Sunday, March 30, 2014

The post about a historic road race

My pre-race run from Saturday.


  • This is going to be a running post. It was an important weekend for me. Thanks to everyone who wished me well on my race. The Around the Bay 30K Road Race celebrated its 120th year today. It's the oldest road race in North America. Older than Boston. But Boston is the oldest marathon which began in 1897 three years after the Bay.
  • Yesterday I was itching for a run. I just wanted to get out and stretch my legs for a bit. I decided to do a short and slow (6:45/K) run. I ran 3.9K and went faster (6:19K) than I wanted to. I felt good and it really was a short jaunt. A nice warm up to today. I didn't "carb load" Friday night or yesterday because I never do. I did however eat a small sweet potato with my dinner. 
  • I went to bed as early as I could muster. I was starting to get pre-race jitters last night. It was snowing when I went to bed. And it was staying on the ground. It was gone by morning. I fell asleep around 11:30 pm, woke up at 2:30 am, then woke up again at 4:30 am. I got out of bed at 4:45 am and made coffee. I also chatted with several of my UK tweeps and got a lot of love and encouragement. Thanks guys:) Happy Mother's Day to all my UK readers who are mothers.


Top left: The finish line in FirstOntario Centre
Bottom left: My starting sign...and huge zit!
Right: All kitted up and ready to go.


  • I was pretty anxious as the morning went on. The anticipation of the race was making me nervous for sure. And because I had so much time to kill, I was getting more and more stressed about it. I have never run 30K before in my life. And I always get anxious before a long run in anticipation of my toes cramping due to Morton's Neuroma
  • This is the first race I've run solo. My hubby dropped me off near the starting line about 20 minutes before gun time and I stood around. Mother Nature finally came through. It was a beautiful sunny day. Warmer than forecast. People were leaving their clothing behind at the start. I think I dressed okay. I had on two upper layers and had my sleeves of my outer top pulled up to my elbows.
  • I was way at the back of the corral because I am slow. I also wasn't planning on starting out fast at all. And I didn't. I stuck to my plan. I let everyone pass me and didn't try to keep up with anyone. I ran a good 5K just loosening myself up. Around 6K, I started passing people. 
  • They changed the route this year which added 4 hills to the first half of the race. Now I drive the Burlington Street overpass all the time. I never realized how freaking hilly it was before. As I got to about 7.5K, I already knew that my run was not going to go the way I wanted. I tried so hard to keep my form up, and I could tell that my big toe on my left foot was starting to go numb. Morton did not disappoint. By 9K, the toes on my left foot cramped. I ran through the cramps and walked through the water stations for some temporary relief. By the time I got to 11K, my right foot also cramped. I'm not gonna lie. I wanted to cry. I had to run 19 more kilometers and both my feet were already in pain. 
  • I put music on at this point to get my mind off of my feet. Around 13K, the 3:15 pace bunny came up from behind and started running with me. I had no idea I was running better than a 3:15 finish at that point. My aim was to finish...but to finish under 3:30 if I could. So I stayed with the 3:15 group for a few more kilometers. They were doing walk/run and I was doing mostly run. I was only walking through the water stations at this time. 


Worth all the pain.


  • I saw Monica at the 15K relay exchange and it's around there that I lost the 3:15 group. My feet were in bad shape. I figure that once I got onto North Shore Boulevard, I'd be in better spirits because it was the home stretch and I ran that route 3x during training.  I knew exactly what to expect. Once I hit North Shore, I had to start doing some random walking because my feet hurt so badly. I was eating my energy gels and would take my time sucking back the gels and drinking my water. I was also limping at this time. This is when all the hills on the back half of the Bay start and I could feel my legs getting tired.
  • So I kept on running and walking when I couldn't run any more. I ran all the hills and just did my best to keep focused. One thing I can say is that the energy along the route is awesome. The back half is run through a residential neighbourhood and everyone comes out to cheer you on. Some people even set up food and drink stations. And they blare music for you. I spent all my time high 5ing children and elderly people. 
  • By the time I reached "Heartbreak Hill" (the last HUGE hill of the Bay), I was limping a lot. I ran up the hill without stopping and my quads started to cramp up. When I got to the top I had to stretch a bit before I could go on. Once you reach the top of Heartbreak Hill, there's less than 4k to run. And it's downhill. Sounds like a piece of cake right? The last 3K were the absolute hardest kilometres I have ever run in my life. I could see FirstOntario Centre and it seemed so far away. I had to walk a couple times during the final 3K because my feet were in so much pain. And I questioned my sanity and asked myself why I thought that running this race would be a good idea. It's a hard run for someone just coming off an injury.
  • When I finally ran into the stadium and crossed the finish line, I felt a huge wave of emotion come over me. I didn't cry because there is no crying in running. But boy was I emotionally spent. The mental stress that I went through for 3.5 hours just reached a crescendo and I had to walk off to the side and breathe deeply. I didn't have a panic attack, but I needed to pull myself together. 
  • So here are my stats. I came in 5155/6762 (This number does not reflect the relay teams that ran). My gun time was 3:34:44. My chip time was 3:29:19 (I just made it under my 3:30 goal). My pace was 6:59/K.
  • I met up with my husband and son. They missed me crossing the finish line. My husband brought a change of clothes for me and I couldn't get to the washroom quickly enough to change. As I peeled off my sweat soaked clothes, my calves seized up. I actually couldn't move for a few minutes. And my entire body was sore. I got a prime blister on the sole of my foot. That is new. And my second toe on  my left foot is bruised under the nail. I may just lose another toe nail. I went 2 years without losing any nails and in the matter of 5 weeks, I'm going to lose two. Lovely.
  • I stood at the mirror in the woman's washroom and started chatting with someone who congratulated me. She asked if I would run again next year. After all the bitching and moaning and complaining and pain I just put myself through you think I would have answered differently. But I looked her straight in the eye and said, "absolutely"! And I meant it 100%.

Top: Last year Monica ran the 30K and I ran the relay.
Bottom: This year Monica ran the relay and I ran the 30K.

13 comments:

  1. Congratulations on your race! You are awesome! Enjoy some well-deserved rest!

    We had a few cm of snow on the ground in St. Catharines this morning, so some of our runners overdressed a bit. Hubby and I ended up with a bunch of stuff that our friends took off and asked us to hold. It did turn out to be a beautiful day. Several of our friends also had trouble with quads cramping at the hill.

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  2. Well done Leigh - that is a fantastic achievement!! Look how far you have come, amazing.

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  3. You are a crazy woman! But in a good way. LOL congrats!!!

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  4. Wow, I don't ever think I'd endure that kind of torture ... you are amazing! And here I was proud of running for three minutes straight (twice) today. Lol. As usual you continue to inspire me.

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  5. Like I just posted recently, I don't understand running! But I more than impressed that your accomplishment! Congratulations!!!!!!!!

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  6. You're gonna need a display case for all those medals someday soon:)

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  7. Congratulations to the Road Warrior :)

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  8. Congratulations!!!! Parabens Leigh!!!! U did it!!!! Estou muito feliz por voce!!!!!!
    Leiza S.

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  9. Leigh...I tried to email you using your "contact me" form, but my computer froze on "sending", but your readers can see this. (I got smart and copied my text!)

    Hi Leigh! I just want to say Thank You for running yesterday. I already knew it, but while we were watching, it dawned on me that ATB raises money for St. Joseph's Healthcare. My son was diagnosed with thyroid cancer on Feb 10 and his surgery is scheduled for June 12 at St. Joe's. I know people run for many different reasons, but I got pretty emotional and so grateful for all those runners helping to raise money so my son and so many others can get the best care possible.

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  10. Well Done Leigh FANTASTIC

    All the best Jan

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  11. Oh wow you did it! Amazing brilliant effort. Well done, well done, well done!xo

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  12. Congratulations! My toes cramped just from reading your post..:)

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  13. Awesome result Chick. Sadly, none of your photos showed up for me to see.

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