I really thought yesterday was going to be the day.
It was going to happen. A first. I had pushed myself to the limit and this was a sure sign I had given it all I had and then some.
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Yes, as I crested the last massive hill and began running the 27th kilometre of Hamilton’s Around The Bay 30K road race, barfing was a near certainty. And, when I ran through a brick wall of bbq-hot-dog-stench at 28K, I thought it was over – “move over friendly spectator, I’m coming through!”
Somehow though, I managed to avoid the seemingly inevitable, kept my gels down and finished in 2:48:33, a mere one hour and fifteen minutes after winner, Olympic-marathoner-to-be and Canadian Running blogger Reid Coolsaet (seriously, that guy is so awesome, read his take on the race here).
I’ll take it. It’s more than 13 minutes faster than I ran the race two years ago and 36 minutes faster than my first Around The Bay attempt in 2004. What’s more I managed to finish in the top third of females and just missed the top third of my age group (although if you go by chip time I just might squeak in) – a massive improvement for this mediocre runner.
I actually felt really great for the first 21K or so of the race. My pace was hovering between 5:20 and 5:25 per kilometre and my legs were strong. For a while there, I thought I might just finish under 2:45. But when the hills came my wheels didn’t just fall off, they spontaneously combusted. My pace dropped by about a minute per km, I was having trouble catching my breath and of course, there was the wanting to vomit situation.
I wish I could tell you that it was some unforeseen race disaster that slowed me down, but the truth is, I just didn’t have it in me. I had no mental-focus going in and a family vacation in Vermont last week meant I had prepared for the event by taking the route of extreme-tapering (no running) and extreme-carbo-loading (yes I’ll have fries with that!).
Oh well! 9K of suckdom was well worth it. I crossed paths with a running buddy in the last 3K and we finished together – that along with my PB make me happy.
What’s more? No more long runs for the season! In a few weeks I’m going to run the Toronto Yonge Street 10k. But my official focus for the next few months is getting confident enough on my bike and with my swimming so that I can finish the Peterborough Sprint Triathlon in July without a near-death experience.
Bring it on!
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