Around the Bay 30K, not my favourite race. I know lots of people love it because of the distance and the timing and I can appreciate those things but after I ran it for the first time last year, I told myself never again. Never again! Do you how well that worked out? It didn’t, a month ago I signed up and Sunday morning, myself and 9,000 people toed the start line in Hamilton.
Why did I dislike it so much? The hills to start with although my appreciation of hills is growing. Also, the first ~12km of the race is ugly, it’s through the industrial part of Hamilton and you run on a highway through factories. Once you get passed that part and into neighbourhoods, the energy is great and that’s my guess why people love the race. When I ran it the first time last year, I had a terrible cold but I was determined that I was going to run the race. How terrible I felt the whole time probably didn’t help my impression of the course!
So if I don’t like it, why did I run it? Because it was three weeks out to my 50k race in Washington DC and I wanted a trial race to test out the hydration pack and running by HRM. I had a few friends running it and they also enticed me with promises of brunch after and I really can’t say no to brunch!
My plan was to use this run as a training run in place of my planned 26km run on Sunday. Ambitiously, I had also planned to run a Saturday long run and then with my tired legs I would be less drawn into running fast at Around the Bay. I started to feel a pain in between my heel and ankle last weekend and it turned out to be an inflamed tendon. In hopes of not aggravating it, I skipped the rest of my planned runs last week and the Saturday long run.
Using Around the Bay as a training run completely changed my opinion of the race. This year, I had a great run but I had no expectations and no goals, just trying for a solid race. There was nice weather, my legs felt great (especially after all the days off last week) and the kilometres went by quickly. It was exactly what I needed before my taper, it made me feel like I am properly changed. I got a little carried away after 25k because I was feeling good and I left my HR go around 20 beats too high and my legs took a little bit of a beating for that. I am also paying now with some knee pain (I think from running the whole thing on pavement, which I’m not used to) and because I got excited about finishing and didn’t stretch properly afterwards.
My taper started yesterday and with the slight twinge of knee pain, I am going to take it easy. I read a running blog a while ago (can’t remember which one) that said that showing up to the start line under trained is better than over trained/injured so that’s what I keep telling myself!
How do you find Around the Bay? Any great races this year?