Saturday, April 1, 2017

Around the Bay 30K!

Look at me and all my little race reports! I've been hitting the pavement hard this year!! My first "big race" (besides that 5K that I am super proud of) was Around the Bay 30K in Hamilton, which took place last weekend. I ran it with my friend Stephanie, and since we are in the middle of some tough 50K training, we decided to set ourselves the reasonable goal of 6:30/km, which would have us finish in ~3:15. The course is hilly and we weren't tapering to rest our legs so we thought this would be a reasonable, but somewhat challenging pace for us to maintain over 30 kilometers.

Oh and did I mention I came down with a bad cold on Thursday? I was mostly better by Sunday, but not 100%

Now, as I mentioned, the race was in Hamilton, so I ended up getting a ride in on the Saturday with some RunTOBeer people and meeting Steph and her boyfriend Kevin at the race expo (where I bought a new sports bra and some light up laces! I'm so cool). We picked up our race bibs and then drove to Steph and Kevin's home in Waterloo! They moved around Christmastime and I hadn't seen their new place yet so it was a good excuse to visit. I slept over there and we all drove into Hamilton Sunday morning for the race.

The weather was originally cold and freezing rain and we were not looking forward to it!! Then a couple days before the race it upgraded to slightly above freezing and normal rain. That I could handle! The actual race day ended up being around 5 degrees, no rain (yay!!) but windy (boo!!). Could have been worse!

all bundled up and ready to run!

It was very well organized and we all got to wait in the arena and stay warm until our start. Steph and I walked over to the corrals about 15 minutes before the gun- there were a couple "fast" corrals that lined up earlier (where Kevin was- he killed this race!), but mostly everyone was in the back corral and so you didn't need to line up early or anything. We almost struck disaster when Steph's hydration pack sprung a leak right at the start but thankfully by some miracle I had a giant freezer baggie in my pack and we were able to put the water bladder in it and keep her back dry!

And then we were off! The first 10K or so is through a more industrial area and isn't exactly scenic. We basically just trudged along at our 6:30 pace and I warmed up and took off my coat and put it in my backpack- without stopping!- around km 6 or so. The other fun part is that the race has 10K and 15K relays so at the end of the 10K a lot of people left and a lot of new people on fresh legs joined us!

I actually might buy the race photos, but Ill wait for a sale :)

Km 10-20 were probably our best. I find I do my best running in this area- I really get into the zone but I'm not tired yet. It was also kind of fun because we got to run on the highway! It was windy and a little hilly on the bridges, but overall an interesting experience.

Km 20-30 I got a little tired. It starts to get REALLY hilly as we run through some residential areas, but the crowd support is great. Around km 22 I mentioned I was craving oranges and then suddenly we passed a bunch of orange peels- meaning I had missed out on oranges!! But then we saw a table saying "free water and fruit!" and they had bananas and grapes and I grabbed some and it was glorious! Thank you kind strangers!!

Around 25K there is a big hill nicknamed "Heartbreak Hill", but I don't recall it being too heartbreaking? Maybe it's because we weren't pushing the pace, or maybe because I've actually accomplished a lot of hill training this past month, but it wasn't that terrible! In fact, Steph and I probably only walked a tiny portion of the hills on the last 10K! Just past the hill there is a Grim Reaper who likes to shout demotivational things at the runners- he is a fixture of the race and good bit of humour to cheer us up with only a few km left! I was getting pretty tired and the last 3km really stretched on, but then finally we were in the home stretch, running through the arena to finish indoors! I loved the finish- everyone is in the stands cheering and it feels much more momentous then a usual finish randomly on a road somewhere.

We ended up finishing in 3:17, with an average pace of 6:31 (we ran slightly more than 30K since we didn't take all turns perfectly). Right on target and we were both super happy! I had never run an entire race with a friend before and it was a lot of fun!

After the race I collected my medal and free food. There was an afterparty at a local brewery, but I was pretty tired and really wanted to go home to my shower, so I hopped on the GO Bus and met Cam back in the city. We ended up going for dinner at his Aunt's, but I crashed pretty hard and we didn't stay too late. I was in bed for a good night's sleep at 9pm!

All in all, a very good race. Well organized, lots of fun crowd support, and a nice PR to boot (I've never done a 30K race so now I have a time to beat!).

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