Smiling into the wind.
So that went better than expected. Here is my recap of Around the Bay 30K. In my experience it’s one of the most challenging courses I’ve ever run. It leaves me feeling petrified of the marathon distance but this year I left Hamilton confident and excited to give the marathon another go in Ottawa at the end of May. I have a lot more work to do but this race proved that I’m on the right track. Below I break it down by 5K segments — have a read if you want to see how the race progressed.
0-5K in 17:30
At the gun I felt like I quickly settled into a good pace. Nothing too hasty, but the legs felt good and it was nice to get them moving to warm up in the cold air. I knew I was leading at this point but Jane Murage was close. She pulled up beside me and made a push in the first 2K but I think as we turned into the wind at the 3K mark she dropped back. I tried to settle in with a little pack of guys. I didn’t catch my 5K but extrapolated because I saw my 8K split (odds are the 5K was probably faster and the next 5K was slower.)
5-10K in 19:05
This was the windiest section by far. The wind was probably 20-30K/h with gusts and we faced it from 3-10K on an open multi-lane highway. I didn’t feel Jane near me anymore but I didn’t dare look back. I tried to hang on to my pack of guys but I was still being blown around and the overpasses were feeling a tad hot for my liking. I got dropped and faced the wind on my own. I was very much looking forward to getting off the highway and heading in a different direction. As I rounded the corner of the off ramp I looked behind me and all I saw was a desolate road with no one in sight — I also saw 36:35 on my watch. I breathed a sigh of relief and knowing that today was not a day to run fast I thought, “Today is just a training run, don’t slow down too much but just get it done and have fun.”
10-15K in 16:59
I was so happy to be on a new stretch of road and out of the wind. I was by myself still but I was having fun, smiling (a bit), enjoying feeling strong and healthy. I knew that if I just kept a decent pace that I was secure in my position. In this weather there was no need to press but my aim was just to not slow down too much. The waves off the lake were huge and I could see the draw bridge ahead — a sight that indicated I was near the half-way mark.
15-20K in 17:58
Nothing much to report at this point. I didn’t take my gel at 10K and was still holding onto it, hoping to take it around 15, but I was feeling nauseated and didn’t want to make things worse. At 18K the rolling hills of North Shore Blvd started. This is definitely the most scenic section but also the most challenging since it continues to undulate until around 25K.
^ Finding my rhythm on the rollers of North Shore Blvd (p.c.: Kevin Mackinnon)
^^ Crossing the 20K mat (p.c.: Sportstats) and continuing to battle the rollers (p.c.: Matt Gervais)
20-25K in 17:55
I had some rough patches on these rollers. For some sections my legs felt dead and then a few minutes later the burning would subside and I would feel like I had my rhythm back again. It was definitely good practice for the marathon because there are always rough patches. My tummy was still not happy but I was dealing with it as it came in waves and kept my gel tucked in my arm warmer. This is certainly the best I have ever felt on this rolling section and it gives me confidence that my legs are stronger than ever.
25-30K in 18:05
Oh how happy I was to know I had only 5K to go! Just the final monster hill to climb and then it’s flat to the end. Spring Road hill is situated at 26K and the crowds provided all the motivation I needed to get to the top. Unfortunately, that’s when I realized I would again be fighting the wind to the finish. It was almost comical as I felt myself being blown around on the street. A few checks behind me still showed no one close so I didn’t press hard in this section. Finishing into the stadium is such an amazing experience and one I have never experienced at any other race. That joy certainly keeps me coming back!
Finished in 1:47:27 for 16th overall and 1st female
I definitely didn’t expect to run that much under my usual 1:50:4X. I guess I could have added it up in my head but I was looking solely at my 5K splits so it was a fun surprise to discover that.
^ So thankful to have my parents join us for the trip! Finishing into the stadium (p.c.: Alan Brookes)
^^ Another great pic by Kevin Mackinnon during the scenic section of the race.
The week following Around the Bay was pretty low key. I napped a lot, ate a lot, and just ran easy. I knew it was important to recover properly before getting back into the tough marathon training. Even though I didn’t feel like I was pressing or pushing throughout the race, it still took a lot out of me. Sometimes I think the lack of sleep from travel and time change does me in more than the race itself! Now as we get into a fresh week it is back to work with big mileage (highest yet of this build) and big workouts. My body and mind feel ready to embrace it. The next race on the schedule is less than 3 weeks away and I hope I can set another pb this year when I toe the line at Scotiabank Montreal 21.1K. I will certainly try!