Monday, March 28, 2011

Around The Bay 30Km Run Race Report

This is my first running race.

I have never done a running race before. Not a 10Km, not even a 5Km. This was completely new to me.

I layed everything out the night before. I packed my race gear into a race bag and post-race clothes into another bag. Unfortuntately in the morning I still managed to feel rushed and didn't feel well organized at all. I had a hard time thinking straight because I was very nervous. I wrestled with what to wear since I didn't want to get cold pre-race. I was a mess.


It was to our advantage that I know the area so we had no problem getting primo parking right at the copps colliseum, underground and for only $3! I put all my race clothing on while in the Truck. In my nervousness I completely forget my pre race snacks in the truck. We met up with our new found running team and my pit-babe was kind enough to fetch me some carbs while I tried to stay warm. After a billion pee breaks we were ready to goto the start line. I originally wanted to get to the start line early for a good spot but given my pre-race jitters and inexperience I figured it was best to stick to the running coach like glue and take in the advice and let them guide me through the maze to get to the start line. I just focused on staying calm and let them do most of the thinking for me.

My first chip...

The starting line was nowhere to be found, I did not know where it was. I just followed the coach and the mob of people. All I could think of was "Look at all the people!". I have never seen so many people at a start line before. I think they said over 7000 runners, it was crazy!! I just focused on looking at the ground and not tripping on a pothole or snow/ice, now is not the time to hurt yourself. I had to pee. I really had to pee again, but there no outlets to be found.
I didn't hear the start gun. Probably because the race started before we even got to the start area! We were at the very back, heck I could see the 3hr pace bunny up ahead of me! Nobody was running though, you couldn't if you wanted to. Unlike cycling & tri they had timing mats at the start line so you could get timed from the line instead of from gun time. I like that! It took several minutes of shuffling to finally get to the start line and I started my Garmin.

Start line shuffle

Trying not to trip on potholes

The first 10Km were frustrating. I ran with the coach for a couple of kilometers and then I tried to move up. There were just so many people that there was no way I could reach my running pace. I just shuffled along at a painfully slow speed. I didn't want to be 'that guy' that weaves in and out so I only kindly picked my way through the obvious gaps but didn't force my way. The key was to get past the 3hr pace bunny and stay ahead. At the first feed zone I would have liked to of pee'd but there was no way I wanted to fall any further behind the slow mob. I just wanted to get ahead and into a group that did more my pace. Then it happened - the 3hr pace bunny passed me. The bunny was caught in this mess of people and was getting held back so he forced his way through the crowds to get back on pace. I tagged in behind him and rode his tail as he shouted at people to clear the way. It was great, albeit I was still well behind the pace I wanted to be. At least I was making progress. I went to take my hat and neck warmer off and in the process I dropped my hat. I really liked that hat, it was just the right thickness. I almost stopped to pick it up but I remember being warned that you'll likely get trampled if you try. I had to leave a man behind this day... goodbye hat. You'll be missed!

There I am!

At the 8km mark I left the bunny behind. There was just enough room on the outside of the lane to pass people. I was getting annoyed though, I never practiced this many speed changes. I would speed up but then get blocked by someone and have to slow down. I tried to stay as steady as possible because I figured I would pay for the aggressiveness later. Amongst the thousands of people I caught up to a friend that is a regular marathon runner. She was stuck in the crowd too and just like me had succombed to accepting our times will be greatly hurt by the traffic. One of my Primary goals was to finish ahead of her so now with her in my sights it felt great! Before she realized it was me, I was sure to put some bunny ears on her as we passed a photographer. I hope they got the shot! Since we were stuck in traffic we just talked and even united with other friends for a couple of kilometers. It was fun but as we approached the 10km mark I seen an opening along the side that gave opportunity to get up to a proper pace. I took it. I don't even think I said goodbye, I just went for it. Finally, I was running the pace I wanted to. Again, got cut off quite a bit and had to manouver but for the most part it was good enough.

The feed stations were pitiful. On three occasions they handed me water and it was solid ice. No water. The gatorade was not frozen but I already had enough salt/sugar stuck in my tummy so I just wanted to dilute it. No water sucks. I finally settled into my own pace and I just went from Ironman to Ironman. It was coincidence that every couple hundred meters was someone, usually a woman, with an Ironman finishers jacket on so I just reeled them in one at a time. It was fun, I made sure to cheer them on as I passed. They were great motivation!

Try running in that.. pfft..

Now the hills were upon us. I powered up the first few and felt great! The Triathlon club of Burlington had a tent setup along the race course so I shouted 'yay triathlon!' over to them and ignited the crowd. I still had a smile, felt great and was having fun. There were quite a few spectators with stereo's blasting, and every tune was one from my training motivation compilation, it couldn't have been better. By the 22k mark at the top of a hill I had to take a short walk and get some fluids in me. Finally I got liquid water but it was like drinking fire. The water was so cold it felt like someone took a sledgehammer to my teeth and I could feel it burn all the way down to my stomach. It hurt alot but I knew I had to have it. I could only bring myself to drink 2 1/2 cups. I couldn't do it no more.

My pace fell off after that. I just settled in to the pace everyone else around me was doing. No more passing for me, I backed right off. Approaching the 24kkm mark I couldn't no longer, I had to take that pee that I completely forgot about. I eyed an empy one and jumped in. Everything was flowing just fine until some guy ripped open the door and broke the lock. Of course that made me lose concentration and the flow was never the same. I squeezed as hard as I could but it took forever to finish. 50 squirts later I think the lizard was finally drained and I got back at it. Again, I took a painful shot of frozen water. My pace slowed right down and my heartrate began to creep up. I was feeling very tired as I approached the famous Valley hill that everyone talks about. One of my primary goals was to run up that hill, that was extremely important to me. I entered the valley and my heartrate was already approaching critical, even as I tried to deliberately slow down before the hill. Ohhhh the pain. I could hardly breath and as tired as I was, I knew something wasn't right. As coach instructed, I dug deep and ran up that entire hill. I passed quite a few people that succombed to walking and I was ready to join them. I knew that I had family watching along this hill somewhere so I told myself I would at least run as far as them and then I could walk, so at least I get some good pictures! :) Of course, my father was at the top of the hill so I wound up running the entire hill anyways which had my heart pegged at maximum beats per minute.

That hill took its toll. It all made sense once I was at the top. I looked down to my hands and they were a bright red and I could feel I was flushed. I had stopped sweating. Immediately I knew I was dehydrated. It snuck up on me, I didn't see the signs. I knew I wasn't drinking enough but it never occured to me that he last few kms didn't 'feel right'. I wasn't thinking straight by now, I couldn't bare to take another shot of the gel/water mix on my fuel belt. When I took a shot of water at the feed station I almost immeditely tossed my cookies. I could feel a goey mess of hammer gel clash with frozen water in my stomach. I was having pains. I say I wasn't thinking straight because I completely forgot that one of the fuel pods on my belt had plain water in it. I didn't even take it. All I could focus on was finishing.

The last 3km felt longer than the previous 27km. I was well into the hurt locker, the legs were screaming to stop and I could no longer support my upper body and stand up straight. My HR was out of control and I knew that if I began to walk that I would be stuck walking the rest of the course. Death approached. No really, he did - there were a couple of people dressed up as 'death' and they were inviting people to join them in the cemetary we were passing. It would have been cute had I not been in so much pain and had a hard enough time keeping my legs moving. I almost accepted there invitation..
I hung on as long as I could, I just looked at the ground in front of me and tried to keep moving. I passed a guy on the ground who cramped up with just 100m to go. I thought for sure I was going to join him. I never felt like I was going to cramp, it was more like I had to collapse and vomit. I really wanted to.

There is a hot chick with water at the finish line. That's all I kept thinking, its the only thing that kept me going. Approaching the finish line I could see the clock and I knew I had made beat even my most optimistic goals. I did it. I didn't collapse before the finish line.

I did collapse after the finish line. Once I in the atheletes-only area I curled up in a little ball on the ground and sipped water. It could barely keep my eyes open, I was pretty certani I was going to toss my cookies. How stupid of me to allow myself to get dehydrated. Looking back though, I'm pretty sure even if you handed me a big bottle of water I would not have drank it. The water was simply too cold, I couldn't bring myself to drink any more than a shot or two.

So all in all it was a great race. I finished 2:48:32 which is a couple minutes ahead of my best hoped time. Given the circtumstance I easily had a few minutes I could shave off that which makes me very happy! I also won some friendly competition amongst several other athletes which made my day. After reviewing the results I also have found the 'next level' of friendly competition. I am actually surrounded by some darn good runners and I look forward to learning from them and improving my time for next year.

After battling it out with the race directors, they finally gave in to allowing a couple of friends race their wheelchairs on the course. Rob & Rich were the only wheelchair athletes there today and I do not understand how those boys made it up those hills!!?? Those guys amaze me! Rob has been a big inspiration for me, I'm especially proud of everything he has accomplished. He is the essence of HTFU!

Speaking of which, despite injury Peter made it out to the race! Had I pissed just a bit faster I would have had him as he beat me by 30 seconds! hah! He's in a whole other level than I so it would take an injury for me to have a chance but still, I'm going to have to train up some high-pressure speed pissing for next year! hah!

Finish line early in the morning

My training plan, vindicated. All that hard work paid off. I am exactly where I want to be. I have a new found respect for running. I look at the times that guys like Daryl put in and I'm speachless. I hate that guy. He runs way too fast for someone so friendly and humble. I would love to learn to run that fast some day, I'm going to have to torture him for his secrets on how he does it!
For now, this will have to do since the next phase of my training program is all about maintaining my run as-is and now focusing on cycling. It's all about the bike now. I can't wait!


Run 30Km - 2:48:32


  1. I don't get that start, with so many people it sounds crazy. At Scotia and at Missisauga, you get into the start shoot based on your estimated finish time. That way you are pretty much moving at the same pace as the people around you so there isn't so much traffic jam.
    Either way, sounds like you had a great day. Congrats! I hope your still riding the post-race high.

  2. I hate that *&^%$#@ race - perhaps we should meet up next year. :)

  3. loved it man. You dug deep to finish... remember this race in your training. Train for the IM so that you don't hurt like this or have to dig to finish !!!

    My first marathon at Chicago was that way. Mass of people, my first 3 miles were over two minutes slower than my goal pace. It was a cattle herd.

    I was "that guy" and I am "that guy". If you are in my way, you had better move haha. I hate mass starts like that.

    Great job man, what a feat and what an accomplishment!!!!!!


  4. Way to go John!!! Considering that it was your first running race, I am very impressed with your finish time.

  5. Nice job toughing out the race!! Especially having a cold, hilly AND crowded one as your first road race!

  6. Nice job! Freaking crowded race, eh?

    Thanks, um, for the pee-ing description. And I think the guy who ripped the door off gets an A-Hole award for the day! Yeesh!

    Rest up! You deserve it!

  7. Fantastic race, Babe. Well done! I hope to run as fast one day! ;)
    And that guy the ripped the door open must have needed to go as bad as you did. lol

  8. WOW! That is one crowded race!!

    Awesome job! Way to fight through the darkness - having a cold and everything! YOU ROCK!

    I always say there is a hot guy with water up ahead. Great minds think alike.

  9. Well done sir! Dude who ripped open the door must have really had to go :)

  10. cool recap. Great distance. And wow that place was packed.

  11. Great race report and awesome job!

    I think I'm going to have to find me a pit-babe...

  12. Congrats on finishing your first running race and accomplishing your time goal! Sounds like you really left it all out there on the course!

    The dehydration thing sucks, but better to experiment with fluid intake now so you can have a good strategy for IM!!

    I can't believe how crowded it looks! sounds like they need to work out an estimated-finish-time based start, or space things out a bit or something!

    Hope you're feeling better and recovering!

  13. Awesome race!! Yea I had to stop and tie my shoe with less than 500 meters to go so we`re even ha ha

    Too bad you didn`t make it into work today you pussy!!!

  14. Congrats on getting the race under your belt and hammering down the finish to get it done. LOL the last 3k felt longer than the first 27k
    yep sounds about right:)


  15. I just read your comments about my running and so on - I am busting up laughing right now! Maybe I'll share my running secrets one day, you won't even have to resort to torturing me! Thanks for the shout-out in your blog.

    Great race recap. Amazing effort through the dehydration! To borrow from you - I'm speechless. Congratulations on finishing your running road race!



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