Last night my friend and I ran the Nike Human Race in Vancouver. This was a one-time only race where people around the world in 25 cities, and also independently with their Nike+ gear, ran a 10k race. I was scheduled to run 16km yesterday, but because of the race, I decided not to run with the group in the morning and just skimp a bit on my scheduled mileage for the day.
We got downtown around 6:00 pm and headed over to the pre-party which was a pretty low-key affair. There were photo booths, vendors, a Running Room tent, a Nike tent, potties (of course!) and the cool thing, free food BEFORE the race. My tummy is pretty particular before a race, so I didn't eat much but a cheese string and free Orange Mango Banana Starbucks smoothie was a nice pre-race treat.
On the 'Run the World Stage' they had interviews with local celebrities and athletes including the men's triathlon silver medal winner Simon Whitfield. It was pretty cool to see him in person and to know he was running amongst us mere mortals (at the back of the pack with a stroller!). After listening to some interviews, we donned our commemorative timing chips and headed out to the start line.
The course started on a slight downhill and straight southbound onto the Cambie Street bridge, it was a great start. We then ran to the east side of False Creek and wound our way around the Olympic Athlete's Village which is under construction for the 2010 winter games at the moment. From there we passed Granville Island and before I knew it, we were already turning northbound onto the Burrard Street Bridge which would take us back into downtown to the finish line. It was really a pretty course, especially at twilight when the temperature was perfect.
Overall, I felt pretty good the whole time. I always find the first 10 mins or so feels kind of crappy until I find my groove and some of my painful bits just go numb. In general, I run 10:1 intervals so that I can have a chance to stop, catch my breath, grab a drink and let my body catch up, so on this race, we walked at the water stations and a few places in between. My usual hip and lower back pain wasn't too bad last night, but as always, is a factor. There were some places where my friend was having trouble with her breathing (allergies) but otherwise things were pretty smooth. As we neared the 9 km mark I looked at my watch and thought there was a chance I could finish close to 60 mins, so I decided to 'boot it' and see what happened. Unfortunately there was a hill at the end of the course so 'bootin' it' didn't cut it...I was also a bit farther away from the finish line than I thought (about half a km farther!), and of course, the fellow runner giving out free high-fives didn't help either (I'm a sucker for a good high-five).
Anyhow, my final time was 1:05:55 for 10.01 km. The Nike Human Race website has a cool map of the world where you can search cities' finish times, rankings and racer's times. When you search yourself, it even shows you a nifty graphic of your pace throughout the race. I didn't quite keep my pace up, but without the allergy problems, I'm pretty sure we could have run more even.
At the finish line we got stylized batons with Nike running bracelets in them and after that, it was back into the line for food and over to the stage for the Trews and Theory of a Deadman. It got pretty cold as the night wore on, but the concert was a really neat way to finish off a race.