So the 119th running of the Around the Bay 30K was this past Sunday. The ATB is the oldest race in North America and is exactly as it sounds. The course goes around Hamilton Bay. The course is also flat for 18k, then lots of hills for the next 8k then flat for 2k and finally slight downhill for the final 2k leading to the finish line at center ice at Copps Coliseum (see pic above).
Training was suboptimal for this race for many reasons. Work travel was frequent, weather was largely crappy and Sara's Dad had a heart attack. With family commitments rightfully taking priority I lost a couple of weeks of key long, hilly runs. I did go to Florida for a week and did some good training but it was all pancake flat and I needed hills!
I knew I was in for a long day when by the third km I was dreading the race and wishing it over - way too early for these sorts of thoughts. I was off my usual pace but thought if I could get through the first 10k in around 48 minutes I'd be happy. I completed the 10k in 48:30 and thought it was okay. One kilometre later, however, I got my first warning sign as my left hamstring started to tighten up. I thought this odd this early and feared this was not going to be fun. By 14k my left calf joined the cramp party and the negative thoughts poured in. I slowed my pace and tried to concentrate on technique but I just felt depleted and I hadn't even hit the hills yet. By 18k when the hills started I began to contemplate bailing on this race because I now started to question if injury was a possibility by continuing. I saw our friend Susan at 20k where I thought of bailing and with her cheering me on I decided to suck it up and take whatever pace my body would allow. It wasn't pretty and included probably 8-9 short walk breaks but I got it done.
I was completely trashed post race. My time of 2:35.40 was 9:40 slower than the last time I did this race in 2011. This course definitely exposes those who haven't put in the work and I paid for it! The positive is I gutted it out however ugly it was. It also gave me the wake up call I needed as I build towards Ironman Lake Placid. I will be back!!