Due to my insistence at arriving at races uber early to avoid additional stress, we were up at 5.30 am on Sunday and on the road an hour later heading for Hamilton. It was still pretty busy when we arrived and it was nice to get immersed in the atmosphere of a road running race. Neither of us have competed in a running race for maybe 3 or 4 years - we can't remember! It has been triathlons all the way.
When we entered the Bay Race it was with a view to having a bit of a running focus over the winter months, but that turned out to be a bit of a burden as the winter was so bad and we had to keep forcing ourselves out to run substandard paces and distances in the snow and freezing temperatures. Subsequently we only ran 3 decent long runs over 1.45, but lots of shorter 60 - 90 min runs. To add to the problems we both became ill in the run up to the race and even on race morning we were feeling sorry for ourselves and a bit congested. On hindsight this may have slightly worked in our favour as we reduced our training a lot more than we might have done in race week so while our heads were a bit fogged up, our legs were probably quite well rested.
The Bay Race is the oldest Road Race in North America and subsequently runs like clockwork - 9000 competitors doing the whole race and I think 500 relay teams plus 2500 in the 5k.
The whole field starts at 9.30 but you are separated in Corrals depending on expected finish time. I wangled myself into Corral A at the front (you have to provide evidence of sub 1.30 half marathon or 3.00 marathon in the last 2 years - I have not raced any so persuaded them my IM marathon time was good enough). We didn't realise there was a Corral B & C so Genevieve ended up further back squashed in with the masses and relay teams.
I was hoping to hold 4.20/km pace all the way through but was going a little quicker out of the gate but felt comfortable so stuck with it. The race weaves its way out of Hamilton, taking in some of the beautiful industrial landmarks(!!) before eventually crossing the bridge over the lake to the other side and turning left onto the more scenic rolling part of the route. The wind dropped at this point and I still felt comfy - every time I looked at my watch it said 4.09 and I was pulling people in one at a time - I didn't get overtaken by anyone after 7k.
I was pleased we had run this section on a training run so we knew what to expect and it flew by - even the 'killer hill' didn't seem too bad. Once the last climb is done it is a downhill gradient for 3km to the finish. I picked up the pace a little and pushed hard to the end. The finish line is great as you run into Copps Colosseum and finish inside, right in the middle of the arena. I stopped my watch on 2.05.55 averaging 4.10/km and Genevieve finished in 2.28.34 averaging 4.55/km. Given our sketchy run training we were both very pleased with our results and we both got Silver medals for our times.
Well done to all our buddies who ran the race - Tom, Bruce, Matt, Dave, Christine, Carolyn, Audrey, and Barb who won her age group in the 5km.