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I did it folks, I survived 30k Around the Bay. I didn’t end up coming close to the time I was hoping/ training for but I can say that I finished and that for sure I suffered to make it through the race. I finished in a painful 3:42:30 (chip time). My goal was to aim for 3:10 at best. I’ll write in more detail about what went wrong but first here is a picture from the morning!

My Dad and I

My Dad and I

My dad was also racing that morning in the 5k and he beat his PR! Way to go dad! It was really nice getting to wait inside the First Ontario Centre before the race started. There were plenty of washrooms for everyone and it was nice to not have to worry about getting cold. I headed outside about 15 minutes before the race to make sure I was in the right spot before the gun went off.

They have seeded corrals in this race where you get placed in a faster corral if you can prove that you’re fast enough to be there (with old race times). I was in the open corral at the back because I’m not that fast but I really like this idea because it helped to cut down on the amount of dodging everyone had to do at the start. After a few minute walk from the building, I made my way to my starting area. They still have pace bunnies even though it is kind of a funny race distance. I lined up with the 3:20 bunny with hopes of starting slower and speeding up throughout the race. I think a lot of people got caught off guard with the delay to walking to the start line and many ended up making it to the start line well after the race started.

Just like that, we were off. All of a sudden, I found myself in a 30km race. Pretty scary thought. The first couple of kilometres went by pretty quickly and I felt good. I started to worry that I was overdressed because they had forecasted strong winds for the day of the race but because of the buildings we were running between, we couldn’t feel it yet. I ended up taking off my gloves a few kilometres in and they stayed off for most of the race. The views were ok for this part of the race; we ran through an industrial sector and it was kind of ugly but it was still nice to run a new route.

Another thing I should mention is that they had really cool kilometre markers. Every single one had a sentence or two written on them. I really liked this because it was like a new source of inspiration every time we passed one. They posted the list on their facebook page so here it is:

1k: You cannot build a reputation on what you intend to do.
2k: Tough times don’t last but tough people do.
3k: “Been runnin’ against the wind”
4k: I have met my hero and it is ME!
5k: You can if you think you can.
6k: No Pain, No Gain!
7k :LEARN TO LOVE PAIN
8k: Go hard or go home.
9k: Some people don’t have the guts for distance racing. The polite term for them is sprinters.
10k: The greatest pleasure in life, is doing the things people say we cannot do.
11k: Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.
12k: Everything you ever wanted to know about yourself you can learn in 30Km
13k: Those who say I will lose will have to run over my body to beat me.
14k: It’s not the size of the dog in the fight…it’s the size of the fight in the dog
15k: Some people run to see who is the fastest; I run to see who has the most guts.
16k: You may be disappointed if you fail but you are doomed if you do not try.
17k: There’s no such thing as bad weather, just soft people.
18k: Running takes balls. Other sports just play with them.
19k: Whatever is worth doing at all is worth doing well.
20k: Run like hell and get the agony over with!
21k: Running is a mental sport…and we’re all insane!
22k: Learn to run when feeling the pain: then push harder.
23k: Speed is the by-product of busting your ass.
24k: Life’s greatest adventure is in doing one’s very best.
25k: Act as if it were impossible to fail and it will be.
26k: Pain is nothing compared to what it feels like to quit!
27k: It’s what you have left after you give 100%.
28k: It’s rude to count the people you pass out loud.
29k: I’ll always be #1 to myself.

My favorite one was the 12k marker. Also 18k is pretty funny. I think somewhere through the race I either stopped reading them, or just have no recollection of what I did for 3:42:30.

Now we come to the part where I tell you what went wrong. There are a few culprits for my slow race:

  1. Less training than necessary- I wouldn’t say I was necessarily under trained for this race but for sure I could have used more long runs and more speed work. The weather in Ottawa really didn’t make it easy to train.
  2. I was sick- Apparently it’s becoming a thing where I get sick the week before the race and don’t recover in time to do my best.

These two things really made it hard to do my best. I think being sick was a huge factor though. I could feel myself bonking around the 12km mark. This is not a distance I have barely ran, it’s only 12km. It became a mental fight at that point to convince myself that I had enough energy and strength to finish. My legs felt so heavy from 15km on, so again it’s a sickness thing. I didn’t have enough rest to not feel achy and gross. I realized that I had little chance of getting my goal speed so soon it became a “finish because you can” and a training run instead.

I passed the 21.1km mark at around 2:24 which isn’t terrible but I had hoped to be there in around 2:10 or so. The best indicator that I was not 100% was when I passed the 15 mile mark. That was the longest training run I did in preparation for the race. I passed that mark slower than what I did in my training run. When I did it in training, it felt leisurely and like I could have kept going. It sucked, but I knew I could finish still and that it would be a huge accomplishment.

Here’s something that is quietly advertised about the Around the Bay course: It’s got killer rolling hills through the last ten kilometres. They describe the first 20km as fast and flat an then a hilly finish to the end of the race. It was BRUTAL. Here’s the elevation profile

OUCH

OUCH

Those hills almost felt as bad as the ones I ran in the Gatineau Parc half marathon. Crazy to think that they actually took out the worst hill too because of construction. It must have been absolutely killer. For the last 10 km I focused on continuing to move. It was a run-walk situation that I used to keep going. I also had a pretty sore knee with about 4km to go. I think the detour around the hill they took out made us run on a road with a pretty steep slope on it. The outside of my right knee was hurting pretty badly so I didn’t want to risk completely messing it up just to be a few minutes faster for a time that was slower than what I hoped.

I did see the Grim Reaper that you always hear about at this race. I think normally he stands at the top of the hill they took out from this year’s route but this time he was just in the middle of the road by one of the cemeteries we ran past. It was pretty neat, lots of people stopped to take pictures with him. There was also a skeleton leaned against a light post that said “Did not hydrate” which I thought was pretty cute and funny.

Next thing I knew, I was less than a kilometer away from finishing! It was pretty cool running in the First Ontario Centre and seeing the finish with a huge crowd in the stands. There was a pretty sharp decline on the way in because we entered through some sort of loading dock door. They did a good job of putting signs up warning people to slow down. People could probably hurt themselves pretty badly if they weren’t paying attention.

And just like that, I had finished! I saw my boyfriend in the stands and we decided to meet in the upstairs portion. They were giving out lots of recovery food, and were smart enough to provide bags to put everything in. They funneled us back upstairs on an escalator. Felling cheeky, I turned around to the person behind me on an escalator and said “Thank God these aren’t stairs eh?” and I got a laugh. I think I was pretty confused about where I was at this point.

Here I am after the race with my medal!

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After the race, I went back to my aunt’s house to shower and then we went out for to an Italian restaurant for lunch. From there we bought some delicious Sicilian cannolis and headed home. I passed out in the car and wore compression socks the whole way home to help fight the muscle tightness that was sure to follow.

My boyfriend’s sister also ran this race and we saw her in the morning before we started to give her the race bib. She absolutely crushed her time goal and ran super fast. Congrats!!

I took a better picture of my medal. I really like it, it’s one of the nicer ones I have. And it’s one of my biggest accomplishments to date.

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I also really like the race shirts they gave out. They’re a nice bright pink color. The downside, however, is that it is too big for me! I don’t understand why some races don’t offer an extra small size for women. I am a small girl but some of the super fast women runners are absolutely tiny. There’s no way they fit in the shirt either. It’s disappointing because it’s one of the sports where you think they would cater to every size- especially little short women. That being said, I’ll still wear it because it’s bright pink.

It matches my running shoes!

It matches my running shoes!

Also you’ll notice that I have shorts on in this picture! It actually warmed up above 2 degrees in Ottawa! It was a whooping 12 degrees that day and I went out for a short run. My legs feel like moving tree trunks still.

I went for a longer run yesterday and it feels like I raced 15km today (I only ran about 8km). I guess my legs aren’t ready to go yet but nothing feels injured; I just have sore muscles. I also acquired this bad boy during the race:

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-it popped in my shoe at work the next day…

Looking forward, I have about 7 weeks to the marathon I signed up for. I plan to take it easy for another week and then I will be jumping back into training full force. I need to get some longer runs in and hopefully some speed work also. I’m feeling crazy for signing up for these races. 30km was REALLY hard. The marathon is going to be an awesome (and awful) test. I’m excited.

As a sign off note, my boyfriend and I have been dating for two years as of last week. He bought me these pretty flowers 🙂

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