Around the Bay 2012

Posted: March 26, 2012 in Races
Tags: ,
  • Around the Bay 30k (click to see stats & route)
  • Chip Time = 2:34:13 (click to see race stats)
  • Category Place = 198/454 (M 35-39)
  • Overall Place = 1617/7000
  • Overall Place (by gender) = 1243/2967
  • Avg. Heart Rate = 160 bpm
  • Max. Heart Rate = 168 bpm
  • Avg. Pace = 5:06 /km
  • Max. Pace = 3:27 /km
  • Calories = 2880
  • Temp = 14º
  • SOTD = ‘The Wicked Messenger (live)’ by Phil & Friends

The good news:  I bettered last years’ time by just less than 5 minutes.  What’s the bad news?  Well, I damn near killed myself doing it.  But that’s just how it goes sometimes in this crazy world of endurance sports I guess.

The day started out early with even less of an idea on how I planned to run today’s event than I did last night.  Kelly and I were up and packed to go by 6:30am,  including my having two changes of possible running attire, a post-race recovery ensemble and even more possible clothes to stretch in later at the gym (we never made it there).  By the time we peeled out of here at 6:45am  I may as well have been Paris Hilton embarking on a month’s road trip to Rio de Janeiro for all the clothes I was carrying.

You could say I was a bit undecided as to what would have been the most appropriate thing to run in today.  The weather called for a late morning high of 14º with gusts of wind and possible showers.  So warm and breezy with possible chances of wet and crappy.  How does one prepare for that?  In the end, I settled on my running tights, a base layer long sleeve shirt with a light windbreaker…and I damn near ended up dying of heat exhaustion.  But that story to come shortly…

Getting to the event was pretty uneventful thanks to a volunteered free parking pass right across from Copps Coliseum from a friend of mine who works in the immediate area (cheers, Jeremy!).  However, first we were able to quickly meet up with some other colleagues at the Grimsby YMCA to pick up my race kit before stopping off quickly at Tim Horton’s to pick up my pre-race usual of a toasted honey wheat bagel with cream cheese and a small cuppa’ joe which I affectionately refer to as ‘Poop Juice’.  Hey, don’t laugh as that’s exactly what it is.  I don’t want to be carrying any extra weight if necessary during the race so to aid in the process a little (besides giving that little extra perk prior to the race start), a small cup of coffee helps me drop this unnecessary load and get down to my proper ‘race weight’ if you will.  And, since I’ve brought it up, any bathroom will inevitably smell like the 8th Circle of ‘Dante’s Inferno’  approximately 30 minutes before any event giving credence that I am not the only one who swears by this routine; it’s a raw combination of nerves, adrenaline and a caffeinated shitstorm that becomes the true bouquet of long distance athletics…make no mistake.

With about 20 minutes to go prior to the race, I made my way out with the other 7000  or so participants to the starting point approximately a block away from the actual finish line at the entrance to Copps itself.  Now, I don’t know why I do this but I fall victim to this at nearly every event: I misplace myself towards the back of the field and yesterday was no exception.  No sooner do I join the herd before I realize that I’m also going to have to maneuver myself through this enormous crowd of people for the first 7-8k  or so.  F-r-u-s-t-r-a-t-i-n-g!

And so it began, with me dodging, darting, veering and steering my way through the dense pack of runners looking for the 2:30:00  pace bunny I was hoping to find.  No luck though.  I did navigate around (or in some cases, through) runners in some pretty remarkable get-ups though, including girls bright neon booty shorts (okay, I ran behind them just for a little bit first), Elvis, and a guy wearing a helicopter costume.  Over all, it was like being beamed directly into a forward-only game of ‘Frogger’.

In case you’re wondering what the start of an event 7000 strong looks like, here’s an idea:

It also became clear to me after the first 5-6k  that I was completely over-dressed and I began to expunge gallons and gallons of sweat.  My base layer absorbed moisture like a sponge and my jacket had saturated itself straight through, and I became aware of a serious stink emanating from body.  Oh well, it couldn’t be helped now so I made a conscious effort to stop at aid stations for water where I typically wouldn’t bother.  I knew though that without that sweet, sweet, precious liquid the chances of my dehydrating by the 20k  mark and turning into a quivering pile of protoplasm by the roadside were quite inevitable.  So stop and drink I did.

The “Reward”

Over all, the first 10k  went pretty well, resulting in a 2 minute improvement over last year, not to mention a new personal best for the 10k distance with 49:33.  In fact, all my splits this year were faster; 1:14:39 vs 1:18:00,  and 1:40:45 vs 1:44:28 .  However, the real difference was that I was feeling a bit stronger heading into the hills this year and I was able to reign in nearly seven minutes in total through the difficult hills in the last 10k.  Of course, it might not exactly have seemed that way at the time as my legs felt like cracking lead.  I didn’t high-five the karaoke midget, I didn’t bother with the numb nuts coaching people up the hill at 26k, I didn’t take in the motivational slogans on each kilometer marker, nor did I notice many spectator signs this time (although the guy trying in vain to coax runners in his ‘Quitter’s Throne’  at the 21k  mark seemed pretty enticing).  Instead, I hammered on even though I felt rough.  In fact, I was even beating myself up at the time for not feeling stronger, being able to go faster, what have you, but the data suggests something else quite different and you can’t fuck with the numbers.

Maybe this improvement in the last portions of the race was better conditioning on my part this year to deal with hills, my emphasis on speed work this year, or perhaps just the benefit of another years’ worth of racing experience under my belt paying off – I’m not entirely sure.  But I am happy with that end result.

So where do I go from here?  Well, it’s onward and upward in my training for Ironman Wales, where the run course is also known for being hilly and challenging.  So I predict many more hard, hilly and painful runs in my near future such as this one.  At least I know they’re in my ability to do, I just have to focus on getting stronger, work on my pain threshold a bit and get comfortable in coping with that, as well as developing my overall confidence level a bit.

Where the Around the Bay  last year, represented a break from the real  long distances, this year it marks only the beginning; and what an eye-opener it was.  God help me.

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