I will be running in the 2016 Vancouver Sun Run in April. This will be my 4th Vancouver Sun Run, having done the race in 2007, 2010, and 2012. The 32nd annual Vancouver Sun Run has more than 50,000 participates every year. It is the second largest 10 km run in North America.
Determination, persistency, courage, and team spirit
Running a long distance such as 10 km is not about who finishes the race fastest. It’s about determination, persistency, and courage to keep going. It is about a team spirit to help others in their journey. It is about encouraging others.
Week 1: Training started at 3 km
Training started two weeks ago. My company sponsored us to take part in a 10 week run clinic, and I will be running as part of the corporate Sun Run team with my colleagues.
On our first day of training, we were asked to run three kilometres. Going from zero kilometres to 3 kilometres was a lot! I ran 1.5 kilometres nonstop to the checkpoint and ended up walking back most of the rest of the 1.5 kilometres. I wasn’t mentally or physically prepared. Plus I made the mistake of eating a heavy dinner. It took me 30 minutes to run three kilometers.
Week 2: Mentally preparing for the Week 2 of 3 km run training
In the second week of training, I wore my full running gear and only ate a light snack before my run. I also knew what to expect as we were running the same route along the seawall. It was raining lightly that day. I completed that 3 kilometer run in 22 minutes, shaving 8 minutes from the week before.
Week 3: Increasing distance to 5 km
This past Sunday, I ran on the treadmill for 45 minutes and the treadmill said I ran 5 kilometres. Today I decided to run outdoors from my workplace to the Skytrain subway station. It was a perfect day for a run. I could see the stars in the sky and the Orion’s Belt constellation was very clear. I completed the 5 kilometer run in a 36 minutes.
Not only a physical challenge but a mental challenge
The Vancouver Sun Run is not only a physical challenge but a mental challenge as well. One must believe that they are able to complete the run within a certain time. I had different goals for each of my previous three Sun Runs.
Sun Run #1 (2007): Training for my first sun run was brutal
In my first Sun Run in 2007, my goal was to complete the run in under 1 hour and 15 minutes. I trained for about five months. I started in December 2006 with 15 minutes. That was the hardest 15 minutes of my life! I was so exhausted! Every day I would add 2 minutes to my run. 17 minutes…19 minutes…21 minutes…23 minutes…25 minutes… until I reached running 75 minutes nonstop. Each time I added the extra 2 minutes, I felt I was going to faint. It took everything in me just to keep going. Every day I would be exhausted after my training. But I would feel very happy and accomplished.
Sun Run #2 (2010): Setting the record: running 10 km in less than an hour
For my second son run in 2010 I aimed to set a personal best record: running 10 km in less than an hour. I trained very hard using interval training. Where I would run in short bursts of full speed and then recovering. It was a very challenging training. I kept my eye on my goal. If I didn’t have a goal, I wouldn’t be able to accomplish it. That year I ran the Sun Run in 55 minutes.
Sun Run #3 (2012): Encouraging my friend on her first Sun Run
For my third Sun Run in 2012, I knew I’ve already accomplished my own goals. This time I tried to help someone else reach their goal. One of my colleagues joined me in this run. It was her first time doing the Sun Run. She struggled to keep up with me and our other mutual friend. She would fall behind me and Simon, but then she would do our best to run and catch up with us. I kept on encouraging her to keep going. When she felt that she was out of breath, she took courage to keep going. She was like a yoyo. She fell behind and caught back up with us. I really admire her perseverance.
Sun Run #4 (2016): encouraging others to achieve their goals
Many of my younger colleagues will be joining me in this run. Many of them are running for the first time. They may not have prior experience running the Sun Run, but they are youthful and energetic. It has been nine years since my first sun run. I am not as young as I used to be nor am I as fast. But I have the experience. This time I will not be aiming to set a time record. I want to encourage my younger colleagues and share my experience with them. I want all of us to cross the finish line. I want us all to have fun.