2013 Edition – It’s just running.
Dan loves this race, he says it’s his favourite early season race. I always finish saying never again, but then I do. In 2011 we ran slow encumbered by our too big packs (or at least Dan did I don’t know what my excuse was), in 2012 Dan wanted to go fast and I just wanted to run without pain, Dan ended up sticking with me because I apparently “sped off”, but at least I was pain free. So that brings us to 2013, Dan once again wanted to go fast and I’m trying something new this year in that, I don’t race every run I enter, especially the ones meant to be a training run.
Dan and I parted ways before the start as he got himself into a fast corral and was allowed to start closer to the front, I had to walk around the back like majority of runners but I was ok with this, I was going to take it easy. I had no time goal, I just wanted to run consistently, push a little (not coast along comfortably) but not care about my time. I was presented with my first challenge of not caring about my time while I tried to get a little closer to the start, you see I’m an eavesdropper, I can’t help it I have excellent hearing. So the first place I stopped and thought “I’ll start here” I over heard the ladies behind me talking about how they were going to take their time and were hoping for a four and a half hour finish(!). I don’t like to judge, but I hope they were walking, which spurred me on to move up just a little more and then just to be sure a little more, I stopped when I reached someone wearing last years Boston Marathon jacket.
When we finally did get going it only took 5 minutes to cross the start line and then of course we had to sort ourselves out, but I refused to get sucked in and race ahead of the people who really should learn to seed themselves better, I took my time and just ran along passing when convenient. The first kilometer would be my second slowest of the whole run. Let me tell you about my slowest, it was just after I passed the 8km marker. I had found myself pacing off a girl in a great pink top and moving so effortlessly it made me want to cry, there was also a guy in green hat that seemed to be moving comfortably so I kept my eye on him for good measure. I had just settled in and was ticking along when I heard a strange noise, sort of like warning bells. And son of gun would you look at what happened next.
Yup a train. Here’s the interesting/scary part, my initial reaction was laughter, I mean it’s just running, right? My second reaction was one of horror as I watched people in front of me and even beside me try to sprint to beat the train, people were ducking under the barriers!! The police officer standing by was screaming, the trains horn was on constant blast, and all I could think was that poor train driver doesn’t need this in his day, people it’s just running. As I approached the barrier but stayed a safe distance back (you never know what could come flying off a fast moving train), I was astounded by the people who were pushing past me and even going under the barrier to stand between it and the train. I mean seriously, none of us were going to win, none of us were even in contention for the fast times medals, it’s not like this race is some sort of qualifier, relax, it’s your life/safety versus a few minutes off your time. Once again my eavesdropping kicked in and found it so entertaining to listen to people’s frustration. Some people wondered why the train wasn’t stopped – because the whole world doesn’t stop for 11000 people to run a road race on a Sunday morning in Hamilton, sorry. Didn’t the RD consult the train schedule? – um, I wouldn’t know where to find a freight train schedule and again what was the RD going to do about it? Ask the world to stop so 11000 self absorbed people could run around Hamilton on a Sunday morning? Sorry no. And then there were the people bouncing and running on the spot, really? Just take the recovery, there is still 21 and bit kilometers to go, IT’S JUST RUNNING!!! For anyone interested this what a 5 minute train stop looks like;
Anyway once that “horrible inconsiderate train” finished, people took off like the race gun went off. I stayed cool and just carried on looking for pink top girl (thank goodness I decided to stalk someone where a pretty top) and sure enough I found green hat guy too, so I just followed them as we re passed all the people we had passed in the first few kilometers. I have to admit I kind of liked getting stuck by the train, first I like resting, second there was only a small pack of fast runners in front of me. As we rounded a corner to where a big group of people were cheering I felt like I was in the lead (sort of), the crowd erupting in cheers (they probably wondered where the heck we all were) and the next aid station we passed was sort of tidied up and was ready for the next wave of runners. This is where I lost pink top girl. I guess she wasn’t running as effortlessly as she looked. So it was just me and green hat guy as we glided by the eclectic homes of Beach Blvd (no bacon station this year 😦 maybe with the gap in the runners they thought it was over and went inside…).
We finally passed the 15km relay exchange (half way!) and over the scary grated bridge, I’d still like to see a barefoot/vibram runner get over that, there is never any around when I cross. Then it was onto the rolling hills of North Shore Blvd. I love this section, lots of supporters and lots of rolling hills, I lost green hat guy, he apparently does not like hills. One of my least favourite parts of this race is when you go by the 20km relay exchange, especially if you are a slower runner, because at this point you’ve got some cocky jacked up guy who is annoyed that the first legs of his relay have done so poorly that they speed off at a sprint, it’s tough because it’s a narrower section of road and well, I’m jealous of their fresh legs. But this year took the cake when some jerk almost knocked over an amputee runner (who was running the whole 30km), I mean seriously, IT’S JUST RUNNING. But then I noticed something odd in the distance…
I immediately wondered if it was the guy who ran dressed as the helicopter last year and made it my mission to sneak up on him and ask. It was.
Finally we passed the high fiving dwarf and made our descent down Spring Gardens Rd and up the “dreaded” Valley Inn Rd hill (which I don’t really think is that bad but I do have a preference for hills). Onto York Blvd and the home stretch, high fived the Grimm Reaper and then ran into the days best cheering squad.
It’s always so wonderful to have people come and support you, Melissa was a little shocked that I stopped to hug them, but again I like the rest and it’s only running, they took time out of their weekend to come and cheer for us, the least I could do was stop and say hello. Alright I was kind of getting excited to get finished and get my medal, so I decided to push the pace for the last 2km, it was at his point that I overheard someone saying to the their buddy, “push we can still make 2:45”, huh? I hadn’t looked at my watch since the train incident, hmm it would be close but why not go for it. So I did, and realised I really need to do some speed training, or something, running fast hurts. I blew down the coliseum ramp and elbowed out some guy to cross in 2:50:12, doh, that is nowhere near 2:45. Ah well, it’s just running. But wait! The train! My guess was a 5 minute stop….and the chip time says…2:45:26 (good for a 7 minute PB). But hey, it’s just running.