Last Sunday marked my third time running ATB, and possibly my last. My original goal for the race was 2 hours, but as we approached the race and winter’s grip continued, I came to the realization it was going to be hard. I was missing my long tempos. The interval work I was doing was great, but the roads did not have the conditions allowable for me to hit true tempo on my long runs. Almost every long run had full snow covered and/or a brutal North wind coming at me. The roads in my area all run Nth – South or Nth E to Sth E. It is what it is…everyone had the same conditions.
I decided to still go for it, I mean…what was the worst that could happen? I’d go as far as possible and than start dropping back hoping to land in the zone of my marathon target for May.
The day before the race was cold and windy, and we watched with a little bit of trepidation as the forecast called for 25km/hour North wind and cloudy. Earlier in the week, it has been calling for much warmer and spring like temperatures. I went from seriously considering shorts and a long shirt to tights, shirt and jacket..with gloves and a hat. Again….Oh well.
Yahoo! The race ended up with great weather. There was a bit of a wind but nothing serious and the sun was out the entire way. Temperature was 5 degrees. I regulated myself by taking my gloves on and off and sometimes removing my hat or unzipping my coat.
1 – 10K. The new route! I like it, it runs you down by the water front a bit more and then spits you out on some overpasses. For those like me, who were expecting the normal Flat start….this was not that. I managed to clock through 10K in about 40 minutes, which is where I wanted. It’s a bit slower than race pace for that distance, but fast enough to bank sometime for the longer distance. No issues, I felt good. The only thing that kind of sucks, was the exhaust from the factories blowing right into our faces.
10 – 20K. Turning into the wind made a bit of a dent, but not too much. I had my gloves and hat back on as we crossed the water. I also made a point of gelling once, but stupidly did it without water. This caused a bit of time erosion as the lump sat in my mouth and I had to work it down. The only way was to slow down. Getting going again was tough, and about 15K I started feeling the first bit of fatigue. This is where the Longer tempo runs would have been beneficial. Most of my short and medium interval work bumped around 12 – 15K, so it made sense that I’d start feeling it now. HR was still good, but I was beginning to get passed as my pace slowed
20-30K. There be hills! I like the hills , I think they are the great equalizer in this race because the fast guys who excel on flats get knocked down by hills. I ran my pace, kept my shoulders down and elbows back and plowed my way through. Quite uneventful. The big gorilla up the side of the escarpment was not too much of an issue. Once you’re up the hill, it’s pretty much downhill all the way in.
My final time was 2:12:53. This landed me a 35th out 567 in my age cat, and over all 285th out of 6763. I’m ok with this, and I think this set me up nicely for my marathon in 4 weeks.
So 3 things about Around the Bay I like
– I love the history of this race
– I love the course, it’s a challenge especially with the new route.
– Love the way they have medals based on where you finish. ( Gold, Silver, Bronze )
3 things I don’t like
– Downtown Hamilton is getting sketchy. I noticed a degradation since I was last there in 2010
– Getting out of Hamilton after the race is almost more effort then running the race
– ..hmm…cannot really think of a 3rd.