After finishing my first 30km race on Sunday, I can say with confidence, runners really are crazy. When the rest of the world is sleeping in, enjoying a leisurely coffee and a lazy Sunday morning, myself, along with 8,000 other crazy people got up and ran 30km in the oldest run on the continent: the 119th Around the Bay road race.
For me, that meant precisely 3:08:49 of continuous running – minus one pit stop at the 5km mark. In all the races I’ve ever done, I have never had to stop to pee. I usually snicker as I pass by the race washroom lineups and think, “Silly people. Should have went before the race!” This time, I had no choice. I tried to convince myself I could hold it, but I was only 5km in, and despite my best effort to convince myself that my body might re-absorb it, I was uncomfortable. So I stopped. And it was maddening. There is nothing more irritating than standing in line for a port-o-potty, watching hundreds of people run by and thinking only about how this stop will destroy your time. I had a goal of finishing this race in three hours. I attribute at least 5 of those 8 minutes over three hours to be a direct result of my faulty bladder. It’s not like I didn’t go before the race started. On the plus side, I suppose I was well hydrated!
Overall, the race was pretty good. The hardest part of the run for me was between 10 and 20 km. The first 10km flew by and felt easy. The last 10km were exciting because I was closer to the end and I could count down to the finish – and the longest run of my life. The middle 10km dragged and I kept thinking how much further I had to go.
With every turn of the course, I kept waiting for that giant hill that everyone hyped up so much. When I finally made it there, I was almost disappointed. I mean, it was unpleasant. I don’t love hills. Especially after running 27km, but it wasn’t that bad! People made it sound like this soul-crushing hill would destroy even the best runners. I was pretty pleased with myself after I ran up the whole thing and kept going once the road levelled out again. Oh, and that grim reaper everyone warned me about? He was there…posing for mid-race photos with happy runners! Hardly the ominous and threatening vision I’d been anticipating.
I had to try really hard not to get competitive and run faster than I knew I could maintain. I did a good job keeping an average pace of 6:00/km. I could have run faster, especially in the first 15km, but I’m glad I kept it a bit slower, because I was able to cross the finish line feeling great, with a big burst of energy at the end. I have to admit, ending the race running into Copps Coliseum was pretty epic, especially considering I didn’t feel like collapsing.
Aside from the awesomeness of the finish line, the process for getting medals and food was super efficient. Before I even had time to stop my Nike+ app, I was handed a bag, sent off like a kid trick-or-tricking and emerged 60 seconds later with a bag of food and a medal. Well done ATB.
A big shout out to Graham who, despite getting held up by a freight train crossing right through the race route, and hitting a major wall around 20km finished with a time of 3:19:30. Congrats on being awesome. And congrats to Stoutley, who dominated this race and finished with a blazing fast time of 2:33:25. And a big thank you to Gary and Alia for being awesome cheerleaders and making such awesome and motivating race signs.
And finally, I’d like to thank the weather for not sucking. We really couldn’t have asked for better conditions, and after so many rainy, cold runs in 2012, I was pleased beyond words that we had a mild, sunny day.
Next up: I chill out for bit. (You thought I was going to say a marathon, didn’t you?!) I’m looking forward to taking a little break from 20+km runs every weekend and running less crippling distances. Instead, I’ll focus on speed so I can crush my Sporting Life PB of 49:49 from last year.
Did you run ATB? How was your race?