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Milton, Ontario, Canada

Monday, March 25, 2013

Around the Bay 30k Recap

I ended this race, blasting down York street beside Wayne screaming, "I LOVE TO RUN."

This is Around the Bay and what follows is my AMAZING day of running.

Expo and Pre Race

I had my last day of work at the old job on Friday, so I had to get to the Expo to pick up my kit on Saturday. Fergus and I went down right after his tumbling class and he quickly spotted the PowerBar Gummies and scored a few and spun the Running Room wheel to win at hat. He decided on the Blue Fibre 1 toque and John Stanton approved

I did a bit of shopping and finally got a car magnet for my car and the ATB shirt I wanted (it fits super small which is sad because I don't know if I'll ever wear it)

You can see that I picked up the closest pace band to our targeted 3 hour pace: 4:15 for a marathon. I got one for Wayne as well. They made good decorations. Dinner went well and I decided on Cookies N Cream ice cream over pretzels for dessert (gotta love looking at a race as just a training run with no real expectations)

I was unsure what I wanted to wear but after chatting with JS and looking at the weather network, I figured that the same outfit from Chilly as it had good race karma. I laid everything out and went to bed, setting the alarm for 6am so that I could shower, eat, drink coffee and settle my stomach. 

I made a last minute "training run" decision (without consulting Wayne) and I decided not to run with music at all. I left it in my car.

I got to the start in plenty of time, before 8am in fact, got good parking and then stood outside of my car with my jacket in hand trying to decide if I should wear it. I figured that I would be running an easy pace, so I had better keep it in case it got cold or windy. This is the only error I made all day and it was minor. I got inside Copps, saw a bunch of people including my clinic leader Chris (another Silver medal for him) and found Wayne while I was hanging with Irina and her husband! The four of us got into Copps and met up with the DailyMile peeps and I found the other people I was going to run with including Phil and Ali (and her husband Colin) and Jamie. After hitting the washrooms one last time, it was time to head out to the mass start.
Ali and I pre-race. Yes, she ran with spatulas again!
 We saw these guys just as someone was asking them how much they were carrying, "Depends on how much water we drink." Simply amazing!
 And then, finally, we were off!

1-10k. Colin? It is crowed. And Hot.

The start of Around the Bay is amazing. It took us over 7 minutes to get across the start line, but soon we were away. My facebook friends got double notified as I kept updating and so did Sports Stats (I love those auto updates they offer). We settled into pace pretty easily and I didn't worry about our first split of 6:08, even though I joked that we had to make up time!

So inspiring.
 The five of us were running well together and enjoying everything. Ali had decided to stay back and keep slow to keep her hip injury in check. I saw the first photog and pulled a run nerd
Even Colin was loving it.
Before long, I was BAKING in my coat. I tossed my dollar store gloves and ended up taking off my coat while Jamie held my phone. I looked at it and told Jamie that the coat was lucky that I really liked it or it would have been tossed as well. I double tied it around my waist and let the world know that my outfit had changed, tweeting and FBing out this photo:
"Coat is off hot"
We hit the second water station with Colin and Jamie heading in for water and while Jamie joined us again, I think this is where we lost Colin. I don't blame him. My "ten minute miles" were a bit faster then that.

6:09-5:59-6:04-6:02-5:52-5:48-5:47-5:48-5:51-5:44 (gu), Split 59:04, pace band (ha) 1:00:00

11-20k. You guys are really serious about this pace stuff. Jamie? Phil? Guys?

I was still having lots of fun at this point and keeping on pace. The crowds NEVER parted and so we chatted about that and Wayne and Phil compared notes from the Mississauga Half Marathon that they both ran last year. Jamie and I got to know each other in the way you do when you meet someone and hit a long distance run with them minutes later and we were all feeling good. No music was no problem for me because there was lots to listen to and look at and I felt awesome. Then all of a sudden, we saw a railroad track in the distance. 

With a train running through.

"Is that a train?!?!" "WTF?" "I think we'll miss it." "Its going to be like the start all over again, so crowded."

Turns out we DID miss the train and the  crowd didn't slow us down at all. And we kept up our spirits
Selfie FAIL!
When we ran over the 15k mat, both Phil and I commented that we were doing a great time with about 1:30 in the bank. Wayne was really surprised we were keeping such an eye on that. "You guys are really serious about this pace thing, eh?" Then we noticed that Jamie hadn't caught up to us after the water station. We figured she would eventually or maybe she had to slow down a bit.
Still pretty croweded at this point (14-15k)

I stopped dead to take this photo. I tweeted it out as well.
 The lift bridge was hard due to the footing and I just ran it quickly, picking my way along it. Wayne couldn't believe the terrain. I guess I had forgotten to tell him about that. After the lift bridge we realized that we no longer had Phil. "I think he went ahead." said Wayne. I didn't think so, but just agreed. No sense in having a mini runners disagreement with half a race to go. HA.

I had gotten a text from a friend who had told me she was on Northshore after 17k so I started to look and look for her. I was super lucky to see her, right where she said she'd be. 

Remember my sentiment about loving to run from the top? Check out the fun I was having:

Just amazing that after 20k of a slightly faster then normal training pace, I was able to still enjoy it this much. I really think that this is the magic of Around the Bay.

5:32-5:59-5:48-5:49-5:48-5:43-5:47-5:41-5:39-5:34 (gu), split: 57:20, time: 1:56:24, pace band (didn't we go through this during the MidSummer post?): 2:00:00

21-30k. We are not walking up that hill. "I'm smashing this KM."

You betcha I was still having the best time! Wayne was doing well too and while I totally knew he could run the race with the time I had in mind, I think he was surprised at how good he was feeling as well. We kept chatting and passing people. We passed people the whole entire race. In fact, we passed Irina twice. Once in the first 10k and once again here (she passed us in between due to her strategy of 5k easy, 10k hard, 15k easy). It was super fun to cheer each other on along the way! 

As I had run this section three times since last year's Around the Bay, I began to use strategy on the hills. Wayne and I agreed to let the gravity of the downhill aid in our decent and to not push it on the up hills. By this time I had to dip into each water station as my supply was depleted (I had two water bottles and two of poweraid). Wayne kept trying to get me to take his, but I wanted to practice using water stations as that is my marathon plan again.  Up the hill, down the hill. I started to think about those oranges from last year and kept wondering where they were. Hmm. I could really go for an orange slice. I could go for a Henry van right now. And then... there they were. I told Wayne, "I'm getting one" and he also took advantage of the pick me up. 

We turned onto Spring Garden and I reeled Wayne in a bit. He showed some concern, and while I was feeling the pace by this point, I shrugged it off and told him that I just knew what was coming and wanted to save something. "We are NOT walking up Valley Inn." To be honest, I just wanted to get to freaking VIH, get it over with and FINISH the race! I had to put my phone away at this point. I really, really wanted to tweet and facebook out at the end of our Valley Inn ascent, but the phone was weighing me down. I shoved it in my new blue fuel belt pocket and down we went to the valley of ... Valley Inn. 

I told Wayne to take out his earbuds and listen. "Do you hear the bass? That's a little person with a boom box blasting we will rock you at the base of the hill." "Must be some boom box."

We totally high-fived our DJ and away we went.

Just like last year, the hill was not a problem. At the top, I felt my breathing was laboured and I mentally thanked the past weeks of hill training that we had done. Chris makes us continue to run for about 200 meters after the very top of the hill and this is very good practice for this hill. Then, we are on York Street and I'm looking for the reaper. I'm not talking much anymore because all of a sudden we're at 27k and I'm over six minutes ahead of pace. I feel freaking awesome! Wayne asks if we're going to get it and I tell him that we are going to get the three hours for sure and that I'm getting a PB for sure. "Where did the three hours come from anyway?" After 27km, its a fine time for Wayne to ask me that question. I can't believe the trust he has in me. "That's about where our training runs have been." "Oh. Sounds good."

And we're at the Grim Reaper and Wayne is high-fiving the crap outta him. He's getting a kick out of all of the race markers which I read out to him faithfully every six minutes or so. Again #28 tells us, "It is rude to count the number of people you pass out loud." Wayne's awesome humour kicks in as he reads the signs the Reaper puts out along York and I point out the "last aid station" to him as he chuckles away. We see Copps in the distance and I tell Wayne I have to hit the 29k sign. I do, telling the lady standing there, that "I'm smashing this sign. I'm smashing this kilometer."

And we head down York, with me yelling to Wayne to watch the turn into Copps and to put his hands up for the finish line photo and me remembering to take off my sunglasses.

Concentrating on the turn
Then, we're in Copps and I can see the finish and I can see that the freaking GUN time is just about to turn over to 3 hours! I beeline for a clear lane, throw my hands up and BEAM my happiness as I cross the line.
5:38-5:41-5:24-5:43-5:38-5:37-5:42-5:44-5:27-5:13-0:56 (last 150m), split: 56:43, total : 2:53:07. You do the pace band math. Did you notice that we freaking NEGATIVE SPLIT AROUND THE BAY?!?!?!

Gun: 3:00:11
CHIP: 2:53:00 (6min, 51 sec PB)
W35-39: 207/537
W: 1144/3328
Overall: 3328/6849


There was the food line and more photos:
And meeting up with Running Room peeps and DailyMile peeps and then I had to head to my car to get home to my family. I totally indulged in my new post-race ritual.

 And then, I continued to keep the runners high with the following (shared with my husband). I don't know any better way to celebrate an amazing race, our new home,  turning 36 and staring a new job. One thing I know, I've set the booze bar high for post marathon! 

 Next up? Mississauga Marathon. I can't wait to race with Wayne and I hope he feels the same way. What a wonderful day! If you ran Around the Bay, I hope you had at least some of the special moments that I did. If you're considering it for next year, I highly, highly recommend it!


  1. Lovely report. I especially love your finish line photo! You're absolutely beaming!!

    What's the "Valley Inn accent?" Is that the kind of thing where you speak with raspy, tired, sexy voice when you're out of breath? ;) Perhaps you meant ascent?

    You're joy of running is remarkable and infectious! Great on ya!!

    1. Haha! I totally missed that. I need a copy editor! Thanks Paul I can not wait to read your report.

  2. Great race report Nicole and fantastic race! Love the photos (as usual), that finish line photo is the best! Well done and onwards to Mississauga. (Good luck on the new job too....you'll do great I'm sure)

    1. Thanks Robin. I know you did awesome to and I cant wait to read all about your day.

  3. Nice job out there!! You were too speedy for me to keep up with, but you got me through the first 15K and that was all I needed to get to the finish.

    We'll have to run another race together sometime, we don't mind traveling for races and we love racing!

    1. This was a lot of fun and again, I'm so sorry I don't know my Imperial/Metric conversions well. I'm looking at Hamilton or Niagara again this fall... maybe we can even convince Colin. I swear I'll keep pace. I can do that. Ask Ali!

  4. Great race and recap. I can't wait till I'm speedy again so we can race together. ATB is magical :)

    1. Magical is right. We're going to rock it out again soon, I'm sure.

  5. nice write up, glad you had a good day

  6. Such a great race report! You were every ounce like I imagined you, with extra spunk! I can't wait to get a bit faster to be able to run alongside you, your energy is infectious! Thank you for motivating me along the way, it was nice at least to be able to play tag. No rock those hills at Mississauga, they are not too shabby either.

  7. "Now rock" - i need an editor too!


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