Around the Bay 30K Race report
Chip time – 3:09:11
Pace – 6:19
Category place – 269/491
Gender place – 1725/3307
Overall place – 4254/6646
I DID IT! The ever so challenging Around the Bay 30km road race. It is no joke when I tell you that this is a tough course. This is, in fact, the toughest course I have ever run. If you asked anyone what the Around the Bay road race was known for, anyone who knows this race would tell you it is the hills. Maybe even THE hill. The last hill of this course is killer, worse than the heartbreak hill in Boston, but more on that later.
I decided to do this race last year when I finished the 5K race they offer along with the 30. I was reading all the posts on their Facebook page and I felt so inspired. I signed up as soon as the race opened. At that time I was in the 10K clinic at the Running Room but figured I would have enough time to build up to the 30K distance. I also knew that I was planning to do the Chilly Half Marathon 3 weeks prior to this race so planned to just run it with my husband, no racing.
About a week before the race, a mom friend of mine who happens to work for the Hamilton Spectator messaged me and asked if I would mind being interviewed for an article they were writing. They were looking for a newbie to the race and she said she thought of me. Of course I said yes. I was pretty excited to see my little story in print.
We went to the race expo to pick up our race kits the day before the race. I do enjoy this expo. It is a good size with some great vendors. This year we received a purple New Balance long sleeve tech top and a black hat. Both are quite nice. The shirt is so soft and the hat, well I had been keeping my eye open for a black hat and this one is quite nice.
This race started at 9:30 which was a great start time. The weather for the day ended up being perfect but not before so many were fooled by the weather network. That morning the forecast said temperatures would be in the minus with it being windy. I was bummed that I would have to wear a jacket. As we got into town though, the temperature was reading 4 degrees so I left the coat behind and went with my original plan of tights, a thin long sleeve with a tech tee over top and arm warmers for the start (to throw away). It was a beautiful day!
The route itself changed this year. Last year there was an incident of a train passing and people getting (understandably) upset for getting stuck at the train. This year they changed the route to bypass any train tracks. The result of this was an extra set of hills (boo) to an already hilly course. Previously the course was flat up until about 21K where the hills along North Shore begin. This new course starts off flat but quickly comes to a bunch of hills as we run over the overpasses along Burlington St. It was probably a good 10km of rolling hills with stretches of flat road between. That was not too bad. We passed the first relay hand off point and the new runners all jumped on course. The next 10K was relatively flat. My husband and I were running easy and keeping a 6:00 pace up until about 21K. I knew when we got to the rolling hills the pace would slow down. I hadn’t done any hill training for this race but I did run the route a few weeks prior to this race so I knew what to expect. The rolling hills sucked! Haha, I am not a fan of hills. I did manage to run them all though, not that fast but I ran. There was a good amount of spectators along North Shore in Burlington so that was nice to keep you going. On the last rolling hill I felt like I was starting to fade. My husband actually held my hand to help pull me up the hill. I was tired. We carried on some flat road a bit before coming to our own “Heartbreak Hill”, steeper than Boston’s. I knew before even starting this race that I would walk this hill and walk this hill I did. When you get to the top and head back toward Copps Coliseum, which is about 3km more from that point – the longest 3km ever, you pass a cemetery on the right. There is a man dressed as the Grim Reaper standing there, fittingly as I felt like I could just lay down and die after those hills. My husband took my hand and helped me to continue running for the next 2K. Honestly if it wasn’t for him I would have walked for sure. At this point you can see the finish and my usual mantra began “no stopping at the end, you don’t walk to the finish”. We came into the chute which was lined with spectators and into what I think is the best finish line ever – running into Copps Coliseum. Feeling like a rock star!
This was a tough one for sure. I quickly headed upstairs to a much deserved massage being offered for free from the students at Everest College. It was just what my tired legs needed. My husband and I then headed over to meet up with our friends from our running group the Brampton Benders where we indulged in some well earned burgers and fries.
I was quite happy with our time in this race. We went out looking to run this race for fun and that is what we did. It was a great experience and I would definitely do this race again. It is a popular race and sells out so if you want to do it, I recommend signing up as soon as it opens. Why wait? You will save your money by getting the best price anyway.
Race day photos all courtesy Marathon Foto. We purchased all of our photos. I thought it would be easier to just add a gallery of photos at the end rather than inserting them through out the post.