the time I started seeing people in different Heats. Mostly the ones that started 10 to 20 mins ahead of my group. I was feeling confident at this point and started pushing myself up the bridge and then down the other side of the bridge. I had to go stay on the outside so I can avoid the weaving through traffic.
After the bridge and turning to the last 4 km of the race, I noticed another challenge and it was the turns. People like to hug those corners and I tried it a few times but it was like 3 lanes merging into a single lane. Luckily, I timed myself and picked my spots to hit these turns but eventually I had to stay on the outside on the final few turns to avoid the crowd. Allan said it was more time added to my offical time but I couldn’t afford to stop and cramp up. I wasn’t cramping up but my legs were feeling the inconsistent pace and weaving through traffic. I ended up running next to our Family Friend, Ricco Yeung, who did the Royal Oak Challenge with us. This must have been the 7 or 8 km mark. He said that Allan was ahead. I was happy to see him and ‘fist bump’ him to finish strong. Then I went into another gear hoping to catch Allan.
The final turn onto Cambie Bridge and 1.5 KM remaining in the race. Saw a bunch of naked men with only their underwears on. And the underwear was skin tone colored so there was a group of people stop to take photos… lol. The generation we live in nowadays. So I was pushing up the on-ramp to the Cambie Bridge and it was another funnel. Stayed on the outside and time myself to find some openings to get through the crowd. It was really tough and it was like another crowd of people pushing themselves to finish strong. I was impressed and encouraged with some of these people because they came to compete with their personal goals. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re from and what fitness level you are in. It is about how you finish the race. I was motivated to empty the tank towards the finish line.
The pace really picked up on the final 400 meters towards the finish line. Sun Runians giving it their all and do their best. My face was exhausted and you can see ‘tired’ written on my forehead. Then on the last 100 meters towards the finish line, I saw a grey jacket that looked familiar. Looked again and it was crystal clear. A surge of energy consumed me and intensity took over my face. It was my brother, Allan, nearing the finish line. My ‘Beast Mode’ took over and my legs went into sprint mode. I was closing in on the kill…. lol. I went in on the last 5 yards and zipped past him and smiled for my photo finish. With my glasses glimmering and body in perfect runner form in slow motion as I cross the line. Camera flashing and the crowd roaring, I turned around to see Allan. He didn’t see me run across him and only saw me when I went to greet him. -.- I finished with a 1:00:07 time for 10 KM and Allan was at 1:07:37 mins since he was a heat ahead of me. It wasn’t my time of 58 mins on the track but the track didn’t have human obstacles to avoid.
My other brother, Ron, finished at 1:16:29 with the last Heat and was proud also that he finished the race. If our dad can see us now, he would have been very proud of us. Our cousin, Carol also finished the race at 1:16:21. I was able to finally see her at the stadium where runners go to nurish up and rest & relax. It was busy with long line ups. Oh! Forgot to mention that I finally was able to use the washroom. Heaven! Too much info…. sorry! I was just happen that all this training and doing my best to eat clean and be healthy finally paid off. I did something I never done since high school and I know I have so much to improve on to be and feel better. It is hard to imagine that 5 months ago, November 24th, 2014, that I was 206 lbs with 4 areas in my blood work to clear up. Now I’ve completed a 10 KM run. It is my personal victory to myself and what I am able to do through commitment and support. Anyone can improve as long as they have a strong enough ‘Why’, belief in themselves and align themselves with like-minded people and wonderful loving support. No challenge is hard when you have a driving force behind you!