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.

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).

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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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8 Comments

  • Lisa says:

    …and I was thankful to have you run me in the last 3k! Congrats Beck, a nice PB for you! Money for the jar of awesomeness even if it wasn’t the most fun experience.

  • Cheryl Sheppard says:

    Great job! My friend ran her first ATB yesterday in 3:07.

    I was supposed to run the 5KM but my kids had their first communion.

    My goal is to take one the 30KM next year.

  • Jenn says:

    You did great, Becky! Good for you! I am super jealous that it was your last long run of the season – holla! I’m sure you’ll kick ass in July for the sprint!

  • Jenn says:

    Congratulations on your time! I ran ATB yesterday too, and was just hoping to not get sent to the sidewalks as it was my first 30 k distance, so it was an instant PR haha. I almost tossed at the 27 k mark too – I’ll definitely have to come back again to try and squash my time another year.

  • Rory Gilfillan says:

    Good job beating your time. A pr is a pr.

    However (and you had to know there was going to be a caveat here) are you really surprised by the fact that you missed your time goal and the last nine km were from hell? You hung up your shoes for an unspecified amount of time during a family holiday and then tanked in your race.

    This happens. Families are like that but what I find confusing is that you decided to still show up to a race that you had given up on before the starter’s pistol even fired. It’s a victim-free crime if you exclude yourself from the equation. I am just perplexed as to why you race in the first place. Why not just go for a jog in the forest once in a while.

    Culturally, I understand that for most people physical activity is a place where the normal standards that are applied to the rest of their lives aren’t relevant. It’s hard to imagine not studying for an exam, performing marginally and then blogging about it.

    But this is where things are at.

    R

    • Tom says:

      Rory, there was a time when those who had chips on their shoulders simply grew beards, took their embittered opinions with them to their log cabins in the mountains and wrote ‘manifestos’ that only saw the light of day when a college campus was bombed. Now, we have the internet.

      But this is where things are at.

      Please, for all of us, throw out your razors – every journey begins with a single step.

      It’s time for you to find another outlet.

    • Superzoom says:

      Genuinely unclassy. Perhaps a new low (even for you, Rory, aka Captain Redundant).

      Rebecca, sounds like you “hit the wall” by going slightly too fast for the first 21 km. But I’ve heard of much worse crashes. You might have had a slightly faster finishing time by running the first 21 km a bit slower. But your year over year improvement is truly great. Congrats on your race!

  • Lisa says:

    Rebecca, congratulations on your PB! You have a real life, like most of us, and the balancing act is something we all have to deal with. You inspire me.

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