I ran my first Around the Bay Race yesterday!
I was pretty nervous when I got up Sunday morning at 6. It was pouring rain, and the weather forecast for Hamilton said that the rain wouldn't be letting up until the afternoon. I also had to really ease up on my training over the last 3 weeks due to a cold. I tried pushing myself to do the long runs with the cold, but I could barely manage to finish 5km.
I managed to force a bowl of oatmeal down my throat, along with a few cups of coffee, despite my nervous stomach. I knew I'd need the energy from the oatmeal, and I didn't want to deal with caffeine withdrawal during the race!
When we arrived in Hamilton, it was still pouring rain. Ugh. And 5Â°C. Ugh. At least it wasn't freezing rain!
I felt a bit cold in the first few kilometers, but after my body warmed up I was pretty comfortable. I concentrated on having a comfortable pace; I didn't want to burn out too early. I started out behind the 3:00 pace bunny, and passed him around 10 kilometers in. Those first 10 kilometers really flew by. I was doing around 5:30 per kilometer and feeling pretty relaxed, with plenty of fuel still left in the tank. The rain was still off and on, but I didn't really notice.
After crossing the bridge and turning west along North Shore Boulevard, I knew the hardest part of the race was coming up. It's about 9km of hills, finishing with one killer hill just past the Woodland Cemetery. I was actually really excited when I got to that hill. I had done it before, so I knew what to expect. I had plenty of energy left, and so I really powered up the hill. After getting to the top, I felt like I had all but finished the race! There were a little more than 3km left to go, on pretty much flat ground.
Man, those last 3km were killers. I was running into the wind at that point, and my knees were starting to protest against all this abuse. My average pace had slowed to 5:48 by this point, and my current pace was around 6:10. I tried to speed up a bit, but my legs just weren't listening any more. I had wanted to finish with an average pace of 5:45, but by this point in the race I knew that wasn't going to happen, so I concentrated on just finishing. Those last few kilometers went by very very slowly.
Finally, the Copps Coliseum was in view. Only a few hundred meters left! Entering the coliseum was a great feeling; I found the energy to pick up my pace a little and make a strong finish. And nothing was better than having Melissa and Thomas there to greet me after I finished!
Overall, a great race despite the weather. Now I need to figure out if I should sign up for the Mississauga Marathon!