Around the Bay – Spectator’s Perspective

The 115th (Older Than Boston) Around the Bay Road Race took place on Sunday. This marks the second year in a row that I have registered and backed out due to injury (ITBS last year, shoulder separation this year). I have to admit – when I saw the forecast of heavy rain and winds, I wasn’t too disappointed not to be participating this time around. But I do hope this race is in the cards for me next year.

We were up early and carpooled into Hamilton with some friends. It was overcast when we left the house, started sprinkling along the way and raining by the time we arrived. We met up with Sarah and her hubby at Copps Coliseum and stayed inside together as long as possible before heading toward the start.

I was excited to run into Mel who was anxious-excited-nervous about her first 30K. Hubby snapped a quick pic of Mel and I before we wished her good luck and sent her on her way.

If you haven’t already, make sure you check out Mel’s “Coming up from behind” race report – she did awesome!

At this point, it was really raining and I don’t think any of the runners were particularly looking forward to the long, cold, wet and windy 30K ahead…. except maybe my husband. He loves this stuff.

Mark had offered to pace our friend Patricia who is running Boston next month, targeting a 2:30 finish. Colin (Sarah’s hubby) was running his first 30K and hoping for something around 3:00.

We saw them off at the start and managed to pick them out in the hoards of runners as they passed. Here’s a quick shot a snapped at the start.

(Our friends and husbands are in there somewhere, probably about 3000 runners behind these guys!)

We scurried back inside Copps to grab a hot drink and find some great seats in the front row where we could watch the finish. Here’s a look at the set-up inside the coliseum. The screens aired footage from the street so we could watch for the runners before they entered the finishing chute.

We got comfortable and enjoyed watching the 5K finishers come in, which definitely helped pass the time. We even got to witness a proposal at the 5K finish line – how cute is this? Kind of hard to see, but the banner says “Melissa, will you marry me?”

(She said yes!)

It wasn’t long before the 30K winner came in with an incredible time of 1:35:29.

Hubby and Patricia came in right on target at 2:30 (unfortunately Mark’s chip didn’t register at the finish line so he has splits through to 20K but no official finish time – kind of frustrating!). We were amazed at how well they did with the conditions. They were literally soaked through, head to toe… but still smiling.

It wasn’t much longer before Colin finished strong, also on target for his 3:00 goal. Very impressive for his first 30K in some crap weather on a challenging course.

To hear more about the event, check out Yumke, Sonia and Vava‘s race reports.

Congratulations to all!

Missed turn, 20K, new swag and good lucks

I met up at 7 this morning with 5 others from my running group for a run in the country. (Note about where I live: I love that I can drive south for half an hour and be in downtown Toronto, but drive north for 10 minutes and feel like I’m in the middle of nowhere.)

They were running 30K but I had dropped off my car at a friend’s house along the route on Friday night so I could duck out early. I also decided to set up a water/gatorade/fruit aid station at this point. I love nothing more than orange wedges during a long run – unfortunately, they’re a little too messy to carry with me.

The weather was pleasant at about 2C/36F to start and 6C/43F toward the end, slightly overcast as the sun rose on the horizon. Most of the route took us along picturesque Canal Road which runs alongside (surprise) the canal, with nothing but farm fields on the other side of the road. It was quiet and serene, a nice change from the residential routes I typically run.

I was feeling strong and comfortable throughout the run, just enjoying the scenery and company. As it turns out, we must have all been in quite the zone because we missed our turn! Instead of taking more quiet country streets to our destination, we ended up on a major highway and had to run about 5K into the wind (we realized at that point how sheltered we had been on Canal Road) with heavy traffic and no idea how much further it would be to our rest stop (my end point).

It became a bit of a mental struggle, but my energy level was still good and I led our small pack the rest of the way, which worked out to just about 20K exactly – my goal/plan for the run. I was relieved to be done and the others enjoyed a short break before continuing on their merry way.

***

After my run, I had a quick shower and bite before hubby and I headed to Hamilton for the Around the Bay expo. I even picked up a little goodie for myself.



(Don’t mind the fact that my forehead looks massive in this picture.)

Good luck to Mel, Sonia, Vava, Yumke and everyone else running ATB tomorrow (including my hubby!). Unfortunately, there is a lot of rain in the forecast. Maybe it’s not so bad that I’m sitting out this year…

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Also, big huge good luck to TFH who will be running her first marathon tomorrow.

From Zero to Yasso (TIART)

I have never been one for “speed work.” In my two years of running, I have not had the discipline to do it on my own, which is one of the biggest reasons I was so excited about joining a marathon clinic this year. Unfortunately, that skiing incident took me out of the game completely for four weeks (and I have spent the last four weeks easing back into it) so I’ve missed out on a lot of the meat of this program.

Fortunately I was able to join the group tonight for Yasso 800s.

After a 4K warm-up, I decided to stick with the 4:00-hour pace group (who I ran with pre-injury), so our target for each 800m was 4 minutes. I decided not to look at my watch and just try to keep up with my pace group leader (this is a quick pace for me right now). Well, I managed to hang on for dear life and got through 5 sets. And I actually kind of loved it.

Appropriately, this week’s Take it and Run Thursday topic is: Tips to satisfy the need for speed: Tell us about a tip, technique, training idea or magical potion you use to help you become or stay fast(er).

I don’t have a whole lot to offer based on my (in)experience, but TFH and Felice wrote some excellent advice on the subject today, so be sure to check out their posts.

As for me, running with a group (or even a partner) is key. I just can’t see myself going out there and doing this on my own… at least not yet.

Running for a Cause

I don’t typically fund raise for events because let’s face it, I would constantly be asking my friends and family for money. I’m making an exception here because this one hits close to home.

The Sporting Life 10K taking place in Toronto on May 3rd is one of my favourite events. This year, I have decided to participate for more than just a medal (and hopefully PR).

My friend Erin’s three-year-old son Nolan was diagnosed with leukemia earlier this year.

The Sporting Life 10K raises money for Camp Oochigeas – For Kids With Cancer.

Camp Oochigeas is a privately funded, volunteer based organization that provides kids with cancer and kids affected by childhood cancer with a unique opportunity for growth through challenging, fun, enriching and magical experiences.

Nolan has already spent a combined total of five weeks at The Hospital for Sick Children and has a long road of treatment ahead of him. Nolan’s family has witnessed first-hand what a different Camp Ooch can make for these children.

I hope to raise some money for Camp Ooch in Nolan’s honour and will be running the 10K as part of a team called Nolan’s Dream Chasers.

If you wish to make a donation, please click here!

You can also view Erin’s fundraising page here.

Thanks for your support! No amount is too small.

***

Some unexpected plans came up for this evening and I have lunch plans, so I realized last night that I’d have to run in the morning. In order to finish the 10K I had planned, this meant a 5:00 AM wake-up call. I am not a 5:00 AM kind of person. Even as I laid out my clothes, set the alarm and crawled into bed early last night, my mind was full of doubts that I would actually do it. But you know what? I surprised myself! I was up, lightly fed, watered and out the door by 5:30. 10.30K/1:01:32. Legs were dragging at first (definitely feeling the squats and lunges from H.O.T. last night), but I got into a groove and managed to enjoy the dark and peaceful run. There’s something to be said for finishing a run before the sun has even begun to rise.

Only problem is… it’s 8 AM, I’m at work and ready for a nap!

Just another manic Monday

For the most part, last week went well. I feel like I’m back in the groove, although I’m frustrated that my comfortable pace is 15-20 seconds/KM slower than pre-accident. I know I just have to be patient and for now I should be focusing on building up the mileage.

Quick recap of last week:

Monday: 5K
Tuesday: xtrain (HOT)
Wednesday: 10K
Thursday: off (major DOMS)
Friday: Hooray Spring 6K
Saturday: 17K
Sunday: off

17K went well. I probably should have checked the weather first because I was running a ‘destination’ route from home to my Mom’s house – the entire run I headed south into the wind! Combined with some serious hills, I definitely got some resistance training, but my energy level was good, no aches or pains and a great run overall. It actually felt easier than last weekend’s 14K.

The plan for this week:

Monday: 6K at lunch, 60-minute Spin class tonight
Tuesday: HOT
Wednesday: 10K w/ Run Club
Thursday: ~12K with clinic – Yasso 800s
Friday: off
Saturday: 20K
Sunday: Around the Bay – cheering for hubby and many of our friends, especially Mel (!!!) E.T.A.: and Sonia and Marci!

But first, it’s time to catch up on your blogs!