Around the Bay finally happened and it was pretty damn awesome! After what felt like an endless winter of training, the first race of my 2015 season has come and gone and I couldn’t be more happy with the results. Having never run the Around the Bay before, I set myself a goal of 3 hours for this race. To me, this seemed achievable within’ my fitness level, yet also challenging due to the hilly nature of the course. My game plan was 6:20 pace for the first 10K, 5:50 pace for the second 10K, and then hammer it home for the last 10K. Luckily, my running buddies Jay and Christa thought this was a good plan too so I had some good company to run with. Also, we look pretty damn badass in the photo below, don’t we. #DreamTeam
The first 10K flew by like nothing. We were laughing, chatting, and the kilometre markers just flew by. Even on the hills, we never lost our momentum and only stopped once to shed some layers around the 9K mark because it turned out to be much warmer than we thought it would be! Our pace for the first 10K was 6:17/km so we were right on track. We picked it up for the second 10K and I started to “feel it” around the 16K mark, but we stayed strong, and managed to average a 5:52/km pace for this portion.
Around the 21K mark of the course, we started to encounter some big rolling hills in Burlington. Jay made the smart decision for us to keep our pace a bit slower, and then try to pick it up once we were on flat ground again. I’m not going to lie, those hills took a lot out of my legs, but never once did we stop or slow down. We kept our effort strong and our legs turning and we finally hit some flat ground around the 26K mark. This was the point in the race when I should have been picking up the pace, but I really wasn’t looking at my watch and I was passing tons of people, so I felt like I was going faster than I was. I’m not going to lie, this part really hurt and even though I was instructed to not stop at any water stations, I did. Instead of kicking it up to a 5:30/km pace, I averaged 5:51/km for my final 10K and snuck in just under the 3-hour mark with a 2:59:43 final time. If you want to see my triumphant finish, check out the video below:
All in all, I am proud of my performance at Around the Bay and am itching to get out on May 3rd and run a full 42.2K at the Mississauga Marathon. I’ll probably execute a similar pacing strategy, but pick up the pace a bit, with the goal of finishing in 4 hours or less. When I think back to those last kilometres at Around the Bay, I could have dug deeper and I could have gone further into the “pain cave”, but that’s all part of learning what we’re capable of. If you had asked me if I could run a 3-hour 30K a year ago, my answer would most definitely have been no. But after a year of solid training with Coach Brock and some big work on my mental game, I am a different person that I was 365 days ago.
After two recovery days, it’s back to the grind today. Next up is the MEC 10K on April 12th and then the Mississauga Marathon on May 3rd. After that, it’s all triathlon baby and I can’t wait to see how a whole winter of swim/bike/run training translates out on the race course!