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ATB 2013 closing out winter/spring training

Around the Bay 30K March 2013

This is the first race report where I’ve been at a loss for words.  The Around the Bay (ATB) has been around long enough that anyone wishing to learn about this famous road race can simply “google” the topic, and numerous posts can be read.  Additionally, even here, within the archives of the TRF race reports a great deal has been written. Hence, my delay in writing my report about the event. What to write? I’ve decided to share some thoughts from two angles.

At the end of my 2012 season, I reflected on what I needed to do to achieve my ultimate running goal – a sub 3h marathon.  2012 winter and 2013 spring training would be dedicated to solid base mile running.  6 days of daily grinding used as building blocks leading up to a 20 week marathon training schedule.   Events like the Robbie Burnes 8K, The Chilly ½ in Burlington and the ATB in Hamilton would be approached as simple changes of scenery, and a way to measure my level of fitness ~ nothing more.  No PB setting attempts.  This was my hope.  I won’t deny that the lure of training for a gold medal finish at the ATB was hard to resist.  My 2012 finish time earned me my silver medal, so the idea of breaking 2h at the ATB was always in the back of my head.   

The weather was great.  Not much wind, the sun was out, the race course was dry.  I went into Sunday’s race feeling “good”.  As always, the ATB was well organized.  This would be the first time that race organizers established merit based corrals.  To start up front a runner would have to submit credentials to justify a starting position in, for example, Corral A.  Throughout the course of spring training, my conversation with running buddies would always include a brief “so what do you think I should attempt to do at the ATB”, and most agreed to simply stick with the plan of running the race as part of a training program, and only if I was feeling the “groove” while racing, to attempt to push for gold.  My friends reminded me, that by going out harder than my actual level of fitness, I would potentially injure myself.  I couldn’t argue.  Although I entered the race feeling “good”,  after the starter’s pistol let us lose, I’ll admit, my body wasn’t feeling “good”.  Within minutes I developed a stitch in my side – nothing major, but enough to distract me.  Moreover, by the 5K mark, I felt tired – not ‘my legs are tired’, but I actually felt like I needed a nap!  What a way to start.  As the race progress, things normalized; I guess I was settling in.  K markers came and went.  Reaching the 20K rolling section, I was starting to feel the distance; however, my body and mind were at peace.  I wasn’t shutting down.  Even reaching the ATB’s version of “Heartbreak Hill”, I wasn’t discouraged.  Sure my pace slowed, but I ran all the way up, knowing the finish would soon be in sight.  It was at this point that I glanced at my Garmin, and my mind started to do some math.  Gold was out of the question, however, if I didn’t implode during the remaining 3K, not only would I match my previous ATB finish time, but I had the potential to set a PB.  With the times in the back of my head, I was excited.  I crossed the line a full 5 minutes faster than last year – I earned another silver, but man-oh-man, I was that much closer to gold! Next year.

It’s at this point I wanted to share that my winter/spring training was much different. Although it has been successful, my group of running buddies and I didn’t log as many miles together as we usually do.  Life brings interesting twists.   We simply didn’t have the opportunities to get out together for a wide variety of reason.  Why include this in my report.  Well truth be told, it reminded me, that simply running and racing is only part of why I enjoy our sport.  Running the 2013 ATB was fun, but not as much fun as it was in the past. Pre and post race festivities aside, the training that goes into preparing the body for events like the ATB  is in my opinion, more enjoyable with a group of friends.  With the summer season fast approaching,  I can’t wait to hit the roads with the group of runners that I call friends, here in the Highland region of Ontario.


Avid outdoorsman. Live in small rural community with many opportunities to get outside! Running is my passion, but do frequently get out on my bike, and while up north at the cottage, get my share of swimming in. Look forward to a great 2012 season, and am looking for interested individuals to compete in Adventure racing.

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