My fifth and final race of the year was the 94th Annual Boxing Day 10 Miler in Hamilton. I’ve done it a couple times in the past (hard to believe it’s been 4 years!) and have been meaning to get back, so we jumped at the opportunity when we found out that some friends would be participating this year.
The run has a fun and festive feel, starts at noon to allow for some time to recover from the turkey-hangover and helps with motivation to keep the mileage up over the holidays. Runners can keep warm and use facilities at the YMCA before and after the race (with hot soup offered after, although our group headed straight to Tim Horton’s instead), receive a cute snowman finisher’s medal as well as a unique race item which changes every year – this year it was a cozy sweatshirt. #winning
The route started with a good climb on some pretty rough road. It was pretty crowded to start and I was a little worried about tripping or twisting an ankle, looking down to avoid mis-stepping in a large crack or hole, but also trying not to run into anyone or get knocked over. Luckily things spread out pretty quickly on this first hill. By mile 2 we were running around Bayside and along the waterfront trail, and I was happy to be off the city streets.
KM 1 – 3: 5:25, 5:08, 5:24
By this time I was also over-heating and already desperately shedding layers. We had a beautiful, sunny, 5C day and I severely over-dressed, especially for the 12 noon start time. Running along the lake on this gorgeous afternoon made it feel more like spring than the end of December and I was only wishing I had dressed accordingly. I managed to tie my jacket around my waist and rolled the sleeves up on the 1/4-zip underneath to feel much better…. only to realize I needed a quick bathroom stop!
KM 4 – 8: 5:21, 5:17, 5:18, 6:16 (bathroom), 5:48
At the end of the trail around the half way point, we ran a short residential loop which was about a kilometre uphill followed by a kilometre downhill. This hill was no joke and I was a huffing, puffing, sweaty mess by the top. It was nice to have a long downhill to recovery, followed by the flat stretch along the waterfront trail again.
KM 9 – 12: 5:29, 5:25, 5:19, 5:25
I was pretty tired on the way back and had to work at holding the pace. I hadn’t set a time goal for myself and planned to run by effort, but I started trying to do some math in my head with about 5K to go, to figure out what kind of finish time I was working for. I calculated that I would be looking at about a 1:27 if I could hold on. I played leap frog with a few runners along this stretch which offered another good distraction to keep working and ignore the urge to slow down.
KM 13 – 14: 5:29, 5:27
Finally we were off the trail and had less than a mile to run on the streets toward the finish, including a couple of short-ish steep-ish hills. I spotted one of our friends plus hubs and found a little sprint in my legs for the home stretch.
KM 15 – 16: 5:25, 5:01