As we warmed-up for the 2011 Vancouver Sun Run, Gary, Kerry and I compared notes about our most recent 10Ks. I can't recall what speedster Kerry's answer was as I know he does interval and fast tempo runs 5X per week at lunch and that he runs ultras on the drop of a hat. Robbins and I figured the Sun Run was our last 10K. For Gary, it's been 4 years. For me, the last time I did it was when I pushed a double-stroller (my youngest kid, Erik, will turn 13 next week... so that's 11 years.)
Kerry and I went skiing on Friday (2 days ago.) As we parted company after some mind-blowing late season turns, he asked if I'd like to join his corporate Sun Run team. "We won the team category last year," Kerry informed me. "No pressure."
To make a long story short, I finished the 2011 Sun Run in 42:13. I believe I was the slowest person on the team. To that end, I though it appropriate that I share some secrets to my lack of success:
- Don't train. It has been a great year for downhill skiing. Ski powder or go for a fast run in the rain? If you want to be the last person on the top Sun Run team, opt for turns in the pow.
- Don't train for speed. My fastest 10K was in the 33-minute range. That was in 1985. At the time, I double-trained and did intervals 3X per week. Now I can run a 100-miler, but the pace is somewhere near that of a 2-hour 10K. If you want to be the last guy on the top Sun Run team, don't do intervals.
- Go out hard. The start of the Vancouver Sun Run is downhill. It's easy to get caught up in the adrenaline. If you want to blow up, run with the Ethiopians for the first 2 kilometers
- Don't eat a good breakfast. I had a coffee and a piece of toast. While the coffee helped me to avoid a pit stop at a portable toilet, my stomach was growling before I reached the start line. I ran 8K with visions of a medium-rare steak waiting at the finish line.
- Pick the wrong start group. Since I was running in the place of a fast guy, I benefited from a blue start number which, to 49,500 other Sun Run starters, is elite status. While it's kind of cool to be at the front of a huge mob of people, it's embarrassing to be passed by pre-teen kids and silver-haired folks with walking poles around the 9K mark
- Run injured. I skied into a tree well and compressed my spine like an accordion last week. I blew my knees out skiing an epic pow day at Whistler with my hard-ass buddy Joseph 2 weeks ago. There was no more no-name robaxacin at the grocery store and I forgot to take vitamin "i" for several days. If you want to get your ass kicked by your teammates, arrive broken at the start line.
- Build a rock wall the day before your big race. OK, I should know better than to haul heavy rocks around the back yard the day before the big event, but it was a nice afternoon and I'm a bit behind with the yard work
- Eat spicy stuff the night before the Sun Run. I should know better, but I ate some hot peppers and Thai sauce for dinner the night before the Sun Run. Not recommended if you're aiming for a fast time.
- Host a wine tasting party the night before your big race. Well, the wine-tasting party was planned before the Sun Run and it was at my home, so I couldn't bail
Congrats to all who attempted and finished the 2011 Vancouver Sun run. It was a wonderful day for it and the volunteers and cheerleaders out along the course were the best! Thank you, Kerry, for having me along as a mascot. It was a blast... and I promise if you invite me back next year, I will train and do 37:30 or better!