Immediately, I felt like this was the coolest race I have ever done. We were all running as a pack, headlights on, high-vis fluorescent yellow shirts on most. The sky was stormy and the lights of the city were reflecting off all of the clouds. We were running alongside the water and against the backdrop of a pitch black Stanley Park so the lights and the reflections were amazing. It was so pretty.
Throughout the entire run I wanted to stop and take pictures but I knew they wouldn't turn out. The few I snapped at the start line were pretty horrble unless you were right in the light so I didn't bother trying along the route. I keep Googling to see if anyone else has posted pics from the run, but so far nothing. It's a shame because it really was one of those visual experiences that would have been so cool to share.
After my failed PR attempt at the Victoria Half Marathon last weekend, it popped into my head earlier in the afternoon that maybe I should try and PR at the 10km. I wasn't sure if I was really feeling it to bust a gut for 10km but I figured, hey, why not work on coaxing out a little of that "beast mode". I even printed out a pace band and everything. Unfortunately, a few mins into the race when I checked to make sure my watch was working, it wasn't. I didn't press the button hard enough and it wasn't running. Boo. Now I couldn't rely on my pace band, I had to just go on average pace and hope for the best.
The run was fantastic and again, I wish I had pictures to show. The beginning was very congested as we all had to run down some narrow-ish paved pathways before hitting the seawall. The seawall itself is fairly narrow but by that point the crowd had thinned out enough and it was comfortable running. It took awhile to get used to running in the dark - even though we had our headlights, you still had to get the hang of angling your light properly to light up just the right patch of pavement in front of you to feel comfortable. The pathways can be kind of bumpy in places and there were lots of wet leaves so I spent a lot of time looking down watching my footing to make sure I didn't wipe out.
The whole way around the seawall there was a sea of bright yellow shirts ahead of me and the dark inlet with downtown and North Vancouver lights on the other side. So so cool. It was pretty easy to hunker down because once I found the pace I wanted to maintain I just kind of zoned out by looking at the scenery. It was very peaceful running out there which is what I love about running at night. I was kind of paranoid about my pace since I couldn't rely on my Garmin for an accurate total distance or time so I pushed just a bit beyond the pace I thought I needed hoping it would be quick enough.
This race was also a bit different because it went the opposite direction around the seawall than most races. Surprisingly, that made the time pass a lot quicker because each of the landmarks felt more and more like home as we wound our way back to the start. Before I knew it, we hit the last bit of park and playground and I could hear the music and see all the lights. It was a very exciting finish because of the sea of headlit runners lining the finish chute. I glimpsed the clock and it said 59:53 so I sprinted as hard as I could to get across the line before 1:00 hr.
I couldn't be sure at the time but I was pretty certain I had just run a sub-60 10k! I couldn't believe it! And in a flashing lit-up tutu to boot! There were lots of photographers at the finish line (hopefully some of their shots worked out) and lots of people cheering. I wandered off to the side to catch my breath and it wasn't long before I ran into my friends.
The finish line party was really cool. They had a big DJ tent, a beer garden and glowing entertainers...
During dinner I was finally able to check the results and it was official...
Now I'm sure many of you can run 10k well under 60 mins, but for this runner it is a HUGE accomplishment and I am so excited to cross it off of my running bucket list. And it was so much fun to do it at a cool race and while wearing a tutu! (Maybe the flashing tutu is what made the difference?) Either way, it's a nice little treat as I head into a fall and winter with very few races but lots and lots of training miles to cover.
I am so glad I finally got to run the Energizer Night Race. What was even cooler was that Energizer Canada invited me to be part of their Running Influencer Program and I was given the opportunity to review a couple of really great running light products here and here . In conjunction with this year's race series they also highlighted and sponsored runners via Facebook and YouTube which was a really cool feature to follow along with. Check out the Energizer Bunny Facebook Page to to link to more about these runners and their training. (Coincidentally, one of their featured runner/bloggers Lori Christopher aka @10kmom will be running the Goofy Challenge in January like me!)
It was really fun to run an event where I could actually be involved with the sponsoring company and I am thankful for being given the opportunity to receive and review some really great Energizer products. Thanks Energizer Canada!