Not To Be Trusted With Knives











{September 1, 2008}   My quads hurt

So, yesterday I decided to go on a little 10 km run. Just me and my friend Alicia. And a couple thousand other people.

IMG_4059 by you.

Here we are in our swanky race shirts. Nike made the brilliant marketing decision to put everyone’s number on their running shirt – instead of the usual practice of giving you a piece of paper that you pin to you shirt – thereby ensuring that everyone in the race would have to wear identical shirts. This made for some pretty spectacular photo ops of thousands of people who were clearly all there to run the same race.

I have to say that the event was a wee bit disorganized – first we were told to gather around the main stage for a warm up. But the warm up never happened. They interviewed a couple of Olympic athletes that I’d never heard of, and then told us to go line up at the start line for the warm up. Oh yes, and that they wouldn’t be starting the race until 7:15 rather than 7 p.m. So we all went to the start line, waited for a bit, and then the race started. No warm up. I suppose there is a possibility that the had a couple of people with no microphones do a very short warm up at the front of the pack, but we were in the 6th wave (for people who expected to complete in 55+ mins) and we certainly didn’t see any warm up.

Here we are about to embark on the big race:

IMG_4060 by you.

Ready, set, go!

And here’s the route we had to run:

IMG_4065 by you.

See that part where you go over the Burrard St Bridge? That map is clearly not to scale… ‘cuz that uphill on the bridge had to be at least 10 km itself. I never realized how freaking long that bridge is. And how much I hate that bridge. This ridiculously long uphill starts at the 7 km mark – just far enough into the run that you are pretty freaking tired, but still far enough from the finish that you are sure it will never end. I always find in races that there is a part where I start to think, “Why do I do this to myself? What was I thinking? I must be completely *insane* to voluntarily sign up to do something like this!” (But the end of the race I’m all “Yay! I love races! Let’s sign up for more!” but at the 7/10ths of the way mark I’m giving serious consideration to hailing a cab).

In the end, we did, in fact, manage to finish. Sure it took us more than twice as long as the winner of the race, but we really weren’t there to compete. (We weren’t there to impress Steve Nash either, but apparently he was impressed). We spent the majority of the “race” chatting as we ran, and we did our usual 10 mins of running, 1 min of walking.  And lamenting that the two women running with the baby carriage – who we decided about a quarter of the way into the race to refer to as our arch nemesis – were ahead of us.

Here’s a photo of us crossing the finish line:

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We were running so fast across the finish line that no camera could catch us. No, really.

Now, I’ve complained before about the fact that the Nike+ Human Race website is a big steaming pile of crap.  It was very difficult to get the thing to work to register for the race, or figure out the race route or how much of your registration fee goes to charity.  And I have to say that there post-race additions to the website aren’t much better.  Sure, you can search your name and get a pretty graphic that tells your time:

beth by you.

alicia by you.

And you can also see your time next to the top 10 runners in your city:

beth_results2 by you.

But, you know what?  I don’t want to see my name and time, at #1799 out of some unspecified number of racers, next to the top 10 finishers.  That’s just depressing!  What I would like to know is how many people ran the race.  I’m #1799 out of how many?  1800?  4800?  Who knows!  I’ve search their site and I’ve Googled and I can’t find any hint of what the number might be.  Nor what the number of runners worldwide was.  My theory right now is that they were nowhere near their goal of having 1,000,000 people run this race in the 26 cities in which it occurred, so they are ashamed to say what the number was.  I mean, when I look myself up compared to the top 10 finishers in the world, I’m listed as number 124,119.  And I really can’t imagine that I was 124,119th out of 1 million.  Seriously. As if.

Here’s a video from some dude that happened to be skateboarding around Vancouver and discovered that this race was going on, so he decided to record it. I remember seeing a guy skateboarding along with a video camera, so I’m sure this was the same guy.

Notice at the 1 minute mark on this video, you can hear some of the “can do” messaging. I’m pretty sure that that’s the voice of Karen K from CFOX radio telling you that you’ve just cleared the Cambie bridge and have now run 1 km and only have 9 km left to go. Here’s the thing: the last thing I want to hear at that start of the race is that I still have 9 more freaking km to go. Fortunately for us, this audio was not on by the time those of us who started in the sixth wave got there. My guess is that someone heard that they’d only run 1 km, went “omg! I have to run 9 more k?” and then smashed the speakers in a rage.

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