Last weekend as many of you know I participated in my third Around The Bay 30km race and this race is still one of the best. It is very organized, a challenging distance and what better place to run then close to my hometown of Ancaster (I still cannot say that I am from Hamilton even though Ancaster is now considered to be part of the city of Hamilton)?? Even though I have done this race before nothing can prepare for this challenging course, especially the last 10 km but as we all know I love a challenge but still had a tough time finishing this race!
The race starts off with a slight downhill, and with my friend Jodi by my side (it was her first time) feeling pretty good we definitely got caught up in the fast pace of runners at the front of the pack and ran a bit above pace but it made up for the slowing down that happened at the end. After the first 10km (58 min split) then next 10 km took us over flat roads and some small over passes and we were both feeling pretty good and we on pace to finish in under 3 hours. At 18km as I was scanning the crowd along the sidelines and who do I spot?? My high school crush (those who know me well know who it is!!) and my first reaction was to smile and say hi (which I did!) and he responded with a smile and “good job!” WHOA! Sounds silly but that was just what I needed at that part of the race. So with a little extra pep in my step I forged ahead and looked to back to realize I had lost Jodi!! I was too in the moment that I had forgotten about my running buddy. After being worried about being a bad race/pace partner for my friend I had faith that she would find her way to the finish line with me.
Next milestone was the 21 km mark (the distance in a half marathon) can’t remember my time but was somewhere around 2 hours (my 15km split was 1:28) and I was still feeling good and starting to feel relief I as was more than two thirds done. But then came the ‘Rollers’… 5km of ups and downs, taking you right to the point where my legs were screaming, my body hates me and I start saying to myself “WHY AM I DOING THIS???”…And just when the rolling hills are over there is a bit of a flat section (PHEW!) and then I hear the music that gives me goosebumps “WE WILL WE WILL ROCK YOU!” and the I see famous little man (who brought a huge smile to my face) is standing on the sidelines giving everyone a high five for good luck before heading up the killer, “heart attack hill” which is approximately 500 meters long (or 1/2 km) at a 7.5% grade… WHOA! Last year I remember tripping (almost falling) on the wooden bridge just before heading up the hill and badly injuring myself so this time I took it slow and watched my footing before slowly shuffling (at this point) my way up the hill, make the left turn (with a few curse words and a bit of a walk break) and off in the distance you can see it, Copps Coliseum, the promised land, the finish line. Except it is a lot further than it looks and what’s worse??! It is downhill all the way back, which feels amazing on your already tired quads (from all the hills) NOT!! There is even a Grim Reaper on the final stretch telling everyone to take to short cut to the right (which was a cemetary) as we will all end up their eventually! HAHA Another good distraction that made me forget about how tired I was.
At this point my body is moving faster than I am comfortable with and it starts to hit me at 28km, so I stop and take a walk break. Then a girl behind me (whom I’m never met) comes up and says “Want to help each other finish this race?” It was like she was sent from an angel in heaven, what perfect timing!! I perked right up and said YES!! So we started running at the next intersection, made small talk (I found out her name was Jocelyn and she found out she was doing this race 3 weeks ago as her plans to do the 15km 2 person relay backfired!) and ran all the way until she had to stop again as her hip was bothering her. She told me to keep running and at this point I could see and hear the crowds (including my good friend Erika and her boyfriend Noah who I always see close to the finish every year!) and this always pushes me to pick up my pace even though I had little gas left in my legs. I rounded the corner down the steep ramp into Copps Coliseum and sprinted to the finish line! I put both hands up and rested them on my head, took a deep breath in and out and looked up to see my whole family waving and yelling and this brought a huge smile to my face! I DID IT!!! MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!!
In the past I have done this race in under three hours but this year was not the case, I finished in 3hrs3mins but as I have told many people it is the first time that I really enjoyed the race and I will remember this one forever. One thing that practicing and studying yoga has taught me is to be in the present and enjoy the moment! I totally did this and am glad I did. I did not finish disappointed with my time, or regretting the number of walk breaks I took, instead I finished smiling and content as I accomplished what I had set out to do. And the best part of the day was seeing my boyfriend after I crossed the finish line and giving him a big sweaty kiss, followed by more hugs and kisses from my mom, dad, sisters, my good friend Leanne and Dave’s parents. It was so nice to have everyone there for the first time ever! Then when Jodi came in shortly after giving her a big hug and seeing the look of HOLY CRAP I DID IT on her face. Still super proud of her finishing her first 30 km race.
Then to top off a great race we obviously had to eat (my fans were hungry too after 3 hours of waiting for me to finish!) We headed to Burlington for a delicious brunch at Russell William’s diner and let me tell you how good it feels to eat eggs, bacon and pancakes GUILT FREE!!! AMAZING!
After brunch it was time to say goodbye to my family and friends 😦 and hop (more like hobble) our way into my car for the long ride back to Ottawa. Lucky for me I had Dave drive, mom in the back as she was coming to visit for a few days, and the hilarious and story telling Jodi behind me. Let’s just say the ride back flew by with so many good stories to share and with multiple pit stops (for Jodi and I to stretch our poor, tired legs) along the way.
Overall a very successful race and I told myself that’s it for races for me this year (I did 4 in the past year including a full marathon!)…but who knows what the future will bring.
Hope you enjoyed the detailed recap of my race! It was a race to remember!
Have a great weekend!!