Around the Bay: Hip-Hip-Hooray!

The Around the Bay 30km road race is 3 days away and I can barely contain my excitement! I am eager and ready to run for a few reasons. First, it will be my first race of the 2014 year and I’m ready to kick things off with a bang! Second, I have never run ATB which is older than the Boston Marathon, so it’s neat to be part of running history. Third, I get to reunite with all of the amazing runners I have met over the last few years. Some of my runner friends are coming in from Ottawa  and I can’t wait to see/ run with them. Lastly, I am curious about my performance. After months of committed training it’s nice to have a race in between big goals. Not only do they help you stay motivated, but the provide an opportunity to assess your progress. As such, I am excited to see how I produce under “pressure”.  

In early February, I declared to the National Post (hence the nation) that my goal was to finish the race in under 3 hours. Based on how I feel today, I believe that goal can become a reality and I will be pushing to obtain that result. As most of Canada is aware, the winter is still happening. For the last few weeks I’ve been playing eye spy with the seasons; wondering when spring will be found. I must admit, that the cold weather and rough terrain has been a bonus considering the heat and I typically don’t get along. That being said, being able to get ready and head out for run in less than a minute is super refreshing! Peeling off the layers and having your bare legs exposed to the outdoor air is extremely liberating and something I do look forward too. PLUS I know the world is dying to see my cylinder calves and white pasty legs. But no matter the season, I have to get the kilometres in which just means this season  I’ll be befriending the spandex a little longer.

Last Sunday, was the last long distance training run before ATB and to put it simply, it was awful! It was a lovely cool day – the sky was clear, the sun was out and the wind was calm. Yet for some reason myself, and my group, struggled to run 23km. In the end, most of us cut the run short since we found other selves tripping over our own feet! When I arrived at the store that morning, I was exhausted. I had gone to bed early the night before, but for some reason my brain was not working. Roughly two minutes after greeting my fellow runners I realized I had forgot my watch and my water bottles. Luckily I had my dates, which serve as my fuel during runs, but I couldn’t believe I forgot my hydration pack! Apparently, my brain was in camel mode.

The team set out for the run and at roughly the18km mark , I rolled my ankle heading down a hill. Luckily nothing extreme happened, but I could tell my concentration had diminished because I was not properly hydrated. My partner ended up tripping for the third time; in addition, her injury was acting up. As such, we decided to call it quits for the day and headed back to the store clocking in at 19.5km.

Once back at the store, we both shared how proud we were of ourselves. I know this seems odd considering we cut the run short, but sometimes as a runner you get caught up in the kilometres and forget to listen to your body. This season, I’ve enjoyed not wearing my watch during my tempo and speed training circuits because it’s forced me to listen to my body and follow the flow of my breath. Interestingly, I’ve been getting much faster because my performance is not gauged by a time, rather by how I feel. Being present in the moment of each stride enables me to push further once I’ve assessed how I’M doing, not how my watch is doing. The experience has been very eye opening. Secondly, it’s important to recognize that we all have bad run days. It happens and that’s why you train. I would much rather have a bad run on a training day than on a race day. Sometimes you need to recognize when to call it quits. I’m at a point where I can distinctly recognize when I’m being lazy vs when I need to take a break. But at the end of the day, there will always be another run and another race. That’s the beauty of the sport which is why I love it!

Wishing all my fellow Around the Bay runners good luck this Sunday! Have a fantastic run!

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