Sister Act: Around the Bay

Me (with Erin and Andie) after the race!

Me (with Erin and Andie) after the race!

Now that you all heard Erin’s side of the story, it’s my turn to share mine.

I, too, ran around a Bay! And was it awesome! The race itself was awesome, the fact I actually survived was really awesome. The not being able to walk afterward, well, that part was not so awesome. But it was totally worth it.

Months and months ago when my dream for 2013 was to run a full marathon with Erin she decided Around the Bay would be the perfect lead up race to the Bluenose Marathon (which I still have full intentions to go home and run, I’m just running the half now not the full). This was the plan. We’d run ATB together, then a full together. But then my acceptance email for yoga teacher training arrived from Moksha. Then my training took a huge plunge and I wasn’t running at all. I was doing yoga everyday in perpetration, not running.

All throughout my teacher training I was dreading Around the Bay knowing when I returned home I had this race to complete. Then days would pass, then weeks, and I wouldn’t think about the race at all. There was so much going on and not enough room in my head to think about anything! But maybe, just maybe, if I didn’t think about ATB, it wouldn’t happen! I was wrong.

I returned home from LA with very little training done. (And I mean very, very little: a couple long runs in LA not even 10k distance coupled with a few runs to and from the studio on the days I wasn’t completely exhausted. It totaled about 3k or so maybe 10 times. And that’s being generous.)  But I was doing yoga, twice a day, every day, for 30 days. This counts as running training, right? I was banking on it to save me! And it actually worked.

As much as I didn’t think the day would come, March 23rd sprang upon me and I found myself at the GO Station with Erin, my overnight bag, and shoes for the next morning. I was actually doing this. Please note the longest run I’ve ever completed in my life was the Nike half back in October. Yup, that is right: I have never run over 21k or longer than 2 hours. I’m going to die! End of story.

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Somehow,  probably thanks to all the yoga I did, my body was capable of running. During training, I felt the strength in my legs increase as the weeks went by. That was the biggest change I noticed. It must have helped me run! Although, if it was for Erin and running alongside of her, I wouldn’t have done so well. I am not a good solo runner. I love company and distractions.  The course was a lot of fun! And with a little more (okay, a lot more) preparation it could be that much better.

I was also surprised at how difficult everyone said the course was. Call me crazy, but it wasn’t that bad. Having run the Nike Women’s Half ,I feel as though I can make that bold statement. The “hill” at the 26k mark was a bunny hill in comparison to San Francisco. But let’s be honest. I’m just amazed that I: 1) actually ran the whole thing; 2) finished it under 4 hours! (3:09:08 to be exact!); and 3) I didn’t walk to the finish.

Given my competitive side I’m surprised I didn’t push myself harder when I lost Erin around the 25k mark. I wanted to catch her so bad, but the last 10k of the race is the worst part. I could not go any faster. My mind wanted to, but I was stuck. Before the race I convinced myself not to get tied up in a time, a pace, or keeping up with Erin. I actually listened and stuck with that. We made a pack – as Erin shared – I didn’t want to be the one holding her back. I’m glad she took off and finished before me. She’s been training so hard and deserved that glory. I just wanted to finish the damn thing! Even if I had to crawl across the finish time in front of all those spectators.

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Erin was convinced by the 15/16k I’d tap out and have to walk in. (Ha, what a supportive big sister!) But I felt good all the way through to 20k. So I kept going. I knew I’d have to slow down at some point. That happened at the 25k mark. The last stretch of the race could not be longer! But when I saw that grim reaper I knew the end was near. (The finish line that is.) Finally, I saw the crowd of people and hi-fived a bunch of children along the way in. I made the turn into the Coliseum and sprinted to the finish line.

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It was surprising a very good day, but I promised Andie (Erin’s running coach) I would never run that far ever again with no training.

We’ll see if I crazy enough to do something like this again.


All the pictures — except the one of us with Andie – are by My Sport Shooter, the official race photographer.

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