The triathlon training blog of Phil Barnes

Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.... next

Around the Bay, 30k, March 30, 2014.

For some reason, people keep coming back to this race. I don't know why. As a "runner" I'm glad I've done it. It was an "experience".... but certainly not one I want to repeat .... ever. Perhaps I'm just a wimp. I don't like discomfort too much, and this race has plenty of discomfort to offer.

My goal was 2:30 (solid 5 minute /km pacing). The long range weather was calling for sunny and 8 degrees - perfect running weather. Morning of though, it was cloudy and minus 2 with wind gusts of 40kph, and with a bleak outlook for the next 6 hours. Definitely a long pants, long shirt, jacket and gloves weather run -- except 15 minutes before race start, the sun came out, and it warmed up! A lot!

The Premier, Kathleen Wynne, was the guest countdown announcer: 7, 6, 5, 4, 2 ... 3, 2, 1, Go! (yes - read that again, that's how the countdown went). The first 300 meters was nice, and then I just wanted it all to be over.

I was going way too fast, I couldn't slow down. "Oh well, let's see what's going to happen". In retrospect, I paced a pretty good run, if I were doing a half-marathon. But the only problem is that at 21.1km on this route, all hell breaks lose. I was kind of prepared for the hills - the up part at least. I hadn't even contemplated the downhills. And it was the downhills that got to me. They are very steep downhills. The constant up and down after 21k took it's toll on me, and by the time I finished the really big hill - I had nothing left for the last 3k.

All smiles at the start of the race (bundled up for the cold)

Training Peaks Garmin File

Point form memories:
  • Race expo had a lot of booths - flashing lights seem to be the rage this year.
  • Hamilton in March is dusty and dreary
  • A local, at the race expo, had given us an excellent tip on where to find good street parking for the race --- unfortunately, we were apparently too late to get there, the roads were blocked off, and we ended up paying $20 at a private lot
  • We were in our Corrals with 20 minutes to spare... and we were the only ones there. People waited until the last 5 minutes to get to the start line
  • Race start time of 9:30 seemed oddly late - probably catering to Toronto runners who would drive in on Race Day morning.
  • At 1K mark, I just missed running into an old lady was crossing the road. I was probably in 500th place at that time, with 7000 runners behind me. Not sure how long it took her to cross.
  • At 4K mark, I was pretty much wishing the race to be over
  • Although it is net downhill for the first half, there are still steep overpasses and bridges to negotiate
  • For some reason, fatigue (?) I laughed out loud uncontrollably when crossing the bridge over the Burlington Canal. It is a 100m span of "this is why you should not wear Vibrams". I don't have anything against Vibram's, I really don't... but I did see a few out there and the bridge deck felt like a bed of nails poking through my regular running shoes - I can only imagine the pain those poor people felt.
  • There was a lot of cheering along the route - for some reason this surprised me - a lot of good signs too
  • Lots of pots and pans being used as noise makers - An old guy was using an Quality Street chocolate tin and a hammer - it looked like it had been used for most of the 119 previous races
  • There was pretty good water / gatorade support
  • The pavement condition was crappy to extremely crappy the entire way - lots of opportunities to twist an ankle
  • I grabbed an orange wedge at about 22K that hit the spot
  • I took 3 gels evenly spaced at 8K, 16K and 24K.
  • I high fived Stan. 
  • I photobombed somebody's picture with the Reaper.
  • The first 10K of the route was changed this year - and even the first 2k of this new route was adjusted because of construction - this added 250 to 300 meters of distance - at the start - my Garmin (and everyone else) would chirp well ahead of the markers. This drove me nuts, knowing I was going to have to run more than 30K.
  • When approaching the finish, you can see Copps coliseum First Ontario Centre from about 1.5km away... it takes forever to finally get there... and when you do get there... you have to keep going.... all the way to the back
  • The steep downhill into First Ontario Centre was not pleasant
  • The Quality Hotel / Hamilton-Stoney Creek is about 20 minutes drive from the Bay Race start/finish, but they went above and beyond in accommodating the runners: automatic late check-out time on Sunday, early breakfast race day morning, friendly staff that sincerely welcomed you, "We are the Champions" playing (on a continuous loop) upon arrival after the race, snacks and juice upon arrival after the race.
  • Showering at the hotel, after the race, and before the 6 hour ride home = priceless
  • Looks like at least 2 toenails will be popping off in the next week or so.. those darn downhills!