The 120th annual Around the Bay Road race too k place on Sunday and I was fortunate enough to pick up a bib, courtesy of Justin from the Running Room. He couldn’t run it and as Joan had already picked a bib herself I thought…
So with a 9:30 am start we could get up a reasonable time (6 am) for a race and drive down to Hamilton for the race. We got there with about an hour to spare and set about getting into Copps Coliseum to keep warm. Although it was milder than previous weeks it was still rather chilly, but sunny. I expected to see lots of familiar faces, but didn’t see anyone until we got into the start corals. We got there a little late and I wished Joan good luck and headed forward in the crowd to try and get a better starting position. The closest I could get was quite a ways behind the 3 hour pace bunny, but as nothing was at stake and I was “just running” this race I stood back and relaxed. I saw Chewy before the start, but that was it.
Soon we started, or at least shuffled towards the start line. It took about 4 minutes to get over the line. My goal was to just run by feel and hopefully get finished in under 2:30. My previous best was the last time I ran it in 2006 and was a 2:07, but those days were long past. Once we were able to actually start running I tried to keep a consistent pace and found myself passing lots of runners and knocking off pace bunnies as I went. Quickly passing the 3 hour bunny, then the 2:55… 2:50 and so on. About 4 k in I passed Steen and then Donna, I looked for others, but wasn’t seeing the runners I was expecting to see. I noticed my pace was steady at about a 4:35 min/k, which is much quicker than I was expecting, but it was feeling good. The first 10k were much different than when I last ran this race, with a few more hills to deal with. After about 13 k or so I came across Jamie Nielsen, who I hadn’t seen in a long while. So we chatted and ran together for the next 5 k or so, also passed Jim, before hitting the Burlington section of the course. I was surprised to come across Chris McPeake at about 18k or so. I was still passing lots of runners, but now the hills in Burlington were starting to slow me down a bit. Although they were probably slowing everyone down at this point. Through the next few k I passed Andre and Terry and then somehow lost Jamie. I was starting to get a little sore as we came across the last aid station before the “hill”. The next downhill helped and high fiving the “little” guy helped, but then the “hill” took a lot out of me. By the time I got to the top my legs were like jelly. I didn’t stop, but kept on going, albeit at a slower pace. 4 k to go and I passed Vince C. from Burlington who I’ve seen in a number of events of the years. I came into Copps and finished in 2:23. Much better than I was expecting and feeling good. Saw a few others after too, Bryan came in not long after me and Jamie.
Joan felt good about her race, she wasn’t racing and just determined to get it done.
All in all it was a good day. The weather cooperated and it wasn’t as windy as predicted.
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