So this was the first race on my schedule this year. Gary’s coach wanted him to race it so I figured I might as well. I’ve never done this race before because it always falls on the weekend of my birthday and truth be told, I do enjoy a good night on the town every so often, especially when it’s my birthday. So, instead of a night on the town, we spent a night on the couch (there’s always next weekend!!!) I’d heard pretty good things about it this race; especially about the post race food. Good post race food? Sign me up!!
Our friend Sue showed up at our place around 7:30 am and we hit the road around 7:45. Made it out to Burlington in about half an hour. Parked the car and headed over to the bus pick up area. It was COLD, but nice and sunny. I was glad I brought my parka. After about a 20 minute wait, the bus showed up and we all piled on. 15-20 minutes later, we were dropped off a few blocks from the finish line. We wandered around, checked out the food tent (smelled AWESOME) and tried to find some “facilities”. We came across a row of porta potties. Bloody hell, I was already freezing, the last thing I wanted to do was drop my drawers in the cold. Oh well. No choice. We wandered around and found the baggage check, got ourselves sorted and wandered over to the start line. We headed out on a warm up jog when Sue & I had to find some “facilities”….again. So we ran around for a bit, found a pub that was open and letting the runners use their facilities. It was right near the start. By that point we had lost my hubby (Gary) but I figured it didn’t matter much as he was going to be miles ahead of us anyway. We hopped into the crowd and made our way towards the 1:45 pace bunny. My goal was to run sub 1:45. I figured if I could stay with the 1:45 pace bunny for at least the first half of the race, that would be perfect. I could then pick up the pace a bit for the second half. Well, the gun went off and I said good bye to Sue and then promptly lost the 1:45 pace bunny. I picked up the pace a bit thinking that he was ahead of me. Nope. I slowed down a bit looking for him. Couldn’t find him at all. Oh well. I had my foot pod that I thought was fairly accurate. Ha. Anyway, I ran along at a good clip, pushing the pace a bit. I felt good. I was looking for km markers to see how accurate my food pod was. I didn’t see a marker until the 3 km mark. I went through 3km in just under 15 minutes. My watch was telling me I was running 4:40 km’s. Hmmm….looks like it’s off by quite a bit! Keeping that in mind, I tried to settle in to a 4:55 pace (4:45 according to my watch). It felt relatively comfortable and I figured I could maintain it for the duration of the race. I felt pretty good (albeit a bit warm) right through the 10km mark. I had to take off my gloves at about 5km and then the jacket came off around 11 km. I was sweating buckets and had to air myself out. Shortly thereafter we turned onto Lakeshore and into the wind. Yikes. The thought of putting my soggy jacket back on was incredibly unappealing so I sucked it up and kept going. The gloves went back on for a bit and that helped. I had taken half a GU at the 55 minute mark. I figured I’d save the other half for the 1:15 mark, figuring that would carry me through to the end. In hindsight, I probably should have had 2 GU’s with me and taken half of one at 30 minutes, the other half at an hour and then the last one at 1:15. It was about an hour and 15 minutes into the race that I started to feel not so good. My calves were starting to cramp and I was starting to lose speed. Uh-oh. I had that last half of GU hoping it was enough to get me through the last half hour. That last half hour was torture. I pushed through and hit the 16km mark feeling absolutely horrible. At the 17km mark, I started to feel a bit better so I thought I had turned the corner. Just after I hit the 18 km mark, the wheels fell right off the wagon. I thought both of my legs were going to seize up. All I could think about was putting one foot in front of the other at this point. I was still managing to run just under 5 min km’s but it was killing me. It was at this point that the 1:45 pace bunny came hurtling by me. What the hell?? He was behind me the entire time. Great. I tried to keep him in my sights. I kept my eyes fixated on those pink ears. I think I had blinders on from 18 km to 20 km. I was so focused on that pace bunny. We came up a small hill to a crowd of people yelling “only 400 meters to go!”. SWEEEET! That news gave me that little bit of adrenaline that I needed. I started to pick up the pace a bit and I was closing in on the pace bunny. “Just follow the pink ears, you’re almost there!” I thought. I motored along into the finishing straight, taking a quick look around for Gary. No luck. I now had my sights on the race clock. One final push and I crossed the line in 1:44:38. (1:44:07 according to my watch). Just under the wire. I was pretty pleased with that result, especially for an early season race. Not a bad way to celebrate a birthday either!