Tuesday, 31 March 2015

#141 Around the Bay Part II

This past Sunday I ran Around the Bay and as is often the case, I had another amazing experience!

It may not have been exactly 30K (my Garmin showed 29.8K and my GPS splits seem to make a lot more sense than the ones on Sportstats), but it was still a great race and I am thrilled with my result.

My official time was 1:48:24 which placed me 35th overall and 19th in my age group. This was well off the 1:45:43 (for 16th and 6th) I ran in 2013 but was also on a much different course and in a much different state of fitness (one that is fortunately improving each and every day).

Weather and conditions were good again this year with clear skies and cool temperatures. It wasn't quite as cool/cold as I had expected and I momentarily considered stripping down and out of my tights (I had shorts underneath!) as I stood on the start line with mere seconds to go, but ultimately feel it was the right choice once I rolled up my sleeves and ditched the hat and gloves.

The 2015 Around the Bay (30K?) course map.
As for the race itself, the first 10K have been made substantially harder given the rolling hills along Burlington Street and the less than inspiring scenery (and smells) of Hamilton's industrial district.
10K split: 36:20. The course then flattens out and follows the peaceful but often lonely Beaches Boulevard, passing the halfway mark and entering into Burlington. 15K split: 54:15.

Running just ahead of women's winner Dayna Pidhoresky around the 15K mark.
My favourite part of the course has always been the rolling hills and pastoral scenery along North Shore Boulevard which starts around 18K. The combination of cheering crowds, long lonely stretches and constantly changing elevation really make for a memorable experience. 20K split: 1:12:10. A slight headwind made this section seem slower and harder this year, but I was still able to maintain a steady pace, felt strong on the hills and even improved my placing during these final 10K.

I for one was very sorry to see this year's course bypass the flying downhill along Spring Gardens Road that was followed immediately by the torturous climb up Valley Inn Road. Instead we simply followed Plains Road West to York Boulevard which presented a gradual but grinding climb with a self-defeating headwind until about the 27K mark and an encounter with the infamous ATB Grim Reaper (Tim; who this year suggested to me that: "It's time to give up running"). As the course slopes down towards the finish, I picked up my pace only slightly but was nonetheless able to finish feeling strong and entirely satisfied with my time.

Another successful run Around the Bay and an incredible experience to match! Congrats to my fellow Black Lungs who were there to run, race and pace with excellent results. Onwards to Ottawa.

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