I got to Copps (er, First Canadian Place) in plenty of time and secured parking around the 29k mark, paying the $20 fee without complaint. I liked the fact that I could get out right away if I needed too as Alasdair was playing his semi-final hockey tourney game that morning and if they won, the final would be at 1:45 and I would do my best to make the game (they made it to the final, but lost 5-2 with Alasdair scoring both goals). The lot wasn't the best as they blocked in cars without taking keys, but I got lucky and the car behind me had someone in it when I went to leave so I was able to get out and enjoy the game:
KM 1-10. OH-EM-Gssss. This isn't like the old course.
Right away upon getting outside, I knew I had made a an outfit error.
I ended up in the first outfit except with my Nike base layer (which is really light fleece) instead of my super light lulu grey shirt. Total mistake, but nothing I could do about it. I should have even wore the skirt, even if it only meant that I could get in on the #burlingtonskirtbrigade photos for a group whose group name I coined. So, I mill around at the top of the corral and then they pull the dividers and start to count it down so I put on my music as I'm racing alone and get ready to pace myself.
Finally the race does start and we're over the line about a minute after the gun time. This is good to know if I ever try to go for the silver medal which is awarded to females who finish the race in 2:30 gun time or less. We get going and I'm happy that its not crowded and I'm speeding along. WAIT. I'm speeding along. WAY. TOO. FAST. I just can't reel myself in though and I have flashes of Kenny's race strategy where the specifically says not to get caught up and go out too fast too early. Which I'm totally doing!!! OH-EM-GEE! Wait! There's Chris, my Running Room leader and 2:30 pacer. Okay, let him get ahead. I take my time and yell at him, "Chhhrrrrrissss Chivers!!! Looking good, 2:30 pacer! Hey! Hey pacer group, ask that Bunny about tacos! He loves tacos! He will talk about them all day. And coffee!!! MMMM.... it'll sound great at 28k!" So that works to slow me down finally and then I decide that at the next station I'll take water and a gel. I figure the next station will be at 8-9k, but it comes up at 7k and I take the gel even though its pretty early. I figure it won't hurt because I shared my pre-race banana with Sam (even though she didn't ask me to join the brigade photo. :-/). ANYWAY. This new part is where we start to go over the new highway overpasses (three in total) which bring us some... rollers! WooHoo!!! Just what this race needs, hills at the start, hills at the end!!! We run along a highway like road for a while but its no where near as fun as Road2Hope. And its windy! The new awesomeness of this 10k never ends.
5:04-5:00-4:59-5:07-5:17-5:09-5:27 (GU)-5:17-5:11-5:07, Total: 51:38, Pace Band (2:35): 51:40
KM 11-20: Just get to 15k. I like water.
I'm not really sure what happened at this part of the race. You know, the part which is now the easiest part of the race EVER!!! Something just slowly came apart. I felt okay; my legs were pretty tired which makes sense considering the first part and the fact that I had run 82k the week prior. My mind was fine, no repeat of Scotia, but then I truly LOVE Around the Bay. But things just started getting tough. I was mad that I hadn't brought my own water. When I saw people drink, I was jealous. I thought a lot about water. Mmm. It tastes so good. I wonder where the next station is.... That's a nice water belt. HEY! Someone lost a 6oz bottle, I should pick it up and use... that's disgusting and I'm past now anyway. Whew! There is measles going around, macnic. Water. Wait! There will be water around 15k, right? Yes!!! And I'll take a gel! Good good! 15k is the lift bridge, sweet!!! Just get to 15k. I could really use a gel. And water. Any my legs are so tired.
So I get to the water station and drink water and walk and get two more cups to take with my gel. Which I pretty much almost throw up, but force it down because my legs are oh-so-tired. It was orange this time which was way better than my first of mint-chocolate. Sam's totally right; chocolate is a winter flavour. Which makes sense considering the outfit I'm wearing, but not the weather. That the weather network lied about causing me to over dress and then to need more water. WHICH I HAVE RIGHT HERE!!! Glug, glug. Hit the lift bridge and the footing - yep still sucks. I think about Peter and wonder if he's running in his vibrams and hey! There's a photographer:
Alright! Time to make that turn onto Northshore and there is more glorious water (and I'm taking advantage and walking through all the stations, which I shouldn't have done - I didn't need too) and then we're into the rolling hills of the Burlington Golf Course and I'm hanging on to get to 20k and begin the single digit countdown to the end.
5:13-5:22-5:12-5:15-5:39 (GU)-5:17-5:27-5:29-5:17-5:18, split: 53:29, Total: 1:45:07, Pace Band: 1:43:20
KM 21-30. No matter what, I LOVE Around the Bay!!!
So, something happened here. I just stopped full out looking at my watch. I had the pace band for a 3:40 marathon (5:12 pace - I was aiming for a 5:10), but I stopped looking at that. In fact, I think I only looked at it once during the race. Somehow, I had decided to run by feel! I promised myself that I wouldn't walk up any hills as I was walking all water stations and I could actually feel the energy leaving my legs around 23k. Good thing there was a water station and good thing I had the foresight to bring a third gel, because I took it and got ready for the Valley Inn Hill. I made it down to the valley and decided way too late to try and high five the little guy who sits at the bottom playing we will rock you so I missed. At this point, my running room friend Yan caught me and I said I wasn't having the best race; the first 10k were a bit killer. He agreed and said, "As long as I stay in front of the 2:40 pacer." I was hopeful for the same but had only just passed the pacer and wasn't sure I'd be able to hold on. I told Yan to go on ahead and the pacer paced me going up Valley Inn. I held on with everything I had and forced myself up that hill (looking at my watch, expecting to see 7min something and seeing 6:30 pace which is great) and promised that I'd let myself walk the turn onto York street. Which I did. HA! I only walked for about 30 seconds to catch my breath and then began running again. Run, run, run! Hold on, 4k left and "Its LITERALLY all down hill from here people." I scream to those around me. I'm just looking for the Reaper and his signs and I see him and try to get in a good photo-op with him without stopping but it doesn't work. And then... the 2:45 pacer pulls up to me.
And so I BOOK it to get the hell outta there. I've got the downhill in my favour and my quads may hurt like... well like hell, but ain't nobody got time to fall apart that badly.
But then I walk through the 28k water station.
No matter! My next target is the 29k sign which I hit with as much force as I can (that slowed me down as well) and then its all about ripping down York, getting a clear shot from the photographers before the turn
And enjoying the very best part of this challenging and fun, fun race: The stadium end:
That's a smile that says, "ELEVEN MINUTE PB!!!"
5:24-5:52-5:29-5:48 (GU)-5:33-5:13-5:53-5:26-5:40-5:04-1:45 (320m), split: 57:07, Total: 2:42:14, Pace Band: 2:35
Chip: 2:42:09 - 10:51 PB!!!
So, I didn't do the best, but I still love this race so much! I also am glad to run it because it really points out what I need to do for the marathon. The Mississauga Marathon course is no where near as difficult as this one, but I need to get some longer stints in at Mpace while fatigued. This is not part of the Daniel's plan, but I really feel I need it for confidence and to be sure I'm ready for race day. I've got five weeks to work on maintaining pace and I've got to look at redefining some goals as well. Let's hope I don't have to re-write those goals altogether and that the next five weeks builds confidence along with everything else.
Until next time, remember always celebrate at the end of the run! You've earned it