My last 10K race this summer was at North America Outgames 2011 that was co-hosted by Vancouver Front Runners for its 7th Annual Pride Run. There were about 250 runners and walkers participated in the event on a spectacular day on July 30 in the world-famous Stanley Park. I think majority of participants are local but there are a big contingent from New York Front Runners, perhaps 20 runners or so. They are great fun and very friendly people. Vancouver Front Runners did an awesome job putting together this event. I could see a lot of work went into organization of this event. There were some pre-race activities, such as welcome speech, singing of anthem, and group stretch warm-up. It was all done well and everyone seemed to have enjoyed these activities.
The course was pretty flat but there were some twists and turns, and lots of tourists to dodge around. After two days of track competition, I felt some fatigue in my legs, but I was going to give all I had. I had good breakfast (blueberry muffin, coffee and banana), wore compression shorts and sleeves, and ran in Mizuno Wave Universe 3 racing flats. Similarly to 5,000m, I had no idea who runs how fast, so I was going to target my PR, which would be approximately 6:20/mile pace. Carlos who won 1,500m, Mikey who finished 5,000m after me, and Carlo from Houston were there. Marty from New York was running the 10K as well. From San Francisco Front Runners, Phil, Randy, Jeff, Stuart and Mark ran the race as well.
The race started shortly after 9am and I started in a good position. About 10 people formed a leading group, which got dispersed rather quickly. I could not tell who took off. The pace was too fast for me, so I just stuck with my pace. I past a few people and formed a group of three with Mikey and Carlo. This group pretty much stayed together until the first 6K loop was done. After that, Carlo started to move ahead, then Mikey. I really wanted to follow them, but at the same time I was afraid that I could not keep up with them till the end.
In the second loop (4K), we started to pass 4K walkers and dodge more tourists. At one point, there was a big group of tourists who were taking pictures of scenery around and did not hear us coming at all! I wish I am not like that when I am taking pictures… At one point, Mikey caught up with Carlo but I was about 50m behind. My shin was getting tight on my both legs and my leg turn-over started to struggle a bit. After my watch told me I ran 8K, I increased the pace a bit and tried to close the gap but they were doing the same. The gap might have got smaller in the last kilometer or so, but I was not able to catch them. My own watch said it was 39:51 at the finish line.
I was super happy that I finished all the events without getting injured. This one alone is an achievement! At the same time, I was really tired. I walked around a bit and watched runners come in. I had not known who won the race, and actually I could only see Carlo and Mikey in front of me, so I had no idea how many runners finished before me. I decided to stick around for the medal ceremony in case I won something. It took a while for them to tally up all the times. While it was being done, there were some more announcements from various people, including other Front Runners and sponsors. I chat with Ian Fisher while we waited for the results. Carlos, who won 1,500m, ran 36:08 and won the entire race. He is in his 30s and in a great shape. In my age group, I ended up winning the bronze medal after Mike Atkinson (not Mikey, 38:47) and Carlo (39:44). My official time was 40:00 but I think it is not correct. But I don’t care.
Overall, I did well in North America Outgames and am very happy I was able to compete in it. I don’t know if I will be able to compete in another event like this (International Outgames will be in 2013 in Antwerp, Belgium) any time soon, but as long as I am healthy, I would like to participate and compete. Once again, I’d like to thank all who were involved in organizing Outgames, including all the volunteeers and Vancouver Front Runners. I could not have had as much fun as I did without you. Thank you!
* All photos courtesy of Stanley Ulmer