Around the Bay

Posted: March 28, 2011 in Races
Tags: ,
  • Around the Bay 30k (click to see stats & route)
  • Chip Time = 2:39:04 (click to see race stats)
  • Category Place = 201/412 (M 35-39)
  • Overall Place = 1672/7000
  • Overall Place (by gender) = 1238/2963
  • Avg. Heart Rate = 164 bpm
  • Max. Heart Rate = 176 bpm
  • Avg. Pace = 5:16 /km
  • Max. Pace = 4:19 /km
  • Calories = 2866
  • Temp = -8º
  • SOTD = ‘Hells Bells’ by AC/DC

Everything you need to know about yourself you will learn in 30k

(12th kilometer marker)

Truer words were never spoken – believe me.

If my training days up to this point have provided me the opportunity to peek inside the Hurt Locker a little bit, then today was the chance to throw open the door, jump inside and make myself cozy before slamming it shut again.

I successfully completed (‘survived’ might be the better word) this race last year, and now I return with the added pressure of having a time to beat (2:56:00).  And to make things perfectly clear, I didn’t want to simply improve on last year’s time – I wanted to destroy it.  As someone once explained to me, “sometimes you eat the bear, and sometimes the bear eats you.” Or, as I prefer to think of it today, sometimes the bear calls you a name so you incredulously ask, “what did you say?”, and the bear says, “you heard me,” before adding under its breath, “bitch”, and then when you stand up and politely request to take it outside it swiftly ninja kicks you upside the head until you fall flat on your back.  Then it proceeds to kick you in the nuts, spit on you when you’re doubled over in agony, and kicks you once more in the ass just to add embarrassment to injury before it says, “What now, huh? What now?” And when all you can do is groan back a meaningless reply it says, “Yeah, that’s what I thought” before bending down to steal your wallet.  Around the Bay is like that.  Sure I’m confident in my abilities and I’m proud of my accomplishments this year, but this race is hard.  It’s not quite a full marathon, but it can still break you.

It wasn’t specifically one of my designated Fitness Goals for 2011, but in my mind this race would be testimony, or some sort of validation if you will, to the effect of my weight loss and working towards the master plan.  I shaved off 20 minutes from my half marathon time last month and I nearly accomplished just that again today (17 minutes) from my 30k time.  Who’s tha man?

The starting line was a zoo.  A complete unsettled sea of neon running jackets, black leotard, and the odd nut job dressed only in short shorts and a t-shirt braving the minus zero temperature.  Why?  Anyway, to give you some scope about what competing in a 7000 competitor race is like, once the preliminary ceremonies and shit had commenced and the horn had sounded the ‘official’ start of the race, it took me nearly 7 minutes of walking from where I was positioned in the scrum to actually step foot on the starting matt to begin my run or, in other words, invite the bear to dance.

10k (51:52)

As usual, the race started rather quickly but instead of observing my usual cautious approach to pacing, I decided to push it early and just go with the flow for a change.  I managed to keep up with two of my faster peers (see Fitness Goal #6) for about the first 7k before sensing I was at risk of petering out prematurely so I backed off a little bit to begin saving something for the race’s notorious torturous second half.  The result, however, was an impressive (for me) 51:52 split time for the first 10k.  Compared to last years split of 57:39, I was already ahead of the game…but the bear was just getting warmed up.

20k (1:44:28)

My second 20k split of 1:44:28 was nearly eleven minutes faster than that of last year and only slightly more than my first split…no negative splits today but that’s still pretty sweet.  I’m also on pace with my half marathon PB last month…double sweet!  But around the 24k mark things were beginning to get decidedly, well, ‘ouchie’ for lack of a better word.  I noticed that the sole of my left foot was beginning to burn a little; a tell tale sign of blistering.  I made a mental note that it might be time to invest in a new pair of ‘lucky socks’ and tried to put it out of my mind.

However, just before we descended down into a steep valley we were greeted with a simply breath-taking view out across the Bay.  Awesome…but then you see it:  this teeny…weeny…Technicolor dotted line…working its way back up the other side of the valley.  Ho-lee shit.  Uh huh…that’s right….runners.  I guess in this case, what eventually goes down must eventually go back up and, unfortunately in this case, it happens to go up along what is affectionately known in the race as ‘Heartbreak Hill’.  My quads were already burning and my calves felt like they had been molded of cheese, and thoughts of ‘how in the Sam hell am I ever going to get up that fucking thing?’ began to circulate through my head.  For a brief moment I mentally thanked my coach for making run so many God-damned hills this year (actually there have been several times, but I don’t like to mention them all lest they should begin to go to her head) and then got back to ‘Embracing the Suck’ (to outright steal a term from Carolyn at Eat Well).  Lucky for me though, two other things also occurred at exactly this moment as well:

  1. AC/DC started up on my iPod’s playlist.  Hells Bells is my favorite ‘tough guy’ balls-to-the-wall music anthem.  Isn’t it for all guys?
  2. I got to high-five a midget.  Yup, that’s right…in all its delicious irony.  Truthfully, though, this midget, dwarf, little person, whatever, didn’t really have anything to do with my particular mindset at that time but, really, how often do you get to do something like that?

So, just as I try to do in training, when I reached the bottom of the hill – I attacked.  What the hell?  This is why I ran all those hills in the first place, right?  I took the opportunity here to pull away from those dozen or so runners I had settled in with over the last few kilometers.  In my head I’m always ‘racing’ and I’ve learned to accept this about myself.  Although I try to never let it cloud my perspective about why I’m doing it in the first place, or how I relate to the race with others afterwards, when I’m racing I’m always trying to beat the other guy – period.  What can I say?  I have a competitive nature.  It helps move me along the course and enables me to cope with discomfort and even outright agony at times.  It serves me well.

The final 4k was an exercise in pure agony.  The bear had completely risen up in my path and was ready to rain down with some serious hammer blows…I just had to hold on…a bit longer.  I realized that although I would probably fall short of my Dream time (2:30:00) that my Goal time (2:45:00) was still well within reach…so it was time to get moving.  There’s no rest for the weary in running I’m afraid, so after reaching the summit along Valley Inn Road I kicked it into overdrive, judo-chopped the bear in the throat Samurai-style and started the final 4k dash back to Copps Coliseum.  My legs felt mangled.  Not because of the distance so much, but the pace I was trying to maintain after nearly 11k of hills.  Although my 5:22 /km pace at the time wasn’t the strong 5:10 /km I had started out with, it felt like the absolute wind right then and it was all I could muster through the home stretch to keep it up.  Having two members of the Kincardine Triathlon Club also pounding pavement behind me certainly helped stoke the pride embers a little bit and gave me that last ounce of gas to the finish line.

30k (2:39:04)

So I now have myself a new Personal Best at 30k, as well as a new bear skin rug to boot.  But it’s particularly hard to fathom right now as I type here in my pajamas loaded to the tits on ibuprofen, that come this time next year this race will not be the main goal in itself, but only a stepping stone to completing a full marathon prior to competing in my Ironman event in September.  What will Thunder n’ Lightning feel like then?  Right about now, that thought alone scares the living bejesus out of me…but it’ll be an interesting adventure nonetheless.

Upon later inspection, I realized that I had not, in fact, developed any blisters at all.  I guess that was just the bear toying with me.  I’m still going to buy new socks though…

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Comments
  1. Daniel Dell says:

    Terry,

    Well done on the run
    you continuously inspire me.

    Thank you.

  2. Jeff C says:

    fucking A dude! good fucking run!

    just one question, does your 2:39 time include the 7 minutes it took to reach the starting line or do you subract that?

    • Good question, Jeff…”Chip Time” does not include the 7 minute walk to the start…it begins the moment I step foot on the Starting mat. So the 2:39 then is a true accurate measure of my running time. And thanks, gentlemen! 🙂

  3. Tammy says:

    You the man Terry!! Congrats again and wonderfully entertained by your 30 k piece!

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