I have to say, I was a little nervous about this race. Last year was my first time running it and I did better than expected. I had heard horror stories about "the big hill" and when I actually ran it last year, it wasn't as bad as I expected.
This year, my plan was to race it a little faster than last year (last year's time was 3:33:31), but I wasn't feeling much confidence because I didn't really have an official training schedule, I just kind of winged it, and got help from Chris and Roger for my important running days. We stuck to very hilly long runs on Sundays, speed work on Wednesdays and hill repeats on Fridays, I didn't make as many Fridays as I should have.
Anyways, got up really early on Sunday morning (5:30am) and got ready, went over to High Park to catch the Longboat bus. We had enough people from Longboat running the race that we rented a school bus so we could all go together. I really like that idea, you really feel like part of a team. We left a little later than planned because we were waiting for a couple of people who never showed, but we had to wait a little.
We arrived at Copps Coliseum about an hour before the start. The race ended in Copps Coliseum, so we had a designated section, we left our stuff there because there were a couple of people from Longboat who were there as spectators, so they could watch our stuff... yay, no bag check!
Getting ready was kind of difficult because I wasn't really sure what to wear. It was cold, but would it stay cold or would it get warmer as we were running? Hard to tell. I decided to go with a winter shirt and a windbreaker over top, gloves and a hat. It ended up being a good call, I only had to take my hat off, otherwise the outfit I chose served me well.
We got to the start. I wasn't really sure where to stand, so just picked a spot kind of in the middle and waited for the gun to go off. I had planned to go a specific pace for the first half and see how that felt and then if it felt good, to go a little faster towards the end. The pace I was running at first was a little faster than I had planned, but it felt good, so I just stuck with it. I have to say, I don't have much to complain about in this race. It was great, except for the emergency bathroom break I had to take at the 15k mark... it made me so angry because I was really doing well, but you can't argue with your body for stuff like that! So, I stopped. I told myself, whatever, just get back into the groove and keep going, if you don't make your time, you can blame it on that stupid bathroom break!
Got back on the road, picked up my previous pace and just kept on truckin'. Got to "the big hill" and told myself, under no cirmcumstances am I walking up this thing! I did hill training all winter and it really paid off, I passed lots of people walking up that hill... it was awesome!
After that big hill, it was pretty much smooth sailing. Just keep running and the end will come soon, that's what I was telling myself. I was really tired, but the last 2k ran really hard, I finished really strong and was very happy with my overall performance.
As it turns out, I shaved off 4 minutes from last year's time. My time was 3:29:29. I was very happy with that. This race gave me my confidence back! Now I just have to remember not to get too cocky!
Chris did really well in his race too! Way to go Chris!!
Next big race coming up will be the first trail race of the season... Seaton Trail in Pickering. Stay tuned.