I was reading some stuff from Facebook from back in the day, and I found this post that I wrote when I tackled my first full Around the Bay in March 2011. I was actually looking for the post where I ran it last year and got a horrid sunburn, but hey, I'll keep searching.
Around the Bay...or 30K with cookies, bananas and Gu
Ok, there are several things about ATB that need to be said straight off the top:
1) anyone who says 'it's just 9K more than a half' like it's not a big deal needs a slap. It's more like 5 extra K for every 10 you run....do the math :-)
2) There's a stretch between Copps and the Steam and Technology Museum (commonly called the first 10K) that I don't remember running at all. Some people call that blacking out, I call it self preservation.
3) respect the distance...acting like it's just a longer half will make you bonk.
4) when someone hands you a cookie at LaSalle Park, take it, it'll taste awesome! So do bananas with Chocolate Outrage GU on them!
5) there are no marching bands, characters to take your photo with, or palm trees. You're not in Disney anymore.
6) Keep an ear out for the Basset Hound by the Lift Bridge, you'll totally think he's yelling "GOOOOOOO" in a hoarse voice before your mind realizes he's howling!
Okay, so back in January with my Disney 1/2 Marathon happily under my belt, I thought to myself 'self, you can totally do ATB, it's just 9 more K than a half...how hard can THAT be?' Instead of doing the smart thing, and lying down 'till the urge to register passed, I grabbed my PC and my CC and put my money where my attitude was.
Fast forward through the slush, the mud, the frozen tundra, the short runs (when did 21.1 K become a SHORT RUN?), the Starbucks and the cupcakes and we arrive at the morning of the race, having never run more than exactly a half marathon distance.
You know you're avoiding the obvious when you focus more on WHAT to wear running than what the heck you're actually doing! Suit up for a lovely day of about -11 and head out to Copps with the herd.
And they're off. Bob, weave, dodge, chat. Misunderstand Lisa when she says something about remembering the bums we pass. Realize fairly soon (about 6K in) that I can't keep up with Lisa, not if I want to actually finish this thing under my own power. Wave goodbye to her as she vanishes around the corner. Put on the headphones and find my happy pace.
Run, run, run, walk (doing 10 and 1s). Stop to take photos of the signs that catch my attention. Enjoy the feeling of the wind in my hair (who am I kidding? My ponytail has been covered in sweat and now has frozen). See things people have only spoken of to me before (the Grim Reaper). Realize that this is in no way going to be a sub 4hr run, and just figure that every KM after the 21.1 is an added bonus.
Even I know that the math here is faulty. However, I'm running alone and have noone to point this out to. THEN a nice police office starts to pace me in his cruiser, just over my left shoulder. Creeping, creeping behind me. I start to tell the poice officers at the intersection that I'm SO cool I have an escort, which I think is probably WAY funnier to me than them. I bet they're wagering on how long it takes the chick in the monkey hat to fall down. 2K from Copps I pass a coule people and say 'HA, now he can follow YOU' and then joke that I've outrun the police. Again, something far funnier to ME I bet.
Have I mentioned yet that they are cleaning up around me? The aid stations are being broken down, they're reopening the roads, taking down the barriers? I feel like I'm at a bar and the lights are about to come on after last call, and there's NO way anyone will want to pick me up in this state! I round the ramp into Copps, realizing that I didn't bonk, and I actually feel good. Not 'heck, let's run a Full' good, but 'at least I'm not on a stretcher' good. The announcer calls my name to the cheers of the 10 people left in Copps, and I cross the line! For the record, about 4h41min (can't remember the time exactly).
Get one of the last medals from the nice guy, who manages to stuff it over my monkey hat. Get a round of applause from a couple of my coworkers (which really makes me feel pretty good...thanks Danielle and Lisa K). Find my coach/tormentor/inspiration Lisa Enns, and limp to the car for the ride home..
Could have been worse, could have been better, never again. I realized that I'm better off giving a Half my whole effort. Next time I'm going to put my credit card in a block of ice in the freezer and lie down 'till the urge passes!