The 2015 Around the Bay 30k is my first race of the season. As noted in my 2015 training plan, I decided to pass on running the Chilly Half Marathon this year so my training wouldn’t begin so early and I wouldn’t be burnt out for the Sulphur Springs 50k. Training has been going very well and I even got away to Vegas for a few days and didn’t miss any of my runs. I’ve been doing a lot more hill training this year and back to back long runs on weekends in preparation for the ultra. I’m hoping that all the hard work will really pay off at Sulphur Springs and the 2015 Around the Bay 30k is my first real test.
A 9:30am start meant I could sleep in until 6:30am (ha!) which was nice. I prepared my usual pre-race meal of 2 eggs and 1/2 an avocado with EVOO, followed as always by an espresso. The weather forecast said it would be just over freezing with wind, which kind of killed the plan for shorts.
Here’s what I decided to go with in terms of gear:
- Vibram KMD Sport LS w/Injinji toe socks
- Nike Element tights and Nike Combat long sleeve
- Adidas wind shell, hat and gloves
- Ultimate Direction Scott Jurek Essential (for car keys, fuel, phone, id)
For race fuel I decided to stick to aid station water but I did pack 2 Larabars for after the race. This is the first race that I’m going into where I’m consciously not going to eat on the course. After a quick stretch on the foam roller, I packed up my gear and began my drive to the Hammer.
It was really nice to run into all my running friends at the Dailymile meet up. I hadn’t seen some of them since last year’s Around the Bay. We talked for a little while and at 9:15am we began to make our way over to the start line. As with last year, I was pre-qualified for Corral B. I lined up as close to the front and as possible when I ran into another running friend. We waited for the count down and before I knew it Around the Bay #4 had begun.
Start to 10km
With any race, I always find that I get to my goal pace very quickly. It’s probably the adrenaline rush of the event, or it could be trying to get some space around me. After 30 seconds I was running 10 seconds faster than planned. I really wanted to see how I would handle the pace with missing a few weeks of speed training and not incorporating speed into my long runs (a la Jack Daniels.) The pace felt good so I stuck it out.
I’m also really glad that I made the decision to wear tights. With the strong wind I would have been too cold with shorts. I passed the 10km mark at 00:46:44 and my mile splits were fairly even and still ahead of pace. I stopped for water at the aid station and pressed on.
11km to 20km
The pace was still moving well but I knew that the lift bridge was fast approaching. Two years ago I ran ATB in FiveFingers and almost had to walk over the bridge because it was so painful. Last year, I ran in the Merrell Barefoot Trail Glove which was only slightly less painful, but also gave me a bruised left toenail that took 9 months to grow out. To avoid going through that unpleasantness again, I decided to go back to my trusty FiveFingers. At least the pain would only be temporary.
As I approached the bridge I had a radical idea. I decided to try upping my already quick turnover to lessen the time my feet would have to spend on the sharp metal. Amazingly enough I felt almost no pain whatsoever and crossed the bridge in no time with only a slight drop in my pace. This got me super pumped for the rest of the race. I felt great and I was gunning to come in under 2:28:00.
As I rounded the corner onto North Shore Blvd I took a quick glance at my watch and figured I was ahead of last year’s time by at least a couple of minutes. I had reached the 20km mark at 1:34:10. I stopped for water and braced myself for the rolling hills.
21km to Finish
Everyone always makes such a big deal about Valley Inn Rd but the rolling hills of North Shore are way worse. The rolling hills are the reason why I always run a positive split and try to bank as much time as I can in the first 20km. I backed off the pace and made sure I was using my arms to help pull me up the hills. I didn’t want to me totally dead by the time I got to Plains Rd. I tried to maintain an 8min/mile pace but it ended up being more like 8:15min/mile. I was just hoping that by the time the hills were done I would be able to resume my original goal pace. I stopped for more water around 25km but still didn’t feel the need to eat anything.
My wife and son were cheering for me on Plains Rd which was so motivating! I gave my son a high five and a kiss and kicked it into high gear for the final 4 miles.
At this point I noticed two things: I was now passing people that had passed me back on Beach Blvd (before the hills) and there were no pace bunnies in sight. I figured I’d at least see the 2:30 pace bunny at some point. No sooner did this idea pop into my head than a pace bunny pulled up next to me. To my surprise, it wasn’t the 2:30 pacer. It was the 2:25 pacer! Was I really that far ahead of last year’s time? I know there was no Valley Inn monster hill this year but I didn’t think I’d be here this quickly. With less than 2 miles to go I turned on the juice. A guy running behind me was shouting things like “2:25 pacer behind you… it’s yours, but you’ve gotta want it… 1 mile to go!, etc.” This helped me so much in that final stretch. I felt like I was floating to the finish as I realized I was going to PB.
I couldn’t wait to run down that ramp into Copps (sorry.. it’s still Copps Colliseum) and see the clock. I pushed as hard as I could and got in just under 2:25. My official time is 2:24:51. A 30k PB by 4 minutes and my 4th consecutive PB at Around the Bay!
2015 Around the Bay Summary
This was definitely the sweetest victory imaginable. I was hoping for a 2:30 finish but never thought I’d get in under 2:25. In the four years I’ve been running Around the Bay I’ve taken close to an hour off my time. The LCHF approach I began last year has done wonders for my running, and as long as I leave myself enough time to digest before the race start I’m golden (no bonking, no side stitches.) The only thing I consumed during this race was water and I still had lots of energy. I’m really excited about the Sulphur Springs 50k coming up in May. Only 8 more weeks of training to go! Below are the splits for the entire race.