The most difficult part to decide pre-race was what to wear. True, it started at -10 C, but it was a gorgeous sunny day, late start also helped (9:30 AM), so I finally settled for tights and two long-sleeved technical shirts. It was just right.
This was my first time at ATB, and I loved the course, the gentle first half, flat with sparse spectators braving the cold. Then the hills came, somewhere around 20k. I never really was a hill person, but I never hated them either. So at the race, we had kind of a truce - the hills weren't too bad on me (save fort the last one at 26th km) and I wasn't suffering. Now, that last hill makes you or breaks you. I know it's an old cliche, but it was true. Many a racer who passed me with gusto, struggled upwards, some slowing to a crawl, some walking, some cramping and limping. I entered my mantra - shorten the step, pump the arms, and it took me up and over, though I was breathing heavily by the end. The race even has its own Grim Reaper waiting at the top of that last hill. This time he had a wife with him (never knew they're a couple), and they eyed me suspiciously as my legs, for an unknown reason, felt light and started accelerating on the last flat stretch.
I wasn't sure how I like the idea of the race actually ending inside the Copps Coliseum arena, but when I did run inside, I loved it. The runners and spectators were in the stands, it had a feel of a low-intensity hockey game. Plus, my wife didn't freeze while waiting inside for me to finish.
Finally, the race has three kind of finishers medals, based on gun time on finish - it was a great additional motivation not to just linger in the sun and enjoy it slow, but to try and up the medal. I know I wasn't ready for the gold for which I'd need to finish under 2 hrs, but silver with 2h 15min cut off time was within reach.
The washrooms were plenty in the coliseum, and being indoors to wind down was nice.
All in all a memorable day which I hope to repeat.
Around the Bay 30K
Did this as a Marathon-pace run... as a test to see how I felt doing that pace, and also to make sure that I didn't start out too fast. I think I was successful! Felt great the whole time, went out at the right pace & picked it up a little at the end. Was happy.